September 2, 2001
Last month's Palestinian draft resolution at the UN Security Council again described the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "occupied Palestinian territories." References to Israel's "foreign occupation" also appear in the Durban Draft Declaration of the UN World Conference Against Racism. This language was not just chosen for rhetorical purposes but in order to invoke specific legal claims: For example, Palestinian insistence on using the term "occupied territories" is usually connected to the assertion that they fall under the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Yet, Palestinian spokesmen also speak about Israeli military action in Area A as an infringement on Palestinian sovereignty: If Israel "invaded Palestinian territories," then they cannot be regarded as "occupied"; however, if the territories are defined as "occupied," Israel cannot be "invading" them.