On Saturday's Fox & Friends, Geraldo Rivera contended that the Gaza strip is "the world's largest concentration camp." Thousands of Palestinians have recently massed along the Gaza border with Israel during a month-long protest. Fifteen have died in violent clashes with Israeli forces guarding the border. When show co-host Pete Hegseth reminded Rivera that Gaza is run by Hamas, a terrorist organization which has never recognized Israel's right to exist, Rivera deflected, saying "I'm not even going to argue it."
Additionally, no one on the show mentioned the inconvenient but quite pertinent fact that Israel handed Gaza over in 2005, even abandoning existing settlements in the process.
The immediately newsworthy event preceding the discussion was the calling of an emergency meeting of the United Nations relating to the confrontation.
Show co-host Ed Henry asked Rivera what "President Trump (can) do to alleviate tensions there and bring peace to the region." Here was his unhinged, deliberately inflammatory response:
GERALDO RIVERA: Gaza is the world’s largest concentration camp. We have to recognize that this violence is something that could happen every day in Gaza. There are almost 2 million Palestinians. They're stuffed in an area 25 miles long by five miles wide and the Israelis control the border, the electricity, jobs, I mean it really is a melancholy place.
PETE HEGSETH: Hold on! The keepers of the concentration camp are Hamas, not Israel.
RIVERA: Well, if that were true, who controls the fences though, Pete?
HEGSETH: It's because the rockets are being fired on Israel! To call that a concentration camp, is really slanted.
RIVERA: That approach, what is slanted is to say that Israelis or Israel is being afflicted or attacked from the militants in Gaza without recognizing there are two million Palestinians in Gaza with no hope, they have no future --
HEGSETH: They're run by a terrorist organization.
RIVERA: Their lives have been controlled since the 1967 war, and the president must reenergize the peace process. That’s the real point I think. If you can ignore the West Bank and Gaza for days and days and months and even years, then suddenly something like this happens, and people remember "Oh, yes, this is occupied territory. This is an unstable situation."
HEGSETH: You can’t negotiate with Hamas. They’re a declared terrorist organization that says they want to wipe Israel off the map.
RIVERA: Pete, you know, I'm not even going to argue it.
If one won't even "argue" with the reality that Hamas won't recognize Israel and desires its destruction, there's no hope for a rational discussion. But there's plenty of room for irresponsible rhetoric.
Geraldo failed to explain how Gaza can be a "concentration camp" when there are no Israeli security guards present — and no gas chambers.
A 2011 video presented by Bill Whittle explained the previous 100 years of history in the region. The following snip from that effort reminds us that Israel decided to unilaterally hand Gaza over to the Palestinians, and tells us what happened after that:
BILL WHITTLE: In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided that it was against Israel's security interest to govern the 1.1 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Sharon dismantled all of the Jewish settlements and pulled Israeli forces back across the 1967 borders between Israel and Gaza, without even any land swaps.
As an added bonus, Israel left the Palestinians a thriving flower export industry to help jump start the local economy.
The Palestinians' response to this generosity? Well, first they destroyed the donated greenhouses, and then, they launched a war of missiles and rockets against civilian targets in Israel.
In a September 2008 meeting in Jerusalem, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented (Palestinian) President Abbas with a detailed map of a future Palestinian state, that, with land swaps, would constitute close to 100 percent of the territory of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the June 1967 war.
Olmert also offered to divide Jerusalem, enabling the Palestinians to locate their capital in the eastern half of the city.
Promising to come back the next day for further discussions, Abbas took Olmert's map to his Ramallah office just a few miles outside Jerusalem for his aides to study. But Abbas never returned with the map. This was the last time the Israeli and Palestinian leaders met.
It is still the case that the Israelis and Palestinians haven't met since 2008, when Abbas failed to respond to an offer which would have given Palestinians virtually everything they had demanded (except Israel's destruction).
Geraldo Rivera's "concentration camp" description of Gaza was a disgraceful, calculated insult.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.