Krugel: Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis becoming “the new normal?”
Are Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis becoming “the new normal?” For the sake both of Israelis and Palestinians, they’d better not be. For that would carry a high price in bloodshed and in pushing the possibility of peace further and further away.
In Israel and the West Bank, terrorists have killed or injured Israeli men, women and children on a daily basis. Because of the randomness of the attacks — knifings, cars driven into groups of pedestrians and attempted kidnappings — some Israelis are becoming too frightened to leave their homes.
We expect Hamas and other terror groups to do all they can to promote anti-Israeli violence. But what are we to make of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?
“We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem,” he declared. He promotes the lie that Israel plans to take over the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques. He even claimed vigilante violence occurred against a Palestinian teenager who had stabbed Israeli civilians, that those who bravely disarmed him then also murdered him, when in reality he was receiving the best of medical care in an Israeli hospital.
No wonder recent public opinion polls show three out of four Palestinians say terrorism is justified. No wonder Palestinian religious leaders find a receptive audience when they use their mosques to celebrate and revere the perpetrators of murder and maiming as “holy martyrs.”
Some journalists have only added to the problematic atmosphere through distorted or inaccurate reporting, and not providing context to the circumstances surrounding them. But the reality is clear to all who seek it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly and without qualification that there will be no change in the longstanding status quo on the Temple Mount. A prohibition on non-Muslim prayer and limits to visits by non-Muslims will remain unchanged. He has called for high level talks to calm the situation and to restart peace negotiations with no preconditions. But there’s nobody home among the Palestinians to take that call.
The international community bears some responsibility for this morass. Why won’t it insist that Abbas unequivocally condemn the violence, set the record straight, and do everything in his power to join with Israel in restoring calm? Why won’t it use the leverage that comes with the millions of dollars in aid it provides to Gaza to demand that the Hamas terror regime there stop inflaming the situation? What twisted sense of logic and justice led to the recent UNESCO vote reinforcing the Muslim connection to holy sites in Jerusalem while ignoring the historical Jewish connection there? Instead of unhelpful unilateral moves such as the UNESCO vote, the only path to peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians is direct negotiations between the two parties.
In recent days, a sliver of hope has emerged. With American mediation, steps may be taken to ease tensions on the Temple Mount.
But until the violence subsides, the Detroit Jewish community calls upon people of goodwill of all faiths to stand in solidarity with our Israeli brothers and sisters as they confront this newest version of Palestinian terror. We urge all to raise their voices against the terrorists, the violent demonstrations and the rocket fire. And we urge our elected officials in Washington, D.C., to sustain America’s unwavering support for Israel.
Dr. Richard Krugel is president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit.