These oft-debated issues of "hasbara", demand good answers. Rav Shvat suggests 4 replies to the accusation of Israel occupying arab "territories" based upon the difficulty western & rational man has in understanding why the arabs could be the aggressors if they always suffer more casualties? The world doesn't understand the Jihad mindset which doesn't mind losing wars and being suicide bombers which in fact, defies logic and prevents deterrance. History, both old and new also bolster the Jewish claims. Anti-semitism is an additional unfortunate clouding factor. Among several approaches to why the moral mitzvot are geared particularly to Jews: is simply that the Torah addresses Jewish life, among Jews, in the Jewish Land for the Jewish People, and more.
A concise & encompassing explanation of WHY chazal teach us that "Living in Eretz Yisrael is equated with all of the mitzvot combined"? Proofs and 5 reasons why this mitzva is unique and special among the mitzvot aseh, and 9 additional points why especially today, Israel is that much more important to Judaism, including halachic, philosophic, historical, logical, national, religious, and spiritual reasons.
The issue of whether Mitzvat Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is one of the 613 mitzvot is just about the most irrelevent of all the so important aspects of Eretz Yisrael. This shiur explains the shotot of the Megilat Esther, R. Chaim in Tosafot, and R. Moshe Feinstein.
Forfeitures based on practical considerations are not new to the Land of Israel. Those who today take an active role in reaching such agreements are not the first to be offered such an option. Let us not to be swept into the whirlpool of practicality.