"The irony of Israel’s assertion that Gaza is no longer occupied can be best appreciated when one considers Israel’s earlier position that Gaza and the West Bank were not occupied in 1967. Israeli officials claimed that the status of these areas was sui generis because, at the time of conquest, they were controlled by but not sovereign to Egypt and Jordan, respectively. “Occupation,” according to Israel, only pertains to areas that were recognized sovereign territory of the displaced states. Hence the premise, never accepted by the international community, was: no sovereignty, therefore no occupation. Rather, Israel insisted that Gaza and the West Bank were “administered” territory. The other premise of the original “not occupied” position was that Israel could lay claim to all or parts of these lands because they compose the remainder of Eretz Israel to which the Jewish people have historic and/or biblical rights.
The motivation for projecting the notion that the status of the Palestinian territories was sui generis was political: If Israel were to accept the international consensus that it was an “occupant,” it would be constrained from permanently seizing or settling territory acquired by force. Instead, Israeli officials constructed an edifice of ornate legal reasoning to legitimize territorially expansive policies. Of course, Israel had no aspiration to assert permanent control over the Palestinian residents of these putatively sui generis territories, so the people were regarded as occupied.
The concept of sui generis territory may be fitting for some places (like Antarctica). However, it is irrelevant and erroneous in the case of territory that was militarily occupied as a result of armed conflict, as Gaza and the West Bank were. The claim that the occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, and that its status is now sui generis, should be assessed in light of Israel’s earlier attempts to legally license unilateral policies implemented in defiance of international law.”
— Read more on Is Gaza Still Occupied and Why Does It Matter? by Jadaliyya co-editor