Michael Dickson
Executive Director, StandWithUs - Israel

How the Palestinian Authority Killed Eden

Amidst the silence that followed from the Palestinian Authority in the immediate aftermath of Private Eden Atias’s murder, a quiet comment by an unnamed spokesman to the New York Times, suggesting that this was an isolated incident. A Palestinian had stabbed an Israeli to death on a bus in broad daylight, but it was “an isolated incident by an individual”.

Isolated, it was not. Eden, who was 19 years old, was murdered by a 16 year old Palestinian. Unlike the Islamists who are currently standing trial for the killing of Private Lee Rigby on a London street, an attack which has clear parallels, Eden’s murderer was a teenager. Standing behind this teenage killer who, seeing his victim sleeping on the bus they both rode on, stabbed him repeatedly, was the apparatus of the Palestinian Authority.

From cradle to grave, indoctrination against Israelis and Jews is centrally institutionalized by the Palestinian leadership. The propaganda spans genres, from formal education to media and the internet, from official speeches, to provisions for youth to sports and cultural activities. Here is just a short overview of how Palestinians are living in an institutionalized culture of hate:


A Palestinian can be born into this world at the “Alshaheed (Martyr) Thabet Thabet” hospital in Tulkarm named for the leader of the violent Palestinian Tanzim group. Conversely, Israeli hospitals are quick to treat Palestinian patients, including at times of conflict. Yet rather than celebrate this, official PA newspapers often cover wild accusations of Israelis who allegedly harvest organs or conduct medical experiments on Palestinians – claims aimed to dehumanize Israel and Israelis.

Eden Atias, 19
Eden Atias was 19 and sleeping on an Israeli bus when his 16 year old Palestinian attacker murdered him


There are a large number of terrorism-lionizing schools in Gaza and under Palestinian Authority control. Dalal Mughrabi was behind the infamous 1978 bus bombing in which 37 Israelis, ten of them children, were murdered. There is a Dalal Mughrabi school in Gaza, a Dalal Mughrabi High School in Hebron and a Dalal Mughrabi kindergarten in Hebron too. What should we assume that students at these supposedly-educational institutions learn about their school’s namesake?

Indeed, Palestinian Media Watch has compiled a long list of the schools named after so-called “Martyrs”.

Since Israel-inciting hatred in official Palestinian textbooks has been well-documented (you can read a report on them here), we can only assume that Eden’s murderer had this as part of this educational school diet.

Now, Eden’s murderer will likely be able to continue his education in an Israeli prison. Meanwhile, his peers will be studying at Palestinian universities, where, like in the allegedly-moderate Al Quds University, radical anti-Israel rallies are held. One of Al Quds founding trustees is Saeb Erekat, who is heading up the Palestinian team to negotiate peace with Israel.

al quds
Campus scenes at the ‘moderate’ Al-Quds University. The Western-funded university authorities have on at least three occasions so far this academic year tolerated such Fascist-style displays by students. Photo courtesy: Tom Gross


Eden’s murderer would have been aged around nine or ten when Hamas TV appropriated Mickey Mouse to radicalize children. That’s the same age as the girl in this TV program “Tomorrow’s Pioneers”, who preaches Palestinian supremacy while “Mickey” gestures shooting an AK-47.

And in this kids show, from the Palestinian Authority, kids are told that Jews are “our enemies” and that Israeli soldiers are “wild animals”. There are innumerable examples of such programs. When you dehumanize others this way, it makes it much easier to condition someone – like Eden’s murderer – to kill them.

The Arts

PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, also invests in the Arts. Earlier this year, he donated $6,000 to the Dalal Group for Popular Arts, a dance troupe. But when those performers are dancing, they are doing so in the name of the aforementioned Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist by any measure.

Indeed, music is a key tool for spreading the PA’s anti-Israel message. Last month, the PA Ministry of Culture sponsored an art conference focusing on ‘Palestinian Folklore and Arts, Palestine in Musical Memory’, which glorified violence against Israelis though music.


Sport can bring people together, something that the Peres Center for Peace has worked hard  to do, staging matches between young Israelis and Palestinians. But Palestinian leaders don’t just resist this attempt to set up friendly matches, they use sport to indoctrinate young Palestinians with hate against Jews and Israelis. This very month, Palestinian football teams were named after terrorists. This is nothing new: countless sports tournaments and championships have been named in memory of killers.

Internet and Social Media

Social Media provides a great platform for Palestinian-led hate. Consider Twitter. The Alqassam Brigades of Hamas are never afraid of showing how they feel (even in English!) and Hamas was quick to take to Facebook to celebrate the attack on Eden and to encourage similar attacks.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg. State-funded anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Western propaganda is, unfortunately, nothing new. Although I have focused on how the Palestinian leadership is poisoning minds daily, we see it in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world and in other dictatorships. This incitement is taking place not just under the radical leadership of Hamas but also in President Abbas’s PA – with whom Israel is being encouraged to sign a comprehensive peace deal.

All countries that provide finances to the Palestinian Authority should be crying out and demanding: Enough! No more funding until this stops.

I distinctly remember my children watching a feature on the Israeli version of Sesame Street about Egypt. The narrator spoke in glowing terms about the country, its history and its people. Peace will come when Arab countries screen a similar kids TV show about Israel.

Jews are understandably sensitive to anti-Semitic propaganda – we know where it can lead. The Nazi dictatorship had 12 years to institutionalize anti-Semitism into the fabric of life in Germany. The Palestinian leadership has had decades. We should not be surprised that the result is radical, murderous individuals, who enact what they have been taught to do. But we should be surprised, and shocked, when this occurs at the behest of those with whom we are supposedly negotiating a peace deal.

We Israelis – and people of conscience in general – do not rejoice when bad things happen to others; even those who are in conflict with us. As the Arab Middle East is aflame, our hearts go out to those caught in conflict, whether they are the Christian Copts facing persecution in Egypt, innocent Palestinians who suffer under the jackboot of Hamas or the Syrian men, women and children slaughtered daily by Assad. This week, Hamas celebrated the murder of 19 year-old Eden, as they have done with many, many terrorist attacks in the past, a lot of which they have perpetrated. Indeed, some Palestinians danced in street and gave out candy on the day that the World Trade Center was blown up on 9/11. The seeds for such action are sown early.  Reviewing the Palestinian record of incitement, Golda Meir’s famous quote that “peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us” has never rung so true.

If we look upon these sentiments and acts of incitement as excusable, then we are the fools. It is a moral imperative for us not to look at American and Israeli flags being burnt on the streets of Tehran or Gaza or kids shows being used to incite hatred and just shrug and say “well, that’s just how they are”. We must call out the duplicity of Palestinian and other Arab leaders who say one thing to the Western world in English and quite another in Arabic. And we must reject the wholesale, rotten, purveyance of hate that permeates Palestinian society.

We already know where this leads. It leads to people strapping bombs to themselves and walking into shopping malls. It leads to people targeting nightclubs full of young people and blowing them up. And yes, it leads a Palestinian teenager to stab a sleeping 19 year old Israeli to death on the bus they both rode.

About the Author
Michael Dickson is Executive Director of the StandWithUs Israel office. From the StandWithUs Center in Jerusalem, Michael leads an international team at StandWithUs - a respected provider of Israel educational material and programs - and oversees the international educational and outreach work of this non-profit organization. Michael regularly addresses audiences and broadcasts on issues pertaining to Israel and public diplomacy. Michael is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Communication (CIC) of Bar Ilan University, is an Honorary member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and was appointed to the Spectrum Forum of leading Executive Directors in Israel under the age of 40. He was named as the 14th most influential Jew on Twitter by JTA. Michael was listed in the Top 30 of "The Aliyah 100 List" of British immigrants to Israel, one of the "flag bearers who shape the State of Israel and made a significant contribution". He was named one of the “30 Israelis Making a Difference” by Channel 10 TV’s “Hazinur” at a ceremony at the President of Israel’s Residence and is the 2019 recipient of the Bonei Zion prize, recognizing the achievements of outstanding Anglo immigrants and their contribution to the State of Israel. Views expressed are personal. Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/michaeldickson
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