If further proof were needed to illustrate the futility of diplomatic overtures to the Palestinian Authority, Monday’s attack on a pro-Israel Saudi in Jerusalem is a good example.
As part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s regional strategy to forge ties with formerly hostile Muslim-Arab states, the Israeli Foreign Ministry invited a delegation of six media personalities from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to see the Jewish state for themselves. Up close and personal.
As a precautionary measure for their safe return home, their identities were not disclosed.
The only exception was Mahmoud Saud, a law student and blogger from Saudi Arabia, who regularly tweets about his unabashed support for Israel in general and the Netanyahu government in particular. This is clearly why Saud not only agreed, but was proud, to be photographed with the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman and Likud Knesset member Avi Dichter.
At a meeting with Dichter at the Knesset on Monday morning, one member of the delegation said, “This visit to Israel is like touring a dreamland. If only we would be able to bring hundreds of people from our countries, so that when they go back they can tell what they saw and felt.”
Dichter explained to the group that Israel was moving ahead with its policy to strengthen relations with its neighbors “and not to wait until the Palestinian Authority decides to fight terrorism.”
He also pointed out that the P.A. has been forking out more than 1 billion shekels (nearly $285 million) annually in stipends to terrorists and their families.
Later in the day, the delegation visited the Temple Mount, the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Saud, a devout Muslim, intended to pray. On the way there, as he walked through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem (and after he arrived), Saud was accosted verbally and physically by angry Palestinian passers-by.
Calling him a “traitor,” an “animal,” a “normalizer” and a “Zionist,” these violent hecklers cackled at him to “go to synagogue.” As if this weren’t bad enough, they also spat in his face and threw sticks and chairs at him.
Thanks to a widely circulated video of the incident, one can observe Saud’s incredible restraint. Rather than reacting to the slurs, spittle and objects hurled at him, Saud kept his keffiyeh-covered head held high, staring straight ahead, lifting his hands occasionally in self-defense.
Saud might not have been surprised by the aggressive welcome that was extended to him by his so-called “brethren.” You know, those about whom the Arab world pays false lip service, pretending to care about their “plight” as a ploy to vent against Israel and the United States.
Ironically, the Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam—is one of the issues that many Muslim leaders exploit to promote anti-Semitic propaganda. P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas certainly uses it as a platform for incitement, claiming that Jews “have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”
Had Saud and the rest of the delegation been in the area a mere two days earlier, they would have encountered bright-red Arabic graffiti spray-painted on the Kotel HaKatan—a portion of the Western Wall on the Temple Mount—calling for the “slaughter of all Jews.” Thanks to closed-circuit TV footage, the perpetrators, young women from eastern Jerusalem, were apprehended.
Sadly, however, the larger culprit—the hate-filled poison these girls imbibed with their mothers’ milk—is not only still at large; it’s purposely and perpetually fostered, as well as heavily funded.
Which brings us to a key factor in the pointlessness of peace deals with the Palestinian leadership. Unlike Israel, which has a burgeoning understanding with many of its Arab neighbors based on a shared interest to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Palestinians have been kissing up to Tehran.
In a meeting in Tehran on Sunday with the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri reportedly said, “We are on the same path as the Islamic Republic—the path of battling the Zionist entity and the arrogant ones.”
This followed a visit to Iraq late last month by Nabil Shaath, Abbas’s adviser for international relations, during which he told local Shi’ite leaders that “Palestinians don’t have a problem with Iran, as Iran has been supporting the Palestinian struggle. We seek to strengthen our relations with Tehran, and we don’t consider it an enemy. The enemy is Israel.”
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”