There Is No ‘Occupation’


Regarding your editorial, “Penetrating The Birthright Bubble,” June 29: The good news is that with 90 percent of Palestinians living under their own internationally recognized elected leaders on their own land for years, a strong case can be made that there is no “occupation.”

The bad news: by refusing to make our strong case, we allow the Palestinians to literally get away with murder by falsely tarring Israel with “occupation” and allow groups like IfNotNow to get positive coverage in a Jewish Week editorial, and more.

Yes, two very different people living so close together is very messy. But the Oslo Accords freely negotiated between Palestinian national hero Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, for which they both received Nobel Peace Prizes. The agreement gave the Palestinians their long-sought autonomy and international recognition and their own land (West Bank Areas A&B). In Oslo, the Palestinians agreed to temporary Israel control over Area C, where Jewish settlement communities are located, an agreement which the international community has improperly ignored by calling the Israeli presence and the settlement communities illegal.

Gaza came under complete Palestinian control upon Israel’s withdrawal in 2006. Since Palestinian leaders use their powers for terrorism and defamation and have not provided the peace they promised in Oslo, Israel has been forced to defend itself with barriers, checkpoints, incursions, etc. Israeli offers in 2000 and 2008 to create a Palestinian State, including dividing Jerusalem and withdrawals from Area C, were rebuffed by Arafat and [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas.

As I have written in previous letters to The Jewish Week, Israel and her supporters have this very good case to make against the dangerous accusation of “occupation” that not only justifies Palestinian killing of Israelis but tars Israel’s good name among American youth, progressive churches, the Democratic Party and so many others. Most important, it weakens crucial international support necessary for Israel’s survival in case of an all-out war.