It is not an occupation

It is not an occupation

Your editorial of April4 about Israel as an occupying power runs contrary to the Jewish biblical narrative and 20th century political history. The Torah, which has been the Jewish guidepost throughout our people’s history, starts off, in the very first sentence, saying that the God who created the world designated the land of Israel for the Jewish people.

The foremost Biblical commentator, Rashi, in the 11th century, explained that there would come a time when the nations of the world will falsely claim that the Jews “stole” their land; hence the Torah begins with this narrative. For centuries this belief remained deeply ingrained in the Jewish psyche. It was this steadfast faith that endured the long night of exile, and propelled the Jewish return to Israel, while a remnant of the people remained. In the 20th century, at the end of the First World War in 1917 and upon the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the world powers and League of Nations designated this land as home for the Jewish people, which consisted of today’s Israel and Jordan. In 1922 the British unilaterally severed 78 percent and created the Hashemite kingdom of Transjordan, and in 1948 the country of Israel was officially entered as a sovereign nation.

At no time was there such an entity as Arab Palestine. That term referred specifically to Israel. In 1937, the Arab High Committee secretary stated that “there is no such country as Palestine” and went on to say that Palestine is a country that the Zionists invented. Ten years, later in 1947, before the United Nations, the Arab High Committee stated that the Arabs of Palestine are not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity. They consider themselves part of Syria. In 1977, Farook Kaddoumie of the PLO political department told Newsweek magazine that the Palestinians and Jordanians are one and the same, and the Executive Council fo the PLO stated there is no difference between Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese or Palestinians.

It is only for tactical political reasons that there is the existence of a separate Palestinian entity. There is no Arab historicity, no indigenous Palestinian culture, and no Arab Palestinian peoplehood. The myth of Israel occupation is made of whole cloth, and this false narrative becomes the more tragic when disseminated and made credible by our own people.