On Hannity last night, Fox News political analyst Karl Rove harshly criticized President Obama for using the term “occupation” in discussing Israel, calling it “the language of the left” and “the language of those who hate Israel.”
SEAN HANNITY (host): You know, I don't know if I interpret it a little differently than you, I just felt these were more words, meaningless words by a president saying what he thought he needed to say. And it's not going to be backed up by action. What is the political fall-out, when you have liberals like Joe Lieberman -- well, more independent in Joe's case -- but Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, Anthony Weiner, Alan Dershowitz, of all people, highly critical, and a lot on the left are very critical of this decision and basically say, “This is going to be a disaster for Israel.”
ROVE: Well, there are already problems emerging among Jewish voters. In fact, last week, there's an interesting piece in The New York Times, in which essentially the Obama campaign said, “Yeah, we have problems among Jewish voters because we're presumed to be, you know, against Israel.” In fact -- look, the language is there. I mean, when President Obama talks about Israel occupying, you know, you can't have a vibrant democracy as long as you depend upon occupation -- that's the language of the left. That is the language of those who hate Israel and why he adopts it is beyond me.
To attack Obama for using the term “occupation” is the height of hypocrisy for Rove. That is because his former boss, President George W. Bush, called for an end to the Israeli “occupation” of Arab land after a visit to the Palestinian territories. According to an AP article:
[Bush] made a point of using a loaded term -- occupation -- to describe Israeli control over land that would eventually form the bulk of an independent Palestinian state. That he did so in Jerusalem underscored that he is trying not to seem partial to Israel.
“The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear,” he said. “There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.”
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush was referring to the West Bank when he spoke of occupation.
The term has also been used by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In 2003, Sharon advocated for ending what he called “occupation,” saying it was “terrible” for both Israel and Palestinians, and that it “can't continue endlessly.” A CNN article reports:
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to be urging Israelis to accept giving up land for peace and advocating an end to what he called “occupation.”
“You cannot like the word, but what is happening is an occupation -- to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians,” he said Monday.
Those were stunning words from the longtime hawk and backer of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
“It can't continue endlessly,” Sharon said. “Do you want to stay forever in Jenin, in Nablus, in Ramallah, in Bethlehem? I don't think that's right.”