From blaming the perpetrators to blaming the Palestinians

Something that has always amazed and saddened me about the Arab Israeli conflict is the ease with which just a couple of terrorists can affect the lives of millions. The rest of us are so used to it that we play along and even facilitate the insanity that drags us all down the rabbit hole. The events of the past couple of weeks provide the perfect example of this.

Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. On the day of their funerals an Arab boy, Abu Khdeir, aged 16 is kidnapped and murdered. As a result of that murder Palestinians are currently rioting in Jerusalem and the environs of the city. The media has reported that disturbances spread as far away as Ma’ale Adomim.

Jews are calling for revenge left, right and center and in all of the violence and unrest the names Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha have already begun to disappear from the public discourse. The first thing to be forgotten are the names of the terrorists themselves, then the name of the organization they’re members of. Soon it becomes simply “the Palestinians murdered our three boys”.

Everything that’s happening now is happening because of two terrorists and anyone else who helped them. Certainly no more than two dozen people and even that is a stretch. Now millions of Israelis and Palestinians are entangled in the web those two terrorists wove. Violence begot violence and now it’s an eye for an eye until all of us are blind.

We’ve been doing this for so long that we don’t even notice that we’re doing it. Every crime committed is offered up as proof that the entirety of the population of the ‘other’ is at fault. The blog posts on this website alone have been filled with calls to bomb the Palestinians, laying blanket blame on all of them and calling on Israel to enact even harsher measures upon the whole of Palestinian society. The comments have been even worse. 

And so, within the space of mere days no more than a handful of people have managed to pit Jew and Arab against each other in new waves of violence. Soon the acts that brought us to this point will have been forgotten entirely, replaced by new acts of violence that people will jump on to point to the savagery of the enemy. All the while forgetting that the number of people actually committing the savage acts are tiny in number. It is manipulation of the masses by the un-elected. It is handing control of events to the worst of us.

There are plenty of examples of extremists and terrorists affecting the pathways towards peace and diverting them towards conflict. The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir will forever stand out as an example of this, on a larger scale the Hamas suicide bombing campaign in the run up to the 1996 general election. Effectively bombing away the chances of Peres winning the election and killing the legacy of Rabin’s peace process.

Don’t make the mistake of labeling an entire society for the crimes of a few, be they Arab or Israeli, Muslim or Jew.

About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada