(photo: Matthew Bell)

Ashrawi: Anyone who deviates from Israeli ideology is subject to vicious threats

PNN/ Ramallah/

“Anyone who criticizes Israel or digresses from the official Israeli line is singled out for public attacks. Israel is attempting to censor international leaders and defame anyone who deviates from its public positions in any way.”

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi made these comments in response to Israel’s smear campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

“We commend world leaders like Margot Wallström who are people of principle and courage and who continue to stand up to Israel and speak against injustice. We are grateful to Sweden and other countries that are not intimidated by Israeli campaigns to silence dissent and that persist in upholding the principles and requirements for justice, freedom and peace.”

Another example of Israel’s defamation strategy is its decision to suspend diplomatic contacts with the European Union (EU) and its representatives connected to the peace process following the European Commission’s move to adopt new guidelines for labeling products and goods produced in the illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine, Dr. Ashrawi said:

“Such a step constitutes a hysterical response. The idea that Israel presumes to be the sole gatekeeper to an international pursuit of peace is the epitome of arrogance, particularly since Israel itself is responsible for destroying the peace process. Israel is not the arbiter on the eligibility of global partners.”

In response to media reports that the Israeli foreign ministry is planning to distribute a document worldwide claiming that the settlements are legal, Dr. Ashrawi stated:

“Israel is attempting to present so-called “legal arguments” to legalize the settlements and is subjecting the whole world to its own interpretation of international law to negate the very existence of the military occupation of Palestine and of the Palestinian people. Such “legal” manipulations and distortions are a travesty that must be exposed and countered.”

In the same vein, Dr. Ashrawi commented on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks on the two-state solution:

“Once again, Netanyahu has the arrogance to attack Israel’s closest ally and defender merely because Kerry stated the obvious to ensure Israel’s security and its “democratic and Jewish” character. It has become evident that anyone who deviates from Israeli ideological arguments and official government spin is subject to vicious attacks and unfounded accusations and threats in an attempt to intimidate and to silence any independent or objective voices that do not parrot Israeli distortions and fabrications.”