Photo Credit: (Vince Musi/The White House/Wikimedia)
L-R: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, US President Bill Clinton, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo I Accord at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 13, 1993.

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

August 7th. Israel. When Dvir Sorek, an 18-year-old student returned from Jerusalem to his school after having bought some books for his rabbis as an end-of-year gift, he was stabbed to death by two Arab terrorists.


As his funeral took place, while his father was delivering the eulogy, the inhabitants of the Arab village of Silwad, two miles North, to celebrate the murder, were setting off fireworks.

Sorek was apparently a peaceful teenager who had never hurt anyone. Among the books he brought was one by an Israeli left-wing writer, David Grossman, supporting the need to create a Palestinian state.

Sorek’s “fault” was to be a Jew.

His name extends the long list of Jews killed or wounded by Arab terrorists. Some murders are even more cruel. The man who raped and murdered Ori Ansbacher in February in Jerusalem said, “I wanted to kill a Jew and be a martyr.” In 2011, five members of the Fogel family, including three young children, were slaughtered. In 2014, two murderers with axes, knives and a gun entered a synagogue in Jerusalem during morning prayers and massacred five worshipers and a policeman who tried to stop the attackers. On December 13, 2018, at a bus stop near Ofra, two young Jews were shot dead by terrorists. Four days before that, another gun attack injured seven Jews. A wounded young woman survived, but despite the efforts of doctors, the baby she was carrying died. Last week, in a terrorist bombing on a hiking trail near Dolev, north of Jerusalem, a teenage Jewish girl was murdered. Her father and brother were seriously wounded.

After each murder, celebrations like those in Silwad take place. Candies and sweets are passed out in the street. If the murderers are shot by the Israeli soldiers or the police, they are proclaimed martyrs, and are celebrated. Their portraits are displayed in Palestinian towns. Whether the terrorist murders are killed or whether they are arrested, tried and imprisoned in Israel, they or their families are awarded a generous monthly stipend from the Palestinian Authority — an amount higher than the average Palestinian wage. Sometimes, the mothers of the murderers say how proud they are of the act their sons committed.

The depravity built-in to murdering civilians, the celebrations that follow, the prestige granted to racist murderers, the alluring payments granted as a reward, and the pride of the mothers all stem from an incitement to hate Jews that is injected into the minds of the Palestinian Arabs by the people and institutions that lead them.

Textbooks used in Palestinian schools are filled with calls to murder Jews, even if the topic is math. Newspapers of the Palestinian Authority regularly publish anti-Semitic cartoons worthy of those published by Nazi Germany’s Der Stürmer. The UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination devoted an entire day, August 13, 2019, to studying the anti-Semitic propaganda broadcast by the Palestinian Authority’s media. The data gathered was overwhelming. The legal adviser of UN Watch, Dina Rovner, showed the committee how the Palestinian Authority’s media “perpetuates antisemitic stereotypes such as that Jews are greedy, that they are part of a conspiracy to control the world, that they are baby killers, and that they poison Palestinians and steal their organs”.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority is still fundamentally a terrorist organization dedicated to destroying Israel and Israeli Jews by all means.

Until they issued the Venice Declaration in 1980, the nine member states of the European Community saw the PLO as a terrorist group, and for good reasons: in December 1973, a Palestinian attack at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport resulted in the deaths of 34 people, and two Palestinian attacks also took place at Orly Airport in Paris, one in January 1975, another in May 1978. The US and Israel, until 1991, defined the PLO as a criminal terrorist organization, and contacts between Israelis and PLO leaders were prohibited by Israeli law.

The Oslo Accords were based on the illusion that the PLO could totally change and suddenly become a “partner for peace”. The Palestinian Authority was created a few months later and became the new name of the PLO.

It soon became clear that the Palestinian Authority was still the PLO: terrorist attacks quickly multiplied. The money received by the Palestinian Authority was used to continue incitement to murder and payments to incentivize it.

The leaders of the Western world pretended that it did not matter, and looked the other way. They insisted that the Israeli leaders negotiate, as if there were no terrorism and as if incitement to murder did not exist.

So, Israeli leaders negotiated. The negotiations failed.

Since 2008, the Palestinian Authority has stopped negotiating with Israel, thereby nullifying its commitments in the Oslo Accords. Instead, the Palestinian Authority is conducting an international diplomatic offensive. According to the Palestinian Authority, the non-existent “State of Palestine” is now recognized by 139 countries, including several member states of the European Union and the Holy See. The State of Palestine was granted non-member state observer status at the United Nations in 2012 and the opportunity to join various UN agencies. In 2018, the Group of 77, the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the UN, chose as its leader the “State of Palestine”.

As leaders of the Palestinian Authority see that the fantasy among most of the leaders of the Western world is still strong, they no longer even hide their refusal to renounce terrorism. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, now approaching the 14th year of his four-year term, proudly announced that he will continue to reward the murderers of Jews and the murderers’ families. Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, recently said:

“Palestinian society holds a completely different attitude toward those whom Israel calls ‘terrorists.’ These militants are, instead, regarded by us as people who sacrifice themselves for the liberation of the Palestinian people”.

Palestinian leaders, without anyone ever blaming them, also deny Israel’s right to exist. On August 14, Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to the UN, said. “What we face is the Zionist movement, I would like to remind you that in 1975, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, indicating that Zionism is a form of racism”. He left out that the resolution had been revoked in 1991 and that the Zionist movement reached its goal: Israel does exist. Khraishi spoke as if the state of Israel still did not. His defamation and attempted erasure of Israel were not even mentioned in the Western media.

Hamas, a more violent and radical organization than the Palestinian Authority, is often used as an example to try to float the idea that the Palestinian Authority is, by contrast, “moderate”. Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim said in 2014 that Hamas has “chosen fast jihad”. However, just because the Palestinian Authority proceeds more slowly, does not make it fundamentally different.

The Muslim world in general has never accepted the existence of Israel. On the day the birth of Israel was proclaimed, May 14, 1948, the armies of five Arab countries invaded Israel to destroy the newborn State. Israel survived. Another war to destroy Israel took place in June 1967, then another in 1973. Each time, Israel won.

In 1967, a change of strategy took place. No one, the PLO decided, would speak of a “war for the destruction of Israel”. Instead, they would call it a “war of national liberation”. From then on, the PLO was presented as a “liberation movement”. Arabs who had left Israel in 1948-49 and remained in refugee camps were defined as the “Palestinian people”, and so the Palestinian people were invented. As PLO Executive Council member Zuheir Mohsen said in 1977:

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.”

A political program, adopted in Cairo, Egypt, at the Palestinian National Council on June 9, 1974, spoke of the need to create a “Palestinian national authority”. The program defined this creation as a “first step”, a basis for moving towards “the liberation of all Palestinian territory”. Twenty years later, the Palestinian Authority was created. The goal nevertheless remains the “liberation of the entire Palestinian territory”, meaning all of Israel.

The program also mentioned the need to “resort to all means necessary” and insisted on the importance of “armed struggle”. It talked about a strategy of “frustration of all the schemes of Zionism”. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have, in fact, never stopped resorting to “armed struggle”, the name they give to terrorism and murdering Jews. To “frustrate all the schemes of Zionism”, they invented the Palestinian people; their “struggle for national liberation” gave them international recognition. By renaming terrorism and murdering Jews as “armed struggle”, they made their use of terrorism and murder acceptable. By signing the Oslo Accords, they could appear interested in peace without having to renounce terrorism. They could even demonize Israel and give it the image of a barbaric and cruel country while continuing to murder Jews.

The journalist Amotz Asa-El and the historian Moshe Dann recently wrote about the multifaceted war led by the Palestinians in the context of a “war of attrition”.

“Wars of attrition,” Asa-El notes, “are not decided by their parties’ balance of troops, arms or resources, but by their balance of spirit. The winner will not be the one left with more land, population or treasure, but the one whose spirit will last longer”.

Dann writes:

“From a Palestinian perspective, their war of attrition has been successful. Despite engaging in incitement and terrorism, they are recognized and supported by the international community, including their demand for statehood… it encourages the belief that they can win if they are committed and determined.”

The possibility for Israel of turning the tide and prevailing has been defined by Daniel Pipes:

“If you look at history (and I’m a historian), what ends conflicts is one side giving up. Now, think about it; if you and I are in a struggle, it’s only going to end when one of us gives up, and then it’s over. Until one of us gives up, the conflict can resume. The Koreas could be at war today, for all we know, because neither side has given up. World War I, the Germans lost, but didn’t give up, so they gave it another try, and in World War II, they were forced to give up, and they did; and note how much they benefited by giving up.” [Emphasis added.]

In other words, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will end only when Palestinians realize they cannot achieve their goal of eliminating the Jewish state of Israel.

For now, Palestinians, with the help of the Iranians and the Europeans, continue to think that they will be able to eliminate Israel.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump is the first world leader to see that Palestinians must understand that they will not win and eliminate Israel.

No U.S. president had ever told Palestinian leaders that they were lying, or had required them to stop inciting murder and financing terrorism, and no U.S. president had ever decided to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued to incentivize terrorism. President Trump did.

No world leader had ever before questioned the unique definition of Palestinian “refugees” given by the United Nations (UNRWA): that they must include endless generations of descendants. No world leader had dared to say that there are not five or six million refugees, but only a few tens of thousands, and that the flooding of Israel by people incited to murder Jews would not take place. No world leader had officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, or relocated an embassy in Jerusalem. President Trump did.

President Trump is also the first U.S. president since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 never to have affirmed the need for a “Palestinian state”.

Alas, the attitude of other Western political leaders, particularly in Europe, is quite different.

French President Emmanuel Macron promised to give the Palestinian Authority the funding that the United States no longer granted him, and that he would not renounce rewarding Jew-killers and their families. Macron accepted using the money of French taxpayers to reward murdering Jews. Macron also still accepts UNRWA’s definition — just for Palestinians — of being refugees in perpetuity, through the generations. He called President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel a “serious mistake”, and stressed several times the urgent “need for a Palestinian State”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel adopted the same positions. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in April:

“… the European Union voice, and I can probably say the European voice, has been very loud, clear and consistent all over these years on our constant work for the implementation of the Oslo agreements, and the creation of a Palestinian state… the European Union is and will remain the biggest and the most reliable donor to the Palestinians…”

She did not utter a word of condemnation regarding the Palestinian Arabs’ use of terrorism or murdering Jews.

In 2016, Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech in the European Parliament in which he falsely claimed that “Certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed.” He received a standing ovation. No European leader took him to task for him for his lies.

Macron, Merkel and the European Union show Palestinian leaders that as long as the Western world is divided, they can continue to incite and murder.

In the European media, the murders of Jews, such as that of Dvir Sorek, are hardly ever mentioned. When murderers, such as those who killed Sorek, are eliminated by the Israeli army or the police, it is the Israelis who are depicted as having “killed a Palestinian” and as the real murderers.

As a character said in the movie Exodus, “Jewish flesh is cheap”. Jewish flesh was already cheap in Europe 90 years ago. In the eyes of Macron, Merkel, Mogherini and many European journalists, it still is.

The European Union is considering a regulation — it does not yet exist — requiring labels to be placed on products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria, to caution buyers that the product was made in a “settlement colony.” The shape of the labels that would be used has not yet been defined. Maybe a European will suggest a yellow star?

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Guy Millière is Professor at the University of Paris. He has published 27 books on France, Europe, the United States and the Middle East.