Opinion

Governments and the media are complicit in Palestinian terrorism

Refusing to hold the Palestinians to any standard only leads to more violence.

Israeli forces conduct a counterterror operation near Jenin, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
Israeli forces conduct a counterterror operation near Jenin, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
Steven Emerson, founder and executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Credit: Courtesy.
Steven Emerson
Steven Emerson is founder and executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Israeli forces again entered the terrorist hotbed of Jenin last Thursday, reportedly killing four people, including two senior members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The raid came less than a week after three Israelis were shot in Tel Aviv, two critically, in a terrorist attack claimed by Hamas. One of the victims has since died.

Terrorism originating from the Judea and Samaria soared last year and Israel launched “Operation Wave Breaker” to try to curb the attacks. Security forces made more than 2,600 terrorism-related arrests, seized 493 weapons and shut down 14 weapons manufacturing workshops.

Yet the Palestinian Authority continues to incite terror, even as its chief Mahmoud Abbas publicly says he opposes violent “resistance.” But if that were true, he would stop his lionization of dead and incarcerated terrorists and end the “pay-to-slay” program that gives would-be terrorists the assurance that their loved ones will be taken care of if the terrorists die or are arrested trying to kill Israelis.

Palestinian media often deliberately twists reality on its head to incite the killings of Jews by turning the terrorist into the victim and the victim into the terrorist. Rather than report the truth about an attempted terrorist attack, Palestinians are told the Israelis “executed” an innocent person.

Palestinian media in Judea and Samaria is “controlled by the P.A. and serves as an echo chamber for the inflammatory rhetoric issued by the P.A. that demonizes Jews and glorifies terrorists to the point that the killing of Jews has become ingrained in the minds of successive generations of Palestinians,” Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “This is the tragedy of my people.”

The spike in attacks corresponds with a sharp decline in rocket fire coming from Gaza. Hamas is encouraging attacks from Judea and Samaria, but is trying to keep Gaza quiet for now as it rebuilds its arsenals with more advanced rockets and missiles, and digs a vast array of new underground tunnels, many under schools and hospitals.

Still, hundreds of rockets were fired at Israeli communities last August, injuring 70 people and drawing a strong Israeli response. Israel did not wage any significant military campaign in Gaza beyond that. It did disclose Hamas terrorist sites embedded near civilians, including near a hospital and a mosque.

Such evidence reinforces a point so clear and simple it should not require stating: Despite the baseless, antisemitic smear of an Israeli “genocide” of Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of Israeli military actions follow a terrorist attack or target the infrastructure that makes such attacks possible. Palestinian terrorists, on the other hand, deliberately seek out innocents, be they mothers standing by a window or Israelis out for the night in restaurants and bars.

Meanwhile, an attack last Monday in northern Israel is believed to have been carried out by a man who was sent by Hezbollah to infiltrate from Lebanon. It marks the first terrorist infiltration on the Lebanon border in 17 years. After an IED exploded, severely injuring an Israeli Arab man, police tracked down and killed the suspect. He had an explosive vest with him and enough material to carry out additional attacks.

The attack shows “the kind of complex asymmetric threats that Israel faces—instead of large-scale complex terror attacks, Israel increasingly faces numerous disjointed groups, from the clashes in Jenin and Nablus to Jericho,” Seth Frantzman wrote in The Jerusalem Post.

Terrorist leaders promise not to let up. Hamas Deputy Chairman Salah Al-Arouri, who built up his terrorist group’s presence in Judea and Samaria from his safe haven in Turkey, told a Hamas news outlet last week that terrorist attacks will continue so Israel knows “the future would be more difficult.”

Arouri masterminded the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers on their way home from school, one an American citizen. The killings sparked a series of events that led to the August 2014 Gaza war.

Human rights activist Eid has been a lonely but extraordinarily courageous Palestinian voice in documenting and decrying the “pervasive terrorist culture and deep-seated violent antisemitism that has saturated our kindergartens, our grade schools, our universities, our state-controlled media, nearly every institution and everything we read.”

The terrorism that Israel has experienced for years is largely the result of Western governments deliberately turning a blind eye to decades of Palestinian institutional incitement and payouts of massive financial rewards to terrorists. At the same time, American and European media and Western NGOs are complicit in intentionally suppressing reporting about the P.A.’s massive institutional glorification of jihad and martyrdom operations from kindergarten through college. Even the much-fabled international human rights groups only very occasionally issue reports about Palestinian incitement, terrorism and, for that matter, suppression of human rights.

Moreover, as far as the mainstream American media is concerned, Palestinian incitement and P.A. and Hamas indoctrination of children, students and young adults are considered off the table. No one believes for a second that American journalists are duped by the duplicity of P.A. leaders who say one thing in Arabic and another in English. There are far too many organizations that monitor, translate and publicly disseminate Arabic-language incitement.

The reason for all this is quite simple: An ideological anti-Israeli bias that does not hold the Palestinians to any standard. This is why media outlets perform rhetorical acrobatics to avoid using the term “terrorism” to describe murderous atrocities against Israeli synagogue worshippers, civilians in Tel Aviv or pregnant Israeli mothers. By contrast, as appropriate, the media describes attacks by ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups as terrorism.

When the P.A. or Hamas are held accountable, maybe, just maybe, Palestinian society will be liberated from their authoritarian chokehold and see the same vision as Bassem Eid: That abandoning terrorism, violence and hatred is the only route to a stable, prosperous and independent future.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the author of eight books on national security and terrorism, the producer of two documentaries and the author of hundreds of articles in national and international publications.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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