The intra-Arab and intra-Muslim terrorism plaguing the Arab street has been a Middle East fixture since the seventh century emergence of Islam, driven by religious, political, tribal and ethnic megalomaniac aspirations and violent intolerance.
Terrorism dominated the Middle East long before the onset of the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, the re-establishment of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the controversy over Jerusalem, and the reconstruction of the Jewish state.
Against the backdrop of ruthless and persistent terrorism targeting fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims, one would expect the Arab/Muslim terrorism against the “infidel” Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Jew to be at least as ferocious. The U.S. in particular is considered the chief threat to terrorist regimes, morally and militarily. Hence it has been termed “the Great Satan” and the lead target for Islamic terrorism.
The perpetrators of Arab/Muslim terrorism, and Palestinian terrorism in particular, are never lone wolves, as they are sometimes described. They are the byproducts of a centuries-old intolerant ideology, supported by educational and religious indoctrination and incitement, operating systematically in kindergartens, schools, universities, mosques and regime-controlled media.
Arab/Muslim terrorists are not driven by social, economic and human rights grievances, but by an intense, fanatical worldview, which loathes civil liberties and considers freedoms of religion, press, association and movement, as well as women’s rights, an abomination. In fact, oppressed groups in the non-Muslim world rarely resort to terrorism.
Arab/Muslim terrorists are motivated by the conviction that their actions bestow upon them the honorific title of “shahid” — a martyr on the altar of Islam — fulfilling a Muslim mission, and advancing the commandment of jihad (Islamic struggle, resistance, war, expansion) against the “infidel” or the “apostate.” They expect to be rewarded by eternal glory, including the company of 72 pretty virgins in a sensual paradise, while women are, supposedly, rewarded with only one man.
The most effective production line of shahids was established by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993, compliments of the Oslo Accords, through the Palestinian education system. For example, the seventh grade textbook “Our Beautiful Language” states: “We shall sow Palestine with [martyrs’] skeletons and skulls; we shall paint the face of Palestine with blood. … We are returning home to the plains and mountains [of pre-1967 Israel], led by jihad flags, by bloody struggles and by the willingness to sacrifice ourselves as martyrs.”
Another textbook, the eighth grade “Islamic Studies,” says, “Jihad reserves a key role for youngsters, just like those who sought martyrdom during the days of the Prophet Muhammad.”
Many graduates of this education system are potential terrorists, who, unlike freedom fighters, target civilians deliberately and systematically. Their aim is to erode Israelis’ confidence in their government’s ability to protect them, frightening them into reckless concessions.
While Abbas does not voice the same message when speaking with Western, Israeli and Arab interlocutors, the message that he teaches his children reflects his true worldview, as do the monthly allowances paid to relatives of suicide bombers and the naming of streets, squares, summer camps and sports tournaments after terrorists. As a result, Palestinian youth idolize shahids, jihad, bloodshed and families of suicide bombers, while delegitimizing the Jewish state as an immoral entity deserving annihilation.
Palestinian terrorism has been driven not by the size but by the very existence of the Jewish state, as evidenced by the waves of anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism before Israel’s establishment, before the 1967 resumption of Jewish control of Judea and Samaria, and following a series of Israeli concessions, such as the 2005 uprooting of all Jewish communities from Gaza, the 2000 offer by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, and the 1993 import of the PLO from Tunisia to Ramallah.
The battle against Palestinian terrorism is undermined by the futile focus on the symptoms (individual terrorists) rather than the root cause (hate education). In other words, let us not chase individual mosquitoes; let us instead drain the swamp.
Counterterrorism is further undermined by the immoral-moral equivalence applied to Palestinian perpetrators and their Israeli victims; by the knee-jerk pressure of Israel urging sweeping concessions and restraint, thereby emboldening terrorists; ignoring Abbas’ terrorist/subversive track record in order to promote wishful-thinking; and extending counterproductive financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which bankrolls hate education.
For instance, the annual $400 million the U.S. gives to Abbas — which is more than the combined aid from all the Arab oil producers — has not reduced terrorism and non-compliance, has not shifted Palestinians toward peaceful coexistence, and has not eliminated hate education.
Congress would not support hate education within the U.S., but supports hate education in the Palestinian Authority, thereby undermining the civil liberties of most Palestinians. The Palestinians, in turn, abhor the corrupt, oppressive, terroristic “Tunisian Gang” of Abbas and his associates, which was imposed on them by the Oslo Accords.
The suspension of foreign aid to, and all communications with, Abbas, the hate educator, would communicate the message that hate education is the antithesis of core U.S. values; that hate educators should not benefit from the largesse of the U.S. taxpayer; and that hate educators on the one hand, and compliance with agreements and peaceful coexistence on the other, constitutes a scandalous oxymoron.