Israel does not “occupy” Judea and Samaria, New York City candidate for mayor Anthony Weiner told a questioner Wednesday night.
Describing Weiner as a “notoriously anti-Palestinian politician,” the Daily Beast’s Open Zion senior editor Ali Gharib wrote that it received a video of a question and answer session at a Wednesday night event by those who were happy with the Supreme Court’s ruling against anti-homosexual marriage laws.
Weiner, in a debate with New York Times columnist Roger Cohen in 2011, said that Judea and Samaria are not occupied, and the questioner at Wednesday’s event asked, “Do you still believe the West Bank is not occupied?” Weiner answered, “Yes, I do. The status of that area is left to be decided by the people who’re there.”
“So it’s not occupied by Israel?” the questioner insisted.
“I gotta tell you; there are disagreements about what constitutes the West Bank,” Weiner said.
In 2011, Weiner made the same statement to Cohen, the columnist who has a long record of opposing a Jewish presence outside of what Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Abba Eban once called the Auschwitz Borders.”
Cohen sounded unbelievable that anyone would make such a perverse statement, and then asked Weiner, “You’re saying there is no [Israeli military] presence there?”
“Yes,” answered Weiner.
Of course, Weiner is wrong. There is a military presence everywhere in Israel, for obvious reasons.
But facts are facts. The question remains whether Cohen and Open Zion and prepared to refer to Palestinian Authority “police” as a military presence? After all, the Oslo Accords – remember them? – forbid the Palestinian Authority to have an army.
Wait a minute! Didn’t the United States train Palestinian Authority soldiers, who are armed with weapons, some of which have been used to murder Jews?
Yes, indeed, but they are called “police,” so therefore the Oslo Accords were not broken, at least on one count.
Open Zion was not satisfied to leave Weiner alnoe with the “occupation” issue. It criticized him for having the audacity to attack The New York Times for having an anti-Israel bias and then “proved “ Weiner was wrong by citing liberal commentator Alex Pareene’s reaction that Weiner “makes sense only if you consider any criticism of any action taken by the state of Israel to be out of line.”
If the newspaper does not have an anti-Israel bias, it would not have allowed the Times’ East Africa bureau chief Jeffrey Gettlmen to write last year, “For years, the United States and Rwanda’s other Western friends turned a blind eye to this meddling. Again, like Israel, Rwanda has succeeded in leveraging the guilt that other countries feel for not intervening in its genocide—in which almost a million people were killed when Hutu militias targeted Tutsis in 1994—to blunt criticism of itself.”
The Times‘ journalistic atrocities are too long to be published in less than a two-volume book, and it is fair to be against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, but, “Israel is like Rwanda”?
Open Zion also dug into Weiner for stating that the “status of that area is left to be decided by the people who’re there.” The forum’s senior editor complained that Weiner obviously was referring only to Jews.
“Weiner’s pro-Israel views [are] either a deeply cynical move to garner support from the pro-Israel right, or a testament to Weiner’s deep-seated ignorance of the conflict,” Gharib wrote. “When Weiner says people ‘there’ should decide the land’s fate, he’s almost certainly not speaking about the Palestinians in the West Bank, who live in stateless subjugation. And he’s wrong that there are disputes about ‘what constitutes the West Bank;’ right-wing pro-Israel advocates call the area by a different name—Judea and Samaria—and claim the land as part of Greater Israel, but no one disputes what the actual area in question is.”
The leftists are entitled to their opinion, and so is the right-wing, but decades of assumptions have made the left-wing case “fact” and the right-wing case “radical.”
If it were up to the Palestinian Authority Arabs to decide in a fair and honest vote what they prefer, it is far from certain they would choose to be subjects of an Arab state.
”Been there, done that.” They once were “subjects” of Jordan, which no matter how you slice it, illegally occupied most of Judea and Samaria – sorry, Ali, the West Bank – from 1949 to 1967. Their lives were miserable. They were neglected. No one in Amman could have cared less about them, just as in the Ottoman Empire.
After the Six-Day War, like it or not, the Arabs prospered with unprecedented growth, tourism and assistance from Israel – until the Intifada threw them back into the Middle Ages.
Yes, they did not and still do not have statehood. They never have. And it is questionable if they ever will. There is no “Palestinian” people, no matter how much Arab leaders try to invent the term. Remember, the first “Palestinian“ leader was Yasser Arafat. Birthplace: Egypt.
Ask any Arab, even those without Israeli citizenship but who enjoy rights by living in “Occupied” Jerusalem, if he wants to give up his benefits under Israel and become a Palestinian Authority state citizen. The New York Times and Open Zion will not ask because the answer is “No, thanks.” They don’t love Israel, but ask them over pita and hummus, and they will say they don’t want any parts of the Palestinian Authority warlords.
As for the claim that “no one” questions that Judea and Samaria are disputed, that is garbage. No less than former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and two other legal experts issued their Levy Commission report last year. It contradicted the Big Lie of decades that Israel is illegally “occupying” the land.
That view can be questioned, but it is part of the Big Lie to claim that it is wrong for anyone, including Weiner, to claim that Israel is not occupying the land.
As for the definition of “West Bank,” Open Zion should take a look at official Palestinian Authority maps, which show “Palestine” as covering the entire “West Bank” – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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