We've witnessed a lot of changes since the last Congress, great challenges and great opportunities for Israel and the Jewish people. We are now, despite our desires and our efforts for peace and for tranquility, we are now in the midst of a campaign, an assault, and not the first one, that seeks to murder Israelis wherever they are. And this campaign is incorporating medieval ideology with modern technology. It’s a unique combination.
I am seeing it primarily on the social networks. I'll talk about it in a minute. And we know for example that the various attackers are using their Facebook pages to indicate what they are, to absorb messages of incitement. I appreciate the fact that Facebook is trying to find the balance between free speech and the safety of the public. I think that warrants special attention in this case.
Now let me try to put in perspective what it is we're fighting: We're fighting not only a campaign of physical assaults on the Jewish state – the Jewish people have experienced that throughout the centuries - but as we've experienced in our history, the physical assaults on the Jews is always preceded and accompanied by an assault on the truth, campaign of defamation and slander. And what I would like to examine with you today are the ten big lies that are hurled at us. And the only way that you can fight lies, and especially big lies, is to puncture them with the simple truth.
So here's the first big lie: Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. No, we're not. We haven't changed the status quo on the Temple Mount in years. There's a simple arrangement: Muslims visit the Temple Mount and they pray there. Others, Jews, Christians and other denominations, secular people, they come – secular people pray too by the way - they visit the Temple Mount but they don’t. Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 to 11:00, the non-Muslims visit. Muslims visit the rest of the time. How many Muslims have visited and prayed on the Temple Mount, on average, last year? Anybody know? No, not 300,000, three and a half million. Eighty thousand Christians and other denominations and 12,000 Jews. That hasn’t changed.
Though the Temple Mount is our holiest site – it was built there by king Solomon 3,000 years ago, 1,500 years before the birth of Islam – though we've been attached to it for 3 millennia, we in no way deny the sacred sites or the rights or the free access for other denominations, and Israel has not and will not change the status quo. This is one huge lie.
The second is not only that we seek to change the prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount and the non-prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount, which we don’t, is that we seek to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. Now this is particularly farcical. It would be farcical if it weren’t tragic. My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly after he landed he went to the immigration office in Jaffa. And a few months later it was burned down by marauders. These attackers, Arab attackers, murdered several Jews, including our celebrated writer Brenner.
And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, "If you expel them, they'll all come here." "So what should I do with them?" he asked. He said, "Burn them." And he was sought in, during the Nuremberg trials for prosecution. He escaped it and later died of cancer, after the war, died of cancer in Cairo. But this is what Haj Amin al-Husseini said. He said, ":The Jews seek to destroy the Temple Mount." My grandfather in 1920 seeks to destroy…? Sorry, the al-Aqsa Mosque.
So this lie is about a hundred years old. It fomented many, many attacks. The Temple Mount stands. The al-Aqsa Mosque stands. But the lie stands too, persists.
First lie: Israel seeks to change the status quo – false.
Here's lie number three – the reason you have this surge of violence is because there has been a surge in settlement construction. Did you hear this? Yeah, all the time. Well, here are the numbers – some of you are not going to like them. In my first term in office, we built an average of 3,000 units annually in Judea and Samaria. In Barak's single year, he built 5,000. In Sharon, it was down to 1,900. In Olmert, it was down to 1,700. And given the circumstances, in my successive terms it's down to 1,500.
There are reasons for that. We can discuss that some other time but facts are facts. These numbers are exact. So, far from seeing a settlement surge, there's actually been a decline in construction. I raise that because this is raised again and again and again. The Palestinians are protesting because of a surge in settlement activity. Sorry, not true. And I put the facts forward before the world. Some surge.
The fourth big lie is: that we are executing Palestinians- executing Palestinians. When our people are fighting back against these knife-wielders, meat-cleaver-wielders, people who try hack to death our citizens and our soldiers and our policemen, they're executing people. And what was the example? Ahmed Mansara, this boy that Abu Mazen put forward. He held his picture and he said we're executing this innocent boy. He's not innocent, he nearly stabbed to death, he stabbed nearly to death a 13-year-old Israeli boy riding on a bicycle.
He's not dead. He's been released, I think he's about to be released, from the Hadassah Hospital where his victim is struggling for his life. This is a big lie that we punctured right on the spot. Because here's the thing about the lies that I'm describing: If left unchallenged, they continue to expand like a cloud and by dint of constant repetition, these lies assume the cache of self-evident truth. And I think it's vital to put the facts before the world.
The fifth point is that Israel uses excessive force in general. That's not true either. What do you think would happen on the streets of New York? Let's just imagine the NYPD and people are rushing in the streets trying to knife down their police or innocent passers-by. What would the police do in New York City or in Paris or in Moscow or anywhere else? You know exactly what they would do. And this is what our police force is doing. To those who question our use of force, I would ask: How would you respond to it? How would your police respond to it? And our instructions are very clear. If there's a threat to life, either to the police officer or to innocent civilians, take action to neutralize it. Half the terrorists are killed; half the terrorists are apprehended; one terrorist escaped.
He hasn't condemned a single one of the 30 terrorist attacks on Israelis over the last month. And I think that people who call public squares in the name of mass murderers should be condemned. I haven't heard a word of condemnation, practically not a syllable of condemnation for this irresponsible behavior of Abbas. And I think what we should tell Abu Mazen is: Stop lying, stop inciting.
And then it continued in the attacks against us, terrorist attacks by the Fedayeen and others in 1956. And in 1967, those attacks, the desire to destroy Israel continued despite the fact that the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, and Gaza were firmly in Arab hands. So it couldn't have been the reason for our attacks. Now we're talking about a century, half a century – from 1920 to 1967, that's 47 years – where the attacks, the attacks are going against us one after the other. Half a century and it's clearly not the core of the conflict. The core of the conflict was the desire to destroy the Jews anywhere, without a state, and with a state without the territories and without settlements.
They uprooted all the Israelis from Gaza, disinterred the graves, gave the territory to Abu Mazen and he promptly handed it over to Hamas under the force of their guns. Well, we didn't get peace. We got thousands and thousands of rockets hurled into our cities. And when we asked Hamas, "Why are you firing these rockets on our cities? Is it to liberate the West Bank?" And they said, "Yeah, that too, but it's to liberate Palestine – Haifa, Akko, Jaffa, Jerusalem of course." That is what they said.