It is time the world community recognises Arabs’ hatred of the Jews as the greatest obstacle standing in the way of peace and the Palestinians' own progress. The European community in particular, should judge the Palestinian leaders by their actions and not rely on the likes of Israeli "anti-occupation journalist" Gideon Levi for insight into the region. Hailed by Europe's Leftist, liberal community for “championing the truth”, the controversial columnist has been awarded the prestigious Swedish Palme Olof prize and I ask why "the most hated man in Israel", is so highly celebrated by Europe’s Left.
Levi's anti-occupation Haaretz column are famous for generating phenomenally high feedback levels and setting Israeli online discussion forums ablaze. The newspaper has even merited direct comment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who accused it of feeding into the hands of Israel’s enemies. Still, the European community regards Levi's heavily biased rhetoric as the ultimate insight into the region, avidly quoting his words as solid "historic facts”.
Distinguished Israeli scholar Ben Dror Yemini speaks of enraged anti occupation Europeans “waving Levi’s columns at him during his talks as the ultimate justification to their stand”, but to Ben Yemini, this only serves as proof of Israel’s robust democracy (and that Levi and his newspaper form a "factory of Lies”). My conversation with Levi revolves around the "hatred of the Jews which started long before the 1967 occupation or the 1947 UN declaration” and the rising extreme Islamist groups. My most important question to him however, concerns the 'tunnels of terror' and I ask Levi if he recognises a fundamental flaw in spending tens of millions of pounds on constructing underground tunnels instead of building schools and hospitals.
"It is no different to Israel spending millions on new submarines" he replies, to which I argue that "Israel holds some of the most highly regarded universities, schools and hospitals in the world, so spending on defense clearly does not come at the expense of citizens’ welfare”.
Levi repeats his famous mantra "occupation is occupation is occupation” and that “fighting the occupation is and always will be top of the Palestinians' agenda“.
Just like a multitude of Middle East stories I have covered over the years, this long interview sadly leads to the conclusion that hatred of the Jews, and not the occupation is behind Arabs’ animosity; from my investigation of Scarlet Johansen's controversial SodaStream campaign and the evidence of Palestinians employed at the factory, to interviews with anti-settlements Peace Now, religious settlers, former British Muslims who have rebelled against the “hatred of Jews" preached to them since birth and even a Syrian refugee whose bitter personal journey through the war torn region, has made him question who his people's real enemies and friends are. Particularly illuminating is my encounter with a growing number of disillusioned Israeli peace campaigners, who with considerable pain, have shifted from advocating a two-state solution, to the bitter realization that “a dialogue between a democracy like Israel and the gay-executing, honour killing Palestinian authority" is an impossibility, as the two sides "speak two fundamentally different languages”.
More a more Israelis and Arabs are waking up to this reality (including Hamas leader’s own son). People are wondering why the Palestinian Authority has so little to show for the billions of Pounds poured into the occupied territories over the years, why even with the PA controlling over 97% of Palestinians, Mahmud Abbas maintains the “war mentality” instead of fulfilling 'normal' leader duties, why instead of denouncing violence Abbas incites it by openly welcoming terrorists' families into his home, why more than ten years after Israel has pulled out of Gaza, Palestinian leaders fail to concentrate on building a ‘normal’, working economy for their people, but instead, choose to spend tens of millions of Dollars on rockets and underground tunnels. How can it be that the post Oslo accord generation (1993 and 1995) is so consumed by hatred where the agreements had the PLO commit to controlling incitement to violence within its territories?
My argument draws on a recent Oxford university debate on this very subject, in which Rabbi Shmuli Boteach, raises the same questions and goes on to expose European Left’s hypocritical stand on human rights violations within the occupied territories. How can this community describes itself as “human rights aware”, but not be outraged by Hamas's shooting of gay men, honour killing of women whose only crime is falling in love, babies dressed as suicide bombers and videos of Palestinian children demonstrating “how to stab a Jew”. Why has this "humanistic" community not spoken out against the parade of terror where the bodies of murdered anti Hamas activists were dragged through the Gaza streets for all to witness (Amnesty has spoken out against these executions). This community's at times fanatical anti-Israeli resolve, is matched only by the alarming lack of knowledge it displays; many are surprised to learn that 97% of Palestinians are already under Palestinian authority control, that Israel has pulled out of Gaza and has a robust peace agreement with Egypt and Jordan. I argue that the best help Europe can offer Palestinians is introducing them to democracy, Western values of respect and freedom of speech It should put pressure on Palestinian leaders to stop travelling the globe, zealously promoting an anti Israeli agenda and start governing within, build a 'normal' society where welfare, education and employment are highest on the agenda.
The international community must call for transparency to make sure foreign aid money is spent on food, education and medicine, not weapons, and that concrete is used to build schools, not underground tunnels.
Call on the Palestinian leaders to realize that the “fight for freedom” cannot come at the expense of ordinary Palestinians’ basic needs. It is time Arabs in general and Palestinian leaders in particular, acknowledge their hatred of the Jews as their downfall.
Most importantly it is time for the European community to question its unforgiving attack of the only democratic state in the region,