By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org
A little-reported stabbing incident, coupled with a large dose of Palestinian Authority-generated fake news, have revealed pretty much everything you need to know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It all began Aug. 18. Qatiba Zahran, age 17, left his hometown of Alar, near the city of Tulkarm, armed with a large knife. He was looking for an Israeli Jew to stab.
He couldn’t find any Israelis in Alar, or in Tulkarm, because they have been under the control of the Palestinian Authority since 1995. That was when then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israel’s forces from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs reside.
Note that Qatiba Zaharn was born in 2000. Meaning that he has lived under the rule of Palestinian Authority his entire life. He has not lived under direct “Israeli occupation.” There are no “Israeli settlers” endangering the residents of Alar or Tulkarm.
Odd! We are always being told that Israel’s “occupation” and “settlers” are what provoke Palestinians to stab, bomb, and shoot Jews. So how can one explain what motivated young Qatiba Zahran to pick up that knife?
He walked some distance, until he reached the nearest Israeli security checkpoint. There Zahran stabbed and wounded an Israeli border guard. The Israeli shot him dead in self-defense. (Translation courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute)
Zahran left his last will and testament on his Facebook page, for the world to see. It shatters a number of the common myths that Palestinian advocates and sympathizers try to promote:
— Zahran wrote only of “Jews,” not “Israelis.” He did not object to some Israeli policy or position. He hated Jews. In his words: “All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, who protects the mujahideen [Jihad fighters] and humiliates the cursed Jews…”
— He was driven by religious-nationalist ideology, not by some family conflict or other personal problem: “Oh my family members, know that I did not leave you out of distress or out of a wish to be far from you, but because martyrdom for the sake of Allah beckoned to me.”
— Zahran was influenced by the promises made by Muslim religious teachers: “Oh my honorable family members, receive the glad tidings of the Prophet, who said that a martyr can vouch for 70 of his family members [to enter Paradise].”
PA officials undoubtedly read Zahran’s Facebook page. They knew that he planned, in advance, to murder Jews because he hated Jews and wanted to enter paradise (and guarantee the entry of 70 relatives, to boot).
Yet the PA Foreign Ministry announced that “the occupation authorities” carried out “the cold-blooded execution of young Zahran.” The PA accused Israel of circulating “loathsome story of the sort they [spread] whenever [they carry out] a field execution, while knowing full well that young Zahran posed no danger to the occupation soldiers at the checkpoint.”
And the Municipality of PA-ruled Alar, Zahran’s home village, issued a statement declaring that “the municipal council members, the workers, and the city residents all congratulate the martyred hero Qatiba Ziyad Yusuf Zahran.”
Last week, the Israelis handed over Zahran’s body to the PA. If they were expecting that their goodwill gesture would be reciprocated, they were dreaming.
The PA Gov. of Tulkarm, Isaac Abu Baker, immediately declared that “[Israel’s] targeting of civilians has become routine.” At the funeral, Mustafa Takatka, the PA’s deputy governor of Tulkarm, repeated the anti-Israel blood libel that Israel “routinely” murders innocent Palestinians, and that Zahran was one such victim of “the crimes of the occupation.” Takatka called on the Palestinian public to “persist on the path of struggle.”
This was not some case of over-eager Palestinian officials making careless statements based on incomplete information. Such recklessness would have been outrageous enough. But what happened in this instance was much worse. Here senior PA officials knew the truth—from the terrorist’s own Facebook page—and yet chose to spread fake news to demonize Israel and incite Palestinians to attempt to murder Israelis.
The PA tells 17-year-olds that killers of Jews will be hailed as “martyrs” and “heroes.” PA-paid Muslim preachers assure potential terrorists of heavenly rewards for stabbing and bombing. PA officials convince Palestinian teens that Israelis are vile, dangerous monsters who deserve to be killed. And then those teens pick up knives and go looking for Jews to kill. The cause-and-effect is obvious. Why can’t the world see that?
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.