Fifty years ago in the Six-Day War, Israel almost “accidentally” captured East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank). To mark the anniversary, the UN Secretary General just “blasted” Israel for these 50 years of “occupation” in the West Bank.
Instead of incessant criticism from the UN toward Israel, wouldn’t it be nice to hear a more even-handed UN demand to the Palestinian Authority to stop its own role in perpetuating the occupation status quo? For the last few years, I have been trying to grasp why it is that so many young people in the West are being lost from our faith. This is also happening in Messianic Judaism, and to a degree also in Israel.
The UN could say something like this:
We call upon you, the Palestinian Authority, to end the occupation. Your resistance to any reasonable settlement with Israel is the main reason that Israel is forced to continue the occupation of the West Bank. This resistance is based first of all on your refusal to accept that Israel is the state of the Jewish people.
The resistance to a settlement began with Jordan when Israel offered to return the West Bank to Jordan in return for peace with Israel. Jordan refused.
Jordan’s refusal was the catalyst for building settlements in the West Bank, to create Israel’s depth of security under the Labor governments. There was still the hope that Arab areas of the West Bank would eventually be governed by Jordan. But Jordan saw the difficulty of incorporating the West Bank again and gave up its claim, perpetuating the occupation.
The resistance to a settlement and the necessity of continued occupation was demonstrated in the peace plan put forth by Ehud Barak and supported by President Bill Clinton. When Arafat refused it, President Clinton turned to him and said, “You have made me a failure.” Afterward Arafat initiated a new violent intifada uprising.
Indeed, you perpetuate the refugee problem and poverty. Never in other wars has a refugee situation lasted for several generations. As time passes, refugees are resettled. But you seek to perpetuate the pitiful situation.
Even now you name streets, squares and buildings after terrorists. You educate your children to hatred and rejection of the Jewish State. You do not foster the conditions for peace. By doing this you force Israel to continue the occupation. You play a double game and cooperate with Israel so you can stay in power and oppose Hamas, but at the same time you promote and encourage violence. You say one thing in English to the world and the opposite to your own people in Arabic when you think no one else is listening.
Indeed, when you negotiate, you never accept a reasonable agreement on the matters of Israel’s security needs. You also know that Israel cannot give up the burgeoning Jewish neighborhoods east of the armistice line. But you press these issues to make peace impossible. You even reject any Jewish connection to the Temple area and to the Jewish areas of East Jerusalem that were Jewish prior to the 1948 war. By taking such a position you force continued occupation.
There are many plans to end the occupation from Israel. There is a reasonable two state solution or a three state solution (seeing that Gaza is separate). There is a linkage of Palestinian autonomy to Jordan. For international citizenship and foreign relationships you would have Jordanian citizenship but would be domestically independent in your own affairs. You would have Jordanian and Israeli connections for economic development. There are plans for a one state solution where all presently in the West Bank are given Israeli citizenship, but the refugees who are not within the greater Israel borders would have to be resettled in other countries.
These plans are all reasonable, and have pros and cons. But you reject every single one. As leaders you are enriched by the occupation. You receive billions of dollars in aid and pocket a good percentage of it. You live in mansions, drive fancy cars and have foreign bank accounts. You are personally rich while your people remain, largely, poor. Why would you want to end the occupation since you are getting rich off of the occupation?
Nevertheless we call upon the Palestinian Authority to end the occupation.
This article originally appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, July 2017, and reposted with permission.