Here’s a remarkable bit of television — official Palestinian Authority TV, to be specific — in which the Palestinian delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva tells an interviewer that Hamas’s rocket fire from Gaza is a crime against humanity. Plain and simple, no hedging. In Arabic (with English subtitles). Watch it below.
The envoy, Ibrahim Khreisheh, is replying to a question from anchorwoman Nisrin Nasir about the prospects of bringing charges against Israel before the International Criminal Court for its aerial attacks in Gaza. His answer: I’m not running for office, so I’ll give an unpopular but honest answer: It would backfire. Rockets aimed at Israeli civilians are crimes against humanity. Every rocket, individually, whether or not it hits anybody.
He says Israel’s bombardment also constitutes a crime against humanity. A few minutes later, however, he says that Palestinians in Gaza are reporting getting warnings from Israel to clear out before an airstrike. That means, he says, that any fatalities resulting from the airstrikes are accidental, not criminal.
Here’s the video:
Two big takeaways from this video:
1.) The Israeli bombing campaign now underway in Gaza is not the monstrous violation of human rights critics claim. It is, rather, a defensive action against human rights abuses. If you don’t believe Israel’s spokesmen, take it from the Palestinian Authority’s own human rights guy.
2.) There are reasonable voices among the Palestinian Authority leadership who take a balanced view and share it with their own people, in Arabic. If you don’t believe me, take it from Memri, the staunchly conservative Middle East Media Research Institute, which rarely has a kind word to say about Palestinian officialdom, but caught this video and posted it.
Big hat tip to Memri for catching it and posting it, and to Maariv for getting it out. I’ve had my criticisms of Memri in the past for what I’ve regarded as selectively posting only the bad stuff, but this is indisputably essential viewing for both of the above reasons. By the way, my Arabic stinks, but it’s good enough to follow the subtitles and assure you that they’re accurate.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).