Peering through a Distorted World View

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion recently released the sort of supposedly even-handed statement that is all the rage among political leaders weighing in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The statement read, “Canada is concerned by the continued violence in Israel and the West Bank…As a steadfast ally and friend to Israel, Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table.”

Mr. Dion may be concerned, but it appears that he is concerned about all the wrong things. In the last four months, there have been 177 shooting, stabbing, and car ramming attacks perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis.

These attacks have left 30 people dead and almost 300 injured. Half of the victims have been civilians. They include a pregnant woman working in a clothes shop, a mother of six slashed to death in front of her children, young parents gunned down with their children in the backseat, an American student, a 15-month-old baby, and half a dozen septuagenarians.

Had Mr. Dion genuinely wished to demonstrate his steadfast support for Israel, he would have clearly and unequivocally condemned the malicious targeting of civilians. Instead, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister has jumped on the bandwagon of international leaders who opine that settlements are the problem. His statement concluded, “…continued Israeli settlements, are unhelpful and constitute serious obstacles to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”

Just some four percent of Israelis live in settlements, yet they are blamed for 100 percent of the problems.

Addressing the UN Security Council last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.” The message of the UN’s self-proclaimed psychologist-in-chief is clear — so long as Israel denies the Palestinians a state, it must accept that its citizens will be murdered and maimed.

The Secretary-General seems to have forgotten that Israel has offered the Palestinians a state, and it has done so on three separate occasions. In each instance, the Palestinian leadership refused the deal or walked away from the table.

The Secretary-General also conveniently ignores that fact that in 2005 Israel withdrew every one of its soldiers and citizens from the Gaza Strip. It left behind thousands of greenhouses to help stimulate the Palestinian economy in the hope of creating a model of two peoples living side-by-side in peace. Fast-forward a couple of years and the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of the Strip and began firing rockets into southern Israel.

Therein lies the rub. The international community sympathizes with the Palestinians for seeking to create their own state, while blithely ignoring the sizable faction of Palestinians who seek to destroy the Jewish state.

The result is that state-sponsored anti-Israel incitement continues unchecked, the Palestinian government continues to generously reward terrorists and their families, and so-called martyrs continue to be hailed as heroes in Palestinian society.

After 16 year-old Palestinian Morad Adais broke into the home of Dafna Meir and brutally stabbed her to death in front of three of her children, his father declared, “I am proud of my son.”  Coverage of this outrageous statement was almost entirely limited to the Jewish press.  After all, reporting that Palestinian society celebrates death doesn’t mesh with the mainstream media’s David versus Goliath portrayal of the conflict.

Trying to force the conflict to fit into this flawed and simplistic narrative has come at the cost of understanding who is being victimized.

Take, for example, the January 23 New York Times headline, “Palestinian Girl, 13, Shot Dead by Israeli Guard.” The writers and editors who came up with this sensationalized headline initially felt no compulsion to share the highly pertinent detail that the Palestinian girl was shot as she tried to stab the Israeli guard.

Rather than fuss their readers with informative details, news outlets devote their column inches to sizing up the comparative death toll. Since the so-called stabbing intifada began in October, 90 Palestinians have been shot and killed while carrying out attacks – that’s more than three times the number of Israelis killed.

The media dotes on this disparity. The inference being that since more Palestinians have died, Israel is at fault. The conjecture is absurd. Where else in the world is the victim both accused of being the aggressor and of defending itself a little too well?

We are witnessing a free-for-all, in which statesmen and journalists defend Palestinian violence as the natural, if not morally justified, response to ‘occupation.’ To see the conflict through this distorted lens is to conclude that there is no such thing as an innocent or blameless Israeli. So long as this misguided and short-sighted mindset prevails amongst architects and authors of Middle Eastern affairs, there is little hope of advancing a constructive solution.

This post was first published on HonestReporting.

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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