The U.S. and international community are up in arms because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the inconvenient truth that uprooting Jewish communities from the West Bank to make way for a Palestinian state is tantamount to “ethnic cleansing.”
Netanyahu’s purported outrage was to state: “Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did.”
The comments came in the form of a two-minute Youtube video in which Netanyahu responded to international criticism that building Jewish homes in already existing West Bank Jewish communities represents an “obstacle to peace.”
The Israeli leader also addressed the longstanding Palestinian Authority demand for a Jew-free Palestinian state; a requirement famously expressed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas when he exclaimed, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands.”
“I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don’t pursue peace,” Netanyahu stated in the video.
Netanyahu framed his remarks in the larger context of his vision for Arabs and Israelis living side-by-side in peace. “I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace,” he stated in the video.
Where exactly is Netanyahu wrong about “ethnic cleansing?” The removal of Jews from territories to form a Palestinian state fits the definition pretty well.
Recall Israel’s 2005 evacuation from the Gaza Strip. The Jewish state rightfully recognized that unilaterally handing over the territory to the Palestinians required the complete removal of all Jews from the coastal enclave, lest any remaining Jews become an immediate target for Palestinian extremists.
As a Middle East reporter embedded for a time in Gush Katif, a former site of Gaza’s Jewish communities, I personally bore witness to the dramatic withdrawal, which included the uprooting of Jewish graves for fear the bodies would be desecrated.
Israel’s instincts were spot on. Immediately after the final Jews departed, the Palestinians ransacked Israeli structures and looted not only multi-million dollar high-tech greenhouses left there with the well-intended aim of helping the local economy, but even synagogues and yeshivas.
Upon gaining the territory, Palestinians “desecrated synagogues in Gaza, setting them on fire” and took buildings apart by hand, Ynetnews reported at the time. Hamas chieftain Mahmoud al-Zahar, a regular guest on my radio show, held a Muslim prayer service in a former synagogue in a clear statement of Islamic supremacy.
Does anyone remember the tragic Israeli withdrawal in October 2000 from Joseph’s Tomb, considered the third holiest site in Judaism?
As I reported:
Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph’s Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb’s interior.
Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag Waover the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat’s office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, “Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem).”
One BBC reporter described the scene: “The site was reduced to smoldering rubble – festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags – cheering Arab crowd.”
Palestinians also constructed a mosque on the rubble of the tomb’s adjacent yeshiva compound. Workers painted the dome of the compound green, the Islamic color.
Why are the White House and international community criticizing Netanyahu for his accurate “ethnic cleansing” statement instead of tackling the real obstacle to peace: The Palestinian refusal to recognize the existence of Israel, and their drive to create an extremist-led, Jew-free Palestinian state.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.