Cuomo, Former Secretary Of H.U.D, Joins Rumsfeld In Taking Issue With The Term “Occupied, Territory”
August 29, 2002

NEW YORK- Another major American political figure has said that the Judea-Samaria-Gaza territories which Israel captured in self-defense in 1967 should be described as “disputed territory, not occupied territory.”

During his recent visit to Israel, Andrew Cuomo —former Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, and currently a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York— said Israel “has a bona fide claim” to Judea-Samaria-Gaza, and added: “Why do we call this territory ‘occupied territory’? Why is it not ‘disputed territory’? The term occupied territory has an implicit presumption of ownership.” (New York Sun, August 9-11, 2002)

Cuomo’s statement follows similar remarks made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a press conference on August 6, 2002:

“My feeling about the so-called occupied territories are that there was a war, Israel urged neighboring countries not to get involved in it once it started, they all jumped in, and they lost a lost of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict. In the intervening period, they’ve made some settlements in various parts of the so-called occupied area, which was the result of a war, which they won. They have offered up— successive prime ministers have offered up various portions of that so-called occupied territory, the West Bank, and at no point has it been agreed upon by the other side.”

(The official U.S. Department of Defense transcript of Secretary Rumsfeld’s remarks is available at

In April 2002, response to a resolution proposed by the ZOA at the AIPAC annual policy conference, in Washington, the delegates voted to include in AIPAC’s 2002 Action Agenda (its policy platform) a clause stating that in the coming year, AIPAC will be “Urging the administration to stop using the inappropriate and inaccurate term ‘occupied territories,’ and begin referring to those areas as ‘disputed territories’.”

In recent weeks, ZOA leaders have held numerous meetings with Bush administration officials, Members of Congress, and others to urge that the U.S. use the term “disputed territory” rather than “occupied territory” when referring to Judea-Samaria-Gaza.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Israel has the greater historical, legal, and moral right to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. At the very least, those areas should be called disputed territories, not occupied territories, since the term ‘occupied’ clearly suggests that the ‘occupier’ has no right to be there. We strongly applaud Andrew Cuomo’s courageous and principled stance in acknowledging that the term ‘occupied territory’ is wrong.”

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