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Israel is not illegally occupying Palestine

Israel is not illegally occupying Palestine, despite BDS’s claims on the contrary.

by Dylan Meisner, Contributor

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There are two troubling misconceptions of Israel and its conflict with its neighbors, particularly Palestine.

These misconceptions are responsible for the continued existence of BDS.

BDS is a movement common on college campuses across America that is anti-Semitic by nature, as it seeks to economically strangle the world’s sole Jewish state through boycotts, divestments and sanctions.

The two major lies are that Israel is illegally occupying Palestine and that the Israeli policy of building civilian communities is a substantive barrier to peace.


Israel is not illegally occupying Palestine, despite BDS’s claims on the contrary.

The argument is that an illegal Israeli occupation is taking place in Palestine is comically ignorant of international law.

It requires believing a twofold lie first that there is a military occupation, and second that said occupation violates international law.

The myth of Israeli occupation of Gaza is just that, a myth.

The Israeli military ceased operations and completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, making it impossible for a military occupation to exist currently.

Any attempt to muddle those facts is to be deceptive.

There is categorically no Israeli occupation in Gaza.

As for the charge of illegal Israeli occupation in the West Bank, it is completely legal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Article Eight clearly outlines the necessary conditions for an illegal occupation to occur, and these guidelines clearly exonerate Israel from any such charge.

Some of these guidelines are:

The occupant does not acquire sovereignty over the territory.

Israel does not possess the sovereignty of Palestinians in the West Bank.

The West Bank held autonomous and free elections in all the land they possess per the Oslo Accords of 1993, in which they continue to democratically elect the Palestinian Authority.

The occupying power must respect the laws in force in the occupied territory unless they constitute a threat to its security or an obstacle to the application of the international law of occupation.

The sole purpose for any military presence in the West Bank is to prevent further attacks against Israel.

When Israel does not have any military presence in the region, it results in a rash of suicide bombings and known as the Intifadas or other violent attacks.

The settlements:

BDS claims that the Israeli policy of building civilian communities in the West Bank, and the alleged Israeli occupation are significant obstructions to a lasting peace deal being struck.

This is a lie told by the opponents of the Jewish state for the sole purpose of delegitimizing the Zionist claim to historically Jewish land.

It is an effective lie, nonetheless, as it sets the stage for the last charge that Israel is illegally occupying Palestine.

This is a false premise that, if granted, skews the blame for the current conflict to fall squarely on the shoulders of Israel.

First off, Judea and Samaria, or Greater Israel, are all historically Jewish land.

One need not reference the Talmud or the Torah or any other Jewish holy book to make this argument, as it is one supported by science and historical fact.

Greater Israel, known as Eretz Israel at the time, was the eternal homeland to the Jewish people for thousands of years, before that Caliph Omar expelled the Jews from Israel in 637 AD.

This is a commonly observed historical fact, one backed by all relative anthropological and archaeological data.

It therefore follows that holding Jews living on Jewish land as being settlers with others in the region would be akin to suggesting that Native Americans have erected settlements across Alaska, or any other American state with a high indigenous population.

As for the charge that Israeli settlements are a significant barrier to peace this is also a lie. Israel has been in a defensive war since its inception.

The settlements may not be helping the strained relations between Palestine and Israel, but the former has been antagonizing the latter since 1948.

The settlement policy only began after the Six-Day War in 1967, and after Israel vacated all of its settlements in 2005, the constant shelling by Palestine did not stop. Despite every Israel abandoning every farm, every house and every shop in all of the settlements, the Palestinian offensive continued.

In short, Palestine consistently launched violent attacks against Israel before, after and during pauses in the settlement policy, invalidating the claim that settlements are the causation of the conflict.

It also debunks the claim that Israel withdrawing settlements (again) would lead to any meaningful peace deal.

It is necessary to speak to truth to lies, and when speaking truth it is duly necessary to give it full context.

Do the settlements pose some obstruction to a coveted two-state solution? Yes, they do.

But it is the Gazan shells, not settlements that are the true barrier to a just and lasting peace.

Dylan Meisner is a freshman studying political science. You can follow him on Twitter @DylMeisner.

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