Symposium on the Functional Approach to the Law of Occupation. Earlier posts can be found in the Related Links at the end of this post. I am grateful for the opportunity to respond in brief to some of the points made in the excellent contributions of fellow bloggers. At the outset, as a former practitioner, I admit that I prefer functional approaches to the law over rigid dichotomies. From my experience, strict formulas are unsatisfactory when facing complex situations and the situation between Israel and the Palestinians is as complex as they come. As noted in my earlier post, I think it questionable to view the functional approach to occupation offered in some of the posts as reflecting the existing law, as opposed to lege ferenda. However, I set this question aside for present purposes and wish to discuss this concept on its merits. The underlying problem with the concept of "functional occupation" is that it takes a situation which does not possess the most fundamental feature of occupation – effective control – and insists on still calling it occupation. This is done not because the set of rights and obligations pertinent to occupation are suitable to such a situation, but rather in order to "prevent occupiers from relinquishing responsibility when control is transformed" and to ensure that "as long as an occupying party continues to exercise some degree of control, it will continue to be held accountable" (as Gross puts it). In other words the reasoning is not based on finding the suitable categorization of a given situation and applying the relevant rules thereto, but rather on deciding which rules should apply and then terming the situation accordingly. This is a conceptual problem. Even if one believes that certain obligations should be imposed even after effective control has ended, it may well be that the legal basis for imposing them lies beyond the limits of the law of occupation. This is my reading of the Al-Bassiouni judgment given by Israel’s Supreme Court.