YOSSI KUPERWASSER, director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, discusses the ongoing violence at a briefing yesterday in Jerusalem. The systematic campaign of the dehumanization of Jews, he says, is ‘the general message Palestinians get day in and day out.’.
(photo credit: DANIEL K. EISENBUD)
Jews are the “descendants of apes and pigs,” “have no historical connection” to Jerusalem, are “defiling” the capital “with their presence,” and if you kill them you will “become a hero,” are the core tenants comprising the Palestinians’ “psychological infrastructure,” said a senior Israeli government official Sunday.
According to the Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, these hateful beliefs are ingrained into the Palestinian psyche at birth, via textbooks, social media, cultural activities, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
It is the unremitting promotion of such beliefs, conflated by the immediacy to take action by the PA , that has led to the capital’s current crisis, he postulated.
“You are expected to do something about it,” Kuperwasser said is the message propagated by Abbas, which has led to historic violence in the city. “So, in the Palestinian community, they understood a change was expected, and now we see it on the ground.”
Fueling months of chronic rioting and terrorist attacks is the widespread and systematic campaign of the dehumanization of Jews as “horrible creatures” who must be eradicated from the capital “by any means necessary,” he said.
“That is the general message Palestinians get day in and day out,” he said. “As a child you are born into this psychological infrastructure, and few get out of it.”
Moreover, Kuperwasser contends that it doesn’t matter how many times Jews refute this message with facts, because it is “repeated again, again and again.”
Further exacerbating such vitriolic teachings, and promoting the violence plaguing the city, is the oft-stated fallacy that Jews are intent on destroying al-Aksa Mosque to build a third temple, he said.
Kuperwasser substantiated his allegations of incitement by presenting several recent videos featured on popular Palestinian political websites featuring hate speech against Jews, coupled with messages of adoration for the terrorists who have killed Israelis in the past few weeks.
One such video featured heroic portraits of the last three terrorists killed by Israeli police after using vehicles to run down Jews, followed by a prominently written question, asking “Who will be hero No. 4?” Another clip featured a blood-red odometer and machine gun magazine clip in the place of a foot on a car’s accelerator.
Discussing the pattern of vehicular terrorist attacks that have come to symbolize the current wave of violence, Kuperwasser said the government has taken a variety of steps, including more checkpoints and more severe punishments.
“This is something we have been exposed to for a long time,” he said.
Perhaps most troubling, Kuperwasser said, is the incessant insistence that “the time for jihad and self-sacrifice is today, not tomorrow.”
Abbas, he said, is most culpable for this narrative, because he is contributing to it by commending killed terrorists, while implicitly stating that “this is what you are expected to do.”
“In the morning Abbas says we don’t want escalation, and in the evening he says, ‘by all means necessary,’” Kuperwasser explained.
Asked what measures the Israeli government is taking to curtail the violence beyond relying on a stepped-up police force, Kuperwasser said “comprehensive efforts to build bridges with Arabs” are also aggressively being undertaken.
Such initiatives, he said, include approving large sums of money to improve east Jerusalem’s infrastructure and ongoing meetings with its community’s leaders.
Still, Kuperwasser said such efforts are largely undermined by PA propaganda depicting Jews as evil heretics who imminently plan to destroy al-Aksa – despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing support of limited Jewish visitation and prayer rights at the contested holy site.
Enforcement of the presently incongruous “status quo” has been fomented by the government from a “security point of view,” he said.
While Kuperwasser claimed it is too early to determine if a third intifada has truly taken root, he contended that Palestinians learned from the last two uprisings that violence will backfire politically.
Therefore, he said, the ongoing violent rhetoric has resulted in “two ideas fighting each other in the Palestinian soul.”
For now, Kuperwasser said the Temple Mount has become the primary symbol for the latest incursion of violence because it engenders “popular support in the struggle.”
Meanwhile, he said, Abbas has eschewed peace talks and embraced violence and unilateral steps to “avoid the problems of the peace process.”