On January 17, Morad Adais, a fifteen-year-old Palestinian, entered the settlement of Otniel, and stabbed to death Dafna Meir, Hy’d, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of four and foster mother of two other children under five. Four of the children were in the house with here at the time of the stabbing, and were likely spared only because the diminutive woman fought so fiercely to protect them.
Dafna Meir was a nurse in the neuro-surgery department of Beersheba’s Soroko Hospital. Dr. Ahmed Nasser, a colleague in the department, described her as his “best friend” in the department. He spoke of how Meir was studying Arabic, as she told him, because “we are neighbors; we should speak in one language.”
Meir’s sheer goodness in taking foster children into her home, even her friendship with an Arab colleague, of course, meant nothing to her killer. All he sought was to kill a Jew, any Jew.
That pure hatred is nothing rare among Palestinian youth. Indeed it is the norm not the exception. Earlier this week, a thirteen-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and killed by a security guard as she attempted to stab him in the neck. And today, as I write, the Shin Bet revealed that it arrested last month twin eighteen-year-old sisters, who had been preparing pipe bombs for use against Jews.
A very high percentage of the Palestinian stabbers and would-be murderers over the last three months have been teenagers.
What could turn such young people into murderers or would-be murderers of complete strangers? Where does such pure hatred come from?
The answer is that these kids are indoctrinated from a young age to hate Jews, to glorify martyrdom in fighting against the Jews, and to view murdering Jews as a redemptive act. So thorough is the indoctrination in the school books they learn from, the TV they watch, the summer camps they attend that if they were not filled with rage against Jews and an eagerness to kill them it would be harder to explain.
After his capture, Morad Adais told his interrogators that just prior to the attack he had seen on Palestinian Authority TV a show about how Israel kills Palestinian youths without justification – executes them in the most cold-blooded fashion for no reason. The father of the thirteen-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed yesterday told reporters, “She had this urge. She saw on TV how they [the “martyrs”] die and their funerals.” And that seemed glorious to her.
The Shin Beit operatives who arrested the twin bomb makers found that not only had they learned how to build bombs from the Internet but had also been radicalized by Islamic videos urging women to play an equal role in terrorizing Jews.
The television of Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement urges, “drown them in a sea of blood, kill them as you wish.” And Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub, praises all those who die trying to kill Israelis as “heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian.” “[Palestinian are] going down from every house with cleavers and knives,” proclaims a currently popular Palestinian song.
For some religious Jews are the prize target. Ahlam Tamimi, the then twenty-year-old journalism student who accompanied the suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant, told an interviewer after she was released from prison in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap how the suicide bomber had sought her assurance that there would be many religious Jews in the Sbarro. As she explained, everyone understands that the struggle is between two religions – Judaism and Islam. The only regrets she had over the deaths of 15 Jews, including eight children, and the wounding of over 100, was that more did not die.
FROM THE OUTSET OF THE OSLO PROCESS, David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research, began following around Yasir Arafat with a camera and filming his speeches to Arab speaking audiences. Prime Minister Rabin once referred to him as the biggest obstacle to the Oslo process, albeit in somewhat more vulgar terms.
For the past decade, much of Bedein’s research has focused on UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East. In particular, the Center for Near East Policy Research has highlighted the “hate education” in UNRWA runs schools and summer camps. (During the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, rockets stored in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip were fired from those same schools. )
In the summer of 2000, the Center for Near East Policy Research purchased a full set of Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks and had them translated by Ph.D. level Arabic-speakers. Among those who requested the textbooks was Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio in Jerusalem, who told Bedein that the Pope wanted to see the textbooks. The Vatican subsequently concluded that the textbooks were both anti-Semitic and pro-war. As a consequence of the Vatican’s findings, the Italian government withdrew its funding of PA textbooks.
Subsequently, in a video entitled Camp Jihad, the Center showed how Palestinian children, more than a decade after the handshake on the White House lawn, were still being indoctrinated to believe that every inch of Israel – not just Judea and Samaria – belongs to them and that the Jews are interlopers with no claims. On field trips to the Mediterranean, the campers were taken to former Arab villages and assured that they will return.
That Palestinian children are being taught to hate Jews and seek the destruction of Israel comes as little surprise. From the outset of the Oslo process, the official organs of the PA have whipped Palestinians into a frenzy of hatred in Arabic, while offering a somewhat different message to the outside world. Who can forget the commercials on PA TV of Mohammed al-Dura, the fake martyr allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers at the Netzarim Junction in 2001, beckoning to other children to join him in martyrdom?
But what is truly scandalous is that much of this education is being funded by the United States, which picks up the tab for over one-third of UNRWA’s annual budget to the tune of $400 million. Despite that generosity, the United States has not seen fit to place conditions on the Palestinian textbooks used in UNRWA schools. (The textbooks themselves are partially funded by the EU and various European states.)
In July 2015, a U.S. State Department official met with Bedein and assured him that the newest Palestinian textbooks, which are also used in the UNRWA schools, would conform to the standards of peace education. The Center subsequently gathered a team under the direction of Dr. Arnon Groiss, an Arab-language journalist with a doctorate from Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies, to translate the most recently issued Palestinian textbooks.
And behold, nothing has changed. The modern state of Israel is repeatedly erased from the texts. Thus fifth-graders are taught that the land of the Levant, located north of the Ka’bah in Mecca is comprised of four modern states: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Math problems challenge students to calculate the number of years from the declaration of the State of Palestine (including all of present day Israel) proclaimed in Algiers in 1988.
Literature classes study a poem that asks students to contemplate “How would you respond if he [an alien person] claimed that the date palm grove/And the orange tree and your Arab olive trees/And yourself and your wife Salma and your decent sons/Are war spoils and seized possessions.” Another poem asks: “By your life! How come those snakes invade us . . . .”
A textbook on Islam quotes this hardy perennial also found in the Hamas Charter: “[It is told] by Abu Hurayrah [one of Mohammed’s companions that the Prophet said: The End of Days will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and Muslims will kill them to the point that a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and then the rock or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O G-d’s servant, there is a Jew behind me, so come and kill him’. . . .”
Jihad is openly advocated. Eleventh graders will study a poem “Palestine” that begins: “O brother, the oppressors have exceeded all bounds and Jihad and sacrifice are necessary . . . . ” And martyrdom is celebrated as in this seventh grade literature text: “Hearing [weapons] clash is pleasant to my ear/ And the flow of blood gladdens my soul/As well as a body thrown upon the ground/Skirmished over by desert predators/ . . . By your life! This is the death of men/And whoever asks for a noble death – this is it!”
THE RESULTS OF THIS NON-STOP INCITEMENT against Israel and Jews are precisely what one would expect. In a recent poll of Palestinians, a clear plurality chose “reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea” as the primary national goal for the next five years. Only a quarter of respondents, expect Israel to still exist in 25 years, and less than 15% in one hundred years.
That confidence that time is on their side and that Israel will cease to exist explains why the Palestinians have never been willing to emulate what the Jews did when they accepted a state on a sliver of the original mandate and built it. And it explains why, as even Labor Party head Isaac Herzog admitted last week, there is no foreseeable two-state solution in present circumstances.
Those circumstances include first and foremost a Palestinian populace marinated in hatred of Israel and dedicated to its destruction. Instead of blaming Israel for the stalled peace process, perhaps the United States should look in the mirror and consider the way it has consistently turned a blind eye to Palestinian incitement in its official media – not only ignored but indirectly helped finance.