By William ChurchDirectorPalestine Israel Media Analysis Group (PIMAG)A stealth, seismic shift occurred October 22 in Jerusalem at the Conference on the Future of the Jewish People.  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the conference and suggested that there will be no troop withdrawal in the West Bank even after a peace deal.  He also re-enforced the view that Israel’s growing paranoia and anti-Arab attitude has reached an apex.Netanyahu started his speech by laying out his basic premise that Israel sees itself in a constant state of war.   He observed that during the last few decades there has been an increase in “demonization of Jews, the singling out of Jews, the denial of rights of Jews and Jews only.”“The old hatred against the Jews as a people,” he stressed, building to his call for a constant state of war, “has been transformed into a hatred against the Jewish state.”Veteran news reporter and Lebanese-American Helen Thomas felt the sting of being called anti-semitic not for comments about Jews like CNN news anchor Rich Sanchez but for a statement that “Israeli should get out of the West Bank.”Using this position as a building block, Netanyahu then linked the United Nations with terrorists and accused the United Nations of being in a coalition with militant Islam because it has criticized Israel over its recent attack on the Gaza Flotilla in international waters.

 

Referring to militant Islam and the United Nations he said, “the former works with missiles and suicide bombers and the latter through misnamed bodies like UN Human Rights Council, UN Human Rights Commission and their attempt to abuse the International court of Justice.”

 Prime Minister Netanyahu then turned his bias towards Islam and by implication Arabs and Iranians in describing the military threats facing Israel. He defined the threats, generalizing his comments about multiple societies in the Middle East, implying Arabs and Iranians, as coming from “primitive societies, barbaric societies that in the beginning of the 21st Century enslave women, mutilate them, deny human rights to their own citizens and promote the most absurd doctrines.”

Moving to his conclusion, he centered on the core purpose of his speech, which was to describe the future security arrangements after a peace deal with the Palestinians.  In this effort, he first drove home the “constant state of war” analogy by claiming that in the last decade 12,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli citizens.

Like the rest of his speech, this claim is filled with hyperbole and fear mongering and in keeping with his core assertions that current security arrangements have not worked.  In reality, 12,000 rockets have not rained down on Israel in the decade. Israel’s own Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemorative Center estimates that up to the Gaza cease fire after Operation Cast Lead about 6, 500 rockets and mortars—3,278 in 2008—were fired at military targets as well as civilian targets.  The actual number of rockets fired is a fraction of this total number because it includes mortars used against the Israeli Defense Forces.

 Since the cease fire, the security situation has improved dramatically with only 400 rockets and mortars being fired at military and civilian targets, according to GlobalSecurity.org, and in the last year it has been a tiny trickle.

Citing these assertions, he called on Israel and worldwide Jewish leaders to learn from the lessons of the withdrawal from Gaza.

“Peace must have built into it, arrangements on the ground—concrete security arrangements—that prevent this mistake (the withdrawal of military forces) from recurring,” he said, aware of the recent reports that US President Obama as given his support for the presence of the Israeli Army in the Jordan Valley after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. 

Netanyahu also claims the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not have a commitment to “such security arrangements and it has a lack of stringent demands to begin a change.” Once again this contrasts the reality of the fact that there have been no suicide bombings in Israel for years and improved security by PA forces to the point that Israel has removed checkpoints and returned control over to the PA in many locations.

In ending his speech, Netanyahu rewrites more history and calls on the PA to recognize the state of Israel, forgetting that the PLO has already done that in a 1993 letter to Prime Minister Rabin, and now making it clear that the demand has permanently changed to being recognized as a Jewish state.

 

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