NEW YORK- Yasir Arafat’s death will not increase the chances for Arab-Israeli peace, because the problem is not just Arafat but rather the Palestinian Arabs’ entire culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) points out.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Just because Arafat will be gone, it doesn’t mean the problems will be gone. To borrow a phrase from a the 1992 presidential election campaign — it’s the Palestinian Arabs’ entire culture, stupid. The entire Palestinian Authority regime, not just Arafat, is deeply involved in terrorism and actively promotes a culture of hatred and violence against Jews. Children in the PA’s schools are taught that Jews are evil and suicide bombers are heroes. Worshippers in PA-funded mosques hear the same message of hatred from PA-salaried clergymen. Schools, streets, and parks are named after terrorists. And this ‘hate process’ is succeeding — polls consistently show that a large majority of grassroots Palestinian Arabs support suicide bombings and other terrorism against Israel.”
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, leader of the Union for Reform Judaism, who said in a speech in Cleveland on June 1, 2001: “We did not pay nearly enough attention to the culture of hatred created and nourished by Palestinian leaders Palestinian children, of course, are not born hating Jews. Hatred is a powerful sentiment that must be acquired — from parents, from education, from government authorities. The hatred of so many Palestinians for Jews results from a conscious process of demonizing the ‘Zionist enemy.’ There is a direct line between Palestinian terror and the growing use of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi language in the Palestinian media.”
Elie Wiesel has said that “educational textbooks used in Palestinian schools are teaching a new generation to hate Israel and the Jews They’re full of hatred for the Jews.” (Boston Jewish Advocate, Nov.10-16, 2000)
Gary Rosenblatt, editor of the New York Jewish Week, has written that the Palestinian Arabs’ willingness to engage in violence has been “fostered by a constant barrage, over a period of many years, of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric on Palestinian television and radio, in the newspapers, in school textbooks and in fiery sermons from the mosques. Contrary to signed agreements, the Palestinian Authority has done nothing to prepare its people for peace with Israel; on the contrary, it has encouraged a violent struggle and pledged a jihad to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem.” (Nov. 3, 2000)
The ZOA notes that the senior PA officials around Arafat, who have been described as his possible successors, share Arafat’s terrorist views:
* Former PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said in Cairo on July 23, 2003, that “cracking down on Hamas, Jihad, and the Palestinian organizations is not an option at all”; offered cabinet positions to leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (N.Y. Times, March 31, 2003, Israel Radio, March 31, 2003); praised the Arab terrorists imprisoned by Israel as “political prisoners” and “heroes”; and authored a book denying that the Nazis murdered six million Jews.
* Ahmed Qureia (Abu Alla), the current PA prime minister, opposes action by the PA against terrorists, saying “It is a mistake to aim the Palestinian weapon at a Palestinian” (Al-Nahar, June 12, 2003); attacked President Bush for referring to Israel as “a Jewish State” (Al-Nahar, June 12, 2003); declared his hope that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would “correct the historic mistake that Britain committed against Palestinians through the Balfour Declaration in 1917” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 14, 2001); and publicly trampled upon an Israeli flag (Jerusalem Post, July 13, 1997).
* PA cabinet minister Nabil Sha’ath has boasted of his “brotherly relationship with Hamas” (Reuters, Oct. 28, 1994); threatened that if Israel does not make more concessions, “all acts of violence will return, except that this time we’ll have 30,000 armed Palestinian soldiers” (Jerusalem Post, March 15, 1996), and campaigned in the 1996 PA elections with an emblem featuring “two Kalashnikov assault rifles and a hand grenade superimposed on a map of ‘all Palestine'” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 17, 1996).
* The former PA Security Chief for Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, is currently being sued in a U.S. court by victims of a November 2000 bus attack in Gaza, in which several Israeli teachers were murdered or wounded — including a U.S. citizen — and school children were maimed. After the attack, Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israeli Air Force to bomb Dahlan’s headquarters, and then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon urged the Israeli Army to assassinate him.
ZOA president Klein added that whether Arafat lives or dies, there should be no negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and no calls for Israeli concessions, until the Palestinian Authority has completely eliminated its culture of hatred. The PA must take immediate, concrete steps, including:
* Eliminate all anti-Jewish hate material from PA schoolbooks and summer camps.
* Fire any PA-paid Muslim clergymen whose sermons include anti-Jewish hatred, and close down any newspaper, television station, or radio station that publishes or broadcasts anti-Jewish material.
* Change the maps in PA schools and offices that show all of Israel as “Occupied Palestine.”
* Change the names of streets, schools, and parks that have been named after suicide bombers and other terrorists.
* Fire all members of the PA police force and security forces who have been involved in terrorism.
* Outlaw Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah, seize their tens of thousands of weapons, and shut down their training camps.
* Hand over to the U.S., for prosecution, the dozens of Palestinian Arab terrorists who have murdered or injured American citizens; and honor Israel’s 45 requests for the extradition of terrorists.