September/October 2000

The Violence in Israel - PA Incitement May Doom Peace Prospects

Unraveling the current round of violence in Israel and the territories is like unscrambling eggs. But it needs to be clearly said that the people who preach violence, teach violence, threaten violence and revere violence are responsible for violence when it comes - even when it comes to them.

Responsibility for Palestinian deaths - particularly those of children - as well as Israeli deaths, lies with that living, breathing provocation, Yasser Arafat. And secondary responsibility rests with those (including some Israelis and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) who accept Arafat's assertion that violence is inevitable, if not justifiable, when the Palestinians' maximalist demands are thwarted.
Palestinian police take positions on Monday during a gunbattle with Israeli army forces at the Netzarim Jewish settlement crossing in southern Gaza
Palestinian police take positions on Monday during a gunbattle with Israeli army forces at the Netzarim Jewish settlement crossing in southern Gaza

Arafat has called for jihad and so have his representatives in the mosques - including on the Temple Mount Friday morning. Israeli Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi, Abdulmalik Dehamshe and Talab A Sana stoked the fire, inciting the crowds by yelling, "Break the hands of the police!" "The police are behaving like the Nazis!" as they themselves attacked Israeli security forces. As the violence spread in Jerusalem, Arafat ordered the PA schools closed in the territories, sending thousands of children who had learned the glory of liberating Jerusalem through bloodshed out to join professional troublemakers. [See www.memri.org for translations of the vicious garbage Palestinian adults feed Palestinian children - crucial to understanding how children are being used by people who should, and maybe do, know better.]

The violence has become widespread because it is glorified by Arabs and excused by others. In Tehran, in Amman, in Cairo and elsewhere, the Palestinians are exalted as martyrs to Islam. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP have all threatened more of the same. Arafat himself told a Saudi newspaper he doesn't hesitate to engage in warfare.

In Kalkilya, a 27-year-old Ethiopian immigrant in a joint Israeli-Palestinian border patrol was killed in his jeep by his Palestinian partner. He had come to Israel in Operation Solomon, and was engaged to be married. Near Joseph's Tomb, an Israeli died of wounds because the PA police wouldn't let him be evacuated. Rioters laid siege to the town of Netzarim in Gaza on Rosh Hashana. There was Israeli Arab gunfire at motorists and Israeli policemen in Nazareth, Taibe, Uhm al Fahm and other Arab towns south of Haifa. Major roads in the Galilee, major highways between Haifa and the Jordan Valley and between Jerusalem and Beit Shan were closed. There were riots in Jaffa. In Pesagot near Ramallah, there were exchanges of gunfire between Jews and Palestinians. The children of Pesagot are in bomb shelters - protected by their adults.

There is a "them" and an "us" in this dreadful situation. The "us" is people who believe that life, Israeli and Palestinian, is precious and that responsible leadership precludes jihad. There are plenty of Arabs among "us." But at the end of the day, the Palestinians appear to be led by "them" - people for whom Jew-hatred is an admirable pastime, and for whom life is less precious than martyrdom. Peace with "them" might well be impossible.

© Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs {JINSA} 2000

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