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May 23, 2023 10:34 am

Turning a Blind Eye to Palestinian Terrorism and Nazi Comparisons Won’t Achieve Peace

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avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, in Gaza May 11, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammd Salem

Muddled, melodramatic, and mistaken are some of the words that could be used to describe the latest anti-Israel opinion piece published by The Irish Times this week.

The article, jointly bylined by Palestinian human rights lawyer and activist Zaha Hassan and Daniel Levy, the president of the US/Middle East Project and former Israeli negotiator under Ehud Barak and Yitzhak Rabin, is ostensibly about how Ireland can help Palestinians (and Israelis) by becoming a “more robust voice in Europe and beyond.”

However, far from setting out this bold vision of a new Irish-Israeli-Palestinian peace partnership, the op-ed instead reads like nothing more than an unfair diatribe against the Jewish state.

The problems start in the first paragraph:

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Gaza is again, perhaps fleetingly, in the headlines. An Israeli assassination strike, inevitably inflicting civilian casualties, led to rockets being launched towards Israel and waves of Israeli bombings. Palestinians in Gaza have been under an Israeli land and sea blockade for 16 years. A very simple fact about Gaza that is rarely mentioned is that it is overwhelmingly a community of refugees; 70 percent of its population live in refugee camps. Many were expelled from areas in today’s Israel just on the other side of the electrified, highly surveilled and fiercely guarded prison-like fence surrounding the enclave.

First, there is the obvious issue of confusing the timeline of the latest Israel-Islamic Jihad conflagration — specifically, Hassan and Levy’s assertion that Israel’s “assassination strike” to take out senior figures in the Gaza-based terror group started the conflict.

The truth is that Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired the opening salvo with a volley of 100 rockets into Israel following the death of one of its commanders as the result of a hunger strike in prison.

Second, aside from failing to mention that Egypt also maintains a blockade on Gaza for security purposes, the colorful description of the coastal enclave as being surrounded by an “electrified, highly surveilled and fiercely guarded prison-like fence” is plainly false.

Rather, the barrier that runs the length of the border merely has electronic sensors designed to detect tunnels being dug underneath — not to electrocute every person who unwittingly touches it.

The piece goes on to state that approximately 750,000 Palestinians were “expelled” when the state of Israel was formed, while conveniently forgetting the fact that many Palestinian refugees were created when the nascent Jewish state was invaded by Arab armies sworn to destroy it.

However, the most appalling part of the entire article is the several references to the Holocaust and using the unique horror that was the systematic murder of six million Jews by the Nazis to frame the Nakba:

At the same time Palestinian acknowledgment of the enormity and tragedy of the Holocaust cannot negate the Palestinian experience of the Nakba, absolve those who perpetrated it, or ignore the price still being paid by Palestinians.

Yet, there has been little in the way of Palestinian “acknowledgment” of the Holocaust, and, in fact, the opposite is true: Gaza’s rulers Hamas have repeatedly denied the scope of the Holocaust, while just last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas compared Israel to Nazis after previously insisting that Israel was responsible for “50 Holocausts.”

Also not mentioned in the entire piece is the constant terror threat that makes robust security measures in both Gaza and the West Bank a necessity. Indeed, the”fiercely guarded prison-like fence” around Gaza that Hassan and Levy evidently view with such disdain was constructed in response to terrorists crossing into Israel to murder civilians.

The op-ed writers may claim to hope for an escape from the Israel-Palestinian conflict quagmire, but turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism and Holocaust denialism won’t help achieve that.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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