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Jerusalem, in context

The current events in Jerusalem have a political history and context. Attempts to attribute the violence to some kind of Palestinian pathology while ignoring other factors is a recipe for making things worse. A response to Jeffrey Goldberg.

Israeli riot police run during clashes in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, October 5, 2015. (Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Israeli riot police run during clashes in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, October 5, 2015. (Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a powerful piece in The Atlantic last week claiming to scrutinize Palestinian violence through the history of Jewish and Arab ties to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif over the past 100 years. (“The paranoid, supremacist roots of the stabbing Intifada,” the headline reads.) Goldberg starts by discussing Palestinian “paranoia” over Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and ends with a broader, more common claim: that the Palestinian refusal to recognize Jewish ties to the land of Israel is the primary source of the conflict’s intractability, replete with its frequent rounds of violence.

There are many holes in this theory, and I’d like to point some of them out. But first a word of caution. I recently got the impression that some of my past writing has downplayed the importance of religious sentiments in leading to violence and I’d like to avoid repeating that mistake. I do not deny that some Palestinians reject the very idea of any Jewish ties to the land, although that is way less common among the PLO and the Palestinian-Israeli political leadership, to which Goldberg refers. However, it’s only fair to point out that there has never been any formal Israeli recognition of historical Palestinian ties to the land. The belief that Palestinians are invaders or mere guests in this land and that their own ties to the Temple Mount are a political hoax is widely held in Israel’s right wing.

Furthermore, history has proven that Palestinian fears about Jewish intentions regarding the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem were not entirely irrational. There is a large, powerful camp in Israel that would like to change the status quo on the mount; it includes more than half of the Likud party, which has always been obsessed with the Temple Mount. Polls find that an overwhelming majority of the national-religious public supports Jewish visits to the site, and one-fifth have already visited it.

Right-wing activist Yehuda Glick holding a book depicting the Jewish Temple while standing in front of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, May 21, 2009. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Right-wing ‘Temple activist’ Yehuda Glick holding a book depicting the Jewish Temple while standing in front of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, May 21, 2009. Glick survived an assassination attempt by a Palestinian man in 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

There are also those who would support way more radical actions: between 1982 and 1984 Israel’s Shin Bet uncovered no fewer than three Jewish terrorist groups that sought to blow up the holy mosques. The most famous of them was the Jewish Underground, which included well known public figures, at least two of whom went on to become members of Knesset. The Underground got as far as assembling explosives and surveilling the site in preparation for an attack. Today there is a new generation of Jewish fundamentalists: Before the 2013 elections I published a video on +972 showing a candidate for the Jewish Home party speaking on television about destroying the mosques on the Temple Mount.

The growing interest in the Temple Mount by dominant Israeli political forces hasn’t been lost on Palestinians, whose fears and concerns have been fueled by large-scale excavations Israel is conducting in the area (though not below the mosques themselves). Less than a month before the outbreak of the current escalation, and under pressure from his right-wing constituents, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon outlawed a couple of Palestinian organizations that operated on Temple Mount. Two weeks ago, Elad, a right-wing settler organization identified with the Right, scored a major court victory and won the rights to administer archeological activities near the Western Wall. For years Elad has been involved in efforts to evict Palestinian families in the nearby neighborhood of Silwan.

Does any of that justify attacks against Jewish civilians? Certainly not. My point is that Palestinian fears over Israeli plans for the holy site aren’t entirely unreasonable. It’s true that some elements of the formal and informal arrangements governing the Temple Mount and its surroundings have been left intact over the years. Others have changed, and the pressure from the Israeli side to do so was clear and out in the open for anyone to see. You don’t have to be paranoid to sense it all.

***

Yet even in this context, many Palestinian understand the current escalation as political and not religious. I recommend reading this interview with Supreme Sharia Judge of the Palestinian Authority Dr. Mahmoud al-Habash, a former Hamas cleric. While denying the Jewish narrative regarding the Temple Mount, Dr. Habash is ready for a political compromise over the holy site.

Just like with demands to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” (rather as “the State of Israel,” something the Palestinians already did in 1993), Goldberg’s insistence that the Palestinians abandon their historical narrative in favor of the Jewish or the Israeli one is an attempt to force on them a maximalist abstract notion which prevents the pragmatic, political compromise at hand.

And that’s exactly what’s missing from Goldberg’s piece. History and political context. A closer examination of the stabbing attacks raises serious doubts about the entire theory of religiously motivated violence born out of a Palestinian failure to accept Jewish ties to the land.

An Israeli bus driver uses toilet paper to clean blood from the entrance of his bus following a stabbing attack, Jerusalem, October 12, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli bus driver uses toilet paper to clean blood from the entrance of his bus following a stabbing attack, Jerusalem, October 12, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The largest share of stabbing attacks (19 out of 49 incidents, according to analyst Nehemia Gershuni-Aylho’s count) were carried out by Jerusalemites, who comprise less than 15 percent of Palestinians west of the Jordan River, excluding Gaza. (The second largest number of attacks, 12, were in Hebron and the surrounding settlements.) Do religious Muslims from Umm el-Fahm or Nablus care any less about Haram al-Sharif? Are they less “paranoid” or “supremacist?” It seems that some other factors are also at play here and should be taken into account when attempting to put the current wave of violence in context.

What actually makes Jerusalem and Hebron unique is that both have mixed Jewish-Palestinian populations, each  with separate and unequal legal statuses. Following the 1967 war, Israel annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem (including the Old City) and more than 20 villages and towns surrounding it. What is referred to in the Israeli media as “East Jerusalem” is actually an area 10 times larger than what constituted the eastern part of the city under Jordanian rule, with more than 300,000 people living it, including over 50,000 refugees in the Shuafat refugee camp.

Although these people hold blue Israeli identity cards, they are not citizens, only “permanent residents” (a legal term usually reserved for foreigners). They cannot purchase land, participate in general elections, and if they leave the country for several years they risk of losing their status and never being able to return. Furthermore, East Jerusalem is one of the most neglected areas in Israel, with skyrocketing poverty and unemployment and a contemptuous lack of municipal services.

The last decade saw two developments in the city, the importance of which in changing the reality in Jerusalem cannot be exaggerated. The first is the construction of the concrete separation wall between Jerusalem and the West Bank, leaving almost a third of the Palestinians in a no-man’s land, cut off from both Jerusalem and the PA — without municipal services at all. These neighborhoods, along with those left fully on the West Bank side of the wall, have become hotbeds of lawlessness, ranging from unauthorized and unsupervised construction to criminal activity. Israeli police don’t serve and protect the Palestinian population in these areas: when police do go in they enter military style to make an occasional arrest, and then leave.

A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem walks into a checkpoint that separates the entirely walled-off neighborhood of Shuafat Refugee Camp, East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem walks into a checkpoint that separates the entirely walled-off neighborhood of Shuafat Refugee Camp, East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The second important development was a sharp increase in the number of Jewish settlers living in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods, from Sheikh Jarrah to Silwan and Mount Scopus, and of course, the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Houses (and sometimes even rooms in apartments) are purchased or confiscated in shady scams and legal maneuvering, their Palestinian tenants evicted. (Just last night another couple of Palestinian families were thrown out of their homes.) Often, right-wing organizations actually pay Jewish tenants a monthly fee for “holding onto” those assets until a critical mass of Jews settle the neighborhood.

Peace groups have warned of these developments for several years, claiming again and again that they would lead to an outbreak of violence. Lefty Jews protested every weekend in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods; one of their common slogans was “Jerusalem will not become Hebron.” Nobody listened, especially not those who are talking about Palestinian incitement these days. Curiously, six years ago or so, I heard that Jeffrey Goldberg was in Israel and invited him to visit Sheikh Jarrah. He wrote back saying that he had already visited the protests there. I have no reason to doubt him, but I wonder what lessons he learned there.

***

Contextualizing violence, which is what I am trying to do here, is not meant as a justification for it. On top of the loss of innocent lives, the events of the past few weeks will further poison relations between Jews and Arabs for years to come. If you believe that the two peoples are bound to live together here, you should be extremely concerned these days. This escalation, it seems, is spreading rather than dying out, moving beyond Jerusalem, Al Aqsa and Hebron. The denial of the political context of the events is likely to make things worse.

The Israeli government, just like Goldberg, is turning the violence into a kind of pathology, claiming to know something profound about the inner psyche of every Palestinian (paranoid, supremacist). This approach to conflicts, especially ones involving ethnic minorities, has led to disastrous consequences time and time again, yet it remains popular because it allows us to avoid meaningful changes that are costly and complicated. My fear is that it will take many more casualties, Jews and Palestinians, before Israel will be willing to consider a different outlook.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      Yossi Melman, JPost: “The Shin Bet and the IDF chiefs have time and again told the government that without a political solution, the Palestinians would resort to violence. The same warnings were raised in the media by experts and commentators. But the Netanyahu-Ya’alon right-wing government refuses to listen. It is held captive by its own set of beliefs and ideology. It is not ready to make substantial concessions, such as withdrawing from most areas in the West Bank. It fears a civil war, if it should decide to dismantle Jewish settlements, and prefers the status quo with periodical waves of terrorism, which it wrongly believes it can manage.”

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Nehemia Shtrasler: “As soon as the Six-Day War was over Moshe Dayan appointed a committee to set Jerusalem’s borders. He did not appoint urban, historic and geographic experts but three generals who were deputies only to God – Chaim Herzog, Shlomo Lahat and Rehavam Zeevi. They drafted an insane map, following which Israel annexed to Jerusalem not only the Old City within the walls, and not only the Jordanian part of the city outside the walls (6,000 dunams), but another 64,000 dunams – expansive West Bank territories which had never been part of Jerusalem in history. They consisted of 28 villages whose population today numbers 330,000 – all of whom have blue (Israeli) ID cards and make up 35 percent of the city’s population. This is a certain recipe for an explosion.
      Israel’s discrimination against them cries out to heaven. The Arab neighborhoods close to the western city are shabby and neglected due to the city’s failure to allocate resources to them. But this is nothing compared to the further neighborhoods that have no local leadership or government, no municipal supervision, no police, no sanitation services, no sewage system, no roads and no construction laws.
      As far as Netanyahu, Elkin and Erdan are concerned, this is OK. The Arabs aren’t human beings anyway, and should be grateful for being allowed to breathe.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben

      Gideon Levy: “And you thought 300,000 people would acquiesce? That they’d watch settlers invade their homes as city hall denied them minimal services amid maximal property taxes? That they’d look on while the occupier arbitrarily denied them residence status, as if they were migrants in their own city? That they would put up with Jewish gangs beating them up in full view of policemen and forgive? That a young man growing up in this reality — with his neighborhood a Soweto — would spend his life washing dishes and building homes for Jews with no chance of escaping his ghetto?”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        BEN:”without a political solution, the Palestinians would resort to violence”

        Nu? And? ….

        Pity they didn’t mention that the only political solution which is possible with the Hamas dominated Palestinians or even the PA, would lead to even worse violence. A bit like what is happening in Syria now. The Arab people everywhere punish the weak mercilessly. And if you say that we Jews do too, Benny, then it is self evident that we are amateurs compared to them.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          “Jewish gangs beating them up”

          Gideon Levy at his best. Making it sound like the Arabs are just peaceful people who want to do nothing more than live their lives without hurting a fly and that they are just st victimized by evil Jews.

          Tell your brain damaged malicious Gideon Levy that it is the other way around. Some of our hotheads are reacting to Arab fanaticism which has been going on for 100 years.

          Don’t believe me? Then look at history. Gratuitous violence is not the Jewish way. We may not be angels either but violence has never been our first option. Now the Arabs on the other hand… just look at what they do everywhere, not just here. Violence has always been their first option.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Gustav

      “The belief that the Palestinians are invaders or mere guests…”

      Straw man argument. Yes, historically we always had a small minority of Jews who felt that way but the rest of us, most of us were willing to live alongside the Arabs in peace. No! I’ll change that. We longed for peaceful relations with our Arab neighbors.

      Alas, that wasn’t the Arab way. And the net result is that now, that small extremist minority of ours is growing. I will fess up and own up to the fact that even people like me are beginning to entertain similar thoughts. Not quite yet, but we are heading in that direction.

      Will someone please sound the alarm? Noam? Maybe you. Please warn THEM for a change instead of constantly warning us. Because if it happens, there will be hell to pay. Yes, I know there will be hell to pay for us too but that won’t save the Arabs. Time for THEM to acquire some sanity for a change.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Well this is the latest excuse. If it was not that it would be something else. You stopped reading after that first sentence of Melman’s.

        I try to avoid “us versus them” language as much as possible. And Arab and Jewish +972 writers who know what’s really going on on the ground in the territories and Jerusalem do too. Whereas you nurture that kind of language at every opportunity. Everything with you is “The Jews” and “The Arabs.” So it goes. If Europeans speak of “The Jews” then it’s an automatic four-alarm fire. Anti-Semitism! Gevalt! No let me correct that. If Europeans even speak of *Israelis* in any critical light at all its an automatic four-alarm fire of anti-Semitism. But usage of “The Arabs”bis more than OK. It is to be encouraged–there’s no such thing as too much anti-Arabism–can’t get enough of it. What you write is belied by the fact that it is the Arab who has been their faithful security contractor and who has declared his opposition to violence before and during this grass roots uprising whom the right wing Israeli ministers do most vilify and slander. And what you write is a form of incitement.

        Speaking of incitement, Nehemia Shtrasler: “When Uri Ariel and his wacky pals provocatively go to Temple Mount, to blow up the little stability that remains – that’s incitement. Settling 15 (!) messianic organizations in the Old City, which occupy themselves with practicing animal sacrifice in the Temple that will be built “soon, in our days” on the ruins of Al­­­­­-Aqsa Mosque – that’s incitement. The far-right religious Ateret Cohanim organization’s making the lives of the Muslim quarter’s residents a misery and financing dozens of families who moved into the quarter’s center – that’s incitement. Setting up protected compounds of ultra-fanatic Jews in the heart of the Arab neighborhoods in the east of the city – that’s incitement. These Jews daily humiliate and harass the fathers and mothers of the youngsters who live in complete despair, squalor and wretchedness – that’s incitement. These youngsters live under oppression, with no future and no chance of attaining an independent state of their own, which will restore their dignity, which is more important to them than food or career. The fact that this isn’t an organized uprising, but individual assailants who grabbed a knife or screwdriver and went on a vengeance and suicide quest, proves the intensity of the despair they live – and die – in.”

        Now, should I take lessons from you and practice the vile thing you do, and thus say this?:

        “Arabs may not be angels either but sneaky land theft and dispossession by hook and by crook and overwhelming force all the while claiming to be victims who only ever want “security” has never been their first option. Now the Jews on the other hand… just look at what they do everywhere, not just here. Sneaky theft and dispossession has always been their first option.”

        No? You wouldn’t like that, would you? With good reason. Why is vile anti-Semitism not OK–and it definitely is not–but vile anti-Arabism is OK?

        And the discrimination against the Arab neighborhoods that cries out to heaven. That is necessary because? Why? Security? And if you really wanted to, no *longed* to live in peace you would treat the people you so long to live in peace with this way because? Why? LoL.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”I try to avoid “us versus them” language as much as possible.”

          Sigh. And are you successfull?! Nah. You never stop telling all and sundry that we are evil and the poor Palestinian Arabs are just our innocent victims.

          BEN:”And Arab and Jewish +972 writers who know what’s really going on on the ground in the territories and Jerusalem do too.”

          No they don’t. Here is just one quote from Gideon Levy…

          “Jewish gangs beating them up”

          Weren’t you the one who quoted him, Benny dear? Of course you were. Are you this forgetful or are you just a cynic?

          BEN:”Whereas you nurture that kind of language at every opportunity.”

          Ok Benny, I stand chastised. From now on, I will be talking about us versus little green men from Mars. Will that put me in your good books?

          BEN:”Everything with you is “The Jews” and “The Arabs.”

          Is it? I must be delusional. I should say it’s between us and little green men from Mars. I mean everyone knows that the Arabs just love us to pieces.

          And so it goes on. I won’t bother responding to all of Benny’s side tracking BS. I’ll just pick him up from here again…

          BEN:”Now, should I take lessons from you and practice the vile thing you do, and thus say this?: ”

          I have stopped telling you what to do. It is impossible for you to listen and conduct a decent intelligent discussion. Your role in here is to polarise and to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator.

          BEN:“Arabs may not be angels either”

          I am glad you admit it even in sarcasm.

          BEN:”but sneaky land theft and dispossession by hook and by crook”

          He is off again…

          BEN:”and overwhelming force all the while”

          Overwhelming force? Why fight it then, Benny? I wouldn’t fight an overwhelming force.

          BEN:”claiming to be victims who only ever want “security” ”

          Nah, our civilians who are stabbed or run down by cars or are rocketed or are stoned by Arabs couldn’t possibly be victims. Everyone knows that only Palestinian Arabs can be victims. How do we know? Coz Benny tells us. And Benny is not a lying biased hypocrite. Nah, not much.

          BEN:”has never been their first option.”

          What hasn’t been whose first option Benny? Get a grip. You are losing the thread of your own ramblings.

          BEN:”Now the Jews on the other hand… just look at what they do everywhere, not just here. Sneaky theft and dispossession has always been their first option.”

          Ok Benny, we the Jooooos are sneaky thieves. Thank you Benny.

          BEN:”No? You wouldn’t like that, would you?”

          Actually, nothing surprises me anymore from you. So I don’t really care.

          BEN:”With good reason. Why is vile anti-Semitism not OK–and it definitely is not–but vile anti-Arabism is OK?”

          OK Benny, I am anti Arab and they are anti Jewish. That’s what happens to people in a 100 year war. But what is your excuse for being anti Jewish and a pro Arab apologist? Are you an Arab? If you are, then I’d fully understand and even excuse you. Otherwise, what are you Benny? What’s your excuse? And please don’t start your repetitive BS about the “settlements” and the occupation which did not exist prior to 1967 but their violence against us DID exist. How do you explain that Benny?

          Aside… I have lost count how many times I asked him that question but he never answers it. Coz he knows that going down that path would make him look even more stupid than he looks.

          BEN:”And the discrimination against the Arab neighborhoods that cries out to heaven. That is necessary because? Why? Security? And if you really wanted to, no *longed* to live in peace you would treat the people you so long to live in peace with this way because? Why? LoL.”

          What discrimination are you talking about Benny and against which Arabs? Spell it out so I can catch you out in your lies.

          Hint: there are Israeli Arabs. And there are West Bank Arabs who are part of a foreign nation. And yes, they are under occupation because they are unwilling to sign a peace deal with us.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            DISCRIMINATION. What is it?

            Is it discriminatory for a country to treat enemy aliens with greater suspicion than it’s own population during war times?

            It seems that according to Benny if we are talking about Jews the answer is YES because Jews should be willing to put up with random acts of terror by Arabs against Jews.

            Oh but says Benny, but what about hothead Jews who take the laws into their own hands and retaliate? Yea, what about it Benny? Those people are often prosecuted. Not always? Well there you have it. We have individuals who let this 100 year war influence them about how to administer clear laws which we have against discrimination. How Jewish of us. All other people who would be in our situation would be much more tolerant about the “non discriminatory” Palestinian Arab incitement to stab and try to murder Jews wherever they can.

            Oh and I nearly forgot to highlight Hamas’s and even the PA’s “enlighted” policies of how to treat Palestinian Arab terrorists who randomly murder Jewish civilians, including children…

            Hamas, take hostages to force the release of such vile murderers. While the PA insists that such murderers be released before they “do us a favor” and sit down to pretend to negotiate with us about bringing an end to this 100 year war.

            But Benny is ONLY scandalised about Jews “discriminating” in such circumstances. He has no problems with the equal opportunity policies of Arabs to hate and murder us at every opportunity. His excuse for it is the occupation. Yea, the occupation which came about because of Arab aggression against us and which cannot end till the Arabs are willing to formally renounce that policy of aggression.

            Still want to talk about discrimination, Benny? Maybe you should look at yourself?

            Reply to Comment
    5. Peter Dahu

      Jeffrey Goldberg has long attacked people for equal rights of non-Jews and Jews in the region and democratic reform.

      He is now claiming Palestinians are supremacists when he doesn’t want to give non-Jews rights because it will hurts his privalages?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben

      Two comments by Noam Sheizaf from +972 on Twitter worth reposting here:

      Abstract debates on history and narratives are the opposite of pragmatic solutions. This is exactly what Netanyahu is aiming for, always

      You got to be impressed by Bibi’s ability to make people talk about all sort of BS and never the reality on the ground #MuftiMadeMeDoIt

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Ok then Benny, no history. History is verboten.

        Now what is your pragmatic solution? The Palestinian Arabs get strategic assets (lands) without having to renounce their policy of aggression against Israel? Something for nothing? If one is an apologist for the Arabs then ya gotta like such pragmatism. Otherwise…

        Yea, I can see why someone like you would say that’s pragmatic.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Ben

      A myth-debunking piece that sets the record straight:

      Encountering Peace: Debunking myths
      By GERSHON BASKIN
      Wed, 21 Oct 2015, 09:55 AM

      http://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Encountering-Peace-Debunking-myths-428662#article=6017N0MyRjhGNzJBQzhDRDlGODRGNDZCMDE1OEVBQzY2RTQ=
      _________

      Clearly and straightforwardly, Baskin debunks several crucial myths that get bandied about all the time in defense of the occupation, and in regards to the current uprising:

      MYTH: “In 1993 Israel signed a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but we have no peace.”

      MYTH: “Israel has offered the Palestinians everything but they have turned down every offer and walked away.”

      MYTH: “In 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip and gave it all to the Palestinians, not leaving a single settler or soldier there, and return Israel got Hamas and rockets.”

      MYTH: “The status quo on the Temple Mount has not changed and Israel is not changing it.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        I hate to tell you this Benny darling but your bold debunking of those so called debunkings of those “myths” are just assertions.

        I could equally assert that the earth is flat but without me being able to debunk ample proofs to the contrary, I would be dead wrong!

        And your assertions are wrong too in the absence of plenty of historical evidence to the contrary.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          My only advice to you would be to actually read the article by Gershon Baskin. As I said it’s a gem of succinctness and accuracy. Facts are stubborn things. Going all post-modern on us all of a sudden and saying facts are mere subjective assertions doesn’t convince. And muttering senselessly about debunkings of debunkings is, well, bunk. The Earth is not flat. It’s territories in the area of the West Bank are occupied, belligerently and illegally. I can see why you might be flustered though. Baskin debunks the basis of most of what you’ve written on +972. The jig is up. History is verboten? What you mainly do in my opinion is misappropriate history in the service of what Sheizaf calls “talk about all sorts of BS and never the reality on the ground.” Baskin debunks the BS. The reality on the ground is still there. Why, next thing you’ll know you’ll be saying something as wacky as Hitler didn’t really want to exterminate the Jews. And that the Palestinian nation doesn’t exist, and it’s responsible for the Shoah. Wait, I take that back. I’m sorry. Clearly, no Israeli would ever say something that twisted and that stupid and that incitement-laden. Right? I mean that’s utterly ridiculous to think any Israeli Jew and certainly not, let’s say, an Israeli Prime Minister, would ever say such a thing; or that if he did say it he would say maliciously and not innocently. Right? What was I thinking? Because if he did say such a thing it would so clearly expose the utter bankruptcy, morally and intellectually, of the Right Wing that the jig would be up. Right?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            My only advice to you and to other so called leftie extremists including the writer of the article is that contrary to your belief, you people are not peace makers.

            You people are in denial about ANY gestures, big or small, made by ANY Israeli government ANY time historically. I bet if an Israeli leader would propose a peace deal which would involve ALL Jewish Israelis voluntarily walking into the sea and drowning ourselves while the Arabs would say it isn’t enough, you people too would parrot the sentiments of the Arabs and demand that we need to crucify ourselves instead.

            The net result is that we reach a point where we switch off and ignore you and your demands. At the same time, your noisy campaign only encourages the Arabs to refuse to make concessions. And the net result is that you are polarising the debate. You encourage extremism on both sides.

            Mull on that, Benny dear.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh, but I nearly forgot that you people actually WANT us to ignore you because you aren’t really interested in talking to us or convincing us. To you, we (Israel) are just the enemy that needs to be crushed. So actually, you like the idea of us ignoring you because that enhances your ability to incite others against us without having to put up with the nuisance of being exposed to outsiders about the fact that ALL you do is spread propaganda with the express purpose of turning everyone against us.

            You won’t succeed Benny.

            Reply to Comment