During this decisive period of negotiations, which Israel hopes will lead to peace, incitement to hatred and violence cannot be allowed to continue.
The culture of hatred that is being cultivated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Israel, particularly since the start of negotiations in July 2013, undermines the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
During this decisive period of negotiations, which Israel hopes will lead to peace, incitement to hatred and violence cannot be allowed to continue. The terrorism which results from the Palestinian hate campaign not only takes a human toll but challenges the basic tenets of peaceful negotiations.
Incitement and peace do not go together. When the next generation of Palestinians is educated for peace and coexistence – as Israeli children already are – the chances for true peace will increase.
There has been a noticeable rise in the number of terrorist attacks and violent acts against Israeli citizens in the West Bank and Jerusalem since the start of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on July 30, 2013.
Terrorist attacks, including by explosive devices, small arms fire and firebombs, saw a steady increase: from 76 attacks in July, to 93 in August, 129 in September, 131 in October and 160 attacks in November 2013. There also was intensification in the lethal nature of these attacks, which caused the deaths of four Israelis since July 30. Many more lives were saved at the last minute when a pressure cooker bomb, similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombing, was discovered on a civilian bus near Tel Aviv.
Despite the apparent absence of a direct link between the terrorist incidents, these attacks are connected to the constant stream of incitement to violence and hatred against Israel, emanating from the West Bank, primarily through channels related to the Palestinian Authority. Incitement is even more harmful than "regular" hate speech. It not only delegitimizes its target, it serves to inspire violence against the victim and legitimizes terrorist attacks.
Much of this incitement is propagated in official PA media and in many instances, by PA officials. These officials, including senior Palestinian figures, not only endorse but actually carry out acts of incitement. Incitement and hatred toward Israel, and often Jews as well, is spread by Palestinian Authority controlled television and radio stations, public schools, summer camps, official ceremonies, official speeches and internet outlets. It is often aimed at children and young people.
This culture of hatred is a decisive factor in increasing both the number of terrorist attacks and their severity. Children are educated to hate Jews and Israelis from an early age and adults are encouraged to carry out terrorist attacks.
The connection between nurturing hatred and the increase in violence and terrorism is far from theoretical. In a recent Pew poll of global attitudes (published September 10th) surveying the Muslim populations in 11 countries/territories, the only majority to support suicide bombings was found in the West Bank and Gaza. Over 60% of Palestinian Muslims believe that suicide bombings were often or sometimes justified (37% often, 25% sometimes). The next closest country was Lebanon, with 33% (9% often, 24% sometimes).
Several types of incitement contribute to this problem and severely undermine prospects for peace. These include:
1. The glorification of terrorists who have murdered Israeli civilians. The resulting hero-worship of terrorists justifies past and current attacks, while encouraging future attacks.
2. The denial of Israel’s existence and the delegitimization of a Jewish state in any borders, in part by denying the existence of a Jewish people and its historic, religious and cultural ties to the land of Israel.
3. The demonization of Jews and Israelis, including by the use of antisemitic motifs.
4. The inflammatory language of struggle against Israel and "resistance" (often employed as the Palestinian codeword for terrorism) is being widely used by the PA, despite the renewal of negotiations with Israel. The idea that Palestinians must continue the struggle until Israel is replaced by a Palestinian state is a consistent theme.
This incitement to hatred and terrorism must end. Terrorists should not be glorified, Jews should not be demonized and Israel’s existence should not be called into question.
Main terrorist attacks since July 30, 2013
- An off-duty IDF soldier was lured to the West Bank by a Palestinian co-worker and murdered (September 20).
- A young soldier was shot dead (September 22) in Hebron, near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
- On October 10, a 61-year-old Israeli civilian was murdered, and his spouse injured, when they were attacked by two Palestinians wielding an ax and iron bars in what is suspected to be a terrorist attack.
- A Palestinian man rammed a tractor through the gate of an army base north of Jerusalem on October 17 before he was stopped. (In 2008, Palestinians carried out a series of terror attacks in Jerusalem involving tractors. Three Israelis were killed and nearly 60 people injured.)
- On October 20, a Palestinian man brandished a knife attempted to stab Jewish passengers on a bus travelling northwest of Bethlehem.
- A soldier sleeping on a bus in Afula in northern Israel was stabbed to death on November 13.
- A two-year-old girl sustained moderate injuries caused by stone-throwers, while traveling in a car on November 28 near the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.
- A disaster was averted on December 22 when a bomb was discovered moments before exploding on a bus in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv. One of the terrorists subsequently arrested admitted that his cell was prepared to execute another major terror attack in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area in the following days.
- Two other attacks occurred within a 24 hour period of the bus bombing. Also on December 22, the Border Police thwarted a knife-wielding terrorist attack near Ma’aleh Adumim in the West Bank. The next day, in a separate attack in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem, a police officer was stabbed in the back with a 15-centimeter knife by a Palestinian man.
- A Jewish man was stabbed in the neck in Jerusalem on January 11, 2014 by an Arab youth.