[Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
There would be peace in the Middle East if Israel just ended its occupation, right?
That’s what the Squad wants you to think, anyway. The statements of the three primary members of this winsome leftist House coalition on the Hamas massacres in Israel had the distinct odor of canned talking points. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Make Mine A Double) issued a statement that said, “I condemn Hamas’ attack in the strongest possible terms.” That was a good start, but she then turned on a dime to blame it all on Israel: “No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence and fear, and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region.” Ongoing oppression and occupation, see? If Israel would just ease up on the poor Palestinians, Hamas jihadis would all open restaurants and shops, and peace would dawn upon the region.
Not to be outdone, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) tweeted, “We know occupation and systematic apartheid are a violation of international law and it must end.” The Larry of this illustrious triumvirate (in case you’re wondering, Ilhan is Moe, the mean one, and AOC is Curly, the funny one), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah), chimed in with this: “I grieve the Palestinian and Israeli lives lost yesterday, today, and every day. I am determined as ever to fight for a just future where everyone can live in peace, without fear and with true freedom, equal rights, and human dignity. The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance.”
So all three are in agreement: Israel’s occupation is the problem. It’s a shame that we don’t have any real journalists today, because someone should ask the same question to all three of them: “If Israel is occupying Palestinian land, can you please explain the basis in international law for Palestinian ownership of this land?” They all likely assume that there was a previous Palestinian state that the Israelis occupied and destroyed, but in reality, there has never been a Palestinian state of any kind, ever, at any point in history. There has been a region known as “Palestine” since 134AD, when the Romans applied that name to the land that had previously been known as Judea, that is, land of the Jews. But “Palestine” was akin to “Staten Island” — it was only the name of a region, never of a people or a nation.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire had sovereignty over the territory that is now Israel and the supposedly occupied land as well. The Ottoman Empire was, however, known by this time as “The Sick Man of Europe.” In the early 1920s, just before the empire fell altogether, it conceded control of Palestine and the land that came to be known as Transjordan and now as Jordan to the League of Nations. On July 24, 1922, the League granted administrative control over these territories to Britain with specific instructions to create a “national home for the Jewish people.”
Britain immediately turned over 77% of the Mandate to the Arabs to create Jordan but remained generally committed to establishing a Jewish national home in the remainder. This was known as the Mandate for Palestine. Sometimes Leftists point to it as the Palestinian state that supposedly predated Israel, but this claim relies on the ignorance of the fact that this British territory had been explicitly set aside for Jewish settlement; nine years before the founding of the modern state of Israel, a 1939 flag of “Palestine” sports a star of David.
When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, it immediately had to fight a war for its survival against the surrounding Arab nations that had vowed to destroy it. Then there was finally an occupation — in fact, two: Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria (which it renamed the West Bank). Israel won back those territories in the Six-Day War of 1967, but that was actually ending an occupation, not starting one: the only international law governing sovereignty over those territories stipulated that they were to be part of a national home for the Jewish people.
So from whom was the land stolen? Not from the Ottomans, who had ceded it to the League of Nations. Not from the league, which had granted administrative powers over it to the British. Not from the British, who only had it in order to help create a Jewish state there. And not from the Palestinians, who didn’t even exist until the 1960s, when the KGB and Yasir Arafat bestowed Palestinian nationality upon a group of Levantine Arabs as a rhetorical weapon to use against Israel.
And it has worked beautifully. The idea that Israel is occupying Palestinian land was furthered in the 1990s by the Oslo Accords, to which Israel unwisely acceded, and in which it agreed to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, which would only become a new base for more jihad attacks against a diminished Jewish state. But a Palestinian state, if it is ever created, would be the first-ever such entity in the history of the world. There is actually no Israeli occupation at all. The Squad, and the left in general, is either ignorant or malicious. Or, of course, both.