Israel must learn to speak ‘Palestinese’

Unless Israeli leaders understand who is behind Palestinian terror and go after them, the cycle of Palestinian terrorism will continue.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rally in Ramallah commemorating the fifth anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, Nov. 11, 2009. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rally in Ramallah commemorating the fifth anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, Nov. 11, 2009. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90.
Itamar Marcus. Credit: Courtesy.
Itamar Marcus
Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch.

Israeli officials and media are reporting that the Palestinian Authority has announced its opposition to terrorism in response to Israel’s expected application of Israeli law in parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. However, Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based a research institute focusing on Palestinian society, has been reporting that the P.A. messages to its people are openly promoting terrorism. Which of these two contradictory messages is the current P.A. strategy?

The answer is that there is only one P.A. message and the problem is that Israeli leaders, the media and the international community have simply not mastered the Palestinian language—“Palestinese.”

First, the signs and messages that the P.A. wants Palestinian terrorism to accompany the Israeli sovereignty announcement are sent daily and in key places. The official P.A. TV stations have been broadcasting extreme terror promotion since the Israeli coalition agreement was signed on April 20, promising annexation. The videos and language resemble the P.A. TV terror promotion during the 2000-2005 Palestinian terror campaign, in which over 1,000 Israelis were murdered.

There have been calls for suicide bombings: “Strap on the explosive belt, detonate the first in Haifa and the second in Atlit [both Israeli cities] … Strap on the belt, O daughter of my land, and detonate it in front of the enemies. How sweet is the taste of martyrdom, I have found none like it.” This was broadcast on a P.A. TV station four times in the two weeks following the coalition agreement.

Other repeating messages on the P.A. TV stations make it clear that terror is exactly what the P.A. wants:

“This great people fights with daggers, knives and cannon shells.”

“Where is the Arab blood? … Allah is with us. He is stronger and greater than the Children of Zion … My red blood waters the greenery … We are the victors … My chest is a machine gun’s magazine.”

“By Allah, I will redeem Jerusalem with my children.”

“O Arabs, Al-Aqsa has a request, light the fire of rage, this obligation is necessary … The Zionists have become arrogant … The Sons of Zion are in my land violating my honor today. O people of Allah, respond! … O Al-Aqsa, our blood is your torch. ”

“Al-Aqsa has called, and its call is precious, for its sake, life is insignificant … God, grant us martyrdom there.” These words were followed by pictures of Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber, and Ayyat al-Akhras, who at 17 became the youngest female suicide bomber.

One recurring song is particularly significant: “The oppressors have gone too far, therefore jihad is necessary.” These words were broadcast by the P.A. immediately as it launched its terror campaign in 2000, and now the P.A. is broadcasting the exact same song again, at least seven times in June.

The statements by the P.A. foreign minister are another terror indicator. Twice recently, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki repeated the libel that Israel plans “to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build the alleged Temple” in its place. This lie has proven to be the most potent P.A. libel to incite lethal Palestinian terror waves. There is no reason for a P.A. leader to twice express that lie again right now—unless the P.A. is interested in creating the kind of fear and religious anger that spurs individual Palestinians to terrorism.

So how can we explain the contradiction between the terror promotion the P.A. is feeding its people and the insistence by some Israeli leaders and media that the P.A. does not want terror?

The answer is that unfortunately many Israelis don’t understand Palestinese. Senior Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub last week announced exactly what the P.A. was planning: “Today we are calling a ‘peaceful popular uprising’ … This is the unanimous decision of the Fatah Central Committee.”

Rajoub said a “peaceful popular uprising” is coming. This sounds wonderful. To those who don’t understand Palestinese it sounds like Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi calling for nonviolent civil disobedience. However, Rajoub was explicitly calling for terrorism.

In November 2015, when terrorists during the P.A.’s “knife intifada” had already murdered 14 Israelis and wounded 167 in 65 stabbings and eight shootings, Abbas went on P.A. TV and defined the murderous terror wave as a “peaceful popular uprising” carried out under P.A. instructions: “We said to everyone that we want a peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is. That’s what this is.”

Astonishingly, for Abbas, murdering 14 and wounding 167 constitutes “peaceful” Palestinian interaction with Israelis. Indeed, throughout that extended terror wave, in which Palestinians murdered 40 people, the P.A. repeatedly called it “peaceful and popular” and never admitted that even one murder could be called a terror attack. Ironically, in announcing it wants a “peaceful popular uprising” now, the P.A. is telling its own people that it wants them to murder Israelis.

It is critical to understand that in Palestinese the difference between an “armed intifada” terror wave and a “peaceful popular” terror wave is not the source of the terror—which is always the P.A. leadership—but rather those who carry out the attacks. During the 2000-2005 “armed intifada,” the Palestinian security services systematically attacked and murdered Israelis. Tawfiq Tirawi, who at the time was the head of P.A. Intelligence Services, admitted in a May 6, 2014, Facebook post: “The P.A. Security Forces are the ones who led the Second Intifada … There are over 300 or 400 Palestinian officers from all the Security Forces in prison. And there are over 200 martyrs.”

In a “peaceful popular” terror wave the P.A. leaders don’t give instructions to the security services or to specific terrorists to murder Israelis. They declare general but clear instructions for all Palestinians to kill Israelis. Libels, lies and hate speech are all used by the P.A. leaders to enrage Palestinians. In response, tens, hundreds or sometimes thousands of Palestinians will become the “lone wolf” terrorists, rushing out to defend Al-Aqsa, Islam and Palestinian honor. The P.A. then accompanies the terror by honoring, praising and rewarding the individual murderers as “heroes.”

American Taylor Force was murdered during Abbas’s “peaceful popular uprising,” and the murderer was honored on P.A. TV as “the heroic martyr” who “ascended to Heaven in Jaffa … He was embraced by his homeland as a martyr within it.”

Jibril Rajoub, who is now threatening another “peaceful popular uprising,” sponsored a football tournament named after terrorist Muhannad Halabi, because his “peaceful popular” murder of two Israelis on Oct. 3, 2015, was the trigger of the long terror wave.

The P.A.-PLO have led the world in fine-tuning the targeting of civilians with multiple forms of terror. These include airplane hijackings, suicide bombings, stabbings, drive-by shootings, vehicular assaults and more. An entire lexicon of words has been created to cover up the nature of these attacks. Among the P.A. terms for terrorism are: “amaliya,” or  “operation”; “muqawama,” or “resistance,”; “intifada,” or “shake-up”; “kifah,” or “struggle”; and “fidaa,” meaning “self-sacrifice.” And of course, “silmiya sha’abiya,” or “peaceful popular” murder with “daggers and knives,” which the P.A. leadership has unanimously agreed upon for now.

This Palestinese, including the hate speech, terror-promoting videos, euphemisms, claims of victimhood and more, has proven to be a successful language for P.A. leaders. They can have their terror wave, bringing international attention and increased domestic popularity for the leaders, while at the same time protesting their innocence to the international community. As it has done in the past, the P.A. then blames Israel for causing the victimized Palestinians to “spontaneously” turn to violence, while many world leaders dutifully line up to blame Israel for Palestinian terrorism.

The Palestinian language has many innocent-sounding euphemisms to hide its arsenal of terror and mask its strategies. Unless Israeli leaders understand who is behind Palestinian terror and arrest, prosecute and imprison those at the top of the terror pyramid—not only those wielding the knives and guns—the cycle of Palestinian terror will continue.

For 27 years the names of the terrorists filling up our jails keep changing, but the few puppeteers pulling their strings remain untouched by justice, traveling through Israel with VIP cards. If Israelis and world leaders want to know what the P.A. is planning, who is behind the terror and who must be punished, it’s about time they mastered Palestinese.

The writer, director of Palestinian Media Watch, was recognized as among the world’s ‘top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life or the State of Israel,’ by The Algemeiner news site.

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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