Sunday, October 18, 2015

18-Oct-15: Being aware of our neighbours' passion for terror is the first step

Knives, axes, meat-cleavers: Not a  movie scene but Palestinian Arab reality
Terrorism confounds people. 

Too often, it produces bad decision-making by political decision-makers. Sometimes it evokes visions of one-slap solutions (in Hebrew, we call this the zbeng-ve'gamarnu approach) when in reality the hatred and violence stem from passions that have huge sticking power. And far too frequently it brings out silliness, superficiality and befuddlement on the part of reporters and their editors. And we're not speaking of terror in Israel specifically; in great measure, it's a universal phenomenon.

The op-ed below appeared four days ago in Times of Israel. It speaks of terror from the perspective of those to whom it's being done. That's a vantage point with which we are too familiar. David Horovitz, who founded Times of Israel, expresses his message with his customary eloquence. We don't agree with every word, but sincerely hope readers readers will share it widely. (The accompanying pictures were selected by us, not Times of Israel.)

What do you do when the people trying to kill you live around the block? | Ultimately, the only way to thwart people bent on murder, with their minds poisoned by racism and religious extremism, is to curb the flow of toxicity

David Horovitz | Times of Israel | October 14, 2015

What do you do when the people who are trying to kill you live in the neighborhood down the street?

Or when they live in the same village as that lovely man your son’s been working with?

When they try to kill anybody - uniformed soldiers and police, ultra-Orthodox Jews, all the passengers - on a city bus?

When they target men and women and children.

When they are men and women and children?

When their leaders - politicians, spiritual leaders, teachers - lie to them about us, lie about our history, lie about our ambitions?

When some of their leaders tell them they will go to paradise if they die in the act of killing us?

Palestinian Arab religious leader, October 2015 [Image Source]
When they (sometimes) lie to themselves about the killings they carry out - claiming that it is we who are rising up to kill them, that their bombers and stabbers are being attacked in cold blood by us - and thereby widen the circle of embittered potential killers?

When they (sometimes) lie to themselves about who it is they are killing, falsely claiming in widely circulated social media exchanges, for instance, that Na’ama Henkin, gunned down with her husband in the West Bank two weeks ago, was deliberately targeted because it was she who had insulted the prophet, calling Muhammad a pig, on a visit to the Temple Mount this summer?

When all they need in order to kill is a knife or a screwdriver and a mind that’s been filled with poison?

And when that poison pours into them from most every media channel they consume, and from the horrendous Facebook postings of their peers and their role models?

What do you do?

First, acknowledge the scale of the problem.

After decades relentlessly demonizing and delegitimizing the revived Jewish state, the Palestinian leadership has produced a generation many of whom are so filled with hatred, and so convinced of the imperative to kill, that no other consideration - including the likelihood that they will die in the act - prevents them from seeking to murder Jews.

The false claim pumped by Hamas, and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and Fatah, and many more besides, that the Jews intend to pray on the Temple Mount - a place of unique sanctity for Jews, but one whose Jewish connection has been erased from the Palestinian narrative - has all too evidently pushed a new wave of young Palestinians, urged to “protect al-Aqsa,” into murderous action against any and all Jewish targets, using any and all weapons.

Instructional poster designed by Waleed Zohid [more of his blood-lusting
graphic work here]. The self-delusion in such incitement is that it urges
the killing of soldiers and police, but Israeli civilians know better
The suicide bombings of the Second Intifada were carried out by West Bank Palestinians; the onslaught was drastically reduced when Israel built the security barrier. Today’s terrorism is largely being carried out by Palestinian Arabs from East Jerusalem, some of whom have blue Israeli identity cards. The relative neglect of East Jerusalem since 1967, by an Israel that expanded the city’s municipal boundaries but signally failed to ensure anything remotely close to equality between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, only made the lies and the incitement spread more easily. In an Israel where Jews and Arabs live utterly intertwined lives, this new level of potential danger in every seemingly banal encounter is rendering daily life nightmarish.

Second, tackle the problem in all the spheres where it is exacerbated.

In the short term: Arrest the preachers who spout hatred. Ask Facebook to close down the pages that disseminate it, and find the people behind those pages. Monitor hateful sentiment on social media more effectively; several of this month’s terrorists made no secret of their murderous intentions.
Make plain, via every mainstream and social media avenue, in Arabic, that Israel has no plans to change the status quo at the Temple Mount. Involve King Abdullah of Jordan. Involve anybody else who can credibly address that incendiary lie about Al-Aqsa.

Boost security, of course, as Israel is doing, but know that there can be no hermetic prevention of these kinds of attacks.

Efforts at more strategic change, inevitably, run into the 48-year dilemma of what Israel wants and needs to do about East Jerusalem in particular, and the Palestinians in general. It is unforgivable that Arab neighborhoods of the city lie decades behind the Jewish neighborhoods in everything from city services to education to job opportunity. But in some neighborhoods, addressing such inequalities is impossible. Physically impossible. As in, Jewish city officials would be taking their lives into their hands to set foot in Shuafat refugee camp.

"Moderate" PA president, Abbas: His overt support for terrorism and concrete
encouragement of its practitioners is a matter of record [Image Source]
By contrast, handing control of such areas to the PA, whose leader Mahmoud Abbas insists that all Jerusalem territory captured by Israel in 1967 be part of a Palestinian state, becomes ever less palatable and viable, as he becomes ever more extreme in his pronouncements and as the Palestinian-Arab population becomes ever more of a threat.

Only “resistance” will liberate Palestine, Hamas has always argued. In fact, it is “resistance” that keeps the Palestinians from statehood

Ultimately, the only way to thwart people bent on murder, with their minds poisoned by racism and religious extremism, is to curb the flow of toxicity. Different lessons at school; different priorities and values from spiritual leaders; different messages from political leaders; different approaches on mainstream and social media.

But all that, of course, is far easier said than done. A different tone, a different approach, from the Israeli government, might have helped until recently. Then again, we’ve tried different tones and different approaches. As former prime minister Ehud Barak once said, it’s doubtful, when the Jews in their exile through the millennia prayed for a return to Jerusalem, that they were thinking of Shuafat refugee camp. But Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s peace terms in 2000, and opted instead to foment the Second Intifada. And Mahmoud Abbas, eight years later, failed to seize Ehud Olmert’s offer to withdraw from the entire West Bank (with one-for-one land swaps), divide Jerusalem, and relinquish sovereignty in the Old City.

And so we still run the lives of millions of Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of whom are on the “safe” side of the barrier we built to protect ourselves from what has now evidently morphed into yet another phase of vicious, futile bloodshed.

Only “resistance” will liberate Palestine, Hamas has always argued, proudly citing the prisoner releases it extorted when kidnapping Gilad Shalit, and the control of Gaza it achieved when expediting Israel’s withdrawal via terror attacks and rocket fire. But in fact, it is “resistance” that keeps the Palestinians from statehood. Most Israelis want to separate from the Palestinians — want to stop running their lives, want to keep a Jewish-democratic Israel. “Resistance” in each new iteration tells Israelis that they dare not do so. Had Gaza been calm and unthreatening after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal, the late Ariel Sharon would likely have withdrawn unilaterally from most of the West Bank. The Hamas takeover in Gaza, the incessant rocket fire and the frequent rounds of conflict told Israel that it could not risk another such withdrawal — that it could not risk another Hamas takeover in the West Bank.

Education, Palestinian Arab style [Source: MEMRI]
I will shoot the Jews!” the little child says. All of them?” the host asks.
Yes,” the girl says. Good,” the host answers.
The international community peers shortsightedly at a strong Israel - very strong indeed compared to the Palestinians - and concludes that the onus is upon us to take the calculated risk and grant them full independence. But step back a little - to a perspective that includes Hamas, the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East, the threat posed directly by an emboldened Iran and via its terrorist proxies, the anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel rampant across this region - and it should be obvious that a miscalculation by “strong” Israel would quickly render it untenably weak and vulnerable. We might get better international media coverage, but we also might face destruction; Israelis aren’t about to vote for that.

There are two peoples with claims to this bloodied land. Neither is going anywhere. Only conciliation, however reluctantly achieved, is going to enable either and both of these two peoples to live normal lives. And that’s what anybody truly interested in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be working for.

What do you do when some of your neighbors are trying to kill you? Protect yourself. Stop them. Do what you sensibly can to help create a different, better climate - to moderate your enemies. 

Meanwhile, hang tough. Refuse to be terrorized. Get on with living. That, not killing, is what people were born to do.

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