Thursday’s shocking Palestinian terrorist murder of a 13-year-old girl prompted the usual praise from Palestinian Authority (PA) outlets. Muhammad Taraireh was hailed as a martyr for stabbing and murdering 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, a U.S. citizen, as she slept in her bed.
“Martyr (Shahid) Muhammad Taraireh, who carried out today’s operation in which one female settler was killed, and a male settler was injured,” read the post on Fatah’s Facebook page and translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
The terrorists’ mother said her son made her “proud” and called him a hero and a martyr. “Allah willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine,” Taraireh’s mother told a local Hebron news outlet.
This brutal murder comes shortly after Abbas’ senior advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein called for Palestinians to decapitate innocent Israelis. “Every place you find an Israeli cut of his head,” said Al-Einein.
The terrorists’ family will now begin receiving monthly payments that the PA pays to all terrorist families.
Blatant praise for terrorists is expected from Palestinian officials and significant segments of the Palestinian population. Yet the silence emanating from the broader Muslim world following such brutal attacks is similarly disturbing.
In a blog posted by The Times of Israel, Muslim interfaith activist Nadiya Al-Noor blasts Muslim hypocrisy in the context of Palestinian terrorism.
“I have seen firsthand the casual, destructive anti-Semitism that plagues the Muslim community,” she wrote. “I have heard it from the mouths of our religious leaders, from our politicians, and even from our otherwise peaceful, liberal Muslim activists. I have witnessed in horror the desperate attempts to justify Palestinian terrorism from people who I once respected. Why? Why do we decry all other types of terrorism, but bend over backwards to legitimize violence against Israeli Jews?”
Too many Muslims seek to justify such terrorism by citing the Israeli “occupation,” relying on “anti-Semitic lies fed to us by Al-Jazeera” such the canard that Israelis seek to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Noor wrote. Too many Muslims refuse to refer to Israel by name and proclaim that “Resistance is not a crime!”
Yet Al-Noor bravely opines “stabbing a little girl to death in the one place where she was supposed to be safe is certainly not “resistance.”
“We’ll stand up against the persecution of Christians, atheists, Hindus, Shias, Ahmadis, and anyone else who is persecuted,” she wrote. “We will sob to the heavens if a Palestinian is killed, but when it comes to Palestinian terrorism against Jews, we either turn a blind eye to it, or we twist the story to make the terrorists into the victims. This is unacceptable.”
“When you make excuses for terrorists, you support terrorism.”
Al-Noor’s observations directly relate to strategies adopted by U.S. Islamist organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which routinely condemns acts of terrorism worldwide – but never when it comes to Israelis.
In a story headlined “Palestinian woman shot after reportedly trying to stab officer in Hebron,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (because the telegraph means progress) picked up the Palestinian Ma’an news agency practically verbatim, including the astonishing reference to an ancient building dating back to early Biblical times. So, brace yourselves, here goes:
“The woman, identified on Ynet as Sara Hajaj, 27, on Friday tried to carry out a stabbing attack near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron, Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said. Border Police shot her after she had tried to stab an officer at a checkpoint with a knife, Israeli police said.”
Never mind all the “reportedly” stuff, which is JTA for the Palestinian Ma’an news agency’s despicable “allegedly,” an absurd term used to downgrade the veracity of the reports on crimes routinely carried out by Arab murderers. Never mind that JTA opted to quote a Ma’an story that quotes a perfectly acceptable Israeli website. The fact that the Jewish telegraph operators over on Seventh Avenue are not aware of the fact that Jews refer to the site in Hebron as Ma’arat Ha’Makhpela, or the cave of the Patriarch, and they use the Arab name for the mosque on the site should put in question this agency’s entire body of report on Israeli topics.
Honestly, did Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld really refer to the site as “the Ibrahimi Mosque?” Are they compeletely cut off from Israeli reality over there?
That first telegraphic atrocity was followed by this paragraph:
“In a second attack on Thursday, an armed Israeli civilian shot dead a Palestinian man in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya after he allegedly carried out a stabbing attack, leaving two Israelis wounded.”
He didn’t “allegedly” stab his Jewish victims, he really, really did stab them, a 40-year-old Haredi man and a 62-year-old woman who don’t live in the “occupied territories,” who aren’t involved in any way in oppressing anyone save for the chickens they were about to buy for Shabbat, who were attacked viciously simply because they were Jews — what is “alleged” about that incident, which was documented by dozens of media sources, including Ha’aretz, where JTA normally copies its stuff. What’s the meaning of this “allegedly” here? They weren’t stabbed? They stabbed themselves? The Arab guy lying face down on the pavement is not the killer? He was shot because he was handing out pamphlets inviting people to a Humus festival?
Something nasty is taking place in modern Jewish American journalism, and the most disheartening signs of that nastiness are evident in what used to be a half decent Jewish news service, albeit one utilizing telegraph poles to disseminate its bulletins.
A newly released 10-minute online video produced by the Jerusalem-based Center for Near East Policy Research says that many of the Palestinians who have murdered Israelis during the so-called “stabbing intifada,” which began in September 2015, were educated in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Titled “The UNRWA road to terror: Palestinian classroom incitement,” the video claims that the current wave of violence was not spontaneous, but rather has roots deriving “from an educational curriculum taught to Palestinians beginning in first grade.”
Thirty-eight Israelis and tourists have been murdered in the nine-month-long Palestinian terror wave, most recently the shooting at Tel Aviv’s Sarona market that killed four Israelis.
UNRWA’s curriculum, the video says, is focused on “jihad,” while UNRWA teachers glorify the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees through war. The video reveals a military-themed school play held in April 2016 at the UNRWA Nuseirat School in Gaza, in which students hold an Israeli hostage at gunpoint and emerge from a tunnel in order to carry out an attack against Israelis—the latter scene mirroring the Hamas terror group’s efforts to attack the Jewish state through cross-border tunnels running underground from Gaza to Israel.
The footage begins by zooming in on classrooms of Palestinian children repeating phrases chanted by their teachers such as “Palestine is an Arab land from the river to the sea” and “We want Haifa, we want Acre,” with no recognition of a state called Israel.
The scene then shifts to numerous one-on-one interviews with Palestinian children in the courtyards of their schools in various Jerusalem neighborhoods and surrounding areas, in which they admit that they are taught in school that it is their destiny to violently “reclaim” the entire country they refer to only as “Palestine.”
One student from the Shuafat refugee camp says that his UNRWA educators “teach us in school that Jews are fickle, bad people.” He adds, “I am ready to stab a Jew and drive [a car] over them.” Another student from Shuafat says, “We have to constantly stab them, drive over them, and shoot them (the Jews).”
A child from Kalandia is filmed saying that he is taught about how “Zionists are our enemy, and [we] must fight them.” A different student at the same school says, “With Allah’s help I will fight for ISIS, the Islamic State.”
Documentary filmmaker David Bedein, director of the Center of Near East Policy Research, says that the U.N. member states who are the funders of UNRWA schools should be held accountable for the agency’s hate education. Bedein says that at the top of that list of funders is the United States—UNRWA’s largest donor, providing $400 million of the organization’s annual $1.2 billion budget.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) echoes Bedein, tellingFoxNews.com that an UNRWA education “does not in any way prepare the Palestinian population or future generations of Palestinians for peace with Israelis. It is unacceptable that the international community, including the United States, is funding UNRWA without demanding change.”
According to Bedein, about 100 Palestinian children studying in UNRWA schools were interviewed for the video. Those children, he tells JNS.org, “have been indoctrinated to believe that they have the right to kill Jews, because they took their land.”
He adds that the children “learn that in all of the villages that their great-grandparents lost in 1948, that it’s kosher to walk into any place that used to be one of those villages whether Tel Aviv or Jerusalem and kill the people who live there.”
Asked why the Israeli Ministry of Education doesn’t get involved in stopping UNWRA’s incitement, Bedein says the ministry’s hands are tied and that it can’t interfere with UNRWA schools. He says that Israel’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry, however, “could have a say in it but choose not to.”
Bedein explains that the philosophy of the Israeli government “is that the U.N. schools give an opportunity to have peace education as an alternative to Hamas or terrorist education. However, the reality is that UNRWA is operating in a way that it’s providing worse incitement than the Palestinian Authority incitement or Hamas incitement. It’s a level of cognitive dissonance, and people don’t want to hear what they don’t want to hear.”
It is highly disturbing, says Bedein, that the students interviewed in the video weren’t living in Gaza under Hamas rule, but rather in or near Israel’s capital of Jerusalem.
“It’s literally a 10-minute ride from Mount Scopus in Jerusalem to the Shuafat refugee camp run by UNRWA, where this incitement is taking place,” he says.
The new video has started to gain traction on social media. The Israel education organization StandWithUs recently shared the video with its 970,000 followers on Facebook.
“The teaching of racism and religious supremacism in UNRWA schools plays a major role in the violence Palestinian terrorists are inflicting on innocent Israelis,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein tells JNS.org. “This incitement of Palestinian children hurts Israelis and Palestinians alike, and must be stopped for there to be lasting peace.”
When asked to comment on the video and on America’s annual $400 million support of UNRWA, a press attaché at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem declined comment and instead referred JNS.org to UNRWA. In an emailed response to JNS.org, UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness denied the film’s accusations and questioned its standards.
Gunness says that the “generalized allegation made in the film that many Palestinian children who murdered Jews came from UNRWA schools is completely unsubstantiated in the film, which produces no evidence to prove this.”
According to Gunness, “In this latest, he (Bedein) takes non-UNRWA facilities and falsely claims they belong to UNRWA. He shows teachers claiming they are UNRWA teachers when in fact they are not and he plays the same tricks with students, often misrepresenting what they say in translations.”
“As a neutral U.N. humanitarian agency, UNRWA is committed to promoting non-violence and the highest standards of neutrality,” adds Gunness. “Our condemnation of all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, is a matter of public record.”
In response to Gunness, Bedein—who says he has been monitoring UNRWA’s activities for 28 years—maintains that his research on UNRWA in the latest video and past videos is authentic, and that the videos “should be cause for this humanitarian organization (UNRWA) to carry out a self-introspection.”
“Instead of denying [the new video’s] validity,” says Bedein, “UNRWA should bring it to the attention of donor nations that they are funding war curriculum education within a U.N. organization, so that the situation can be rectified.”
Bedein says that his institution’s next project will be to translate all of the latest Palestinian Authority textbooks from Arabic into English, to prove that “despite the fact the U.S. government issued a statement that [the books] have been evaluated and teach ‘peace,’ we have seen the books, and that’s not the case.”
If they are Palestinian and live in what the UN and their leaders call the State of Palestine, where exactly are they refugees from?
Moreover, the PCBS says that some 40% of all “refugees” live in Jordan.But the vast majority of them are full Jordanian citizens. So why are they considered “refugees”?
This is all before the question of why, alone among all “refugee” populations, Palestinians are the only ones whose refugee status is automatically renewed every generation.
There is no way under UNRWA’s definition for Palestinians to lose their refugee status. Even if a peace plan would suddenly appear and the Palestinian leaders agree to stop insisting on the fake “right to return”, UNRWA would have no means to take them off the roles.
The “refugee” status is permanently bestowed upon all Palestinians until they somehow all cram back into their alleged ancestral homes, in the same villages. Because if you say that they can move to a neighboring village in Israel and no longer be considered refugees, then why can they not live as citizens of “Palestine” in Nablus as non-refugees?
The refugee issue is a thinly veiled attempt to destroy the Jewish state. It has nothing to do with real refugeehood and calling Palestinians refugees is an insult to the millions of real refugees who are truly suffering today. And UNRWA is fighting to get as much of the world’s refugee relief budget as it can, causing real refugees to be even worse off.
Happy World Refugee Day.
UPDATE: The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department tweeted this:
Only if you assume a bizarre definition of “refugee”
The Palestinian Authority has revived the medieval blood libel that Jews are poisoning the wells. The PA even named a nonexistent rabbi and rabbinical council as being responsible for this call to poison all Palestinian water sources.
Official PA TV reporter: “An Israeli human rights organization has exposed a religious ruling issued by Rabbi Shlomo Melamed (sic), Chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis (sic), that gave the settlers permission to poison the drinking water and the natural wells in the [Palestinian] villages and towns throughout the West Bank.” [Official PA TV News, June 20, 2016]
The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs went so far as to warn that there will be thousands of Palestinian deaths, and condemned the international community for its silence.
“What is the international community waiting for to interfere; the death of thousands of Palestinians of thirst? To meet such incident with silence and ignore the war Israel is waging against Palestinians is a cause of shame for the international community.”
[PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 19, 2016]
Palestinian Media Watch has researched different sources to demonstrate how this libel has evolved and expanded since its beginning just a week ago. The following is the anatomy of this Palestinian Authority libel:
Stage 1- The libel is seeded
This latest libel started recently when Yehuda Shaul, a leader of the extreme left-wing Israeli NGO named Breaking the Silence, told foreigners in a private lecture that Israelis – “settlers” – had “poisoned” all the water of a Palestinian town a number of years ago causing the Palestinians to leave:
“This village, actually, it’s new, but they came back because a few years ago, the settlers basically poisoned all the water systems of the village.”
[Israeli website NRG, June 14, 2016]
Stage 2 – PLO expands the NGO’s story, from a single event “years ago” to an broad current policy
The PLO’s expanded libel rewrote the NGO’s story about an alleged “poisoning” of one water system that supposedly happened a few years ago into the libel that Israelis are now, in 2016, poisoning all the water sources “throughout the West Bank.” In addition, they created another fictitious story that Israeli TV had reported on a religious ruling “a year ago” by an unknown Rabbi Shlomo Melamed “giving the settlers permission to poison the drinking water… throughout the West Bank.”
This is the PLO version of the libel:
“An Israeli human rights organization has exposed that Jewish settlers are working intently on poisoning the drinking water in the Palestinian towns and villages throughout the West Bank. Yehuda Shaul, founder of the organization Breaking the Silence… said that the goal of poisoning the water is to cause ‘the local Palestinians to leave their villages and towns, so that the settlers will be able to take control of their lands.’…
It should be noted that an investigative report that was broadcast on the Israeli [TV] Channel 10 around a year ago exposed that Rabbi Shlomo Melamed, chairman of what is known by the name ‘Council of Settlement Rabbis’ (Ed. note: no such rabbi or body exists), issued a religious ruling giving the settlers permission to poison the drinking water and the naturally flowing wells [of Palestinians] throughout the West Bank.”
[PLO’s National Bureau to Defend the Land and Resist Settlement website,
June 16, 2016]
Note: This story has been denied by both the supposed source of the story, the Breaking the Silence group, and by a Rabbi Zalmen Melamed – there is no Rabbi Shlomo Melamed. (See source below)
Stage 3 – Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls Israel’s “poisoning” the wells “a crime against humanity” and condemns the international community’s “silence,” and for not preventing the future “death of thousands of Palestinians”:
“This call by Rabbi Mlmad is considered a crime against humanity because it targets humans, animals, corps and all forms of life in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The ministry held the Israeli government full responsibility of the consequences of such calls. It demanded the arrest of the Rabbi for inciting murder and the enforcement of necessary procedures to protect Palestinians from individuals who might attempt to poison water sources.
What is the international community waiting for to interfere; the death of thousands of Palestinians of thirst? To meet such incident with silence and ignore the war Israel is waging against Palestinians is a cause of shame for the international community.”
[PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 19, 2016]
Stage 4- Official PA TV News yesterday further expanded the libel, saying that it was not a single rabbi but an entire rabbinic council that recently made the decision. It further expanded the libel by explaining the Israeli motivation to poison the water: Kill Palestinians and force them to emigrate.
News report on official PA TV
Official PA TV newsreader: “The Council of Settlement Rabbis (sic) has called to poison the drinking water in all districts of the homeland [Palestine], in order to cause [Palestinian] residents to emigrate, or in order to kill them.”
Official PA TV reporter: “As part of the Israeli attempts to utilize religious sources of authority to achieve political goals, an Israeli human rights organization has exposed a religious ruling issued by Rabbi Shlomo Melamed (sic), Chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis (sic), that gave the settlers permission to poison the drinking water and the natural wells in the [Palestinian] villages and towns throughout the West Bank. This, with the goal of causing the [Palestinian] residents to leave their lands, enabling the settlers to take control of them.”
[Official PA TV News, June 20, 2016]
When the PA shouts its lies and libel so emphatically many around the world believe them. The Arab League was quick to accept the libel and join in condemning Israel:
“The Arab League strongly condemned the call of the chairman of the Council of Settlement Rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Melamed, which gives the settlers permission to poison the drinking water that sustains the Palestinian towns and villages throughout the occupied West Bank.”
[WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), June 20, 2016]
Finally, it should be noted that the Jerusalem Post has reported that no rabbi of the name “Rabbi Shlomo Melamed” exists, and even the left wing Israeli NGO upon which the PA is basing its story – has denied the poison wells story:
“The Jerusalem Post was unable to find evidence that either a Rabbi Shlomo Mlma or Mlmad, or the Council of Rabbis in West Bank settlements exist.
There is a Council of Rabbis in Judea and Samaria, led by Yishai Babad. There is a Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El. Mlmad is similar to Melamed, and Zalman is Yiddish for Shlomo.
Rabbi Zalman Melamed told Gidon Shaviv, a senior research analyst for press watchdog CAMERA, “I did not say that and do not believe any rabbi would say something like that.” Melamed also called the report a blood libel.
In addition, Breaking the Silence’s spokesman said he did not know of any testimony about poisoning water.”
[The Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2016]
This analysis of the development and expansion of the PA libel shows how anxious the Palestinian Authority is to demonize and libel Israel in front of its people and the world. From one false accusation about a supposed poisoning of water “a few years ago,” the Palestinian Authority in just a week, without any information or basis, is now accusing Israel of planning to murder thousands of Palestinians by poisoning wells throughout the Palestinian Authority. The PA even invented a rabbi and a rabbinical council to blame for the poisoning. And to top it off they are even condemning the international community for not stopping Israel from its planned mass murder.
Finally, it should also be noted that Israelis and Palestinians share many of the same water sources.
Ahead of the 16th annual Herzliya Conference, the Institute for Policy & Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya has released the results of two surveys conducted in Egypt and Saudi Arabia relating to the upcoming US Presidential elections.
The key findings of the polls were as follows:
Q: Should the next US President promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement or a regional peace agreement?
Egypt: 25.5% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 32.1% – Regional Agreement 42.3% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel
Saudi Arabia: 18.9% – Israeli-Palestinian Agreement 41.6% – Regional Agreement 39.4% – Should Not Promote Peace with Israel
Q: Will the next US President change relations between the US and the Arab world?
Egypt: 31.7% – Change for the better 19.2% – Change for the worse 49.0% – No change
Saudi Arabia: 27.6% – Change for the better 27.4% – Change for the worse 45.0% – No change
Q: Was President Obama a good president for the Muslim world?
Egypt: 2.5% – Very Good 14.2% – Good 38.1% – Mediocre 24.5% – Bad 20.7% – Very Bad
Saudi Arabia: 2.6% – Very Good 17.5% – Good 36.1% – Mediocre 23.8% – Bad 20.1% – Very Bad
Q: Will the next US President cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran?
Egypt: 19.7% – Will cancel 80.3% – Won’t cancel
Saudi Arabia: 13.6% – Will cancel 86.4% – Won’t cancel
Q: Will the next US President be ready to send ground troops to fight ISIS?
Egypt: 32.3% – Yes 48.3% – No 19.4% – Don’t know
Saudi Arabia: 17.9% – Yes 58.1% – No 24.0% – Don’t know
Q: Which (Presidential) candidate do you prefer?
Egypt: 35.9% – Hillary Clinton 3.8% – Donald Trump 8.5% – Bernie Sanders 10.4% – Ted Cruz 41.4% – None of them
Saudi Arabia: 30.2% – Hillary Clinton 6.0% – Donald Trump 7.3% – Bernie Sanders 6.0% – Ted Cruz 50.3% – None of them
The polls were conducted in Arabic over the past 6 weeks using a random sampling from the regions of each country.
471 respondents in Egypt; margin of error +/- 4.5% 464 respondents in Saudi Arabia; margin of error +/- 4.6%
The 16th annual Herzliya Conference starts tomorrow, June 14 and runs through June 16.
In the early 1990s, the Government of Israel took what remains as the single greatest risk for peace and security since the State’s independence in 1948. The gamble failed miserably. Israelis – and Jews around the world – continue to pay the price—perhaps most spectacularly in the rise of the international BDS movement specifically, and more broadly, in the rebirth of a virulent, open Jew hatred of a kind not seen since the decade leading to the Holocaust.
The risk was Israel’s willingness to abide by a lie. It happened in September 1993, when Israel acknowledged the existence of a “Palestinian people” in the Oslo Accords. Any attempt to understand why so many people slander Israel as an occupying power and an apartheid state uniquely suited for economic boycotts and diplomatic sanctions must begin by looking at that lie and its implications.
Israeli acknowledgment notwithstanding, there has never been, is not now, and – hopefully, for those concerned with peace, human rights, justice and truth – never will be a distinct “Palestinian people.” The people known today as “Palestinians” are simply Arabs—mostly Sunni Muslims—who lived, or whose ancestors lived, in the portion of the British Mandate for Palestine west of the Jordan River during a brief period in the 1940s. In no other sense were they distinct from their neighbors whom the mandatory powers chose to label Lebanese, Jordanians, or Syrians.
As the Lebanese Civil War that raged for nearly two decades, the collapse of post-Saddam Iraq, and the bloodletting currently underway in Syria demonstrate, none of these assigned nationalisms ever took hold. Moreover, contemporaneous surveys conducted by the British during the Mandatory period showed that the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims in pre-1948 Palestine were newcomers with no historic attachment at all to the land, migrant workers and recent immigrants from dozens of regions from Morocco to Bosnia to India, speaking dozens of languages, who came to provide manpower for the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate and to benefit from the economic flowering of the Jewish people’s return to its homeland. To the extent that a new “Palestinian” nation can be said to have emerged, even in weak form, there is no reason to believe that it has become deeper as a matter of identity than has membership in the Iraqi or Syrian nations. The internal dynamics of the people who call themselves “Palestinians” mirror those of the people living in the regions still labeled Syria and Iraq. Even less – as until the “Palestinian” fiction was useful, these same Arabs when self-identified as linked to a nation, considered themselves Egyptian or Syrian or Saudi or Algerian, etc., not “Palestinian.”
Today, even as they claim a new identity, a civil war between Hamas and Fatah cuts these Arabs in half. Hamas, as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, rejects the very notion of a national identity in favor of an Islamic one; even in that, it faces competition from various other Islamist groups. Fatah is notoriously riven with factionalism, and its corruption is legendary. Were the nascent “Palestine” to become yet another Arab state in search of a nation, it would devolve into immediate anarchy as warlords, militias, and Islamists all turned against each other. The conclusion is inescapable. Regardless of designations that the state system may assign, Arabs throughout western Asia continue to identify strongly with their sect or tribe while feeling little or no kinship with those that the international community deems their countrymen.
In the case of “Palestine,” the designation is particularly galling because the definitions of both the people and the state emerged from what they were not rather than what they were. During the early twentieth century, when emerging Pan-Arabism competed with tribalism for hearts and minds throughout the Arab world, the new notion of a “Palestinian” arose to define the residents of the historic Jewish homeland in which Jews hoped to build a Jewish state. “Palestine,” of course, was defined as precisely coterminous with that Jewish homeland; when the Zionists dropped their legitimate historical and legal claims to the East Bank, so too did the “Palestinians.” Indeed, before the Jewish state declared its name to be Israel, it was the national and public institutions of the Jews – bank, post office, newspaper, tourism office, etc. – that used the label “Palestine.” The flag of pre-Israel Palestine featured a Jewish star on a field of blue and white. There was no equivalent Arab identity. Arab “Palestinianism” thus arose precisely to counter Zionism and to defeat the cause of Jewish self-determination in the ancient Jewish homeland. As such, the movement was founded as a classic anti-Jewish hate movement, and so it remains.
Throughout its first few decades, “Palestinianism” was comfortable in that role. Its most prominent leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, allied himself happily with Hitler and the Nazis—enjoying the warm embrace of the world’s largest and most powerful anti-Jewish hate group, and collaborating on plans to export the genocidal Final Solution to the Middle East.
Twenty years and three Arab/Israeli wars later, however, the situation had changed—at least from the all-important public relations perspective. While elite Western opinion of the 1960s and 70s deemed anti-Jewish hate groups unacceptable, it welcomed movements of indigenous self-determination. Yasser Arafat, with significant Soviet assistance, recast “Palestinianism” as a nationalist movement—but he did not restructure it as a nationalist movement.
Arafat’s rebranding proved persuasive. By the time of the Oslo Accords, much of the world took the “Palestinian” lie for granted. The idea that any or all of the twenty-plus governments of the Sunni Arab world might bear responsibility for its own people, much as Israel assumed responsibility for the Jews forcibly ejected from centuries-old communities across the Middle East, seemed unachievable. By the early 1990s, it was hardly unreasonable for forces in Israel’s government to believe that Israel would have to deal with the increasingly violent Arabs living in its midst—and that Arafat’s PLO could employ brutal techniques unavailable to the IDF. Israel endured the lie of a distinct “Palestinian” people, invited the PLO into the Israeli heartland, and began the Israeli withdrawal from large parts of day-to-day Arab life beyond the Green Line. This high-risk – and excruciatingly short-sighted – strategy thus helped reinforce the widespread confusion that mislabels Israel’s liberation of the indigenously (and legally, in accordance with the 1920 San Remo Resolution, the terms of which are still binding under international law) Jewish heartland that Jordan had occupied illegally between 1948 and 1967 as an Israeli “occupation.”
In fact, this foundational lie underpins an elaborate edifice that is simultaneously divorced from reality and devastating to both sides. If the “Palestinians” are indeed a unique indigenous yet stateless people, the burden of proof falls upon those insisting that Israel is not occupying their state—and that those who fight that occupation are something other than freedom fighters. Furthermore, given that Arab and Jewish residents of the disputed territories live in separate villages subject to different legal systems, accusations of segregation—if not apartheid—are easily manipulated for mass consumption. Finally, it becomes clear why traditional pro-Israel demographics like American Jews and Evangelical Christians are becoming increasingly uneasy and critical, and unclear why a movement of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions targeting a segregationist occupying power is outrageous.
While Israel’s defenders certainly have enough facts at their disposal to win tactical victories, their efforts will continue to run headfirst into the foundational lie. At the end of the day, if the “Palestinians” are a people distinct from any of the other Arabs, and if their homeland is indeed coterminous with the lands that Israel currently controls, Israel cannot win. It is a zero-sum game. The attacks, slanders, and diplomatic setbacks will continue to ratchet ever upward—fully inverting the stated purpose of the Oslo accords. Rabin’s gamble has failed miserably. His acceptance of the foundational lie of “Palestine” has cost thousands of lives, heightened Israel’s diplomatic challenges, increased global anti-Semitism, and done nothing to inculcate responsible behavior among the Arabs.
But the evil of “Palestinianism” does not end there. As corrosive as this fiction is to Jewish rights and to the standing of Israel in the world, the Arabs who have been saddled with the “Palestinian” lie suffer even more. Political, military and security threats notwithstanding, Israeli citizens – Jew and Arab alike – enjoy life in a thriving country, leading technology on all fronts, with freedoms and rights enjoyed by few the world over (and nowhere in the region). Israel consistently is listed as one of the “happiest” countries around the world. Famous for its urbanity, culture and lifestyle, Tel Aviv is second in the world as the posting of choice for US diplomats with clout – only Paris is more sought after. “Palestinian” Arabs, on the other hand, dwell in eternal misery, created to remain refugees, a manipulated dispossessed, with generation after generation raised in a fetid miasma of resentment and hate and vendetta. “Palestinians” are not only an anti-Semitic hate group; they are, by their own behavior and admission, a suicidal death cult. “We love death like our enemies love life,” “Palestinians” infamously boast. As impossible as such a mentality may seem to us, from wars waged via suicide bombers and human shields to textbooks and children’s television extolling genocide and martyrdom, “Palestinians” demonstrate their fidelity to this terrible, tragic ethos. This is what they were created to be; they have nothing else.
It is far past time to reassert the truth. “Palestinianism” combines the inner workings of a hate group with the outer trappings of a nationalist movement. “Palestinians” raise their children to hate Jews and to glory in those who kill Jews. “Palestinian” society, from top to bottom, allocates greater resources to ensuring that their people despise Jews than to encouraging those same people to help themselves. No version of “Palestinian” nationhood allows for the existence of a Jewish state anywhere in the Jewish homeland. “Palestinianism” on the ground today remains faithful to its raison d’être: far, far more concerned with destroying Israel than with building “Palestine,” a movement and identity in which hatred of the reviled other is far more important than love of self.
There can be no “two state solution” because there is no stateless nation in waiting; there are only Arabs living in the historic Jewish homeland.
If the region is ever to know stability, if those on both sides – Arab and Jew – who yearn for normalization and acceptance are ever to achieve it, if Israel has any desire to survive, let alone to be accepted as anything other than a pariah, all dialogue must first dispense with the foundational lie of a distinct “Palestinian” nation.