In response to my discussion of the “God’s Jewish Warriors” special, Oceanguy said he was quite disheartened that I could be taken in by the propaganda he saw in that show. His particular concern centered around the following statement by Ms. Amanpour, ““Intifada, in Arabic, it means ‘shaking off.’ And beginning in September 2000, Palestinians turned increasingly to suicide bombs in the Second Intifada to shake off Israeli occupation and strike at the Jewish state.”
Oceanguy (as best I understood it and please feel free to correct me) felt that I was taken in by this statement, in that I agreed that there was such a thing as an Israeli occupation. He sses this as the worst kind of propaganda, because it sounds so plausible to those, like me, not intimately familiar with the situation. Oceanguy believes the territories in question are disputed, not occupied. He is certainly correct that I have believed that the occupied territories were occupied since Israel occupied them in 1967.
Now I readily admit that I am the least knowledgable person in this discussion. But please bear with me and help educate me as to why my belief is in error.
I don’t know the technical legal definitions, but it would seem to me that for a territory to be disputed, there would have to be disputants with competing plausible claims of right to the territory. I don’t recall that before the Six Day War Israel was claiming the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, or the Golan Heights as a matter of right. When they occupied those areas in that war, I still don’t remember them claiming them as a matter of right. What I remember is an argument that Israel must be allowed to keep some or all of these territories to give Israel defensible borders. The issue wasn’t whether Israel had a historic right to the territories, but rather the much more pragmatic one of Israeli security.
Thus, from my limited viewpoint, it has always seemed that the territories are not disputed, but occupied. Israel cannot create a dispute by asserting a right to the territories after the invasion, certainly not based on settlements on the land, or any occupier could convert any occupied territory to disputed territory by simply settling it and asserting a right to it.
I’m not at all certain that either term has meaning. The whole discussion depends on the fiction of international law (which, through the ICJ, has already ruled against Israel in the matter). Perhaps Oceanguy is simply saying, “We conquered it. We own it.” That certain has been the rule for nearly all of history and, for the most part, is how America came to exist. But he seems to be saying something more — that Isreal has a legitimate claim to the territories under international law, and it is that claim which I have never understood. Can anyone enlighten me here?