Arab-American Inst Pres Zogby: Knife Attacks in Israel ‘Condemnable,’ But ‘There’s a Bit of Ferguson’

Arab-American Institute President James Zogby argued that while the knife attacks inside Israel are “condemnable,” “there’s a bit of Ferguson here” because “Palestinian lives matter, but they don’t get paid attention to” on Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Zogby stated, “Look, there’s a bit of Ferguson going on here. Maybe a little bit more than a bit of Ferguson. Palestinian lives matter, but they don’t get paid attention to. And so, when you get 13, 14, 15-year-old kids acting out the way they are, what they’re saying is my life matters, but it doesn’t have any hope in the future. And so, unless we find a way, for those who control the occupation, that’s not the Palestinians, it’s the Israelis, to give these kids a ray of hope, to say that there is a future for you that’s different than what you’re seeing right now, this isn’t going to end. It may end for a week, it’ll come up next year in a different way. The violence is the result of a situation of despair that is eating away at the lives and souls of both peoples, but Palestinians are, at the end of the day, the ultimate victims.”

Earlier, Zobgy also dismissed criticism of the rhetoric of the Palestinian Authority with, “these attacks are largely taking police in areas under Israeli control, where the Palestinian Authority can’t operate.” He added, “Israel has done everything it can to discredit Mahmoud Abbas.”

At the beginning of the interview, he said, “I just went back and found an article I wrote back in 1995. the strangulation of the city of Jerusalem has been going on for decades now. we have now a situation where one-third of the land’s been confiscated. Arab population can’t build housing. there are over 200,000 Jewish settlers, and there are 119 compounds in the Arab neighborhoods, that house almost 2,000 really extremist Jewish settlers, with armed guards, which have choked off the city, and because Jerusalem and its population can’t find jobs in the West Bank, or West Bankers can’t come in to shop, they have gone now to west Jerusalem, so that most of the manual laborers in west Jerusalem, the people cleaning houses, or driving, or working on construction sites are Arabs, and the poverty rate among Arabs is three-quarters of the population are in the poverty level. And so, this city has been enduring enormous pain, for many decades and we’re seeing this explosion, which is condemnable in its own right, but is the result of, the, I think the depression and the despair of a whole lot of people.”

Zogby concluded, “Palestinians in Jerusalem are afraid the future of their city is like what happened in Hebron, where the Israelis eat away slowly, slowly, slowly, and ultimately transform a situation where just a handful of settlers and armed guards end up literally gutting a city’s life out of the heart of it. And that’s what’s happening in Jerusalem right now. And I think that it’s hard for the Palestinians to stomach it, when they’ve seen it happen in Hebron. They are seeing the same thing unfolding in Jerusalem. And that’s what’s causing this reaction, it’s despair, it’s anger. It can be tamped down, but in order for it to be tamped down, there has to be hope, and there is no hope right now.”

(h/t Real Clear Politics)

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