Skip to comments.Op-Ed: The Political Battle Over the "Occupation" Narrative
Posted on 07/23/2012 4:24:51 PM PDT by Eleutheria5
Levy's committee has restored Israel's legal narrative about its rights in the "West Bank". There is a huge difference in how a compromise will look if Israel comes to the table as "foreign occupiers," or as a party that has just territorial claims.
In January 2012, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yaakov Neeman, the justice minister, turned to former Israeli supreme court justice Edmond Levy to head a panel of legal experts that would look into questions of land ownership in the "West Bank" (biblical Judea and Samaria, located west of the Jordan River, ed) .
The initiative came about when it was discovered that a housing project in the settlement of Beit El, north of Jerusalem, had been built years earlier on Palestinian private land, and the government decided to adhere to the judgment of the Supreme Court to have the Israeli building project removed. The panel was intended to study how Israeli decision-making had been made in the past and what could be done to avoid such situations in the future.
Yet, looking back over the last two weeks, what appeared to hit a raw nerve with the critics of the Levy report, that was just released in July by the committee, was not what it had to say about the issues, for which the committee was appointed, but rather with how it dealt with the broader narrative for describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This became evident in how the reaction focused on the report's conclusion that "the classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria" (the West Bank). It was this sentence that was paraphrased and plastered on the headlines of Israeli newspapers and became a subject of debate in the international...
(Excerpt) Read more at israelnationalnews.com ...
Pliny the Elder, whose great work, the Natural History, aspired to present universal knowledge, wrote admiringly of Judea's capital and religious center: "Jerusalem, by far the most illustrious city of the East, not merely of Judea." This description reflects a view of Judea as an important country. Pliny described Machaerus this way: "Machaerus, formerly the fortress of Judea next in importance to Jerusalem". Machaerus was east of the Dead Sea (now in Jordan). It fell to the Romans in 72 CE in the first Jewish revolt, the last stronghold to fall before Masada (in 73 CE). Tacitus, a Roman historian, also indicates Judea's geographic expanse. He tells us: "Judaea was divided: the Samaritans came under Felix and the Galileans under Ventidius ". Thus Tacitus clearly placed both Samaria and Galilee within Judea. Strabo the geographer does likewise. He writes: "Phoenicia is a narrow country and lies flat along the sea, whereas the interior above Phoenicia, as far as the Arabians, between Gaza and Antilibanus, is called Judaea". Strabo's Judea is larger than that which Tacitus indicated here. It also includes the Golan and a strip of land on the east bank of the Jordan. Elsewhere in Strabo, Judea's southern borders reach into the Sinai, touching on Egypt. The Latin and Greek authors used Judea in a broad sense, although Rome changed Judea's outer and inner political borders from time to time, assigning parts of the whole to various Herodian princes or Roman officials. The Greco-Roman usage of Judea was much broader than the Jewish notion of Judea. The latter was Judah (Yehudah), the southern kingdom after the split of the kingdom of David and Solomon. A certain confusion now arises between the narrow Jewish and the broad Greco-Roman usages. The rough Jewish equivalent for the latter broad usage is the Land of Israel.
In other words, the historical justification for the Jewish claim to Judea is evident in non-Jewish (and even anti-Jewish) sources from 2,000 years ago. [Plagiarized from http://focusonjerusalem.com/whatromecalledthepromisedland.html but verified with other sources.]
I’m weary of the narrative that demands that the Jewish claim to Israel be justified. The claim is ancient, continuous, and well-nigh unassailable.
The Arab Muslim claim, on the other hand, is justified only by conquest, and is shakey even at that. The Romans, the Byzantines, the Mamaluks, Crusaders, Turks and Ottomans and Brits all passed through. The Jews were there the whole time, and always will be.
(And no, I’m not Jewish, not even close.)
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