The terror attack on Sunday, not far from the police national headquarters in Jerusalem, in which a woman and a policeman were killed and six people wounded, is a murderous, despicable act that must be unequivocally condemned. But the reactions of those responsible for public safety in Israel – Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich – were ridiculous and demonstrate a denial of reality.
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Erdan repeated his mantra when he argued that the social networks are the primary reason the wave of attacks is continuing. “Facebook and the internet companies bear direct responsibility for what’s happening,” he said on Sunday. “That Facebook reopened Hamas pages last week under pressure from the Palestinian street is an outrage.”
It seems Erdan refuses to internalize the fact that the wave of attacks is linked to causes deeper than Hamas Facebook pages. The government’s consistent blocking of any option for a diplomatic process, at the end of which a glimmer of hope for an agreement might emerge, is what’s causing the feelings of suffocation and frustration, and later the barbaric acts like Sunday’s attack. Erdan’s battles against internet companies are absurd because they seek to reverse cause and effect – instead of addressing the root causes of this destructive dynamic, he prefers to divert the debate toward the technological means of dissemination.
Alsheich was also wrong and misleading when he continued to use worn-out clichés like, “There no need to change patterns of behavior or routines anyone who planned to come to Jerusalem, we are ready to provide reinforcement.” The cities of Israel, and certainly Jerusalem, are not safe, and life in Israel cannot return to routine. These remarks must also be filed somewhere in the “denying reality” binder.
As if to complete the picture, the WikiLeaks website on Sunday published email correspondence between senior members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff, one of whom noted that a “senior Israeli,” apparently Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, complained that Clinton puts too much emphasis on the Palestinian issue. The senior Israeli even wondered whether a Clinton administration would be “a Saban Forum for four years.”
Here is where denying reality comes full circle: Instead of the Palestinian issue being the central focus of the Israeli government; instead of understanding that only bold moves to end the occupation are likely to reduce the violence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is turning Israel into a hopeless place that endangers the lives of its people.