Bradley Burston published a passionate attack on “The Occupation” yesterday, in honor of Israel’s Independence Day. Here’s some of it:
In a country where polls show that nearly two-thirds of the population would cede the West Bank under a future peace deal, Israelis are hostages to the nightmare scenario of permanent Occupation…
The Occupation has become the greatest single threat to the social fabric of the Jewish state. The Occupation causes division, strife, tension and alienation in Jewish families and Jewish communities the world over.
Nothing causes Israel more diplomatic damage than the Occupation, and its outrider, the siege of Gaza.
Nothing delegitimizes Israel more in the eyes of the world – and in the eyes of many Jews – than the nation’s unwillingness or inability to dismantle and end the Occupation…
What will permanent occupation mean for Israel? Not only that the nation will cease to be a democratic state, disenfranchising millions of Palestinians. In the end, permanent Occupation will see to it that Israel will cease to be a Jewish state as well. Israel will have delegitimized itself out of existence.
It will have knowingly opted for and adopted apartheid, and, in the end, either through democracy or through fire, and, thanks to the Occupation, the world community will see to it that an Arab-ruled Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River will finally come into existence.
I have a question which I hope Burston will answer. Because it is just impossible for me to understand his mindset, or that of others who say the same sort of things. Here it is:
Given that most Israelis would prefer the Palestinian Arabs as “neighbors” or “true cousins”, how do you propose to get there from here?
How do you propose to end the “siege of Gaza” when it is in the hands of fanatics insane with hatred who make no secret of their desire for blood? What precisely do you propose? Open the crossings tomorrow? Make a deal with them? On what terms? Be specific.
In a country where polls show that nearly two-thirds of the population would cede the West Bank under a future peace deal, Israelis are hostages to the nightmare scenario of permanent Occupation.
Whom should Israel cede it to? The Fatah gang, who won’t even agree that the part that they don’t get belongs to the Jewish people (whose existence they deny)? Who still insist on ‘repatriating refugees’ into Israel? Who refuse to say that Israel’s withdrawal will put an end to their claims? What does that tell us about their intentions?
And afterwards — after all the ‘settlers’ are removed from ‘Palestinian land’ because Arabs are allowed to live in Israel but Jews may not live in ‘Palestine’ — after Israel has ethnically cleansed its own people, then how will the question of Hamas be resolved? Will Hamas become the rulers of our “true cousins,” or will Fatah reach an accommodation with them? Which would be better? Explain exactly why our “neighbors” will not simply continue their war against the Jews who, after all, are still ‘occupying’ land that they believe is theirs. Will they change their minds about Haifa, Acco, Yafo, Tel Aviv? Be specific.
The pro-settlement right — let us, for once, call it what it is: the Movement for a Permanent Occupation — taught anyone who would listen, that it is peace moves that provoke terrorism; that it is the peace process that has led us, time and again, to war; that to question the act of settlement is to be anti-Israeli.
Please explain how the ‘peace process’ has not led to war. Explain how Oslo’s resurrection of Yasser Arafat did not bring about terrorism. Explain how the abandonment of South Lebanon to Hizballah did not lead to war — a war which is only on hiatus and will shortly return. Explain how the complete withdrawal of every last Jew from Gaza brought peace. Be specific.
And while you’re explaining how Israel can end the occupation without allowing its enemies to end Israel, please explain how Israel’s standing in the “world community” would improve if it did not occupy Judea, Samaria, and the Golan heights. Would there be a peaceful relationship with Syria? With Iran? With Hizballah-Lebanon? Would public opinion in the UK, in Norway, in Sweden or the University of California, Irvine, suddenly become massively pro-Israel?
You’d like to discount all of this as the ranting of a member of the “Movement for a Permanent Occupation,” but none of it is based on religious ideology, racism, territorial maximalism, or a desire to rule over Palestinian Arabs. It’s just a practical question.
You want to end the occupation. How?