Until now, however, Israel’s spokesmen have largely ignored the fact that many in the west who have swallowed the demonisation propaganda wholesale are galvanised by a sincere commitment to concepts of justice and law. Instead, Israel concentrated mainly on emphasising its need for security, ignoring the devastating impact of Arab propaganda being peddled by useful idiots and worse in the west. As a result, it was not so much speaking to but over the head of a western public which had no interest in Israel’s security, since it believed that any such problem was the result of Israel’s defiance of international law. This left the field wide open for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza to commandeer for themselves – entirely mendaciously – the language of justice and law.
Now Israel’s deputy foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, has signalled a welcome change of strategy with a short video he has fronted here. In this he sets out the true facts: that Israel did not steal the West Bank from its true owners…
Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary Magazine, says much the same things:
For far too long, Israeli diplomats have spent much of their time trying to avoid the basic arguments about the Middle East conflict. Rather than take every possible opportunity to hammer home the facts about why Israel is in the West Bank and the right of Jews to live there, the country’s foreign ministry has instead often concentrated its energies on smoothing over differences. It has also sought to avoid the arguments entirely with well-intentioned but largely pointless efforts to “brand” Israel in such a way as to make people think about pretty girls, beaches and scientific innovations.
But Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has ignored this convention and created a clever and informative six-minute YouTube video answering the question of “The Truth About the West Bank.” This is driving the Palestinian Authority up the wall.
PA negotiator Saeb Erekat issued a statement last week claiming that by asserting Israel’s historical rights to the West Bank and debunking the conventional wisdom that claims the territory is “illegally occupied,” Israel is pursuing a “pro-conflict agenda.” Erekat went on to assert Ayalon’s video is filled with false information showing Israel is “denying the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination.”
But all Ayalon does is tell the basic truth about the history of the last century. Israel did not capture the West Bank in 1967 from the Palestinians but from Jordan in a war of self-defense. Jordan had illegally occupied the area as well as half of Jerusalem in the course of its participation in a war to destroy the newborn state of Israel in 1948. Ayalon also says something that is indisputably true but almost never mentioned in the mainstream media: Jews were guaranteed the right of settlement in the West Bank by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
Tobin’s final paragraph, like Melanie Phillips opinion, should be taken to heart by all spokesmen for Israel:
So long as the Palestinians talk of rights and the Israelis speak of security, the Palestinians will win the argument every time. Thus, it’s no surprise Erekat and the Palestinians are so exorcised by Ayalon’s video. If it becomes, as it should, the model for a new Israeli diplomatic offensive, the deputy foreign minister’s mantra that the terms “illegal occupation” and “67 borders” are “simply not politically correct” will become an effective talking point for the country’s defenders.