Le Journal De Montréal Columnist Accuses Israel Of ‘Pursuing A Policy Of Illegal Colonization’

March 12, 2024

In his March 2 opinion column in Le Journal de Montreal entitled: “Israel’s Fall into Hell,” Loïc Tassé bemoaned the current state of the Middle East, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While such pessimism is certainly well-founded, Tassé identified the only culprit for the lack of a negotiated two-state solution: Israel.

Telling readers that Israel is in a bad state of affairs, Tassé wrote that the country “is pursuing a policy of illegal colonization in the West Bank, maintains apartheid against the Palestinians, and could be convicted of genocide” in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

In only one sentence, Tassé repeated the most common – and false – anti-Israel tropes without any balance, context or intellectual rigour.

Tassé’s accusation that Israel is carrying out a practice of “illegal colonization in the West Bank” is rhetorically powerful, but factually baseless. The lands of Judea & Samaria, often called the “West Bank” by news media outlets, are ancient territories to which Israel possesses extensive legal claims, in addition to three thousand years of continued Jewish inhabitation.

Prior to Israel’s presence, there was no sovereign Palestinian state that existed there, and thus by definition, Israel cannot be illegally occupying or colonizing a land that never belonged to any Palestinian state.

Tassé’s “apartheid” libel is no better.

In sharp contrast to true apartheid, as seen in South Africa, where citizens of the same country were divided by the colour of their skin, Israel practices no such policy vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

While the relations between Israel and the Palestinians are admittedly complex, it is far from apartheid. The Palestinians are not citizens of Israel, nor have they requested it, and thus despite the complex reality in Judea & Samaria, Palestinians are not discriminated against for their identity, religion or skin colour.

The large majority of Palestinians in Judea & Samaria live under the civil administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA), not Israel, and should a two-state solution be instituted, they will be citizens of a future Palestinian state.

Rather than evaluate the complexities of the conflict, Tassé’ instead claimed that the biggest obstacle standing between a two-state solution is none other than “the religious fundamentalists,” who, in his opinion, “are accentuating the divisions between the two peoples,” adding that “over time, religion became the main factor of political identification for each of the two peoples.”

This easy answer, despite its convenience, is a gross oversimplification.

Despite Israel being “the Jewish State,” it is not a country governed by religious law, and more than two million minority citizens, made up of Christian, Muslim, Druze and other populations, enjoy full and equal rights under the law.

Under Hamas-run Gaza, for instance, there is not a single Jew, hardly surprising given the group’s explicit genocidal goal towards not just the State of Israel, but indeed Jews at large. Hamas’ official founding charter does not envision a state of equal rights, but a totalitarian regime akin to the Islamic State (ISIS).

Israel’s governments, past and present, have undoubtedly made many mistakes, but they have made painful concessions for peace to the Palestinian leadership, all to be rejected and spurned in favour of violence.

Loïc Tassé has repeatedly used his platform to defame Israel and make ludicrous accusations against the country.

Rather than acknowledging the religious fanaticism of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist group which proudly states its goal is the violent destruction of Israel, Loïc Tassé told readers in his column that both sides are extremists, but saved his harshest opprobrium for, you guessed it, Israel.

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