The chagim of 5776 have ushered in a new year that has so far been quite a shocking one for the citizens of Israel.
The so called “moderate”, President Mahmoud Abbas, now in the 10th year of his 4 year term, has been inflaming the situation and inciting the wave of violence that has taken place and has resulted in so many deaths and injuries.
On September the 16th Abbas himself said on Palestinian TV and Sky News in Arabic:
“We bless you. We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shaheed will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.
Al-Aqsa is ours, and the (Church of the) Holy Sepulcher is ours, all ours.
They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet, and we won’t allow them to.”
Notwithstanding the violence he has encouraged and attempted to justify, Abbas continued with this utterly false theme in his speech at the United Nations only some days ago.
In Jerusalem we are being dragged deeper and deeper into a religious war over the Temple Mount with lies being told by the Palestinian leadership about supposed changes to the status quo there.
There are no changes.
The facts are that despite Israel capturing the Temple Mount in 1967, the holiest site in all Judaism, Israel chose to permit the Muslim Waqf to continue to run its Holy places and barred Jews from praying there.
Israel did that.
Out of choice.
Even until today, the very same arrangements apply.
Can anyone conceive of any other conquering force initiating and preserving such conditions???
Now at the same time as the violence continues in Jerusalem and with the stabbings in numerous other cities and towns in Israel, there is also overlapping violence, albeit operating somewhat differently, in the West Bank/Judea-Samaria.
Here too the “moderate” Palestinian Authority is inflaming the situation but at the same time full co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces continues.
In this second field of terrorism, Abbas whilst refusing to publicly condemn the terrorist activity itself, continues to work with the Israelis on the ground against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who are the main perpetrators of terror in this arena.
In some way this buys Abbas the ability to both incite violence and at the same time claim that he has to do so to maintain his street credibility, if he is to continue to assist in defeating terror.
Only in the Middle East can such convoluted reasoning and self evident lunacy be considered normal.
One of the most important factors in these acts of terror are the statements, or lack thereof, from the lay and religious leadership. Public statements have the ability to dramatically raise or lower the temperature.
They are not merely words, they are very important signals to their followers.
Time and again any chance of peace falls on the false premises and forked tongue speeches made by the Palestinian leadership. Abbas et al continue to promise their people one thing, whilst telling Israel and the world another.
The reason we do not have a resolution is that there is a clash of narratives.
The narrative of Israel.
The narrative of the Palestinians to their own people
And the narrative of the Palestinian leadership to the western world.
In the matter of the first two, not in the traditional sense of opposing descriptions of events, but of narratives that do not even overlap in either time or geography.
On the 29th of November 1947 in United Nations Resolution 181 the world decided to partition the 22% of what remained of the British Mandate into a Jewish State and an Arab State.
This decision was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs. Surrounding Arab states invaded Israel and at the end of that war an armistice was reached and the so called Green Line was established.
The Green Line of course is not a border and was never recognised as such by the Arab world.
For 19 years the Jewish people sat happily within the Green Line.
Jews were expelled from the Old City of Jerusalem, our synagogues and holy sites were either vandalised or completely destroyed and we were denied access to the Western Wall.
But we were happy.
We had no West Bank, no Jerusalem, no Hebron, but we were happy.
Then, in 1967 the President of Egypt expelled the United Nations observers from Sinai.
Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant did nothing.
The Presidents of Egypt, Iraq et al publically told the world that they would destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea.
The world did nothing.
The Arab world set out to ensure that no Jewish State of any size would exist beyond its 19 years.
The world was silent.
In six days the war was over and Israel found herself with territories she had never set out to conquer.
Israel tried to give up these territories immediately after the June war in exchange for recognition.
Recognition was refused. Peace was refused.
Nothing has changed.
The Israeli narrative today remains the same as it always was, the desire for a 2 State for 2 People solution.
The Palestinian narrative when expressed in Arabic has nothing to do with the Israeli one. The Palestinian narrative according to Abbas is to undo 1947/48. Ergo, no Israel.
For example the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper on Israel’s Independence Day 2014 in Arabic which said:
“Sixty-six years ago a monstrosity was born”
Israel is “an occupying terrorist state founded on biblical myths”
Or in the official Year 12 school text books published by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education where students are taught:
“Palestine’s war in 1948 ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine… and established the so-called State of Israel.”
Sometimes Abbas gets carried away and even expresses that in English as he did in the New York Times on the 5th of September 2011 when he wrote:
“We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years.”
63 years – not occupation since 1967 but since Israel’s establishment.
The clash of narratives is ongoing.
Israel has accepted Partition resolution 181 and is attempting to deal with its implementation post the 1967 reality. Israel is talking about how to resolve the outstanding issues so that we can achieve two states side by side.
The Palestinians have been educated to believe that Israel is not an ongoing reality and that 1947 can be reversed. That Israel will disappear.
We are talking post 1967 and the Palestinians are talking pre 1947.
At the same time, in the main, Abbas has been spinning the western world with a different yarn, one of a desire to resolve the situation post 1967.
That is why we are in the bind we are in – Abbas cannot reconcile to his own people, the two mutually contradictory narratives he tells his different audiences.
That is why Abbas avoids direct substantive negotiations with Israel.
That is why Abbas makes his appeal on the world stage where he is hoping for an imposed solution that does not force him to tell his people that Israel is a reality that is here to stay.
And that is why Abbas seeks diversions.
And the biggest diversion of all, more than false claims about settlements, or about supposed mistreatment or who knows what else can be dreamed up, the biggest diversion of all is to focus on the canard of the Jews taking over the Temple Mount.
Until Abbas turns down the rhetoric, the current bout of terrorism is likely to continue.
The only good news? Until now at least, Israel’s allies are showing more understanding of Israel’s response than of Abbas’ incitement.
Dr Ron Weiser AM
Hon Life President Zionist Council of NSW
Zionist Federation of Australia. Public Affairs Chairman