Myths (and lies) about the Arab Dispute with Israel

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  • Israel doesn’t want peace  –

    False – see the separate page on this topic. 

  • There is an Arab-Israel Dispute

False.  Israel does not have a dispute with the Arabs (and Iran and Turkey); it is the other way around.  The Arabs, Iran, Turkey, and other Muslim countries want Israel to dissolve, the Jews to leave, and the land given to the Palestinians.  Israel has always said it wants to live as a Jewish state in peace with its neighbors.  Its neighbors (except now Egypt and Jordan – both with cold peace with Israel) have repeatedly denied that Israel should exist.

  • Israel is committing “genocide” on Palestinians

False.  See the separate page on this issue here.

  • Palestinians don’t get enough aid

Here is information on Palestinian aid in relationship to aid to other countries of the world, in the Wall Street Journal January 25, 2016:


Where Does All That Aid for Palestinians Go?

An outsize share of per capita international aid, even as the Palestinian Authority funds

terrorists.  By TZIPI HOTOVELY

One often-cited key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is economic development. To that end, there seems to be broad agreement about the importance of extending development aid to help the Palestinians build the physical and social infrastructure that will enable the emergence of a sustainable, prosperous society. But few have seriously questioned how much money is sent and how it is used.

Such assistance will only promote peace if it is spent to foster tolerance and coexistence. If it is used to strengthen intransigence it does more harm than good—and the more aid that comes in, the worse the outcome. This is exactly what has been transpiring over the past few decades. Large amounts of foreign aid to the Palestinians are spent to support terrorists and deepen hostility.

For years the most senior figures in the Palestinian Authority have supported, condoned and glorified terror. “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem,” President Mahmoud Abbas said last September on Palestinian television, “is holy blood as long as it was for Allah.” Countless Palestinian officials and state-run television have repeatedly hailed the murder of Jews.

This support for terrorism doesn’t end with hate speech. The Palestinian regime in Ramallah pays monthly stipends of between $400 and $3,500 to terrorists and their families, the latter of which is more than five times the average monthly salary of a Palestinian worker.

According to data from its budgetary reports, compiled in June 2014 by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PA’s annual budget for supporting Palestinian terrorists was then roughly $75 million. That amounted to some 16% of the foreign donations the PA received annually. Overall in 2012 foreign aid made up about a quarter of the PA’s $3.1 billion budget. More recent figures are inaccessible since the Palestinian Authority is no longer transparent about the stipend transfers.

Embarrassed by public revelations of the misuse of the foreign aid, in August 2014 the Palestinian Authority passed the task of paying stipends to terrorists and their families to a fund managed by the Palestine Liberation Organization, also led by Mr. Abbas. Lest there be any doubt as to the purely cosmetic nature of the change, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah made assurances as recently as September 2015 that the PA will provide the “necessary assistance” to ensure these terror stipends.

This procedural ruse apparently calmed the consciences of donor governments that continue to transfer aid. It is difficult to think of another case in which such a forgiving attitude would be taken regarding foreign aid to an entity that sponsors terror.

This situation is particularly disturbing given the disproportionate share of development assistance the Palestinians receive, which comes at the expense of needy populations elsewhere. According to a report last year by Global Humanitarian Assistance, in 2013 the Palestinians received $793 million in international aid, second only to Syria. This amounts to $176 for each Palestinian, by far the highest per capita assistance in the world. Syria, where more than 250,000 people have been killed and 6.5 million refugees displaced since 2011, received only $106 per capita.

A closer look at the remaining eight countries in the top 10—Sudan, South Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo—is even more alarming. CIA Factbook data show that these countries have a combined population of 284 million and an average per capita GDP of $2,376. Yet they received an average of $15.30 per capita in development assistance in 2013. The Palestinians, by comparison, with a population of 4.5 million, have a per capita GDP of $4,900.

In other words, though the Palestinians are more than twice as wealthy on average than these eight countries, they receive more than 11 times as much foreign aid per person. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a case in point: Its 79 million people have a per capita GDP of $700, yet they receive only $5.70 in aid per person.

Between 1993 (when the Oslo Process began) and 2013, the Palestinians received $21.7 billion in development assistance, according to the World Bank. The Palestinian leadership has had ample opportunity to use these funds for economic and social development. Tragically, as seen in Hamas-run Gaza, it prefers to use the funds on its terrorist infrastructure and weaponry, such as crossborder attack tunnels and the thousands of missiles that have rained down in recent years on Israel.

In Judea and Samaria, the “West Bank,” the situation is equally disturbing. Aside from funding terrorists and investing in hate speech, the PA stubbornly refuses to remove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from “refugee” rosters, deliberately keeping them in a state of dependence and underdevelopment for no purpose other than to stoke animosity toward Israel.

It is difficult to come away from these facts without realizing the deep connection between the huge amounts of foreign aid being spent, the bizarre international tolerance for patently unacceptable conduct by the Palestinians and the lack of progress toward peace on the ground.

Donors to the Palestinians who support peace would do well to rethink the way they extend assistance. Money should go to economic and civic empowerment, not to perpetuate a false sense of victimhood and unconditional entitlement. It should foster values of tolerance and nonviolence, not the glorification and financing of terrorism.

Ms. Hotovely is the deputy foreign minister of Israel.  (

  • There are double standards for Israelis and (non-Israeli) Palestinians  (see also “Apartheid” below)

There are two legal frameworks in play, but not because Israelis think less of Palestinians; international law both sanctions and requires different treatment of populations in geographic regions administered by prevailing forces. Here is an explanation by former Israeli Ambassador to Canada Alan Baker through a publication of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (January 21, 2016):

In comments to the Institute for National Security Studies International Conference on “Changing the Rules of the Game” on January 18, 2016, U.S. Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro referred to the rule of law in the West Bank.1 He asserted that “at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law – one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”

Regrettably, there would appear to be a lack of understanding – whether by Ambassador Shapiro himself or by those senior State Department and White House officials who instruct him – as to the legal situation prevalent in the West Bank areas of Judea and Samaria.

Indeed, there exist two legal frameworks.

The one applied by Israel’s Civil Administration vis-a-vis the Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria is based on the international norms regarding the administration of territory occupied or administered following armed conflict and pending a peace agreement. These norms, set out in the 1907 Hague Rules and 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, enable an administering power, in administering a hostile local population, to impose various limitations on the basic freedoms that exist in any ordinary civil legal system. All this pending a permanent peace arrangement regarding the fate of the territory.

The second legal framework covers the Israeli residents of towns, villages and other forms of settlement within the territory, who, not being part of the local Palestinian population, are subject on an ad-personam basis to Israeli law. As such, they are not covered by those limitations that apply solely vis-a-vis the local population of the territory.

Unlike the insinuations in Ambassador Shapiro’s statement, this dual set of legal frameworks is not based on any double standards, but on a clear division of legal authorities dictated by both international humanitarian law and Israeli law.

Both these legal systems, whether that administered by the Civil Administration or that governing Israeli residents in the area, require strict adherence to the rule of law and the concomitant rules of natural justice. Any and every crime has to be investigated and the perpetrator brought to trial in the appropriate court of law.

Criminal procedures for investigating crimes are in the hands of the appropriate police and security authorities and are dependent on the available sources of evidence, witnesses and the like. As such, each case can only be dealt with based on its own particular circumstances. Sweeping generalizations, such as those uttered by the U.S. ambassador, are out of place.

All instances, without exception, have to be dealt with in the proper manner and with the appropriate alacrity as the specific facts of each case enable.

Therefore, the insinuations by Ambassador Shapiro regarding “unchecked vigilantism and double standards” should be rejected outright as an unjustified intrusion into Israel’s legal and investigative procedures.

* * *


1 Amb. Daniel Shapiro’s Remarks at the Institute for National Security Studies, January 18, 2016

* * *

Amb. Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.


  • Palestinians are “Indigenous Peoples” in Israel

Mostly False – An analysis of this claim is provided on a separate SFMEW webpage on this website from two different sources, FLAME (Facts and Logic about the Middle East) and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA).  See: .


  • Israel is an Apartheid State

CAMERA sums it up:  The term “apartheid” originated in South Africa to describe the country’s system of enforced separation between blacks and whites. There has never been anything comparable to this in Israel as between any groups. The assertion that Israel is an apartheid state is a slander. Israeli Arabs enjoy greater political, social and economic rights, not to mention personal safety, than their brethren in virtually all Arab countries.

More detailed information and arguments can be found in an article by Gideon Shimoni, emeritus professor of Contemporary Jewry from the Hebrew University, from 2007.  His summary at the beginning of the JCPA article:

  • The historical context of the Jewish-Arab conflict in the Middle East is fundamentally different from that between the whites’ Afrikaner ideology of apartheid and the blacks in South Africa. The latter was a system of discrimination and inequality based upon racial criteria; a system of domination by a minority over a majority and refusal to negotiate a bilaterally agreed solution. Furthermore, for Palestinians, violence aimed primarily at civilians has been the first choice for many decades, for the African National Congress it was the last resort and never aimed intentionally at the murder of civilians.
  • The accusation that Israel is an apartheid state is an insidious tool in the hands of those who deny the entitlement of Jews to a viable national home. The tool is so effective because it contains within it the precedent of the use of boycotts as a method of attack as was the case against apartheid South Africa.
  • Those who use the apartheid accusation employ the old anti-Zionist arguments. These constitute a multi-layered construct of fundamental ideological positions and analytical constructs, one of which is the purposeful displacement of the real nationalist context for historical comprehension of Zionism with the vilifying label of colonialism. Many anti-Zionists, but not necessary all of them, apply identifiable double standards of judgment to Israel traceable to the characteristic anti-Semitic premise that all things Jews do are inherently evil, including their nationalism.
  • Even Israel’s relinquishment of all of the occupied West Bank would not dispel the fallacious Israel=apartheid accusation because it is rooted in a priori denial of Jewish nationalist need and entitlement, proscription of the entire Zionist enterprise as loathsome colonialism, and false equation of the Jewish national purposes and symbols of the State of Israel with racism.

– See more here.

Alan Dershowitz, Mitchell Bard, Kenneth Stein, Rick Richman, and takes on the Apartheid myth perpetuated by Jimmy Carter in this Responses to Jimmy Carter – Palestine or Apartheid – 2006 from Stand With Us.  See also their flyers about why the comparison is wrong here and here.

A rhetorical statement of the hypocrisy of Arab states decrying “Apartheid” at the UN Human Rights Council in March, 2017 was countered by UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer.  Watch the video:


  • The “Settlements” in the West Bank are “illegal?”

False.  See the essay on this here.