Peace and Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Response

Monica Sager, Scarlet Staff

On February 7, Noor Almaslamani published an article titled “A Stateless State? Palestine…to Where?” in which she states that “Palestinians have been trying to implement a peace plan with the Israelis for so long now.” This claim does not account for the many decades in which the Palestinian leadership has incited violence, sponsored terrorism, and disseminated antisemitic rhetoric.

Since its founding in 1959, leaders from Fatah, the party currently in control of the Palestinian Authority, have regularly called for the destruction of the State of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews from both Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Consider the words of former president and PLO co-founder, Yasser Arafat, who represented the Palestinians on the global stage until his death in 2004:

“We shall never stop until we can go back home and Israel is destroyed… The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromises or mediations… the goal of this violence is the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in all its political, economic, and military aspects… We don’t want peace, we want victory. Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else.”

For decades under Arafat’s command and rhetoric, Arafat called for Palestinians to maximize death and harm. As early as 1953, Palestinian militant groups regularly targeted Jewish villages and civilian infrastructure in Israel.

In the early 1980s, we saw the rise of intifadas; years of recurring, premeditated violence and terror toward Israelis. In 2000, Israelis saw the rise of a second wave. During these reigns of terror, thousands of innocent men, women, and children were wounded or killed.

When Mahmoud Abbas took over as president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005, he vowed to uphold these reprehensible schemes, adamantly defending them before the United Nations. Since his rise to power, the world has seen a rise in rogue attacks against Jews. In June of 2016, Sultan Abu al-Einein, an adviser to Abbas and a Fatah Central Committee member, said during an interview with the Palestinian news site Donia al-Watan: “Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat.” A quote that complements Pay-to-Slay, a policy whereby the Palestinian Authority uses humanitarian aid to pay salaries to terrorists and their families should they be imprisoned or killed. Regrettably, widespread corruption and child abuse has encouraged Palestinians as young as 15 years of age to participate and take Israeli casualties.

When it came to the question of peace talks between Palestinian Authority and Israel, Abbas continued to say that he is “against talks, negotiations, meetings, and normalization in all its forms with the Israeli occupation.” Just to be clear, “Israeli occupation” is used by Abbas’s and the current Palestinian leadership’s propaganda in reference to all of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

This is not the peace partner that Israel so desperately needs.

In addition to inciting violence, the Fatah party is complicit in distributing anti-Semitic propaganda through social media and does nothing to moderate the hundreds of anti-Semitic comments left by its followers. In 2019, they published a video denying the Holocaust and claiming that the “Jewish tribe” established ghettos on their own to separate themselves in disgust for non-Jews. The video even claimed that Jews worked together with the Nazis to burn other Jews to make a profit.

Even government websites for the Palestinian Authority are riddled with anti-Semitic propaganda. In 2016, Fatah’s Information and Culture Commission website published the image of a long-nosed, ultra-Orthodox dressed Jew with an Israeli flag on his arm, lighting a bomb that contains Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, in the act of lighting bombs to blow each other up. The hooked nose and idea that Jews instigate and control the world are common anti-Semitic tropes.

There has been a consistent and enduring rejection by the Palestinians of all peace initiatives with Israel. A major anti-Zionist proponent, Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a Holocaust-era Palestinian nationalist who backed violence against the Jews, organizing violent protests and ceaselessly calling for the expulsion of Jews in the Levant. His successor, Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat founded Fatah to fight for the “liberation of Palestine,” unapologetically calling for Israel’s destruction and the expulsion of all Jews, refusing to keep the peace-keeping and security agreements of the Oslo Accords. The current leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has continued this pattern of hate, openly refusing to acknowledge Israel’s existence, funding terrorism and walking away from the negotiating table, walking away in 2008 and, most recently, in 2020.

My question is: When will the Palestinian leadership accept Israel’s right to exist? When will they place their desire to have their own state and live in peace, over countless attempts to ethnically cleanse the Middle East of its native Jewish communities? When will they stop calling for terror and spreading harmful anti-Semitic propaganda?