Monday, October 17

Is it Moral to Oppose the Occupation?

A military checkpoint along the route of the f...
A military checkpoint along the route of the forthcoming West Bank Barrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is it moral to oppose the occupation? Yes! Is it practical? No!
The morality of ending the occupation is an unanimous “yes” which echoes from the world community. The raising of eyebrows on saying “no” to the practicality of ending the occupation is almost like a two-edged sword aiming at Israel’s heart.
Occupation of another people by a nation for the purpose of land grabs does not deserve support and is morally indefensible. It is colonizing another nation that have a right to be independent and elect the government they wish by democratic and transparent elections. Of course reasonable democrats agree with this and rightly so.
Does this apply to Israel? Of course it does, but there is one massive problem that prevents this from being achieved. I have written many articles on Israel’s establishment in 1948 not being recognized by its Arab neighbors. Israel’s establishment had been legalized by the UN on 29 November 1947 after the majority of member states had voted for partition. Within days of Israel’s establishment on 14 May 1948, wars were waged against Israel for the purpose of annihilating her.
There was never any desire by the Arab States to make peace with Israel and this of course includes the Palestinians. This was 20 years prior to the June 1967 War which Israel had won, resulting in occupying the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Prior to that there were no “occupied territories” and there were still attempts to declare war on Israel for the sole purpose of its annhilation, and “driving the Jews into the sea”. It is obvious to any objective observer that it is not the occupation that is the problem but Israel’s existence. The occupation of territory is a result of a war foisted onto Israel by Egypt in June !967 in order to destroy her. The capture of territory was a result of that war that Israel did not initiate or want. In this case the occupation may be viewed as fait accompli  because of that war. If Israel had lost there would have been mass genocide and “ethnic cleansing” of Jews living in Israel.
Israel’s greatest error was establishing settlements in the territories occupied, and populating it with many right wing, religious zealots amongst a hostile Palestinian population, rather than declaring the territories a closed military zone with a status still to be negotiated in a peace settlement that would guarantee its return to the Palestinians prior to the war. This in itself created tremendous friction between Israelis and Palestinians and complicated the situation even further.The expansion of existing settlements in the West Bank at the expense of expropriating Palestinian lands for that purpose is also not justified morally and weakens Israel's case.
Today we have players that are far more extremist on both sides not readily amenable to realistic negotiations.

On the Palestinian side, there is the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, who is weak and ineffectual as well as lacking support from the Palestinian People. Hamas has far more support than Abbas and plays a very important role as it has more support in the West Bank than the PA. Hamas will never allow Abbas to sign a peace treaty with Israel, which would be the first step in ending the occupation of land since June 1967.
Hamas will never agree with any form of negotiations with Israel on a Two State Solution and an end to the occupation. It is dead set on Israel’s total destruction and a Palestinian State replacing Israel. The rhetoric of glee coming from the Palestinian leadership – Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority - after every terror attack, is further proof of the irreversible hate against Israelis and closes the door of any form of rapprochement.
“There is no chance Israeli society, of its own volition and without any help, will end the nightmare. Too many mechanisms insulate the violence we conduct in order to control the Palestinians.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because I am striving to be a human being. And human beings, when they take responsibility for an injustice against other human beings, have a moral obligation to take action.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because I am an Israeli. I have no other country. I have no other citizenship and no other future. I grew up here and will be buried here. I care about the fate of this place, the fate of its people and its political fate, which is my fate, too. And in light of all these ties, the occupation is a disaster.
I spoke at the United Nations against the occupation because my colleagues at B’Tselem and I, after so many years of work, have reached several conclusions. Here’s one: The reality will not change if the world does not intervene. I suspect that our arrogant government also knows this, so it’s busy fear mongering against such an intervention.
Intervention by the world against the occupation is just as legitimate as any human-rights issue. It’s all the more so when it involves an issue like our ruling over another people. This is no internal Israeli matter. It is blatantly an international matter.
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Here’s another conclusion: There is no chance Israeli society, of its own volition and without any help, will end the nightmare. Too many mechanisms insulate the violence we conduct in order to take control of them. Too many excuses have accumulated. There have been too many fears and too much anger – on both sides – over the past 50 years. In the end, I’m sure, Israelis and Palestinians will end the occupation, but we won’t do it without the world’s help.
The United Nations is many things. Many of them are problematic; some of them are really foolish. I don’t agree with them. But the United Nations is also the organization that gave us a state in 1947, and that decision is the basis of the international legitimacy of our country, the one where I’m a citizen. And with every day of occupation, we not only chew away at Palestine with delight, we also destroy our country’s legitimacy.
I don’t understand what the government wants the Palestinians to do. We have ruled their lives for nearly 50 years, we have shredded their land to bits. We wield military and bureaucratic power with enormous success and get along just fine with ourselves and the world.
What are the Palestinians supposed to do? If they dare demonstrate, it’s popular terror. If they call for sanctions, it’s economic terror. If they pursue legal means, it’s judicial terror. If they turn to the United Nations, it’s diplomatic terror.
It turns out that anything a Palestinian does besides getting up in the morning and saying “Thank you, Rais” – "Thank you, master" – is terror. What does the government want, a letter of surrender or for the Palestinians to disappear? They won’t disappear.
We won’t disappear either, nor will we be silent. We must repeat it everywhere: The occupation is not the result of a democratic vote. Our decision to control their lives, as much as it suits us, is an expression of violence, not democracy. Israel has no legitimate option to continue this way. And the world has no option to continue treating us as it has so far – all talk and no action.
I spoke at the UN Security Council against the occupation because I am optimistic, because I am an Israeli, because I was born in Haifa and live in Jerusalem, and because I am no longer a young man and every day of my life has accompanied our control of them. And because it is impossible to carry on like this.
We must not carry on like this. I spoke at the UN Security Council against the occupation because I am striving to be a human being”.
After reading what he said in his address, I got the impression that he was morally correct but at the same time altruistic and unrealistic. Also his address was very naive and played into the hands of Israel’s enemies in the UN. However, from a practical point of view he was not correct. If there were no Palestinian terror attacks on innocent people, irrespective of their creed, Hagai El-Ad’s speech would be justified. By his speech, he has placed B’tzelem in the camp of Israel’s haters who are not human rights oriented, nor do they care about human dignity. Their collective silence on Jihadi movements in the Middle East, including their indifference to the widespread massacres in Syria is conspicuous by their silence. They are vociferous in supporting UN resolutions against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while at the same time they do not condemn the vilest Palestinian terrorist murders of innocent people.
The sickening double-standard, hypocritical justification of terror is viewed as a “legitimate fight by the Palestinian victims of the occupation against the cruel occupier - Israel”. They do not view Islamist or Palestinian terror as evil but rather as heroic deeds of bravery. B’tzelem, whose purpose is to monitor human rights abuses by the IDF in Israeli occupied territories, is a just and moral cause. However, fighting to end the occupation without any peace agreement that is watertight in ensuring Israel’s security and right to exist, is not a moral cause and deserves condemnation. Hagai El-Ad is playing into the hands of Hamas that also opposes Israel’s occupation which is synonymous to supporting Israel’s destruction and total replacement of Israel with a Palestinian state. Differentiation between the occupation and Israel’s total destruction is not on the Hamas agenda. Hamas is a factor that cannot be overlooked as it has more support than the PA by far.
The mantra of “ending the occupation” really means ending Israel’s existence. If this mindset is dominant then “ending the occupation” is no option. Mahmoud Abbas knows that he does not have the power or support of Hamas to sign a peace treaty with Israel to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel. If he does, his life will be endangered. This is a fact and negotiations with Abbas to end the occupation are an exercise in futility while Hamas has the strength and final say. As it is, Abbas is viewed as a traitor by the majority of Palestinians as well as an ally of Israel and the US. This also explains why no general elections have been held for many years.

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