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Time to hang up the 'occupation' card

Pro-Palestinian demonstration in Nuremberg, Germany, Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo by Alexander Pohl/Sipa USA)

There’s always a new reason to explain why there is no peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but the favorite excuse seems to always come back to the “O” card – occupation. It’s shouted by pro-Palestinian marchers who probably don’t even have a clue what it means, but it’s effective when trying to point an accusatory finger because it sounds plausible to the uninformed.

But here’s why it needs to be buried, along with the other impeachable causes as to why it remains an impediment to peace.

Occupation is defined as “the temporary military control by a ruling power over a territory that is outside of that power’s sovereign territory.”

When considering the 1947 vote of partition, recognized by a majority of world nations, in allowing Israel to become a sovereign and independent state, the occupation definition does not match the criteria. One cannot be the occupier of a country legitimately given to them to inhabit by full agreement. 

Nonetheless, Israel is being accused of a “57-year occupation, which has deprived Palestinians of their basic rights to a state,” according to Irish and Jordanian officials, who took their claim to the International Court of Justice.

They are referring to the territory annexed and held by Israel in the “spoils of war” which resulted from the 1967 Six-Day War. Those territories included the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Old City of Jerusalem. Of course, since that time, the Sinai Peninsula, a sizable portion of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been returned, with Israel retaining the Golan Heights, a small part of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. 

Having said that, it’s important to note that the concept of “spoils of war” is a recognized term that relates to lawfully captured property in accordance with the laws of war – meaning it is a “prize of war, regarded as legitimate. While most every country has done the same, without being challenged and harangued for years, only Israel seems to have that unique distinction of being disqualified to reap the rewards of war, unlike others, including the nations that are so anxious for Israel to return land which rightly belongs to them.

Furthermore, it seems absurd for anyone to make the case that indigenous people, whose presence in the land of Israel goes back some 4,000 years ago, are occupying their own land to which they have biblical ownership. But, perhaps, Ireland and Jordan have a different Bible. 

Ironically, this is the real source of the problem. Anyone who is accusing Israel of being an occupying force, in the land which God gave to them, simply does not believe what is referred to as the Word of God! In truth, their argument lies with what He said in Genesis 17:8, “The whole land of Canaan I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you… ”from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including the land of the Hittites (Joshua 1:4) encompassing part of modern-day Turkey.

It's one thing for Jordanian officials, who have a political axe to grind, to refuse to acknowledge the scriptures since texts in the Quran dispute Jewish claim to what they refer to as Muslim land, but since Islam came well after the promise made to Abraham followed by repeated Old Testament references, it’s not hard to see whose claim has more weight. Their dispute is based on the legendary “Night Journey of Muhammed, where he allegedly traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascended into heaven, as stated by Islamic commentators. 

But what about Ireland’s contention that Jews are occupiers of their own land? Has the largely dominant Catholic and Protestant population which, today, makes up the bulk of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, abandoned their own Bible, which quotes the same passages? Do they now defer to a political viewpoint that does not see the scriptures as an authoritative source? Are they in agreement with the Attorney-General, Rossa Fanning who addressed the International Court of Justice last Thursday? 

No one is fooling anyone. All of this is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to force Israel to return to the pre-1967 lines, which would facilitate a much easier path for hostile nations and terror organizations to have a greater vantage point in order to attack the Jewish homeland, with the intent of taking more territory as their spoils of war, and ultimately entirely removing the Jews from their land.  

So, while other nations use terms such as “foreign occupation” or “colonial domination,” to accuse Israel of residing where she doesn’t belong, they have no historical, legal or other basis upon which to support such claims. Their words are hollow assertions based on nothing more than their unbridled hatred for the Jewish people, whose divine backing they lack for themselves. 

Israel, on the other hand, has a legitimate, democratically-voted approval of world nations as well as the Biblically based promises of God Almighty. Who wins?

Consequently, the allegation made by Attorney-General Fanning, as it relates to “the security of one people being achieved by the occupation over so many decades of the territory of another people,” is neither accurate nor relevant, because the Jews, residing in their historical and legal homeland of Israel, the country which fought for its survival and won back more of its biblical inheritance, is not an occupying force. Nor is it preventing Palestinians from acquiring their own homeland, through multiple deals which have been repeatedly offered but which were consistently refused. Why would that be, if that’s supposedly what they’re really after?

Because it isn’t! Nations that are joining forces to make a case before the international courts are simply advocating for a cause that doesn’t even interest Palestinian leaders. If anything, the purpose of this wasted exercise is merely to deflect from the real goal which is to remove the Jewish presence from the Middle East. By painting Israel as an occupier, and the immovable impediment to a Palestinian homeland, it creates an image that effectively portrays us as an evil oppressor who is indifferent to the cries of a suffering people, subjected to a tyrannical state.

It is the canard which has been adopted by the ignorant and uninformed who can’t be bothered with the facts, all of which bolster Israel’s legitimacy to exist and defend ourselves when attacked. The occupation libel is a futile effort which needs to be abandoned, if for no other reason, because you can’t un-deed the land which God, Himself gave to the people whom He chose to be the rightful inheritors! 

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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