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Dvir Sorek .(Photo by: Courtesy)
Dvir was murdered and it had nothing to do with the ‘occupation’
Even before we settled in Judea and Samaria, the barrel of the rifle was pointed at us, so why does the journalist Nehemia Strassler try to connect the murder of an innocent boy to the “occupation”?
A hundred years ago the Weizmann-Faisal Accord was signed, which established beneficial cooperation between Arabs and Jews, and its terms even included the encouragement of Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine.

However, in 1920, after the collapse of the Arab state in Syria, a surge of Arab nationalism began that led to the murderous pogroms of 1929, and continued with the murder of hundreds of Jews in the Great Arab Revolt of 1936 and afterward in the unification of the Arab armies in an attempt to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. These were followed by full-fledged wars which were followed by terrorism and uprisings.

Even before we settled in Judea and Samaria, the barrel of the rifle was pointed at us, so why does the journalist Nehemia Strassler try to connect the murder of an innocent boy to the “occupation”?

After the murder of Dvir Sorek, leaders on the Left sent condolences to the Sorek family, expressed shock at the murder and called for the quick apprehension and punishment of the murderers.

A minority, mainly on the social networks, conveyed a certain understanding with regard to the murder, while others said it was the result of the “occupation.” An example of this could be found in an article written by Strassler, who asserted that alongside the condolences, politicians from the Left need to talk about the conflict. He later stated that “they did not dare talk about the clear connection between the occupation and the murder.”

I totally negate this connection. This year we mark 100 years since the Weizmann-Faisal agreement, signed in 1919 within the framework of the Paris Peace Conference that set forth the basis for cooperation between the Zionist Organization and the Arabs of Palestine. The agreement begins: “His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization – mindful of the racial kinship and the ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest way of working out the consummation of their natural aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding that exists between them – have agreed upon the following.”

The agreement further states that the Arabs will recognize the Balfour Declaration proclaimed two years earlier, and “all necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures, the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.” The agreement was also contingent upon achieving the political goals of the Arabs, and it best expressed the prevalent attitude at the time.

However, the Arab kingdom in Syria collapsed, and from then on, nationalist feelings developed. Amin al-Husseini, the most prominent of the Palestinian Arab nationalists, was fiercely opposed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel.

The claims as though the “occupation” is what led to acts of terrorism do not coincide with the fact that this September we will mark exactly 90 years since the 1929 events, during which 67 Jews were murdered by torture in bizarre deaths. Ninety years ago, to the best of my memory, there was no “occupation.” During The Great Arab Revolt which lasted from 1936 to 1939, 400 Jews were murdered. Even then, according to all historians, there was no “occupation.” On May 13, 1948, the residents of Kfar Etzion were slaughtered after they surrendered, and that also was before there was an “occupation.”

The PLO was established in 1964 as a body that seeks to represent the Palestinian Arab interest by waging an armed struggle, and yet the “occupation” did not exist then. In spite of this, it chose the path of armed struggle. In 1993, following the Oslo I Accord, the PLO recognized the existence of the State of Israel, and in return Israel recognized it as the official Palestinian representative. The PLO deleted the nonrecognition section but left the right of return. The right of return includes Sheikh Munis and Gemasin a-Sharqa which became neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. The right of return pertains to Safed, Lod and Ramle, and more. And perhaps it should be internalized that, according to the PLO’s belief, the entire Land of Israel has been captured by the Jews.

It wasn’t right for Strassler to make a connection between Dvir’s murder and the “occupation.” Jews were murdered here long before Gush Emunim and long before the declaration of statehood.

I WOULD also like to dispute the claim with regard to how unfortunate the Palestinians are, because those who work in Israel receive a much higher salary than those working for the Palestinian Authority, and those who work in the joint industrial zones become managers, team leaders, and receive social benefits. They desire cooperation with us.

We, in Efrat, see great importance in maintaining our good relations with our Palestinian neighbors. We help them with infrastructure such as water and roads. We allow them to use our emergency room, and we are glad that they shop in the regional shopping center. Most Palestinians I come into contact with do not hate me, do not see me as a demon, and I do not see them as such.

The roots of the conflict, as shown in this article and in the historical sequence, cannot be blamed on the “occupation.” Jews were murdered in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Haifa and many other places just because they were Jews.

If Husseini had not been supportive of Hitler and the Nazis, I would have written that Jews were murdered because they lived in Palestine. The facts prevent me from writing this. Dvir was murdered without any connection to the so called occupation.
The writer is the mayor of Efrat and chief international envoy of the Yesha Council.
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