Israeli occupation of the West Bank

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The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been under military occupation by Israel since 7 June 1967, when Israeli forces captured the territory, then ruled by Jordan, during the Six-Day War. The status of the West Bank as a militarily occupied territory has been affirmed by the International Court of Justice and, with the exception of East Jerusalem, by the Israeli Supreme Court. The official view of the Israeli government is that the laws of belligerent occupation do not apply to the territories, which it considers instead "disputed", and it administers the West Bank, excepting East Jerusalem, under the Israeli Civil Administration, a branch of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Considered to be a classic example of an "intractable conflict", the length of Israel's occupation was already regarded as exceptional after two decades, and is now the longest in modern history. Israel has cited several reasons for retaining the West Bank within its ambit: a claim based on the notion of historic rights to this as a homeland as claimed in the Balfour Declaration of 1917; security grounds, both internal and external; and the deep symbolic value for Jews of the area occupied.

Quotes

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  • I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. All settlement activities, including evictions and demolitions, are illegal under international law. A revitalized peace process is the only route to a just and lasting solution...Only through renewing our commitment and redoubling our efforts towards a negotiated solution can we bring this cruel violence and hatred to a definitive end.
    • António Guterres, Secretary-General’s Remarks to the General Assembly Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East and Palestine, United Nations Secretary-General, Statements, (20 May 2021)
  • The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the relentless expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. During the last three months, more than 10,000 housing units were advanced... “Settlements further entrench the occupation, fuel violence, impede Palestinian access to their land and resources, and systematically erode the viability of a Palestinian State as part of a two-State solution”, the senior envoy said. “I call on the Government of Israel to cease all settlement activity and dismantle outposts immediately, in line with its obligations under international law,” he added.
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