Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday accused the Palestinians of advocating ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in the West Bank, and decried what he said was the world’s silence on the issue.
Speaking in English in a video message posted on his Facebook page, Netanyahu asked whether people in other parts of the world would accept such demands in their own countries.
It’s “outrageous that the world doesn’t find it outrageous,” Netanyahu said, urging viewers to ask themselves whether they would accept “a territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without blacks” in their nation.
“Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?” he asked.
“At this moment, Jewish schoolchildren in Judea [and] Samaria are playing in sandboxes with their friends,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical Hebrew name. “Does their presence make peace impossible? I don’t think so.”
He said he envisioned a Middle East “where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace.”
Israel began building settlements in the West Bank after it captured the territory, previously controlled by Jordan, in the 1967 Six Day War. Today, over 250,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements and outposts.
The settlements are seen as an impediment by proponents of the two-state solution, which would see a Palestinian state alongside Israel in most of the West Bank and all of Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, dismantling all its settlements there, while some of the West Bank settlements would potentially remain under Israel control as part of a territorial exchange under a final peace agreement.
Netanyahu’s video garnered 45,000 views and more than 4,300 “likes” within the first three hours of publication. It is the latest in a series of viral attempts in which the prime minister talks directly to the camera, speaking, usually in English, about a current affairs issue. The prime minister is known for his fluent, almost unaccented English, which he perfected during his years of study in the US.
In the first such video, which came after June’s deadly nightclub shooting in Orlando, Netanyahu called on the international community to stand together with the LGBT community, saying that the attack was not an isolated incident and slamming homophobic practices carried out by Islamic terrorist groups and countries across the Middle East.
Since then, the prime minister has made videos about a terrorist attack in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba in which 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death, Jerusalem’s gay pride rally, steps for peace for Abbas, a new government program to fund development in the Arab community, and a Palestinian father telling Israeli soldiers to shoot his own son. Last month, he released a video in which he claimed Israel cares more about the Palestinian people than their own leaders.
I'm going to say something now that some of you will not believe. But I'm going to say it anyway because it's true.I, the Prime Minister of Israel, care more about Palestinians than their own leaders do. Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.That sounds incredible, right?But consider the following:A few days ago, the world learned that Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza, stole millions of dollars from humanitarian organizations like World Vision and the United Nations.Innocent and impoverished Palestinians were denied vital aid supplied from nations around the world.Hamas used this stolen money to build a war machine to murder Jews.I want you to think about that. Let that sink in.Hamas stole critical support for Palestinian children so that they could kill our children.So I ask you—who cares more about Palestinians?Israel, that facilitates the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, every single day?Or Hamas, that robs Palestinian children of that very same aid?Israel, that treats wounded Palestinians from Gaza in its hospitals?Or Hamas that prevents injured Palestinians from getting help?Imagine, just imagine, where we might all be if Palestinian leaders cared as much about helping their own people as they did about hurting our people. The Palestinian people deserve better.And today, I express my deepest sympathy with innocent Palestinians and those well-meaning nations who generously donated money to help them.The cynicism and cruelty of Hamas is hurting all of us.It's hurting peace.
Posted by Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו on Thursday, 11 August 2016
The videos, some of which have also been released in Hebrew, have received over 40 million views in total.