All blame Israel for 50 year occupation

June 2, 2017
Sarah Benton

This posting has these items:
1) Economist: Israel still occupies Palestinian land 50 years after its six-day war, Israel runs a mini-empire, but that empire defines what Israel can be;
2) Pax Christi: Pax Christi International in collaboration with its members, calls for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for a renewed peace process, the Catholic peace movement urges all actors to focus on peace;
3) Jewish Press: It’s Been 50 Years – End the Occupation!, an Orthodox Jew and right-wing Israel loyalist gives his reasons for why the occupation MUST be ended;
4) NY Times: The past 50 years of Israeli Occupation. And the next, the comprehensive assessment of Nathan Thrall;
5) AFP: 50 years after Six-Day War, Israeli-Palestinian divide widens, the widely-used press agency sets the minimum standard;
6) Haaretz: U.S. Jews Divided Over Whether to Celebrate or Mourn 50th Anniversary of Six-Day War, the headline says it;
7) IfNotNow: American Jews Protest pro-Israel conference on eve of the 50th anniversary of the Occupation, this is the admirable IfNotNow group of American Jews;
8 – JTA: Thousands rally in Tel Aviv for two states, against occupation, the rally was called in the name of “50 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.”;
9) B’Tselem: After 50 years of occupation, resolute international action needed to end it;
10) Haaretz premium: Fifty Years, Fifty Lies, Gideon Levy rages against the lies told by the Israeli officials and happily swallowed by others;

June 7th 1967, Hail the military conquerors: Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin and Jerusalem Commander Uzinarkis enter Jerusalem Old City through the Lion’s gate into the Old City. GPO photo

Six days of war, 50 years of occupation

Israel still occupies Palestinian land 50 years after its six-day war

Israel has become powerful and rich, but has not found peace with the Palestinians—nor with itself, says Anton La Guardia

The Economist, Special report
May 20th, 2017

IN THE BEGINNING they destroyed Egypt’s air force on the ground and knocked out the planes of Jordan, Iraq and Syria. That was Monday. Then they broke Egypt’s massive defences in Sinai. That was Tuesday. Next, they took the old city of Jerusalem and prayed. That was Wednesday. Then they reached the Suez Canal. That was Thursday. They ascended the Golan Heights. That was Friday. Then they took the peaks overlooking the plain of Damascus. In the evening the world declared a ceasefire. That was Saturday. And on the seventh day the soldiers of Israel rested.

In just six days of fighting in June 1967, Israel created a new Middle East. So swift and sudden was its victory over the encircling Arab armies that some saw the hand of God. Many had feared another Holocaust. Instead Israel became the greatest power in the region. Naomi Shemer’s anthem, “Jerusalem of Gold”, acquired new lines after the war: “We have returned to the cisterns/To the market and to the market-place/A shofar [ram’s horn] calls out on the Temple Mount in the Old City.”

This is a year of big anniversaries in Israel: 120 years since the First Zionist Congress in Basel; 100 years since the Balfour Declaration promised the Jews a national home; and 70 years since the UN proposed to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. But the commemoration of the half-century since the six-day war will be the most intense.

This special report will examine the legacy of that conflict. The territories that Israel captured are the defining issue of its politics and its relations with the world; they are also at the heart of Palestinian dreams of independence. The six-day war was the last unalloyed military victory for Israel, and the start of a transition from existential wars against Arab states, which it always won, to enervating campaigns against non-state militias which it could never wipe out. The threat of invasion across its borders has vanished, but the violence within them is unceasing.

In 1967 Western arms decisively beat Soviet ones. As America allied itself firmly with Israel, cold-war divisions overlaid the Arab-Israeli conflict. And when Charles de Gaulle switched sides to align France with the Arabs in 1968, in effect banning weapons sales to Israel (notably of Mirage jets), he unwittingly laid the foundation for Israel’s flourishing high-tech industry. These days it is France that buys drones from Israel.

The embattled refuge for the Jews became a mini-empire, ruling over millions of Palestinians. It was, in many ways, an improvised conquest, “The Accidental Empire” (the title of a book by Gershom Gorenberg), but one which has endured. The war awakened Palestinian irredentism and Israeli zealotry, and added the intractable power of religion to the forces of nationalism. The wall that divided Jerusalem has gone, but Israel has erected many more barriers that atomise Palestinian society. Israelis have grown rich, which makes the misery of Palestinians all the more disturbing. In uniting the ancient land of Israel, the victory has divided Israel’s people and coarsened its democracy.

Pax Christi International in collaboration with its members, calls for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for a renewed peace process

Press release, Pax Christi International

In this month of the commemoration of 50 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, Pax Christi International in collaboration with its members, urges the international community to call for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for the parties to reengage in a peace process in compliance with international law.

Brussels, June 1st – Beginning with the Six Day war, 5-10 June, 1967, five decades of military occupation in disregard for international laws and U.N. resolutions and the willful expansion of settlements has led to dire conditions on the ground that systematically violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.

“It is time for the international community to say, ‘Enough!’”, states Pax Christi International, in the light of this month’s 50th anniversary of the occupation.

This call comes at a moment when commemorative activities are being held around the world to raise awareness of the impact that five decades of occupation has had on the lives of Palestinians. In this symbolic month, Pax Christi International calls for governments, civil society and all people of good will to exercise their influence, through any means available – political, economic, public and private advocacy – to seek an end to the occupation.

For 50 years the international community has been witness to the denial of human rights and the deterioration of conditions throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. We have watched the slow ebbing of hope as lives are damaged by the policies of this occupation which:

· deny freedom of movement;
· limit access to critical services, especially health care;
· monitor and curtail access to basic necessities, especially water and electricity;
· diminish opportunities for education and employment;
· obstruct normal family life and the exercise of religious worship;
· negatively affect the Palestinian economic infrastructure, especially in the agricultural sector;
· punish legitimate, nonviolent expressions of resistance and protest; and
·impose regulations that create segregation and inequality.

Recently, Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, has expressed his deep concern about the deteriorating situation:

“The systemic human rights violations that accompany this occupation – collective punishment, confiscation of property, excessive use of force and unlawful killings, lack of freedom of movement and steady settlement expansion, among others – are intensifying an already perilous situation.”[1]

Rania Giacaman Murra, Director of the Arab Educational Institute in Bethlehem, explains,

“The occupation severely affects especially Palestinian youth and women. Palestinian children and youth don’t know how it was before the occupation, what it means to live in a land without walls, how it feels to breath the air of the sea, what it means to pray as Muslims and Christians without being checked and humiliated at checkpoints. Mothers often live in fear that their children will not come back home safe, that they are killed or injured or humiliated.”

The current situation is not sustainable. Reaching a political solution is the only path to peace.

Therefore, Pax Christi International calls for the parties to return to the negotiating table to establish a peace agreement that recognises and protects the human dignity and rights of the Palestinian and Israeli people as equals. We believe that the revival of a peace process must be based on a steadfast commitment to abide by international law and U.N. resolutions.

To promote and support such efforts for peace, Pax Christi International strongly recommends a ban on the sale and delivery of arms to Israel and Palestine and an immediate cessation of any military cooperation which contributes to violent conflict.

Marie Dennis, Co-president of Pax Christi International, stated:

“We are commemorating a sad milestone this month with 50 years of devastating occupation. It is urgent that it is resolved, as for both Palestinians and Israelis their future and hope depend on it. This is the moment for an increased commitment to reach a just and sustainable solution in accordance with international law.”

In recognition of this solemn occasion and to highlight the impact of 50 years of occupation Pax Christi International and its members will be involved in a number of activities and events. An overview can be found here:

Contact: Alice Kooij Martinez, Senior Advocacy Officer, Email:

It’s Been 50 Years – End the Occupation!

By Shmuel Sackett, Jewish Press
May 16, 2017,  20 Iyyar 5777

How long can people occupy a land? How long can innocent civilians live under difficult conditions? How much blood must be shed until we realize that this is simply not working? It has been 50 years since the 6 Day War… yet the dreaded occupation goes on and on.

I say “Dayenu” – Enough is Enough! We must end the occupation now and forever! I agree with 99% of what “Peace Now” says; no more war, no more stealing land, no more violence against women and children and no more occupation! The only thing I disagree with – it’s really just one word of what “Peace Now” says – that the word “Arab” needs to changed with the word “Jew”.

Here’s the change: No more Arabs occupying Jewish land. No more Arab settlements. No more Arabs preventing Jews from praying at the burial places of Yosef, Yehoshua Ben-Nun, Pinchas, Elazar and Itamar. No more Jews building walls around Kever Rachel and the Mount of Olives.

For 50 years many Jews have lived in fear in many parts of Israel. While it’s true that hundreds of thousands have defied danger by building homes all across Yehuda and Shomron, many more Israelis are so fearful, they won’t even drive to cities like Ariel. Every town in Yehuda and Shomron and most towns in the Negev, Galilee, Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights have 24/7 security. The time has come for Jews to stop being afraid to live in their own land and this can only be done by ending the occupation… the occupation of Arabs on Jewish land!

Actually, without even trying, things are heading in this direction. According to recent studies by Birzeit University in Ramallah (founded 1975) and An-Najah National University in Shechem (founded 1977), over 70% of Arabs, between the ages of 18-40, living in Yehuda and Shomron, want to permanently move out of Israel. I believe that it is our job to help these young people achieve their dreams by assisting them in any way possible – even with generous funds – to start their life in a new place. Why must we insist on occupying them? If they want to leave, let them go and prosper! As you know, over 95% of the terror attacks against Jews are from Arabs in exactly this age bracket; 18-40… so if 70% want to leave, Wadaea’an Iilaa Al’Abad! (Translation: Goodbye forever!)

By the way, please don’t think that this article is being written in a sarcastic way. That is not my intention at all. I really believe that the Arabs are occupiers. They are occupying large amounts of land in the Galilee, huge amounts in the Negev and enormous amounts in Yehuda and Shomron. This occupation prevents Jews from using these fields for agriculture, stops the growth of many towns and drains the Israeli economy from tremendous resources in both money and manpower just to provide security. Who needs this “dreaded occupation”, as leaders of the Left always say? Does the world love us because we allow the Arabs to occupy our Land?

Our Father in Heaven gave us a gift 50 years ago. The city of Jerusalem was united! All lands west of the Jordan – which contains 93% of the places mentioned in the Bible – were liberated! Syria was defeated and the Golan Heights was returned! (Could you imagine what would be going on there – right now – if they had the Golan??) What Israel needed to do at that exact moment was establish full Israeli law over every inch of those holy lands. Instead, we let the Arabs grow and prosper and occupy more land each day. The Arab occupying force gained strength, became much more violent and made life difficult for millions of people. The time has come for all this to end.

As we celebrate 50 years since the Six Day War, with all the wonderful things that came with it, the time has come to correct one major mistake. We need to end the occupation.

Please email this article to all my buddies in Berkeley and Columbia Universities. Tell them that they have finally convinced me. Call Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now and Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street and tell them that a miracle has occurred; Shmuel Sackett has agreed to end the occupation. It’s over. No more war, no more bloodshed. The horrible 50 year occupation must end now.

The past 50 years of Israeli Occupation. And the next.

By Nathan Thrall, NY Times
June 02, 2017

JERUSALEM — Three months after the 1967 war, Israel’s ruling Mapai Party held a discussion on the future of the newly conquered territories. Golda Meir, who would become Israel’s leader a year and a half later, asked Prime Minister Levi Eshkol what he planned to do with the more than one million Arabs now living under Israeli rule.

“I get it,” Mr. Eshkol jokingly replied. “You want the dowry, but you don’t like the bride!” Mrs. Meir responded, “My soul yearns for the dowry, and to let someone else take the bride.”

On this 50th anniversary of the war, it is clear that over the half-century that followed, Israel managed to fulfill Mrs. Meir’s wish, keeping control of the land indefinitely without wedding itself to the inhabitants. This resilient and eminently sustainable arrangement, so often mischaracterized as a state of limbo assumed to be temporary, has stood on three main pillars: American backing, Palestinian weakness and Israeli indifference. Together, the three ensure that for the Israeli government, continuing its occupation is far less costly than the concessions required to end it.

Each pillar, in turn, draws support from a core myth promoted by leaders in American, Palestinian or Israeli society. For Americans, the myth that the occupation is unsustainable is a crucial element in maintaining and excusing the United States’ financial and diplomatic abetting of it. From the halls of the State Department to editorials in major newspapers and the pronouncements of pro-peace organizations like J Street, Americans are told that Israel will have to choose, and very soon, to give Palestinians either citizenship or independence, and choose to either remain a democracy or become an apartheid state.

Israel now receives more military assistance from the US than the rest of the world does combined

Yet none of these groups calls on the United States to force this supposedly imminent choice, no matter how many times Israel demonstrates that it prefers a different, far easier option — continued occupation — with no real consequences. The only real fallout from continued occupation are major increases in American financing of it, with Israel now receiving more military assistance from the United States than the rest of the world does combined. Mistaking finger-wagging for pressure, these groups spend far too much time on phrasing their criticism of settlements and occupation, and far too little asking what can be done about it.

What supports the fiction that Israel cannot continue subjugating the Palestinians — and therefore that the United States will not be complicit in several more decades of subjugation — is a seemingly endless parade of coming perils, each of which, it is claimed or hoped, will cause Israel to end its occupation in the near future.

Initially, the threat was of an attack by the Arab states. But that soon crumbled: Israel made a separate peace with the strongest one, Egypt; the Arabs proved incapable of defending even sovereign Lebanon from Israeli invasion; and in recent years, many Arab states have failed to uphold even their longstanding boycott of Israel.

Then there was the demographic threat of a Palestinian majority arising between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. But official Israeli and Palestinian population statistics indicate that Jews have been a minority in the territory Israel controls for several years now, and with no repercussions: A majority of the world’s nations still speak of undemocratic rule by a Jewish minority as a hypothetical future, not an unacceptable present.

Palestinian and Israeli soldiers awaiting the arrival of new Palestinian police in Gaza in 1994.  By Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

Later came the threat of renewed Palestinian violence. But Israel, with the strongest army in the region, has repeatedly demonstrated that it can endure and outlast whatever bursts of resistance the divided and exhausted Palestinians can muster.

The next threats, too, came up empty. The rise of nominally pro-Palestinian powers like India and China has, to date, had no negative effect on Israel, which has strengthened ties with both countries. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, though noisy on some American campuses, has yet to make a dent in Israel’s economy or its citizens’ self-reported level of life satisfaction, among the highest in the world.

Advocacy among some Palestinian intellectuals and their allies for enfranchisement in a single state, the so-called one-state solution, has not been endorsed by a single Palestinian faction and is a long way from drawing majority support in the West Bank and Gaza. If the proposal ever gathered momentum, Israel could easily counter it by withdrawing from the West Bank, as it did from Gaza in 2005.

The latest, though surely not the last, in this list of threats is the prospect of political changes within America and its Jewish community. Israel has become a more partisan issue, and polls show a majority of Democrats in favor of some economic sanctions or other action against Israeli settlements. Among American Jews, a growing rate of intermarriage with gentiles is lessening attachment to Israel, and Jewish organizations are increasingly divided over support for the country. Despite such vexation, mainly among liberal Jews, surveys over nearly four decades have shown overall American backing for Israel over the Palestinians only increasing, and none of the hand-wringing has translated into changes in American policy.

For American politicians, electoral and campaign finance incentives still dictate a baseline of unconditional support for Israel. The United States has given more than $120 billion to the country since the occupation began, spent tens of billions of dollars backing pro-Israel regimes ruling over anti-Israel populations in Egypt and Jordan, and provided billions more to the Palestinian Authority on condition that it continue preventing attacks and protests against Israeli settlements. And those expenditures do not reckon the cost to American security interests of Arab and Muslim resentment toward the United States for enabling and bankrolling the oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

For the most part, the Palestinians themselves have done much to support the status quo. The myth upheld by leaders of the Palestinian government is that co-operating with Israel’s occupation — which, in fact, makes the occupation less costly, more invisible to Israelis and easier to sustain — will somehow bring it to an end. This will happen, the theory goes, either because Palestinian good behavior will generate pressure from the contented Israeli public or because Israel, once deprived of excuses, will be forced by the United States and the international community to grant Palestinians their independence.

Israeli soldiers prepare to remove settlers from a roof at the settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip, August 2005. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza  was effected with full approval of the US. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90

This is the myth underlying the continued support of the Oslo arrangements long after they were set to expire in 1999. It was also the basis for the two-year plan of former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to build the institutions of a Palestinian state, and for the 12 years of quiescence and close security cooperation with Israel under President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

A counterpart to this myth, propounded by Israeli officials and regurgitated by American policy makers, is that Israel will not make concessions if pressured but will do so if it is warmly embraced. The historical record demonstrates the opposite.

Severe pressure from the United States, including the threat of economic sanctions, forced Israel to evacuate Sinai and Gaza after the 1956 Suez crisis. It also compelled Israel to commit to a partial Sinai pullout in 1975. It made Israel acquiesce to the principle of its withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war, including the West Bank, in the 1978 Camp David accords. And it obliged Israel to reverse its incursions into southern Lebanon in 1977 and 1978.

By the same token, it was Palestinian pressure, including mass demonstrations and violence, that precipitated every Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who agreed to the first Israeli pullouts from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, made his initial proposals for Palestinian self-government in 1989, when he was the defence minister attempting to quash the first intifada. Even Yitzhak Shamir, then the prime minister and a vehement opponent of ceding territory to the Arabs, put forward an autonomy plan for Palestinians later that year.

As the intifada developed into an increasingly militarized conflict in 1993, and Israel sealed off the occupied territories in March that year, Israeli negotiators held secret meetings with Palestinians near Oslo. There, they asked for an end to the intifada and soon agreed to evacuate the military government and establish Palestinian self-rule. In 1996, the clashes and riots known as the tunnel uprising led directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to negotiate a withdrawal from most of Hebron, which Israel formally committed to do several months later.

During the second intifada, rocket attacks from Gaza increased sevenfold in the year before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced Israel would evacuate. (According to Israel’s talking point, the army pulled out and got rockets; in fact, it was already getting rockets before it pulled out.) Shortly after the Gaza disengagement and the close of the intifada, a plurality of Israelis voted for the Kadima Party, led by the acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who ran on a platform of withdrawing from the roughly 91 percent of the West Bank that lies east of the separation barrier.

As bloodshed diminished, though, Israel’s sense of urgency about the Palestinian problem dissipated. No serious proposals for unilateral withdrawal were made again until the level of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem escalated in late 2015.

Finally, for Israel, the most pervasive myth is that there is no Palestinian partner for peace. Palestinians are irredeemably rejectionist, runs this argument; they will not give up on their impossible goals and have never made real compromises, in spite of every generous Israeli proposal. The truth is that the history of the Palestinian national movement is one long series of military defeats and ideological concessions. Each of those slowly moved the Palestine Liberation Organization from rejection of any Israeli presence to acceptance and recognition of Israel on the pre-1967 lines, compromising 78 percent of historic Palestine. For years, the international community bullied and cajoled the P.L.O. to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, the remaining 22 percent.

When the P.L.O. finally did so, in 1988, the rug was pulled out from under it. Palestinians woke up to find that 22 percent of the homeland had been redefined as their new maximalist demand. Shimon Peres was among the few Israeli leaders to recognize the magnitude of the Palestinians’ concession. He called it Israel’s “greatest achievement.”

In the last quarter-century of intermittent American-led negotiations, the powerlessness of the Palestinians has led to still further concessions. The P.L.O. has accepted that Israel would annex settlement blocs, consented to give up large parts of East Jerusalem, acknowledged that any agreement on the return of Palestinian refugees will satisfy Israel’s demographic concerns and agreed to various limitations on the military capabilities and sovereignty of a future state of Palestine.

During that time, Palestinians were never presented with what Israel offered every neighboring country: full withdrawal from occupied territory. Egypt obtained sovereignty over the last inch of sand in Sinai. Jordan established peace based on the former international boundary, recovering 147 square miles. Syria received a 1998 proposal from Prime Minister Netanyahu (on which he subsequently backtracked) for a total evacuation from the Golan Heights. And Lebanon achieved a withdrawal to the United Nations-defined border without granting Israel recognition, peace or even a cease-fire agreement.

The Palestinians, though, remain too weak, politically and militarily, to secure such an offer, and the United States and the international community won’t apply the pressure necessary to force Israel to make one. Instead, the United States and its allies pay lip service to the need to end the occupation, but do nothing to steer Israel from its preferred option of perpetuating it: enjoying the dowry, denying the bride.

© Copyright JFJFP 2017