Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon has launched a video titled "The Truth About the West Bank." In the partially animated educational video, Ayalon relays historical facts relating to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, including explanations on where the terms "West Bank", "occupied territories" and "67 Borders" derived from and how he says they are incorrectly applied.
Ayalon asserts that Judea and Samaria were taken from the occupying Jordanians during a defensive war, hence the "settlements" are legal. In an Israel National News report from mid-July, Ayalon explained his vision for the video:
"The idea behind the creation of the video is distributed in an innovative way and explains the Israeli position in fighting unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," Ayalon said.
"Israel's argument based on facts get lost in the headlines and pictures. The challenge is to adjust the message to the medium and nature of the online world," he added.
The viral video that was originally released in Hebrew, then translated into English, has reportedly received 100,000 views worldwide, including in Arab countries and has even been featured on Al Jazeera.
Watch Israel's increasingly popular video below:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/XGYxLWUKwWo?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
Needless to say the Palestinians' are not best pleased. Their condemnation came via a recent Palestinian Authority official press release claiming the video was a "cynical and falsified account of history and international law."
According to Israel National News, chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat has even demanded Ayalon issue an official explanation of the video. Ayalon, however, takes Erakat's strong reaction as a sign the video is fast becoming a thorn in the Palestinian Authority's side.
Ayalon reportedly believes the Palestinians feel threatened now that their narrative has been challenged for the first time in "too long." Reacting to the Palestinians' upset over the video, Ayalon said:
"For too long the Palestinian narrative of international law and rights has gone unchallenged and this over the top reaction to a public diplomacy video proves that they are acting like spoiled children who have had their way for too long," Ayalon said. "They are unable to challenge a single fact in the video and have completely avoided a legitimate and honest discussion on the issues."
In the PA press release, Erekat alleges that Israel was accepted to the United Nations on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181. Arguing that statement's validity, Ayalon blasted:
"This false claims shows that Erekat misconstrues international law and its system proving exactly how misguided the Palestinian attempt to have their unilaterally declared state recognized at the United Nations really is. Israel was admitted as a full United Nations member in 1949 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273, after a recommendation by the Security Council, because it met all the criteria of statehood, something the Palestinians should bear in mind before they further their confrontational and damaging plan towards September.
Ayalon said he "challenges" any of the Palestinian Authority's political leadership to a debate "on all the issues ahead of September." September, of course is when the Palestinians plan to unilaterally seek UN recognition for statehood.
Based on the video's positive reaction, Ayalon and his team are also reportedly planning to translate the video into more languages including Farsi. Ayalon said he now realizes that "there has been such a thirst for the truth," and not just among supporters of Israel but also among "the undecided."
Ayalon says the video's success has prompted him to explore developing more diplomatic initiatives in the same area, perhaps using the same medium.
So, what do you think about the video? After watching, do you feel you learned something new about Israel's history that you did not know before? Did you notice any historical facts that have perhaps been distorted in the mainstream media? Tell us what you think.