No, It’s Not The Occupation, Stupid

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The entire history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a history of Arabs putting Israel in a position from which it must defend itself, and then blaming Israel for the way it defends itself. This is true of the 1948 war, in which the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq invaded the newly reconstituted state of Israel, and which is now commemorated as the “Nakba.” This was true of the 2014 Gaza war known as Operation Protective Edge, during which most of Israel was under relentless rocket attack, and its attempts to defend itself from those attacks were widely condemned as “disproportionate,” or as “murder” and “war crimes.”

This is true, as well, of the violence that is being directed at Israel today. The violence is being blamed by some on the so-called “occupation,” but this ignores that Israel’s military presence in the West Bank is itself a defensive measure. During the 1967 war, Jordan, which then occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank, attacked the Israeli section of Jerusalem after Israel’s preemptive strike against Egypt. Israel recaptured the eastern part of the city, as well as the West Bank, only after that attack.

The much-maligned checkpoints and separation barrier, the embodiments of the “occupation” to the anti-Israel crowd, are defensive measures as well. They were put in place in response to the Second Intifada that Arafat intentionally started, and have saved many lives.



River to sea BDSTo say that the violence is caused by the “occupation,” or by the checkpoints or by the “Apartheid wall,” therefore, is to invert cause and effect. Israel’s military presence in the West Bank is the result of Arab violence against Israel, and not vice versa.

Let’s bear in mind as well that Palestinian Arabs have already had three opportunities in this century alone — in 2000, in 2008, and in 2014 — to end what they call the occupation. In truth, they could probably end it at any time. If Abbas would credibly announce tomorrow that he was ready to accept the independence-for-peace offer made to him in 2008 and able to enforce its terms (credibly being a key component), I’d bet an awful lot that one of two things would happen: either Netanyahu would agree as well, or he’d be voted out and replaced with someone who would.

So let’s get real, it’s not the so-called occupation.

And note to John Kerry: accepting any one of those peace offers would have defined boundaries beyond which Israel would not be able to build. So it’s not the settlements either.

Just as the Second Intifada was preceded by Arafat’s rejection of the 2000 offer at Camp David, the current terrorism was preceded by Abbas’s rejection of the US-proposed parameters in 2014. And while he rejected those parameters and has refused to negotiate since, Abbas has incited the current violence intentionally, just as Arafat intentionally started the Second Intifada.

The cause of the violence is Palestinian refusal to compromise, Palestinian incitement, and western indulgence of that recalcitrance and incitement. That’s all.

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