1967 War and its Aftermath

Misleading: “Captured by Israel in 1967, Seized by Israel in 1967”

Jews old enough to remember May 1967 – the palpable fear of a Second Holocaust we felt as Arab armies massed on Israel’s 9-miles-wide-in-the-lowland-center perilous ceasefire lines, Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran, the United Nations abandoned its peacekeeping patrols and folded its tents, Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt, and Egypt issued blood-chilling cries for Israel’s annihilation – have a different view from the media’s on how Israel came into possession of Judea, Samaria, historic Jerusalem in June. Israel evicted the 1948 invaders, Jordan (from Judea-Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem) and Egypt (from Gaza), which, not satisfied with confining Israel to a small fraction of the original Palestine Mandate – “Israel’s 1967 borders” – again sought its utter destruction.

Misleading: “Occupied Territories, Palestinian Territories, Occupied Palestinian Territories”

The media is correct in asserting that Palestinian Arabs claim Judea and Samaria (what it and the world call “the West Bank”) and historic (“East”) Jerusalem for a future western Palestine Arab state. (Actually, the Arabs claim the entirety of the State of Israel for their state, thus replacing it.) But Israel has its own real and very substantial rights and claim, well-grounded in law and history to these territories, which are at most “disputed” and inaccurately labeled derisively as “Israel-occupied.” (occupying your own land does not make one an “occupier.”) These lands have never in history ever belonged to or been part of a sovereign “Palestinian Arab” entity or state.

Misleading: “West Bank”

The media and most of the world exclusively refer to Judea and Samaria as “the West Bank,” the term coined by Jordan after seizing it in its Israel-destruction-seeking invasion of 1948. Jordan’s occupation was illegal and not internationally recognized until it was expelled in 1967. Jordan rechristened Judea-Samaria as “the West Bank” in 1950 for the same reason the Romans had renamed Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina” and Judaea as “Palestine” (in memory of the long-gone non-Arab Philistine sea-peoples) eighteen hundred years earlier – to disassociate them from Jews. “West Bank” is not a synonym for “Judea-Samaria.” It’s an antonym.

Misleading: “Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Name for The West Bank”

The media repeatedly presents this “biblical name” characterization of the Hebrew-origin names “Judea and Samaria” to readers, to create the impression in western readers’ minds that “West Bank” has been the post-biblical era name. But all through the long, dark centuries of foreign rule between Jewish Judaea’s destruction by Rome and modern Israel’s attainment of independence as the land’s next native state, “Judaea and Samaria” remained in use, as documented in maps and journals. The United Nations’ own partition resolution in 1947, referred not to “the West Bank,” but to “Samaria and Judea”: “The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River.”

Misleading: “East Jerusalem, traditionally Arab East Jerusalem, Arab East Jerusalem, Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem”

Historically incontestable fact is that during the past 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the capital of three homeland native states – Judah, Judaea and Israel, all of them Jewish, and that Jews again became Jerusalem’s majority population, not in 1967 or 1948, but during 1800’s Turkish Ottoman Empire rule. Palestinian Arabs have not ruled Jerusalem for one day in history, and foreign Arab empires ruled it, with interruptions, only between Arab defeat of the European Byzantines in 638 and their defeat by the European Crusaders in 1099. Non-Arab Mamluks and then Turks thereafter ruled for longer than 600 years through World War I, followed by the League of Nations’ creation of the Palestine Mandate with its Jewish National Home. “East” Jerusalem never existed throughout the centuries, until invading Jordan, which was evicted by homeland Israel in 1967, seized the historic heart of the city in 1948 and evicted its Jews. Jerusalem had until then never been a divided city. The eastern section of the city is where the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jewish Quarter, Temple Mount and Mount of Olives cemetery where Jews have been buried for thousands of years are located. Jerusalem is Judaism’s holiest city; it is not holy to Muslims and is not mentioned once in the Quran. Since the city’s reunification by Israel in 1967, it has again become a single city for the past fifty years, according equal rights and access to religious cites to all faiths, contrary to Jordanian rule which refused Jews access.

Misleading: “Settlements, East Jerusalem Jewish Settlements, West Bank Jewish Settlements”

The term “settlements,” which, alas, Israelis sometimes themselves use, today denotes rootless outsider presence which does not belong there, may be the dirtiest of the loaded lexicon’s dirty words. The mainstream media delights in pointedly contrasting “East Jerusalem Jewish settlements” with “Palestinian neighborhoods,” and “West Bank Jewish settlements” with nearby “Palestinian towns and villages,” and “Jewish settlers” with “Palestinian residents, villagers, townspeople, farmers,” etc. The historical fact is that Jews have lived without interruption in the land of Israel for three millennia, 1500 years longer than Arabs and Muslims. Especially is this true of Jerusalem, to which Jews relentlessly returned after periods of expulsion by foreign occupiers, and throughout those millennia nobody called Jews in Jerusalem “settlers.”

Some basic facts: Israel captured Judea-Samaria (“the West Bank”) in a defensive war in 1967 and, when its offer to exchange land for peace was unequivocally rebuffed by the Arab League, began establishing settlements in the area. This was partly for the need for security, given the hostile intentions and actions of its neighbors, and partly to allow some Jews to live in places that had Jewish communities going back hundreds if not thousands of years, until the Jordanians ethnically cleansed them in 1948. Under the 1993 Oslo accords the Palestinian Authority was formed. 95+% of “West Bank” Palestinian Arabs now live under the authority’s rule. In 2000, then authority president Yasser Arafat refused the Camp David offer of a Palestinian Arab state living side-by-side with Israel and launched the second intifada, characterized by widespread terrorism inside pre-1967 Israel, most notably suicide bombings, that killed more than 1,000 Israelis and maimed thousands more. Israel again offered the Palestinian Authority a state on increasingly generous terms in 2001 and 2008, 2014, which were all rebuffed without any counteroffers. A unilateral total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, intended to allow the Palestinian Arabs there to rule themselves as a peaceful entity alongside Israel, instead resulted in a Hamas takeover, more than 10,000 rockets and mortars, terror tunnels and three wars.

Importantly, these Israeli “settlements” (i.e. towns, cities, and communities), as even Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has admitted, occupy less than 2% of the land of Judea-Samaria/”West Bank.” Furthermore, the vast majority of Israelis live in blocs located near the Green Line, many in communities that the Arabs ethnically cleansed before 1948, that it is generally accepted Israel will retain in any peace deal. Settlements did not prevent the previous Israeli offers of statehood, and they would not prevent a two-state outcome if the Israelis had a genuine peace partner that recognized Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People.

Misleading: “Occupation”

The declaration of principles (DOP, or Oslo I) signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 by the PLO and the Israeli government provided for Palestinian Arab self-rule in designated portions of the West Bank/Judea-Samaria and Gaza Strip for a transitional period not to exceed five years, during which Israel and the Palestinian Arabs would negotiate a permanent peace settlement. By May 1994, Israel had completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (apart from a small stretch of territory containing a small number of Israeli settlements that “occupied” not a single Palestinian and were subsequently evacuated in 2005) and the Jericho area of the West Bank/Judea-Samaria. On July 1, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat made his triumphant entry into Gaza, and shortly afterward a newly- established Palestinian Authority (PA) under his leadership took control of this territory.

On September 28, 1995, despite the PA ’s abysmal failure to clamp down on terrorist activities in the territories under its control, Israel and the PA signed an interim agreement, and by the end of the year Israeli forces had been withdrawn from the West Bank/Judea-Samaria’s populated areas with the exception of Hebron (where redeployment was completed in early 1997). On January 20, 1996, elections to the Palestinian Council were held, and shortly afterward both the Israeli Civil Administration and military government were dissolved.

In effect, a “Palestinian state” had been established. In one fell swoop, Israel relinquished control over virtually all of the West Bank/Judea-Samaria’s 1.4 million residents. Since that time, nearly 60% of them have lived entirely under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction (Area A). Another 40% live in towns, villages, refugee camps and hamlets where the PA exercises civil authority but, in line with the Oslo accords, Israel has maintained “overriding responsibility for security” (Area B). Some 2% of the W.Bank/J-S’s population – including Jews and tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs – continue to live in areas where Israel has complete control, but even there the PA maintains “functional jurisdiction” (Area C). This is NOT OCCUPATION.

In short, since the beginning of 1996, and certainly following the completion of the redeployment from Hebron in January 1997, 95+% of the Palestinian Arab population of the W.Bank/J-S and the Gaza Strip has not lived under Israeli “occupation” but rather under PA control. As the Palestinian Arab’s virulent anti-Israel and anti-Jewish media, school system and Islamic religious incitement can attest to, any “presence” of a foreign “occupation” has been virtually non-existent.

This in turn means that the presentation of terrorism as a natural response to the so-called “occupation” is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth.