By Khalid Abu Toameh
(APRIL 12, 2022 / GATESTONE INSTITUTE) The celebrations that took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the recent terror attacks in Israel are yet another sign of the growing radicalization among the Palestinians and their refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The expressions of joy, when Palestinians took to the streets to hand out sweets and chant slogans in support of the terrorists, are reminiscent of the celebrations that took place when then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired missiles at Israel in 1991 during the First Gulf War, or when Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror groups carried out suicide bombing attacks, murdering hundreds of Israelis during the Second Intifada, which erupted in 2000.
Apart from demonstrating the Palestinians’ disrespect for human life and support for terrorism, the celebrations once again prove that a Palestinian who murders a Jew is a hero, whereas one who seeks peace with Israel is a traitor.
A public opinion poll published on March 22 found that Palestinian support for an “armed struggle” against Israel has risen from 42% three months ago to 44%.
In the lexicon of the Palestinians, “armed struggle” is a euphemism for various forms of terrorism against Israel, ranging from rock-throwing to shooting, stabbing, car-ramming, rocket salvos and suicide bombing attacks.
The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showed that a majority of 70% opposes a resumption of the peace process with Israel.
If new elections for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) were held today, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist group that seeks to destroy Israel, would defeat PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the results of the survey. Additionally, a majority of Palestinians said that they would vote for Hamas in a parliamentary election.
Another 73% of the Palestinian public want the 86-year-old Abbas to resign. Previous polls have indicated that nearly 80% of the public wants to see Abbas step down.
While most Palestinians are saying that they want to see their president depart from the scene, the U.S. administration seems to be among the few parties in the international arena that continue to deal with Abbas and pin hopes on him regarding the so-called two-state solution and peace with Israel.
After his last meeting with Abbas in Ramallah on March 27, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken again repeated the Biden administration’s “commitment to the basic principle” of the two-state solution:
“Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live with equal measures of freedom, of opportunity, security, of dignity, and we believe that the most effective way, ultimately, to give expression to that basic principle is through two states.”
Here is an inconvenient truth for Blinken: the poll that was conducted one week before he arrived in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, showed that most Palestinians (58%) are opposed to the two-state solution. Why? They do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.
These Palestinians want peace without Israel, not peace with Israel. The only peace they envision is one where Israel would cease to exist.
That is why – as this and previous polls have shown – most Palestinians continue to support Hamas, whose charter openly calls for the elimination of Israel.
For them, it is a religious duty to work toward the “liberation of all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Article 11 of the charter states:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered; it or any part of it, should not be given up.”
Article 15 says:
“The day that enemies usurp part of Muslim land, jihad [holy war] becomes the individual duty of every Muslim. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of jihad be raised.”
The Hamas charter also reminds Muslims of the famous saying of the prophet Mohammed:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind the stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
Moreover, the poll found that a vast majority of Palestinians (73%) believes that the Koran contains a prophecy concerning the demise of Israel. However, the majority (57%) does not believe the assessment, stated by a few Muslim scholars, that verses in the Koran predict the exact year of the demise of Israel: 2022.
So, the vast majority of the Palestinians are convinced that the Koran does include reference to the demise of Israel, they just are not sure what year that will happen. This conviction is a clear expression of wishful thinking on the part of most Palestinians, especially those who were cheering, dancing and distributing sweets to celebrate the terror attacks that took place in the Israeli cities of Be’er Sheva, Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv in the past few weeks.
Praising the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said on April 9, “These recurring heroic operations prove a clear fact – that there is no future for the Jews on our Palestinian land.”
As shown by the poll, it is leaders such as Zahar whom the Palestinians would prefer as their president. A Palestinian leader who talks about destroying Israel or murdering Jews has a better chance of being elected than one who states that he is opposed to terrorism and wants to work towards achieving a two-state solution.
For the Palestinians, it is much more important if one graduates from an Israeli prison than from any university. That is why former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a world-renowned economist and reformer educated in the U.S., won only two seats when his slate ran in the last parliamentary election in 2006. Fayyad’s lack of popularity is mainly attributed to the fact that he never served time in an Israeli prison for murdering or wounding a Jew or engaging in terror activity against Israel.
One of the reasons behind the rising radicalization of the Palestinians is the vicious incitement by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority against Israel and Jews.
In the days and weeks before the wave of terrorism began, the Palestinian leaders were telling their people that Jews are planning to desecrate and commit crimes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It is such libels that fuel the terrorists and increase their motivation to murder Jews. It is also this type of incitement that drives more Palestinians into the welcoming arms of Hamas and other extremists.
The Palestinians who are celebrating the murder of Jews have been told by their leaders that the terrorism aims to stop Israel from “committing crimes” against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This of course is completely false because since the beginning of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers have been freely and safely accessing the mosque for prayers.
That is another example of how Palestinian leaders have radicalized their own people to the point where the murder of young Jewish men enjoying their time in a bar in the center of Tel Aviv becomes a cause for public celebration. Palestinians have been radicalized and brainwashed by their leaders to the point where peace with Israel or a two-state solution is seen as an opportunity to murder.
The Biden administration, meanwhile, continues to pretend that Abbas and his government are credible partners, and that Israelis and Americans can do business with them.
It would have been more useful had Blinken denounced the celebrations and publicly pressured the Palestinian leadership immediately to halt the massive campaign of incitement against Israel and the glorification of Palestinians who murder Jews.
Ignoring the scenes of jubilation on the Palestinian street and continuing to pretend that the Palestinian Authority is a reliable partner for peace will only lead to further violence and bloodshed. It is time for the Biden administration and other Western donors to start banging on the table and demanding an end to the poisonous campaign to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews. Until that happens, we will continue to see Palestinians dancing and handing out candy because Jewish blood flows at their feet.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.
This article was originally published by Gatestone Institute International Policy Council and can be viewed here.