Fox Errs on “Illegal” Occupation, Palestinian Land

A Sept. 2 article by Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, “Kushner pushes other Arab nations to follow UAE footsteps,” erroneously asserts that the United Nations has deemed the West Bank illegally occupied.
The article misreported: 
Egypt and Jordan established ties with Israel that date back decades, but until recently, other Arab nations have stood firm on rejecting diplomatic ties until Israel vacates Palestinian lands that the United Nations has deemed illegally occupied territory. [Emphasis added.]
While the United Nations considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal, it does not regard the occupation itself as illegal. The UN has made clear that any Israeli annexation of the West Bank would be “inadmissible,” but none of its post-war resolutions — General Assembly resolutions 2252, 2253, 2254, and 2256, and Security Council resolutions 236, 240, and 242 — argued that the capture of the West Bank from Jordan and subsequent occupation was unlawful.

The drafters of Security Council Resolution 242, which called for an Israeli withdrawal from unspecified “territories occupied in the recent conflict,” have repeatedly clarified that their resolution calls for any Israeli withdrawal to be to “secure and recognized boundaries” negotiated in peace talks between the parties to the war, and do not regard the occupation as illegal:  “Until that condition is met, Israel is entitled to administer the territories it captured – the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip – and then withdraw from some but not necessarily all of the land,” explained Eugene Rostow, one of the resolution’s drafters and an Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in President Johnson’s administration.

Bloomberg has previously corrected this identical error, as has The Independent. Similarly, The New York Times has twice in the past corrected after erroneously reporting that the international community considers the Palestinian territories illegally occupied.

Also in the aforementioned Fox News passage, the reference to disputed West Bank lands as “Palestinian lands” is partisan and inaccurate.

The West Bank’s rightful and ultimate disposition remains under contention. The article’s designation of the disputed West Bank as “Palestinian lands” is a violation of impartiality. Since 1967 and until the Trump plan, the West Bank’s status was to be resolved by negotiations anticipated by U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian interim accords, the 2003 international “road map” and related diplomatic efforts taking 242 and 338 as reference points. The co-authors of resolution 242, Rostow, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Goldberg, and British ambassador Lord Caradon made clear at the time and subsequently that Jews and Arabs both had claims in the territories, no national sovereignty over the territories had been recognized since the end of Ottoman rule and negotiations would be necessary to resolve competing claims.

 Indeed, in no time in history was the West Bank “Palestinian land” until the Oslo Accords put certain areas (called Areas A and B) under control of the Palestinian Authority.  The PA has full (security and civil) control over Area A and has civil control over Area B, while Israel maintains security control in Area B. Arab nations which oppose normalisation until Israel vacates West Bank land do not distinguish between A, B, or C (where Israel maintains full control) – they demand that Israel leave the entire territory.

Mulitple media outlets have corrected misleading references to disputed West Bank land as “Palestinian lands,” including The Wall Street Journal and Voice of America.

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