There was a three minute item tucked into the middle of Tuesday''s Chanel 2 prime time news that would provide ample justification for the Israeli government to suspend negotiations with the Palestinians, if they chose to do so.
By scrolling, you can find it in the 17 to the 20 minute segment of this clip showing the full news program. It shows anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement at UNRWA summer camps in Gaza and the West Bank.. For those who cannot follow the Arabic of the teachers and pupils, or the Hebrew translation along the bottom, there is a longer version with English translations embedded in the latter section of an English language article available here.
The day''s news paid greater attention to the release of the first group of Palestinian prisoners, and a report that Secretary of State John Kerry warned Prime Minister Netanyahu that a failure of the peace talks would produce an increase in international efforts to delegitimize Israel. And this against the background of the EU announcement that its members would no longer support Israeli academic or scientific activities that occur over the 1967 borders.
The comparative treatment by Israel of its Arab minority and its relationships with the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere are among the most complex of social and political issues. Against Israeli data showing that the status and living standards of Arab citizens compare well with those of minorities in other western democracies, and that Israel has a respectable record of restraint in dealing with Palestinian aggression are the Arab narratives that seem to be accepted by significant segments of public opinion and officialdom in Europe, the United States, the UN and other international organizations.
The incitement apparent in UNRWA summer camps violates commitments made by Palestinians as part of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and reiterated in recent days by Palestinians as part of the run-up to current negotiations.
The world''s obsession with Israel, holding its government and population to higher standards of evaluation than used in judging others, acceptance of a simplistic Palestinian narrative of complex issues, outright vilification in some official forums, as well as Palestinian and UN incitement of hatred and revenge among children amount, arguably, to the latest chapter in the old process that acquired the label Antisemitism in the 19th century.
That some of the practitioners are left-wing Jews or the high ranking officials of governments that describe themselves as Israel''s best friends does not detract from the problem.
John Kerry''s most recent statements that Israel''s plans for construction over the 1967 line are illegal or illegitimate (depending on the version) appear to contrast with the reality that most of the construction is destined for neighborhoods of Jerusalem that previous US administrations accepted as changes on the ground that subsequent negotiations would have to recognize.
What might be appropriate Israeli responses?
Most likely authorities will cope, without suspending discussions on account of Palestinian incitement.
The actual damage of preoccupation and hostility have been manageable, to date. There is ample evidence that Israel''s living standards put it among the most desirable places in the world.
Moreover, it does considerable business with countries that outwardly condemn Israel and have no formal relations with it. Much of that is done quietly, under stiff agreements of secrecy between companies and their employees, and limited exposure in Israeli media.
For its part, the government has not caved into compliance with the most strident of the demands. The Prime Minister is making the argument with European officials that recent announcements of sanctions--if not retracted or softened in practice--will hinder and might doom the peace process by rousing opposition to concessions. The limited reports from Israeli-Palestinian-American discussions indicate that Israel has not conceded a great deal. A prisoner release came along with planning for new construction. Complaints by Palestinians, Americans, and others about that construction appear to violate understandings by the parties. We hear that actual discussions have not gone beyond discussing what should be discussed.
The Wednesday morning news reported, along with the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, an Israeli air attack on Gaza in retaliation for missiles fired toward Israel. It will not be easy for Israel to deal with missile firings from Egyptian areas of the Sinai, but we can expect some response if recent attacks on Eilat are indications of what is to come.
Along with the vilification and lesser insults are forms of cooperation that complicate any simple conclusion about Israel''s isolation. With all the backtracking of the Secretary of State with respect to acceptable Israeli facts on the ground there has been considerable provision to Israel of advanced American weaponry. It may not be sufficient to allow an Israeli attack on Iran that wipes out that country''s nuclear option, but it may be enough to deal any anti-Israeli actions by Hezbollah, Iran, or the various Jihadist elements now active in Gaza, the Sinai, or Syria.
Israeli commentators have described the Egyptian campaign against anti-Egyptian and anti-Israel Bedouin in the Sinai as "modest," but they represent a significant increase over what had occurred during the Morsi''s presidency or even the latter days of Mubarak''s.
One can make a variety of conclusions, or admit confusion about various Islamic extremists doing battle against one another in Syria, with support for the Syrian regime coming from Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, and support for anti-regime forces coming from Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Turkey, the US, and European governments.
There is nothing new in the discovery that politicians speak with a "forked tongue," sending different messages to different constituencies, or talking in one way and acting otherwise.
Meanwhile, Israeli are doing better than simply surviving, and the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are also better off than they they claim, when compared to other Arabs or the more extensive Third World.
Only the future will tell if this truly describes Israel''s place in the world, or if it sounds like the person mid-way in a fall from a tall building saying "So far so good."