Murders of Israelis product of a Palestinian sickness
The undiluted hatred that plagues Palestinian society has never been a fringe phenomenon. Instead it is a mainstream force, propagated with energy by the official organs of the PA and Hamas, and receiving sanction from their leaders
On Monday night Israelis received the news they had long been dreading. The bodies of three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel, were discovered near Hebron after a search that had lasted over a fortnight.
This callous crime was compounded by the stoning of an IDF ambulance which was carrying the bodies of the teenagers, resulting in several of its windows being smashed. No dignity could be spared even for dead Jewish bodies.
Such a deplorable turn of events is shocking but in no way surprising. To understand why, one need only listen to an interview with the mother of one of the suspected abductors, Amer Abu Aysha. She declared:
"They're throwing the guilt on him by accusing him of kidnapping" but then added "If he did the kidnapping, I'll be proud of him". As for her son's remaining children, she promised to "educate them to be for jihad...to be fighters and to be martyrs". Such attitudes from the parents, siblings and friends of terrorists are scarcely uncommon within Palestinian society.
But they point to a sickness and degradation at its heart.
The individuals who abducted and killed Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are the products of a culture suffused with bigotry and prejudice. They live in a society where suicide bombers and murderers have been turned into role models and heroes for the young.
They have gone through an education system which teaches that Jews are liars, thieves and usurpers and which denies or minimises the Holocaust. They are likely to have attended mosques which routinely promulgate a virulent strain of theological anti semitism. In other words, they are the perverse products of a warped culture which has been denuded of humane values.
In what type of culture does the mother of an alleged terrorist openly glorify his dastardly deeds? In what culture do parents express the hope that their children emulate such crimes, even if it means, and especially because it means, that they will be killed?
Certainly not one that breeds hope for the future or which tries to build peace from the ground up. Instead, it is a society built upon maintaining a state of siege, of sowing unending hatred, suspicion and resentment in the next generation.
In saying this, it is a truism that not all Palestinians support child abduction or child murder. Many will entertain a more wholesome vision for their children's future. There are also many Palestinians who detest the rampant corruption and mendacity of their rulers, and who admire Israeli democracy.
But the usual rationalisations and equivocations ('there is hatred and bigotry on both sides') rather miss the point. The undiluted hatred that plagues Palestinian society has never been a fringe phenomenon. Instead it is a mainstream force, propagated with energy by the official organs of the PA and Hamas, and receiving sanction from their leaders.
By contrast, the incitement from Israeli figures is met with disdain from across the political spectrum. It also falls foul of the law. That is why it is right to say that a moral chasm separates the two sides.
Despite all this, Israelis continue to be told that they must surrender land to the PA in order to bring about a long term peace settlement. If only a West Bank Palestinian state can be created, they are told, all will be well between the two sides. Fatah (the good guys) need to be separated from Hamas (the bad ones).
But the media war against the Jews, this terrible and insidious incitement, is promoted by Fatah as much as it is by Hamas. Thus any West Bank state will be founded on the demonisation of its Jewish neighbour, hardly a recipe for long term co-existence or stability. The notion that creating a radicalised Palestinian state will end this conflict is one of the grand follies of our time.
Unless attitudes and perceptions change for the better, the status quo is likely to remain. Israelis cannot and should not make concessions to those who want them dead.
Jeremy Havardi is a journalist and the author of two books, Falling to Pieces, and The Greatest Briton
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