My Mideast Punchline: moon landing…

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, recently described International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announcement of her intention to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories as akin to late US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. While on the moon, he famously uttered the words: “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

“It is my belief that I can compare this step to the steps of Neil Armstrong when he put his foot on the moon in 1969,” Erekat told Al Jazeera last week. “I do not want to exaggerate with regard to this matter, but the inability to achieve peace throughout these years…was because the Israeli occupation authorities have not been questioned and held accountable.”

biffWhen Erekat, an inveterate liar, says that he does not want to exaggerate, you can always be sure that the opposite is true. When it comes to reality, Erekat indeed lives on the Moon. How can we forget his most famous exaggeration, his claim that 500 Palestinians were killed in the Battle of Jenin in 2002? The real figure was 53, with 23 IDF soldiers also being killed. “Massacre, massacre,” bleated Erekat and his then boss Yasser Arafat. Yes, Saeb, the only thing massacred was the truth.

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