NEW YORK – President Bush, speaking at the United Nations, has again asserted that Yasir Arafat and a few other Palestinian Arab leaders are the only obstacle to Middle East peacewhen, in fact, the problem is the entire culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence which envelops Palestinian Arab society.
Speaking at the United Nations on September 23, 2003, President Bush said that the Palestinian Arab cause is being betrayed by leaders who cling to power but are feeding old hatreds and destroying the good will of others.
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: Too many people seem to be under the illusion that if Arafat leaves the scene, peace will ensue. In fact, the central obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is the fact that a culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence envelops the entire Palestinian Arab society, including its educational system, summer camps, its media, and the Palestinian Authoritys cabinet ministers and parliament members.
* Textbooks in Palestinian Arab schools teach that Jews are evil racists, treacherous, enemies of the Prophets, and that suicide bombers who murder Jews are heroes and martyrs.
* Parents of suicide bombers publicly declare how proud they are that their children chose to become martyrs and how they hope their other children will follow suit.
* In Palestinian Authority-run summer camps, children receive weapons training, stage skits in which they kidnap and murder Israelis, and sing songs about destroying Israel and replacing it with Palestine.
* In their mosques, the Palestinian Arab masses hear sermons by PA-appointed clergymen teaching them that they have a religious obligation, as Muslims, to wage jihad, or Muslim holy war, against Jews and Israel.
* The PA-controlled newspapers, television, and radio pump out a constant flood of hatred. This incitement in the PA media has been so severe and unrelenting that the president of the Union of American Hebrew [Reform] Congregations, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, protested what he called the anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi language in the Palestinian media.
* The maps used in PA schools, in the PA media, in official PA offices, and even on the t-shirts worn in summer camps show all of Israel as Palestine. The goal of destroying Israel is not some theory or far-off dream. It is the living, breathing reality of everyday Palestinian Arab society. * Polls have consistently found that two-thirds to three-quarters of Palestinian Arabs support suicide bombings against Israel. A poll earlier this year by the Gaza-based Palestinian Society for Culture, Science, and Development found 70% of Palestinian Arabs support the continuation of suicide bombings. In March 2002, the number was 64.3%; in April 2001, it was 73.7%.
ZOA president Klein added:
Getting rid of Yasir Arafat is one very small step in addressing a much bigger problem. An entire generation of Palestinian Arabs has been raised to idolize and emulate Arafat. Giving them Israeli land or American money will not solve the problemin fact, it will have the opposite effect, by sending a message to them they need not change their ways. Like German society after World War II, Palestinian Arab society will require a lengthy and intensive period of de-Nazification, to wean them away from their hatred and violence. What they need is years and years of education towards peace, democracy, and coexistence. That, ultimately, is the only hope for a durable and meaningful peace in the Middle East.