The following counterargument is taken from an article by Menahem Milson titled “How not to Occupy the West Bank”.[i]
“There was no official Israeli document like the U.S. Initial Post-surrender Policy for Japan of September 1945 defining policy in the territories…The nearest thing to such a statement is an article by Shlomo Gazit (who headed the Israeli Military Government (IMG) under Dayan from 1967 to 1974) entitled “The Occupied Territories: Policy and Practice,” published in January 1970 in Ma’arachot, the monthly of the Israeli army…
According to Gazit, the Israeli military government has presented to the Arabs in the territories “two assumptions” which they are expected to understand and to accept. The first is that the residents of the territories cannot change their present fate by themselves, and certainly not by force:
Admittedly they can choose to follow a course of provocation, disobedience, and sabotage, but they will not succeed in that way to overcome Israel, they will only force it to apply preventive security measures and severe penalties.
The second assumption which Gazit says the residents must understand is that:
“Israel did not engage in the Six-Day War because of its expansionist intentions nor from a desire to rule the Arabs. We entered the military campaign because we were faced with a serious problem of defense which we had to solve. The territories which we occupied were occupied as essential defense positions for Israel, not because of [a desire to rule over] the population residing in them…”
Gazit attaches great significance to the economic situation in the territories. In the short term he regards economic well being and full employment as factors discouraging terrorism…
Besides economic prosperity, the other main goal of the IMG is normalization… [Gazit wrote]
“For those [residents of the territories] who yearn for independence, for sovereignty, for a flag, a national anthem, and all the other paraphernalia of statehood – for those, we cannot offer any practical solution. However, as for the other aspect, that is, to what extent the Israeli Military Government changes or affects the ordinary regular way of life of the Arab resdients of the territories – here we can do a lot in order to dull the acuteness of the problem.”
In order to help “dull the acuteness of the problem,” the IMG intends to abide by three principles. The first is “non-presence”: the removal of any sign of Israeli rule – the Israeli flag, a military patrol, visible military headquarters. The second is the principle of nonintervention: that the population should administer itself as it wishes. The third, finally, is the principle of open bridges,” which makes it possible for the Arab residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (as well as visitors from all over the Arab world) to move freely into and out of the area…”
Israel had a policy of non-intervention in the territories. As Gazit put in in 1970:
It is the undisputed right of every Arab to continue to be a nationalist Arab with national awareness, to retain his traditions, religion, and language, to be proud of his past and of his national history…
The meaning of such an approach becomes clearer when we contrast the Israeli policy in the territories with that of the United States in occupied Japan. The United States openly aimed at changing the political culture of Japan. To this end it instituted a general censorship of all Japanese media, a comprehensive revision of educational curricula and school texts, and a ”purge” of public figures…
By contrast, censorship of the Arabic press, which is published in East Jerusalem and distributed in the territories as well as in Israel, is restricted only to military and security matters…
As for education: although Jordanian school texts were replete with anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish materials, nonetheless, according to Dayan’s biographer Shabtain Teveth, the IMG decided “not to censor…” Hence sentences such as “I will not forget Jaffa as long as I live,” “This is the weapon that will liberate our plundered homeland,” or “Holy War is obligatory”… were not censored.
As the Israeli military presence was reduced in accordance with this principle [non-intervention], armed PLO forces became active. “By the end of 1970,” writes one observer, “the fida’iyin controlled the camps and, at night, the towns. Grenades were lobbed into marketplaces to disrupt commerce, and at places where people congregated who worked inside Israel, such as post offices, banks, and buses.”
Most of the victims were Arabs…
On January 4, 1971, Arab terrorists tossed a hand grenade into an Israeli civilian car which had stopped in one of the streets of Gaza; two infants were killed and their mother seriously wounded. At that point Dayan was forced to order the army back into the Gaza Strip to crack down on the terrorists.”
Verification: Milson’s argument that Israel needs to be in the territories for its own security is supported by a Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense by the Joint Chiefs Of Staff of he United States which can be viewed online[ii]. According to the memorandum Israel needs:
“Control of the prominent high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan generally east of the main north-south highway along the axis Jennin-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and then southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at the Wadi el Daraja”
You don’t need to be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to realize the importance of Judea and Samaria for Israel’s security. One quick look at a topographic map makes it obvious. I’ve included such a map below which I obtained from a political advertisement[iii] from the Hatikvah Educational Foundation[iv]. The mountaineous regions are Judea and Samaria otherwise known as the West Bank.
Efraim Karsh[v] also refuted the argument that the Israelis were oppressing the Palestinians in his article. He wrote:
“During the three decades of Israel's control, far fewer Palestinians were killed at Jewish hands than by King Hussein of Jordan in the single month of September 1970 when, fighting off an attempt by Yasir Arafat's PLO to destroy his monarchy, he dispatched (according to the Palestinian scholar Yezid Sayigh) between 3,000 and 5,000 Palestinians, among them anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 civilians. Similarly, the number of innocent Palestinians killed by their Kuwaiti hosts in the winter of 1991, in revenge for the PLO's support for Saddam Hussein's brutal occupation of Kuwait, far exceeds the number of Palestinian rioters and terrorists who lost their lives in the first intifada against Israel during the late 1980's…”