Great column in the Washington Post this morning by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey regarding the occupation status (or rather, the lack thereof) with Israel in relation to the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip has been militarily controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group, since 2007 following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza territory in 2005. Many continue to point to Israel as an ‘occupying power’ with responsibility for the welfare of the people in Gaza—but contradictorily demand Israel withdraw (!?).

But the fact is that Israel, under centuries of precedent in the international relations arena, is no longer the occupier of Gaza. Thus, they have no responsibility to the people of Gaza. Furthermore, Israel has a nearly unlimited right to use military force against their neighbor—sovereign, belligerent Gaza—that continues to launch missiles at them and remains under the military control of an active anti-Israel, anti-Semitic terrorist group.

A similar situation exists in the West Bank, the one area of Palestine still nominally under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, although it is less clear-cut. Israel would do well to withdraw their military forces and all settlements from the West Bank to clear up the issue.

This would grant the Palestinian National Authority full control and responsibility for the West Bank and, even better, give them exactly what they claim to want—a full Israeli withdrawal. This, however, would be Palestine’s last chance for statehood (following offers of statehood made in U.N. partition plan of 1947, the Oslo Accords of 1993, the Camp David Summit of 2000, and the Road Map for Peace of 2002, and each time rejected or derailed by the Palestinians). The Arab Peace Initiative is a non-starter with its baseless claim to Jerulasem, so its time for Israel to act unilaterally like they did in Gaza, end the occupation, and treat Palestine as a neighboring, enemy sovereign . . . and if Palestine continues to wage war against Israel, whether via Fatah or Hamas, Israel should fight back with the full, unlimited strength of their military forces and end the Palestinian threat for good.