What You Need to Ignore
On Thursday CNN issued a report entitled “Israeli-Palestinian Violence: What You Need To Know.” In standard liberal tropes it attempted to explain the current demise of the so-called peace process. On a day when three Israelis were killed in four separate attacks by Palestinians armed with guns and knives CNN attributed the failure to achieve peace to Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.
It seems that ever since 2001 – when the Second Intifada erupted into full fury that killed 1,100 Israelis – the Israeli government has been “lukewarm about the peace process.” According to CNN, “a major stumbling block is Israel’s continued building of settlements in the West Bank.” Relying upon the left-wing Israeli NGO B’Tselem for information, CNN reported that there are “almost 550,000 settlers living in exclusively Jewish communities in the West Bank” who deserve blame for the current Palestinian murder rampage.
CNN was egregiously mistaken. If only there actually were that many settlers in the biblical homeland of the Jewish people it would be a source of celebration. But according to the most recent figures from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2013 the number of settlers totaled 358,953. With a continuing annual growth rate of 4%, that would raise the current number to slightly above 388,000, still well short of 550,000. But B’Tselem – and its copycats at CNN – also include Jewish residents of East Jerusalem as “settlers.” Perhaps the only surprise from these phony figures is their exclusion of synagogue-goers in Tel Aviv.
It was bad enough that CNN should be so gullible – to put the best face on their garbled arithmetic. But inaccuracy seems contagious when Israel is the subject. Speaking at Harvard two days earlier, only hours after three Israelis had been murdered in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Kerry warned: “Unless we get going, the two-state solution will be conceivably stolen from everybody.” He did not refer to the fact that all five attacks earlier that day happened to come from Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.
Adding insult to ignorance during a question-and-answer session Kerry anticipated the erroneous CNN report, claiming: “There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years.” Drawing the inevitable conclusion from his erroneous information, Kerry continued: “there’s an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration that’s growing.” Whose frustration, exactly? He did not specify, but it could only be Palestinians, whose knives and guns bear witness to the unsavory Jewish presence in their midst.
Kerry promised to “get going” to Israel before long to see for himself. He described “a revolving cycle that damages the future for everybody,” while declining to identify who set it in motion. He called upon “responsible” people to “condemn violence and refrain from provocative actions.” Not exactly an innovative solution for a nearly seven-decade conflict that shows few signs of abating.
But as Elliott Abrams bluntly responded in Israel Hayom, “Kerry does not know what he is talking about… He is instead parroting Palestinian propaganda.” Dismissing Kerry’s comments, Knesset member Moti Yogev (a Colonel in the IDF reserves) chided the Secretary for making “every mistake possible in every Middle East country.”
The Secretary would be wise to pack a calculator to accurately tally the number of Jewish settlers. For sure he will be surrounded by a bevy of armed guards to protect him from the knives and guns of brain-washed Palestinian teen-agers inspired by Hamas to become martyrs. He might even consider a side trip to Iran, where CNN has reported a new and impregnable underground missile storage facility built beneath a mountain. According to an Iranian general the missiles are mounted on launchers and “ready to be launched.” So much for another triumph of American diplomacy.
The only consolation provided by Kerry’s recent comments on the Middle East is the likelihood that no one in Israel will take them seriously. But he might consider visiting an Israeli school to brush up on his arithmetic.
Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner.