GENEVA – The UN continues to label the Gaza Strip “occupied” by Israel, despite a Hamas leader stating this week that that’s no longer a tenable position.
Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar confirmed Tuesday there is no Israeli occupation of Gaza, according to a report published by Ma’an, a Bethlehem- based Palestinian news agency.
Zahar was casting doubt on whether Hamas would organize anti-Israel marches in Gaza in conjunction with similar protests that the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority would organize in the West Bank.
“Against whom could we demonstrate in the Gaza Strip? When Gaza was occupied, that model was applicable,” Zahar said.
The radical Islamist organization has merely recognized the obvious: that after Israel in 2005 dismantled its military administration in Gaza, forcibly evicted all Israeli residents and withdrew every last soldier, Israel no longer occupies the territory by any legal definition or other sense of the term.
Whatever external control Israel – and Egypt - may exercise, everyone in Gaza knows that Hamas rules the territory with an iron fist.
THE HAMAS statement follows growing recognition among international lawyers that the UN’s resistance to holding Palestinians responsible for territory they control is outdated.