Occupation? What Occupation? Israeli denial comes to light
We've heard of Holocaust deniers, now introducing a new breed of Semitic-denial comes via a study done in Israel. A new report hot off the Israeli PM's desk says not only are settlements in the West Bank perfectly legal but that there is in fact no Occupation at all. The findings of an inquiry commissioned several months ago by the Israeli government concluded that no country has sovereignty over Palestine and therefore Israeli control is legitimate.
The report, headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, has only just come to light having been submitted as early as June 21. Evidence, perhaps, that the Israeli government had some idea of what kind of reception it would receive.
This is not an occupation
‘Israel: “There is no occupation.” Palestinians: “Great! Can we get freedom of movement and the right to vote then? Israel: “Wait a sec, I'm getting a phone call”’, joked one Israeli tweep, while others called the report “bizarre” and “delusional”.
The conclusion that there is no Occupation of the West Bank hinges on the idea that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents an occupying force moving civilians to an occupied zone, does not apply to Palestine. According to the inquiry, no country owns the West Bank and therefore there is no Occupation.
The report also recommends that the Israeli government legalize all settlements in the West Bank and give settlers control over the territory, based on the same theory of ownership.
Given the controversial findings, (reminiscent of the French paradoxical meme "This is not a pipe" or "Ceci n'est pas une pipe") many expected an immediate response from Netanyahu’s office but according to Haaretz, there has been no comment so far. Perhaps officials are a little put out or embarassed by a revolutionary comment in the vein of Israel's historical hardy female Prime Minister that suggested Palestinians did not exist. "There is no such thing as a Palestinian people."
There has been no such silence from Israelis online who continue to point out holes in the report:
“Don't tell the defense budget there's no occupation, it will kill it”, wrote one Israeli blogger.
Others claimed the report was only commissioned in order to appease settlers, who make up a growing percentage of the overall Israeli population and compared the Occupation of Palestine to Guantanamo detention camp.
ThinkProgress, the nonpartisan US blog brought it back to the international arena, pointing out the number of institutions that disagreed with Justice Levy:
“International law is based on consensus, and if most of the jurists of international law, all U.N. organs, the International Court of Justice, multiple U.N. Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the International Committee of the Red Cross, all agree that [the West Bank] is occupied territory, it is highly immodest for this committee to say otherwise…”
However, the settlement building continues and Netanyahu’s most recent response has been to endorse further construction for the future.
What do you think? Is the Occupation real? Tell us your thoughts below.
- 11 ways you support the Israeli occupation without realizing it
- what did we do to deserve this? palestinian life under occupation in the westbank. mark howell. garnett publishing limited, reading, uk. 2007.
- Book review of: What Did We Do to Deserve This? Palestinian Life Under Occupation in the West Bank.
- Breaking the silence: what Israeli soldiers really think about conflict and occupation