Hussein Ibish argues that Palestinians are right to demand a definition of the West Bank and Gaza from the Israeli government:
Palestinians are insisting that Israel cannot continue to treat the territories occupied in 1967 in a selective manner, regarding settlers and settlements as unambiguously “Israeli” but the Palestinian population as fundamentally alien and outside Israel. The new Palestinian strategies are pressing the uncomfortable but unavoidable question: are these territories part of Israel, or not?
Throughout its policies in the occupied territories, Israel picks and chooses according to its convenience, maintaining an untenable ambiguity regarding the legal and political status of the territory and its residents. This ambiguity begins with the legal and political status of the population of the territories. While Israeli settlers live under Israeli civil law and with all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, Palestinians live under Israeli civil and military administration with a very different set of laws and without the rights or responsibilities of citizenship. This structure based on dual registers of reality in the same space extends throughout the entire system of the occupation.
The recent flap over Israel’s OECD membership is an excellent case in point. Israelis were outraged that Palestinians would object to Israel’s attempt to join the organisation, but the Palestinians were making an important point: Israel includes the prosperous, heavily subsidised, settlement economy in all of the “national” economic statistics it submitted for OECD membership, but excludes all aspects of the Palestinian economy that struggles under occupation. It’s not just a question of veracity of Israel’s figures. It is a demand to know on what basis Israel can consider the settlements part of the “Israeli” economy but surrounding Palestinian villages not.
Clarity is also the ultimate aim of the boycott of settlement goods recently launched by the Palestinian Authority. The boycott serves many purposes, including bolstering the Palestinian economy and harnessing Palestinian spending power in developing its own society.
It’s encouraging that the Palestinian Authority is using political and economic means to pursue statehood, in contrast to Hamas’ violence. I read a few articles about the boycott here (the link provided by Ibish), here and here (the last two links are from the first article). It reminded me of the boycotts used by American colonists in the early days of the American-British disputes after the French and Indian War.
I’d encourage you to read all of Ibish’s short article. It seems like he raises some good points.