Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Israeli "Occupation" and the ROLV Fallacy


Why Lifting the Israeli 'Occupation' Won't Stop Violence

Posted By Steven Plaut On January 9, 2013

There seems to be a wide misconception that the Middle East conflict
is complicated. In fact it is really rather simple. Indeed, one can
basically summarize and explain the entire conflict within the context
of the words "occupation" or "occupied territories" and with respect
to beliefs about the effects of such "occupation."

Let me explain. For most of the past 46 years (since 1967), there has
been something of a universal consensus among those agreeing that
removing or eliminating the Israeli "occupation" over the West Bank
and Gaza, areas dubbed "The Occupied Palestinian Territories," would
reduce tensions and make the region more tranquil, possibly leading to
full peace between Israel and its neighbors. Let us dub this theory
the Removal of Occupation Lowers Violence (henceforth the ROLV) Axiom.

It would be hard to exaggerate how broad the ROLV consensus is in the
world. Outside of Israel it is essentially universal. Even within
Israel, for much of the past two generations this ROLV has been the
consensus position of the bulk of the Israeli political spectrum.
Almost all Israeli parties have long agreed, certainly since the "Oslo
Accords" of the early 1990s, that the key to reducing tensions between
Israel and the Arab world is via partial or total removal of Israeli
"occupation" of those territories. With the exception of small parties
on the Israeli Right, basically the entire Israeli political elite,
including Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud, is at least nominally
committed to the ROLV axiom. In this sense, (Israeli President) Shimon
Peres' recent pronouncement that there is near consensus in Israel
behind the so-called "two-state solution" was only partly his
imagination. (The President in Israel is little more than an honorary
post like the queen of Holland, whereas the real head of state is the
Prime Minister, and so Peres really represents no one.) While
acceptance of the ROLV axiom, holding that removal of occupation leads
to reduction in violence, is not quite the same thing as the
"Two-State Solution" that Peres advocates, its broad acceptance by so
many Israeli political parties provides a small basis for Peres'
Everything needed to understand the Middle East conflict can be
grasped if one bears in mind that near-universal consensus behind ROLV
and one second fact. The second fact is that the international
consensus about removal of Israeli occupation is empirically false and
nearly all Israelis understand that it is false.

It is somewhat difficult to document exactly what Israelis think about
the "removal of occupation" and the so-called Two-State Solution. Many
of the public opinion polls in Israel are deliberated distorted by
people with an ideological axe to grind, one that precludes asking
candidly what Israelis think. An example was a recent poll that asked
what the respondent would think about a Palestinian state if it were
to be effectively demilitarized, proclaimed its friendly intentions
towards Israel, and proved its intentions over a long testing period.
The question was science fiction; it was like asking how you would
respond if friendly space aliens landed in a flying saucer on your
lawn and offered you a Starbucks. So it was not surprising when fewer
than half of Israelis said that even then they would still be opposed
to a Palestinian state.

Occasionally the truth seeps through, such as in another recent poll
in which Israeli Jews opposing the "Two State Solution" outnumbered
those who endorse it by between 6 and 10 to one.

The simple truth of the matter is that almost all Israelis by now
understand clearly that removal of Israeli occupation does not reduce
violence, but rather it escalates violence. Almost all Israelis
understand that a copy-and-paste job of the unilateral Israeli
withdrawal from Gaza applied to the West Bank, which is pretty much
what the whole world is demanding (including the Obama
administration), would result in tens of thousands of rockets and
missiles fired at the Jews of Israel by the Arabs in those "liberated
territories." And probably also weapons of mass destruction. The
universal ROLV axiom is simply wrong and almost all Israelis realize
it is wrong, even if nearly 100% of the rest of the world thinks it is

And wrong it is. The unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza proved
better than any controlled laboratory experiment how invalid ROLV is
and what the real effect of "ending occupation" is. True, the
anti-Semites and their terrorist allies claim Israel never really
relinquished its occupation over the Gaza Strip, although their claim
exhibits Orwellian levels of NewThink pretense and cognitive
dissonance. If there is not a single Jew in Gaza and the Gazans enter
and leave Gaza freely and smuggle in unlimited stocks of weapons from
Iran, while running their own economy, in what way exactly can this be
considered to be Israeli occupation? It is occupation only in the
sense that the US "occupies" Castro's Cuba, by imposing some limits
and restrictions on the trade done with the pseudo-occupied by the

In my opinion, at least 95% of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs
understand perfectly that the ROLV axiom about removal of Israeli
occupation producing tranquility is fallacious. Israeli Arabs and the
Jewish Far Left (and that includes the Tenured Left) support the
removal of occupation precisely because they know – like other
Israelis – that it will produce escalation of violence and tens of
thousands of rockets and missiles landing on Israeli Jewish civilians.
Unlike other Israelis, the Radical Left and Israeli Arabs favor those
developments because they hate Israel and want it eliminated. They
understand as well as everyone else that the axiom of Removal of
Occupation Lowering Violence is incorrect.

For the rest of the Israeli public, skepticism and disbelief regarding
ROLV is nearly universal, almost as widespread as belief in the ROLV
axiom outside of Israel. The only group within Israel that still
believes in ROLV is confined to one or two political parties (the
Labor Party and Meretz) of the less-extreme Left, and these parties
are expected to get less than one vote in 6 in the upcoming elections.
In my opinion, even many of those who vote for these two parties do
not really believe in ROLV, and in fact much of the remaining vote in
favor of Meretz is coming from the anti-Israel extremists who seek
Israel's elimination.
While Israeli political parties, especially the Likud, may still pay
lip service to ROLV, almost none of their rank and file supporters and
voters believe in it. Indeed, the parties pay the price for their
superficial posturing in favor of ROLV. Some of the posturing is to
gain support (including financing) from overseas believers in ROLV, or
to curry favor with the Obama administration and other foreign
governments. But those going through the posturing are as aware as
everyone else that the ROLV is false and that almost all Israelis
understand that it is false.

There have been proposals to condition any "deal" that removes Israeli
occupation from large swaths of the West Bank on an Israeli national
referendum. The Likud and most of the establishment Israeli parties
strongly oppose this. The Israeli radical Tenured Left opposes such a
referendum with hysterical jeremiads, labeling any proposal for such a
referendum anti-democratic and fascist.

Everyone, including Israel's treasonous Left, knows that a referendum
on ROLV would not pass because almost no one in Israel believes in
ROLV anymore.

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Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com
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