The no-longer temporary occupation

Joseph Dana writes:

One particular success of Israel’s 44-year control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been the government’s ability to convince the Israeli population of the temporary nature of the occupation. Every sector of Israeli society, except religious settlers and the military establishment, understand the occupation to be an ephemeral security measure necessary only in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Ask any Israeli on the streets of Tel Aviv whether they think that Israel will permanently control the Occupied Territories and the immediate answer will be no, it is all about immediate security. This charade is exploited by successive Israeli governments as they proclaim a desire for peace while simultaneously creating permanent facts on ground like Jewish settler roads, checkpoints for Palestinians and new settlements.

Despite the proximity of the Occupied Territories to major Israeli population centers, few Israelis other than soldiers and settlers visit the Territories. Since the creation of Israel’s controversial separation barrier and the denial of thousands of Palestinian work permits to Israel, Israeli society has all but disengaged from Palestinian society. This allows the occupation to feel distant and outside the everyday lives of Israelis. Palestinians, of course, are still confronted with the daily presence of Israeli military power and mechanisms of control.

Some Israeli scholars, such as Bar Ilan University lecturer Ariella Azoulay, and Tel Aviv University professor Adi Ophir, have proposed that without this perceived temporariness and external character of the occupation, Israel would have a hard time maintaining its mandatory military conscription. A greater number of citizens would question the long- term objectives.

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