Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Armed Resistance in Gaza Strip against Israeli Occupation: Legitimate Requirement to Achieve Self-Determination

Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Armed Resistance in Gaza Strip against Israeli Occupation: Legitimate Requirement to Achieve Self-Determination

Article excerpt


In 1948, when the Israeli Occupying Authorities (IOA) started functioning openly in Palestine, the Palestinians formed independent resistance movements as a direct reaction. These movements varied in their structure and ideologies. For example, some of them were connected with political parties, while others were just popular groups. However, the consideration of the armed resistance as the only option for liberation was a consensus view amongst these movements. The forms of resistance varied according to the capabilities of the Palestinians. Basically, resisting through firearms and bombs against the Israelis was widespread.1

The resistance continued, and in 1967, the IOA extended their occupation to what is currently known as the Gaza Strip (GS) and the West Bank (WB). Accordingly, new resistance movements emerged to fight against the Israelis in those Palestinian territories. Hamas in particular, which is considered as the biggest resistance movement in Palestine, and the factual government of GS, started its operations against the IOA in 1988. Hamas caused significant damage to the Israeli settlers in the GS, which led the IOA to announce their Disengagement Plan from GS in 2005.2

Even though the IOA military forces withdrew from the GS, they still exercise effective control over the borders, the sea, and the air of GS. As a result, Hamas, supported by other Palestinian resistance movements in the GS, like Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Brigades, continued their attacks against the IOA settlements in the Palestinian occupied land, using their internationally recognized right to self-determination and self-defense.3

The last significant occasion was on the first of July 2014, when the IOA declared military operations in the GS. These operations resulted in, after 50 days, 2,140 martyrs and more than 10,000 injured Palestinians. Thanks to the firm resistance, the IOA signed a ceasefire agreement with the resistance movements in the GS, and the war came to an end.4

The IOA purported that what they had done was a self-defense mechanism, as this action has been explained in The Hague Regulations of 1907 regarding the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, and the first additional protocol annexed to the Geneva Convention on the protection of victims of International armed conflicts of 1977. Moreover, they alleged that what the resistance movements used falls out of the purview of the right to self-determination activities.5

In this paper, the author argues that armed resistance, as it has been used in the aforementioned occasion, is a legitimate and fundamental requirement in resisting the IOA violations. Moreover, the author contends that such resistance is indispensable for building the governmental institutions in the GS, establishing economic entities, and exercising the right to self-determination.6 In this paper the author also refutes the IOA's arguments regarding their allegation of exercising the right of self-defense against Palestinians in GS.7

The Legal Status of the GS

The Disengagement Plan Provides for Israel's Effective Control Over the Gaza Strip

In 2006, the IOA decided to enforce the Disengagement Plan, which basically contained the following steps:8

* Withdrawing all the Israeli forces and settlers residing in the GS, amounting to 7500 settlers;

* Evacuating seventeen settlements in the GS and four settlements in the North West Bank, and dismantling all existing establishments;

* Maintaining Israel's full security control of the land borders, as well as the sea and airspace of the GS; and

* Expanding settlement activity in the WB, asserting that any future solution must take into consideration Israel's demand to maintain control over Israeli settlements, villages, cities and other areas of security and strategic significance for Israel in the WB. …

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