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(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon entered into a “battle of statements” Monday with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat over a six-minute, minimalistic YouTube video Ayalon made which asserted that Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, territories, and that the settlements are not illegal.
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The video, titled “The Truth About the West Bank” – a brief historical narrative that tackles what Ayalon said is the “very simple question” of from whom Israel conquered the West Bank – has garnered nearly 120,000 hits on YouTube since it was uploaded some two weeks ago.
It also earned Erekat’s wrath.
In a statement Erekat put out last week and carried by the Palestinian WAFA news agency, Erekat expressed shock at what he called the “offensive” video.
“With this video, the Israeli government has left no doubt on its pro-conflict agenda,” Erekat said. “Now, the international community knows the Israeli government is committed to denying the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination and on continuing their illegal and colonial enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“This is not an amateur video prepared by an extremist group,” Erekat said. “An official representing the State of Israel presents a cynical and falsified account of history and international law.”
He called the video a “desperate attempt to gear international discourse away from the pursuit of genuine peace to the outdated arguments of those who oppose it.”
Erekat called on the international community to demand an official explanation from Israel for the video, “which openly expresses hostility towards the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights to independence and self-determination.”
Ayalon was unmoved, and on Monday responded to Erekat with a statement
of his own saying that “For too long the Palestinian narrative of
international law and rights has gone unchallenged, and this over the
top reaction to a public diplomacy video proves that they are acting
like spoiled children who have had their way for too long,” Ayalon said.
The deputy foreign minister especially took umbrage at Erekat’s
statement that “this official video went as far as discarding United
Nations Resolution 181 [the Partition Plan Resolution]. I want to remind
the government of Israel that it was accepted at the UN as a full
member based on its acceptance of this resolution.”
Ayalon said the false claim that the General Assembly resolution created
Israel showed “how misguided the Palestinian attempt to have their
unilaterally declared state recognized at the United Nations really is.
“Israel was admitted as a full United Nations member in 1949 by United
Nations General Assembly Resolution 273, after a recommendation by the
Security Council, because it met all the criteria of statehood,
something the Palestinians should bear in mind before they further their
confrontational and damaging plan towards September,” Ayalon said.
The only way for a country to gain admission into the UN is to first
secure a recommendation by the Security Council, and then to garner
two-thirds support in the General Assembly.
Since it is widely believed that the US would veto such a Palestinian
move in the Security Council, admission to the UN of a Palestinian State
in September is very unlikely.
Israel, on the other hand, gained admission to the UN only after first
securing a recommendation by the Security Council and gaining support of
two-thirds of the General Assembly, and not by the General Assembly’s
Partition Resolution – which, in any case, was rejected by the Arabs.
Ayalon, in his statement, also challenged “any of the Palestinian
Authority political leadership to a debate on all the issues ahead of