Delegitimizing terrorism is a prerequisite for coexistence – a symbolic prelude to actually fighting terrorism, the barest minimum we rightfully expect of peace partners.
Suicide bomber (illustrative) Photo: REUTERS
In another surreal development on our scene, Israel delivered 91 corpses of Arab
terrorists to the Palestinian Authority on Thursday. This was part of a
“confidence- building” measure by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to PA
President Mahmoud Abbas, geared to encourage Abbas to return to
In fact, however, it was another sequel to the Gilad
Schalit swap saga. Abbas was miffed by the uplift Hamas gained as a result of
Schalit’s kidnapping, prolonged hostage drama and the subsequent extortion. If
Hamas got a prize, Abbas reasoned, why shouldn’t he? If he too isn’t rewarded,
then they, the presumed anti-peace forces, win an advantage over him, the
presumed pro-peace party.
But this presentation easily misleads the
There’s an inherent contradiction between the hype and the
PA’s reality. According to prodigious publicity buildups, Abbas is a genuine
peace-seeker, a man of moderation and a sincere advocate of
But under Abbas’s aegis, terrorists – past and present – are
revered and feted. The official media he controls, the educational system he
runs and the mosques whose clerics he appoints and subsidizes, all effuse paeans
of praise for terrorists.
This is intense indoctrination of an anyway
volatile population to regard mass murderers as role models.
kindergarten tots are taught to aspire to become “martyrs” to the cause of
annihilating the Jewish state, they’re unlikely to grow up to become
peace-loving neighbors. What’s inculcated into their impressionable young
psyches is anything but nonviolent proclivities.
Such concerted and
ceaseless incitement plainly negates peace prattle (sounded mainly in English
and for foreign consumption).
Netanyahu’s overture – a consolation prize
offered Abbas for the ransom price of a thousand live terrorist convicts paid to
Hamas – occasioned another example of the PA’s lurid adulation of those who set
out to inflict as many casualties on Jews as they could. The PA held a “national
rally” in Ramallah’s Mukata presidential compound to pay tribute to the
“martyred heroes.” Their deeds best attest to the nature of their
They include seven terrorists who in March 1975 took over the
small Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv’s Geula Street, where they held hostages and
killed eight of them, in addition to three soldiers.
perpetrators of more recent – significantly post-Oslo – atrocities, whose
remains were handed over to Abbas, are Labib Azzam, who in 1995 murdered five
Israelis and wounded 23 others in Ramat Gan; Hassan Sarahneh, who in 1996 blew
himself up at a hitchhiking post in Ashkelon; the suicide bombers who blew
themselves up on the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood in
August 2003 and at Cafe Hillel in the city’s German Colony neighborhood one
month afterward; Hiba Daraghmeh, who blew herself up at an Afula mall in 2003;
Nasim Ja’bari and Ahmed Qawassmeh, who detonated two buses in Beersheba in 2004;
Hassan Abu Said, the Islamic Jihad terrorist who blew himself up in Hadera’s
open-air market in 2005; and Abdullah Badran, who attacked Tel Aviv’s Stage
nightclub also in 2005.
The eerie propaganda spectacle mounted by the PA
over the killers’ corpses raises many troubling questions.
instance, is Israel always the one obliged to make “goodwill gestures?” Why does
Abbas need to be bribed to negotiate? But, most of all, why does the PA
celebrate and glorify those whose crimes constitute the absolute antithesis to
peace? This is emblematic of the cynical discrepancy the PA keenly promotes.
Sounded for foreign ears are Abbas’s half-hearted condemnations of terrorism
(not as morally repugnant but as counterproductive to Palestinian interests),
while simultaneously, for domestic consumption, his regime assiduously imparts
the impression that terrorist outrages are the PA ideal.
It names streets
after terrorists, bestows honors upon them, devotes school hours to them,
encourages their emulation on TV and agitates for the release of all convicted
Delegitimizing terrorism is a prerequisite for
coexistence – a symbolic prelude to actually fighting terrorism, the barest
minimum we rightfully expect of peace partners.
Yet as long as
Palestinians are brainwashed, from the cradle, to venerate the slaughter of
Israelis, an authentic change of heart will remain a chimera.