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Santorum: West Bank Residents All ‘Israeli,’ No Such Thing As Palestinian – OpEd

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Rick Santorum gave several Iowa audiences last week a wow of a tutorial on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (here is the NYT’s take). Among the other fairy tales he spun, was that all the residents of the West Bank are “Israeli.” Those who call themselves Palestinian aren’t, because there is no such thing; and Israel “owns” the land by dint of war and conquest.

This, of course flies in the face of current Israeli and U.S. policy which recognizes, at least nominally, a future Palestinian state.  Not to mention that it creates a wee, small problem of what to do with the non-Palestinian (under his terms) “Israelis” who don’t consider themselves Israeli.  What would you do?  Consign them to be perpetual invible people in this Greater Jewish State?  Expel them?  You certainly couldn’t treat them as “Israeli” as Santorum infers, since that would confer citizenship on them and an eventual non-Jewish majority inside Israel.  You could conceivably have two categories of “Israeli.”  The “good” Jewish ones, and the less good non-Jewish ones.  The latter presumably would have a status inferior to citizenship, perhaps akin to that of a South African bantustan.  Or you could just send ‘em packing back to wherever the hell they came from (destination TBD).

Santorum also appears to create a new category under international law, “ownership by conquest.”  According to him, any nation that conquers any territory of another is entitled to ownership through war.  In this fashion, he likens Israeli “ownership” of the West Bank to the U.S. conquest of Mexican territory in the 19th century.  According to his claim, if we wouldn’t return Texas to Mexico why should Israel return the West Bank?

It almost goes without saying that Santorum is endorsing a one-state solution, in which Israel would be the only state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, and Palestinians would disenfranchised and/or stateless.

An equally interesting part of Santorum’s historical framework for understanding Israel’s relationship with the Arabs is the false notion that Israel was attacked “aggressively” by “the Jordanians” in 1967 (he’s confusing the 1967 War with the 1948 War, but no matter, what’s a small historical error among friends?).  That of course makes Israel’s subsequent conquest and “acquisition” of the West Bank legitimate, since Israel merely defended itself and only expanded its territory to create more defensible borders.

Apparently the new presidential flavor of the month hasn’t considered Hitler’s similar “acquisition” of Poland, Austria, France, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Norway and half of the Soviet Union during WWII.  I suppose by his logic we had no business fighting a war to undo that territorial conquest.

Those who are gluttons for punishment or more Santorum nuttery, may watch yet another video manifestation of his historical inerrancy here.

This article appeared at Tikun Olam

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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