I’ve spent many years studying the Israel/Palestinian situation and am aware that in a far away country like New Zealand, it’s a difficult issue to understand.
It’s complicated. Its context; geographically, historically and culturally and politically is little understood.
So this will be the first of a number of videos, where I’ll try to shed light on some of the issues concerning Israel and the Palestinians and hopefully spark conversation.
Today I’ll want to talk about terrorism.
Last week two young men in their late twenties, were murdered in Tel Aviv by a terrorist. Tomer Mordad and Eitam Megini were childhood friends and flat-mates. They’d agree to meet up with friends at a pub in Dizengoff street and had arrived early. A few days later, they were buried by their families. A third man, Barak Lufan also died from his wounds – a 35 year old father of 3 beautiful children.
In the past month there have been four terrorist attacks in Israel in four different locations, leaving 14 people dead and many more injured.
So what is behind these terror attacks?
This year, as in other years, there has been an intensification of tension in the lead up to Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims. It’s a time when religious and national sentiments are heightened.
Palestinian Media Watch observed that the Palestinian Authority stirred up tensions by once again issuing false claims that Israel was seeking to escalate violence and destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Those calls were then used as a means to sitr up hatred and recruit Palestinians to conduct terror attacks.
There have been direct calls for violence using language that demonizes Israel and Israelis.
For those who are unaware, the PA control the West Bank or Judea/Samaria, which is sandwiched between Israel and Jordan.
At the southern end of Israel is Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a designated terror organisation.
According to Udi Dekel – Institute for National Security Studies:
Hamas in close coordination with Palestinian Islamic Jihad orchestrated the recent terror campaign. Dekel claimed that four coordination meetings recently took place in Lebanon between the military leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Hamas has run an intensive incitement campaign targeting Palestinian youth and adults alike, in which they encourage self-sacrifice in the name of a religious-national goal.
Palestinians who murder Jews are treated as heroes, whereas those who seek peace with Israel are regarded as traitors.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have issued statements praising the attacks in the aftermath of every incident.
Hamas Official Talal Nassar said:
“We Will Trample over the Skulls of the Zionists; Israel Will Be Annihilated, Palestine Will Be “Either Ours or Ours”.
While these deadly attacks were taking place Palestinian social media was filled with clips praising the attacks; with incitement supporting the violence and encouraging future attackers.
Celebrations were held and candy was handed out in the streets.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas re-affirmed that payments to terrorists and their families are a top priority.
This is the leader who in 2015 said,
“We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”
This is the man whom many consider Israel’s “peace partner.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking the attacks stem from poverty – the terrorists from Umm el-Fahm came from a well-to-do family. Studies have found that those who engage in terrorism tend to be of higher economic status and also have higher educational attainment than their counterparts in the population.
To quote a recent Jerusalem Post op-ed by Michael Freund, “The bottom line is that despair does not create terrorists; doctrine does”.
Palestinians have been indoctrinated with the narrative that Jews don’t belong in this region, that they are foreign colonisers and usurpers of Palestinian land.
These claims are a-historical and a-contextual. Jews are the indigenous people of the land with more than 3,000 years of continuous presence in the land. This fact is affirmed by historical sources, archeological genetic evidence.
But more than this adoption of a false historical narrative, Palestinians are brought up with an ideology of Jew hatred which is pushed from babyhood, through the school curriculum, in the mosques, so that by the time they are young adults, many are driven to become martyrs for a greater cause.
The only peace they envision is one where Israel would cease to exist. This is what the chant ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ means. That the whole area will be Palestine and will be free of Jews.
These terror attacks are not about poverty, nor about reclaiming land, at its core it is motivated by an ideology and culture of Jew hatred.
Sadly, you won’t hear much about this in the media, until Israel’s attempts to protect its people leads to Palestinian casualties. Then the media and international community will jump up and down about it. Israel is generally portrayed as the aggressor when in fact it is the other way around.
You may think, well that’s sad, but what can we do about it? Well, actually, quite a lot.
The Western world is complicit in supporting Palestinian hatred of Israel – whenever it publishes reports full of lies about Israel, false claims of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, whenever the UN issues another resolution condemning Israel in a biased, disproportionate and demonising way. Whenever the West, including New Zealand turns a blind eye to terrorism against Israelis – while being quick to condemn Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens.
Sadly, NZ has even led the way in some of these actions such as UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which we co-sponsored in 2016, the funding of schools that promote incitement via the PA curriculum and the Amnesty International Report on Israel published last year, which was signed off by one of our own people. These actions and accusations go way beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.
While Israel mourns, Palestinians celebrate and the world is silent.