The issue isn’t the ‘occupation’, it’s Zionism

Middle East
on 22 Comments

‘Occupation’ is simply Israel’s occupation. It’s what we DO. It’s our middle name.

When you look back to 1947, the UN suggested a partition-plan which allocated over 55% of Mandate-Palestine to a mostly newcomer population that constituted 1/3 of the total and owned some 7% of the lands.  The Zionist-Jewish Yishuv polity accepted it. The Palestinians didn’t – how unreasonable!

Anyhow, that territory was supposedly ‘enough’ for us, wasn’t it? I mean we said ‘yes’? That was the basis upon which the state was declared. But by then we already depopulated over 200 Palestinian villages and some 300,000 Palestinians, and we then continued, and by 1949 we had 78% of Palestine and much less Palestinians.

Just like ‘centrist-liberal’ MK Yair Lapid would have it:

“Maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians”.

What a liberal. 

So we occupied that ‘extra’ 23% and we put the Palestinians whom we just called ‘Arabs’ under military regime until 1966. And no-one really forced us to go back to the 55%, and somehow the 78% became ‘recognized borders’, although we wouldn’t delineate them. Strange.

David Ben-Gurion once explained the co-relation between our non-existent constitution and our non-delineated borders, to the late Naeim Giladi, who recalled:

“After the Israeli attack on the Jordanian village of Qibya in October, 1953, Ben Gurion went into voluntary exile at the Sedeh Boker kibbutz in the Negev. The Labor party then used to organize many buses for people to go visit him there, where they would see the former prime minister working with sheep. But that was only for show. Really he was writing his diary and continuing to be active behind the scenes. I went on such a tour. We were told not to try to speak to Ben Gurion, but when I saw him, I asked why, since Israel is a democracy with a parliament, does it not have a constitution? Ben Gurion said, “Look, boy”–I was 24 at the time–“if we have a constitution, we have to write in it the border of our country. And this is not our border, my dear.” I asked, “Then where is the border?” He said, “Wherever the Sahal will come, this is the border.” Sahal is the Israeli army.”

Come 1967, and we fabricated an ‘existential threat’. Our own leaders and generals admitted it outright later. Here’s a small collection:

Matityahu Peled, who was military Chief of Operations in 1967, said in 1972 that the ‘existential threat’ narrative was “a bluff born and developed only after the war.” He went on:

“All those stories that were put out about the great danger that we faced because of the smallness of our territory, an argument advanced only after the war was over, were never taken into consideration in our calculations before the hostilities.”

Yitzhak Rabin, who was Chief of Staff in 1967, said in 1968

“I do not believe that Nasser wanted war…. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel.  He knew it and we knew it.”

Menachem Begin, who was a cabinet minister in 1967 said in 1982:

“In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us.  We must be honest with ourselves.  We decided to attack him.” 

We knew we’d win in a matter of about a week if we started it. Our intelligence was completely in sync with CIA assessments. As US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said in April 1967:

“Israel will be militarily unchallengeable by any combination of Arab states at least during the next five years.”

Our neighbors were aware of our expansionist intentions, and particularly interesting in this respect is Jordan. It had control of the West Bank, which was our main ‘unfinished job’ as far as historical Palestine is concerned. Jordan was not yet involved in amassing troops, at the time Egypt was, but as tensions mounted, Jordan’s King Hussein became concerned that Israel might take advantage of the situation to grab the West Bank. Hussein reasoned that

“Israel has certain long range military and economic requirements and certain traditional religious and historic aspirations” that “they have not yet satisfied or realized”,

Indeed, as Ezer Weizman, then Chief of Operations of the IDF General Staff, later recorded in his memoirs:  the IDF Central Command was discussing the possibility that Israel might find an opportunity to take the West Bank.

So then we provoked a war where we’d triple the size of all that was controlled before. Thus we came to occupy the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, Gaza (under Egyptian control), the Syrian Golan and the West Bank. And that massive Sinai desert, we just had to have it. Defense Minister Dayan said that it would be better to have Sharm Al Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm Al Sheikh. So we held onto it, and Golda Meir wouldn’t even listen to Sadat’s peace overtures in 1970. Foreign Minister Abba Eban said to the UN in 1969 that we simply would not return to the June 4th 1967 lines, because that reminded us of Auschwitz. I kid you not. So if the 78% was Auschwitz, why did we say the 55% was OK at first? Could it be that we didn’t really mean it then?

Anyway, our neighbors got it: they got that we only understand the language of force. And so came 1973 where Egypt and Syria led a surprise attack – but think of it – they weren’t fighting on Israeli soil really – we were occupying their soil.

Anyhow we were a bit less cocky after that, and we eventually handed Egypt their Sinai. We haven’t really been existentially threatened by not having it. Quite the opposite. Thus – peace, without Sharm el Sheikh.

And we occupied Lebanon for 18 years. We just had to get in there to foil the budding Palestinian ‘peace offensive’ in 1982, and you know how hard it is to get out once you’re in. But Hizbollah talked to us in the language we understood, so we eventually got out in 2000.

Occupation is what we do. We’ve been doing it since the start, and we’ve never delineated our borders, so we’re just poised to expand and occupy all the time.

When we say “the occupation” today, most people think about the West Bank, with its rather overt Apartheid practices. Some also think of Gaza, which Israeli apologists reflexively refer to as ‘not occupied’ because of the 2005 ‘disengagement’, but really, most of the world understands that it’s occupied, including the US State Department. To say ‘we’re not there’ about Gaza, when we surround it, control it from land, air and sea, all the way down to birth certificates (not to mention our seasonal massacres which we initiate at will), is just cynical.

Relatively few think about the Syrian Golan when you say ‘occupation’, possibly because there is relatively little interaction with a native population there – an obvious result of having ethnically cleansed some 124,000 of the 130,000 inhabitants in 1967, when we also destroyed some 200 villages there. That’s our model of ‘peaceful coexistence’ – make them disappear and it will all be well. The paradigm of ethnic cleansing likewise existed in the West Bank in a very substantial way, involving the ethnic cleansing of about a quarter of a million Palestinians there, and this paradigm continues today in slow motion.

The status of Palestinian citizens within Israel has likewise not been regulated into equal status, as one might expect from a democratic country when it finally offers citizenship. This community is subject to some 50 discriminatory laws, as well as – and this deserves special attention – ethnic cleansing, as we have seen recently in the case of Umm Al-Hiran.

We must therefore see Israel’s ‘occupation’ as an all-encompassing paradigm, reaching beyond isolated localities and beyond this or that war or conquering campaign. Occupation is simply what we DO, in a very broad sense.  

The reason that this is the case, becomes rather self-explanatory when we open ourselves to the notion that Israel is simply a settler-colonialist venture. Its means of making the native population ‘disappear’ as far as possible can be varied, ranging from extermination (as in the assassination of leaders, dispossessions, deportations and seasonal massacres) to provision of ostensibly ‘equal’ citizenship, albeit under a discriminatory national paradigm (favorably so if you’re Jewish).

Under the guise of a Jewish ‘nation’, for which this ‘Jewish state’ exists, we apply a settler-colonialist regime, which by its nature occupies the natives, and by its nature seeks erasure of the native culture. This applies Apartheid as an integral means. It also very arguably applies an even worse crime – genocide. As celebrated author Ben Ehrenreich recently noted,

“[T]he attempts to erase a people, to just erase them, to erase their history, I think follow a logic that can only be called genocidal”. 

Thus, when we look at the 1967 occupation, we are looking at only a part of the picture. And we need to ‘finish the job’ conceptually – to see that it’s part of a greater paradigm, which is settler-colonialist, and is inherently genocidal. Incrementally so. As Ehrenreich puts it: “The question about genocide– yes, it’s an incremental genocide. And I think that’s a word that gives a lot of people pause and it certainly should”.

Here Ehrenreich is applying a concept – incremental genocide – which has already been noted by professor Ilan Pappe since 2006 regarding Gaza – which Haaretz journalist Amira Hass regards as a “huge concentration camp”. 

When we look at genocidal regimes in history, the fact that they applied occupation did not normally overshadow their graver crimes. In fact, occupation, in and of itself, is not necessarily illegal – it is the paradigm in which it occurs, or the acts committed within it, which may deem it so. This notion pertains to several facets of the 1967 occupation itself:

  1. Israel’s provocation of a war (rather than supposedly acting in self-defense).
  2. Israel’s actions and war crimes within that territory (where war crimes includes the whole settlement enterprise, there is the crime of Apartheid as well as numerous other human rights violations).   

And then there is that greater ideological paradigm, that elephant in the room – the settler-colonialist enterprise, of which we are often observing the leg of, and the leg doesn’t move.

That elephant has a name. Its name is Zionism. Its name defines the ideology which has informed Israel’s settler-colonialist takeover of Palestine. We must look it in the eye.

Occupation is thus only Israel’s middle name. The surname is Zionism, or Jewish State if you like. To challenge that is simply forbidden in Israel for all practical-political purposes, by the quasi-constitutional Basic Law – Knesset. Section 7A. in that law, regarding “Prevention of participation of candidates’ list” notes that

“A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include […] negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;”

You see, we’ve put in ‘democratic’, and that’s how we’ve also occupied democracy with our ‘Jewish state’. And no-one is allowed to say it isn’t a democracy. Submit to our ‘Jewish democracy’, or else…

As Professors Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley state in their recent UN commissioned report on Israeli Apartheid (p.2),

“effectively, Israeli law renders opposition to racial domination illegal”. 

So no-one is allowed to challenge this elephant. It must always be allowed to keep its last name – Jewish State, Zionist, whatever you chose to call this ethno-religious Jewish nation-state.

It is under this name of this that we have committed our crimes, and some seem to think that this is just a matter of temporary occurrences, temporary border skirmishes, temporary threats, temporary military necessities and all that. But it’s much bigger. And is it really temporary? In 2012, Israeli Supreme Court Judge Dorit Beinisch defined Israel’s occupation as ‘prolonged’, as opposed to ‘temporary’. That’s how we work, you see. First ‘temporary’, then ‘prolonged’, then ‘permanent’.

We are witnessing the unfolding of a pattern, and merely marking a 50th anniversary of one of its occupation campaigns. There’s nothing to celebrate, and there’s an even greater paradigm to be addressed. If we don’t address it, we will be like safari tourists observing another hunt. And nobody is supposed to shoot, or even question, the elephant in the room. Don’t even talk about it.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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22 Responses

  1. JosephA
    June 7, 2017, 7:23 pm

    Jonathan, you have summarized a disturbing, deranged society about as logically as one could. Thank you.

    • Bont Eastlake
      June 8, 2017, 1:36 am

      What is most disturbing is how such a deeply deranged society managed to exist as they are for over 60 years. Why are so-called enlightened societies of the West enabling them?

      • Sibiriak
        June 8, 2017, 9:45 am

        So-called enlightenment is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  2. JWalters
    June 7, 2017, 9:20 pm

    Excellent analysis. The decades-long Israeli policy of criminality toward Muslims is the HUGE elephant in the room regarding Muslim animosity toward the West. The radical Muslim terrorists are a direct result of the radical Jewish terrorists who established Israel, starting before the Nakba, and who have continued their terrorism against the Palestinians to this day. To eliminate the root cause of the Muslim terrorist attacks in London one must eliminate the Jewish terrorist attacks in Palestine. This history is well-established, but forbidden to speak about in the West.

    It’s forbidden because the bankrollers of the terrorist Jewish state control the mainstream media, politicians, and universities.
    Let’s talk about Russian influence
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/
    Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/04/20/why-not-a-probe-of-israel-gate

    Today NPR’s All Things Considered had a segment on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day war that was pathetic in its cover-up of the plain facts. It is one sample of the overwhelming evidence that the Western democracies are Israeli-dominated territory no less than the Palestinians. America’s freedom of speech is being shredded, and its democracy is being trashed by this predatory ideology.

    The evidence is also clear that these predatory banksters WANT the profits of the endless wars they have instigated.
    Why has the Israeli occupation lasted so long? It’s good for business
    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/06/israeli-occupation-business

    This very blowback against the U.S. was predicted in the 1940’s by both the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, and many other knowledgeable people.
    War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror

    • oldgeezer
      June 8, 2017, 12:29 am

      @jwalters

      It is certainly one of the elephants in the room but not the only one. The other elephant being the Islamic tyrannies we prop up which keep their subjects in poverty. One is not better than the other or worse. There is certainly nothing that any state can learn from Israel other than efficient venality.

      I wish there was only one elephant. The fact there is more than one gives each elephant the whataboutery excuse at pointing at the other while continuing their massive crines against humanity.

      The west of course plays along as morality matters not a whit as long as we are doing fine off the products and profits.

      • echinococcus
        June 8, 2017, 4:57 pm

        Old Geezer,

        There is a hierarchy of international crimes, though. Aggression and internal intervention against sovereign states and invasion of other people’s territory stand separate from the rest. Tyranny, etc. are not a consideration at that level.

      • JWalters
        June 8, 2017, 9:25 pm

        oldgeezer,
        I agree there are also problems in the Arab countries. But I agree with echinococcus that some situations are worse than others, and deserve attention first. If the original British promise to the Palestinians – a non-religious democracy – had not been torpedoed by the Zionists with bribes, threats, lies, and terrorism, Palestine could have been a non-sectarian democracy setting an example for the rest of the Mideast. Further, Israel is the one dominating America’s press and politics, sabotaging its free speech and democracy and dragging it into needless Mideast war for profit. So America has additional interests at stake in the case of Israel.

      • echinococcus
        June 9, 2017, 5:30 am

        Walters,

        Palestine could have been a non-sectarian democracy setting an example for the rest of the Mideast.

        Palestinians had always been the most secular and most open society in that area of the world. Its resistance organizations before the Oslo treason were the best expression of it. It took a lot of oppression, despair, conscious work and US Money on the part of the Zionists to transform it into a cesspit of religious fanaticism, with Moslem Brothers the only real resistance in town, and the secular faction Zionist puppets. This may have been the worst Zionist crime; at any rate it was one of the most effective.

      • Sibiriak
        June 9, 2017, 7:04 am

        echinococcus: There is a hierarchy of international crimes, though. Aggression and internal intervention against sovereign states and invasion of other people’s territory stand separate from the rest. Tyranny, etc. are not a consideration at that level.
        ———————

        Where do you find this supposed hierarchy? Citation, please.

        The Rome Statute, notably, lists four core international crimes in this order: 1) genocide, 2)crimes against humanity (w/ 11 subcategories, including the crime of apartheid), 3) war crimes, 4) the crime of aggression (Art. 5).

        https://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/rdonlyres/ea9aeff7-5752-4f84-be94-0a655eb30e16/0/rome_statute_english.pdf

        There is no statement of hierarchy, and none of the four categories is made to “stand separate from the rest.”

        Some scholars and commentators have argued for a hierarchy, but usually to put genocide and crimes against humanity above the other two categories and/or make genocide the “crime of crimes.”

      • oldgeezer
        June 9, 2017, 12:35 pm

        @ech and jwalters

        I don’t really disagree with either of you. At least not to a sugnificant extent. In terms of intervention in some of the problematic tyrannies, I am totally against it. Amd have been. I merely think we should remove our active and economic support for them. The resolution is then up to their citizens.

  3. lonely rico
    June 7, 2017, 11:51 pm

    … it’s part of a greater paradigm, which is settler-colonialist, and is inherently genocidal. Incrementally so.

    As Norman Pollack wrote –

    “Israel has come a long way since 1967 in the construction of an apartheid state and society with respect to the Palestinians, in truth, the proto-Nazification of policy and conduct in which the gas chamber has been replaced by the more protracted denial of life to the victims of an ethnocentric/racial ideology achieved through the degradation of a whole people: a faucet of inhumanity left running, where genocide is administered in drips rather than in a torrent.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/19/israels-defamation-of-judaism/

  4. Paranam Kid
    June 8, 2017, 7:37 am

    Jonathan, an excellent analysis once again. I would just like to add a small point to the 2nd paragraph re the UN’s partition plan.

    Jeremy R. Hammond wrote an amazingly insightful essay entitled “The myth of the UN creation of Israel”.

    In it he irrefutably shows, without any special “interpretation” of the wording, that

    “U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 neither legally partitioned Palestine nor conferred upon the Zionist leadership any legal authority to unilaterally declare the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. It merely RECOMMENDED that the UNSCOP partition plan be accepted and implemented by the concerned parties. Nor could the General Assembly have legally partitioned Palestine or otherwise conferred legal authority for the creation of Israel to the Zionist leadership, as it simply had no such authority to confer.

    In sum, the popular claim that the U.N. “created” Israel is a myth, and Israel’s own claim in its founding document that U.N. Resolution 181 constituted legal authority for Israel’s creation, or otherwise constituted “recognition” by the U.N. of the “right” of the Zionist Jews to expropriate for themselves Arab land and deny to the majority Arab population of that land their own right to self-determination, is a patent fraud.

    Jeremy’s essay forms part of a freely available ebook, which you can download after signing up to his newsletter here https://www.jeremyrhammond.com/

    Full disclosure: I have no relation with Jeremy, neither commercial nor in any other way. I just stumbled across his website.

    • MHughes976
      June 8, 2017, 9:38 am

      The UN certainly had no right to do any such thing. It was a former Mandate territory and the whole idea of a Mandate is commitment of a territory to rule whose foreign status has to be compensated by an obligation to act in the interests of and without radical affront to the people who live there.

      • echinococcus
        June 8, 2017, 4:59 pm

        Hughes,

        Thank you for making that clear. Next we should also have a look at Her, formerly His, Majesty’s bizarre concept of fiduciary duties under a Mandate.

    • Jonathan Ofir
      June 8, 2017, 1:05 pm

      Thanks Paranam Kid, Jeremy Hammond is indeed an excellent writer and analyst, I have just shared his recent article rebuffing myths on 1967 regurgitated in NYT – https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2017/06/05/who-started-the-six-day-war-of-june-1967/?_ga=2.97413398.866200620.1496766193-2006712443.1496766193
      and I have read his excellent essay on the UN 181.

      I had no intention to delve into the intricacies of this in the writing, as my point pertaining to UN 181 was merely territorial. That is, the fact that the Jewish polity accepted it. As Hammond also describes, USA was concerned about the territorial issue at the eve of the declaration, and was assured in writing by Jewish Agency’s Eliahu Epstein that the borders of the state would be according to the UN 181. That’s the only angle I wanted to apply here.

      • MHughes976
        June 10, 2017, 6:18 pm

        It was indeed, echino, immoral for Britain to accept a mandate in which it intended to act against the wishes of the mandated people. There was of course reference to preserving the rights of non-Jews, but this was not seriously meant, as the Times report for November 9, 1917, headlined ‘Palestine for the Jews. Official Sympathy’ made pretty clear. One of the worst things we have done.

      • echinococcus
        June 10, 2017, 7:00 pm

        Absolutely, Hughes. One thing I would appreciate your informed opinion about is the part played in this “Official Sympathy” by Zionist intrigue and money versus that of English & British religiosity, especially that of the various strands of Protestantism. If, that is, you have time for that.

  5. WebSkipper
    June 8, 2017, 9:36 am

    Actually, Israel HAS acknowledged its borders. Twice. The declaration of statehood references UN 181 as the basis of Israel’s existence. In a letter to President Harry S. Truman, Eliahu Epstein acknowledged that Israel’s borders were those delineated in UN 181. Whether or not any particular individual or entity recognizes the legal validity of UN 181 itself — or not — the lines delineated in the resolution were those actually acknowledged by the “state of Israel.”

    • Jonathan Ofir
      June 8, 2017, 1:06 pm

      Ah, and there I just mentioned that to Paranam Kid, before noticing your response, Webskipper. Thanks.

    • Talkback
      June 8, 2017, 1:44 pm

      But when Israel was trying to become an UN member it declared that its borders will be the outcome of negotiations:

      “Mr. Eban then stated the views of his Government on the boundary question, remarking that they did not seem to constitute a major obstacle on the road to a settlement. The fact that an Arab State had not arisen in the part of Palestine envisaged by the resolution of 29 November 1947, as well as the circumstances of war and military occupation, rendered essential a process of peaceful adjustment of the territorial provisions laid down in that resolution. The General Assembly itself had twice endorsed the need of such a peaceful adjustment and its representatives had even from time to time made proposals for effecting changes in the territorial dispositions of that resolution. The view expounded by the Israeli Government during the first part of the third session 11/ was that the adjustment should be made not by arbitrary changes imposed from outside, but through agreements freely negotiated by the Governments concerned. That principle had commended itself to the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly which had declined to endorse any specific territorial changes and had dealt with the problem in paragraph 5 of resolution 194 (III) which called upon Governments and authorities concerned to extend the scope of the negotiations provided for in the Security Council resolution of 16 November 1948 and to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly with a view to a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.”
      https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/85255a0a0010ae82852555340060479d/1db943e43c280a26052565fa004d8174

      And the UN accepted it:
      “Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 3/ and 11 December 1948 4/ and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel 5/ before the ad hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, …”
      https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/83E8C29DB812A4E9852560E50067A5AC

  6. JLewisDickerson
    June 12, 2017, 10:14 am

    RE: “Relatively few think about the Syrian Golan when you say ‘occupation’, possibly because there is relatively little interaction with a native population there – an obvious result of having ethnically cleansed some 124,000 of the 130,000 inhabitants in 1967, when we also destroyed some 200 villages there. That’s our model of ‘peaceful coexistence’ – make them disappear and it will all be well.” ~ Ofir

    MY COMMENT: I think Ofir might be on to something. During, or shortly after, Trump’s recent visit with Netanyahu in Israel, Netanyahu made a statement in English to the effect that he would support negotiations to achieve a “realistic peace”. I got the distinct impression from his demeanor that acceptance of this “realistic” qualifier was an absolutely non-negotiable prerequisite to his participation in “negotiations without preconditions”. Apparently though, either no one else considers the introduction of this new pre-condition of “realistic” to be significant, or they just don’t want to make an issue of it publicly.

    At the time, I had no idea how Netanyahu’s “realistic peace” differed from plain, old ‘regular peace’ or Netanyahu’s “durable peace” of twelve years or so ago. Might Netanyahu’s “realistic peace” in the West Bank and/or Gaza look somewhat like the “realistic peace” Israel has achieved on the Golan Heights? See the article below regarding making “isolated settlements” (not part of the “settlement blocks”) into “Israeli enclaves”. I assume some (perhaps most, or even all) of these “isolated settlements” are also “illegal under Israeli law”.

    I suspect that Netanyahu’s stipulation of “realistic” might be multi-purpose. Under the guise of insisting that any peace must be “realistic”, he can make more and more demands until it is apparent that the “realistic” has been used by Netanyahu to finally, yet again, “throw a spanner in the works”. In essence, the “realistic” turns out to be a Trojan Horse containing a spanner (i.e., wrench) that can be used by Netanyahu to throw in the works.

    ■ SEE: “Netanyahu Asked Trump to Accept Isolated Settlements as Israeli Enclaves in Palestinian Territory in Future Peace Deal” | By Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon | Haaretz.com | June 11, 2017
    Netanyahu brought up with U.S. officials the ‘Belgian-Dutch model,’ in which settlements that won’t be annexed will remain as Israeli enclaves. This is a harsher position than the one he presented Obama, when he suggested that settlers who wished to stay in their homes would do so under Palestinian jurisdiction

    [EXCERPT] Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told senior Trump administration officials that in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, Israel will seek to allow isolated settlements that won’t be annexed to its territory to remain in place as enclaves that would be under Israeli sovereignty.

    This marks a change and a hardening in Netanyahu’s position compared to the position that was presented during his negotiations with the Obama administration over its 2014 “framework document” for Israeli-Palestinian peace. As Haaretz reported on Saturday, at the time Netanyahu offered that settlers who wished to stay in their homes would do so “under Palestinian jurisdiction.”

    In recent weeks, while preparing for the Trump administration to present a new peace initiative, Netanyahu has been hardening his positions on a number of core issues. Last Tuesday, while giving a speech before the Knesset at an event marking 50 years to the Six-Day War, Netanyahu said that settlements will not be evacuated in any future agreement with the Palestinians.

    “Everyone will have a right to live in their home, and no one will be uprooted,” the prime minister declared. Netanyahu wants to avoid the evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers from the isolated settlements mainly because of the political price he and his Likud Party, which relies on support from the settlers, will pay for it.

    Netanyahu raised the issue of the isolated settlements’ fate in conversations with a number of officials in the Trump administration in recent months. The last one to hear from him on this issue was U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who visited Israel last week. Netanyahu told Haley that he wants to reach an agreement without evacuating any settlers and that he seeks to leave the isolated settlements as Israeli enclaves within the Palestinian state’s territory.

    ● read more (paywall) – http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.795161

  7. JLewisDickerson
    June 12, 2017, 10:49 am

    RE: And we occupied Lebanon for 18 years. We just had to get in there to foil the budding Palestinian ‘peace offensive’ in 1982, and you know how hard it is to get out once you’re in. ~ Ofir

    MY COMMENT: I’ll say!

    ■ SEE: “The War of Lies”, by Uri Avnery, gush-shalom.org, 09/06/12

    [EXCERPTS] Thirty Years ago this week, the Israeli army crossed into Lebanon and started the most stupid war in Israel’s history. It lasted for 18 years. About 1500 Israeli soldiers and untold numbers of Lebanese and Palestinians were killed.

    Almost all wars are based on lies. Lies are considered legitimate instruments of war. Lebanon War I (as it was later called) was a glorious example.

    From beginning to end (if it has ended yet) it was a war of deceit and deception, falsehoods and fabrications.

    THE LIES started with the official name: “Operation Peace in Galilee”.

    If one asks Israelis now, 99.99% of them will say with all sincerity: “We had no choice. They launched katyushas at the Galilee from Lebanon every day. We had to stop them.” TV anchormen and anchorwomen, as well as former cabinet ministers have been repeating this throughout the week. Quite sincerely. Even people who were already adults at the time.

    The simple fact is that for 11 months before the war, not a single shot was fired across the Israeli-Lebanese border. A cease-fire was in force and the Palestinians on the other side of the border kept it scrupulously. To everybody’s surprise, Yasser Arafat succeeded in imposing it on all the radical Palestinian factions, too.

    At the end of May, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Washington DC. He asked for American agreement to invade Lebanon. Haig said that the US could not allow it, unless there were a clear and internationally recognized provocation.

    And lo and behold, the provocation was provided at once. Abu Nidal, the anti-Arafat and anti-PLO master terrorist, sent his own cousin to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, who was grievously wounded.

    In retaliation, Israel bombed Beirut and the Palestinians fired back, as expected. The Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, allowed Sharon to invade Lebanese territory up to 40 km, “to put the Galilee settlements out of reach of the katyushas.”

    When one of the intelligence chiefs told Begin at the cabinet meeting that Abu Nidal’s organization was not a member of the PLO, Begin famously answered: “They are all PLO”.

    General Matti Peled, my political associate at the time, firmly believed that Abu Nidal had acted as an agent of Sharon. So do all the Palestinians I know.

    The lie “they shot at us every day” has taken such a hold on the public mind that it is nowadays useless to dispute it. It is an illuminating example of how a myth can take possession of the public mind, including even of people who had seen with their own eyes that the opposite was true.

    NINE MONTHS before the war, Sharon told me about his plan for a New Middle East. . .

    . . . His design for the region, as told me then (and which I published nine months before the war), was:

    • To attack Lebanon and install a Christian dictator who would serve Israel,
    • Drive the Syrians out of Lebanon,
    • Drive the Palestinians out of Lebanon into Syria, from where they would then be pushed by the Syrians into Jordan.
    • Get the Palestinians to carry out a revolution in Jordan, kick out King Hussein and turn Jordan into a Palestinian state,
    • Set up a functional arrangement under which the Palestinian state (in Jordan) would share power in the West Bank with Israel.

    Being a single-minded operator, Sharon convinced Begin to start the war, telling him that the sole aim was to push the PLO 40 km back. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1339170910/

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