MSNBC Slams Israel’s ‘Extreme Right-Wing’ Government in Wake of Terror Attack

During live MSNBC coverage of a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the 3 p.m. ET hour on Wednesday, NBC correspondents Ayman Mohyeldin and Martin Fletcher took turns blaming Israel’s “right-wing” government for Palestinian “frustration.”

Mohyeldin ranted: “...in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government, more to the right, to what has been described by Israelis as even more of an extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.”

He then argued those policies created “the sense of depravation, the sense of frustration, the lack of any clarity on a political process”and declared: “There's a tremendous amount of frustration among Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank coupled with the shift of Israeli politics to the right, and that has led to even further measures of what Palestinians say is oppression in the occupied West Bank.”

Anchor Kate Snow replied: “A boiling point, perhaps.” She then turned to Fletcher and asked: “I just wonder whether this will be a call to action on – on both sides.” Fletcher responded: “Will it lead either side towards any movement towards peace or understanding that they need to make real progress? Probably not.”

He then joined Mohyeldin in hitting Israel:

I mean, as Ayman said, the Israeli government – you know, we keep – every few years we say, “Oh, this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” and it just keeps getting more right-wing. So the chances that there’s going to be a move towards peace as a result of a violent shooting is probably the wrong conclusion. If anything, with the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, really an extremely right-winger, he will be – a settler himself – he will be calling, clearly as a defense minister, for a strong response of some kind.

Here is a transcript of the June 8 exchange:

3:41 PM ET

(...)

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: But in the bigger picture, in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government more to the right to what has been described by Israelis as even more of a extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.

And as a result, the sense of depravation, the sense of frustration, the lack of any clarity on a political process that would lead to a – some kind of peace process, if you will, all of that has been brewing for the past several months. It's been systematic for the last several years in terms of the ongoing occupation, but really, what we’ve seen is a spike, as Martin [Fletcher] was saying, in the past nine months with these wave of attacks. That has been a huge factor in why we are seeing this sudden spike.

There's a tremendous amount of frustration among Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank coupled with the shift of Israeli politics to the right, and that has led to even further measures of what Palestinians say is oppression in the occupied West Bank. The lack of any progress on the front with Gaza, it has been just a very – it’s been a recipe of disaster.

KATE SNOW: A boiling point, perhaps. Martin, as we – I’m trying to think back, and we’ve heard so much about the knife attacks that have happened last fall, I think, that was the last big spate of them – but is this – if you can put this in context, how significant is an event like this? And we're talking about three people dead, multiple injuries. I mean, it looks a lot like what we saw in Paris, although not on the same scale. I guess I just wonder whether this will be a call to action on – on both sides.

MARTIN FLETCHER: Well, probably not much will change in the situation because of this. Because it was feared, the Palestinian – different Palestinian groups are trying to do this kind of thing. But it's a shock, certainly to the Israeli public. It’s a shock because Tel Aviv is always sort of a rather hip, cool place outside the mainstream of the violence. Occasionally it reaches Tel Aviv with devastating effect. There have been bus bombs in Tel Aviv over the years and the attacks like this, but they have been far and few between.

The – I mean, from the point of view of the attackers, this was a successful attack that will shock the Israelis, but actually, will it change anything? Will it lead either side towards any movement towards peace or understanding that they need to make real progress? Probably not. I mean, as Ayman said, the Israeli government – you know, we keep – every few years we say, “Oh, this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” and it just keeps getting more right-wing. So the chances that there’s going to be a move towards peace as a result of a violent shooting is probably the wrong conclusion. If anything, with the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, really an extremely right-winger, he will be – a settler himself – he will be calling, clearly as a defense minister, for a strong response of some kind.

MOHYELDIN: And this will be, correct me if I'm wrong, but really the first test on the security front for this new right-wing coalition government that was just formed within the last couple of weeks. This is the first, certainly the first significant major incident that has happened since this government has come into formation. And so I suspect, as Martin was saying, you're going to hear tough talk in terms of measurements, in terms of if they identify and conclude that this is in fact the result of a Palestinian terrorist group or if a Palestinian individual was acting out.

(...)

NB Daily Foreign Policy Israel/Palestine MSNBC MSNBC Live Video Ayman Mohyeldin Martin Fletcher

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