20 January '16..
In a speech on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro claimed that Israel applies "two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians." In fact, Israel uses a very heavy hand against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria who commit crimes. When it comes to acts of terrorism and murder, Israeli security forces exert great effort to catch the culprits, whether they be Arabs or Jews. Shapiro acknowledged this regarding the Duma arson case, but it also goes for the Muhammad Abu Khdeir murder case, as well as all other murder and terrorism cases.
Yet, in some realms, the law is not applied equally and this is done in a way that actually favors the Palestinians. Take, for example, illegal construction in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian have constructed thousands upon thousands of illegal buildings in Judea and Samaria, some funded by the European Union for the purpose of creating facts on the ground. Very few of these illegal buildings end up being demolished by Israel.
On the other hand, the Israeli legal system makes sure that Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is conducted in strict accordance with the law. This is also true when it comes to traffic violations in Judea and Samaria. For Jews, there is strict police enforcement of traffic laws. Yet Israeli law enforcement officials are often helpless in the face of Palestinian violations of the same traffic laws. This has been detailed in reports issued by the state comptroller on law enforcement in Judea and Samaria.
It may be that Shapiro was misled by radical leftist nongovernmental organizations which regularly publish false reports about supposed Israeli "apartheid" practices. If this is the case, I recommend that Shapiro examine the credibility of the sources of these reports. Recently, it has become ever more clear that members of these NGOs are self-righteous fools driven by an extreme anti-Israel ideology. They will let nothing stand in the way of them achieving their goals, even if this means harming Palestinians. This is one of the reasons I initiated the bill regarding the funding of NGOs by foreign governments.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to respond immediately to Shapiro's speech and present the truth. And it would be wise for the U.S. government to firmly repudiate Shapiro's words. Also, Shapiro should apologize at the first chance he gets for the unacceptable things he said.
We must not let lies propagated by radical leftist groups affect our relationship with the U.S. And the U.S. ambassador, who is a good friend of ours, must not act as a spokesman for an extreme leftist ideology that Israeli society has justly rejected in an outright manner.
I, in my role as head of the Knesset's Land of Israel caucus, would like to take this opportunity to invite Shapiro to visit Judea and Samaria as my guest. Maybe if Shapiro sees with his own eyes the complexities on the ground there and Israel's dedication to the security of all the area's residents, he will give different speeches than the one he gave on Monday.
Likud MK Yoav Kisch is chairman of the Knesset's Land of Israel caucus.
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