This blog is an unpublished letter I wrote for the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland’s opinion piece on 21st May, “Israel should take note: the weight of opinion is turning against it.”
Jonathan Freedland claims (22/5/2021) that the day has come closer that “if Israel did not do the right thing and end it [the occupation], it would eventually be branded a pariah state.” I expect that defenders of Israel’s continuing military occupation of millions of Palestinians will argue back that Israel does not have a partner with which to negotiate the end of occupation.
Even if that is the case, here are five steps the Israeli government could take towards ending occupation on its own initiative. 1) Repeal the odious, racist 2018 Jewish nation-state law which establishes “Jewish settlement as a national value;” 2) remove at least some of the 135 outposts in the West Bank which are illegal even according to Israeli law and whose expansion dispossesses Palestinians; 3) end the blockade of Gaza, allowing the flow of people and goods; 4) repeal the application of the Absentee Property Law in East Jerusalem (the law which is enabling the dispossession of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah) and implement plans to equalize the city’s non-citizen Palestinian residents with its Jewish residents; 5) fulfil its obligations as an occupier to the Palestinians under its military rule by protecting them from continuous settler harassment, instead of working hand-in-glove with the settlers.
That is not a full list of all the Israeli government could do, but the reality that no Israeli government is willing to take such steps should give pause to those who lend their automatic support to it.