A grain of salt

Palestinian youths shrouded by clouds of smoke that block out everything except an isolated moment of protest and defiance. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

A piece of trivia: An Israeli collector has opened up a museum of salt and pepper shakers, with reportedly some 37,000 pairs on display.

Not so trivial: Faced with bribery and corruption allegations, a fractured Cabinet and under pressure from calls for early elections, Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to shake things up, in an attempt to deflect attention from his own political woes.

The Israeli prime minister has again launched multifaceted attacks on Palestinians inside Israel, particularly in Gaza, where the Israeli military botched a recent operation.

And he is turning squarely to Lebanon, another favorite Israeli punching bag.

Netanyahu is now up in arms over alleged Hezbollah tunnels, calling them “an act of war.”

Of course, he fails to mention the scores of air, land and sea incursions Israel makes into Lebanon every month, in flagrant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution1701.

After his performance at the U.N. in September and claims of missile sites near Beirut airport, the Israeli leader since changed his lines somewhat.

But it is clear he is desperately trying to save his own political skin by riding on the back of lies and claims that could have catastrophic consequences.

The international community has often treated Israeli statements as gospel.

It’s time countries take a good hard look at the real track record. Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors continue to be victims of its intransigence, aggression, persecution - all carried out under the eyes of and with total disdain for the international community, whose own approach makes it complicit in Israeli crimes. If countries are willing to turn a blind eye to Israel, they should at least desist from talking about justice, human rights and democracy.

It’s time to change tack on the Israeli officials’ claims.

As the situation hots up for Netanyahu, taking his statements with usual grain of salt is simply not enough.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 20, 2018, on page 1.




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