Netanyahu Abbas Shake 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
It’s safe to assume that news of phosphorus warheads on rockets fired from Gaza
at Israeli noncombatants won’t deprive the international community of its peace
of mind. The shock and outcry about the use of phosphorus –outlawed by the
Geneva Convention – apply only in the event Israel is accused of employing the
But whether or not phosphorus was intentionally added to the
lethal projectiles lobbed at us, there’s no denying a marked escalation of Gazan
aggression. The underlying causes are multifaceted and expected. Paradoxically,
this becomes a particularly dangerous region precisely when peace talks are
When Israel and the Palestinian Authority negotiate, in our
ruthless, upside-down environment, this catalyzes the Hamas-led Iranian proxy in
Gaza to violently spoil the spectacle. The High Holy Days further arouse hostile
The current upsurge underlines the fact that Gaza is growing
increasingly radicalized. This should disquiet Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas no less than Israel. He is ostensibly negotiating on behalf of all
the PA components – and when he makes his demands of Israel, they come with the
inherent expectation that he can keep his side of any bargain. But for so long
as Hamas controls Gaza, he plainly can’t. In fact, Hamas will only seek to
intensify its violence if negotiations make progress.
IN THIS context we
would do well to heed warnings that emanated last week from the 10th annual
World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.
Several experts asserted
that security arrangements and military prowess are insufficient guarantees of
stability as long as the radicalization of a society gives terrorists the
stature, esteem and support they crave. Terrorists aren’t fanatic stalwarts who
operate in a vacuum, outside societal consensus. They aren’t ostracized or out
of sync with the populations from which they arise. Eradicating terrorism first
and foremost means depriving terrorists of the grassroots popularity on which
Dr. Ariel Merari, of Tel Aviv University’s Center for
Political Violence, illustrated this at Herzliya with an anecdotal survey. He
interviewed 15 failed suicide bombers now in Israeli prisons. Only three said
they wouldn’t change tack if their public altered its positions.
the mind-set of the Palestinian masses is crucial.
And this makes what we
are witnessing in Gaza all the more dispiriting. Not only is there no attempt to
win hearts for the cause of coexistence, but the opposite is
According to another report released in Herzliya, this summer alone
100,000 Gazan youngsters underwent radical indoctrination in Hamas summer camps,
replete with paramilitary training. Islamic Jihad similarly indoctrinated
another 10,000 children. Moreover, masked Hamas confederates ransacked UNRWA
facilities that sported different agendas.
Glorifying the fight against
the Jews is no incidental ingredient in this geopolitical brew. What’s
inculcated into impressionable minds becomes the premise upon which they later
form opinions and make choices. It doesn’t auger well for peace.
STILL is Abbas’s failure to work energetically to counter such radicalization.
Indeed, his PA – via its official media, educational system, mosques and even
via the “martyrs” names it sometimes gives to public squares and streets –
continues to glorify terrorists as heroes and role-models.
abuse is heaped upon the Jews.
PATV marked Rosh Hashana by calling Jews
praying at the Western Wall “sin and filth,” adding that Jewish claims to any
history in this land are false.
Abbas can begin to change this, if not in
Gaza then at least in the West Bank. He can ban rank incitement from mosques,
and there have been reports of some steps in that direction. He can call his
squares and streets after advocates of reform and reconciliation. He can end the
fanning of flames in the media directly under his control.
condemning terrorist atrocities, he can do more than complain that such
“operations” are counterproductive to Palestinian interests.
not negotiating with rocket-firing Hamas, which remains avowedly committed to
It is negotiating in good faith with Abbas, a leader
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called his “partner.” Central to any hope
of substantive progress is that this partner, to use the relevant vernacular,
delegitimize the hate-mongering against us.