The status of the Gaza Strip as occupied territory has been the subject of renewed policy, judicial and academic debate following a series of noteworthy developments in the territory since 2005. This article considers the present status of Gaza from the perspective of international humanitarian law in light of these events, which include Israel’s ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip in 2005, its declaration of Gaza as a ‘hostile territory’ in 2007, and the military action labelled ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which commenced in late 2008. It addresses the concept of occupation and the application of the laws of belligerent occupation, making recourse to the travaux préparatoires of relevant treaties, and international and national jurisprudence. In focusing on the situation in the Gaza Strip, the article assesses the various criteria identified in customary international law for determining the existence of a situation of occupation.
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