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March 06, 2011

Sefi Rachlevsky and Occupational Hazards

Ha'aretz's Sefi Rachlevsky is overly optimistic. Some might say he is afflicted with selective vision. He once saw "quiet" during years of massive Palestinian terror attacks. Today he finds that only Israel is an occupier, and fails to notice that there are numerous occupied territories around the world. He writes:

Israel will soon celebrate 44 years of the occupation. For a lengthy portion of that time, we are talking about the last colonial occupation on earth.

This surely most come as news to the Tibetans occupied by China, the Chechnyians occupied by Russia, the North Cypriots occupied by Turkey, West Saharans occupied by Morocco, as well as those living in Georgian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Did I forget anyone?

And there are of course dozens of places around the world whose status is disputed by states, groups and other entities, as is the case regarding the West Bank.

Posted by TS at March 6, 2011 04:18 AM


Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not "Georgian-occupied." They are parts of Georgia, occupied by Russia.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 6, 2011 07:18 AM

Please don't forget the bloody mess that is Indonesian occupied Papua.

Posted by: Dave Cooper at March 6, 2011 01:17 PM

yeah. You forgot the Kurds

Posted by: Stuart Weinstein at March 6, 2011 02:22 PM

Gibraltar, Northern Ireland, Kashmir, Ceuta, Melilla, Perejil Island, Olivenza, Spratly Islands, Kuril Islands, Chinese Turkestan, etc.

Posted by: A.S. at March 6, 2011 03:07 PM

The residents of the Falkland Islands are British settlers who do not consider themselves to be occupied by a foreign power. Neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia are occupied by Georgia; they are both breakaway enclaves protected by the Russian military.

On the other hand, the USSR/Russia has been occupying (and settling) the South Kuril islands since August 1945, while Japan has never signed a treaty conceding their loss.

Posted by: Derick Schilling at March 6, 2011 05:50 PM

Of course, however, Israel is not in any way a "colonial occupier". Odd that even CAMERA didn't catch that out although your Hebrew site, Presspectiva, got it right by pointing out the theme of disputed sovereignty in many areas which could parallel the case with the "disputed territories" of Judea and Samaria. I consider those regions as part of the Land of Israel which were included in the original intent of the nations where the Jewish national home was to be reconstituted.

Posted by: Yisrael Medad at March 7, 2011 01:52 AM

You could argue that Australia is in occupation of the land they stole from the Aborigines; Canada in occupation of Indians and Inuit land; America certainly stole the Indians and there is a movement in Hawaii reasserting native claims. Even England can be considered in occupation of Wales and Northern Ireland. Don't think so? Ask the Catholics.

Distance from the homeland doesn't seem to be an issue. Consider Britain's continuing claim on Gibraltar and the Falklands.

However the biggest occupation is probably still Arab/Muslim occupation of the Eastern Roman Empire to this day. That one is complicated by Islamic insistence that anything conquered for Allah remains part of the Ummah even if they are not currently in control.

Where do you draw the line?

Posted by: David Guy at March 7, 2011 07:11 AM

The United States and NATO occupy Afghanistan and Iraq.

He would, or course, defend his statement as hinging on the word "colonial," so the argument is really over the false idea that Israel is colonizing a separate country, rather than building/rebuilding in disputed territory. I'm not a proponent of the settlement enterprise in general, but Jews were ethnically cleansed from Hebron, Kfar Etzion, and elsewhere. It is unjust for the area to have been rendered Judenrein by force. Also, a foothold in the strategic high ground is important for a country whose neighbors have repeatedly gone to war against it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this is the Jewish ancestral home, regardless of whether or not parts of it should eventually become a peaceful state of Palestine. You can't really colonize your home where your descendants are from and where your co-religionist/co-nationals continued to live practically uninteruptedly.

Posted by: g at March 8, 2011 09:47 AM

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