We’re always being told that there is a significant difference between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Supposedly, the P.A. is “moderate,” while Hamas is “extremist.” But the PA.’s public endorsement this week of the Gaza kite terrorists makes it clear that there is no meaningful difference between it and Hamas at all.
Here is the text of the statement by Palestinian Authority Government Spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud, as published in the official P.A. daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on July 22 and made available by the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch:
“The occupation’s escalation, to which the Gaza Strip—which is under siege—has been witness in recent hours, constitutes part of the occupation government’s policy towards our residents and the heroic members of our people. … The occupation is striving to create equivalence in which there is a parallel between the newest and most lethal fighter jets and a children’s game such as kites used by peaceful protesters as one of the means of protest against the siege and the occupation.”
Let’s take a careful look at the P.A. spokesman’s words, starting with the way he refers to Israel. Notice that he doesn’t say the word “Israel” at all. The Jewish state is “the occupation” or “the occupation government.” Al-Mahmoud is so consumed with hatred of Israel that he can’t even bring himself to utter its name.
Some 25 years after the Oslo accords—25 years after the Palestinian pledged to live in peace and coexistence with Israel—25 years after the media and peace activists insisted that the Palestinians had really changed—they still can’t even say the word “Israel.”
Now let’s consider his description of the recent Gaza terrorism. In recent weeks, Palestinian teenagers have launched more than 1,000 flaming kites and balloons into Israel, last week hitting a kindergarten play area. They have started more than 500 fires, which have burned more than four square miles of nature reserves and more than three square miles of natural forests, and killed thousands of animals.
If it were any other country in the world that was suffering this kind of environmental damage, “Green” activists all over the world would be up in arms. But Palestinians who damage Israel’s environment get a pass.
So how does the official P.A. spokesman characterize this wave of arson terror? He defines it as: “A children’s game such as kites used by peaceful protesters as one of the means of protest against the siege and the occupation.”
It’s chilling to hear vicious, destructive violence described as “a children’s game.” And yet, in Palestinian society, that’s exactly what it is.
From the day they enter school, whether in the P.A.-controlled parts of Judea-Samaria or the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Palestinian children are taught their own particular types of games. We’ve seen glimpses, thanks to groups like Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI—such as the summer camps where children stage skits about murdering Jews and the crossword puzzles where the answer to “Museum of Lies” is “Yad Vashem.”
Were we really surprised when the savage who butchered Mrs. Dafna Meir with a 20-centimeter knife—right in front of her children—turned out to be a 16-year-old?
Were we really surprised when the beast who broke into the bedroom of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel and viciously stabbed her to death likewise turned out to be a teenager?
Were we really surprised when one of the firebomb-throwers who severely burned 11-year-old Ayelet Shapiro near Ma’ale Shomron turned out to be just 16?
Just today, on July 26, a Palestinian teen leapt a security fence and stabbed three people in the Jewish settlement of Adam, a few miles north of Jerusalem.
We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas both raise their children to play the same “games”—the games of bombing, shooting, stabbing and burning.
This is why the Trump administration’s approach to Gaza is so utterly mistaken. Last week, three administration officials offered Hamas large amounts of aid if it will just stop shooting at Israel for a while. Other officials have been quoted as saying the solution to Gaza is for the P.A. to move in and take over.
But whether Gaza is run by Hamas or the PA, Israel will continue to be saddled with neighbors who raise their kids to be murderers and arsonists.
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later