After two Palestinian Arabs aged just 17 and 14 stabbed and critically injured an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem last week, many were left wondering, why would such young children do such a thing?
The answer, of course, is brainwashing, which Palestinian children are submerged in every day at school and through local media.
Since the very start of the so-called “Oslo” peace process, one of Israel’s chief demands has been that the Palestinians halt all forms of incitement. But, despite the Palestinian leadership promising to do so, the incitement has only increased, demonizing not only Israelis, but the Jewish people in general.
Children are impressionable, and those who day-in and day-out hear their leaders railing against Israel and the Jews feel compelled to act. A particularly heinous example was a recent public speech by Fathi Hammad, the Hamas Minister of Interior for the Gaza Strip. And, while both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have since distanced themselves from Hammad’s antisemitic tirade (likely for international consumption), it is quite telling that the speech continues to be shared among Palestinians on social media.
In one of the more shocking (and perhaps more revealing) statements by a Palestinian leader in recent years, Hammad in mid-July said he was unsatisfied with the murder of Israelis, and urged Palestinians living around the world to kill Jews anywhere they can be found.
“All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, if Allah permits. Enough of the warming up,” said Hammad during a weekly demonstration at the Gaza-Israel border.
Acknowledging, yet again, that many Palestinians will never agree to the kind of peace that the international community imagines it is brokering, Hammad added:
“We will not recognize Israel. We were born to destroy this entity. …We are now in the waiting phase, but our patience has expired and we are ready to explode if the blockade [of Gaza] is not lifted. The explosion will not only be in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and abroad, with the help of Allah.
“If you [Israelis] do not remove the blockade, I swear we will murder you on behalf of Allah. We have established new factories to produce explosive belts. Anyone who wants a belt, we will give him one. We will die while blowing the Jews to pieces and cutting their throats. I hope this message goes to everyone.”
It was the kind of demonic vitriol that hasn’t been heard in some years, but which is a dangerous reminder of how distant genuine peace remains. In fact, many elements of the speech were echoes of what we’ve heard from ISIS. And like ISIS, it is now clear that Hamas can not be separated into a “military wing” and a “political branch.” It is a terrorist organization through-and-through. As such, it will never recognize and live in peaceful coexistence with Israel and the Jews, and it must be remembered that in the last Palestinian election, the public voted Hamas into power.
And it is these leaders and their poisonous rhetoric that must be held wholly accountable when Palestinian children set off with knives to carry out stabbings on the streets of Jerusalem.