The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) expresses its deep disappointment and concern over the misleading and unsubstantiated comments made by Conservative MP Paul Bristow, accusing Israel of killing “dozens of Palestinian children” in military operations this year. The NJA firmly rejects these baseless claims, which ignore the complex realities on the ground and perpetuate a biased narrative.
National Jewish Assembly Chairman Gary Mond said: “Conservative MP Paul Bristow’s comments are highly misleading and give the erroneous impression that the Israeli army is deliberately targeting so-called children. The truth is that the young people who have died are members of Palestinian terrorist factions, who carry weapons with the intention of killing Israelis. While all deaths are tragic, these are happening in the context of self-defence.”
It is essential to note that the so-called “children” mentioned by Mr. Bristow are, by and large, teenagers who are fully-fledged members of Palestinian terrorist organisations. Israel, like any sovereign state, has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens from terrorist militants and maintain security in the face of ongoing threats.
The NJA also takes issue with David Rutley MP’s comments during Question Time on July 18 which regrettably mischaracterise Israel’s security operations. When asked about Israel’s decision to demolish the houses of Palestinian terrorists, Rutley claimed that Israel’s actions cause unnecessary suffering to Palestinians. This fails to acknowledge the legal processes, Palestinian terror attacks, and ongoing security concerns that led to Israel taking these actions.
Rutley further asserted that Israel is not serious in its commitment to the Two-State Solution, yet failed to point to any Palestinian interlocutor who is committed to this resolution. The NJA encourages Rutley to reflect on whether the Palestinian leadership – be it in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad – are seriously committed to the Two-State Solution, before singling out Israel to blame for the failure of it to materialise.
Furthermore, the NJA raises concerns regarding Minister Rutley’s assertion that so-called settlements are illegal under international law. It is important to note that presence of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is a complex matter, and the NJA rejects Rutley’s reductionist approach to the topic. Simplifying the issue undermines the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and overlooks the need for direct negotiations to address the final status of settlements. The Oslo Accords, which are still in effect, place Area C of Judea and Samaria in full control of Israel. This agreement was signed by Palestinian leaders at the time. Rutley’s generalisation about all settlements runs counter to the letter and the spirit of the Accords.
The NJA urges MPs and public figures to engage in informed and responsible discussions, rather than to perpetuate false narratives. Accusing Israel without proper evidence and disregarding the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines the prospects for meaningful dialogue and a just resolution.