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Genesis of the violence rooted in a bald-faced lie

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Empty park in Jerusalem. JLIMS NOUT HOUSE PHOTO
Empty park in Jerusalem. JLIMS NOUT HOUSE PHOTO

 

Last Thursday, a Jerusalem resident posted a photo of an empty park on Facebook. The accompanying caption read: “This is a park in a very safe and ‘comfortable’ neighbourhood where I usually take my boys after work. On a normal day at 430 pm [sic] the park is PACKED with kids and parents. Look at it!!!! people are scared to take their kids to a park in Talbia!!!!!”

Such is life in Israel right now, where every day brings new terror attacks against Jews. As the knife assaults and shooting sprees continue, it’s hard to feel safe. More and more Israelis are carrying pepper spray or mace, or packing a gun when they’re out and about, just in case.

It is a terrifying situation, and also a frustrating one, since there appears to be no solution in sight. Thousands more soldiers and security personnel have been deployed to the streets, bus stops, shopping malls and Israel’s borders. Temporary walls have been installed, dividing Jerusalem’s Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods. And yet, most experts agree there is little hope this latest wave of terror will end anytime soon.

The genesis of the violence is rooted in a bald-faced lie – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion, despite all evidence to the contrary and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public insistence, that the Israeli government is attempting to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Abbas has shown no shame in piling lies on top of lies, including his malicious claim that Israeli security personnel shot and killed an innocent Palestinian boy. In fact, 13-year-old Ahmed Mansra had stabbed and critically injured two Israelis, one of them a boy of nearly the same age as him, before he could be stopped. Mansra wasn’t dead, either – photos showed him recovering in an Israeli hospital from a head injury.

It’s hard to see how anyone could be deceived by such blatant fraud, and yet many have been, including some media outlets, our own Canadian Broadcasting Corporation among them. From headlines that suggest ruthless Israelis are murdering innocent Palestinians, to inaccurate on-the-scene coverage from reporters who should know better, it’s difficult to understand how so many obvious journalistic mistakes could be committed. It almost makes you wonder whether some of those spreading these lies in the media are doing it on purpose.

But what can Israel do? There is no one to talk to about peace on the Palestinian side, and no clear method to curtail the violence, at least not yet. In the meantime, sales of pepper spray, tear gas and handguns are on the rise. It may not be a solution, but it’s the best anyone has been able to come up with so far. — YONI