I felt sucker punched when I read the April 4 editorial by PJ (“Call it what you want – it’s still occupation.”)
The lingo of the opposition is not for those of us who love Israel and are passionate about its survival. It isn’t even accurate, despite Thomas Friedman’s usage. Occupation presupposes that another nation was officially recognized to govern that area, and that someone else invaded and took possession. At most, perhaps we can accurately refer to this territory as “disputed land.”
Historically, look at the short view and the long view. No government has “owned” the West Bank/Yehuda-Shomron in the recent past. Were Arabs living there just before 1948? Yes, in some parts. Were Jews living there just before 1948? Yes, in some parts. Arabs may have stayed there from 1948 to 1967, but Jews were expelled. Go back a few thousand years, and aside from the Biblical accounts, many archeological sources confirm the presence of Jewish life, well before Christian, or – much later – Muslim life was conceived. In the years that followed, a Jewish presence remained, sometimes very small and sometimes larger.
So, how should this territory be allocated? That’s to be negotiated, and we must be cautious that our speech does not pre-judge the resolution of the much touted and also maligned peace talks. Israel won this territory in a war fought for survival. As I recall, during those six unforgettable days in 1967, the IDF had penetrated enemy lines almost to Damascus, but Israel did not have designs on areas outside of “traditional Eretz Yisrael” and pulled back to land that was familiar historically and experientially.
Borders must not be predefined by propaganda. When we adopt the lingo of the opposition, we are self- defeating, apologetic Jews, and we leave our non-Jewish, Israel-supporting friends in a quandary; what is it exactly that we are asking them to support?
I hope that we will give Israel the support it needs to participate in peace talks (if the PA agrees to continue) with confidence, and to defend itself and protect its citizens of all ethnicities adequately and appropriately, whenever it may be necessary.