How We Reward and Perpetuate Terror

After five decades of excusing and rewarding Palestinian terror the world sees terror metastasize into a global epidemic. Yet millions who condemn the recent Jihadist terror attack on Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris fail to understand that Al-Qaida, IS (Islamic State) and other radical Muslim organizations have simply adopted the tactics that worked so well for the Palestinians.

Many examples illustrate this connection. For instance, on November 5 two Israeli residents of Jerusalem were run over by a Palestinian member of Hamas. This was the latest in a series of similar attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. The EU was silent on these incidents until December 17, when the General Court of the European Union rewarded Hamas by delisting it as a terrorist organization, citing “lack of evidence.”

The result was a series of copycat attacks in France. Four days after the EU court’s decision, a driver shouting “Allahu Akbar” deliberately plowed into eleven pedestrians in Dijon. Similar attacks occurred the day before in Joue-les-Tours and the day after in Nantes.

The parallels between decades of Palestinian terror and the current worldwide plague of Jihadist attacks are everywhere. The December attack on the Lindt Café in Sydney, Australia by an IS sympathizer brought to mind the 2001 Palestinian attack on Jerusalem’s Sbarro Pizza.

Similarly, the recent massacre of 145 school children in Peshawar by Pakistani Taliban had as its vicious precedent the 1974 Maalot massacre in which Palestinian terrorists murdered 25 hostages at an Israeli School.

At that time Israel alone was targeted and countries like France believed they could appease Palestinian terrorists by expressing sympathy for their cause, condemning Israel and pressuring her to make concessions. France, the United States, and most of the world still persist in this policy in spite of its total failure. When, more recently, Jihadists began attacking Jewish targets in France itself, the French media and elites portrayed these attacks as simple criminality and remained in denial regarding the threat posed by the underlying Jihadist ideology.

A further example of this mixed message on terrorism is the starkly different policies of Western leaders towards the Islamic State and Hamas. Hamas openly calls for Israel’s obliteration and has perpetrated innumerable suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Palestinians in Gaza who openly oppose Hamas policies are summarily executed, often in the most gruesome ways. Yet the world’s response has been to condemn Israel, in over 40 U.N. resolutions since 1972 with no resolutions condemning Hamas. When Hamas recently kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed a false moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorists and their Israeli victims, telling reporters “we feel all sides should exercise restraint.”

That “restraint” does not extend to IS. The entire Western world declares that IS must be eliminated. In the words of President Obama following the IS beheading of an American Journalist:

No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death…. the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed”.

It should come as no surprise that IS does not take such Western words of moral outrage at the murder of innocent civilians seriously. After all, Hamas is rewarded with EU recognition for doing exactly the same thing.

In over five decades of Palestinian terrorism thousands of Israelis have been murdered in the most brutal ways. These include Israeli citizens hacked to death with axes in Beth Shean; a baby grabbed from her mother’s arms in Nahariya, her head smashed against a rock; heavy equipment driven into cars and buses; countless bombings of buses, discos, supermarkets, and other crowded civilian venues; murderous home invasions; rockets and mortars aimed at civilian population centers; and tunnels dug for the specific purpose of kidnapping and murdering civilians, with even a nursery school among the targets.

If this brutality by the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah against Israelis has bought the Palestinians land, legitimacy and a seat at the U.N., why shouldn’t Al-Qaida, Chechenian Jihadists and Lashkar-e-Taiba believe that similar tactics are their path to world recognition? If Yasser Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, might not IS leader Al Baghdadi imagine that he too is eligible?

Until the world ceases to condone and reward Palestinian terrorism against Jews, it cannot expect to end the spread of terror to other groups around the world. Those who excuse and reward terrorism against Israel must realize that they will soon enough find it visited upon themselves.

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About the Author
Devin Sper was born and raised in New York and lived in Israel for 10 years. He holds a degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Devin Sper is the author of The Future of Israel, winner of a 2005 GLYPH award.
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