‘Settlements,’ ‘Occupation’ Are Not The Same

‘Settlements,’ ‘Occupation’ Are Not The Same

I detect a fundamental flaw in some readers’ understanding of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Sascha Freudenheim (Letters, April 1) wrote such a benevolent letter of advice to the Jewish nation that one cannot doubt his sincere concern for Israel’s welfare. He seems to conflate the presence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria with “Israeli occupation and oppression of several million Palestinians.”

Jewish “settlements” are a separate matter from “occupation.” The division of the land into Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities is the proper subject of negotiations. In the absence of sincere negotiations, maintaining the status quo means allowing natural growth in these vibrant towns and cities. The PA’s objection should not veto the building of needed classroom space or the creation of new housing units to domicile newly wed kin of the current population.

“Occupation” correctly refers to the security requirement of maintaining a military presence on the highways that thread between the Arab villages in the West Bank. It is common knowledge that Israel Defense Forces patrols and checkpoints prevent terrorist attacks and infiltrations into the rest of Israel. Simply put, the “occupation” by the IDF is necessary because the Palestinian society has not forsworn violence.

Arabs live in Israel. Jews can live in Judea and Samaria, and their presence is not any obstacle to peace.
Len Druyan

read more: