Israel and the Myth of Occupation
The political right wing in Israel has finally recovered its voice. In an open letter to PM Netanyahu, published in Haaretz (Hebrew Edition) on September 20, 2013, a group of 19 Knesset members urged Netanyahu to uphold the sovereign rights on the whole Land of Israel. With the looming failure of the ongoing round of "peace negotiations," most right-wing politicians, academics, and media pundits are more than ever convinced of the sheer disaster that the Oslo peace process has produced. And they are openly advocating a new course of action.
But the right-wing camp run the risk of been divided -- and their message discredited -- if they choose to play the game of their political opponents from the left, who incessantly demand that they produce a detailed plan on how to fully solve the "Palestinian question."
Probably unaware of this trap, many capable right-wing thinkers are sketching out a variety of peace plans based on their own knowledge and expertise. Each one of these plans may have its merits. But all of them will be virulently attacked by the traditional left-wing pundits and politicians, who have been symbiotically tied to the ill-fated concepts of "land for peace" and "two-state solution" for the past twenty years. Old habits die hard and often blur rational thought.
The Israeli right wing should avoid falling into the same defeatist trap. The right-wing camp should remember that the main reason for the failure of the Oslo process was the reckless attempt to cover all the areas of concern from its inception. The so-called Declaration of Principles (Oslo I, 1993) was long on minutiae (procedures for Palestinian elections, size and capability of their police force, Israeli withdrawal schedules, transfer of powers, economic development, social programmes, etc.) and short on principles, to the extent that the very compatibility of the objectives pursued by the two parties was never broached, let alone ascertained. The Interim Agreement (Oslo II, 1995) further obscured the essentials in an intricate web of details.
In 1948, George Orwell observed: "At any given moment, there is a sort of all-prevailing orthodoxy, a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact." Today, the all-prevailing orthodoxy rests on the false notion of "occupied Palestinian territories."
The Israeli right wing should challenge the "myth of occupation" and stay away from elaborating detailed peace plans at this stage. Sadly, the myth of occupation was given birth by the Levi Eshkol government in the wake of the Six-Day War, in breach of Israel's Basic Law. It was later amplified and propagated by the PLO and their Marxist enablers in the early 1970s with innumerable U.N. General Assembly resolutions, culminating in UNGA Resolution 3236. Today, the myth of occupation is the cornerstone of the Palestinian narrative, and every anti-Zionist group in the world strives to keep this myth alive.
How to demolish the myth of occupation? This Orwellian "all-prevailing orthodoxy" should be confronted by recognizing -- once again -- the historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine and the necessity of reconstituting the Jewish state in the whole region west of the Jordan River, as it was initially established under international law at the San Remo Conference in 1920 and spelled out in the Mandate for Palestine. These acquired rights of the Jewish people have never been abrogated; they are preserved to this day in Article 80 of the U.N. Charter and in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and they are confirmed in the Levy Report, still pending official approval by the Israeli government.
The importance of demolishing this myth cannot be overstated. Once the "uncomfortable facts" pertaining to recent history and the provisions of international law are restored, Judea and Samaria will inevitably be once again recognized as Jewish land. The "prevailing orthodoxy" will not survive the shock.
- The Palestinian Arabs will be hard-pressed to justify their untenable rejection of Israel as a Jewish State.
- The acknowledgement of Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria will, for the first time, make any further Israeli concession meaningful, rather than being viewed by the Palestinian Arabs as an obligation from an occupying power.
- The legality of the "settlements" will cease to be questioned.
- The baseless European "guidelines" to selectively boycott Jewish settlements will be fatally punctured, and nothing will be more exhilarating than to observe the EU's arrogance crumble.
To the question that will predictably be asked -- "But what is the actual solution to the Palestinian question?" -- we should respond with confident modesty: at this stage, we don't know, but surely the solution cannot be based on historical and legal falsehoods. So let us first restore the basic facts pertaining to history and law, and observe the tremors created by this unexpected surge of truth among the myth-peddlers and in the turbulent Arab world. When all the pieces fall in their place, then and only then we will be able to propose a cogent plan for the betterment of all the populations concerned on the basis of a new and meaningful Declaration of Principles.
Not defining a detailed peace plan denotes no lack of courage or vision. It is simply a question of giving precedence to factual evidence and justice over "peace at any cost." The left conceived and supported the successive peace plans -- Oslo, Roadmap, Geneva Initiative, Annapolis, etc. They strove to implement them and witnessed the bloody trail these plans left behind, and the damaging of Israel's image worldwide. Now, not to feel alone in their failure, they demand that the right follow their same insane ideas and produce a competing peace plan while, of course, ignoring the fundamental territorial rights of the Jewish people.
Surely this tack should be rejected, as it is not only premature and futile, but counterproductive to a lasting peace in the region.