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Israel 'occupies' the West Bank - REALLY?

If you’re thinking that Israel “occupies” the West Bank, this Blog is for you.

Words matter.

The late, President John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying, “The great enemy of truth is very often not the life - deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive and repeated.”

Unfortunately, the misuse of words applying to the Arab-Israeli conflict has brought erroneous perceptions about Israel. The word “occupation” is a prime example. It has been hijacked by those who wish to paint Israel in the harshest possible light. It also gives apologists a way to try to explain away terrorism as “resistance to occupation,” as if the women and children killed by suicide bombers in buses, pizzerias, and shopping malls were responsible for the “so-called” plight of the Arabs.

Given this negative connotation of an occupier, it is not surprising that the Arab spokespersons use the word, or some variation, as many times as possible when interviewed by the press. When the press discusses terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, however, a more polite wording is used such as “disputed territories.”

The term “occupation” more accurately refers to foreign control of an area that was under the previous sovereignty of another state. In the case of the West Bank of Israel, there was no legitimate sovereign because the territory had been illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967. Only two countries - Britain and Pakistan - recognized Jordan’s action. It is quite interesting that the so-called Palestinians never demanded an end to Jordanian occupation, much less the creation of a Palestinian state while the Jordanians occupied the West Bank.

It is also important to distinguish the acquisition of territory in a war of conquest as opposed to a war of self-defense. A nation that attacks another and then retains the territory it conquers is an occupier. When a nation gains territory in the course of defending itself, it is not in the same category.

Israel specifically told King Hussein of Jordan that if he stayed out of the 1967 war, Israel would not fight against him. Hussein ignored the warning and attacked Israel. While fending off the assault and driving out the invading Jordanian troops, Israel came to control the West Bank.

By rejecting Arab demands that Israel be required to withdraw from all the territory won in 1967, the U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 242 acknowledged that Israel was entitled to claim at least part of these lands for new defensible borders. Furthermore, with the Oslo Accords, the case for tagging Israel as an occupying power has been further weakened by the fact that Israel transferred virtually all civilian authority in the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. Israel retained the power to control its own external security and that of its citizens, but 98% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and 100% and Gaza came under the PA’s authority. The extent to which Israel has been forced to maintain a military presence in the territories has been governed by the Palestinians unwillingness to end violence against Israel. The best way to end the dispute over territory is for the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith.

A so-called “two-state solution” has been offered in several peace treaties by Israel. The Arabs (Palestinians) have refused such a solution for two reasons: 1). The Arabs will not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation, and 2). The Arabs will not agree to a peaceful co-existence with Israel.

I hope you enjoyed this Blog and that you will share it. If you have questions or would like to comment on this or any other related subjects about the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and/or Jerusalem, subscribe to our website “Good Samaritans for the Jewish People” at www.GSJA.org.

This is Wayne Ammons, spreading the truth, and I hope you will verify it for yourself. May God bless you.

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