We must get the Israeli public to recognize this basic human truth: Occupation by a foreign government cannot be a substitute for sovereignty, just as slavery isn’t freedom, war isn’t peace and ignorance isn’t strength.
A Palestinian state that faithfully reflects the national yearnings of all parts of the Palestinian people, which deserves national freedom like any other people . . . will only come about with the end of the Israeli occupation and liquidation of the lion’s share of the settlement enterprise.
In one of the most trenchant articles ever written here against the occupation, Prof. Shlomo Avineri wrote that any denials of the fundamental fact that Palestinian residents of the territories — who have been under Israel’s direct or indirect control since 1967 — are under Israeli occupation “recall George Orwell’s book ‘1984,’ in which the government declares that slavery is freedom, war is peace and ignorance is strength” (Haaretz Hebrew Edition, March 17).
A recent op-ed by former Defense Minister Moshe Arens (“Gaza, a failed Palestinian state,” June 26), which claimed that the Gaza Strip is a “sovereign Palestinian state,” is clear confirmation of Avineri’s diagnosis.
Perhaps demonstrating how out of touch decision makers are with the electorate on the matter of Palestine and Palestinian rights, momentum in American government — local and national — seems to be toward limiting the tools Americans have to leverage their own economic and political power to end the occupation. At least 22 U.S. states have legislation that punishes companies for answering the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
The number of Americans who support imposing sanctions on Israel over its defiant settlement policies has shot up to 46 percent, the same percentage of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election.
That number has shot up nearly 10 percentage points over the past year, according to a national poll published by the Brookings Institute on Friday, on the sidelines of this week’s Saban Forum, “an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders.”
Among Democrats, a 60-percent majority “supported imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action” in response to Israeli settlements, the poll found. A much smaller number of Republican respondents (31 percent) support sanctions.
The United States, like most countries in the world, opposes the existence and expansion of Israeli settlements — both in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Golan Heights. Despite that opposition, however, Washington has rarely set any consequences for Israel’s settlement policies or actions.