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The left should take pride in 'delegitimizing' the occupation

We must let go of the fear that we will delegitimize ourselves. We must risk being ostracized by our communities and friends, and say: Yes, we deny the legitimacy of the settlements. Yes, we want to delegitimize the occupation.  

By Caroline Beck

The Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit. Yes, the left is trying to delegitimize settlements (photo: ActiveStills).

The Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit. Yes, the left is trying to delegitimize settlements (photo: ActiveStills).

Last week, a protest letter signed by 40 leaders of the American Jewish community and initiated by the Israel Policy Forum was sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him not to adopt the recommendations in the Levy Committee’s report. In the letter, they said that the report’s recommendations, if adopted, would jeopardize Israel’s credentials as a democratic state, and harm the chances of achieving a two-state solution.

The Levy Committee’s main findings (page 83 of the report, in Hebrew) are that the laws of occupation do not apply to the West Bank, and that Israel has a right to settle all the land of Judea and Samaria. The report recommends, among other things, that the government of Israel remove administrative obstacles preventing the authorization of new construction in the West Bank, and that it refrain from demolishing unauthorized construction in the West Bank (despite a Supreme Court order), until such construction can be retroactively legalized. The report also recommends that land seized by military order should be utilized for settlement construction, and that the Israeli Civil Administration’s use of the ‘nuisance’ order, issued to halt and remove Israeli settlers who trespass onto private Palestinian agricultural land, be cancelled.

How surprising, then, that in a rebuttal letter to the Israel Policy Forum, Ambassador Alan Baker, a member of the Levy Committee  (and former legal advisor to Israel’s Foreign Ministry), accused the letter’s esteemed signatories of adding “fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” by expressing their “incorrect and ill-advised assumptions about the report.”

The ludicrous conclusions of the Levy Committee’s report will no doubt do enough on their own to discredit its authors and propagators. But accusing people of delegitimization, as Baker accuses the 40 signatories of the IPF letter, will always be a trump card for the right in Israel (and the pro-Israel lobby abroad which supports it) as long as we, the left in Israel (and our liberal two-staters abroad who support us), continue to pretend that it is not our intention to delegitimize.

We are trying to delegitimize the occupation, the cynical use of the security narrative to justify it, and the daily human rights abuses and lack of protection that Palestinians suffer as a result of it – peace process or no peace process – and without wagging fingers at Iran, Syria or Sudan in comparison. We perceive the roots of Israel’s legitimacy differently than the hand-selected members of the Levy Committee, and those who selected them. We do think that by delegitimzing – not Israel’s existence, but many of its long-standing policies and practices – we will save Israel from itself and protect it for future generations.

So although I commend the authors and signatories of the IPF protest letter for their courage to stand up and speak out, I fear that they, like many of us on the left in Israel, will not be able to beat back the accusations of “delegitimizing Israel” unless we – both in Israel and in the US – make our aim clear. As long as both progressive American Jewry, and the Israeli left, are afraid of being accused of delegitimizing, the right keeps its silver bullet, its trump card, because the most hurtful thing they can say to us is that we’re delegitimizing Israel.

As both an Anglo-Israeli, and a left-wing Israeli, I have struggled with this personally. How can someone accuse me of being anti-Israel or delegitimizing its right to exist if I chose to uproot and leave my country of birth to build a life in Israel? Do I really need to prove myself any more than this? Living as an Israeli, in an Israel that most definitely exists, quite frankly, the pro-Israel question is moot.

We must let go of the fear that we will delegitimize ourselves. We must risk being ostracized by our communities and friends, and say: Yes, we deny the legitimacy of the settlements. Yes, we want to delegitimize the bureaucracy that sustains blanket demolition orders on all the houses in one village (what, they’re all terrorists?).

Legitimacy is not the monopoly of the right, and so here is my call to the authors of the IPF letter: Before you clamor to prove your credentials, and fight to stay in the pro-Israel club, stand firm on what your letter was really saying. Acknowledge that you fundamentally disagree with the Israeli government on exactly which forces are driving us towards international isolation and the next regional war. Be proud to assert that it is Israel who must step up and make a change. Your critics, on the other hand, think the rest of the world must capitulate and accept the status quo, while the Western powers remain in perpetual purgatory as punishment for the Holocaust.

Let the Levy Committee declare that “there is no occupation”, and let the Government continue its attempts to ban funding for left wing and human rights NGOs. The legitimacy that Israel so desperately seeks abroad is in our hands, and it will not come by silencing us and trying to paint us as traitors. It will come from people like the signatories of the IPF letter, who advocate for justice and the rule of law, who counsel democracy and diplomacy, and who lead their communities to do the same.

Caroline Beck is an Israeli human rights advocacy professional. She moved to Israel in 2005 and since then has worked with Israeli and Palestinian experts towards a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Related Articles:

Panel appointed by Netanyahu concludes: There is no occupation
Re-thinking the role of international law in the Middle East conflict
Report that claims ‘there is no occupation’ presents an opportunity
‘Nonexistent occupation’ memes go viral in social media

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    1. XYZ

      Caroline (who, in her words, moved to Israel in order to bring an end the Israel-Palestine conflict, no less!) is not being clear. She talks of the ‘occupation’ being illegitimate. WHICH OCCUPATION? The 1967 occupation or the 1948 one? She should ask her Palestinian friends to clarify. They will tell her that the 1967 occupation is merely an extension of the 1948 occupation, as they see it.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jack

      Usually people mean the occupation since 1967.
      While palestinian groups accept this border some palestinians think the area belongs to palestinians altogether. Likewise, a few israeli accept 1967 borders as the final borders while a majority think that the whole of the area (west bank, gaza included) belongs to Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Witty

      I strongly prefer positive language and effort to the necessity to “delegitimize”.

      The positive language is that from the present forward, the Palestinian community desire to self-govern politically and that they desire equal rights in all jurisdictions.

      STated positively, acted positively, it is a universally appealing prospect, even if it will take work.

      Stated negatively, there is only distrust, a prerequisite to gross failure in any effort.

      Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      When you say “people” you have to clarify what you mean. Israeli Leftists view the Green Line as holy. Palestinians don’t. Palestinians, even those who claim to support the “2-State-Solution” do not recognize Israel as having sovereignity INSIDE the Green Line because they demand the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees across that line. The US supports the Palestinian position saying that the RoR is a legitimate item for negotiation. Thus most ‘people’ really view the occupation as beginning in 1948. I think most 972 contributors do as well, except most of tat group want the Palestinians to accept that 1948 as being irreversable. The Palestinians have never agreed to any such thing. Thus, I think most “people” view the occupation as beginning in 1948 and it is THAT occupation that is “illegitimate”.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Anne O'Nimmus

      xyz demonstrates the problem. As soon as the subject is raise, there’s a thousand caveats to debate. Such as not leaving this settlement, or that, not giving up this resource or that, not uprooting settled Jewish Israelis – so traumatizing! But who cares about the mayhem and misery caused to the indigenous Palestinians, dispossessed, brutalized, prevented by all Israel has from combating the continual theft of their land and homes? Israel IS occupation. Israel will not stop unless forced to do so by external demand. That won’t be happening soon enough, so the slo-mo ethnic cleansing and daylight robbery will continue unabated. There is only one state now, and there is apartheid. How can Israelis re-envision a future for all?

      Reply to Comment
    6. I have an elderly friend who was driven out from Al-Bassa in 1948. (Most of the population was pushed into Lebanon, but a small number managed to remain in Galilee, hiding in the hills, and he was one.) He’s in his eighties now. When he talks about occupation, he means what happened to his village in ’48 – it confused me at first, because he uses the same word that Palestinians in the OPT use to describe the events following ’67. They tend to use ‘Nakba’ for the events of ’48, to save confusion, although they do see the two things as continuous. What happened to Umm al-Faraj is today being done to Umm al-Khair, in slow motion; it’s hard not to see some very clear sharp parallels when the government draws up plans to forcibly transfer the Bedouin population out of Area C.
      The word ‘delegitimize’ always makes me wince for some reason, partly because it’s clunky and partly because the term was coined as part of government PR. Using the vocabulary of the club suggests that you do actually want to have a part in the ‘club’. As for the letter emphasising that Israel is at risk of jeopardising its democratic credentials – this would be a moment to think back to what was done to the people who were declared ‘present absentees’ in the aftermath of 1948, and those who were put under martial law on the basis of their ethnicity, and to ask whether those credentials were ever shiny. This can’t be presented as a straightforward left-right battle, either; left-leaning governments have also been guilty of enforcing such policies.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jack

      Both the west bank and gaza leadership have endorsed the 1967 lines.
      What extremists on either side think is not really helpful, the solution should be made along the international law and whats possible for both groups. For example the palestinians have gone beyond the 1967 borders and offered that Israel could keep a majority of today illegal settlements. Still this has no support in Israel because like I said earlier, according to the majority, the whole land belongs to Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    8. niz

      I hate to quote the Quran, but:

      “Those who oppress people and run corrupt in the land without right, for them a painful torment”

      “الذين يظلمون الناس ويبغون في الأرض بغير الحق أولئك لهم عذابٌ أليم”

      Reply to Comment
    9. Richard SM

      When you characterise it in terms of Left v. Right you’re doing the same thing that Alan Baker did.
      What effect do you think it has on conservatives opposed to the occupation?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Palestinian

      Which occupation ? the occupation in 1948 or in 1967 ?

      Reply to Comment
    11. XYZ

      You are wrong…they have only “endorsed the pre-67 lines” ALONG WITH UNLIMITED RIGHT OF RETURN OF REFUGEES which makes the Green Line irrelevant because no Jewish state would exist afterwards.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jack

      Yes? Endorsed/supported it compared to Israel. In fact the right to return is rather a thing be negogiated about, thats the consensus.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Aaron

      I think Richard Witty has it exactly wrong. Negative language, not positive language, is the way to fight the occupation (1967 or 1948, take your pick). Westerners, including Americans, aren’t going to be galvanized by a positive vision of a thriving Palestinian Arab state. They’ll pay lip service, but that’s all. But they will be influenced, usually unconsciously, by the message, “Eww, Israel has cooties!” Delegitimation is the strongest international weapon against Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Richard Witty

      That you use the term “weapon against Israel” proves my point.

      There has been resistance for 63 years, and it has accomplished less than nothing. The only period that Palestinians achieved any even relative self-governance was post Oslo, and since. Prior to that time, even prior to 1948, Palestine (by any definition) was occupied, even prior to 1917.

      The most promising period for the prospect of any self-governing Palestine was post-Oslo before Rabin was assassinated.

      Since, then its been slowly downhill, and that downhill has largely corresponded with the intensity and form of resistance.

      The occupation is an occupation, whether defined legalistically or rhetorically.

      But, so long as weapons are sought, they will be responded to in kind, with weapons.

      Other methods of transformation are much much more likely to be effective. That is not an affirmation of magic. Its not that positively stated wishes alone will result in a transformation of attitudes, relations, and institutionalization. It will take addressing distractions, strongly asserting the legitimazation of the Palestinian desire for self-governance.

      In ALL efforts that I’m aware of that have resulted in the liberation of a country, it is the internal definition and expression of the purpose and goal of liberation that has achieved it, and it has ALWAYS occurred gradually, not through revolution.

      Even South Africa was transformed through the process of South African blacks coming to be perceived as competent, intelligent, responsible, NOT only the stereotype of violent, ignorant, etc.

      The change (as limited as its been socially there), did not occur by rhetoric, but by persistent legal efforts, meritocratic foreign commerce, constant and committed effort to reconcile (NOT to punish).

      Reply to Comment
    15. Kolumn9

      If the government bans foreign funding of left-wing and pro-Palestinian NGOS the only things that will be in your hands are dishes that you are washing at a nearby restaurant. The entire existence of this ‘brave’ domestic extreme left NGO phenomenon/sector is underwritten by foreign money whose purpose is to delegitimize both the occupation and Israel. Every anti-Israel organization abroad uses biased reports created by Israeli leftist NGOs to support the delegitimization of Israel, and that includes 972. But it isn’t an equal relationship because they are the ones funding you, not the other way around. Were people working at NGOs to quit their positions would be filled by someone else would just be hired to carry out the exact same task under a different name. You, my dear lady, have it completely backwards. You are a tool, not the craftsman, and have no power in this relationship whatsoever.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jack

      Richard witty,
      Palestinians like other occupied people have the legal right to adhere to resistance. But either way, when palestinians didnt use this they didnt gained anything by it. Also there is no right for a occupier to use violence against the occupied, to upheld an illegal occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    17. XYZ

      But the occupation is NOT illegal…see UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Israel has the RIGHT to be in those territories pending a peace agreement, which up until now, the Palestinians have refused to sign. You “progressives” keep throwing out terms like “racism”, “apartheid”, “occupation” as if you have the right to apply these to anyone and anything you want. Well, you don’t. Israel has the RIGHT to control those territories pending a peace agreement for security AND, IN ADDITION a right to have Jews live there, regardless of whatever political arrangements may be made about those territories.

      Reply to Comment
    18. XYZ

      Richard Witty-
      Your last comment is well said!
      You will note that the almost universal view here at 972 and those who comment here who agree with the line is against a compromise peace. That is portrayed as being unjust. They all seem to believe that their job is to somehow mobilize world opinion against Israel so that somehow, miraculously, a deus ex machina will emerge which will force Israel out of the territories in such a way that the whole shopping list of Palestinian grievances (which as I have said, go far, far beyond merely “the occupation”) will be removed. All they are doing is convincing the Palestinians is all they have to do is wait until MONDOWEISS, 972 and others convince enough Americans and Europeans will intervene and give them everything they want. This is merely perpetuating the current situation. Truly self-destructive.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jack

      The annexation of Golan, the silent annexation of West bank are proofs that the occupation is not lawful. Occupation is lawful if its temporary, not running for decade after decade, trying to create new facts on the ground by annexing the occupied areas.
      242 says that Israel must end its occupation and of course, no where state, that Israel have the right to occupy.

      Reply to Comment
    20. aristeides

      X said: “AND, IN ADDITION a right to have Jews live there”

      No, it doesn’t. You’re right about the military occupation being legal, but wrong about Israelis moving onto the occupied territory, which is explicitly illegal and the real reason no peace has ever come about, not because of Palestinian rejecitonism but because Israel won’t relinquish its settlements on Palestinian land.

      Reply to Comment
    21. XYZ

      The right of Jews to live in the West Bank is rooted in the British Mandate of Palestine of 1922, based on the Balfour Declaration. Since the Arabs rejected the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the Mandatory recognition of the Jewish right to live anywhere in the country is still operative because the territory is disputed. Jewsl lived all over the West Bank and Gaza territories before 1948 and they do now. If Arabs can live on both sides of the Green Line, so can Jews, and Jews will continue to do so, regardless of whatever political arrangements may be made regarding those territories.
      I’ll offer you a deal….We will accept the removal of ALL Jews from the Palestinian territories if, in exchange, all Arabs leave Israel. What do you say to that?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Jack

      Its like comparing apples and oranges.
      Jews living in the West bank are considered settlers living on land the israeli government illegally have annexed, palestinians on the other hand have been driven out from their land and thus have the right to return. This is recognized in international law.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Danny

      XYZ: “The right of Jews to live in the West Bank is rooted in the British Mandate of Palestine of 1922, based on the Balfour Declaration. Since the Arabs rejected the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the Mandatory recognition of the Jewish right to live anywhere in the country is still operative because the territory is disputed.”
      Goes both ways, doesn’t it? If you have the right to live anywhere on the land, so do they. Remove the checkpoints, tear down the wall and allow the former inhabitants of Haifa, Jaffa, Acre and every other city and town that was once Arab, to return to their homes. What??? You say only Jews have that right? Pshaw. And here I was thinking you were a for equality of all people to live on this land – those chosen by God and those we dismiss as biblical untermenschen. Oh, well – at least we allow them to breath our air. That’s something, isn’t it?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Jack

      Delegitimization have an inherited bad vibe to it – delegitimze something – oh thats bad, thats why israeli government use it, to delegitmize the delegitimizers’. But what delegitimization really mean though is simply speaking out against illegal annexation or other illegal measures threatening peace.
      And this is a problem for Israel because more people know more about the conflict today than 30-20-15 years ago and obviously that doesnt benefit israeli cause or position. So delegitimzation should indeed be used more systematically and informatively.

      Reply to Comment
    25. aristeides

      The Balfour Declaration has no standing in law. It also happened to reject the notion of a Jewish state.

      International law that legitimatizes the occupation does, on the other hand, explicitly forbid the occupying power to settle its people on the occupied territory. If the occupation is legitimate, the settlements can’t be.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Richard Witty

      Resistance, including violent and other punitive acts, is more illegal than legal.

      It makes a good slogan, but is a strained interpretation of international law.

      It is still a fact that hearts and minds come first. South Africa was not liberated (to the extent that it is liberated) by resistance. It came primarily by patient and persistent self-development and legal efforts first.

      And, again, South Africa is very different than Israel/Palestine. Specifically, the history of terror on civilians conducted by too many Palestinians (all in the name of the Palestinian people), is still their first impression of Palestinian political activity.

      Although Palestinians, and Israeli NGO’s, do spend a great deal of effort in courts and in academia, that is not what is emphasized here or on other dissenting sites.

      In the US, it was the organizing efforts of the NAACP, people like Phillip Randolph, and the legal work of Thurgood Marshall, and then on the ground the non-violent human rights and voting rights work of CORE and SNCC, and then secondarily the non-violent demonstrations, and NOT black militancy, that changed law and relations in the US.

      Only “vanguards” can get behind a grossly negative campaign, where the campaigns are described as “mass”.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Richard SM

      Hezbollah’s liberation of South Lebanon was successful. They forced Israel to withdraw and forced Israel to abandon its conditions. As Charles Glass wrote:
      “Like Israel’s previous enemies, Hizbullah relies on the weapons of the weak: car bombs, ambushes, occasional flurries of small rockets and suicide bombers. The difference is that it uses them intelligently, in conjunction with an uncompromising political programme. Against Israel’s thousand dead on the Lebanese field, Hizbullah gave up 1276 ‘martyrs’. That is the closest any Arab group has ever come to parity in casualties with Israel. The PLO usually lost hundreds of dead commandos to Israel’s tens, and Hamas has seen most of its leaders assassinated and thousands of its cadres captured with little to show for it. Hizbullah’s achievement, perhaps ironically for a religious party headed by men in turbans, is that it belongs to the modern age. It videotaped its ambushes of Israeli convoys for broadcast the same evening. It captured Israeli soldiers and made Israel give up hundreds of prisoners to get them back. It used stage-set cardboard boulders that blew up when Israeli patrols passed. It flew drones over Israel to take reconnaissance photographs – just as the Israelis did in Lebanon. It had a website that was short on traditional Arab bombast and long on facts. If Israelis had faced an enemy like Hizbullah in 1948, the outcome of its War of Independence might have been different. Israel, whose military respect Hizbullah, is well aware of this.”

      Reply to Comment
    28. Richard Witty

      The Israeli occupation of Lebanon was an entirely different nature than the occupation of the West Bank.

      Israel never had any inclination to stay in Lebanon. NOONE thought that Israel had any right to be in Lebanon permanently, not for sentimental history, nor sovereignty driven by consent of the governed.

      Hezbollah took credit for something that Israel was going to do anyway. Maybe they hastened the withdrawal. Maybe they got a few pictures of scared soldiers.

      The occupation of the West Bank is different. The security issues relative to the West Bank are of formerly active terror cells directed at Israeli civilians. The security issues though should be the same as Lebanon.

      Israel should withdraw (though needs to in cooperation with the government of Palestine – none now that Hamas has delayed participation in elections), accept a sovereign Palestinian state, and then have international relations with Palestine.

      Do you want the occupation to end, Richard SM, thereby leaving sovereign Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Richard SM

      Richard Witty @ 4.43 PM
      You were looking for examples. I provided one much closer in more ways than one.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Richard Witty

      Do you get my point about the determined very heroic indefatigable hard work of the more civil, those pursuing equal rights and peace, in contrast to the one-dimensional declaration of resistance?

      The Lebanon contrast with the West Bank is important.

      You didn’t answer the direct question of whether you want the occupation to end? (including clarification of what you mean by occupation).

      “Palestinian” declares that all of the land is occupied, implying that the Jews that are there (their homes), “should go back where they came from”.

      Reply to Comment
    31. sh

      “Israel never had any inclination to stay in Lebanon.”
      Israel was inclined to effect regime change in Lebanon, putting proxies in government that would have obviated its need to leave Lebanon.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jack

      Richard Witty,
      Resistance under occupation is illegal? Of course its not.
      South African blacks both used diplomacy and resistance by the way.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Richard Witty

      Acts of violence against civilians and illegal acts within a state are illegal. You want to say attitudes of resistance are legal, wonderful.

      South African blacks sadly haven’t achieved much, as the economic conditions were and are far worse than the political.

      South Africa is VERY different from Israel/Palestine. South Africa was genuinely a foreign country, inconsequential to really any but a few westerners. It was possible to dismiss the effects of the terror that was done (it wasn’t seen), and at least the ANC was very attentive to minimize civilian deaths. And, it was possible to dismiss the effects of BDS.

      That is not the case in Israel/Palestine. It is not felt as foreign in the west like South Africa was.

      The settlers are allowed to be dehumanized by the left, but that is a failing of the left, not all that different dehumanizing any minority.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Jack

      Richard Witty,
      I didnt say acts against civilians are legal. I said resistance are which implies resistance against the occupying regime, that is the military/state. Surely you know that jewish forces attacking brittish and arab forces saw their actions as resistance.
      South African blacks accomplished to wreck the apartheid system, saying that they didnt achived much is ignorant or even stupid.
      Of course settlers living on illegally annexed land should be delegimitize.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Richard Witty

      As I said, if you want to conclude that only the attitude of resistance is legal, go ahead. And, again, as I said, acts of resistance are more illegal than they are legal.

      The apartheid political system fell, thank God. The economic exploitative labor system remains. Poverty is the more profound prison, alternately a job not yet done (by the left), or a job abandoned (by the left).

      Settlers are people. Their title to the land is questionable, and can only be sorted out in courts, not by dictate however much it makes sense to activist political sensitivity.

      The absence of clarity on the part of the goals of dissent, is the greatest obstacle to Palestinian well-being and self-determination.

      You for example still did not answer the direct question of whether you wanted the occupation to end.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Jack

      Richard Witty,

      There is no such thing in international as “more illegal than legal”.
      No the land isnt “questionable”. Annexation is illegal according to international law. International court (of justice) also provided their view, it was a clear consensus that Westbank w. E. Jerusalem and Gaza is palestinian land.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Richard Witty

      Title to land is held by individuals and individual organizations, not to national groups.

      The questions of all and/or which property rights are whose is in fact contested currently, and only consented courts can determine individual permanent rights and/or remedy to perfect rights (shift from contested to consented).

      The questions of sovereignty are of governance.

      If acts of resistance (bombing for example, or even merely sitting in) are illegal by the law of the state (and confirmed as the right of a state to execute under international law), then they are more illegal than legal.

      It may be just to break the law. Non violent responsible civil disobedience is appealing. I don’t think it is ever just to intentionally target third-party civilians, rationalized as “resistance is sanctioned by international law”.

      Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, though only GW Bush ratified it in any substantive way.

      Personally, I regard the green line as border, and seek to apply that publicly by “as if” forms of dissent.

      Gaza is now another question, with even Hamas officials publicly speaking of the possibility of declaring Gaza as an “independent liberated territory”. Nothing like a monkey wrench in the works of coherent dissent.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Richard Witty

      Clarification of property rights can only occur by legal processes. If cooperative, mediative legal processes are the best. If not, then courts are the means.

      Polemic is an ego trip, an adrenaline rush. Unless there are consistent color-blind underlying legal principles inherent in one’s rhetoric, then they go nowhere good.

      I’m still waiting for your clarification on whether you desire the occupation to end in fact.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Aaron

      Richard Witty, I think anti-Israel is the most effective stance to take TOWARDS WESTERNERS if you want them to stop the occupation – again, that applies to both the 1948 occupation and the 1967 occupation. Instead of getting them to love Israel and only want what’s best for it (Peter Beinart), get them to not like Israel – a bunch of Western colonialists transplanted into the Middle East – so that whatever happens to Israelis with the end of the occupation is their problem, “chickens coming home to roost.”
      Addressing Israelis, the stance should be the exact opposite. It should be one of respect and acceptance. Imagine (per impossibile) that Palestinian protestors carried flags of Palestine next to flags of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Jack

      Nothing questionable, the whole area of legal aspects are in consensus (UN, UN resolutions, Law, International court). Of course pro-israelis want to say it is questionable as a way to deny that they Israel government doing something unlawful.

      Laws regarding resistance has of course nothing to do with a states domestic laws. This is international law, which is ABOVE domestic law. If not, states could annex any land and claim its not legal to their constitution. Thats of course now how it works.

      You keep asking about a question I havent answered, what are the question and where did you state it? I cant find it.

      Reply to Comment
    41. aristeides

      Aaron – that (flags) is undoubtedly one reason Israel never wanted Palestine in the Olympics.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Ed Feuer

      There are a few problems with Ms. Beck’s argument. First of all, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as well as the rest of the Arab world and Iran regard all of Israel down to the last grains of sand on the beach in Tel Aviv as “occupied territory.” Secondly, that is why both Hamas and the PA regularly refer to the State of Israel as “The Occupation.” Thirdly, there are people in Israel’s democracy who feel free to proclaim that Israel is not doing enough to achieve peace with the Arabs. But anyone on the Arab side who would declare that the Palestinians and the Arab world are not doing enough to achieve peace with Israel refrains from doing so because they know someone would soon come and kill them. No. 4, when the Arab side truly desires genuine peace with Israel, there will be peace with Israel — and not one moment before.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Richard Witty

      BDS will only be “successful” if Israel is branded as remote, foreign. But, to do that you will then have to brand us sympathetic Jews as foreign, remote, with permission to harrass and persecute.

      Not only will it have the opposite effect on Israel as to what you “intend”, but it will have an anti-democratizing effect on the US.

      I’ll oppose it.

      You are in an illusion if you think that property rights to land on a case by case basis in the West Bank is universally declared to be individual Palestinians’ property.

      Sovereignty is a different question than title.

      One characteristic of a fascistic state is that the two get equated. (Yes, that same logic can be applied to Israel, where semi-governmental institutions restrict equal access to minorities.)

      Please don’t advocate for repression in some response to other repression.

      You still haven’t answered the question of whether you want the occupation to end.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Jack

      Richard Witty,
      Post at 9:43 is for you.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Jack

      Richard Witty,
      (Ignore the above post, I didnt see that you had responded.)
      Thats not what I said, I pointed out the right to return. I didnt even touch upon property rights.

      I have asked you repeatedly what question (where you have stated it) you want me to answer. Could you do that?

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    46. leila

      I speak for many Palestinians when I feel the occupation began in 1917 with the notorious balfour declaration. When a burglar steals something and is caught, he doesnt get to share the proceeds with the victim. Similarly, Yossi Gurwitz, in a previous column on Akka, noted that Palestine was stolen by the zionists. So delegitimize all that you want, but as long as you talk about the so called green line, this is just a feel good manuever with no impact. In fact, you are worse than the settlers, because the settlers admit to theft, while you try to coat it with a gloss of ethics

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    47. There is no occupation and if you believe that the Palestinians will be happy to make peace if they get Jews out of the West Bank and other “disputed” areas you are fatally mistaken. The Palestinians want Israel gone and anything less will not appease them. What part of that simple reality do you not understand?
      Ask yourself…why is it that areas under Palestinian control have to be judenrein??? Yet we have over 1 million Arabs living in Israel proper. Wake up before it’s too late my dear.

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    48. Also for those who don’t think Israel is legitimate…Israel is more legitimate than any of the artificial states created by their imperial masters….and at least as legal as any of them. So stop with the double standards and realise that Saudi Arabia…Jordan, Syria ad nauseum were a result of the redistribution by imperial powers and not all that long ago…for goodness sake “Saudi Arabia” the only place on earth named for the family it was given to….get real and learn some history.

      Reply to Comment
    49. Richard Witty

      Often people claim that the terms Jewish and democratic are an inconsistency.

      By the definition of what happened in 1917, rather than the definition of the people that populate the region NOW, you are presenting Palestinian and democratic as an oxymoron.

      Its an interesting fantasy, I guess. But, not exactly practical, and not exactly humane.

      The Palestinian exageration and the Israeli right exageration are more similar than different, sadly.

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