On the 47th Anniversary of the Occupation: Time for Hard Truths, Tough Actions
Forty-seven years ago this week, Israel won a stunning victory in the 1967 War. This was not a war of Israel’s choice or making. It was a defensive war, with Israel facing threats by armies from countries on all sides seeking Israel’s destruction. Repelling and defeating these armies, Israel sent a resounding message to the region and the world: we are here to stay.
Israel’s victory in the 1967 War left it with a pressing question: what to do with the additional land now under its control: the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. As recognized by many Israelis – and demonstrated in the Camp David Accords with Egypt – these lands offered Israel the opportunity to normalize its position in the region through agreements with its Arab neighbors, based on the principle of land for peace.
Forty-seven years later, such normalization remains a distant dream. Rather than act in good faith to seek agreements based on land-for-peace, for 47 years successive Israeli governments have actively and passively collaborated with Israel’s own extremists in their efforts to take land-for-peace off the table in favor of fulfilling their own grandiose, messianic vision of Greater Israel. And now they’ve succeeding in killing what many believed was the best chance for a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians that has ever existed, and the best chance that may exist for a long time to come.