Incitement and the latest terror wave in Israel
Apr 14, 2022 | AIJAC staff
Update from AIJAC
In the wake of a series of Palestinian terror attacks that have left 13 Israelis dead in four attacks over the past three weeks, with many additional attacks successfully thwarted, and an Israeli campaign of counter-terrorism measures in the West Bank in response, this Update looks at Palestinian responses to the violence. As we shall see, despite some half-hearted condemnation from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, there was much support for the terror attacks expressed even in Abbas’ own Fatah party.
We lead with a look at how West Bank militant groups are trying to exploit both the wave of terror and the Israeli response from counter-terrorism expert Joe Truzman. Truzman says that while terror groups do not appear to have been directly involved in preparing any of the recent attacks, they are engaging in a propaganda exercise to benefit from both the attacks and their supposed fightback against Israeli counter-terror raids. He also notes that the video of Israeli security engaging in an extensive manhunt to track down Ra’ad Hazem, the man responsible for the Tel Aviv attack on April 7, gave an appearance of victory to the militant factions likely to improve their image and reputation. For Truzman’s full analysis, CLICK HERE.
Next up, security and legal affairs analyst Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch documents the statements on the recent attacks from the “moderate” PA, and its affiliated groups, such as Fatah and the PLO. He finds widespread praise, despite a mealy-mouthed condemnation from PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He insists that the PLO remains firmly involved in terrorism and thus must continue to be regarded as a terrorist group. For all the details, CLICK HERE. Also, Hirsch’s article is excerpted from a longer report, you can read here. Hirsch also had a recent article attributing much of the recent violence directly to PA incitement.
Finally, we offer a piece from veteran Palestinian affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh exploring why so many Palestinians celebrate attacks on Israeli civilians. He attributes this to a widespread rejection of Israel’s right to exist – which is in turn due in large part to “vicious incitement by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority against Israel and Jews.” He also looks extensively at Palestinian opinion polls, suggesting both support for extremist views, and widespread backing for extremist groups like Hamas. For Abu Toameh’s important insights into Palestinian views on terrorism, CLICK HERE.
Readers may also be interested in…
- Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz explains Israel’s response to the current terror wave, and the PA’s responsibilities, in an interview with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- Israeli columnist Nadav Shragai explains how “lone wolf terrorists” are not really acting alone, but coming out of a pack mentality created by incitement.
- US commentator David Suissa argues that, contrary to much rhetoric, Palestinian terrorism is not “senseless.”
- An interview about the background to the current terror wave with counter-terrorism expert Ely Karmon.
- An open letter from 46 retired US generals and admirals calling on the US President and Congress to reject the emerging new nuclear deal with Iran, and explaining what is wrong with the proposed new deal.
- An excellent article on Israel’s dilemmas in the Ukraine war, from US think-tanker Jonathan Schanzer.
- Some examples from the many stories and comments now appearing at AIJAC’s daily “Fresh AIR” blog:
Analysis: Palestinian Factions Respond to IDF Operations, Exploit Terror Wave
BY JOE TRUZMAN
Long War Journal, April 12, 2022
Screenshot from a recent video statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – Nidal al-Amoudi group warning the IDF against operating in Jenin
After numerous high-profile terror attacks inside Israel, Palestinian militant groups have aggressively responded to recent operations by Israeli security forces inside the West Bank town of Jenin. Over the last several days, militants belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been killed and injured while engaged in clashes with IDF troops in Jenin.
In a video address published on April 8, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades’ spokesperson, Abu Mohammed, stated the group officially started a campaign called “Eye of the Hurricane” to deter stepped-up IDF raids in the West Bank after recent terror attacks in Israel.
The danger posed by militants in the West Bank, specifically Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas has been growing since 2021. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Analysis: The Surge in Militant Activity in the West Bank.]
Israeli forces have killed approximately 31 Palestinians belonging to various militant organizations in the West Bank since the beginning of last year, according to reports. This is a substantial increase in the number of deaths of militants compared to previous years.
A terrorist attack has the potential to significantly boost the image and credibility of a militant organization, much like the attacks in Be’ersheba, Hadera, Benei Berak and Tel Aviv.
After the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on April 7, Ra’ad Hazem, a Palestinian from Jenin that was claimed as a member by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was able to flee the scene undetected by security service personnel. This led to a large manhunt involving Israeli police, the IDF and special units trained in counterterrorism.
The images that played out on live television of hundreds of security personnel looking for a single attacker for more than eight hours in one of Israel’s largest cities was a significant victory for militant factions. By following security personnel door-to-door throughout Israeli neighborhoods, the Israeli media unwittingly boosted the propaganda value of the attack.
Following the Palestinian terrorist attack at the Ilka Bar on Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv, on April 7, Israelis come to lay candles and flowers at the site of the attack. Militant groups are seeking to capitalise on images of Israeli mourning (Photo: hernandez jose maria / Alamy Stock Photo)
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian militant organizations have significantly contributed to the deteriorating security situation in Israel without having fired a single rocket from Gaza. Although, PIJ chief Ziyad Nakhalah’s recent speech may end up changing that.
It’s likely that Palestinian militant groups saw an opportunity to respond to the deaths of many of its militants in the West Bank by launching a campaign of terrorism in the wake of the first two high-profile attacks committed by Islamic State-linked militants in late March. Coupled with a campaign of incitement, Palestinian factions created an environment conducive to further acts of terrorism by so-called lone-wolves and its own operatives.
Joe Truzman is a contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal.
In Arabic, Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas’ Organizations Praise Palestinian Terror
by Maurice Hirsch
Algemeiner, April 13, 2022
PA President Mahmoud Abbas may have issued a mealy-mouthed condemnation of the most recent attack in Tel Aviv, but organisations he heads were busy praising it (Photo: a katz, Shutterstock).
In an environment in which terror against Israel and Israelis is promoted, encouraged, and even rewarded — all on a daily basis — it wasn’t surprising to see the plethora of Palestinian announcements praising the terror attack in Tel Aviv on April 7, in which three Israelis were murdered and many others were injured.
Among those praising the attack were Fatah and its terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP); and the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF), all of which are members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
While Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas issued a mealy-mouthed condemnation in which he said that “killing Palestinian and Israeli civilians will only lead to an additional deterioration of the situation,” all the organizations he heads (Fatah, the PLO, etc.) were busy glorifying it.
Fatah praises the Tel Aviv terror attack
At the house of the terrorist on the morning after the attack, Fatah’s military wing lauded the murderer:
Declaring terrorist Ra’ad Hazem a “Martyr” — the highest honor achievable in Islam, according to the Palestinian Authority — the Fatah secretary in Jenin, Ata Abu Rmeileh, said that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Fatah were accompanying the terrorist “to his wedding” (a Martyr’s funeral is considered a wedding to the 72 virgins in Paradise in Islam):
On this blessed day, the first Friday of the [Muslim fasting] month of Ramadan, we in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and the Fatah Jenin branch … accompany to his wedding one of the Fatah and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leaders in the Jenin refugee camp and Palestine.
[Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), April 8, 2022]
Echoing the PA and Fatah incitement, as exposed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), that Jews who visit the Temple Mount are carrying out “invasions” and “attacks,” Abu Rmeileh justified the Tel Aviv shooting attack, saying that “this time the Palestinian action is powerful and influential” and that the terrorist was merely “responding” to the “occupations crimes.”
PA Jenin District Governor Akram Rajoub praises terrorists killed attacking Israeli civilians (Screenshots provided courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch).
PA Jenin District Governor Akram Rajoub also praised the attack, saying that the terrorist Hazem and another terrorist, Ahmed Al-Sa’adi, who was a member of the internationally designated terror organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and who was killed in a confrontation with Israeli forces, are “Martyrs” who “died with might and pride for “Palestine, Al-Aqsa, and Jerusalem”:
Declaring that while Fatah and PIJ may have policy differences, they are united in their devotion to the terrorists, Rajoub added:
…we are divided regarding policy … but we are not divided [over the fact] that our children’s blood is pure when it flows while standing against the occupation. This is the policy and the idea that we need to implant in the minds of our children.
[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, April 10, 2022]
The Fatah Movement Spokesperson in Gaza, Mundhir Al-Hayek, also used the PA libels that Israel “assassinates” innocent Palestinians, is carrying out attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is provoking “Muslims’ sensibilities,” to justify the murders of Israel civilians:
The occupation bears responsibility for the escalation … the Palestinian people’s response comes as part of a natural response to the policy of assassinations, killing, and attacks in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the provocations of the Muslims’ sensibilities, particularly in the blessed [Muslim fasting] month of Ramadan.
[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, April 7, 2022]
Head of the Fatah Movement Mobilization and Organization Commission’s Information Office Munir Al-Jaghoub used similar tropes to claim that it was the actions of Israel that “have led the young Palestinians to defend themselves.”
PLF praises the Tel Aviv terror attack
Consistent with the Palestinian approach that all Jews who live anywhere in Israel are “settlers,” the PLF, another member of the PLO, welcomed the “heroic quality self-sacrificing operation” that “led to the deaths and wounding of a number of settlers.”
The DFLP, which is also a PLO member, similarly praised the attack, calling it a “self-sacrifice operation” that took place in “the heart of the occupation” and which heralded an improvement of the “resistance.”
Terrorist’s father praises the attack
While it may not surprise anyone to hear terror-supporting organizations praising acts of terror, it is somewhat counter-intuitive that a father would openly praise his son for going on an indiscriminate shooting spree, murdering three innocent people in a vicious terror attack.
But when you are entirely immersed in the PA culture of promoting and glorifying the murder of Israelis, it is a “natural” reaction:
Fathi Hazem, the father of Martyr Ra’ad [Hazem], who carried out the Tel Aviv operation that took place yesterday evening [April 7, 2022] and caused the deaths of two and the wounding of 14 including four in serious condition [one victim later died of his wounds], gave a speech in front of his home in Jenin.
Fathi Hazem said: “You will see the victory in your generation and in your era, in the coming years and the coming days. Your eyes will see the change and you will achieve your freedom, your independence, and victory, Allah willing.” …
He expressed his pride in Ra’ad, who raised the flag and sacrificed for the sake of Palestine. [emphasis added]
[Sama News, independent Palestinian news agency, April 8, 2022]
US designation of the PLO as a terror organization must remain
As PMW recently noted, one of the Palestinian expectations of the Biden administration is to revoke the 1987 designation of the PLO as a terror organization.
Fatah, including its terror wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, was responsible not only for the Tel Aviv attack, but also for many others. The PFLP was responsible for the August 2019 terror bombing that murdered 17 year-old Rina Shnerb and seriously injured her father and brother. Clearly, when members of the PLO are still actively involved in terror and others openly praise and justify terror, it would be entirely unreasonable to even consider the Palestinian request.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, Adv. is the Head of Legal Strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article first appeared.
Why Palestinians Celebrate the Murder of Jews
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Gatestone Institute, April 12, 2022
- [T]he celebrations once again prove that a Palestinian who murders a Jew is a hero, whereas one who seeks peace with Israel is a traitor.
- Here is an inconvenient truth for Blinken: the poll that was conducted one week before he arrived in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, showed that most Palestinians (58%) are opposed to the two-state solution. Why? They do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.
- These Palestinians want peace without Israel, not peace with Israel. The only peace they envision is one where Israel would cease to exist.
- That is why — as this and previous polls have shown — most Palestinians continue to support Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel.
- Praising the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on April 9, “These recurring heroic operations prove a clear fact — that there is no future for the Jews on our Palestinian land.”
- [I]t is leaders such as Zahar whom the Palestinians would prefer as their president. A Palestinian leader who talks about destroying Israel or murdering Jews has a better chance of being elected than one who states that he is opposed to terrorism and wants to work towards achieving a two-state solution.
- Palestinians have been radicalized… by their leaders to the point where peace with Israel or a two-state solution is seen as an opportunity to slaughter.
- The Biden administration, meanwhile, continues to pretend that Abbas and his government are credible partners, and that Israelis and Americans can do business with them.
- It would have been more useful had Blinken denounced the celebrations and publicly pressured the Palestinian leadership immediately to halt the massive campaign of incitement against Israel and the glorification of Palestinians who murder Jews.
- It is time for the Biden administration and other Western donors to start banging on the table and demanding an end to the poisonous campaign to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews. Until that happens, we will continue to see Palestinians dancing and handing out candy because Jewish blood flows at their feet.
The celebrations that took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the recent terror attacks in Israel are yet another sign of the growing radicalization among the Palestinians and their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The expressions of joy, when Palestinians took to the streets to hand out sweets and chant slogans in support of the terrorists, are reminiscent of the celebrations that took place when then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired missiles at Israel in 1991 during the First Gulf War, or when Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups carried out suicide bombing attacks, murdering hundreds of Israelis during the Second Intifada, which erupted in 2000.
Apart from demonstrating the Palestinians’ disrespect for human life and support for terrorism, the celebrations once again prove that a Palestinian who murders a Jew is a hero, whereas one who seeks peace with Israel is a traitor.
A public opinion poll published on March 22 found that Palestinian support for an “armed struggle” against Israel has risen from 42% three months ago to 44%.
In the lexicon of the Palestinians, “armed struggle” is a euphemism for various forms of terrorism against Israel, ranging from rock-throwing to shooting, stabbing, car-ramming, rocket salvos and suicide bombing attacks.
The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showed that a majority of 70% opposes a resumption of the peace process with Israel.
If new elections for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) were held today, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist group that seeks to destroy Israel, would defeat PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the results of the survey. Additionally, a majority of Palestinians said that they would vote for Hamas in a parliamentary election.
Another 73% of the Palestinian public want the 86-year-old Abbas to resign. Previous polls have indicated that nearly 80% of the public wants to see Abbas step down.
While most Palestinians are saying that they want to see their president depart from the scene, the US administration seems to be among the few parties in the international arena that continue to deal with Abbas and pin hopes on him regarding the so-called two-state solution and peace with Israel.
After his last meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on March 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again repeated the Biden administration’s “commitment to the basic principle” of the two-state solution:
“Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live with equal measures of freedom, of opportunity, security, of dignity, and we believe that the most effective way, ultimately, to give expression to that basic principle is through two states.”
Here is an inconvenient truth for Blinken: the poll that was conducted one week before he arrived in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, showed that most Palestinians (58%) are opposed to the two-state solution. Why? They do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.
These Palestinians want peace without Israel, not peace with Israel. The only peace they envision is one where Israel would cease to exist.
That is why — as this and previous polls have shown — most Palestinians continue to support Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel.
For them, it is a religious duty to work toward the “liberation of all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Article 11 of the charter states:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered; it or any part of it, should not be given up.”
Article 15 says:
“The day that enemies usurp enemies usurp part of Muslim land, jihad [holy war] becomes the individual duty of every Muslim. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of jihad be raised.”
The Hamas charter also reminds Muslims of the famous saying of the prophet Mohammed:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind the stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Moreover, the poll found that a vast majority of Palestinians (73%) believes that the Koran contains a prophecy concerning the demise of Israel. However, the majority (57%) does not believe the assessment, stated by a few Muslim scholars, that verses in the Koran predict the exact year of the demise of Israel: 2022.
So, the vast majority of the Palestinians are convinced that the Koran does include reference to the demise of Israel, they just are not sure what year that will happen. This conviction is a clear expression of wishful thinking on the part of most Palestinians, especially those who were cheering, dancing and distributing sweets to celebrate the terror attacks that took place in the Israeli cities of Be’er Sheva, Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv in the past few weeks.
Praising the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on April 9, “These recurring heroic operations prove a clear fact — that there is no future for the Jews on our Palestinian land.”
As shown by the poll, it is leaders such as Zahar whom the Palestinians would prefer as their president. A Palestinian leader who talks about destroying Israel or murdering Jews has a better chance of being elected than one who states that he is opposed to terrorism and wants to work towards achieving a two-state solution.
For the Palestinians, it is much more important if one graduates from an Israeli prison than from any university. That is why former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a world-renowned economist and reformer educated in the US, won only two seats when his slate ran in the last parliamentary election in 2006. Fayyad’s lack of popularity is mainly attributed to the fact that he never served time in an Israeli prison for murdering or wounding a Jew or engaging in terror activity against Israel.
Martyrdom poster praising Diya Hamarsheh, who murdered five people in the Israeli suburb of Bnei Brak on March 29, posted on the Facebook page of the Fatah Movement – Hebron Branch (Image courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch)
One of the reasons behind the rising radicalization of the Palestinians is the vicious incitement by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority against Israel and Jews.
In the days and weeks before the wave of terrorism began, the Palestinian leaders were telling their people that Jews are planning to desecrate and commit crimes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It is such libels that fuel the terrorists and increase their motivation to murder Jews. It is also this type of incitement that drives more Palestinians into the welcoming arms of Hamas and other extremists.
The Palestinians who are celebrating the murder of Jews have been told by their leaders that the terrorism aims to stop Israel from “committing crimes” against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This of course is completely false because since the beginning of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers have been freely and safely accessing the mosque for prayers.
That is another example of how Palestinian leaders have radicalized their own people to the point where the murder of young Jewish men enjoying their time in a bar in the center of Tel Aviv becomes a cause for public celebration. Palestinians have been radicalized and brainwashed by their leaders to the point where peace with Israel or a two-state solution is seen as an opportunity to slaughter.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, continues to pretend that Abbas and his government are credible partners, and that Israelis and Americans can do business with them.
It would have been more useful had Blinken denounced the celebrations and publicly pressured the Palestinian leadership immediately to halt the massive campaign of incitement against Israel and the glorification of Palestinians who murder Jews.
Ignoring the scenes of jubilation on the Palestinian street and continuing to pretend that the Palestinian Authority is a reliable partner for peace will only lead to further violence and bloodshed. It is time for the Biden administration and other Western donors to start banging on the table and demanding an end to the poisonous campaign to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews. Until that happens, we will continue to see Palestinians dancing and handing out candy because Jewish blood flows at their feet.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.