Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the US, is a man in denial. This is typical of so many of those who devote themselves to spreading Israel’s propaganda. He made a speech yesterday (17th October) to the Israeli American Council’s second annual conference claiming that the root cause of current wave of violence in the region is not Israeli settlement building in the West Bank or as a result of the occupation and conflicts following the Six-Day War but due to “the lie that Israel was trying to harm the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The ambassador told the audience in Washington DC, in what seen by some as a veiled jab at US Secretary of State John Kerry:
“When it comes to the Middle East, you find very smart people believing in very foolish things. There are some people who believe that these attacks are happening because of the territories that Israel captured in the Six-Day War or because of the peace process. Israel should embrace peace for its own sake because Israel doesn’t want to become a binational state, but the idea that renewing the peace process or withdrawing from the territories will somehow stop terror is a fiction. Terror attacks like the ones that we have seen in the past few weeks have been happening for 100 years. The [igniting] match was not the settlements or the lack of a peace process, the match was the lie that Israel was trying to harm the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Whilst we at the Liberal Democrat Friends Of Palestine do not believe Mr Dermer is correct and that the fifty-year-old occupation of Palestinian territory and the persecution of its people are, without a doubt, the root cause of the violence, we are willing to play devil’s advocate for a moment and go along with the ambassador’s story.
Let us pretend that Mr Dermer’s statement is correct and the only reason that many Palestinian youths have decided to take violent action against innocent Israelis is due to, what the ambassador alleges are, untrue reports that the Israeli government mean to damage the al-Aqsa Mosque as “spread “by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, then surely Israel are still to blame. For, even in Mr Dermer’s alternate universe where Palestinians are supposedly unbothered by settlers gradually eating away at their territory and the discrimination forced upon them by occupation, the Palestinians who are taking to violence would not believe the reports that Israel plan to destroy or desecrate their sacred mosque if for decades Israel, especially the current Netanyahu regime, had not persecuted and antagonised the Palestinian people, generating such intense levels of distrust and giving credence to the claims that Israel are up to no good on their holy site. Even if the only root cause was fear for al-Aqsa Mosque’s future an Israel that had not neglected Palestinians would not have to face the current violence.
We completely abhor all violence of any kind, from any parties, but we believe that Mr Dermer’s efforts would be best spent on trying to create an environment where Israelis and Palestinians could coexist peacefully and not performing historical and factual gymnastics to try and absolve Israel from blame for the current surge in violence.