Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, says that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is like the U.S. occupation of Japan and Germany after World War II continuing to this day. The occupation was imposed at first, but the German and Japanese people came to understand that occupation was “good for them.”
“Japan has U.S. forces for 75 years. Germany — U.S. forces for 75 years. And if anyone thinks that was by agreement at the beginning they’re kidding themselves. It was imposed, then they understood it was good for them. And over time there was a mutual interest in keeping it. But you have that same thing in South Korea and it’s helped stabilize the peace. Our situation is different than America’s situation; this is not a threat thousands of miles away. This is right next door, so Israel’s security service, Israel’s military, is going to have to have control west of the Jordan River, period.”
Dermer was making the Netanyahu government’s argument against the two-state solution, which he said would give “unlimited sovereignty” to Palestinians. “When people say two states, you’re flying into unlimited sovereignty,” Dermer told the American Jewish Committee earlier this week. Netanyahu’s position is: “I want the Palestinians to have all the powers to govern themselves but none of the powers that can threaten Israel.”
That would include a “flag” and “self-determination,” Dermer said, but Israel will not walk out of “Judea and Samaria” in a few years. “It’s not going to happen.” Israel left Lebanon and pulled settlers from Gaza and in each case got a “forward terror base” on its border.
How do you stay in a way that minimizes friction between the Palestinians and allows them to have this independent existence however you want to call it and not have constant friction with Israel’s security service?
The United States forcibly occupied Germany and Japan from 1945 to 1952. The U.S. is said to have 32,000 forces at many bases in Germany, and 54,000 troops in Japan. Americans did not seize land in those countries, move their citizens into those lands, building walled cities and exclusive roads to serve them, and allow the residents to continue to vote in American elections. Israel calls those colonies “settlements” to mask the massiveness of the project: about 650,000 colonists, almost all Jewish. Were the extent and character of the colonies better known, U.S. politicians might actually say something about them . . .
Addressing the Jewish audience, Dermer listed powers Palestinians could never have. How many think Palestinians should have an army? “No! How many here think that the Palestinians should control their airspace? How many here think that Palestinians should have full control of their borders” so that they can bring in any weapons they please. “No! How many think the Palestinians should be able to make military pacts with countries like Iran? No!”
Dermer is hardly alone in this view. This is the talking point of the Israeli right against Trump’s presumed peace plan. Israel needs “perpetual control,” rightwing Israel advocate Caroline Glick wrote lately about the Trump plan. Israel deserves sovereignty over Area C in the West Bank, where Jewish settlers outnumber Palestinians. “[T]to secure its strategic interests, Israel requires perpetual control over all of Area C.”
Thanks to Scott Roth.