The Myth of ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’: Part Two - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Myth of ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’: Part Two
An Israeli flag flies over Jerusalem (John Theodor/

Find part one here.

In 1964, Ahmad el-Shukairy convened a conference at which he created a terror movement called the “Palestine Liberation Organization.” The PLO undertook to perpetrate terror acts against civilians to “liberate Palestine from the Israelis.” Yet none of their terror was aimed at driving Jordan out of its occupation of Judea and Samaria, nor Egypt out of Gaza. Rather, to liberate the newly fabricated “Palestine,” all PLO terror aimed instead at driving the Jews out of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ra’anana, and other cities, towns, and villages in pre-1967 Israel and driving the Jews “into the [Mediterranean] sea.”

To the degree Arab Muslims claim they want “back” their “Palestine lands” from which they claim they were “expelled,” those demands would not be resolved by telling Arabs claiming their families once lived in Akko (Acre) or Yafo (Jaffa) that, as a result, they now can have Jenin in Samaria or Beit Hanoun in Gaza. They don’t want Gaza. It’s like a realtor telling a Midwestern Jew seeking to relocate to the Brooklyn, New York, of his childhood: “I know you have a cultural longing for Brooklyn and the sights of Flatbush, and Irv’s Knishery of Canarsie. I can’t offer you that, but here is something that is basically identical: I have a listing in Chubbuck, Idaho, and another in Waterloo, Iowa. Believe me, you won’t know the difference.”

In the end, when the Woke speak of the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” they are not thinking “Gaza and Judea-Samaria.” Rather, their slogan is “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” Look at this map to see what lies between that Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea: the entirety of the country of Israel. How else to understand why so many “Palestinians” living in Gaza ruled by Hamas and in the “West Bank” (Palestine Authority) ruled by Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) live in “Palestinian refugee camps”? If those Arab Muslims truly are a “Palestinian” nation, and if “Palestine” and the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” truly are the regions of Gaza, Judea, and Samaria — then why and how can those Arabs living there call themselves “refugees” and demand — and receive — billions in international handouts from the United Nations, the European Union, and even the United States through agencies like the U.N. Relief and Works Agency as though living displaced from their own land? “Refugees” residing in their own land? Rafah Refugee Camp has 125,000 residents in Gaza. Khan Yunis Refugee Camp has another 87,816 there. Nuseirat Refugee Camp has another 80,000 there. Balata Refugee Camp has 27,000 in the “West Bank.” Shu’fat Refugee Camp has 24,000 there. Askar Refugee Camp has 18,500 there. In all, the Gaza Strip has eight official refugee camps and 1,221,110 registered refugees. The “West Bank” has 19 official and four unofficial refugee camps, and 741,409 registered refugees. That makes two million “Palestinian refugees” in “Palestinian refugee camps” all living under “Palestinian” sovereignty in supposed “Palestine,” with Hamas sovereign in Gaza and Abbas’s Fatah reigning in the “West Bank” Palestinian Authority.

It is Israel’s political tragedy that the Woke of the West now have glommed onto her as the Great Woke Cause for this new Woke generation. The Woke look around the world, and there no longer are right-wing dictatorships to hate like Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, Georgios Papadopoulos’s Greece, Anastasio Somoza’s Nicaragua, and the White-minority countries of Rhodesia and South Africa. Instead, each and every horrific, despicable, despotic, torturous dictatorship today that is built on midnight arrests and mass murder is a left-wing purgatory: China, Venezuela, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and more. The Woke will not target them because that would concede that all of socialism is a nightmare that not only fails to meet any of its promises but also turns entire countries into nightmares of death and poverty. So whom to target?

Israel is a perfect victim:

1. It is allied with America and shares common values rooted in freedom, democracy, and free enterprise; a similar heritage of fighting off the imperialist colonialist British yoke but retaining much of the best that England offered, and it is a better target than America because bullies never pick on someone their own size. If anyone would do to America as Arab Muslims do to Israel, and would shoot 4,000 rockets into Texas or even into Boston or Vermont, they would be obliterated off the map. Visit a museum in Dresden — or Nagasaki or Hiroshima — to get an idea. Or look inside the fish that picked Bin Laden’s bones for dinner. Or Qasem Soleimani’s ring finger. By contrast, Israel is small enough to pick on.

2. As important as it is for cowards to pick on small targets, the problem bullies then encounter is that no one really understands why such a small target merits their attention. For example, a bully who wants an ethnic minority to hate in America does not pick on Bulgarians or Albanians. Why not? Bulgarians are White, so Black Lives Matter would hate them, and Critical Ethnic Studies would denigrate them if they cared about them. They are foreigners, so White extremists should be hating them. But no one bothers them or with them because full or part Bulgarians, except for Rita Wilson and Christo, do not stand out. Same with Albanians: there are the Belushis, John and Jim, and Regis Philbin. None else among them has been nationally prominent. But Jews, who comprise only 2 percent of America, ostensibly seem to be all over the place. Jews are perfect for conspiracy kooks, both on the left and right. Ironically, Jews who care deeply about Jewish things have limited influence in America. They cannot even get a House resolution against anti-Semitism passed without agreeing to equate Islamophobia to the raw and brutal physical Jew-hatred that has been all over the news the past year, sometimes emanating from the extreme Right’s haters while increasingly stemming from Black Lives Matter Jew-hatred, augmented by such incidents as the murderous attacks in Jersey City and Monsey, New York. When Israel was attacked by Hamas, both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler shied from defending Israel forthrightly, both concerned about being primaried by Squad types. It took Christians to persuade President Trump to move America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

3. The multiplicity of issues in the Middle East are too complex for a generation with the limited attention span that social media has bred. Do u c y? This article barely scratches the surface of all the issues. There is history — Biblical history, the Roman Empire, Islam’s rise in the 600s, the Ottoman Empire, the post-World War I divisions of the land. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. The 1917 Balfour Declaration. The San Remo conference of 1920. The British broken promises to the Jews when they tore away 77 percent of their Mandate and created an artificial kingdom of Jordan to mollify Abdullah, the second son of Sharif Hussein, when he arrived from Hejaz into Transjordan in November 1920 to redeem the Greater Syrian Kingdom his brother had lost. With France holding Syria as part of their post-war spoils, the British did not want the French retaliating by attacking England’s spoils east of the Jordan. Then there is the history of Arabs murdering Jews throughout Judea and Samaria from the 1920s through World War II, with particularly harsh chapters like the 1929 massacres and the murders of “The 35” in Gush Etzion. The illegal and never recognized land grabs by Jordan and Egypt. The anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist three Jewish undergrounds that drove out the British even as Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was conspiring with Hitler. The wars of 1948, 1956, and 1967. The truth of how “Palestine” was fabricated in 1964, three full years before the Six-Day War saw Israel enter Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. The Arab terrorist dream of killing off Israel and driving the Jews into the sea. The 2005 Israeli handover of Gaza and removal of all Jews from that geographical “Strip.” It all is just too much, too complex, in a generation where an Ocasio is looked upon by the Woke as a leading intellectual even though she cannot accurately grasp that an amendment limiting a president to two terms could not possibly have been aimed at stopping Franklin Roosevelt if it was proposed in 1947, passed in 1951 — but FDR died in 1945.

4. People get dislocated in war. Israel’s birth saw more Jews geographically dislocated than Arabs. Arab governments confiscated billions more in Jewish property than departing Arabs abandoned when they left Israel in 1948 at the behest of invading Arab armies planning to eradicate the Jewish entity. During the last century, the world has seen so many tragically painful “population exchanges” play themselves out on the world stage. Greek ethnics were forced out of Bulgaria and into Greece, while Bulgarian ethnics were forced from Greece into Bulgaria. In 1922, under the League of Nations, 1.25 million Greek Orthodox ethnics were transferred from Turkey, and half a million Muslims were transferred reciprocally to Turkey from Greece. Fridtjof Nansen, the diplomat who oversaw the population exchange, was awarded the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize for his effort. In 1940, under the Treaty of Craiova, there was a massive population exchange: 80,000 Romanian ethnics were forced into Bulgaria, and 65,000 Bulgarian ethnics forced out of Romania. After World War II, between 14-16 million ethnic Germans were transferred out of Central and Eastern Europe and into Germany. Poland and the Soviet Union exchanged populations: between 1944 and 1946, some two million people, Polish ethnics sent to Poland from the Ukraine and Ukrainians sent out of Poland, were transferred. More than five million Hindus and Sikhs were forced to India from the regions that became Pakistan, and more than six million Muslims were pushed out of India and into Pakistan. This is reality.

5. Thus Israel, like Jewish targets throughout history, is small enough to pick on but prominent enough to draw attention and capture the imagination of haters. Even though half Israel’s population are darker-skinned Sephardic Jews from North Africa, Woke professors in the West tell their students that the country is White. Even though the country’s governing coalition includes an all-Arab political party loosely associated with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, and Arabs are equal in all walks of Israeli life, Woke professors tell them it is “apartheid.” Even though 850,000 Jews were driven out of their homes in Arab lands in the 1940s and 1950s, and their possessions and assets worth tens of billions of dollars were seized as the Arab Muslim countries of North Africa expelled all of them to Israel, Western Woke professors tell their students about “Palestinian refugee camps” with nary a word about Jewish refugees. Even though Israel risked her soldiers’ lives and millions of dollars to fly by cover of night into the Ethiopia–Somalia–Sudan morass in three separate covert operations over a decade to evacuate more than 30,000 Black Africans to safety and bring those Jews to be integrated into Israeli society, the Woke call Israel “racist.” All this while lauding Arab countries that deny women equal rights, permit vaginal circumcision to assure married women’s marital fidelity by making intercourse painful for the rest of their lives, bar Jews and synagogues, persecute Christians, and bar many churches while converting others forcibly to mosques.

So it is challenging to convey simple truths in a society where the Woke and their media have a tale to perpetuate, notwithstanding its base falsehood. When murderous Arab youths beat an American Jewish yeshiva student in Israel to a bloody pulp near-death on a side street, his life was saved by the heroic intervention of a non-Jewish Druze policeman who menacingly waved his baton at the thugs just in time. The incident was photographed. Yet the New York Times falsely captioned that it was an Israeli policeman beating innocent “Palestinians” on the Temple Mount. The lie was exposed only because the photo happened to show a gas station in the background. There are no gas stations on Mount Zion, the site of the Holy Temple.

That is what makes this fight for truth so impossible: its many layers, its complexity, and a powerful Woke political and mass-communications infrastructure that suppresses the Zionist message.

When someone murders you and seizes your home, your kids have a right to take it back. Israel does not sit on one inch of “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” By contrast, Vermont sits on land that belonged to the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk, and the Algonquin Mohican Native American peoples. Ben and Jerry and Bernie Sanders — three Woke Jews from New York, with lineage tracing to Eastern Europe, who virtue-signal by preaching about “Occupied Palestinian Territories” — left New York’s rich demographic diversity to occupy land in Vermont that is overwhelmingly White. They have made millions there from its soil, its non-GMO cows, and the grass of occupied Native American tribal lands on which they graze. When Ben & Jerry’s sold to Unilever, Ben Cohen came home with $41 million, and Jerry Greenspan $9.5 million. Multi-millionaire Bernie owns three houses. They preach shamelessly and, as anti-Semites have achieved successfully for centuries, jealous masses overlook them as resentful eyes get diverted instead at “the Jews,” in this case Israel.

It is a price Israel pays for existing. It is a price that committed Jews pay for existing.

Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., is Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values (comprising over 2,000 Orthodox rabbis), was adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools for nearly 20 years, and is Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before practicing complex civil litigation for a decade at three of America’s most prominent law firms: Jones Day, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. He likewise has held leadership roles in several national Jewish organizations, including Zionist Organization of America, Rabbinical Council of America, and regional boards of the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. His writings have appeared in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Federalist, National Review, the Jerusalem Post, and Israel Hayom. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit. Other writings are collected at
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