In much of the world, when one walks out of one’s door, strolls a block and attempts to murder another at the behest of a leadership or cleric, it is an act of terrorism. One is arrested, tried in court and likely gets a long prison sentence. In the case of the victim, the police, an ambulance or medical examiner are called. It is a matter of terrorist (fault) versus victim (not at fault). There is no moral equivalency.
Some would have us believe that when the same scenario plays out in Israel, both parties are at fault. Some contend that, while in Israel, there is a discernable moral equivalency between attacker and victim. Put another way, when Palestinian terrorists attack Israelis with knives, boulders, guns and bombs, the Israeli is equally at fault.
It is a strange and counterintuitive calculus.
The U.S. stands by Israel, even amid a bit of confusion, last week. Clarifying, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, stated to Israel Radio that, “The United States does not view Israeli actions as excessive,” Further, “We recognize the Israeli government’s right and responsibility to defend its citizens.”
Currently, Israel is suffering an ISIS-like and nightmarish cavalcade of terrorism against its citizens at the hands of Palestinians. This began with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the United Nations a month ago, when he opted to publicly pull the Palestinian Authority out of the Oslo Accords and its corresponding framework for peace.
Following Abbas’s declaration at the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated regardless, he welcomed negotiations with Abbas – with no pre-conditions. Abbas promptly followed up his UN declaration and answered Netanyahu by oddly and inexplicably inciting his people to terrorism.
Beginning with the outlandish lie he presented to his people that Israel did or intended to upset the status quo on the Temple Mount, the terror attacks continue to escalate. Indeed, there have been no reports attributed to Netanyahu that state, imply or infer that. Expanding on this outlandish lie, Abbas told his people, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem” and “They (Israelis) have no right to desecrate the Al Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet.”
An important note, the Temple Mount remains under general Israeli sovereignty, but is administrated by a council convened by and under the auspices of Jordan. A further fact is that only under Israeli sovereignty have the Christian, Islamic and Jewish holy sites been open to all people.
In the wake of a wave terror attacks seemingly sponsored and clearly encouraged by Abbas and his underlings, Israel mobilized its National Police Force and its military. Again, in the most bizarre of lies, Palestinian leadership proclaimed, “Israel is killing civilians and children in field executions.” The Palestinian leadership even broadcasted that a teen Palestinian wounded in a terrorist attack had been executed. In a press conference last week, Netanyahu, looking a little perplexed at this particular incitement, shared the facts — the terrorist was not dead, rather he was in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem being treated for wounds sustained in the course of his attack.
The bottom line is that if there were terrorists in U.S. cities attacking, there would be an outcry and an unequivocal demand by the American people for the government to stop the terrorists. The Israeli populace is doing no less.
Currently, there are calls from many Palestinian quarters, including the terrorists Hamas, for an “Intifada by Knife,” all ala the tactics of ISIS, complete with beheadings, etc. All the while, Israel’s pleas to Abbas to reign in his people and to cease these acts of terrorism fall on deaf ears. It is, of course, not helpful for flagrantly dishonest parties to draw a moral equivalency between terrorists and the civilians they attack.
Abbas needs to bring his Israeli trained and U.S.-taxpayer-funded security forces to bear to stop the terrorist attacks. He and his leadership need to stop inciting terror attacks and the Obama Administration needs cease any and all funding to the Palestinian Authority until the attacks cease and Abbas comes to the negotiating table and, for once, makes an honest attempt at peace.
Jason Katz is the principal of TSG, LLC, a consultancy that advises foreign governments (including the government of Azerbaijan), NGOs and corporations in the realms of strategic communications, politics and policy. He is also the former head of Public Affairs and Public Relations for the American Jewish Committee, based in Los Angeles.