A lengthy article by Oakland Ross in the Toronto Star, "Damaging Israeli Misquote Finally Corrected: Record set straight seven years after Israel's top soldier was accused of trashing Palestinians," reviews the history of a statement falsely ascribed to Moshe Ya'alon, the former Israeli chief of staff, and proffers the newspaper's apology for having made that ascription.
The Star blasts the alleged 2002 statement as "trashing," "incendiary" and "a harsh, unyielding verdict on the fate of a thwarted nation." The Star says it "reinforced the worst suspicions of Israel's critics" by making Israelis look like "heartless aggressors." Not surprisingly, given the damage it did, the quote appears to have been invented by Henry Siegman, someone known for his "demonization of Israel."
So, just what was the ghastly statement Ya'alon never made?
Drum roll, please: "The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."
With the record now clear that Ya'alon did not say this in 2002, I would like to say it on my own behalf in 2009. Here goes: The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.
There, I did it.
It sums up my understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict and accurately represents my views. The world may quote me on it without fear of contradiction. (August 8, 2009)