Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So Apparently There is No Occupation...

We at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation work to end U.S. support for Israel's 45-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. But according to a recent Israeli panel, we, and the international community, seem to have it all wrong.

"Dad, what's beyond that wall?" "I don't see any wall, dear son"
"Come on, it's right there" "Just shut up" (Amir Schiby)
An Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists said Monday that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not occupation and recommended that the state approve scores of unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts there.
"The classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades," the report stated, leading to the conclusion that "according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria."
Perhaps to make it very clear how unconcerned the commission was with the reaction of the international community, the report was published on the anniversary of the July 9, 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which determined that Israel’s construction of the wall deep into the West Bank violated international law. 

Of course who can blame the Israeli government for thinking it can flout international law without consequence? The commission's recommendation to legalize settlements goes against decades of
stated U.S. opposition to settlements. Since 1967 every U.S. administration has upheld the illegality of Israel's settlements, decried them as obstacles to peace, and urged Israel to not expand them. Yet for some reason the United States continues to send Israel billions of dollars in military aid as well as protect Israel from censure at the United Nations. 

When the issue was brought up at yesterday State Department
daily press briefing, the usual "concern" was shown. 
QUESTION: Just also on this topic, there’s an Israeli Government appointed committee which was looking into - was asked to look into the legality of the settlements and has come forth with a ruling saying that they believe that essentially these settlements should be authorized, which is the Prime Minister’s position. The Israeli Government hasn’t accepted this ruling yet, but that sort of stands ready to be accepted. Do you guys take any view on this sort of creeping legalization of the settlement process? And is this useful at this point ahead of Deputy Secretary Burns and the Secretary’s trip to Israel? Is this the kind of thing that you like to see happening? 
MR. VENTRELL: Well, I mean, Andy, you know where we are on - the U.S. position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.
QUESTION: So you would be - you would urge the Government of Israel not to accept this panel’s recommendation?
MR. VENTRELL: Well, again, my understanding is this is still - I’m not sure if this is in a draft form, but this is just a panel recommendation at this point.
QUESTION: And the Israeli Government can either accept it or not accept it. What do --
MR. VENTRELL: You know where the U.S. position is, which I just read out. So --
QUESTION: Is that going to be something that Deputy Burns brings up when he’s in Israel?
MR. VENTRELL: I’m not sure. I can’t read out his meetings in advance. But --
QUESTION: Understand. But you don’t think this rises to the level of a senior official discussing it with the Israeli --
MR. VENTRELL: Again, I don’t want to read out his meetings in advance. Let’s --
QUESTION: Well, is it something that you can say that you’re sufficiently concerned about that --
MR. VENTRELL: We’re concerned about it, obviously. The Deputy Secretary will be en route, and let’s see how his meetings go and see if we can report back to you when they’re over.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: A quick follow-up on this. When you express your concern, is it just done from this podium, or is it done officially? Does someone pick up the phone and talk to someone in the Israeli Government and say we express displeasure?
MR. VENTRELL: I don’t know if we have raised this directly with the Israeli Government. I just read out our position here from the podium. I can check and see if our Embassy has raised it.
The Israeli government may claim that there is no occupation, but there are millions of Palestinians suffering daily under Israeli military rule and it is U.S. money that funds their oppression. 
You see? I told you there's no occupation!
You can help end harmful U.S. policies by joining us at our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23, signing up to organize opposition to military aid for Israel, or supporting our work. 

You can find more "nonexistent occupation" memes here.