When Israelis Commit Violence Against Palestinians, Israel Holds Them To Account. Why Won’t The Palestinian Leadership Do The Same With Palestinian Terrorism?

August 8, 2023

When a group of Israeli vigilantes attacked a number of Palestinian towns in mid-June, torching homes and cars in an unprovoked attack, outrage was expressed across Israeli society.

The Israeli military unequivocally condemned the attacks, labeling them as “serious incidents of violence and destruction of property.” Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu strongly reprimanded the attackers, reminding them that “The State of Israel is a state of law. The citizens of Israel are all obligated to respect the law,” and said that Israelis were forbidden from attempting to “grab land illegally.”

The country’s senior military leaders, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, released a joint statement where they described the attack as “nationalist terrorism,” and pledged to fight it, including widening arrests.

Israel’s response was not just limited to rhetoric; the country’s security services also arrested a number of Israelis in relation to the attacks.

Similarly, in early August, Israeli Police arrested two Israelis and detained five others, after a Palestinian man was killed in “West Bank” in a violent altercation that is under disputed circumstances.

And while Israel as a whole cannot be judged based on the violent actions of a small minority of extremists, Israel can be judged based on its response, which was swift, unequivocal and clear-headed.

Tragically, the same cannot be said for when Palestinian terrorism, which is a far deadlier menace, takes the lives of innocent Israeli civilians.

On June 20, four Israelis were gunned down in an unprovoked attack, when a Palestinian terrorist shot at Israelis at a roadside gas station and restaurant outside the town of Eli. Two of the victims were under the age of 20.

Following the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility, saying that it was mourning “the martyr Muhammad Shehadeh,” and saying that it was a “clear message” to Israel.

Hamas is more than just a terrorist organization; it is also the de facto government in the Gaza Strip, overseeing the lives of two million Palestinians.

While Hamas may be a fundamentalist Islamist group, compared to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which oversees much of Judea & Samaria (referred to as the “West Bank” by the news media), the PA has not made a serious attempt to stamp out Palestinian terrorism in its midst, evidenced by Israel’s needs to conduct raids in July in Jenin to root out the city’s terror infrastructure.

Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, frequently tells global audiences that his government condemns Palestinian terrorism, but his actions speak far louder than his words.

Israeli soldiers have had to regularly enter Palestinian villages under the control of the PA in attempts to arrest terrorism suspects, while Palestinian terrorism has not just arisen in a vacuum; much of it is actively encouraged by the Palestinian leadership. As per Palestinian Authority policy, the families of terrorists receive a monthly stipend from the Palestinian government. The family of Khairy Alkam, the Palestinian man who murdered seven Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue in early 2023, would be entitled to an initial payment of more than $2,000 (CAD), part of a larger remuneration which has been labeled “pay for slay.”

The Palestinian Authority leadership, which actively incites its population against Israel, whether in school textbooks or state-approved media outlets, has effectively brainwashed generation after generation to see Israel not as a partner for peace, even grudgingly, but as a foreign imposition onto the Middle East, and a tumour to be excised.

Palestinian leaders frequently praise dead Palestinian terrorists, sending an unmistakeable message to their people that violence against Israel is not only tolerated, but in fact encouraged.

Such incitement is not limited to low-level Palestinian leaders. Mahmoud Abbas has not hesitated to call on Palestinians to commit violence when he sees it as politically expedient.

In early 2022, following an Israeli operation which killed three Palestinian terrorists, Mahmoud Abbas spoke at a memorial event for the three decedents, where he said that Palestinians “won’t continue to wait patiently any longer,” and called on Palestinians to “dish out to them (Israel) twice as much as we’ve received,” constituting an explicit invitation for Palestinians to attack Israelis. Recently, Abbas laid a wreath for Palestinian terrorists and combatants killed by Israeli forces in Jenin and while the media may describe Abbas with the moniker of “moderate,” in reality, he’s an extremist supporter of terrorism.

These factors – the Palestinian leadership’s failure to rein in terrorism, its active incitement of violence against Israel, and its ‘pay for slay’ regimen – together represent a clear agenda of hatred and willful promotion of terrorism against Israel.

When extremist Israelis commit violence against Palestinians, they are rightfully condemned across the strata of Israeli society, and held to account. But Palestinian terrorism against Israel is not only tolerated, it is actively encouraged. This fundamental difference in how Israel and the Palestinian leadership address violence tells a great deal about the prospects for future peace in the region, and unless the news media can recognize this fundamental difference, it is failing to adequately cover an extremely important element in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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