Pointing out that no other group bequeaths refugee status to subsequent generations—not the millions of Germans forced out of Poland and Czechoslovakia after World War II, not the millions of Muslims who fled India for Pakistan or millions of Hindus who went the other way, and not the more than 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries during and after 1948—might have been bad for Munayyer’s blood pressure but instructive for viewers.
Likewise, Bolduan might have inquired whether Munayyer thought there would be a “humanitarian crisis” in the Strip if a) Hamas and its allies weren’t firing hundreds of rockets at Israel, intentionally provoking Israeli counter-attacks (see, for example, “Is Hamas Trying to Get Gazans Killed?, by Jeffrey Goldberg, Bloomberg News, July 11) and b) if instead of steering the hundreds of millions of dollars in Western aid to non-governmental groups (NGOs) in Gaza, plus spending subsidies from Iran and other Muslim states, to entrench its Islamist rule and expand its arsenals and fortifications, Hamas had used the money to develop the area. Small and populated it may be, Gaza—which began to boom during the early Oslo “peace process” years—managed by focusing on hostility to Israel instead of development to avoid becoming the Palestinian Singapore or Hong Kong, two much more prosperous and densely-populated states.
Bolduan tries to get back to her question, but Munayyer proves evasive. She says “but with all of this context, why then if Israel is trying to alert citizens and civilians there that they need to get out to keep them safe, why is Hamas telling them to stay at home?”
Except that Gaza also has a frontier with Egypt and the West Bank has one with Jordan. Egypt’s military rulers view Hamas, which had close ties to the country’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood leaders and, reportedly, al-Qaeda inspired extremists in the Sinai, with suspicion. Israel retains control of Jordan River crossings in part because the West Bank’s Fatah-led Palestinian Authority so far has refused to negotiate a peace agreement with the Israelis that includes a satisfactory Jordan Valley security arrangement. One “Gazastan,” Munayyer notwithstanding, is one too many.
Munayyer again tries to get away with condescending to Bolduan and CNN viewers. He claims “again, you’re missing the fundamental point here that you have a …
Bolduan challenges him: “What am I missing?”
Munayyer: “I’m attempting to explain to you. You have a massive state-backed military against a non-state actor, operating within what is a civilian population because they simply do not have a state-backed army. You cannot, as the Israelis do, deny a people statehood for years and years on end and then wonder why they do not resist as a state. It is simply not going to happen that way. It doesn’t happen in any similar context like this.
“So I think, you know, the talking points that the Israelis put forward is the rhetoric, you know, they may be catchy for sound bites and so on, but there is also another reality here, and that’s that the Israelis are using their weapons to perpetuate an occupation and a siege in the Gaza Strip for decades now, where as Palestinians, some of them, are using weapons to resist that.”
There certainly is a reality other than the one Munayyer attempts to foist on CNN’s audience. The “non-state actor operating within a civilian population” he refers to is Hamas and its partners in anti-Israel terrorism like Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They have committed twined war crimes by operating among civilians, those of the Gaza Strip, and launching hundreds of indiscriminate, unprovoked attacks against a second civilian population, that of Israel.
Munayyer is like the child who had the chutzpah to ask the judge for mercy since, having murdered his parents he was now an orphan. He says Israel shouldn’t complain about Hamas rockets since it has denied Palestinian Arabs a state for years so how else are they supposed to behave, except as terrorists? Except that Israeli-U.S. offers of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, were rejected by the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) in 2000 and 2001, and an Israeli only proposal in 2008, partly because Hamas would not accept peace with a Jewish state in any boundaries.
Except that Israel unilaterally evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005, removing 21 Jewish communities and all its military presence. Munayyer should have been made to answer just what “occupation” Hamas is “resisting” by firing mortars and rockets and attempting to dig tunnels into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Television news generally being limited in time and tied to eye-catching images, it might be too much to have hoped that CNN would have identified Munayyer, his Jerusalem Fund and its Palestine Center a little more specifically. The Jerusale
m Fund, which Munayyer represents, was founded by the late Georgetown University Prof. Hisham Sharabi. Sharabi endorsed anti-Israel terrorism as “national struggle” and “self-sacrifice. This led him to back what more moderate American Muslims called “extremist” groups.
Munayyer himself supports the BDS (boycott, sanction and divestment) movement, whose goal is not to reach a Palestinian-Israeli “two-state solution” but rather to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state. The fund posts the genocidally anti-Jewish Hamas charter on its Web site. Munayyer, it would seem, is a mouthpiece quite ready to lie in support of extremism. His CNN appearance should have carried a warning label.