Glorifying terror

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 Terrorist 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Suicide Bomber Terrorist 311 (R)
(photo credit: 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 negotiations.
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 uninitiated.
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 coexistence.
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.
When 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 “heroism.”
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.
Among the 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.
Why, for 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 mass murderers.
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.