Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper exposed anti-Israel media bias Tuesday by noting that no reporter asked him in Ramallah about human rights in the Palestinian Authority but peppered him with questions on Jewish settlements when he was in Jerusalem.
At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday, Harper was asked several times to make a statement on settlements. He kept repeating what he has said he arrived on Sunday – that the purpose of his visit is not to “single out Israel” for criticism.
When a reported pressed him again on the issue, Harper replied, “Once again, let me emphasize it: I am not here to single out Israel for criticism. I find it, you know, interesting – let me just make it as an observation – that, you know, yesterday in the Palestinian Authority, no one asked me there, no one asked me there to single out the Palestinian Authority for any criticism in terms of governance or human rights or anything else.
“I’m asked to single out Israel. When I’m in Israel, I’m asked to single out Israel; when I’m in the Palestinian Authority, I’m asked to single out Israel; and in half the other places around the world you ask me to single out Israel.”
Harper in a single swipe described the international mindset against Israel more clearly than any Israeli official has ever done.
Netanyahu picked up the beat and stated, “Now, there are two things that I want to puncture, two prevailing myths. Well, one is no longer with us. The first one, which was repeated ad nauseum – you can check if you are a repeater – but until recently, everybody who knew anything about the Middle East explained that the core of the conflict, always in the singular, conflict; the core of the conflict in the Middle East was the Palestinian problem. You remember that?
“Now, today you’d be laughed out of most places…, including the leading campuses in the West – even there – if you argued this, what was accepted as a common, obvious truth…
“The core of the many conflicts of the Middle East is not the Palestinian conflict. But what is the core of the Palestinian conflict itself? And here you have another great myth, and the myth is that the core is basically the settlements. Okay, now mind you the settlements issue, on which Canada has a different position from Israel – I guarantee you, that’s the case, okay? But the core, the settlement issue has to be resolved and will be resolved in a context of peace negotiations. But it is not the core of the conflict. We know that because this conflict raged for half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement, before there was a single Israeli soldier in Judea, Samaria or Gaza.
“This conflict began in 1920, 1921, with the attack on the Jewish immigration depot – murderous attack – in Jaffa. In Jaffa! And it raged on in the attack on the ancient Jewish community of Hebron; it’s been there since, practically unbroken since the time of Abraham – almost 4,000 years.
“And continued in the great attacks by the Palestinians on the Jews here in 1936 to 1939; there were no settlements there. It continued in the rejection of the partition resolution in 1947 that called for a Palestinian state next to – an Arab state actually – next to the Jewish state. There were no settlements. And it continued right up to 1967 when the West Bank, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza were firmly in Arab hands and it was meant to… to do what? To liberate the lands that were already in their hands?…