Blaming the victim, part II

For part I, click here.

Americans have difficulty in grasping the random nature of the stabbings, stoning and car-ramming attacks against Israelis. This is, in large part, is due to a basic assumption that everyone aspires to the same goals of a productive life and a positive future for their family and children asserts Elan Journo, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and its Director of Policy Research. The inability of Americans to accept that a majority of Palestinian Arabs do not share this vision undermines our ability to understand the underlying causes of the conflict. [19]

American leaders foster this common misconception. “Throughout the Middle East, there is a great yearning for the quiet miracle of a normal life,” declared President Bill Clinton during his remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principle on the South Lawn at the White House on September 13, 1993. [20]

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright quoted Clinton’s erroneous assessment of the desire for “the quiet miracle of a normal life” at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 8, 1997. [21] After visiting a school in Ramallah, Albright thought “The young Palestinians aren’t responsible for the unfair hand history has dealt them; they’ll never achieve what is fully fair in their eyes, but the peace process is the best path to the best deal they can get.” [22]


“Throughout the Middle East, there is a great yearning for the quiet miracle of a normal life,” declared President Bill Clinton.

At Camp David in 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasir Arafat 94 percent of Judea and Samaria; ten years later, Ehud Olmert offered Abbas 93.6 percent with a one-to-one land swap. In other words, expansion has not significantly reduced the land available for establishing a Palestinian Arab state. [23] Abrams said that there “has been no deliberate policy or government push to expand settlements; on the contrary, there have been official constraints. The government has officially approved only 9,197 residential construction permits in the entirety of Judea and Samaria (i.e., the entire West Bank including the major blocs, excluding Jerusalem) in the six years since Netanyahu took office in 2009. Approximately two-thirds of those units approved were built inside the major blocs. That means only 500 or so units were approved each year for construction outside the settlement blocs.” [24]

At the Annapolis Conference, held on November 27, 2007 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, President George W. Bush insisted that “The Palestinian people are blessed with many gifts and talents. They want the opportunity to use those gifts to better their own lives and build a future for their children. They want the dignity that comes with sovereignty and independence. They want justice and equality under the rule of law. They want freedom from violence and fear. [25]

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice revealed her own confusion about the conflict during what she thought was an off the record meeting of leading international leaders, including former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Rice indicated she had no intention of drawing historical parallels or being too introspective, but as a young girl she grew up in Birmingham, Alabama “at a time of separation and tension.”

“Like the Israelis” she said, “I know what it is like to go to sleep at night, not knowing if you will be bombed, of being afraid to be in your own neighborhood, of being afraid to go to your church.” White separatists had bombed a local church killing four girls, including a classmate of hers.

She empathized with the Palestinian Arabs for she knew what it meant not being allowed to use only water fountains reserved for blacks or to be able eat in certain restaurants.

“I know what it is like to hear to that you cannot go on a road or through a checkpoint because you are Palestinian,” she said. “I understand the feeling of humiliation and powerlessness. There is pain on both sides,” Rice concluded. “This has gone on too long.” [26]

To equate the two experiences in any way reveals a profound lack of understanding of daily life in Israel. Palestinian Arabs must pass through checkpoints to ensure that the safety of the Israeli population from homicide bombers and others seeking to murder Israeli citizens. Once they cease trying to murder Jews, the checkpoints will be removed. As far as having separate facilities where they can eat or drink or be subjected to any Jim Crow law is simply a lie. [27]

President Obama added to this misreading of the conflict in an interview on Arab television network Al Arabiya in January 2009. During the discussion he affirmed that “regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams… who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” [28] He did not discuss the Palestinian Arab mothers who openly encourage their children to become homicide bombers. “What kind of society produces such mothers?” asks Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal’s foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor. “Whence the women who cheer on their boys to blow themselves up or murder the children of their neighbors?’[29]

Throughout his presidency, Obama has practically said nothing about the incessantanti-Semitic incitement in the Palestinian Arab media, schools and mosques. In his desire to reach a peace agreement, even at Israel’s expense, he has held the Jewish state responsible for failing to achieve an accord, without pressuring the PA to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish national homeland or for not relinquishing its demand for the “right of return,” calculated to devastate Israel demographically with the progenies of Palestinian Arab refugees. While labeling Hamas a terrorist organization and, at times, conceding Hamas’s objective of destroying Israel, the administration has barely expressed anything about Hamas’s or the PA’s public calls to murder the Jewish people. [30]

There are some Palestinian Arabs who share the hopes expressed by American leaders, but they are not in the majority. [31] Some Arabs even envy Israel’s principles of transparency, accountability and justice. Sufian Abu Zayda, a prominent Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister, praised Tel Aviv District Court’s decision to sentence former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison for corruption. “This verdict provides further evidence that the judicial system in Israel is fully independent in the wake of the separation between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as total freedom of the media,” Abu Zayda said, who is viewed as an expert on Israeli affairs. Though he and other Arabs continue to loathe Israel and seek her destruction, many openly express their esteem for the independence of her judicial system. [32]

The Palestinian Media Watch and The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) regularly publish TV clips and statements by Arab leaders and average citizens expressing their hatred of Jews and urging that they be murdered. Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV broadcast a statement in which former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh asserted, “We love death like our enemies love life!” [33]

During his Friday sermon in a Gaza mosque on October 23, Abu Hamza ‘Ashur revealed an explosive belt, and vowed: “The next martyrdom-seeking operations will be carried out with explosives belts… By Allah, we will annihilate you with it. We will turn you into lifeless corpses and into scattered body parts.” The sermon was posted on the Internet. [34]

On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users post photos of small children gripping knives, with captions venerating and inciting the stabbing of Jews. One account called “Stab” showed a toddler with a knife with the caption, “Teach your children to love Palestine and take up knives, Oh people of Palestine. The next generation will be the generation of stabbings and slaughter.” [35]

One video showed a Palestinian Arab mother celebrating the death of her son. ‎“This is the first time I see joy in my heart,”‎ she exclaimed. [36] A Children’s Show on Palestinian Arab TV praised Palestinian Arab attackers as “Young Heroes.” [37]

The official Fatah Facebook page published the picture and birth certificate of a newborn Palestinian Arab baby girl who has been named “Knife of Jerusalem.”[38] The PA street named after murderer who stabbed 2 Israeli civilians to death: “To honor Halabi, who carried out the stabbing and shooting attack against settlers in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem”[39] At a Gaza soccer league game aired on Amwaj Sport TV on October 10, 2015, a commentator greeted every scored goal as “a knife stabbing the bodies of the [Israeli] cowards, an axe tearing the veins of the idiots.” [40]

France’s recent effort to sponsor a Middle East peace conference is another example of how irresponsible outside interference enables the Palestinian Arabs to evade direct negotiations with the Israelis and avoid resolving the conflict. Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., had no doubt about the sincerity of the nation’s supporting the French initiative. Nevertheless, the plan, he said, will “only encourage the Palestinians to continue their 100 year campaign to destroy the one and only Jewish state.” He feared that “Such an effort will not only prevent peace today,” and could prevent peace “for decades to come” and bolster international efforts to delegitimize Israel.” Furthermore, the proposal ignores “the will of the free people who live in the most endangered democracy on Earth.”[41]

After meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Netanyahu explained why he would not attend a peace conference. “Peace,” he said, “just does not get achieved through international conferences, UN-style. It doesn’t get to fruition through international diktats or committees from countries around the world who are sitting and seeking to decide our fate and our security when they have no direct stake in it.

Peace is achieved through direct negotiations between the parties and in direct negotiations, the Palestinian leadership must face a stark choice and this choice is simple: recognize the Jewish state or continue educating your people that one day Israel will be gone. It will create a Palestinian state not to live side-by-side next to Israel, but to eliminate Israel.” [42]

Another example of damaging meddling in Israeli affairs occurred on April 16, 2016, when the executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution called “Occupied Palestine.” [43]

There is no mention of Jews ever being in Jerusalem and Judea or that the Temple Mount is the site of the two Temples. The Mount is referred to as al-Aqsa Mosque / Haram al Sharif. The name “Western Wall” is quotation marks, to indicate it is a fabricated name. The Al Buraq Wall has no quotation marks. The graves of Jewish cemeteries are described as “Jewish fake graves.” [44]

The United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom rejected the text. France, Spain, Sweden and Slovenia approved it. [45] In a letter to French President Francois Hollande, Netanyahu expressed his shock to see its “French friends raising their hands in favor of this disgraceful decision.” In a letter to the local French community, Hollande claimed the vote was a result of a “misunderstanding,” and that France would not support such resolutions in the future. [46]

Few will remember France’s ultimate rejection of the resolution that denies the historical and religious connection of the Jewish people to their holy sites, the ancient Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and to Jerusalem, their eternal capital. Israel’s enemies seek every opportunity to distort the Jewish bond the land of Israel. At a time when France is confronting a number of extremely pressing issues at home, including heighten threats of terrorism, illegal immigration, high unemployment and increased poverty, nothing is gained by focusing on a peace conference, which doomed to failure.

One of the fundamental problems is that the U.S. and the West have yet to internalize what the Palestinian Arabs continually affirm. “It does not matter what the Jews do. We will not let them have peace,” declared Ibrahim Mudeiris, the imam of the Ijlin Mosque, the oldest and largest mosque in the Gaza Strip. “They can be nice to us or they can kill us, it doesn’t matter. If we have a cease-fire with the Jews, it is only so that we can prepare ourselves for the final battle.” [47]

Sources:

[19] Elan Journo, “Why Americans Struggle to Understand Palestinian Violence,” The Times of Israel (October 21, 2015); Elan Journo, “Washington’s Pro-Hamas Foreign Policy,” Ayn Rand Institute (May 17, 2006); Elan Journo, “How America And Israel Cripple Their Own Soldiers,” The Federalist (October 8, 2015).

[20] William J. Clinton Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles,” The American Presidency Project (September 13, 1993); Shimon Peres also contributed to this delusionary euphoria: Shimon Peres with Arye Naor, The New Middle East (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1993).

[21] “Secretary of State-Designate Madeleine K. Albright Prepared statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Washington, D.C., (January 8, 1997).

[22] Madeleine Albright, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (New York: Miramax Books, 2003), 298; “Secretary of State-Designate Madeleine K. Albright Prepared statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Washington, D.C., (January 8, 1997).

[23] Abrams, “The Settlement Obsession,” op.cit.

[24] Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot, “Settling Settlements,” Foreign Affairs (April 16, 2015); an example of how Israel is blamed for intransigence, see Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, “Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors,” The New York Review of Books (August 9, 2001).

[25] “Text of Bush’s Remarks at Annapolis Conference, The New York Times (November 27, 2007); George W. Bush, Decision Points (New York: Crown Publishers, 2010), 403; see also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hard Choices (New York: Simon & Schuster; 2015), 305.

[26] Glenn Kessler, “Rice, Israeli Official Share Perspectives,” The Washington Post (November 29, 2007).

[27] Alex Grobman, Erosion: Undermining Israel Through Lies and Deception (Englewood, Cliffs, N.J. San Remo Press, 2015), 58-78; Gideon Israel, “Israel at Peace, Palestinians at War,” Frontpagemag (May 5, 2014).

[28] Adam Hutton, “Obama Addresses Muslim World On Arab Television,” CBS News (January 27, 2009).

[29] Bret Stephens, “Where are the Palestinian Mothers?” The Wall Street Journal (July 1, 2014); “Muslim Woman From Gaza Brings Child To Israeli Hospital. Hopes He Grows Up To Be Suicide Bomber,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X38JLOks8Ho, (July 28, 2014); “Son’s death was “best day of my life,” says Palestinian mother – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Vi9oNs42hs, (July 22, 2009).

[30] Kenneth Levin, “America’s Institutional Enablers of the New Anti-Semitism,” Frontpagemag (April 21, 2015); Jackson Diehl, “Abbas’s Waiting Game on Peace With Israel,” The Washington Post (May 29, 2009); Khaled Abu Toameh, “What Is Abbas Trying to Achieve?” Gatestone (April 25, 2014); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik “Abbas honors cartoonist who promotes hatred and violence,” Palestinian Media Watch (October 25, 2015); Khaled Abu Toameh, “Abbas Calls for Murder, Palestinians Attack,” Gatestone (October 7, 2015); Mahmoud Abbas, “The Long Overdue Palestinian State,” The New York Times (May 16, 2011); David Horovitz, “12 ways the US administration has failed its ally Israel,” The Times of Israel (June 3, 2014); Obama admin using media against Israel,” Legal Insurrection (August 2, 2013); Lally Weymouth, “A new two-state strategy for peace,” The Washington Post (May 31, 2015); Bret Stephens, “The Orwellian Obama Presidency, The Wall Street Journal (March 23, 2015); Bret Stephens, “Israel Alone,” The Wall Street Journal; (April 20, 2015); Bret Stephens, “A Speech Netanyahu Must Give,” The Wall Street Journal (February 2, 2015) Bret Stephens, “The President Against the Historian,” The Wall Street Journal (June 29, 2015); Ben Shapiro, “Six Lessons to Learn From Palestinian Knife Intifada,” Breitbart News (October 19, 2015); Micah Halpern, “Double Standards and Doublespeak Pits the US Against Israel,” Observer News (October 26, 2015); Daniel Pipes, Nothing Abides: Perspectives on the Middle East and Islam (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, (2015); Khaled Abu Toameh, “Peace Talks: What Is Behind The Palestinian Message?” Gatestone (September 10, 2013).For examples of how Obama bullied Israel, see Oren Ally; Michael B. Oren, “How Obama Abandoned Israel,” The Wall Street Journal (June 16, 2015; Michael Oren Interviewed by Daniel Pipes,” Frontpagemag (July 20, 2015); Shoshana Bryen, “U.S.: Israel’s Prosperity a Problem,” Gatestone (May 24, 2013); Jeffrey Goldberg, “Obama to Israel — Time Is Running Out,” Bloomberg View (March 2, 2014).

[31] Bassem Eid, “We Palestinians hold the key to a better future,” The Times of Israel (February 12, 2015; see also “Saudi-Born Singer Shams Bandar: Why Do We Pin All Our Problems on the West?” MEMRI TV Clip No. 5096 (October 25, 2015).

[32] Khaled Abu Toameh, “Arabs: We Want Democracy – Like Israel,” Gatestone (May 16, 2014).

[33] Itamar Marcus, “Hamas: We “love death for Allah” Palestinian Media Watch (July 31, 2014); M. Shemesh and R. Green, “ISIS Campaign: Encouraging Palestinians To Carry Out Lone Wolf Attacks,” MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Series Report 1195 (October 20, 2015); “Gaza University Dean Of Quranic Studies Approves Killing Jewish Women And Children,” MEMRI TV Clip No. 5122 (October 23, 2015); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA goes back to the Middle Ages for blood libels,” Palestinian Media Watch (October 19, 20124).

[34] “Gaza Preacher Displays Explosives Belt In Friday Sermon, Says: We Will Turn You Into Scattered Body Parts,” MEMRI TV Video Clip #5125 (October 23, 2015).

[35] “Social Media As A Platform For Incitement — Part III: Posting Pictures Of Small Children Wielding Knives As Praise, Encouragement For Terrorism,” MEMRI Special Dispatch 6197 (October 23, 2015).

[36] “Palestinian mother celebrates her son’s death: ‎ ‎“This is the first time I see joy in my heart”‎ Palestinian Media Watch (September 21, 2014).

[37] “Children’s Show on Palestinian TV Praises Palestinian Attackers as “Young Heroes,’” MEMRI Video Clip 5121 -Al-Kitab TV Palestine (October 16, 2015); also see Palestinian Mother – Grupo Informacion Costa Rica-Israel | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/155971447763765/videos/1151073728253527; Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik , “Fatah fuels attacks against Israelis #so what- new hashtag promotes Palestinian acts of violence, and conveys their attitude of indifference toward Israel, Palestinian Media Watch (November 10, 2015); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA promotes rock-throwing – It will lead to “Victory” and “Freedom,” Palestinian Media Watch (November 9, 2015); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Fatah to kids: Water the ground “with blood,” Palestinian Media Watch (December 29, 2015).

[38] Itamar Marcus, Palestinian baby girl named “Knife of Jerusalem” Palestinian Media Watch (October 26, 2015).

[39] Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA street named after murderer who stabbed 2 Israeli civilians to death: “To honor Halabi, who carried out the stabbing and shooting attack against settlers in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem,” Palestinian Media Watch (October 26, 2015).

[40] “Gaza Soccer Commentator Hails Goals As Knives Stabbing Israelis, Axes Tearing Their Veins,” MEMRI TV Clip No. 5111 (October 19, 2015); Itamar Marcus, “Fatah’s response to yesterday’s PMW bulletin: Fatah reiterates that it honors murderer of 24 and says there will be peace only when Israelis leave Israel,” Palestinian Media Watch (May 19, 2016).

[41] Michael Wilner, “Dermer blasts ‘narrative’ of a moderate Iran and a peaceful Palestine,” The Jerusalem Post (May 23, 2016); Arutz 7 Staff, “Israel rejects ‘peace’ initiative ahead of French FM visit,” Israel National News (May 13, 2016); The Tower Staff, “France Sets Date For International Peace Conference Without Israelis, Palestinians,” The Tower (May 20, 2016).

[42] PM Netanyahu’s Statement at his Meeting with French PM Manuel Valls,” The Prime Minister’s Office. (May 23, 2016).

[43] http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002443/244378e.pd.

[44] Guy Millière, “Time to Leave UNESCO – Again,” Gatestone (May 17, 2016); Michael Curtis, “UNESCO’s resolution of hate against Israel,”thecommentator (May 11, 2016).

[45] Millière, op.cit.

[46] Barak Ravid, “France’s Hollande: Support of UNESCO Temple Mount Resolution Was a ‘Misunderstanding,’” Haaretz (May 14, 2016); Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Hollande’s presidency: France, Israel and the Jews,” Israel National News (May 19, 2016); Shoshana Bryen, “French Political Gymnastics & How to Help the Palestinians,” Gatestone Institute (May 24, 2016).

[47] Jeffrey Goldberg, “Unforgiven,” Atlantic (May 2008).