Occupation out, Annexation in

It’s about time we come to grips with it, we have to admit that for all intents and purposes the occupation has run its course. I mean not really, of course it’s still going on, we can hardly do without it by now. What I mean is that it has run its course as an object of hate for the left and an object to deny its existence, for the right. For almost 47 years the left has fought the occupation and the only result has been to convince too large a segment of Israel’s population that it’s a wasted effort and takes attention away from much more pressing social and economic problems inside Israel.

The tedious harping on the occupation has definitely cost the left support and the use of the word itself is considered problematic, identifying the user as pretty far out there, on the left. Strange isn’t it? A simple definition of the legal status of a territory, a correct one as well, could be problematic. Quite a few Israelis who feel more than ambivalent about the occupation refrain from protesting against it vocally in order not to be called leftists. That is a derogatory term in this country and not necessarily helpful to a budding career. Oh, and a minor problem – calling it an occupation and protesting against it for many many years made almost no impression on anyone. Nothing. Nada. Ask me about the occupation: It’s alive and well and kicking.

But seriously, to even call this an occupation? After 47 years? The fact that the sovereign in the territories remains the IDF commander of the Central Command, that the Israeli Supreme Court has determined that it is a belligerent (not a benevolent..) occupation and that the whole world, rock stock and barrel, I mean every single country out there thinks it is an occupation is not really good enough a reason for us to continue calling it so. I mean when Ehud Yaari, Israel’s darling Arab correspondent for the totally mainstream 2nd TV channel tells us to stop calling it an occupation like he did recently in a newscast, we should listen.

And yesterday at an event I attended, blogger Yossi Gurvitch, a proud left winger, came up with a bright idea: He suggested to stop fussing around and call a spade a spade, to help the Israeli public along with a more appropriate term, one that encompasses all and sounds a lot more threatening to some of us and like music in the ears of quite a few others: Let’s call it an annexation. Yossi actually said creeping annexation. Creeping my foot..

Calling what we are doing in the West Bank an annexation may give our many friends abroad a shot in the arm so they get their behind in gear to get us to do something about it.  Something the international community can get a little more upset about, something BDS can really get steamed up about. Occupation? It didn’t get anybody’s blood boiling (enough) for 47 years. Apparently it’s not a particular threatening term. May be it’s not scary enough. Bottom line – we were not impressed. For 47 years we just couldn’t care less. Well, we cared, but just a teeny eeny weenzie little bit.

Now let’s look at annexation.  Annexation has a much more finite sound to it, it doesn’t have that temporary sound of occupation well, kind of temporary. Annexation sounds final – wham, bam, thank you Ma’am, it’s our’s. Now go do something about it. That’s a real slap in the face. A real Crimean. Oh, but wait a minute – no it’s not a Crimean. In Crimea everybody got citizenship. What, we have an annexation where the annexed doesn’t get civil rights ? Now that’s a no no. So what is it then, is it not an annexation? A minor hitch, I’m sure, soon enough all the Palestinians will get citizenship. We wouldn’t want to be worse than the Russians in Crimea, would we?

For the government this could be a boon – until now it tried to defend itself against the claims that there is an occupation, a difficult task if there ever was one. Defending itself against the claim it’s an annexation should be a cinch. I mean how could anybody call this an annexation? Just because we are building there like there is no tomorrow ? Just because we are moving people there as if Israel within the Green Line is shrinking ? Just because more and more people live under Israeli law and not military law there? Just because we are acting like it’s within the Green Line? Green Line? What Green Line?  Oops, what happened to the Green Line?  The Green Line is gone, nowhere to be found on our maps. Disappeared. Gone. Thank you Ma’am..


About the Author
The author served in the Prime Minister’s Office as a member of the intelligence community, is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and was a candidate in Labor’s 2012 primary election for the Knesset list