By Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute—
Just when Congress overwhelmingly defeated an effort by eight radical Democrats and one Republican to defund Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, several “mainstream” Democrats proposed legislation that is equally dangerous and filled with half-truths, omissions and outright fabrications.
Congressman Andy Levin has introduced a bill that purports to further the “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although I favor two states for two peoples, I strongly oppose Levin’s perhaps well-intentioned but ill-conceived bill, because it would destroy any prospect for peace, would reward and encourage terrorism and disincentivize Palestinian leaders from negotiating with Israel.
The bill declares that the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip are occupied territories and must be referred to as such by all American statements. It implies that the occupation is illegal and entirely the fault of Israel.
First and foremost, it is a categorical lie to say that Gaza is occupied. There is not a single Israeli soldier, policeman, settler or citizen in Gaza. The occupation ended in 2005. Gaza could have become Singapore on the Mediterranean, with a seacoast, farming and democracy. Instead, Hamas overthrew the legitimate government of Gaza by force and assassination. It “occupied,” in effect, Gaza. It was only after Gaza became a terrorist enclave and committed war crimes by rockets, terror tunnels and terrorism that Israel imposed restrictions designed to protect its civilians. This is not an “occupation.” It is legitimate and entirely lawful self-defense. It would be a lie — a blood libel — for the United States to declare Gaza to be occupied territory.
Many Israelis and others believe it was a mistake to end the occupation of Gaza and allow it to become a base for terrorist attacks. Under international law, a military occupation may continue as long as there is belligerence, as there certainly continues to be. Had Israeli troops remained, Israel would be criticized. Now that they have left, there is still criticism. For some, Israel can do no right. Continue Reading….