When a distorted view of reality is broadcast to the world and then remains unchallenged, after a while it becomes something that ‘everybody knows’. It becomes a jumping off point for even more lies and distortions. This has been the story of the Israeli-Arab conflict from the beginning.
For years the attitude of the Israeli government has been that actions are important and words are not. Who could believe the crazy rantings of a Yasser Arafat, for example? Who would take seriously the idea that the return of the Jewish people to their historic homeland was an example of Western colonialism, and that the Palestinian Arabs, most of whose ancestors arrived in the land in the 19th and 20th centuries and whose leadership collaborated with Adolf Hitler, were an ancient, noble and oppressed indigenous people?
Everyone ‘knows’, for example that “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law” because news sources like the UK Guardian and NPR repeat it every chance they get. They also believe that eastern Jerusalem is and always was ‘Arab’, and is now being ‘Judaized’, despite the fact that the long-time Jewish population was expelled by the Jordanian army in 1948.
They are also sure that Israel committed ‘war crimes’ in Gaza, despite the fact that a well-known British military expert said that “the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare.”
I could go on. But with the exception of the last example, the government of Israel and its official representatives have done little to counteract these lies.
Unfortunately, sometimes the government even plays along with the charades of its enemies. Take the question of terrorism, which has been waged against Israel by Palestinian Arabs and others since its inception. The truth is that thousands of Israelis and Jews around the world have been murdered by terrorists. Either these terrorists are gangsters in the service of hostile regimes, or they are armed combatants who are committing the most vicious war crimes, deliberately targeting the most vulnerable civilian populations, especially including children.
What they most definitely are not are soldiers fighting bravely according to the laws of war and deserving of honors.
So what are we to make of the fact that the Israeli government just returned the bodies of 91 Arab terrorists, formerly buried in numbered graves in Israel, to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas?
These terrorists were anything but military heroes: they include suicide bombers who exploded in buses, markets and nightclubs, gunmen who took hostages and murdered them, snipers, etc.
The families of terror victims complained, just as they did when more than a thousand prisoners, many of them convicted murderers, were traded for Gilad Shalit. But as always, their protest was ignored.
This was supposedly a “humanitarian gesture,” which is intended to make the PA more likely to negotiate with Israel. But what it did was provide a photo-op for the Palestinians to pretend that the terrorists were actually soldiers, and that their actions were warfare and not murder.
The PA is not likely to drop their preconditions for negotiation — indeed, the whole “2-state solution” negotiation is a farce, based on the false premise that the PA is prepared to accept the existence of a Jewish state of any size.
So what has Israel gained? Families of terror victims were punished yet again to see the murderers of their relatives honored, and another anti-Israel myth — that terrorists are not terrorists — is given new life.