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August 27, 2012 1:30 pm

Israeli ‘Occupation’ a Relic of the Past

avatar by Asaf Romirowsky

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Presentation supporting the boycott of Israeli-made products. Photo: Algemeiner.

As the dog days of summer are coming to an end, pro-Palestinian activist groups are gearing up for the fall semester to rally campuses in support of their cause. One upcoming event is the ‘US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’ national conference, set to take place at St. Louis University between September 21-23.

It will feature speakers such Hatem Bazian, an Arabic lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley who following the war in Iraq stated that “it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that changes fundamentally the political dynamics in here.” Also appearing will be Dalit Baum, who runs the anti-Israel site Who Profits from the Occupation, dedicated to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement – which claims that BDS has already cost the Israeli economy in excess of 1.5 billion dollars.

This conference is a reminder that regardless of the reality of relations between Israelis and Palestinians – the alleged Israeli “occupation” remains the larger symbol of justification for the Palestinian cause. Since 2005, when Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, Israel has made the argument that the notion of occupation is a relic of the past.

At the time, the Israeli government believed that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would remove the language of occupation from the lexicon of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship. But it has proven to be an intractable element in the debate, notwithstanding the fact that Hamas runs Gaza and the Palestinian Authority has jurisdiction over areas of the West Bank.

The Hamas leadership dismisses the idea of “occupation” in Gaza, but within Palestinian culture as a whole “occupation” remains the root cause of all problems. It also signals a core Palestinian cultural and political belief, namely rejection of Israel. The notion of the “occupation” has become the defining lens through which the Palestinians’ self conception is explained and all actions and inactions justified.

This is also the myopic view taken by anti-Israel ideologues like Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe and even Peter Beinart who claims to be a lover of Zion – just one who is having a difficult time grappling with the “harsh” Israeli reality of being an occupier.

Palestinians cling to notions of being “stateless,” “occupied” and forever refugees, allowing them to never take responsibility or be accountable as a functioning society and “state to be.” Believing this is the truth produces Beinart’s and other sympathizers’ anguish. However, this is not the truth.

The resilience of Jewish-Israeli survival has been overshadowed by the false Arab-Palestinian notion of being “occupied” and “robbed” of their true destiny. Consequently, Israel is the “oppressor “and Palestinian nomenclature demands that the “occupation” remains the root cause of all problems, from social and economic woes to terrorism.

The claim that Israel is “occupying” Gaza is preposterous, but even the “occupation” of the West Bank now must be seen in a different light. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was presented of late with the report of the Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy.

This commission controversially argued that Israel’s presence within the 1967 borders over the past 45 years is legitimate and that this presence, according to international law, should not be understood as “belligerent occupation.”

Universities that are supposed to be bastions of critical thinking, and opposition to fallacies of argument have become fertile ground for myth, fantasy, and lies about history. The occupation and apartheid accusations waged against Israel are just one of many such fallacious rhetorical tropes used in the ongoing war of delegitimization that is being sponsored on campuses by those whose sole goal is to destroy Israel and its reputation for a generation of young Americans.

The consorted effort give the impression that ending specific Israeli policies, such as the “occupation” or “apartheid,” would also end efforts to ostracize Israel, which is not in the interest of these groups and is hardly academic as well.

Finally, were there to be a real discussion about an occupation, why not talk about Syria’s long occupation of Lebanon and face that fact that the “Israeli occupation” of Palestinians is more of a psychological than it is physical.

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  • When it comes to the sheer facts, the whole issue is to create a smokescreen about the true meaning of labeling Israel as an “occupier”. Most people in the West – including politicians – consider the labeling consisting of the alleged West Bank territory, appropriate named Samaria and Judea, and scrap the Gaza-strip.
    I do not know that anybody cannot see the truth just before their sharp eyes. The heavy effect through many years by the Pal Arabs has done their work on the Western opinion. – Besides the report’s statements about the Pal Arabs addiction to victimhood, and their collective inability to do anything beneficial for themselves, lies the key-point: Israel is the occupied Arab Land!
    This point of view is in full accordance with the yearlong ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, there is no occupation, and nothing to negotiate about when it comes to the issue of Israel proper.

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    Proof that “Universities that are supposed to be bastions of critical thinking, and opposition to fallacies of argument have become fertile ground for myth, fantasy, and lies about history” but not a “free and open marketplace for ideas” as advertised in a press release at Harvard. I tried to get a place on the panel of two conferences at Universities, Harvard on March 3,4 and UCLA on May 15. I had reached the same legal opinion as did the Levy Commission a few weeks later. But it was impossible to get a university platform to disseminate this view. The story is told at:
    See also, my response to Professor Nathaniel Berman of Brown University who derides the view of the Levy report as not the consensus view:

  • Sabra C


  • The overriding validation of The Jewish Nation is “God’s Promise To The Generations”. It is found in The Holy Torah. It is superior to international law and history, which also validates our Jewish Nation.

  • The Palestinians and their Western supporters who cling to the myth of “occupation” should be made to understand that no one can be an “occupier” of their own land.

    The land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is the land of the Jewish people by law – international law.

    Fore details:

  • These universities the people who “teach” there should repeat over and over the words of Martin Luther King Jr in March 1968: IF YOU ARE ANTIZIONIST YOU ARE ANTISEMETIC.

  • Henry Shiner

    HOWARD GRIEF, Attorney Jerusalem, June 22, 2010
    13/2 David Goitein St.,
    Jerusalem, Israel 97782
    Tel: 972-2-6560085


    There is a widespread misconception current also among Israel’s government leaders and media, that the State of Israel derives its legal existence from the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of November 29, 1947, popularly known as the Partition Resolution. This misconception is so ingrained in official and popular thinking that it is extremely difficult to change, regardless of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. One major reason for this is that Israel’s own Proclamation of Independence perpetuates the wrongful notion that it was “on the strength of the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly” that the members of what in the Proclamation itself was called “the People’s Council” relied in declaring the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Other reasons cited in the Proclamation were “our natural and historic right”. It was further stated there that “the State of Israel will cooperate with the UN in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

    The misstatement in the Proclamation of Independence that the State of Israel relied “on the strength” of the Partition Resolution for its legal establishment conceals or actually suppresses the fact that Israel’s legal foundation under international law derives not from the 1947 Partition Resolution, which was merely a non-binding recommendation without any force of law, but rather from the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, which did have the force of law upon its being incorporated first in the Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920 and then in the first three recitals of the Preamble of the Mandate for Palestine, that was confirmed by the 52 states, all members of the League of Nations, in 1922 and separately by the United States in a 1924 treaty with the United Kingdom.

    The Proclamation of Independence does make mention of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine in what has been characterized as its historical section, but in justifying the establishment of the Jewish State in its operative part it overlooks those two interrelated documents – except indirectly, in making use of the phrase “historic[al] right”. Nor does the proclamation even refer to the most important document which, in actual fact, laid the legal foundation for the Jewish State – the San Remo Resolution, which transformed the Balfour Declaration of 1917 from an act of British policy to a legally recognized binding act of international law in 1920. This indicates that even the leaders of Israel, who drafted the Proclamation of Independence – the principal authors of which were David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett – were curiously unaware of the enormous significance of the San Remo Resolution, for otherwise they would undoubtedly have cited it as the true foundation document for the proclamation of the State of Israel, rather than the Partition Resolution. Any serious analysis of these two resolutions will demonstrate that the Partition Resolution actually contradicted both the letter and the spirit of the San Remo Resolution, in that the former illegally allotted a substantial portion of Western Palestine for the establishment of an Arab state, territory which the San Remo Resolution had earmarked, on the basis of the historical/biblical formula for determining Palestine’s boundaries, for the Jewish National Home and the future independent Jewish State. Furthermore, under the San Remo Resolution the Arabs were generously awarded all the land they needed for their own state or states in the rest of the Middle East or Levant.

    On the face of it, the Zionist acceptance of the Partition Resolution was unwise, insofar as that document denied Jewish national and political rights already recognized over that portion of the Land of Israel it would have assigned to the new Arab state. However, as a mitigating circumstance, it ought to be noted that under the conditions existing in 1948, there was an urgent need for the immediate declaration of a Jewish State in order to absorb and settle the hundreds of thousands of homeless Jewish refugees still languishing in European displaced person camps in Germany and Poland after the end of the Second World War. The Jewish Agency decision to accept the illegal Partition Resolution was thus an act of desperation taken under duress, a condition which legally invalidated its acceptance. In any case, the Arab rejection of the Partition Resolution and the war of aggression the Arabs unleashed against the fledgling Jewish State also invalidated the Jewish acceptance, thus allowing Ben-Gurion to consider the Partition Resolution null and void as early as August 1948, when he decided to annex to the Jewish State the area of Western Jerusalem and its approaches. He then did the same for all other areas of Eretz-Israel lying beyond the UN partition lines that had already been captured by the IDF or that would shortly be captured in the War of Independence. To implement his decision, Ben-Gurion had legislation enacted by the Provisional State Council, the purpose of which was to eventually bring all areas of the Land of Israel that had come into the possession of the IDF – into the State of Israel. That clearly meant that for Ben-Gurion, i.e., for Israel, the Partition Resolution was already a dead letter by virtue of Arab rejection and war of aggression.

    It was not only Israel’s Proclamation of Independence that failed to mention the San Remo Resolution. That was also the case for the Partition Resolution itself and the preceding Report to the General Assembly prepared by the eleven-state United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), and delivered on August 31, 1947. The UNSCOP Report, which alluded to the San Remo Resolution in discussing Palestine under the Mandate, said that “on 25 April, 1920 the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers agreed to allocate the Mandate for Palestine to Great Britain on the understanding that the Balfour Declaration would be put into effect.” This allusion did not further expound on the great significance of the San Remo Resolution as the raison d’etre for a re-constituted Jewish State in Palestine under the aegis of the Mandatory Power. The lack of specific reference to the San Remo Resolution in either the Partition Resolution or the UNSCOP Report can be seen as the strongest evidence that the international community had conveniently forgotten about this fundamental document that assumed the form of an inter-Allied agreement between Britain, France, Italy and Japan, an agreement that allotted an undivided Palestine to the Jewish People for its national home. Had the authors of the 1947 UN documents really understood the diplomatic and legal history of Palestine as encapsulated in the San Remo Resolution, they may have hesitated in recommending that Western Palestine be partitioned into Jewish and Arab states, a recommendation that violated not only the intent and spirit of the San Remo Resolution, but also Article 5 of the Mandate for Palestine which expressly prohibited the partition of the country, then still very much in force, as well as Article 80 of the 1945 UN Charter, which preserved all Jewish national and political rights to Palestine, to the exclusion of Arab claims to the land.

    Another pervasive misconception regarding the Partition Resolution is that it is believed to have constituted an “order” or injunction by the UN to divide Palestine, that had to be fulfilled by the respective Arab and Jewish parties. This misconception recently came to the fore once again in a front-page Jerusalem Post editorial (June 7, 2010), where it was erroneously stated that “the State of Israel was established 62 years ago by order of the international community, as the homeland of the Jewish nation…” (italics added). The “order”, as the Jerusalem Post put it, was presumably a reference to the Partition Resolution, judging by the date it was implemented by Israel – 62 years ago. However, this resolution never in fact “ordered”, but only “recommended” the establishment of a Jewish State in only a small part of the original Jewish National Home. Contrary to the newspaper’s allegation, the State of Israel was established not by the order of the UN General Assembly, but rather by the legislative action taken by the representative and responsible bodies of the Jewish People in 1948, namely, the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the World Zionist Organization working together, in choosing the composition of the People’s Council that proclaimed the State of Israel and then transformed itself into the Provisional State Council, the legislative body of the new State. It should be noted that the Council’s proclamation adhered to several of the guidelines recommended in the Partition Resolution for the government of the future Jewish State.

    It will take a massive effort of re-education to remind both the government leaders of Israel and the world at large that Jewish legal rights to Palestine and the Land of Israel derive not from the 1947 Partition Resolution but most certainly from the 1920 San Remo Resolution, the Magna Carta of the Jewish People. The San Remo Resolution is indeed the Charter of Jewish Freedom that had been vainly sought by Theodor Herzl from the Turkish Sultan to carry out his vision of a restored Jewish State in Palestine and the Land of Israel.

    • Thank you.

    • David Bell

      Oh Jesus! Another tinfoil-hat wearing member of the Hilltop-Settler San Remo brigade. Just what we need! More idiocy in a rational discussion of the facts of the situation!