Palestinian terrorism and Israeli self-defense are not the same thing.
Palestinian protesters carry knives and the national flag during a demonstration in northern Gaza on October 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed)
The next intifada is on, and the Obama administration, as one would expect, is on the wrong side.
There has been a spike in Palestinian terrorism over the past few weeks. One has to call it a spike because Palestinian terrorism is always thrumming — there’s never a real stop. About 70 Israelis have recently been mauled, and some killed, in over two dozen sneak attacks, mostly by stabbing.
The ultimate cause of the rampage is the Palestinian determination to eradicate Israel’s existence as a Jewish state by a two-track campaign of internal violence and international political pressure. As I’ve previously detailed, this is the “one-state solution” preferred by Islamists and Leftists. It is abetted, wittingly or not, by the “two-state solution,” a bipartisan Beltway obsession that entails pressuring Israel to accommodate next-door neighbors who will be satisfied with nothing less than burning its house down.
The proximate cause for the current bloodletting is incitement by Palestinian political leadership, particularly Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (also known as “Abu Mazen”).
Abbas is a longtime terrorism enabler, the right hand of Yasser Arafat, by whose intercession he rose to the top rank of the PLO and, ultimately, the Palestinian Authority. Naturally, the Obama administration has hallucinated him into a “moderate” Muslim “peacemaker” — just as the Bush administration did.
The ugly reality is that Islamists and the radical pan-Arab Left — those in the Nasser-Arafat mold — are in competition to prove who is the most anti-Semitic, a coveted distinction in their culture. Abbas and his Fatah party must compete with Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian terror branch, whose charter explicitly frames the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews as dictates of Allah. As Caroline Glick perceptively explains, Abbas has more to gain from the perversely named “peace process,” which keeps the West invested in him, than from a peace settlement, in which an influx of Hamas sympathizers would likely drive him from power. Thus, he does his bit to stoke the violence.
Over the past few weeks, he has incited rioting at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, falsely accusing Jews of defiling and attempting to seize the site. Among his gems is the admonition that Jews “have no right to desecrate [the al-Aqsa Mosque and other Temple Mount sites] with their filthy feet.” The purported secular moderate went on to out-Hamas Hamas, lauding Muslims who physically attack Jews attempting to tour the area:
Each drop of blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every shahid [i.e., martyr] will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded by Allah’s will.
For good measure, Abbas libelously accused Israel of “executing” a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, Ahmad Mansara, “in cold blood.” In fact, Mansara and his older brother were caught on video stabbing Jews, including a child riding a bicycle. When they tried to slice and dice the Israeli police who responded to the crime scene, Mansara was shot. But he was not “executed in cold blood”; he is alive and well and recuperating thanks to Israeli doctors and nurses who immediately gave him medical care.
Abbas’s diatribe can have had no purpose but to ignite yet another round of attacks — not a “cycle of violence,” as the State Department describes it, but a unilateral terror campaign. Indeed, Abbas is merely repeating his performance of a year ago, when he exhorted Palestinians to prevent Jews “from entering the holy site in every way possible” — a summons to jihad that was broadcast repeatedly on Palestinian television and, Ms. Glick recounts, led to a similar spate of attacks on Israeli civilians.
To describe as utter nonsense the claim that Israel is trying to seize the Temple Mount would be an insult to utter nonsense.
Jordan invaded East Jerusalem in 1948. During the 19 years of Jordanian occupation that followed, the world did not seem to mind that Palestinians were not given their own state. Nor did it much notice the enforcement of sharia: thousands of Jews and Christians driven from their homes, Jews denied access to holy sites, centuries-old synagogues destroyed, and severe restrictions placed on Christians — including limits on visits to holy sites and a requirement that the Koran be taught in Christian schools.
In 1967, against Israel’s warnings, Jordan joined the Six-Day War of aggression waged by Arab-Islamic states, to disastrous effect for themselves. Their goal then, like the Islamist-Leftist goal now, was to annihilate the Jewish state — as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser put it about a week before the war, “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel,” with which, he later added, “we will not accept any . . . coexistence.” It was the Arab-Islamic states, though, that were routed. Jordan’s foolish decision to attack West Jerusalem resulted in its being throttled and pushed out of East Jerusalem by the Israeli Defense Forces.
#share#The Old City’s iconic edifices are among the world’s holiest sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Under Israeli control, the sites have been opened to tourists of all faiths. Yet, in deference to Islam’s notoriously hair-trigger sensitivities, Israel placed the Temple Mount under the management of a Muslim waqf (a Jordanian trust). Furthermore, the Israeli government prohibits Jews from praying at the Temple Mount, notwithstanding that it is widely regarded as Judaism’s most sacred site. Even a hint that this status quo may be altered suffices to trigger Palestinian terror attacks, so Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly and emphatically committed to maintaining it.
So what did the Obama administration do? As the violence raged, a top State Department spokesman, retired Navy admiral John Kirby, addressed the situation. “Well, certainly,” he claimed (the word is a verbal tic for this highly uncertain man), “the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.”
This statement was patently untrue and, under the circumstances, recklessly irresponsible — so much so that Kirby ended up retracting his “certainly” statement on Twitter, burbling about how he “did not intend to suggest” what he had so clearly said — and what, as John Hinderaker notes, an Israeli security official described as the U.S. State Department’s “crazy, deceitful and baseless” comments.
Kirby’s retraction came only after he had poured more fuel on the fire by rolling out the moral-equivalence canard that State has honed through 20 years of blood-soaked “peace process.” Asked if he would assess blame for the violence, the spokesman responded, “certainly [uh-oh] individuals on both sides of this divide are — have proven capable of and in our view are guilty of acts of terror.”
Yup, those Israeli terrorists have only themselves to blame.
Keep in mind: This is the administration that labels blatant anti-American terrorism “violent extremism” and “workplace violence” because it cannot bring itself to attach the T-word to jihadist mass murderers. Yet Obama’s minions blithely applied the “terrorist” label to Israelis — thus echoing Abbas, Hamas, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Hezbollah.
Not surprisingly, Kirby declined to specify what Israeli “terrorist” attacks he had in mind. Perhaps he was referring to an apparent revenge attack by an Israeli who injured four men in stabbings last week — two Palestinians and two Israeli Bedouins it seems he mistook for Palestinians. Maybe Admiral Kirby preferred not to elaborate because, at a certain point, disgracefully drawn moral equivalency embarrasses even the shameless Obama administration.
The Israeli government vigorously condemns and prosecutes criminals who attack civilians. By contrast, the Palestinian Authority willfully incites terrorism, sings paeans to terrorists in government-controlled media, and even names streets after them. In fact, the PA has joined a unity government with Hamas, a formally designated terrorist organization under American law. It is in the terrorism business.
Well, if moral equivalence is the order of the day, we should add that Kirby’s boss, John Kerry, was just as reprehensible as Kirby. In a speech at Harvard University, our redoubtable secretary of state opined that the Palestinian rampage was catalyzed by . . . wait for it . . . “a massive increase in settlements” purportedly built by Israelis over the past two years. This, he says, threatens — all together now — the “two-state solution.”
Of course, Israel is not massively increasing settlements; it is constructing additional housing on existing settlements for growing communities. Moreover, the fact that the settlements are unrelated to the ongoing violence is open and notorious: Abbas incited the attacks, he is quite proud of having done so, and he continues to lionize the attackers.
An outraged Netanyahu sized up the situation this way:
As far as settlements are concerned — this is not a result of a massive wave of settlements because there’s not been a massive wave of settlements. . . . And second, . . . the facts count. It is the very killers themselves who explain why they’re doing what they’re doing. They leave behind Facebook pages in which they cite and repeat Palestinian incitement about the al-Aqsa Mosque. All the lies that are said about us trying to bring down the mosque or change the status quo, they cite that as the reason for their activity. And you can’t fit a false template on reality. . . .
This is what is driving this current wave. I’m sorry. The old models don’t apply. There’s a Palestinian attempt to inflame violence based on the false allegations that we are changing the Temple Mount, now on the false allegations that we’re executing innocent civilians. It doesn’t wash. And I expect our friends around the world to look at these facts, recognize them for what they are and, I think, to condemn these Palestinian attacks and to demand from Abu Mazen to stop the incitement and to restore calm.
Dream on, Mr. Prime Minister.
As to Kerry’s claim that settlement building provoked the violence, it was left to Kirby to rationalize that the secretary did not really mean what he said — an occupational hazard for Kerry spokesmen, but one Kirby “certainly” is the perfect guy to handle. The problem, alas, is that Abbas means exactly what he says: What Israel’s enemies want is the one-state solution.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.
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