According to Jessica Montell (“The West Bank is under military occupation, and that’s a fact,” WJW, April 10), “Millions of Palestinians have lived for almost half a century under [Israeli] military rule, denied basic rights and subject to the whims of a government they did not elect… .”
Ms. Montell seems to be a bit behind the times. Back in 1995, Israel withdrew from the cities in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank) where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside. And in 2005, Israel withdrew from 100 percent of the Gaza Strip.
Thus virtually all of the Palestinian Arabs live under Palestinian rule. They are governed by the Palestinian Authority in Judea-Samaria, and by Hamas in Gaza. They run their own affairs, and vote in their own elections. They enjoy self-rule in every significant respect but two: they do not have total control of their borders, and they do not have a full-fledged army.
If Ms. Montell wants to argue that the Palestinians should be given an army and control of their borders, let her make that case. But don’t pretend that this is a debate over the “occupation” of the Palestinians – that occupation ended long ago. It’s a debate over whether Israel should be restricted to its old nine-miles-wide borders; whether it would be safe to have a sovereign Palestinian state with an army next door; whether Jerusalem should be torn in two; and whether the historic homeland of the Jewish people, including some of the holiest sites in Judaism, should be returned to the Arab forces that desecrated and destroyed them prior to 1967.
MOSHE PHILLIPS, president,
BENYAMIN KORN, chairman,
Religious Zionists of America-Philadelphia Chapter