It’s still not clear whether the attack on the Israeli tow truck driver near
Hebron last Sunday can be attributed to criminal intent or a terrorist plot.
Often these motivations are intertwined and not readily
In the end, therefore, it doesn’t really matter what
impelled local Palestinian Arabs to phone for a tow truck and then set upon the
Israeli who responded to their purported call for help, pounding his head with
metal pipes and wrenches.
That attack didn’t raise much commotion in the
Palestinian Authority. What did cause outrage was that the driver, bleeding
profusely from his wounds, dared defend himself.
He pulled out a pistol
and shot at his three assailants, killing two and wounding a third who
It’s what happened next that is most instructive about our
situation. After the driver, a 52-year-old Ashkelon resident, was taken to the
hospital, he was interrogated by police and a comprehensive forensic
investigation was launched.
No such moves were necessary for the PA. Its
spin was instantaneous and unambiguous. In an official statement, PA President
Mahmoud Abbas decreed without hesitation or inspection that “settlers commit
crimes under the auspices of the Israeli government and the IDF.”
contention resonated in the international media.
The attack on a
middle-aged Israeli civilian disappeared under the radar overseas, but his
reaction generated indignation without question. It was man bites
Yet Abbas’s unsubstantiated declaration couldn’t be more skewed. He
willfully disregarded the fact that a trap was set for an unsuspecting victim.
This could have been a scheme to heist his vehicle or a kidnapping attempt (of
the sort tried of late several times in Judea and Samaria).
didn’t this prevent Abbas from asserting that it was the Israeli who had
committed a crime, but he ascribed malevolent involvement to the Israeli
government and army. This vilification constitutes incitement to more violence
and vendettas, in keeping with the PA’s traditions.
But the slander
extends further. Without a second thought, Abbas’s knee-jerk inclination was to
identify the Israeli shooter as a settler, thereby casting aspersions on all
so-called settlers and giving increased legitimacy to violence against
It’s immaterial that the driver in question hailed from Ashkelon.
The bottom line is that all Israelis, regardless of their place of residence,
are considered settlers and that any accusation may be leveled at “settlers,”
the facts notwithstanding.
If any additional evidence were needed of the
PA’s official succor for anyone who attacks Israelis, it was furnished by
Abbas’s official news agency, WAFA, which lamented the two deceased attackers as
“martyrs.” WAFA’s report cited unidentified “speakers” who “denounced the crimes
of the settlers under the continued support and protection of the Israeli
occupation army, demanding the international community to intervene to end the
occupation and to end crimes against our people and land and
“They stressed the importance of national unity and closing
ranks and activating the popular resistance against the occupation and the
settlers to leave our land and establish an independent Palestinian state with
its capital in Jerusalem.”
In other words, a foiled onslaught against a
Jew becomes the pretext for calling for “activating the popular resistance
against the occupation and the settlers” – a code phrase for
This is disconcertingly reminiscent of the calumny Ramallah
disseminated following the February 16 overturning of an Arab school bus outside
Jerusalem. Israeli paramedics risked their lives by venturing into the
still-burning bus to rescue trapped children.
Yet IDF servicemen were
vehemently accused of malice and of “intentionally foiling Palestinian
rescuers.” There was no note of the cutting-edge resuscitation and subsequent
treatment accorded the injured in Israeli trauma wards. Not only weren’t there
even grudging hints of gratitude, but the accident was turned into another
Anyone who genuinely desires peace must ponder hard
whether unbridled, cynical incitement is at all compatible with lip-service to
Can a credible peace momentum materialize from such callous
manipulations of information? When no opportunity is missed to deepen the
deception, it gains a raison d’être of its own.