Johann Hari has written an article headlined ‘Palestinians should now declare their independence’ in today’s edition of The Independent. It includes a distortion in nearly every paragraph. Here is a selection:
Until 1948, the Palestinians were living in their own homes, on their own land – until they were suddenly driven out in a war to make way for a new state for people fleeing a monstrous European genocide.
Driven out? A misrepresentation of what really happened. Furthermore many Jews arriving in Israel didn’t come from Europe but from Arab states which had brutalised and in many cases expelled them.
They lived huddled and dazed in the 20 per cent of their land they were allowed to keep.
Allowed to keep? As Hari surely knows they had been offered a deal giving them a far, far higher percentage of the land and they rejected it.
They hardly fought back: they wept and dreamed of return.
Hardly fought back? Oh please…
Day by day since then, the remaining Palestinian land has been taken and given to fundamentalist settlers who claim it was given to them by God.
True, some settlers believe that. Many believe nothing of the sort. If he wants to write about religious fundamentalism he could write more about Hamas.
There are two peoples – the Palestinians and the Israelis. Let them live in two states, with 1967 borders, with full compensation for the victims of 1948. Although it is painful to accept swathes of your own dispossession, the Palestinian leadership has supported this programme since 1978, and even Hamas – the ugly fundamentalist group – tacitly accepts it….
Hamas accepts nothing of the sort. Many would argue that the same goes for Fatah.
…Yet it has not been offered to the Palestinians.
Absolute nonsense. The Palestinians have been offered a state many times including 1936, 1947, 1967, 2000 and 2008. Each time they have outright rejected it. When Israel gave them Gaza back they responded with increased rocket fire on southern Israel.
For a long time, I believed that the Israeli people – with their own history of unimaginable suffering – would change their behaviour on their own.
The nasty trick of turning the memory of the Holocaust against its victims. Howard Jacobson wrote of this trend that it is “the latest species of Holocaust denial”.
International pressure – applied intelligently, without hyperbole – can strengthen [the Palestinians'] hand.
Intelligently and without hyperbole? There’s a thought, Johann. Actually, the tragedy is that Hari is clearly a very intelligent and educated man who writes and commentates superbly on so many issues. Which makes his regular and willful distortions against Israel all the more baffling.