IN Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended — with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse. That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.Time to play the substitution game and see if it also sounds like something Ban Ki Moon would say:
Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence. The stabbings, vehicle rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers.
Nothing excuses terrorism. I condemn it categorically. It is inconceivable, though, that security measures alone will stop the violence. As I warned the Security Council last week, Palestinian frustration and grievances are growing under the weight of nearly a half-century of occupation. Ignoring this won’t make it disappear. No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.
- History proves that people will always resist being terrorized. No one can deny that the everyday reality of being targeted by knives, car rammings and shootings, not to mention bus bombings and other attacks on Israelis, provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.
- History proves that people will always resist being unfairly blamed for double standards. No one can deny that the everyday reality of being vilified by the UN and Europe for things that are often not true, and always far out of proportion compared to every other nation, provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.
- History proves that Jews will always resist antisemitism. No one can deny that the everyday reality of being the victim of pogroms, gas chambers and blood libels provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of peace.
It doesn't quite flow, does it?
There are two underlying bigotries that even the Secretary General of the United Nations has deep down, despite a lifetime of studiously avoiding the public appearance of bias. One is that only Muslims are "understood" when they are violent - it is considered part of their culture. The other is that only violence against the Jewish state is justified, even if it is to be condemned - you will not hear Ban Ki Moon make the same kinds of statements about any Arab on Arab violence blaming the victims for forcing them to act this way.
In fact, this op-ed itself is in a way incitement to violence iitself. Let me explain
Israeli settlements keep expanding. The government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last month, 370 acres in the West Bank were declared “state land,” a status that typically leads to exclusive Israeli settler use.As we've recently learned, there had been a de facto building freeze in the settlements for nearly two years that the UN never acknowledged. But let's set that aside for now. Let's assume that Ban Ki Moon's description of the hopeless life of Palestinians is 100% accurate. He is saying that violence is understandable when you are the victim of:
At the same time, thousands of Palestinian homes in the West Bank risk demolition because of obstacles that may be legal on paper but are discriminatory in practice. Palestinians — especially young people — are losing hope over what seems a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation.
- Houses being built a few miles from your home.
- Land being taken a few miles from your home.
- Your illegally built home being at risk of being demolished.
Now compare these awful conditions with the everyday life of practically everyone in Africa, much of the Far East and essentially every citizen of an Arab state. Compare it to nations where you can be arrested and tortured for a Facebook post. Would Ban Ki Moon ever, in his wildest dreams, say that violence from people whose lives are immeasurably worse than that of Palestinians is understandable?
When the UN and EU say that Jews building homes in their ancestral lands is a reason for people to naturally turn to violence, it is causing those people to consider terrorism to be their right. By not expressing outright and unconditional outrage over Palestinian terrorism and incitement, the message that Ban Ki Moon is expressing is that, among all the conflicts in the world, this is the only one where violence can be blamed on the victims.
In light of that, Ban's "condemnation" rings hollow.
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