Terrorism is an unacceptable tool of diplomacy

The silence of much of the world remains deafening when it comes to Israel’s right and obligation to defend her people.

FATAH LEADER Jibril Rajoub (right) (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
FATAH LEADER Jibril Rajoub (right)
President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and Fatah appointees continue to reject dialogue and threaten renewed terrorism as their preferred method of diplomacy.
The Palestinian leadership has again been empowered by the international community’s opposition to the Trump administration’s Peace to Prosperity plan and to Israel’s contemplated application of Israeli law to Jewish communities in Area C.
This is an old story. Every time moves are made toward peace or about something important with which the PA/PLO disagrees, they threaten terrorism. The PA, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas and other designated foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) are muscling around their past destructive strategies.
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub stated, “If this occupation causes escalation, I believe that we will decide to start a confrontation... international legitimacy permits us resistance in all its forms, and nothing is forbidden.... Our resistance in the occupied lands is against all the occupation’s symbols, whether it is the settlers, their farms, their army, or all their brats and the like.”
The threat of renewed attacks inside mainland Israel, such as what Israel endured under former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat during the Second Intifada, is unconscionable, unthinkable, illegal and immoral. The claim that such attacks are permissible under international law is abhorrent, unacceptable and wrong.
The silence of much of the world remains deafening when it comes to Israel’s right and obligation to defend her people.
Even more than land, Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim lives are at stake, and yet the PA and PLO prefer terrorism over engaging directly in the final status issues envisioned under the prior agreements reached with Israel.
Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muhammad Al-Laham stated, “The Fatah Movement is the backbone of the Palestinian revolution.... They said that after Oslo, Fatah submitted, was humiliated, and whatever you want. [What is] the measure? The [number of] martyrs, prisoners and wounded? The last prisoner is from Fatah, the last martyr on the Palestinian land is from Fatah, and the last wounded person is from Fatah. Fatah still exists in the sphere of struggle in all its forms. We are shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the organizations.”
While Israel is blamed for everything relating to the plight of the Arab Palestinians living within the West Bank and Gaza, in reality it is the Palestinian leadership that is the greatest obstacle to peace.
When Abbas succeeded Arafat, people expected a new day. However, antisemitism, anti-Zionism, Holocaust-denial and outright rejection of and hatred for Israel is Abbas’ long-standing mantra and method of attacking Israel, both physically and diplomatically. Abbas was elected to a four-year term on January 15, 200,5 and has continued as the PA’s president, the PLO’s chairman, and head of Fatah ever since, without calling required elections.
UNDER ABBAS’S failed leadership, free speech and democracy are repressed; people who “collaborate” with Israel are detained and prosecuted; and people who sell land to Jews are prosecuted, persecuted, ostracized, and threatened with life in prison and even death.
Salam Fayyad was a leader who sought to change the status quo when he served as prime minister of the PA, but he was run out because he was too moral and too clean.
My good friend and former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler described Fayyad as a “responsive and active leader in matters relating to combating the culture of corruption in the Palestinian Authority – upholding the rule of law, combating incitement, condemning terrorism.... In a word, Fayyad was engaged in state building for the Palestinian people as distinct from denying statehood for the Jewish people – concerned more with preparing the Palestinian people for creating a responsible and accountable independent Palestinian state rather than expending Palestinian resources in obsessing against Israel.”
Fayyad’s writings at the Brookings Institution make clear that he does not support many aspects of the Trump peace plan, but his proposals as to how to respond show respect for Israel’s sovereignty and a desire to turn the Palestinian Authority “from the instrument of entrapment and disempowerment it has become to the instrument of empowerment it needs to be.”
In this age of protest, it is important to distinguish between non-violent peaceful speech and heinous attacks on human life. Murder or attempted murder, maiming, the launching of dangerous incendiary terror devices as vehicles of violence directed at Jewish people and property cannot be tolerated as an acceptable means of pursuing, and will never succeed at effectuating change or of resolving, the long-standing conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
Our law firm, Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC, represents many families who are victims of past acts of terrorism. We can tell you firsthand: The pain never ends. Yet most of the world has turned a blind eye to the Palestinian use and continued threat of terror. This is unacceptable. Together we must stand against the threat of renewed Palestinian terrorism, promoted, encouraged and paid for by the PA, PLO and/or the designated FTOs and the state and other sponsors of terrorism who provide incentives, rewards and fuel for murder.
What the Palestinians need is not only a leader who values their lives more than his own power, but also a true commitment to achieving through diplomacy and not terrorism, a long-term peace designed to benefit all Arab Palestinians, all Israelis and all peoples of the region.

The writer is senior counsel of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC, the Washington, DC law firm that represents American victims of terrorism. He also serves as president of The American Zionist Movement. The opinions expressed are his own and not attributable to any organization.