Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Is Israel’s Presence in the Territories Still Called “Occupation”?

There is a joke that is currently making the rounds about an Israeli going through passport control at JFK. The immigration officer asks: “Occupation?” The Israeli says: “No. I’m just visiting.” The joke is premised upon a general perception of Israel as an occupier. That perception is so pervasive in regard to Israel and Israel alone, that the joke will not work if you substitute any other nationality.2 But does that perception accurately portray Israel, even after all the regional developments brought by the peace process? And if it is not accurate, why does it persist so tenaciously? In order to address those questions, we must first examine the meaning of the term “occupation.”

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