Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the chairwoman of the extreme leftist Meretz party, MK Zehava Galon, got into an argument at the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.
The argument began when Galon, in a speech at the plenum, accused Netanyahu of trying to “rewrite history” and of failing to recognize the Palestinian Arab history of the conflict, while demanding that the Palestinian Authority (PA) recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to achieve peace.
“In order to promote peace, Mr. Prime Minister, you have to first of all recognize that there is a Palestinian party to the conflict. Because otherwise who exactly are you making peace with?” said Galon.
“This side has a narrative, and has a history, and has a right to self-determination, but you do not accept that, Mr. Prime Minister,” she charged.
Netanyahu, in response, called on Galon to talk about the true history of the region, noting that the PA denies the historic connection of the Jews to the land of Israel.
"Of course I accept the fact that there has been a Palestinian side since 1943,” he said. “But when they come and tell me that the Holy Temple was never here, and that if it was here it was not a Jewish Temple, and that there were Palestinians here 3,500 years ago - that is simply not true. This is historical truth that was distorted. I say that there is only one historical truth. You should side with the truth,” he told Galon.
Galon then replied and said, "Sir, if there is one thing you're good at - you've been doing it for years as Prime Minister - it’s rewriting history. You are excellent at that, Mr. Prime Minister. I do not want you to be held captive by the Yariv Levins and the Gilad Erdans and the Bogie Ya’alons. I want you to be brave, make brave decisions.”
The Prime Minister then said, “Did I invent the Bible? Did I invent the Torah? Did I invent the Talmud? I invented all that? Oh, come on. What do you want?”
“We have many arguments, and that’s okay, but the past cannot be changed,” Netanyahu added. “We’re not rewriting the past.”
Galon responded and said that Netanyahu’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state “was meant to torpedo the negotiations. We need the Palestinians to define us? I really can’t understand your insistence on this. There’s nothing behind this demand. The State of Israel will be a Jewish state because of the Palestinian recognition? It will be a Jewish state if the majority of its citizens are Jewish.”
Recently, the PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, claimed that he represents the Biblical Canaanites who “lived in the region 5,500 years before Joshua Bin-Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho.”
This is just one example of the Arabs’ distortion of the Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel. Sometimes their distortions are of ridiculous proportions. One example is when a lecturer at a university in Shechem claimed on official PA television that Moses led the Muslims out of Egypt and that the Exodus was the first instance of ‘Palestinian’ liberation through armed struggle.
Galon has repeatedly accused Israel of deliberately trying to cause peace talks with the PA to fail, ignoring the PA’s incitement and the fact that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to impose preconditions.