‘Occupation’ Ended Long Ago


Steven Bayme (“History Remembered: Lessons From The Six-Day War,” Opinion, May 19) contends that one of the lessons of the war is that “Israel must confront the abiding challenges of demography and ruling over people who do not wish to be ruled … . Democratic norms mandate [their] right to participate in elections and in government.”

Yitzchak Rabin confronted that challenge in 1995. He solved it by agreeing to the Oslo II accord, which provided for Israel’s forces to withdraw from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs reside. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinians came to an end. For the past 22 years, the PA has run its own schools, hospitals, courts, police and security forces. The only significant power it lacks is the power to import planes, tanks, and Iranian “volunteers.”

Bayme is certainly correct about the right of Palestinian Arabs to participate in elections. And they do (when the Palestinian Authority lets them). In fact, just a few weeks ago — on May 13 — hundreds of thousands of Palestinians went to 461 polling stations, and chose 3,489 members of the 391 municipal and village councils in the Palestinian Authority-controlled portions of Judea-Samaria.

It’s time to recognize that thanks to Rabin’s concessions, the “demographic threat” is no more, the “occupation” of the Palestinians ended long ago, and the Palestinians already have a state in everything but name. To pretend otherwise dishonors the memory of Israel’s late prime minister.

Flatow is the vice president of the Religious Zionists of America and father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.