“Mood-based attacks” but no third intifada - yet
As long as the Palestinian leadership insists on spreading lies and false hope, "mood-based attacks" will continue against Israelis
“Low level” terror and crowd attacks by Palestinians are on the rise, but none of us should be the slightest bit surprised. Last Wednesday, 19-year-old IDF solider Eden Atias from Upper Nazareth was on a bus at Afula bus station. Sitting next to him was a 16-year-old Palestinian teen from Jenin, who suddenly stabbed the soldier in the neck several times before he could be restrained.
Eden Atias died shortly afterwards in Afula’s Emek Hospital.
On Thursday 17th October, a lone Palestinian smashed through the entrance gates of the Rama Army base North of Jerusalem, injuring the gate sentry before his rampage could be stopped.
Six days before this attack, a retired IDF colonel was clubbed to death outside his Jordan Valley home and just ten days before this, a little girl was attacked (but survived) at the Psagot settlement North of Ramallah.
There have also been a number of stone-throwing incidents, many not making it outside the Israeli news outlets. This included eight Israelis and a Palestinian girl injured South of Hebron and a bomb thrown at a school bus in the Northern West Bank.
It is possible that these are co-ordinated attacks under the guidance of Hamas, as suggested by DEBKAfile, but at first glance they are prompted by a general hopelessness and desperation among ordinary young Palestinians. As a consequence, they are known to the Israeli security forces as “mood-based attacks”.
And they have a lot to be moody about.
Even if incitement against Israel by the PLO and associated terror groups only began after Oslo (which it didn’t), that’s 20 years ago. That means that a Palestinian in his late teens today has been thoroughly indoctrinated right from birth to hate Israel, Israelis and all Jewish people.
From time to time his leaders have encouraged him to attack Jews and he has been subjected to a relentless outpouring of incitement from the Palestinian (state-controlled) media.
What makes the ongoing incitement to hatred so dangerous is that President Abbas’s negotiating team is busy (when they aren’t resigning) supposedly hammering out a peace deal with Israel. Of course, without Mr Kerry’s “carrot and stick” diplomacy, neither Israel nor the Palestinians would be sitting at the table. The Palestinian negotiating team is in fact there against the wishes of both the PLO top brass and most Palestinians. No pressure, then.
The PA’s continual brainwashing of its own people means that most ordinary Palestinians no longer want or can envision peace. They only see an imperative to rescue land “stolen” by Israel in 1948.
In other words, while most Israelis want peace, most Palestinians want to throw them (a legitimately established, UN member state) into the Mediterranean.
So back to “mood-based attacks”. We have them here in Britain. We have had riots and crime waves that have had their roots in cultural hopelessness and loss of vision for the future. They come from areas where (generally speaking) immigrants settled in the 1950s and ‘60s. Their children were struggling with an identity crisis brought on by trying to be both loyal to their inheritance and part of British society.
I am not an anthropologist, nor a social worker, but tensions and general angst are developed from a victim and ghetto mindset: “I’m never going to better myself”, “it’s all ‘their’ fault”, “what’s the point?”
Fortunately, active integration efforts and increased social mobility have borne fruit and (certainly in British conurbations) British descendants of that generation of immigrants are generally not the eternal victims they once saw themselves to be. Desperation and “mood-based attacks” don’t have to be an ongoing societal phenomenon as they appear to be in the West Bank.
A change in self-perception, cultural permission for Palestinians and Israelis to engage, an end to anti-normalisation pressures and a complete cessation of incitement to hatred and murder are what will prepare the Palestinian people for peace with their Israeli neighbours.
The Palestinians who appear the most balanced, moderate and at peace with themselves are often those working alongside Israelis in industrial estates and factories in the West Bank, or those East Jerusalemites who allow themselves to be part of a vibrant and forward-looking mixed city economy.
As long as the Palestinian leadership insists on saying one thing in English and the opposite in Arabic, telling their people lies and giving them false hope for the future (a Palestinian state on all of Israel), “mood-based attacks” will continue because the mood of the people will never rise above “depressed”.
And that will not be Israel’s fault, but Mr Abbas’s.
Nick Gray is Director of Christian Middle East Watch (www.cmew.org.uk), a Christian organisation dedicated to bringing objective facts and balance to the discussion on the Middle East and particularly on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He blogs at http://cmewonline.com and tweets at @CMEW2
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