The view that the Israeli "occupation" of and "settlements" in the West Bank and Gaza are "immoral" is the hallmark of the Left in Israel. Many of them believe that all of Israel’s problems stem from this "evil." In their view, nothing is worse than oppressing another people and depriving them of their national and political rights.
These sentiments resonate in every Jewish heart because we are a people with a long history of suffering and oppression. More than anyone else perhaps, it is our responsibility to examine carefully our behavior. We cannot do to others what was done to us.
In presenting their case, however, advocates for unilateral withdrawal from all or most of the West Bank and Gaza -- and the creation of a terrorist-led Palestinian state -- use arguments from "morality" to obscure something much deeper: their own unconscious sense of shame and guilt.
Ever since Israel entered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the Left has been apologizing for that miraculous victory, even though this entrance was the result of an unprovoked attack on Israel by five Arab states – the second unprovoked Arab aggression against Israel in 20 years. The first was an attempt to strangle the nation at birth. Moreover, this military occupation was necessitated by the refusal of the Arab states to sign a peace treaty with Israel and thus to prevent a third and perhaps fatal aggression. Israel's very existence was at stake.
The Left is even more incensed that Israelis had the 'audacity' to move into areas that were formerly forbidden to Jews – since as everyone knows Jews were banned from the 80 percent of the Palestine Mandate that Churchill ceded to Jordan in 1922. This despite the fact that a million Arabs live in Israel today and that Jews had lived in the Mandate before 1948 and until they were expelled.
In addition, no Arab-owned land was taken (or "stolen") by the Jews who built their homes in the West Bank and Gaza, but still the Left considers their presence “occupation.” After the Oslo agreements in 1993, however, nearly all Palestinians came under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The area experienced a period of enormous growth and prosperity for the Palestinians who lived there until Arafat and his terrorists openly declared a renewed war against Jews.
Since 1993 all Palestinians in the West Bank have been under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The only "occupational" activities Israel engages in is its right to defend itself by going into Arab towns to destroy terrorists and their networks, or when Arabs are restricted at checkpoints. These actions save lives.
"Moralists" of the Left draw the line of Israel’s borders where they were before 1967. But from the Arab perspective, the birth of Israel in 1948 was a catastrophe ( a "Nakba").
The so-called Palestinian refugees were produced by a failed attempt at genocide – to eliminate the Jewish presence in the Middle East. Using the Arab criterion of "occupation," the establishment of the State of Israel was itself "immoral."
What frightens the Left is the possibility that Jews "stole Arab lands," that Israel discriminates against Arabs, that Israel is responsible for Palestinian terrorism and that Zionism is racism. So they blame "the settlers," which is a convenient way of diverting attention from what they imagine to be their own original sin. Such is the mythology of the Left – a mythology invented by the very Arabs who would destroy them.
In a pathetic attempt to make restitution for Israeli "occupation of Arab land" in 1948, the Left wants to sacrifice Jews who have lived there since 1967. This explains why the Left clings so desperately and tenaciously to a "peace process" whether one is possible or not. Any agreement or move which leads to a Palestinian state vindicates what happened in Israel's War of Independence, legitimizes our existence and frees us from the burden of responsibility for Arab refugees.
Giving up the West Bank and Gaza means no longer having to say "I'm sorry." There would be no need to defend the Jews' moral, legal and historical rights to live in the West Bank and Gaza, or anywhere else. If Palestinians can be convinced or forced to accept a state in the West Bank and Gaza, we're off the hook. For the Left, creating a Palestinian state is doing penance. Then, they hope, Israel will be accepted by the world.
When I have asked Leftist friends and colleagues to accompany me to the West Bank or Gaza to see for themselves what is going on for good and bad, they refuse on principle. They consider it immoral to visit these areas, except to demonstrate with Peace Now and Palestinians against Jews, because it implies support for Israeli "occupation." Yet, these same people visit other countries that endorse anti-Semitism, oppress minorities and women and "occupy," persecute and murder anyone they don't like. Moreover, they seem unconcerned about the corruption and terrorism rampant under the Palestinian Authority. "Not my problem," they say. But it is; Israel created and sustains the PA.
By using "morality" selectively to justify their antagonism toward Jews who live in Gaza and the West Bank, the Left ignores the humanitarian issues of Jews whose homes will be destroyed. Oblivious to the consequences of unilateral withdrawal -- primarily the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by terrorists -- the Left claims a moral "high ground."
If Israel has no right to rule in the West Bank and Gaza, it has no right to rule over Israeli Arabs, or land and property claimed by Arab "refugees." In fact, the Left undermines the integrity of the State itself. If the Left is correct, than Zionism is wrong.
To root for the underdog can be an admirable. But there is no moral justification for aiding those who want to destroy your very existence through murder and mayhem. The Left's most dangerous message is that -- despite success in our on-going war with Palestinian terrorism -- we not only cannot win, but we should not win. That is moral depravity.