What accounts for the most recent Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks against Israelis? The New York Times thinks it knows the answer. I beg to differ.
In a recent news article about the latest violence, Patrick Kingsley, the Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, cited what he said are the four factors that that have “contributed to a rise in Palestinian militancy” (he avoids using the word ‘terrorism’ when referring to Palestinians). Not one of them stands up to logic or experience.
First: “the vanishing likelihood of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.”
If the goal of Palestinian Arab terrorist groups was a “state in the West Bank,” they could have had it long ago. They were offered a state by the British in 1937, by the United Nations in 1947, and by at least three Israeli prime ministers.
Patrick Kingsley should take a look at the maps in the Palestinian Authority’s offices and schools, and the emblems used by Palestinian Arab terrorist groups. They show all of Israel as “occupied Palestine.”
Second: “the entrenchment of Israel’s control” in the disputed territories.
This phrase conjures up an image of Israel controlling all of the Judea-Samaria/West Bank region. In reality, Israel controls only 60% of it—the areas where Jews reside. The Palestinian Authority governs the other 40%—where 98% of the Palestinian Arabs reside.
The Oslo accords that Israel and the PA signed in 1993-1995 do not prohibit Israel from “entrenching” its control there. In any event, Israel has in many ways done the exact opposite of “entrenching” its control of those areas—it has never annexed them; it has reduced the number of security checkpoints, at great risk to its own citizens; and it has authorized the establishment of only two new Jewish towns there since the 1990s.
Third: “a weakening of the mainstream Palestinian leadership.” There’s no logical reason this would lead to more terrorism. If the leadership has weakened, that is not because of some imaginary Israeli persecution; it’s the result of internal Palestinian Arab politics. Terrorists don’t murder Jews because Palestinian leaders are weak.
Fourth: there is “a new generation of small armed groups” that are “frustrated with the status quo.”
The Palestinian Arabs have a long history of making up new names for old terrorist groups in order to deceive the public. Anybody remember “Black September”? It was just another name for Yasir Arafat’s Fatah group, enabling him to carry out attacks such as the 1972 Olympics massacre and pretend that Fatah was not responsible.
In 2000, Fatah began using the name “Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.” At first, it pretended that the new “Brigade” was separate from Fatah. But eventually they dropped the pretense and began describing it as Fatah’s “military arm.” In June 2004, then-PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei declared in an interview that “the Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades are part of Fatah.” And a June 2005 report by the U.S. government’s Congressional Research Service confirmed it.
The names that have recently appeared in the media, such as the “Lions’ Den,” sound like they are cut from the same cloth. After all, terrorist groups don’t just spring up overnight, fully formed as the “Lions’ Den” supposedly did, with an entire network of highly trained bombers and shooters already in place. Acquiring weapons and financing setting up arms depots and safe houses, and training terrorists all takes a lot of time and organization, which the existing terror groups have, and which individuals don’t have.
As for the notion that the terrorists are “frustrated with the status quo”—well, if by that, the Times means they are frustrated that Israel still exists, then I suppose that’s true. But what the Times apparently means is that they are “frustrated” by non-existent Israeli “persecution” or “occupation.” Since Israel doesn’t persecute or occupy them, this “explanation” doesn’t hold water.
So what are the real reasons for Palestinian Arab terrorism?
First: extremist religious ideology that advocates waging “jihad” against Israel. It’s a powerful incentive for potential terrorists to hear imams preaching in mosques that Muslims have a sacred duty to murder Jews, and will enjoy all sorts of heavenly rewards if they become “martyrs.”
Second: glorification of violence and antisemitism in the Palestinian Authority’s schools and news media. The PA raises schoolchildren to regard mass murderers as heroes who should be emulated. The result: teenagers and young adults who emulate their heroes.
Third: the PA’s pay-for-slay policy of paying salaries and bonuses to imprisoned terrorists and the families of deceased terrorists. A would-be terrorist who might hesitate to act because he doesn’t want to leave his family destitute, can rest assured that the PA will take care of them.
Fourth: international sympathy. Knowing that much of the international community supports their cause—to one extent or another—is a source of encouragement for Palestinian Arab terrorists. Of course, most terrorists would murder Jews even if they believed the whole world was against them, so this isn’tt a major reason for their behavior; but it can’t be entirely discounted, since each individual terrorist is motivated by a multitude of factors.
I understand why some American journalists view the Middle East through the lens of familiar political and sociological “explanations.” But understanding Palestinian Arab terrorists isn’t so complicated; all the New York Times staff needs to do is look at what is preached in PA mosques and taught in PA schools, and what the terrorists themselves say on their Facebook pages. It’s not as if they’re hiding their true feelings.