Israeli officials expose peace-seeking rhetoric as fake
A year after the Abraham Accords were signed, Israel has completely turned its back on peace with the Palestinians, making one wonder if it is truly capable of embracing genuine peace. Or is Tel Aviv merely using talk of peace as a means of getting what it wants?
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz last month met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in what many saw as a potential end to the long stalemate fueled by the arrogant obstinacy of the former Israeli government headed by the criminally indicted Benjamin Netanyahu. It was — remarkably for a country that claims to desire genuine peace — the first meeting in many years between Palestinians and Israelis. So it was truly significant.
But the illusion of peace meticulously crafted by Israel was this week shattered by the typically hate-driven rhetoric of anti-Arab official Ayelet Shaked, who is now serving as interior minister under Netanyahu’s successor, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Shaked and Bennett, long-time right-wing allies, have launched a campaign to demonize the Palestinians and Abbas in particular.
Since Bennett became prime minister in June, Bennett and Ayelet have, rather than express hopes for peace, denounced the Palestinian president as unfit to be a partner for peace with Israel. Ayelet was typically brutal when she told a right-wing audience at the Reichman University in Herzilya on Tuesday: “Abu Mazen (Abbas) is paying money to terrorists that murder Jews and filing lawsuits in The Hague against Israel Defense Force soldiers — he’s not a partner.”
The illusion of peace meticulously crafted by Israel was this week shattered by the typically hate-driven rhetoric of anti-Arab official Ayelet Shaked
What she is referring to, and fictionalizing, is that the Palestinians pay families that have been brutalized and decimated by Israel’s illegal collective punishment. As defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention, collective punishment is a war crime that includes the destruction of the property of innocent civilians who happen to have a relative accused of a criminal act.
When Israel accuses a Palestinian of committing a crime — which it usually brands “terrorism” — the Israelis not only punish, and often kill, the suspect, they also extend the punishment to the suspect’s relatives by destroying their home and even others in a collective manner.
It is a truly inhumane abuse of the human rights of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged crime. With their home destroyed, these family members are thrown into the street.
The Palestinian Authority steps in to help those families whose rights have been trampled by Israel’s total disregard for human rights and the international rule of law.
Using its muscle with the international mainstream news media, Israel then describes the PA’s attempt to provide humanitarian assistance to such families as “paying the terrorists.”
Everyone knows that the Israeli vernacular is built on lies, yet it is accepted for the sake of fake peace.
Shaked and Bennett, along with most Israelis who openly embrace human rights violations like collective punishment, have also effectively called Abbas and all the Palestinians he represents terrorists because the PA turned to the institution that gave Israel’s its international affirmation — the UN — for support.
Abbas turned to the UN’s International Court of Justice, which is based in The Hague, seeking justice for Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip and its violations of human rights in the Occupied Territories. Of course, that would upset any right-wing, anti-peace Israeli like Shaked and Bennett.
Yet, despite all of their egregious violations of human and civil rights, their rejection of the international rule of law and even their lack of a fundamental desire for peace, there are still people who think Israeli leaders like Netanyahu and Bennett can bring about peace.
As long as Israel can hide behind the thin veil of its peace-seeking rhetoric, it can violate all kinds of international laws and demonize the Palestinians, while falsely claiming to be peacemakers.
• Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at www.Hanania.com. Twitter: @RayHanania