Under international law, Israel’s rule in the West Bank and Gaza is considered “belligerent occupation” and, therefore, its actions must be justified by military necessity only. If there is no occupation, Israel has no military grounds to hold on to the territories. In that case, it must either return the land to the Palestinians, and move out the settlers, or defy international law by annexing the territories, as it did earlier with East Jerusalem, and establish a state of Greater Israel.
Annexation, however, poses its own dangers. Israel must either offer the Palestinians citizenship and wait for a non-Jewish majority to emerge in Greater Israel; or deny them citizenship and face pariah status as an apartheid state.
The matter of factual Israeli occupation of Occupied Palestinian Territories has been confirmed by many UN resolutions. The legal basis on which both Gaza Strip and West Bank may and should be viewed as remaining under effective Israeli occupation is explained in the Goldstone Report, especially in par. 187, 198, 199, 200 – 206, 269 as well as in Chapter IV of the Report, par. 274 – 303.