Israel is not an occupier in Judea and Samaria, according to Mayor Ron Nachman of Ariel, who spoke this week with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service. If Arabs living in the region are under a form of occupation, the occupier is the Palestinian Authority, he added.
Nachman recently joined several other Israeli leaders in Judea and Samaria in sending a strongly-worded letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon arguing on behalf of Jewish and Israeli rights in Judea and Samaria, and against the establishment of a PA state in the region.
International law clearly shows that Israel is not an occupier, Nachman said. He noted that several leading figures in the field of international law have reached the same conclusion.
Israel is not an occupier because Judea and Samaria were never an independent political entity, he explained. Historically this was understood, he said, pointing out that Egypt and Jordan were never referred to as “occupying” Judea, Samaria or Gaza when they controlled those territories between 1949 and 1967. During that time local Arabs did not accuse them of occupation or seek to establish an independent state.
The real occupying power is the Palestinian Authority, which oppresses Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, denies them rights such as freedom of speech, and steals their money and worsens their lives through corruption, Nachman accused. “They should ask the Palestinian leaders how they got to be multi-millionaires. I remember when they came from Beirut... They took control of everything here,” he said.
The PA itself is proof that Israel is not an occupier, he noted, as the PA operates entirely independently of Israel, with complete freedom to appoint its own leaders, make its own laws, and enforce those laws on residents of areas under its control.
He expressed concern over the PA's plan to unilaterally declare a state in the entire region of Judea and Samaria, as well as in Gaza and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. “The instant they establish a state, they will immediately accuse Jews in Judea and Samaria of invading their state, and it won't matter that the state was created that day and we were there the day before,” he said.
Israeli politicians must speak strongly on behalf of Israel's rights, and must openly state that Israel is not an occupying power and has national rights in Judea and Samaria, Nachman said. He called on Ban Ki-Moon and on European leaders to recognize that fact as well.
“The truth must come to light. The truth is that Israel is the state least guilty of occupation. It does not occupy, but is here by right, we have a right to this land, and that is what we must explain. You cannot be the owner and an occupier at the same time,” he declared.