Binyamin Netanyahu brought down the opprobrium of the world onto his head on Friday when he stated two categorical truths: the first: the Palestinians want to ethnically cleanse Jews off their land. The second: that it is absurd that such ethnic cleansing is a pre-condition to “peace”.
Here is Bibi’s statement:
The United with Israel article reports on the video which has gone viral:
Israel’s prime minister rejected international criticism of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria on Friday, equating it to “ethnic cleansing” of Jews and insisting the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are not an obstacle to peace, in a video that drew a rare rebuke from the United States.
He pointed to Israel’s Arab minority, which enjoys citizenship and voting rights.
“No one would seriously claim that the nearly 2 million Arabs living inside Israel, that they’re an obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu said. “Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing.”
“It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous,” he added. “Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?”
Of course such simple, clear truths are unacceptable to the liberal, progressive, enlightened, oh-so-politically correct State Department which never met a terrorist it couldn’t love. They condemned Netanyahu’s video as “inappropriate”:
Washington on Friday fumed at comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video released online in which he accused the Palestinians of advocating ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in the West Bank.
US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters the administration is “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government” about the video.
“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” Trudeau said.
She said Israel expansion of settlements raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”
I would like to throw the State Departments words back in their face and ask them why the Palestinians’ demands for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria do not raise real questions about the Palestinian Authority’s long-term intentions in the West Bank”.
As expected, beyond Washington’s seething, Netanyahu’s words also aroused condemnation from the usual suspects, as the JPost reports:
The Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni responded to the video, saying that the US is now saying that all the settlements are obstacles to peace, including those inside the large settlement blocs, while in the past Israel received recognition for those blocs.
“I worked to get diplomatic benefit while paying a political price, while Netanyahu is trying to get political benefit while paying a diplomatic price,” she said.
Tzipi Livni might wave her diplomatic credentials around, but the truth is that she achieved nothing during her vaunted peace-processing career. The highlight of her career was the lopsided UN Resolution 1701 after the Second Lebanon War which handed a political victory to Hezbollah.
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, slammed Netanyahu for comparing Israeli Arabs to “settlers.”
Netanyahu, he said, “is comparing a minority born here, who has lived in the place for generations, which Israel came and foisted itself upon, to settlers that were transferred against international law to occupied territory, all the while trampling the human rights of the residents of the West Bank and Gaza.”
But reality, he said, “never bothered Netanyahu.”
I don’t expect anything different from Odeh, but he really must be called out for the bunch of lies that he spouts. Calling the Palestinians “a minority born here who has lived in the place for generations” is a verifiable untruth. The land was empty and desolate, and the Arabs were uninterested in it until the Jews returned to their homeland and made it flourish. It is the Jews who are indigenous to Israel – which includes our Biblical and historical heartland, Judea and Samaria – not the Arabs, and the only time the land was Judenfrei was for a mere 19 years, a blink in the eye of history, from 1948-1967.
With every other nation, the world applauds as indigenous peoples return to their homelands. But as always, when it comes to the Jews, when they are ethnically cleansed, they’d better stay ethnically cleansed! The hypocrisy and absurdity, as Netanyahu points out, are breathtaking.
As for the video itself, people are scratching their heads wondering what prompted Netanyahu to publish this provocative statement davka now. The JPost gives a bit of background:
The brief video is the eighth that Netanyahu has made since David Keyes took over from Mark Regev as Netanyahu’s English spokesman in March. The Prime Minister’s Office views these videos as a very effective way to get the premier’s unfiltered message out to millions of people. Some 750,000 people have seen this video since it was uploaded Friday, and the number of those who have seen the others – which have dealt with issues varying from Israeli Arabs to gay rights – have been seen by tens of millions of people.
Raphael Ahren in the ToI further explains Netanyahu’s intentions. He notes that this is not the first time Netanyahu has made decried Palestinian ethnic-cleansing of the Jews in videos, speeches and interviews:
“Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did,” Netanyahu said at the end of the two-minute clip. But Netanyahu did not invent this controversial comparison on Friday afternoon, when the clip appeared on his social media accounts. He has made the argument, in various mutations, throughout his political career. In the 2000 edition of his book “A Durable Peace,” written before his watershed Bar-Ilan speech conditionally accepting the two-state solution, he flatly rejected the notion of a “hostile, Judenrein Palestinian state.” Even if the entire world supports it, the campaign for a West Bank free of Jews is based “not on justice but on injustice,” he argued at the time.
Amid the widespread criticism Netanyahu’s latest video elicited, many are wondering about his motives. Ethnic cleansing is widely considered a crime against humanity; the clip can thus be seen as a premeditated slap in the face of the Americans and indeed the entire international community for demanding that Israel agree to such a practice, some pundits said.
Others blamed the polls. Over the weekend, a second survey within a week showed Netanyahu’s Likud trailing the centrist Yesh Atid, indicating that for the first time since 2012, Likud would no longer be the country’s biggest party if elections were held today. Several analysts argued that Netanyahu provoked the ethnic cleansing drama to deflect criticism over his handling of last week’s train crisis and galvanize his right-wing supporters, relations with the US and the rest of the world be damned.
But the fact that Netanyahu and his aides have made the “ethnic cleansing” talking point before appears to discredit this theory. It is more likely that Netanyahu and Keyes — who, before he entered the Prime Minister’s Office, was known for his unorthodox style of political activism — released the clip as just one more of their ongoing series of hasbara (pro-Israel advocacy) videos, not expecting it would lead to such outrage.
The point of these videos, … is to make Israel’s case directly to the masses via social media, thus circumventing the ostensibly biased mainstream media.
Ahren then embarks on a Talmudic pilpul dissection of what constitutes “ethnic cleansing” – as if Bibi’s words are devoid of anything but political showboating:
Notwithstanding the emotions Netanyahu’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” evoked this weekend, and the fact that Palestinian activists often use it to describe Israel’s actions in 1948, is the description factually sound?
There is no clear legal definition of “ethnic cleansing.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “the organized, often violent attempt by a particular cultural or racial group to completely remove from a country or area all members of a different group.”
A commission of experts examining the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s — when the term was invented — established ethnic cleansing as a “purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”
On the face of it, the forced evacuation of Jewish settlers from the West Bank for the benefit of Palestinian Arabs appears to fit the bill. Palestinian leaders have been adamant that “not a single Israeli” will be accepted in their future state.
On the other hand, proponents of an Israeli withdrawal are not calling for the violent removal of settlers by Palestinians, but rather for a coordinated evacuation of settlements in the framework of a peace agreement.
As previous Israeli withdrawals from Sinai and Gaza have shown, a proportion of ideologically and religiously motivated activists would likely have to be evacuated by force — though hardly by “terror-inspiring means.”
That is absolutely not the point. See the Dry Bones cartoon from above, still accurate after over 20 years. The point remains that the Palestinians refuse to have one single Israeli in their midst, as Palestinian “President-for-Life” Mahmoud Abbas himself declared. Keeping a territory “pure” for one ethnicity only, and demanding the expulsion of other nationalities, in however peaceful a manner, remains ethnic cleansing. This “word-washing” of the Palestinians’ rejectionism has to stop if we are ever to arrive at any kind of non-violent accommodation with each other.
As an aside, Abbas even rejects Syrian Palestinians, fleeing for their lives from the civil war, heartlessly telling them to “go to Israel or die in Syria”. So much for brotherly love.
In a further reminder, if any were necessary, of the dangers of the US Adminsitration’s exacerbating the problems in the conflict, here comes Dennis Ross asserting that if Hilary Clinton is elected she should seek more Israeli concessions.
If Hillary Clinton is elected US president, she should launch a behind the scenes initiative to bring about changes in Israel’s policies, according to former Clinton adviser and US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross.
Ross’s remarks came during a panel discussion at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service on Thursday.
Ross said that “even though negotiations with the Palestinian Authority won’t work now,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take steps of his own. “He should, at a minimum, announce an official policy that there will be no further Israeli construction east of the security barrier,” Ross said.
Numerous Israeli settlements would be affected by such a policy, including the communities in the Jordan Valley. Ross said such unilateral concessions would be consistent with “the traditional Zionist way of shaping your own destiny.”
No Mr. Ross! That is NOT the Zionist way. The Zionist way is to take our own destiny in our own hands, to settle our own land any way we wish, and not to kow-tow to foreign meddlers who most definitely do not have our own interests at heart.
The Zionist way is to reject the Exile, to reject the ghetto way of living where we had to be afraid of the powers that be. The Zionist way is to reclaim our own narrative, our own history, our own land and our own destiny.