Aviva Klompas

Don’t Let Facts Disrupt a Good Allegation

It has been three weeks since the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the sky has not fallen. In the days leading up the announcement, there were dire warnings of violent unrest which many believed was reason enough for the United States to forgo its announcement. Fortunately, American foreign policy is not yet determined by Buzzfeed polls.

Following the declaration, Palestinian leaders did what they do — called for “days of rage,” and threatened an intifada. Pundits pounced on the threats as proof that the recognition would lead to calamity, thereby suggesting that those calling for violence spend the other 364 days of the year in a lotus pose conducting thoughtful diplomacy.

Thus far, and to the dismay of Palestinian leaders, the unrest has been limited. In fact, days after Trump’s announcement, Fatah leadership in Ramallah reprimanded Jerusalem’s Fatah over low turnout at their protests.

While the announcement failed to spark the popular unrest that Fatah and Hamas hoped for, the media and international community succumbed to the theatrics, and even played a part in encouraging the irresponsible behavior.

Palestinian leaders either lack imagination or are simply lazy, because they adhere to a predictable playbook – identify a pretext, incite people to violence, then vigorously blame Israel for any fallout.

Following the president’s announcement, Abbas’s Fatah party – and Israel’s ‘moderate’ partner for peace – released a series of incendiary images on social media. This had the intended effect of inciting Palestinians to participate in violent demonstrations.

U.N. condemnations of anti-Israel incitement leading to violence: 0

During one of the ensuing days of rage, a Palestinian man donned a fake suicide bomb belt, hid among a group of reporters and photographers to get close to Israeli Border Police, and stabbed one of the officers. Israeli forces, seeing the apparent suicide belt, shot the attacker dead.

The New York Times reported on the incident writing, “Israeli troops fatally shot four Palestinians and wounded more than 300 others during demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank.” No mention of violent confrontations, no mention of the Israeli who was stabbed, and no mention of the assailant who donned an apparent suicide vest.

Media outrage over the cynical use of journalists as human shields: 0

Following yet another day of rage, Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) posted a video showing a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance transporting Palestinians to violent riots, a clear violation of international law. This incident took place days after Palestinian protesters threw rocks while standing behind an ambulance, knowing the IDF would be reluctant to retaliate.

International Committee of the Red Cross condemnations of the abuse of humanitarian vehicles: 0

As is usually the case, international outrage is reserved almost exclusively for Israel. Most recently, we saw this with the wheelchair-bound Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was killed while participating in violent riots close to the border fence in Gaza.

Hamas, of course, immediately blamed Israel for his death. Deeming the terrorist organization a credible and trustworthy source, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and numerous media outlets followed suit by condemning Israel, and calling the death ‘incomprehensible — a truly shocking and wanton act.”

No doubt they spent hours reviewing the evidence before casting blame. No wait, they couldn’t have. Hamas refuses to release any relevant medical details, such as ambulance and medical reports surrounding Abu Thuraya’s death.

When asked to share information with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Hamas responded with a tweet, “The Red Cross Committee won’t be involved in the investigation of killing the handicapped Ibrahim Abu Thuraya by Israeli sniper.”

Israeli authorities conducted their own investigation and found that no live fire was aimed at Abu Thuraya.

Retractions and apologies: Obviously not.

There have, in recent weeks, been plenty of acts that merit legitimate outrage. More than a dozen rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel. One of the rockets hit a kindergarten in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, and another shell launched from Gaza fell short and hit the Ghazi Al-Shwa Public School in Beit Hanun, in northeast Gaza.

U.N. General Assembly sessions condemning the targeting of innocent civilians: 0

What does it say that the international community isn’t fussed when rockets are fired at Israeli citizens, or when they fall on the schools of Israeli of Palestinian children?

This selective outrage serves only to encourage the Palestinian leadership to continue the senseless cycle of pretense and accusation. But then, why let facts get in the way of a good accusation.

About the Author
Aviva Klompas is co-founder of Boundless and former speechwriter for Israel's delegation to the United Nations.
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