30 December '16..
1. Let's talk about the occupation. Both about the occupation of territory, and about control over another nation. As I have already expressed several times, in my view the heart of the internal Israeli conflict is not control over another nation, but specifically sovereignty over those swathes of the land -- Samaria, Judea and Jerusalem -- whose symbolic weight goes beyond their existence as geographic territory.
This is the question of all questions that has been driving us crazy since our return to history as a living nation with a political claim: Who are we? The question of our identity, which is made up of two parts that formed within us over thousands of years: nationality and religion. The widespread Israeli discourse (which impacts the global discourse) almost always favors the occupation and its consequences.
There are three types of occupation in the western side of the Jordan River. Since the Oslo Accords, we do not rule over the Palestinians as in the past. They enjoy broad autonomy: government, budgets, security forces, foreign relations, a flag and an anthem. Israel does not intervene and does not even control the constant incitement in the Palestinian education and political systems against everything Israeli and Jewish. It is true that the IDF and the Shin Bet security agency are stationed along the perimeter and control movement in the territory. The simple reason: Without a buffer of security, the Palestinian Authority would turn into a major terror zone that will, from the top of the mountain, threaten Israel's population centers and vital arteries.
The Palestinians also enjoy the buffer of security. A glance at the countries around us is enough to make one understand that a similar fate will befall the Palestinian Authority the moment Israel removes its defenses. Hamas is strong in the Palestinian street, and Islamic State, al-Qaida and all manner of evil sleeper cells are awaiting the signal to take over the territory. WikiLeaks documents published a few years ago showed that, behind the scenes, the Palestinians are demanding our protection. Senior officials told me that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not survive for an hour without our protection. By the way, neither would King Abdullah II of Jordan.
2. When it comes to Israel, the concept of "occupation" expands a lot. It is clear to everyone that since the summer of 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, the situation there is completely different from what it was before. Israel has completely withdrawn, demolished its settlements and taken its dead, just as Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish suggested in his famous poem. And still, the Left and part of the world insist: The occupation is ongoing.
Much to our grief, the warning of the Right came to fruition. The moment that Hamas took control, the Gaza Strip became enslaved (not always at the residents' will) to the near-sole motive for the existence of the political Palestinian: the destruction of Israel. There are many paths to achieving this goal: military, terrorist, diplomatic. The PLO's "Phased Plan" is no fairy tale; it is alive and kicking. Go to the Palestinian Media Watch and Middle East Media Research Institute websites and see for yourself. Do not rely on intermediaries.
As a result, Israel keeps watch over the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, so that weapons and explosives are not brought in. Experience teaches us that the moment the checkpoints are removed, the Gaza Strip will become a ticking time bomb. The Hamas government has no greater goal than sacrificing its subjects in exchange for a fatal attack in Israel and the killing of Jews. Read the Hamas charter (available online) that serves even now as the movement's manifesto. It is a Nazi document. And so, the "occupation" continues in Gaza too.
3. On to the Green Line borders. In principle and from a philosophical perspective, how is the "occupation" in Judea and Samaria different from the "occupation" in the Galilee and the Negev? Israeli Arabs have identification cards and they vote in Knesset elections. So what? We have put people in prison against their will and given them the right to vote for the prison administration. They do not agree to participate in any coalition, so that they do not, God forbid, create the impression of granting legitimacy to the governmental institutions of the Jewish state.
Here are excerpts from "The Future Vision of the Arab Palestinians in Israel," a document articulated by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and published in 2006, after the Oslo Accords and after the disengagement from the Gaza Strip: "Israel is the outcome of a settlement process initiated by the Zionist-Jewish elite in Europe and the West and realized by colonial countries contributing to it and by promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine, in light of the results of the Second World War and the Holocaust."
In other words: There is no connection between the Jewish people and this land; Israel is a malicious scheme to compensate the Jews for the horrors they experienced in Europe.
Another excerpt: "The war of 1948 resulted in the establishment of the Israeli state on 78% of historical Palestine. We found ourselves, those who have remained in their homeland … were forced to become citizens of Israel. This has transformed us into a minority living in our historic homeland." Like Jesus carrying the cross, the Arabs were "forced" to take on Israeli citizenship. Have mercy.
Later on: "Defining the Israeli state as a Jewish state and exploiting democracy in the service of its Jewishness excludes us, and creates tension between us and the nature and essence of the state." Tension over the nature and essence of the state means living under occupation. The document determines that Israel is not a democracy but an "ethnocracy" due to its Jewishness.
Among the goals detailed in the document: "The state should acknowledge responsibility of the Palestinian Nakba ['Catastrophe']," including offering compensation. "The state should recognize the Palestinian Arabs in Israel as an indigenous national group. ... This group should be given the chance to create its own national institutions." And, of course, the Law of Return should be abolished and "Israel should refrain from adopting policies and schemes in favor of the majority. Israel must remove all forms of ethnic superiority, be that executive, structural, legal or symbolic." The "symbolic" favor refers to the flag, the anthem, and so on.
Listen to the Arab Knesset members, including those considered to be moderate, and hear the spirit of their words. Anyone who does not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state and seeks to change its character completely, while requesting political autonomy, is declaring that they live under occupation. In the meantime, in order to get by, they use the rules set in place by the occupier so as to improve their situation.
4. And now a point to think about: From the Palestinian perspective, an occupation is a colonialist project by a foreign political group that came from the outside with Western assistance and took over another nation by determining state laws and systems. I know of a country like that: Jordan. Jordan's King Abdullah I was born in Hejaz (today in Saudi Arabia). The sweet British gave him the eastern Transjordan as compensation for the Hashemite family's war against the Ottomans. And so they tore away four-fifths of the mandate territory designated for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. The majority of Jordan's citizens are Palestinians, and the rest are Bedouin. Why was a liberation movement not started there, and why does the world not call for an end to occupation there? Why is there no U.N. Security Council resolution against the settlement of Arabs from Hejaz in a land that does not belong to them?
The answer is related to the identity of the rulers and the ruled. The problem is Jewish rule over Muslim holy ground (waqf), as Islam sees our land. Even more serious in their eyes is that Jews are governing Muslims. An examination of the geopolitical situation in light of the lessons of history teaches us that the establishment of a Palestinian state will not solve the problem of the occupation. The struggle against the return to Zion will continue from the same point. If we are occupiers in the cradle of our homeland, then we are certainly occupiers in the remaining parts of the land.
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