In no way can the State of Israel be considered a colonial or hegemonic power. Israel is not a foreign invader. The State of Israel is built on the foundation of thousands of years of Jewish connection to, and a presence in, this land.
Moreover, Israel has no desire to empire-build, gain financial benefit, or rule over the lives of millions of Arab Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, as is evident from their efforts to seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict with the Palestinians and Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza.
Indeed, Israel has already withdrawn from parts of this territory in the pursuit of peace. Israel willingly withdrew from the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement with Egypt in 1979. Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was the result of a defensive war and the decades-long refusal of surrounding Arab states to negotiate peace with Israel. As a result of the Oslo process, by September 2000, Israel had redeployed from Palestinian population centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in 99 percent of the Palestinian public living under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. When the Palestinians began using these areas as a base for a campaign of violence and terror against Israeli civilians, Israel had no choice but to re-enter some of these towns. In August 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, removing its military presence and evacuating 25 settlements.