When an occupation is not an occupation

The Israeli army now says it can complete the Gaza withdrawal within 10 days. Former Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Arens, a close confidante of Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared on last night’s ABC Lateline. After claiming that the evacuation was immoral, incorrect, strategically clumsy and downright unfair to those poor little settlers – a view also held by Daniel Pipes, who calls the withdrawal, “one of the worst errors ever made by a democracy” – he claimed that Gaza was in fact not occupied at all.

TONY JONES: They are pulling out of occupied territory, it isn’t, after all, Israeli land that they’re being removed from.

MOSHE ARENS: Well, you’ll probably hear different opinions on this subject. The land that has been settled from which people are about to be evicted say in the area that’s called Gush Katif was empty. Nobody’s land was being taken, they were sand dunes. The people who settled there have turned the desert into vegetable gardens, into flower gardens, into agricultural land. Now they’re being thrown out of there, so it’s not land that’s been taken away from somebody.

No mention of the 1.3 million Palestinians living under military occupation. No mention of the daily subjugation of an entire people to satisfy the whims of an extreme Zionist ideology. And no follow-up question from Tony Jones.

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