David Frum Claims The West Bank Is Israel

Debating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — or lack of one — with Daniel Levy, David Frum makes a pretty interesting assertion, referring to the West Bank as “the Palestinian areas of Israel.”

Watch it:

The West Bank is considered occupied territory under international law. Levy rightly challenges Frum on this point, suggesting that if these are “the Palestinian areas of Israel” then the simple answer is to “just give the Palestinians the vote.” Frum says simply “no, they can’t have that.” Frum’s stammering response to Levy’s point that denying Palestinians equal rights within Israel would resemble apartheid is pretty typical of neocons when asked to consider the practical implications of the Israeli policies which they support. That is, they won’t.

It feels silly even to have to point this out, but setting up a series of loosely connected Palestinian “zones” within the context of a consolidated and permanentized Israeli military occupation, surrounded by constantly expanding Israeli settlements — which is actually the plan of current front runner for Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu — is neither a sustainable nor remotely just solution to this conflict.

But such is the nature of the debate in the U.S. that prominent conservatives can radically contravene decades of settled international law and U.S. policy, can publicly advocate corralling an ethnic population within a series of cantons — or, in the case of Mike Huckabee, transferring them out of their homeland — and people only get upset when someone compares this to apartheid.


FRUM: When you tell me that your solution for security inside the Palestinian areas of Israel is to have —

LEVY: Wait, did you just call the West Bank “the Palestinian areas of Israel”?

FRUM: Yes — that you have an EU force, for which there will be no volunteers —

LEVY: David, you’ve made it easier, not for me but for Palestinians at least. If these are “the Palestinian areas of Israel” just give the Palestinians the vote.

FRUM: Uh, next problem. Let me just finish —

LEVY: No, let’s turn the tables now. You’ve suggested that my suggestions are somewhat miraculous. Let’s make it very simple. If these are Palestinian areas of Israel, they’re Israel. Just give them the vote.

FRUM: No, they can’t have that.

LEVY: You want apartheid?

FRUM: No, uh… what I want to to do is I want to hold out that Palestinian independence is available —

LEVY: Inside what you’re calling Israel.

FRUM: What?

LEVY: Inside what you’re calling Israel.

FRUM: Yes, inside — the territories are run by Israel, this is the Israeli zone right now. But the Palestinians can have independence. They have to put together a functioning government. That’s their responsibility.