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It is not the ‘occupation’, by Efraim Karsh (J. Post via Mosaic)

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Does Israel’s Presence in the West Bank and Gaza Cause Terror—or Prevent It?

JUNE 27 2016

In the aftermath of the murderous attack on a restaurant in his city earlier this month, the mayor of Tel Aviv intoned that, until the “occupation” comes to an end, terror will be inevitable. Marshaling a great deal of historical evidence, Efraim Karsh argues the opposite:

In the two-and-a-half years from the signing of the Oslo Accords [when Israeli withdrawal began] to the fall of the Labor government in May 1996, 210 Israelis were murdered—nearly three times the average death toll of the previous 26 years, when only a small fraction of the fatalities had been caused by attacks originating in the West Bank or Gaza due to Israel’s effective counterinsurgency measures, the low level of national consciousness among the Palestinians, and the vast improvement in their standard of living under Israel’s control. . . . In September 1996, [Palestinian violence escalated even more steeply].

If occupation was indeed the cause of terrorism, why was terrorism sparse during the years of actual occupation? Why did it increase dramatically with the prospect of the end of the occupation, and why did it escalate into open war upon Israel’s most far-reaching concessions ever? To the contrary, one might argue with far greater plausibility that the absence of occupation—that is, the withdrawal of close Israeli surveillance—is precisely what facilitated the launching of the terrorist war in the first place. . . .

It is not “occupation” that underlies the lack of “hope on the horizon” [for an end to the conflict] but the century-long Palestinian rejection of the Jewish right to statehood. . . . So long as that disposition is tolerated, let alone encouraged, the idea of Palestinian-Israeli peace will remain a chimera.

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