Israel cannot be an "occupier" in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank).

"Occupation" occurs when one sovereign state moves into the territory of another sovereign state.  This is not the case here. At most, it might be said that the area of Judea-Samaria is "unassigned" or "contested," meaning there are different claims on the region.

But in fact, Israel has a very strong case for possession of all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea:


In 1922, the League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate for Palestine, and  charged it with responsibility for "secur(ing) the establishment of the Jewish national home" and "encourag(ing) close settlement by Jews on the land."  That close settlement was to happen in all of Palestine, including Judea-Samaria. 

This was set in international law and it has never been superseded.  When the United Nations took over from the League of Nations, it assumed obligations of the League.

The 1947 proposal that Palestine be partitioned, passed by the United Nations General Assembly, certainly didn't supersede the Mandate. The General Assembly makes only recommendations, which have no standing in international law.  What is more, the Arabs rejected the proposal. They cannot now say what they rejected belongs to them.

Defensive war

In 1967, Israel acquired Judea-Samaria in the course of a war fought when Arab states threatened her existence.  She did not start the war for purposes of acquiring land.  In the course of that defensive war, the lands came into Israeli hands.  There is a very strong case to be made for Israeli right to retain lands acquired this way.  


Modern history is witness to the Jews' return to their ancient homeland. The Jewish presence on the land goes back 3,000 years.  Judea-Samaria is at the very heart of the Jewish heritage in the region.  (See the section on ancient Israel).  

The only time there were no Jews in Judea-Samaria was from 1948-67, when Jordan made the region Judenrein.  From the time the ancient Jewish commonwealth was destroyed by the Romans 2,000 years ago until the founding of the modern state of Israel, there was no other autonomous state or even distinct province established in the area. In a very real sense this is Jewish land.

At a bare minimum, should Israel decide to relinquish some of Judea-Samaria in the course of future negotiations, it is clear that all of the region need not be relinquished.  These are the reasons why:

The Green Line

There are calls today for Israel to move back to the Green Line, as if this line represents the "real" borders of Israel.  However, what has come to be known as the Green Line was never a border, it was an armistice line, established at the end of the 1948-49 war.  It was not intended to be a border; it was intended to be temporary, and the expectation at the time was that in short order Israel would negotiate with her Arab neighbors in order to set final borders.  Those negotiations have never taken place.

UN Resolution

In November 1967, after Israel had acquired all of Judea-Samaria, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242, which called for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict," as well as "termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and recognition that "every State in the area" has "the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."  Contrary to claims frequently made, this does NOT call for withdrawal from ALL territories occupied in the Six Day War -- withdrawals were to be contingent on negotiations that would secure a state of peace for Israel.

Jewish-owned land

As far back as the late 1800s, individual Jews had begun purchasing land in Palestine in anticipation of the establishment of the Jewish state.  The Jewish National Fund began to do the same starting in 1901.  (Before the end of WWI, this took place within the Ottoman Empire; it continued during the Mandate period and the British worked to establish a land registry.)  Subsequent to the 1967 war, when Israel acquired control of Judea-Samaria, Jewish-owned land in this region came into Israeli hands.  Thus there is some portion of Judea-Samaria that is Jewishly owned, legally and outright.

Israel as custodian of land

When Israel acquired control of Judea-Samaria in 1967, she became the custodian of land not owned outright by Jews or the Jewish state. This is according to international law, which gives Israel the right to build on this land for purposes of security.  Should land that fits into this category be relinquished in negotiations, Israel would no longer be custodian in those areas. Israel, however, would be on firm ground in retaining some of these areas for purposes of security.