Op-Ed Columns

Behind the Itamar Murders

It is fashionable when talking about the “peace process” to focus on hope– to try to nurture the moderate elements among our “peace partners” and constantly inject good faith and good will to keep the process moving “forward.”
Because I crave peace by nature, I’ve always had some sympathy for this approach, which is why I have many friends on the left and why I occasionally take a break from my hard-nosed realism to indulge in more dreamlike and wishful prose.
This is not one of those times.
When I saw the horrifying pictures of the Jewish family members in Itamar who were stabbed to death in their own home– Udi and Ruth Fogel (36 and 35 years old), and their children Yoav (11 years old), Elad (4) and their 3-month-old daughter, Hadas– I thought of recent reports on the glorification of terrorism in Palestinian society.
It was impossible not to connect the dots.
In the reports from Palestinian Media Watch, I learned that the terrorist responsible for the most lethal attack against Israel, Dalal Mughrabi, is now immortalized in two elementary schools, a kindergarten, a computer center, summer camps, football tournaments, a community center, a sports team, a public square, a street, an election course, an adult education course, a university club, a dance troupe, a military unit, a dormitory in a youth center, a TV quiz team and a graduation ceremony.
I also learned that today, a Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after the terrorist Abu Jihad, who planned a bus hijacking that killed 37, spend the day in a school named after Ahmad Yassin, the man who founded Hamas, play soccer in the afternoon in a tournament honoring terrorist Abd Al-Basset Odeh, who killed 31, and end his day at a youth center named after Abu Iyad, who was responsible for killing 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich.
These are the heroes of Palestinian society– not Abraham Lincolns and Albert Einsteins and Martin Luther Kings but murderers who crave the spilling of Jewish blood.
Before you rush to defend our “new and improved” Palestinian “peace partners,” note that it was Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas who funded a computer center named after Dalal Mughrabi in 2009, and who supported the naming of the square in her honor in 2010.
“Of course, we want to name a square after her,” he said to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Jan.17, 2010.
And who sponsored a sporting event named after one of the most prominent terrorists of all, Abu Jihad, in May 2010? None other than PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the man who is building the “new” Palestine.
Just last year, Mahmoud Al-Aloui, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said in an interview in Al-Hayat Al Jadida: “It is our right and our duty to take pride in all of the Shahids (martyrs), and it is our duty to convey this message in the most direct manner to the generations to come.”
He wasn’t kidding. Only a month ago, PA President Abbas awarded $2000 to the family of a terrorist who attacked two Israeli soldiers in December.
And the very day before the Itamar murders, PA presidential advisor Sabri Saidam delivered a speech reported in Al Ayyam, in which he emphasized that “the weapons must be turned towards the main enemy [Israel] and internal differences of opinion must be set aside.”
This glorification of Jew-hatred and murder in the name of martyrdom– which marinates all strata of Palestinian society– is happening under the watchful eyes of our Palestinian “peace partners,” who have convinced most of the world, and many Israel supporters, that the real obstacle to peace is not Palestinian incitement to murder but Jewish building of apartments in East Jerusalem.
Even if you’re a passionate peacenik, you have to admit that this is a bad joke. What does Jewish construction have to do with a Jew-hatred that has been burned into Arab hearts since before the first settlement or even Israel ever existed?
What else but Jew-hatred can explain the consistent refusal by Palestinian leaders to recognize a Jewish state and prepare their people for the inevitable compromises that peace with Jews will require?
As Sari Nusseibeh once said, “How can we Palestinians expect Israel to think we want co-existence when our position on the refugee issue has been tantamount to a call for Israel’s destruction?”
So, here’s my message to my friends in the peace camp. You’ve done an amazing job of telling the world that a peace agreement with the Palestinians is really, really important, and that Israel is primarily responsible for the absence of this agreement.
In fact, you’ve done such an amazing job of blaming Israel that my friend Gary Rosenblatt, editor of the Jewish Week, wrote last week that Israel has become a “source of embarrassment” for many American Jews. Imagine that.
Well, now you have a chance to make amends and bring some balance to your message.
In honor of the children who were stabbed to death in Itamar, you can release this statement to the world: “It is really, really important, for the sake of peace, that Palestinian leaders eliminate the glorification of terrorism and Jew-hatred that permeates their society, and begin immediately to teach the benefits and compromises of peaceful co-existence with a Jewish state.”
Who’s brave enough in the peace camp to sign their name to that statement?

David Suissa

David Suissa is a branding consultant, weekly columnist and the founder of OLAM magazine. He can be reached at suissa@olam.org or at davidsuissa.com.

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