Israel’s Prime Minister, US Ambassador Refute 10 ‘Deadly Lies About Israel’
Israel went on the defensive Wednesday, pushing back against what officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have called the “10 biggest lies” being spread about the Jewish state and its actions, amid the recent spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
In addition to the prime minister, who declaimed the 10 lies to the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer also laid them out, virtually identically, in a piece appearing on the same day in Politico.
The first two lies address the Temple Mount, a site around which Israel believes the current escalation in Arab attacks against Israeli Jews originated. Those lies are that Israel is either trying to change the agreements set up between Israel, Jordan and Palestinians to administer the site to allow Jews the right to pray there; many Israeli activists and some politicians say Jews should have the right to worship anywhere on the Temple Mount, which is where many Jews believe the Jewish temple once stood.
The second lie was that Israel was trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Palestinians have been propagating the ‘al-Aqsa is in danger’ myth since at least 1929, when the Palestinian icon, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, used it to inspire the massacre of Jews in Hebron and elsewhere,” wrote Dermer.
Then, Netanyahu and Dermer tackled the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), obviously a point of contention between Israelis and Palestinians, many of whom want all of the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war for a future Palestinian state. The “lie,” the two argue, is that Israel has increased construction in those areas. Netanyahu pointed out that the number of units added annually to existing settlements has gone down to about 1,500 under his leadership, compared to 5,000 units under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The fourth and fifth “lies” deal with the Israeli response to the surge in terrorist attacks — mostly stabbings, but also shootings and targeted car-rammings — which have become near-daily occurrences since the beginning of October. The first is another refutation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ accusation of Israeli security forces “executing” a 13-year-old boy while he was in the middle of stabbing innocent Israeli passers-by; Israel has since released footage of the teenager being treated in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
In addressing the fifth accusation, Netanyahu and Dermer — a former close adviser to and speech writer for the prime minister — said Israeli security was delivering the appropriate force in “life-threatening situations,” and asked Americans whether they would not expect the same of domestic law enforcement. The U.S. had suggested — and subsequently back-tracked — that Israel was using “excessive force” in dealing with the spike in Palestinian violence.
The sixth and seventh “lies” are political: that Israel is behind the stagnated peace process, and that Abbas is a moderate voice among Palestinian officials. The prime minister and ambassador said the peace process is unrelated to Palestinian terrorism, which seeks to destroy the Jewish state, regardless. Concerning Abbas, the two noted the P.A. president has not condemned a single one of the many terrorist attacks that have been committed since the beginning of October.
As for the eighth “lie,” Israel rejected getting the international community involved in maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount; this accusation was addressed after six Arab states, including peace partner Egypt, raised a motion at UNESCO to rename the Western Wall a Muslim holy site. The resolution was later amended, removing that statement.
For the ninth “lie,” the Israelis rejected claims that the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians is because the Palestinians do not have a state, alleging, “The Palestinians have always been more concerned with destroying the Jewish state than with creating a state of their own. The core of the conflict remains the persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people in any borders.”
Lastly, Israel said Palestinian terrorism is not an expression of frustration, a claim the prime minister and ambassador labeled a “lie.” Rather, Palestinian terrorism is a “product of incitement,” which Israel has attributed to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad.
“The biggest frustration of the terrorists is that they have failed to destroy Israel. They will continue to be frustrated,” wrote Dermer.