Photo Credit:
British Mandate Map

A day doesn’t go by when you don’t see a comment somewhere in the media about the “occupation” of the “West Bank” or of “Palestine.” You may even hear it referred to (incorrectly) as the longest occupation in modern history.

Occupation is when a foreign army invades and controls land that doesn’t belong to that army’s country. During WWII Germany occupied France, Japan occupied parts of China, Egypt occupied Sudan in the 19th century and beyond, and China has occupied Tibet in what is truly the longest occupation in the modern world, and so on.


Legally – occupation is only when the land occupied had formerly been under the legal control of another sovereign state.

Ask someone – Ban Ki Moon, for instance, who thinks the Israeli occupation is a good reason for Arabs to stab women and children – when did the Israeli “occupation” begin?

Some will answer: 1967.

That means that before 1967 there was a “predominantly Muslim, Arab speaking, and independent state of Palestine” (PMASAISOP in short)?

The mendacious, brainwashed and ignorant will say: yes indeed!

The honest knowledgeable people know that isn’t true.

Before 1967 – Jordan was the illegal occupier of Judea and Samaria. Transjordan had illegally annexed Judea and Samaria, renaming the area the West Bank and themselves Jordan. It’s curious that the Jordanian occupation is honored by adopting the term “West Bank” – possibly to avoid using the Biblical terms Judea and Samaria, in order to deny Jewish rights. One occupation is good, one bad? That’s a double standard: Arabs can occupy – but not Jews.

Some date the occupation to 1948, with the establishment of Israel.

So before 1948 there was a PMASAISOP (see above)?

The mendacious, brainwashed and ignorant will say: yes indeed! They’ll even display photos of coins and stamps that read Palestine, the English-language Palestine Post, the Palestine philharmonic orchestra and the Palestine soccer team.

The honest, knowledgeable people will explain: before 1948 there was the League of Nations international Mandate for Palestine, established in order to facilitate rejuvenation of the Jewish National Home in the recognized homeland of the Jewish people. This mandate was entrusted to the British Empire – that almost immediately broke that trust in order to further British imperial interests, at the expense of the Jews. 75% of the mandate area meant to be a Jewish Homeland was closed to Jews and handed over to a British client, Abdullah from Arabia. The coins and stamps are of the British mandate. The orchestra, the Palestine Post and the Palestine soccer team – they are all Jewish Zionist projects.

To those that chant: “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free” – I wonder: what about that part of “Palestine” occupied by the Bedouin tribes of Jordan that support the Arabian Hashemite family? Or is it again: Arab occupation is good, and only Jewish alleged occupation is bad?

Perhaps some will say reply: yes indeed, the British occupied Palestine in 1917.

Does that mean that prior to 1917 there was a PMASAISOP?

Again: the brainwashed, mendacious and those that haven’t a clue may say: yes indeed!

But that’s not true. Before 1917 – “Palestine” was part of the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire. By the way: ‘Palestine’ is the European name of the land. That name didn’t exist in the 400 years of the Ottoman Empire. The area wasn’t even one administrative area but three.

So perhaps before the Turks invaded then there was a PMASAISOP?

Of course not! It was part of the Mameluke Empire, and before that the Ayubbis, the Crusaders, the Seljuks, Fatimids, Abbasids, and the Omayyads – who were the initial Arab invaders. Before that – the indigenous people, who were neither Muslim nor did they speak Arabic – were occupied and ruled by the Byzantines, formerly the Romans. The year 135 saw the last indigenous independent state, which had lasted only three and a half years, during a rebellion against Rome. That was the Bar Kochva state, the indigenous Jewish state. Before that the Romans again, except for the four years between 66 and 70 when the indigenous Jews rebelled against the foreign European invaders, who had invaded and conquered the land of Israel, the independent state of the Jews.

I guess that’s what they really mean when speaking of a long occupation…


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Dovid Ben-Meir made aliyah after high school in Chicago. He received smicha, from the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira and Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. He served as the rabbi of a "garin torani" - a group of families that moved to Eilat and were active in Jewish education in the city. A teacher and Rav in several yeshivot, he guides occasionally both in the Western Wall Tunnels and at the site of Ancient Shiloh. Together he and his wife Chana have children and fifteen grandchildren, all of whom live in Israel.


  1. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are widely recognized by international governments as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace. These settlements are a major cause of Palestinian poverty and the denial of rights which we try to address in our work. Settlements continue to expand across the West Bank – in the past 20 years the settler population has more than doubled to over 520,000 today. This has resulted in the confiscation of Palestinian land and resources and has fuelled poverty. Settlements also threaten the viability of a future Palestinian state, leaving the West Bank carved into 167 disconnected enclaves.
    The occupation, of which Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a large part, is a cause of poverty. According to the World Bank, restrictions on Palestinian access to Area C – the 61% of the West Bank that is under full Israeli government control and where most settlements are located – cost the Palestinian economy about $3.4 billion a year.
    Forget agreements of a century ago . Let’s focus on the many UN resolutions violated by Israeli governments .
    Here the UN resolutions :

  2. UN resolutions are not laws, and you will note that they might have requirements from both sides.
    You however are expecting only Israel to give up.
    “widely recognized ” is not an answer.
    The major cause of Arab Palestinian poverty is the” widely recognized ” economic theory of “guns or butter”.
    With regards to the rights of Arab Palestinians, there are 1.6 million Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, and they are the only Arabs in the entire middle east to have their full civil and religious rights protected.

  3. UN resolutions are not laws, it is true. But in the absence of laws, international law must be governed by third-party organizations.
    I am not aware of any other cases of Countries that expand their borders without being considered invaders.
    Clearly, we can reject the UN resolutions , we can reject everything. What remains is that a Country that expands its borders denying the local population the possibility of access to basic resources (water, infrastructure, etc.) is a violation of international law and human rights.
    I’m sorry for my english, but it’s not my language.

  4. Maybe because the time passes , the world is changed… Some time ago there were laws that regulated prices for slaves, today are not applied. There were international agreements over the division of the colonies, now are not applied. Today I think it is necessary to find solutions that do not rely more on the imposition by force. But based on respect for rights. So, probably I think that because I live in Europe. But this is what I see.

  5. There is not an absence of laws. I have posted the laws.
    You cannot be considered an invader if you are in your own land.
    It is the Arabs who reject their requirements under the UN resolutions you cite.
    Any country that made peace with Israel and lived up to thier side has received land for peace.

  6. No, sorry, but it’s not accurate. Surely the Palestinians (not Arabs, because we talk about people, not ethnic groups, I think) violate resolutions. But it is equally certain that the demolitions, for example, violate other resolutions. As well as the expansion of the boundaries. As well as the expropriation of resources. Or not?

  7. A. As far as I know the Supreme Court of Israel had decided decades ago that although the area is not occupied and therefore the IV Geneva Convention does not apply – the court will rule AS IF it applies. B. Supreme Courst make mistakes (i.e. Dredd Scott, seperate but equal, etc. and in Israel the list is long also).

  8. You provided no documented facts, no reports and nothing from an international court.

    That is what I provided. And it is those documented facts, reports and decisions of the international authority what YOU Matteo Vennino deny.

    You use terms like facts and certainty, but cannot actually quote anything even close to certainty.

    You say things like ‘contrary to international law’ but are unable to point to even ONE law being broken.

    In fact, as it is documented in the original post above, according to the law, there is no occupation.
    We have agreed that UN Resolutions are not laws, and that “widely recognized” is not a way to quote a law. You cannot convict a state based only on “widely recognized”.

  9. Bill Bilek Israel can't hold in belligerent occupation because it obtained the right to settle in the Palestine Mandate in 1920. In addition it received the collective rights to political self-determination placed in trust. The League of Mandate was the legal instrument creatng that trust. The trust was to last until the Jewish People had a population majority in Palestine and the capability of exercising sovereignty. The Jews didn't want immediate statehood in 1920 because that wouldn't have been practical. See British Foreign Office offical Memorandum published the month following publication of the Balfour Declaration. See also, the American proposal delivered on January 21, 1919 at the Paris Peace Talks.

  10. Only about 40% to 50% at the time. See the map supporting the agreement between Prince Feisal and Chaim Weizmann. It later became 78% when the borders were extended to the boundaries with Iraq. Initially they went east only to just short of the Damascus-Hejaz RR.

  11. The Israelis only want what's theirs for the Jewish people and that's one 1,000th of the land owned by Arabs. You think 1/1000 is too much to ask for? and it doesn't bother you that the Arabs have so much land and are continuing to invade Europe, Africa, and America with the expectation that they will rule with their global caliphate. That suits you?

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