A lot has been said and written about President Donald Trump’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and how the former refused to support the “two-state solution” – to the Israel-Palestine conflict – in order to appease the latter.
However, not a lot of attention was paid to a vicious lie the American president uttered while disparaging Palestinians.
President Trump: Palestinians have to "get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age" https://t.co/I8Yarb1eR4— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2017
“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age,” Trump said. “They're taught tremendous hate. I've seen what they're taught. And you can talk about flexibility there too, but it starts at a very young age and it starts in the school room. And they have to acknowledge Israel -- they're going to have to do that.”
Now, everybody knows Trump lies all the time. In fact, at one point during his presidential campaign he was lying 87 times in just five hours.
But this particular lie about Palestinians learning “hatred from a very young age” is not something that can simply be disregarded as just another one of Trump’s many falsehoods.
The U.S. president must be called out over this vitriolic attack against a population that is already quite misunderstood and has been under attack from a much stronger and heavily-armed force for many decades now.
Firstly, Trump is not the first politician to propagate the myth, according to which Palestinians learn to hate Israeli Jews in their classrooms.
In 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the same thing while branding Palestinians as “terrorists.”
“They teach terrorism in their schools,” Gingrich said. “They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’ We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.”
Gingrich’s claim was “not in any of the texts” by fact-checkers at the Associated Press.
“A review of some texts by the AP, as well as several studies by Israeli, Palestinian and international researchers, found no direct calls for violence against Israel,” AP further stated.
In 2012, Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist, also debunked the same myth in a Huffington Post blog.
“Palestinian textbooks are scrutinized for any hostile reference to Israel — or praise for Palestinian nationalism — and every frame broadcast on Palestinian television stations is analyzed by experts to see if it contains any incitement to violence.”
Therefore, Trump is utterly wrong when he says Palestinians are taught hatred from a very young age.
There are other things, however, that Palestinian children learn throughout the course of their childhood that Trump probably forgot to mention (or maybe was too timid to mention) – things that are well-documented and cannot be made up.
For instance, Palestinian children regularly watch their families being forcibly evicted from their homes under the supervision of heavily armed Israeli police and soldiers. They witness the destruction of their houses so that other people, who have no claim on the property, whatsoever, can be “settled” there.
Human rights organizations routinely accuse Israel of torturing, publicly caging and sexually abusing Palestinian minors.
In 2013 report, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) demanded Israel lower its threshold of abusive treatment when it comes to children, adding that it is the only country to automatically and systematically prosecute minors in military courts, without even guaranteeing a fair trial.
The same year, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child stated in a report that “arrested Palestinian children were subjected systematically to physical and verbal abuse, threatened with death, physical violence, and sexual assault against themselves or members of their family, as well as having access restricted to toilets, food and water.”
A 2014 report by non-profit Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCI-P) found approximately 98 percent minors were not even informed of the reason for their arrest.
Since 2000, approximately 8,000 Palestinian children (or more) have been arrested, mostly for throwing stones at Israeli police officers or soldiers usually carrying assault rifles.
Meanwhile, Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization that fires rockets into Israel, often uses Palestinian children as human shields.
This is what most Palestinians are forced to learn at a very young age.
Perhaps, the next time Netanyahu visits, Trump should, for once, ditch falsehoods and pluck up the courage to ask the Israeli leader why his country is an apartheid regime, what he plans to do about the systemic racism against Palestinians as well as Ethiopian Jews and Jewish extremists burning down Palestinian homes to make room for illegal settlements.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits : Reuters