Apr. 7, 2017
For decades, attention has been lavished on the Palestinians, bestowing upon this small segment of the Arab world an exaggerated importance. As a result, in media, academic and diplomatic circles, addressing Palestinian grievances was elevated to the status of the most urgent political and humanitarian cause in the Middle East.
At the United Nations, Muslim and European blocs apply a harsh and unfair double standard to the actions and policies of the Jewish state. In 2016, the Human Rights Council (HRC), over which some of the worst human rights abusers preside, passed 20 anti-Israel resolutions and only 6 against all other countries (UN Watch), even as mass atrocities –including the use of chemical weapons – continue unabated just north of Israel’s border, in Syria. This lopsided record in 2016 is typical for the HRC. Taking their cue from the Council’s agenda, compromised human rights watchdogs, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and numerous media and academics that cite reports produced by these groups, raise a clamor whenever Israel vigorously responds to cross-border attacks by terrorist organizations.
The upheavals that shook the Arab world from one end to the other starting in 2010 should have discredited the erroneous perception of the central role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the region’s problems. Yet, for many observers, events of the past six years have not altered their priorities.
In 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was determined to make restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process the signature achievement of his Middle East policy. In December 2016, after three years of fruitless effort, a frustrated Kerry and President Barack Obama, helped shepherd the United Nations Security Council into passing a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal in what many saw as a parting shot at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Wildly distorted perceptions of the magnitude of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prevail even among those who should know better, like foreign policy officials of the EU and its constituent states. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in a speech to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) in April 2016, recounted his dismay to discover that some of his fellow European ambassadors believed the conflict to have cost millions of Palestinian lives, orders of magnitude greater than the actual toll which he estimated at 20,000.