B’Tselem newsletter: Nothing is temporary after 48 years

B’Tselem newsletter: Nothing is temporary after 48 years

By Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director, B’Tselem

This week will mark 48 years since the occupation began. Only two years shy of fifty. Think of all the people who were born into this reality: Palestinians and Israelis who know no other Israel, no other Palestine. They have never known any reality other than this “temporary” situation that has existed for almost half a century, with Israel as occupier and Palestinians under occupation. This state of affairs is the only one that millions of people have ever known. I am one of them: I was born after 1967. I have known no other reality, yet I know that I can no longer bear this one.

This reality will change some day. The exact how and when cannot be foretold, but in the meantime there are lies we should stop accepting. We must refuse to keep calling this reality “democratic” – a reality in which millions of people cannot take part in deciding their future and cannot vote for the institutions that rule their lives. And, we must refuse to continue cooperating with the lie that Israel’s control of the Occupied Territories is temporary, under the legal definition of “provisional military occupation”.

This reality is neither temporary nor democratic – a message clearly articulated in an op-ed published in the New York Times earlier this week. B’Tselem’s position paper published a year ago provides further details and in-depth analysis on why the occupation cannot be considered temporary.

As we mark this cheerless anniversary, we send you this newsletter highlighting our daily work to bolster human rights in the Occupied Territories, and to draw attention to the lie that this situation is temporary. As long as the occupation continues, we will continue to fight the human rights violations it brings with it: dispossession, blocking development, regular use of military force against civilians, two separate legal systems for Israelis and Palestinians, and the permit bureaucracy that controls every aspect of life for Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories – be it building a home, working one’s land, residency or travel abroad. To bring these violations to an end, we are unmasking the lie of “temporariness” and fighting for the one goal that will stop them: ending the occupation.

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