The oh-so-very conscientious Middle East historians at Vox, who once landed themselves in hot water barely three months after website launch with the dissemination of laughable fake news about a purported land bridge connecting the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip with the biblical Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria (i.e., the “West Bank”), are apparently up to it again.
As highlighted by Twitchy, Vox has written a piece about the post-Oslo Accords modern history of the city of Bethlehem that is, in the words of one venerable pro-Israel Twitter user, “inexcusably dishonest.” And it is.
Seven years following 1993’s fateful signing of Oslo I between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian-Arab unrepentant jihadist Yasser Arafat, Vox informs its readers, “tourism in Bethlehem … took a nosedive when the Israeli military invaded many of the West Bank’s major cities that were under Palestinian jurisdiction.” Vox continues: “As a political stalemate and expanding Israeli settlements led to the bloody Second Intifada, or uprising, the devastation and Israeli curfews kept tourists away; hotels closed and restaurants went out of business.”
This is not merely historical revisionism or tendentious distortion. It is an outright lie.
In reality, it was the terrorist Arafat who was singularly responsible for commencing the bloody Second Intifada — a four-plus-year sustained jihad during which over a thousand Israelis paid the ultimate price and thousands more were also wounded.
Although Arafat strategically waited to launch the Second Intifada until after then-Likud party prime minister candidate Ariel Sharon had the oh-so-shocking temerity to visit the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, in September 2000, it is now commonly known that Arafat had been planning the civilizational jihad at least since he rejected then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s exceedingly generous “two-solution” offer (96% of Judea and Samaria) at the U.S.-hosted Camp David Summit two months prior. The U.S. government’s own Mitchell Report on the subject, overseen by former Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME), made this quite clear (emphasis added):
… [T]he immediate catalyst for the violence was the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on July 25, 2000 and the “widespread appreciation in the international community of Palestinian responsibility for the impasse.” In this view, Palestinian violence was planned by the PA leadership, and was aimed at “provoking and incurring Palestinian casualties as a means of regaining the diplomatic initiative.” … The Sharon visit [to the Temple Mount] did not cause the “[Second] Intifada.”
Lest there be any doubt as to which party was to blame for the negotiation breakdown at Camp David in 2000, furthermore, let us defer to then-U.S. President Bill Clinton: “[Arafat] did not negotiate in good faith; indeed, he did not negotiate at all. He just kept saying no to every offer, never making any counterproposals of his own.”
In short, the unrepentant terrorist Arafat deliberately tanked the Camp David negotiations and used his own destruction of the possibility for a sustained peace as an excuse for launching a years-long bloody jihad to murder as many Israeli Jews as possible. Contra Vox’s despicable lying, all subsequent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) incursions into Palestinian-Arab strongholds in Judea and Samaria were in direct response to Arafat’s preplanned war. In short, it was Arafat’s deliberately beginning to kill Israeli civilians en masse that prompted the IDF’s military response.
The Second Intifada was a uniquely harrowing time to live in Israel. Here is how Matti Friedman, who lived in Israel during part of the jihad, described it at The New York Times in September:
No single episode has shaped Israel’s population and politics like the wave of suicide bombings perpetrated by Palestinians in the first years of the 21st century. Much of what you see here in 2019 is the aftermath of that time, and every election since has been held in its shadow. The attacks, which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, ended hopes for a negotiated peace and destroyed the left, which was in power when the wave began. Any sympathy that the Israeli majority had toward Palestinians evaporated. …
I remember standing at a bus stop when I heard a suicide bomber blow himself up and murder 11 people one street over, at Café Moment. My mother passed through the Nahariya train station right before a suicide bomber struck there, and my sister was in a cafeteria at the Hebrew University campus when Palestinians blew up a different cafeteria. I’ve got many more memories like that, all of them standard for the time.
There are a myriad other problems with Vox’s duplicitous holiday season smear job about Israel and Bethlehem. But outright lying about how the Second Intifada started — in contravention of the U.S. government’s own review of the facts, no less — stands atop the sordid list of Vox’s falsehoods.
Of course, what else might we expect from the folks who once claimed Israel restricted Palestinian-Arab “traffic” on a “land bridge” connecting Gaza to Judea and Samaria? “Fake news” is very, very real.