When Hamas Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad said at a Gaza rally on July 12, “Enough warming up… We must attack every Jew on planet Earth and slaughter and kill them,” it made international headlines – though not of course on the ABC. Unfortunately, our national broadcaster has form in not deeming newsworthy anything that does not fit its dominant narrative that Palestinians are to be understood primarily as innocent victims of Israeli occupation and aggression.
Hammad’s call to slaughter all Jews everywhere was denounced by other spokespersons for Hamas and the rival Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) – leaders of these groups are usually careful to avoid such openly genocidal rhetoric in public. However, as I have previously noted in this column, even if leaders do not say so directly, both polls and consistent rhetoric in Palestinian media and society suggest many Palestinians ultimately seek, if not outright genocide, then an “ethnic cleansing solution” – Israel’s Jewish population to be largely expelled or killed to make way for a single Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”
I therefore wish that similar attention to that focussed on Hammad had also been devoted to a recent statement on the official Facebook page of Fatah, the supposedly moderate party that dominates the supposedly moderate PA which governs the Palestinian cities of the West Bank.
The context was this – Fatah’s Shabiba High School movement had been criticised by US Middle East envoy Jared Kushner for running a summer camp in the name of terrorist mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi, a Fatah terrorist who led a terror cell that murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children, in the 1978 “coastal road massacre.”
On Fatah’s official Facebook page, the Shabiba movement defended the Dalal Mughrabi camp on the grounds that:
“Martyr Dalal Mughrabi is a symbol of legitimate human struggle against injustice, oppression, and the occupation that has committed crimes against the Palestinian people throughout its 71 years. The use of Dalal’s name in the summer camps of [Fatah’s] Shabiba Student (sic., High School) Movement is nothing but commemoration of a situation of struggle, which has been waged by our Palestinian people that was uprooted from its land and homeland as a result of the crimes, oppression, and massacres that the Zionist gangs committed against it. Therefore, Dalal Mughrabi’s [actions] are a natural human expression that all human laws guarantee for the oppressed peoples that are struggling to be redeemed from injustice and occupation.”
In other words, they claimed that, in the face of injustice and occupation, Palestinians like Mughrabi are entitled under “all human laws” to murder any Israelis, even children.
And this is the view of the supposedly “moderate” Fatah movement, not the rejectionist Hamas. Yes, they did not say they would kill all Jews everywhere, like Hammad did, but saying Palestinians are entitled to kill any and all Israelis, including children, is still pretty extreme. Yet this appears to be a widespread view in Palestinian society.
No wonder the Palestinian Authority insists on paying the families of terrorist “martyrs” and imprisoned terrorists stipends even at tremendous costs to the Palestinian budget and national aspirations alike. Even though the PA currently opposes terrorism against Israel for tactical reasons, the view, both in much of wider Palestinian society and Fatah specifically, is that such attacks are both morally and legally justified and should be rewarded.
The Israeli transformation quantified
I lived in Israel from late 1987 until late 1991. When I returned there recently after almost 20 years out of the country, the difference was remarkable. The country had been transformed – from a pleasant, somewhat frenetic and sometimes slightly seedy semi-developing country to a wealthy, sophisticated Mediterranean tourist playground, economic powerhouse and vibrant cultural trendsetter.
While the country of course still has serious economic challenges to overcome, the Israeli economic miracle over the past 30 years appeared very much a genuine phenomenon.
Dr. Adam Reuter, the Chairman and Founder of Financial Immunities, Israel’s largest financial-risk management firm, has assembled some statistics quantifying that miracle for his book, Israel – Island of Success, co-authored with Noga Kainan.
Key numbers that tell the story of that transformation from 1988, when I lived in Israel, until 2018, can be seen in the table.
These numbers confirm I was not seeing things – Israel’s transformation really has been miraculous.