End the Sound of Silence on Palestinian Terrorism

Hello darkness. The whole world, except perhaps the venerable Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the author Alice Walker, and the UN Human Rights Council, recognize that the State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. No further evidence of this is required than the vitriolic attack on Israel by a female Arab member of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Even the anti-Israeli lobbies, with their vilification of Israel as an apartheid state, must now be conscious of the Palestinian false subtleties and deliberate distortions of reality.

The vicious attack on Israel made on October 9, 2015 came from the Israeli-Arab Haneen Zoabi, a member of the United Arab List in the Knesset. The speech was not only a perversion of reality and one unbecoming from a member of the Knesset, even one who has been a constant critic of all Israel actions. More important, it was an incendiary incitement to conflict, even civil war, and implicitly a plea for Palestinians to commit terrorist acts.

Zoabi, perhaps in whimsy or fantasy, praised the hundreds of thousands who she said will go up to the Al Aqsa Mosque in order to stand in the face of the Israeli plot for the blood of the residents of East Jerusalem. She asserted that individual terrorist attacks against Israel were insufficient, and that hundreds of thousands must go out to support these incidents that will turn into an intifada, the third Palestinian intifada of violence and terrorism. Increasing Palestinian physical violence and terrorist attacks have alternated with inflammatory rhetoric and hostile demonstrations.

It is regrettable that some Western media and politicians have swallowed the false moral equivalence between terrorists and Israeli defenders. One such declaration on the issue was by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his spokespeople on October 6, 2015 that the Palestinians “did not attack and did not do anything against the Israelis… The Israeli government is escalating its strong offensive against the Palestinian people everywhere.” One recent shameful example of this dishonest moral equivalence was that of the BBC, typically unfriendly towards Israel, in its comment after a terrorist attack, “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.” Like the Palestinian leadership, the BBC, in its unclear and confusing remark, was blaming the victim.

Yes, Abbas was wrong, the Palestinians did do something, indeed a number of things, as their leaders in fact know. President Abbas’ own adviser, Sultan Abu Al-Einein, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, praised the murder of two Israeli civilians in Jerusalem and the injuring of the wife of one of them and a two-year-old child. For Sultan this was a “heroic operation,” and he saluted the murderers who were “protecting” Jerusalem. His salute was for the murderers, the “lions of Allah in Jerusalem” who were protecting the city and whose “foreheads must be kissed.”

The Palestinian violence has increased. On October 1, two Israelis, husband and wife, were murdered near Elon Moreh, close to Nablus, in a shooting attack on their car in which their four children were present. Five members of the military wing of Hamas were arrested and confessed to the murders, as well as to two other shooting attacks. They followed the instructions of Salah Arouri, based in Istanbul, who was the founder of Izz ad-Din al Qassam Brigades.

On October 3, a 19-year-old Palestinian, Muhannad Halabi, killed two Israeli civilians, one of whom had been praying at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. President Abbas, and others, justified the murders as a response (unstated) to Israeli actions at the Al Aqsa Mosque. It is difficult to follow the logic of the argument of the Palestinian leader at a time of Palestinian violence that the Israeli government is “escalating its strong offensive against the Palestinian people everywhere.” Even the 19-year-old murderer wrote the day before his act was that “the third intifada (the wave of violence and terror) has already broken out.” It was not surprising that a Palestinian baby was named after Halabi just hours after his murderous act.

The praise for the terrorists has been continuing. The contrast in humane behavior between the two sides could not be clearer. On October 9, 2015 a 31-year-old female Arab from Jaffa was stopped near Ma’ale Adumim while driving a car with two bombs and a gas canister, evidently with the intention of perpetrating an attack in central Jerusalem. On being approached by police officers she shouted “Allahu Akbar,” (God is Great) before one of the bombs detonated.

The Israeli responsible was compassionate, an indication of humane behavior. The woman was burned and seriously injured but not killed. This would be terrorist was taken for treatment to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, perhaps one of her targets.

The speech by the Arab-Israeli legislator Zoabi has illustrated the change in the Palestinian attitude from its participation in a conflict, essentially geopolitical in nature, between Israel and the Arab world,  that they are turning into a religious war. That war has already begun.

Palestinian demonstrations have been mounting, and have taken on a religious dimension. More than 100 Israeli-Arabs rallied in Ramla on October 10, 2015 with protestors throwing stones at police forces and uttering Islamic slogans. Similar riots took place the previous day in other cities, including Jaffa, Nazareth, and Rahat. On the same day, about 30 Palestinians demonstrated near the Gaza fence and crossed into Israeli territory.

The original Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Charter spoke of nationalism and did not explicitly refer to the Muslim religion. The underlying problem now is that the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become the rallying cry for Palestinian terrorists who essentially are encouraging some form of holy war with their explicitly religious violence.

The international community must act. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on October 4, 2015 said he was troubled by statements from Palestinian militant groups that praised the terrorist attacks against Israelis. All peace-loving organizations must strongly condemn both the Palestinian acts of violence and terrorism, and the inflammatory and dishonest language used by Palestinian leaders, especially the supposedly moderate Abbas, and the praise they accord to terrorists.

Archbishop Tutu, as a good Christian, might take the lead in condemning the Palestinians who murder parents in front of their children. He should call for Palestinian incitement to hatred must stop. A just and lasting solution to the conflict can be achieved only through pursuing peace negotiations and a negotiated solution.