The World’s Hypocrisy About Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank
By Eli Lake | Bloomberg
The example of Russia is instructive. In 2020, Russia occupies Ukrainian territory in Crimea and Donbass. It occupies the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It occupies the Moldovan territory of Transnistria.
But Russia is really only paying a price for its occupation and annexation of Crimea, which has caused the U.S. and its European allies to sanction sectors of the Russian economy. Russia was initially sanctioned for its occupation of Georgian territory, but those sanctions were lifted in 2009 following a flimsy cease-fire agreement that Russian-backed separatists have since violated. The EU treats Transnistrian goods as if they were Moldovan. There are no restrictions on trade from the Georgian territory that Russia occupies.
Firstly, the Russian presence in Abkhazia does not satisfy the definition of occupation set by the Geneva Convention of 1907, article 42 which states that: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army”, and article 43 which states that: “The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”
In Abkhazia authority is in fact placed in the hands of the ‘de facto’ partially recognised authorities, and not in the hands of the Russian military. Abkhazia has its own parliament, government, army, police force and other state-institutions.
Russian troops in Abkhazia do not exhibit the behaviour characteristic of an occupying army either. For example, the Russian troops in Abkhazia do not patrol the streets or set up checkpoints to control the local population and are mostly confined to their bases.
Although limited housing projects for Russian troops and their families near the bases have been constructed, THERE IS NO construction of settlements or other forms of colonisation of Abkhazia by ethnic Russians, akin to, for example, Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Russian activity within Abkhazia is also not an arbitrary development but has been negotiated in accordance with BILATERAL AGREEMENTS between Russia and Abkhazia.