B’nai B’rith International condemns U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for attributing the 50-day summer hostilities between Israel and Hamas to “a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century” while speaking at the Cairo conference on reconstruction in Gaza on Oct. 12.
Ban said “we must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.”
The secretary-general should refrain from making biased, inflammatory remarks perpetuating a false image of Israel as an occupying aggressor. Ban, in his comments, did make mention of Hamas rocket attacks that were “fired indiscriminately causing fear, panic and suffering.” However, he does not account for anti-Israel terrorists’ role in igniting and sustaining conflict—a stunning and inexplicable omission.
Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, just as it did in Sinai after reaching a peace treaty with Egypt. In return for leaving Gaza, Israel received intensified attacks and threats against its citizenry. Israel has also repeatedly offered Palestinian statehood and the provision of all of Palestinians’ needs in sweeping peace offers—but these have been declined without fail by the Palestinian Authority leadership. Hamas, for its part, is doctrinally committed to the total destruction of the Jewish state.
Combating other Islamist groups, like ISIS, while ignoring or handing propaganda victories to ones like Hamas is unconscionable and no service to advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace. The open fanaticism, terrorism and armament of Arab extremists is the patent “root cause” of recurring conflict with Israel.