“Why is Palestine occupied?” Israeli Meir Deutsch asked a foreign activist on
He was responding to charges by the woman and other
Palestinians, who held a small protest both inside and outside the Rami Levy
supermarket in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, that Israel was an
“occupying power.” The two of them had a short, heated debate in which she
defended her position as pro-Palestinian but not anti-Jewish.
spoke, police herded activists standing around them onto a waiting
“I have nothing against Jewish people,” said the female activist,
who wore sunglasses and silver hoop earrings. “I am speaking technically. I
teach international law at the university, I want to say that it [Israel’s
occupation of Palestine] is according to international law, not according to
But Deutsch was puzzled by her words.
“Is indigenous people
[the Jews], living on their land – is that occupied?” he asked her.
looked at him, as if he had misunderstood some basic fact.
occupied Palestine. You have occupied the West Bank,” she said, exasperated. She
moved her arms as she spoke and her voice quickened with
Deutsch, who was much taller than she, remained
“Who said it was occupied?” he asked.
“There was a war, it
was in 1948; they [the Jews] took over the land and in ’67... ” She would have
continued, but Deutsch interrupted her.
“No,” he said. “The Jews are
indigenous to the Land of Israel and Palestine, which it was called way before
it was called Israel,” Deutsch said.
“Really, you are totally out of your
mind,” she responded, shaking her head. “Go learn your history,” she
“Did you read the Bible?” asked Deutsch, as police pushed her onto
the waiting bus as well.