Combating a toxic message – ‘the occupation’

It’s a call for Israel’s demise. In this case, therefore, the messenger is the message.

LEFT-WING Israelis and Palestinians demonstrate for a better future for both peoples near Jerusalem on Friday. The placards read: The last day of occupation is the first day of peace. (photo credit: REUTERS)
LEFT-WING Israelis and Palestinians demonstrate for a better future for both peoples near Jerusalem on Friday. The placards read: The last day of occupation is the first day of peace.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote in The New York Times to explain why Arabs murder Jews, “Occupation provokes anger and despair which are the major drivers of violence and extremism....”
It’s not Islamic Jihad, or Palestinian Authority/Hamas hate campaigns; it’s the “occupation of Palestinian territory,” “the settlements” – all of them.
It’s a demand that Israel withdraw unilaterally to the 1949 armistice line without any consideration of Israel’s claims or thought about the consequences.
It’s a call for Israel’s demise. In this case, therefore, the messenger is the message.
Instead of regurgitating lies, Ban could have told the truth: Arabs who try to kill Jews are not driven by political or economic concerns, but by hatred. They are willing to give up their lives in the process of murdering Jews because they believe that will bring them honor and public acclaim.
Arabs are not angry because they don’t have a state; they are angry because Jews have one. They do not hate because they lack political rights and economic benefits, but because they believe that Jews are infidels, and that martyrdom and jihad are supreme values.
Accusing Israel of “occupying Palestinian territory,” preventing “Palestinian self-determination” and violating human rights fuels boycott campaigns and anti-Israel protests and incitement. Here’s how to stop it: Change the narrative Jews are not “occupying another people.” Nearly all Arab Palestinians live under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
They vote (when there is an election) and most hold Jordanian passports.
They operate “national” institutions (schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, TV and radio stations, etc.) and private businesses, and, under the PLO, they have diplomatic missions throughout the world. Many thousands receive permits to work in Israel and medical care in Israel when necessary.
Jews are not occupying someone else’s land or country. Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) belong to the Jewish people legally and historically, and settlements are an essential part of the State of Israel and Zionism.
According to international law established by the League of Nations and incorporated into the United Nations, “Palestine”/Eretz Yisrael was intended as a “Jewish national home in Palestine” which included “close settlement of the land.” Under the British Mandate, the area was divided and a separate country was established exclusively for Arabs called “Transjordan,” which became Jordan.
In 1948, Jordan declared war on the newly established State of Israel and, after a truce was signed, illegally occupied Judea and Samaria until 1967, calling it the “West Bank” (of Jordan); “West Bank” is not an authentic term.
“Palestine” was never at any time an Arab country, nor did it represent a national or historical group. The name was used by the Romans in the second century CE in reference to the Philistines, who had invaded from the area of what are now Greek islands more than a thousand years earlier, and, as we learn in the Bible, were wiped out by the Israelite army led by King David.
Accusing Israel of “colonialism” denies the connection between Jews and the Land of Israel and the right of the Jewish people to reclaim their homeland. Arabs who came to Palestine/ Israel from other countries and seek to uproot Jews are the real colonialists.
Change the focus The real problem is not “Israeli occupation” but the fact that most Arab leaders – with the exception of Jordan and Egypt which signed peace treaties with Israel – reject Israel’s existence in any borders. “Ending the occupation,” therefore, is a euphemism for ending Israel’s existence.
Anti-Israel obsession diverts attention from a serious problem that is consuming the region and threatens the world: Islamic-based terrorism.
For example, the anti-Israel crowd ignores issues like the slaughter taking place in Syria and Iraq, executions in Iran and Saudi Arabia, the northern Sudanese genocide against South Sudan, chaos in Libya, civil war in Yemen, etc. The only issue which motivates them is “Palestine Shall Be Free from the River to the Sea.”
This is worse than mindless because it focuses all attention on the dispute between Israel and the PA/PLO. Nothing else matters. Focused exclusively on a non-existent “Israel Apartheid” and “Palestinian oppression,” the issue of terrorism is ignored.
While millions are starving, enslaved and drowning trying to escape war and brutality, Arab Palestinians enjoy the highest standard of living of any Arab group in the region and they receive billions of dollars annually from Western countries and Israel.
The obsession with condemning Israel prevents concern for real humanitarian crises elsewhere. The goal of this monomania is not only to bludgeon awareness but to savage critical thinking.
And, most importantly, it provides Jew-haters with an amplifier, an audience and respectability.
Change the signs Adding a single word (four letters) can change the message from “end the occupation” to “end the Arab occupation” – not only by Hamas and the PA, but other Islamic terrorist regimes in the region. The war between Sunnis and Shi’ites is a far greater threat to the lives of people than anything happening in Israeli-controlled areas.
Change the game The entire world is engaged in a struggle against Islamic terrorism, of which Palestinian terrorism is part.
Encouraged by their political and religious leaders, Muslims are sacrificing their lives in order to murder infidels – Jews, Christians and anyone else who is in their way. If that is opposed by Islam, why are most Muslim religious leaders silent? Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon have tens of thousands of missiles which they intend to use against Israel. They are building tunnels to carry out terrorist attacks. That’s the problem, not Jewish families who build homes in Judea and Samaria (“the settlements”).
Claiming legal rights and heritage Based on the authoritative report of the Edmund Levy commission which thoroughly examined the legal rights of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Israeli leaders – especially the prime minister and the president – must articulate a clear, coherent policy which expresses the sovereignty of the Jewish people in this critical area. The Levy Report is the most effective response to charges that Israel is “stealing Palestinian land,” “occupying Palestinian territory” and that “settlements are illegal.”
Adopt and implement the Levy Report now.
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist in Israel. His book of short stories, As Far As the Eye Can See, was published by the New English Review Press.