11 March '16..
Not even 24 hours passed after Tuesday's spate of terrorist attacks before we heard Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog tell us that only separation from the Palestinians could halt the wave of terrorism we have been experiencing since last fall. With this and other similar nonsensical statements, Herzog and like-minded individuals have been trying to sell us old merchandise covered in a new wrapping of false hope. The time has come to refute these urban legends.
First of all, the Left tells us that Palestinian terrorism stems from despair. According to this outlook, the Palestinians are murdering us because they have lost hope. If we just change the atmosphere, renew the diplomatic process and give them something to lose, the terrorism will stop. This is not only a myth, it is also the height of cynical thinking. The waves of Palestinian terrorism in the 1990s after the signing of the Oslo Accords took place when there was a diplomatic process. Back then, the Left called our dead "victims of peace." That was wrong then, just as it would be wrong now to call the Israelis killed in recent terrorist attacks "victims of despair" or "victims of the lack of a diplomatic process." Instead, they are victims of the Palestinians' sanctification of death and refusal to recognize Israel's existence.
Secondly, let us dispel the notion of "lone wolf attackers." The media, and many Israelis of all political stripes, have uncritically adopted this term, as if the attackers are acting in a spontaneous, unorganized and uncontrolled manner. I am not saying we have the means to stop all potential attacks. But it is not up to us. We can fix holes in the security fence, but the main onus for stopping terrorism lies with the Palestinian Authority. PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his ilk continue to incite against Israel and provide funds to terrorists and their families. So not only is the PA not fighting terrorism, it is in fact systematically encouraging it. Palestinian terrorists draw from years of hatred they learned in PA-run schools. It is the PA that could bring the wave of terrorism to an end, if only it so chose.
Thirdly, let us be clear. The international community only hurts efforts to reach a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian terrorists benefit from the flawed foreign policies of many countries across the globe. A look at history reveals that all international bids to intervene and resolve the conflict have resulted in waves of Palestinian terrorism. International pressure is applied asymmetrically on Israel, freeing the Palestinians of any responsibility for their fate and increasing their appetite for a state that replaces Israel, instead of one that lives alongside it. For example, Abbas' refusal to renew talks with Israel was bolstered by international support for a settlement construction freeze as a precondition. Later, the European Union gave the Palestinians a prize with its move to label settlement products. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has promised the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians and France announced it would recognize a Palestinian state if new peace efforts fail. So why do the Palestinians have any reason to stop terrorism?
In the face of urban legends, we must present the facts. The current wave of Palestinian terrorism is largely based on the long-standing Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Only such recognition would lead to an end of Palestinian terrorism.
Limor Samimian-Darash is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the Federman School of Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was recently chosen as one of five promising early-career social scientists in Israel, for the Alon Fellowship (2013–2016). She received her Ph.D. in anthropology and sociology from the Hebrew University (2009).
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