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Latest News in Israel – 26th November

Israeli seriously wounded in terror attack in South Hebron Hills

An Israeli man was wounded in a suspected terror stabbing attack at the al-Fawwar junction in the South Hebron Hills Wednesday.

According to an MDA spokesperson, the victim, 20, was in serious condition and was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian knife attacker was shot and injured by the IDF before being evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem in critical condition.

The incident took place at the same site where Avraham Asher Hasno, 54, was killed in a hit-and-run truck incident that followed a Palestinian rock attack on his car on October 20.

He stopped the vehicle, got out, and was struck by a truck driven by a Palestinian man, who then drove away.

Earlier on Wednesday, a sniper shot at a parked car near the Cave of the Patriarchs located in the Hebron area of the West Bank

No injuries were reported in that incident.

Security forces have opened an investigation and were combing nearby neighborhoods for possible suspects.

The West Bank has recently been a hotbed of violent activity since a wave of terrorism struck over the last two months, killing 21 Israelis and injuring dozens more.            (Jerusalem Post)

Suspected Palestinian sniper shoots at car near Cave of the Patriarchs

A sniper shot at a parked car near the Cave of the Patriarchs located in the Hebron area of the West Bank on Wednesday.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Security forces have opened an investigation into the incident and were combing nearby neighborhoods for possible suspects.

The West Bank has recently been a hotbed of violent activity since a wave of terrorism struck over the last two months, killing 21 Israelis and injuring dozens more.

Earlier in the week, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death Israeli soldier Ziv Mizrahi at the Dor Alon gas station along Route 443 in the West Bank, which is a main artery that leads to Jerusalem. Two others were lightly wounded in the attack.

Another soldier at the gas station immediately shot and killed the Palestinian.

Mizrahi was the fifth such fatality in the West Bank in the last five days. On Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed and killed Hadar Buchris, 21, at a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction.

Last Thursday, Palestinian gunmen killed three people at that same intersection.             (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu to Kerry: There will be no settlement freeze

After the meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday morning, an Israeli diplomatic source said that the prime minister let Kerry know that there is no and will be no building freeze in the settlements. According to the source, the prime minister emphasized that if the international community expected building permits for Palestinians – than Israel expected recognition for building in the settlement blocs.

Netanyahu told Kerry that his first condition for the return to normal economic and security conditions was the end to the violence, and return of the quiet. The source added that Netanyahu had let Kerry know, the any of advancement of Palestinian civil infrastructure programs would be directly correlated to a decrease in the violence.

The diplomatic source also added that Netanyahu blamed the recent violence on Religious incitement on Palestinian social media, mainly surrounding the issue of the Temple Mount, and blamed the PA for taking an active role in the incitement.

The Prime Minister’s Office said on the topic that Netanyahu and Kerry discussed a variety of regional security matters including the conflict in Syria and ISIS. The statement continued to say that the two discussed a series of possible steps that would help put an end to the current terror wave. The two also discussed possible ways to strengthen security ties between the countries in light of the unstable security situation in the region, the statement concluded.

During a press conference in Jerusalem this morning, Kerry had said that, “No people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars.”

“It is very clear to us that the terrorism – these acts of terrorism which have been taking place – have deserved the condemnation that they are receiving. And today, I expressed my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation. Israel has every right in the world to defend itself and it has an obligation to defend itself, and it will and it is,” Kerry said.

Netanyahu added that, “There can be no peace when we have an onslaught of terror – not here, not anywhere else in the world, which is experiencing this same assault by militant Islamists and the forces of terror. Israel is fighting these forces every hour. We’re fighting them directly against the terrorists themselves.”            (Ynet News)

 Rivlin to Kerry: ‘The pain is the same in Tel Aviv as it is in Paris’

President Reuven Rivlin hosted United States Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday, with the latter in Israel for a day of talks.

Kerry is in the country to discuss the current wave of Palestinian terror, along with other issues such as the Syrian crisis. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are reportedly not on the agenda for the visit.

In their statements to the press, both Rivlin and Kerry spoke about the November 19 murder of Ezra Schwartz, a Jewish US citizen who came to study in yeshiva. The shared tragedy of Schwartz’s murder highlighted that aside from common values and principles, one of the binding factors between Israel and the US continues to be the common battle on terror, with American citizens often tragically falling victim to Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli soil.

“The terrible scenes we have seen, around the world, have shaken us all – and we continue to send our prayers to the injured and those who lost loved ones,” said Rivlin, emphasizing that Israelis are not strangers to the horrors of terrorism.

“The pain is the same, in Tel Aviv, as it is Paris, in Gush Etzion, in Mali and in Sharon Massachusetts,” he said as he reiterated deepest condolences to Schwartz’s family – “an 18 year old US citizen murdered while here in Israel, to study and volunteer.”

All free nations are facing the threat of radical Islam, Rivlin continued, and underscored that radical Islam “is the product of hate – not of faith.”

Rivlin also thanked Kerry for his dedication in helping to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Schwartz’s tragic death struck a chord with Kerry, not only because it was yet another example of an innocent civilian being targeted for terror, but also because Kerry is also from Boston.

Kerry took Schwartz’s death as a challenge to all civilized people to make it clear that there are no excuses, or justifications, for the killing of innocent people.

He termed the terrorist attacks “an outrage” and condemned them in no uncertain terms.  He also pledged that the US will continue to stand with Israel “in support of your right to live in peace and stability without violence.”

Kerry has been a frequent visitor to Israel since the 1980s, and has traveled much of the length and breadth of the country, from Kiryat Shmona to Sderot. The Secretary of State said that he feels “very much part of Israel” and wrote in the presidential guest book “It is an honor to be here once again. The United States stands proudly with our ally and friend. May we find peace together.”

In his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Tuesday, Kerry had stated, “Clearly no people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, knives, or scissors, or cars.”

“It is very clear to us that these acts of terrorism that have been taking place deserve the condemnation they are receiving. Today I express my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives, disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation,” he said.               (Jerusalem Post)

Israel weighs transfer of 10K dunams to PA

The Civil Administration, which acts as the IDF’s liaison to the Palestinian population in the West Bank, is considering the possibility of transferring some 10,000 dunams (about 3.8 square miles) of land currently under Israeli control to the Palestinian Authority, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

The move, if implemented, would be carried out as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians in exchange for efforts on the Authority’s part to help quell a surge in Palestinian terror attacks over the past two months.

According to the 1995 Oslo II Accord, the West Bank is divided into three parts: Area A, which is under full PA control; Area B, which is under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control; and Area C, under full Israeli security and civil control.

The proposed 10,000 dunams would come from Area C, which contains the largest amount of land among the West Bank’s three parts, at about 60 percent.

Outside of anonymous sources within the Civil Administration, there was no official confirmation of the plan, which comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry is in the region in an attempt to ease tensions.

The move would likely anger the right flank of Netanyahu’s government. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for statements the latter made with regards to Palestinian statehood during a visit to the US two weeks ago.

“The last thing you need to do in the face of a terror wave is to give them gestures,” Bennett said. “Why does the American approach always have to be accompanied with gifts to the side that is murdering us?”

A wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and vehicular rammings have killed at least 22 Israelis since the beginning of October, including seven in the last week alone. Over 80 percent of the perpetrators have come from the West Bank.           (The Times of Israel)

Ya’alon: Israel intends to build security fence between Hebron, Kiryat Gat

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon informed the Knesset on Wednesday evening that the security establishment intends to construct a security fence, separating the West Bank city of Hebron and the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat.

Ya’alon’s remarks came in response to a motion filed by Likud MK Mickey Zohar in light of multiple Palestinian assistants having reached the Lakhish Regional Council and carried out terror attacks in recent months.

“We are aware of the issue of the fence, and now with the budgetary approval for the massive fence we plan to build one similar to the border fence with Egypt – it will take some time but it will happen,” the defense minister vowed.

On Friday, a terrorist stabbed and wounded four Israelis — including a 13-year-old girl — in Kiryat Gat.

In addition to the girl, stabbing victims included two women aged 56 and 44 and a 51-year-old man.

All victims were moderately hurt with stab wounds in the upper body. Security forces found the assailant late Saturday night, nearly five hours after the attack, hiding in a storage unit of a private home not far from the scene of the crime.

The attacker, named by the Shin Bet as Muhammed Tarda, an 18-year-old resident of Yatir in the West Bank, had no history of security crimes, according to the security agency.                (Jerusalem Post)

European press infantilizes Palestinians, says visiting delegation of journalists

European press coverage of Israel can be problematic, several members of a delegation of continental reporters here this week told The Jerusalem Post.

“My perception of the European media has been a powerful shift against Israel in recent years, especially in the liberal, slightly bleeding heart press,” said Brendan O’Neill, an editor at British newspaper The Telegraph.

Describing what he saw as a simplistic narrative, he asserted that Israel is frequently “demonized” while the Palestinians are “infantilized” and, as a result, “both sides have been treated pretty badly by the European media.”

Coming to Israel as part of a tour organized by the Europe Israel Press Association – an organization founded by the European Jewish Association and run in part by Israeli public relations consultant Tal Rabina – has been an eye opener, he said.

Now on his second trip to the region, O’Neill said coming here brought him to believe “that Palestinians are far from being these kind of pathetic children that need middle class white people to look after them, which is the impression one gets from liberal newspapers, and that if left to their own devices they would be quite capable of running own state.”

Calling coverage of the Palestinians “orientalist” in nature, he further stated that Palestinians “have been denied their moral autonomy in much of this coverage.”

“They are either presented as either victims in much of the Western media” or their actions are explained away as seen in reporting on the recent wave of stabbing attacks in which “reporters are saying ‘they are in a state of despair, they have no choice.’” “That’s the worst thing for Palestinians,” he said. “One way Westerners exacerbate the situation like that is providing political explanations for this kind of behavior, which could contribute to this kind of instability.”

“I think its because [reporters] have a preordained narrative and have tendency to fit everything into it even if it doesn’t fit,” he continued, saying it is easier to sell a conflict as black and white, especially when many people “define themselves” through their views, which turn being pro-Palestinian into a “shortcut to a moral high ground.”

“There is definitely lack of criticism to how [the Palestinian Authority] runs its affairs. Palestinians then play up to that narrative and are invited to play the role of the victims because that is what Europeans expect of them, so its a vicious cycle – the ability of Palestinians to run their affairs is continually undermined.”

So far during their tour, the visiting journalists, including reporters from France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Bild and Italy’s La Stampa, have met with Israeli officials, senior coalition and opposition politicians and visited the Temple Mount. A visit with Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid was canceled at the last minute due to scheduling issues.

Eric Leser, the publisher of Slate said he has come to Israel often and he believes that it is very useful for Europeans, especially in light of recent violent attacks, to learn from Israel’s tactics in dealing with terrorism and Islamic extremism.

“Europe is confronted now in some ways with the same kind of terror and violence as Israel has been confronted with in the last decade so, I think it’s very useful information and an asset to understand how the Israeli police, courts and society are dealing with this.”

He said that while Israel certainly can be criticized when called for and that any reporting that upsets both sides is probably spot on, the line between legitimate critiques and “pure animosity” has blurred.

The narrative of the conflict here has become overly simplified in a heroes-versus-villains mode with little historical context or nuance, he continued, saying he understands why many here are suspicious of the foreign press.

Not everyone was as down on the European media, however, with the Daily Mail’s assistant editor Neil Darbyshire telling the Post that while he certainly gets that “most Israelis think they get a terrible press and not a great deal of support from Europe,” such negative coverage is “not universal.”

“I understand why they might think that at the moment with the labeling issue and American aspects of the boycott. I understand why they might think that but I think there are strands of opinion in Europe that understand that your situation is difficult, the very hazardous and dangerous situation Israel finds itself in.

“If people didn’t appreciate that the last few weeks, they certainly do now,” he said.

The Daily Mail, he said, is in no way anti-Israel or anti-Semitic and even has an editor who is a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

While he said he doesn’t believe the trip will substantively change how his paper reports, he did admit that it gave him a deeper understanding of the power of incitement and radicalization and that Palestinian hate speech may bear a semblance to that of radical preachers in the UK.                 (The Jerusalem Post)

OECD: Israelis among highest educated in the developed world

Israelis are among the highest educated in the developed world, but the country still lags behind with regards to gender equality in education, according to an OECD report released Tuesday.

Education at a Glance 2015 indicated that 49 percent of Israelis have attained higher education degrees, well above the OECD average of 34% and the second highest rate of all member countries. In addition, 85% of the population ages 25-64 has completed upper secondary education, above the average of 76%.

Despite these figures, however, the report found that the gender gap in higher education is pronounced in Israel with 53% of women between the ages of 25-64 achieving higher education degrees and just 44% of men, compared with the OECD average of 35% and 32%, respectively.

The findings further indicated that for all levels of education, women in Israel earn less than men with the same level of education – 72% of earnings compared with the OECD average of 80%. Furthermore, women with tertiary degrees earn just 63% of men with the same level of education – 10% less than the OECD average.

In contrast, the findings indicated that the earnings gap between older and younger tertiary-educated workers was one of the smallest – 8% compared to the OECD average of 36%.

The report also referred to the results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, administered to 15- and 16-year-old students in more than 70 countries every three years, highlighting gender gaps in testing achievements – a sweeping global trend that has also affected Israel.

While The Jerusalem Post reported on the findings of the PISA exam in December 2013, indicating that students still lag behind their peers in the rest of the OECD in mathematics, reading and science, the current report further expanded on gender imbalances.

According to the findings, in 2012, 14% of boys and 9% of girls (OECD average) did not attain the PISA baseline level of proficiency in any of the three core subjects measured, compared to 24% of Israeli boys and 13% of Israeli girls.

Some 24% of Israeli students who took the exam were considered “weak” in reading, compared to only 17% in the rest of the OECD. In math, the Israeli rate stood at 34%, compared to 23% in the OECD.

In science, the rate was 29% in Israel and 18% in the rest of the participating countries.

The report also found that Israel spends one of the highest percentages of its gross domestic product (GDP) – some 6% in 2012 – on education, higher than the OECD average of 5.2%. Of this, the country spends 4.4% on primary and secondary education, also above the OECD average of 3.7% and 1.6% on higher education, on par with the OECD average of 1.5%.

However, despite these promising figures, the annual expenditure per student remained much lower than the average of OECD countries, with Israel spending $6,931 per student on primary education in 2012, compared with the OECD average of $8,247. With regards to secondary education in 2012, Israel spent $5,689 per student (a slight decrease from 2011), compared with the OECD average of $9, 518 per student. In 2012, Israel spent $12,338 per student in higher education, compared with the OECD average of $15,028.

The reason for this anomaly, according to the report, stems from the simple fact that Israel has a higher proportion of students among the general population, 33% compared to 24% for the OECD average.

Due to the recent expansion of the Compulsory Education Law, which mandates that all children from the age of three must attend school, Israel has 100% enrollment of three-year-olds and 45% of two-year-olds in early-childhood programs, well above the OECD averages of 74% and 39%, respectively.

In addition, the report found that the average class size in the country stands at 27 pupils in primary education and 28 pupils in lower secondary education, larger than the OECD average of 21 and 24 pupils, respectively.

“The education report of the OECD is the world’s bible for education among developed countries. For Israel, it is also a report about our future security because only a leading and excellent education system will let us deal with the multiple and intensifying challenges and threats,” former Likud MK Carmel Shama- Hacohen, Israel’s envoy to the OECD, said Tuesday.

According to Shama-Hacohen, the report shows points that “allow for pride and satisfaction” alongside challenges that “don’t allow you to rest for a moment.”

“The delegation led by me under the guidance of the Education Ministry works to enhance cooperation with the OECD on education and the decision to hold the organization’s 2016 education conference in Jerusalem is also a state achievement and a statement about the priorities of Israel vis-a-vis the OECD,” he said.     (Jerusalem Post)

Bill seeks to close mosques where incitement is preached

New legislation that would shut mosques or any structure in which there is regular incitement to terrorism was proposed by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) Tuesday.

The bill is inspired by similar initiatives in France and a call by Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the US, which Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), another candidate, said he supported last week.

The explanatory portion of the proposed bill states: “studies show that sometimes criminal terrorist actions are a result of wild incitement by religious figures in mosques who give speeches that inflame those present to go out to wage jihad in the name of God.

“Such behavior was prohibited years ago in the penal code, but the law does not relate to the place in which the incitement and calls to violence happen,” the bill explains.

Smotrich said Israel must use all the tools it has to fight terrorism.

“The well-oiled Arab incitement machine is the platform on which terrorism grows, and the time has come to take care of it,” he said.

“We cannot allow mosques to be used as fertile ground for incitement and terrorism. We are saying enough. Enough incitement in the name of religion, enough murder in the name of religion.”

The Bayit Yehudi MK added that his proposal will help bring back Israel’s deterrence and send a clear message that any place that houses incitement will be shut down.       (Jerusalem Post)

The NGO campaign against Israel

Western NGOs routinely violate all pretense of neutrality when they get into Israel-bashing mode. Why do they do it? Old fashioned bigotry is part of it, but it may also be a psychological release related to the real tyrannies whose crimes they ignore

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/6155/the_ngo_campaign_against_israel

by Dexter Van Zile               The Commentator

What is it with the staffers of humanitarian aid organizations who work on issues related to the Middle East? Do they really care about their ability to work effectively and maintain good relations with Israeli officials?

Or are they so hostile toward the Jewish state that they cannot maintain even a façade of politesse and neutrality? It’s been a problem for years.

The most obvious example of this phenomenon is UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness. Gunness recently attacked UN Watch for highlighting the antisemitic internet postings of Palestinians who work for UNRWA. After UN Watch drew attention to the problem, Gunness asked his supporters for information about the organization’s funding.

Eventually UNRWA was forced to admit that some of their employees had in fact violated the diplomatic neutrality rules imposed on UN employees. UN Watch was right, Gunness was wrong.

If Gunness was a true professional, he would have done his job, looked into the accusations right away and then reported his findings. Instead, he tried to shoot the messenger. This sends a terrible message to Israeli citizens who are the targets of antisemitic Facebook rants of UNRWA employees.

Another example of the tendency of humanitarian officials harassing the Jewish state is Tom Getman, a former official with World Vision, a Christian charity. A few years back Getman referred to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a violent and antisemitic terrorist organization, as “a friend.” This is an odd word to use to describe a guy who has stated that he someday wants to destroy all the Jews in the world once they all gather in Israel.

Getman called Nasrallah a “friend” years after he left the payroll of World Vision, but when Getman worked as policy director for the organization he once submitted written testimony in court over a custody battle between a woman who took her children out of Israel (without her ex-husband’s permission), and the ex-husband who still lived in Israel.

In the case, which took place during the Second Intifada, Getman told the court that Israel was an unsafe place for children to grow up. “I believe it would be unwise for Jewish children to return to Israel at this time if they have an alternative option,” he wrote. It’s a pretty astonishing propaganda stunt for a World Vision official to engage in.

Also, during the Second Intifada, Getman penned a reflection in which he wrote: “It is being suggested by several journalists that a purposed ethnic cleansing is the last gasping effort of a dying Zionist vision in order to sign a death warrant to a parallel viable Palestinian state.” Here was a guy working for a child welfare charity assailing the legitimacy of the one state in the Middle East where children are the safest.

Getman had no problem exhibiting his contempt for Israel, which is kind of odd given that he worked for a public charity that ostensibly needed good relations with the Jewish state to do its job in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Apparently, humanitarian officials can dump on Israel without damaging the effectiveness of the organizations they lead.

Jeremy Moodey, leader of the British charity Embrace the Middle East is another example of this phenomenon of humanitarian officials beating up on Israel. Moodey’s organization operates in Israel and the West Bank, but that doesn’t stop him from suggesting that Jews should be chided and condemned for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah.

Attitudes like this got Harvard scholar John Strugnell removed from his post as a translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1990, but Moodey’s polemics against Israel, which indicate that only God’s curses and not His promises to the Jews endure, have not seemed to have hindered his ability to work in the Jewish state.

Another recent example of the phenomenon of NGO humanitarian staffers dumping on Israel with no pretense of neutrality is Blake Selzer.

I first became aware of Selzer’s existence when he sent a nasty tweet my way. I had said something on Twitter about the BDS movement painting a target on the backs of Jews and he said my logic was asinine. It was a pretty disagreeable introduction to Selzer.

It did not take much effort to discover that Selzer works for CARE International in Jordan. He is charged with helping refugees who are fleeing Syria’s civil war. For its part, CARE’s press office says Selzer’s public statements do no necessarily reflect the opinions of the organization.

Interestingly enough, if you look at Selzer’s Twitter feed and Facebook page you will find very little criticism of the terrible acts of violence that have forced millions of people to leave Syria. He wrote an article about his work here.

Judging from his social media profiles, Slelzer is no critic of ISIS or the Assad regime, the two actors responsible for the refugee crisis he was hired to ameliorate. Maybe Selzer has to stay quiet about human rights abusers in Syria, no matter how badly they behave.

There’s a phrase to describe this type of behavior on the part of humanitarian officials. It’s called “fieldcraft.”

In a landmark essay titled “Humanitarianism Unbound,” published in 1994, Alex de Waal revealed that oftentimes aid officials make compromises with abusive governments and regimes just to maintain access to the populations they are trying to help. De Waal writes: “A field officer will be required to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in order to protect the agency’s program, becoming a silent witness.”

The problem is that behaving in such a manner disqualifies one from engaging in true human rights activism, where consistency is required for credibility. Fieldcraft, de Waal writes, “makes a mockery of any avowal of human rights.”

Selzer, who is so quiet when it comes to abuses in Syria, is a ferocious critic of, you guessed, Israel. Again, take a look at his Twitter feed and Facebook page for yourself to find out. He really has it in for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Selzer once gave an interview about the evils of Israel to Iran’s PressTV. Iran, most readers know, is a patron of the Assad regime that has perpetrated so many evil acts against the Syrian people.

“Field craft” goes along way toward explaining why humanitarian aid officials stay quiet about Assad and ISIS.

But why the vitriol toward Israel?

Here’s my guess: Seeing, but not being able to talk about the people who are ultimately responsible for all that suffering in Muslim and Arab countries in the Middle East takes a toll on people emotionally. Israel bashing helps take the heat off.

Rene Girard has written extensively on how people who are confronted with a crisis they cannot fix will direct their rage at a convenient scapegoat to achieve some measure of peace. For humanitarian staffers confronted with the intractable problems of Arab and Muslim countries in the Middle East, Israel fits the bill.

So the next time you bang your thumb with a hammer, blame Israel. All the cool kids do it…

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

Israel at UN: When Will the Palestinians Say Yes to Peace? – Amb. Danny Danon (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN General Assembly on Monday:

If the Arab states and the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had accepted the existence of a Jewish state, Israelis and Palestinians would have been spared decades of needless conflict. But instead of saying yes to living side-by-side with Israel in peace, the Palestinians said no – no to peace, and no to the existence of a Jewish state. The root cause of the conflict is the unwillingness of the Palestinians – even now – to accept a Jewish state in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Why did the Palestinians reject peace offers which would have granted them a state – not once, but three times? Why did they launch violent waves of terror every time they had the opportunity for statehood?

After Israel signed the Oslo accords [in 1993] and recognized the PLO, shooting, stabbings, and suicide bombing took the lives of nearly 300 Israelis. Following Arafat’s rejection of a state for the Palestinians at the Camp David Summit in 2000, the Palestinian leadership ignited a five-year intifada in which more than 1,000 Israelis were killed. Since Israel withdrew all of its security forces and evacuated all Israeli communities from Gaza in 2005, more than 11,000 rockets have rained down on Israeli cities.

If Palestinian leaders really want peace, why do they refuse to sit in the same room with the Israeli prime minister and negotiate? If Palestinian leaders truly want a home for the Palestinian people, why do they reject the very idea of a home for the Jewish people? If Palestinian leaders are concerned for the protection of their own people, why do they encourage and incite them to terror and violence?

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW