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Is Coexistence Possible?

May 14, 2019

by: Kate Norman, BFP Staff Writer

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Security footage shows Ashraf Na’alowa racing down a flight of stairs on the morning of October 18, 2018, frantically peering over his shoulder for anyone in pursuit. The 23-year-old Palestinian sprinted out of an Israeli-run factory in the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria, leaving behind a grisly scene. Na’alowa, who had worked as an electrician at the factory, murdered two of his Israeli coworkers—Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, 29, and Ziv Hajbi, 35—and seriously injured another in a brutal execution-style shooting.

Several months later near Ariel, not far from Barkan, 20-year-old Omar Abu Laila strolled toward a bus stop where 19-year-old Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Sgt. Gal Keidan was stationed. Wielding a knife, the Palestinian terrorist stabbed Keidan repeatedly before stealing his rifle and shooting the teenage soldier dead. Abu Laila then turned the gun to passing traffic and opened fire, hitting Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, who was driving home to his wife and 12 children. The rabbi could have fled to safety, but he chose to fight back and fired his gun at the terrorist, scaring him off the warpath.

The Barkan and Ariel industrial zones are two of 16 such zones in Judea and Samaria that employ over 11,000 Palestinians. Now bloodstained, they were once lauded as symbols of successful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Why did two horrific attacks happen in what were supposed to be beacons of a hopeful future of peace?

“We must not generalize all Arabs,” said Sara Vaturi, who was wounded in the Barkan shooting, as she recounted how a Palestinian warehouse worker pulled her to safety and plugged her wound until help arrived. “A lot of them called me after the attack, asked for forgiveness and were ashamed of what happened. We do not judge them because of the actions of a criminal terrorist. One murdered, but another saved my life.” Were these attacks lone wolf anomalies, or were they the symptom of a deeper illness?

The Call for Blood

A knife used to commit a terror attack in Hebron.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs Palestinians in parts of Judea and Samaria, is openly inciting its people to violence against Israelis. “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared in 2015. “This is pure blood…on its way to Allah. Every shahid [martyr] will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illustrated the PA’s call for Jewish blood by describing Ali, a Palestinian teenager who sees a clip of Abbas praising “martyrs” of the “resistance.” Curious, Ali wonders what would happen if he killed a Jew and asks his mother over dinner. She tells him if he went to an Israeli prison, he would be paid a generous salary every month by the PA—and the more Jews he kills, the higher the salary. When Ali gets out of prison, his mother says, he will have a job lined up to work with the PA.

“Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing,” Netanyahu stressed to the international body. “Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do, but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?”

The Next Generation

Schools in the PA are known for teaching radical anti-Semitism in the classroom, ingraining the next generation of Palestinians to believe the Jewish state is the archenemy. By reading malicious literature, repeating hateful slogans and poems that include phrases such as, “O sons of Zion, O most evil among creation, O barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs…” and acting out skits about killing Jews, Palestinian children are being brainwashed to hate.

A case study of Palestinian textbooks revealed that children in PA school systems are taught to dedicate themselves to the jihad—the Islamic holy war—meaning “every Muslim must be prepared to kill and be killed, to sacrifice life and limb and his property for the cause of Allah, safe in the knowledge that everyone who dies in the fight for Islam will be rewarded in Paradise.”

A Price for Blood

The PA ensures that terrorists and their families don’t have to wait for paradise to be rewarded for spilling Jewish blood. According to a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs study, the PA spends over US $300 million each year to pay monthly salaries to imprisoned and released terrorists and the families of “martyrs”—terrorists who died executing an attack. Even though the United States and other benefactors cut their funding to the PA in order to stifle the terror sponsorship, Palestinian leaders refuse to stop paying “martyrs” and their families. “By Allah, even if we have only a penny left, it will only be spent on the families of the martyrs and prisoners, and only afterward will it be spent on the people,” Abbas said last year.

According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate among Palestinians in 2018 was 32.4%, with a staggering 54% unemployed in Gaza. With the average age of Palestinians being 19.6 years old, the population comprises young, desperate kids conditioned to view the Jewish state as the source of their troubles—and their ticket to a better life. Groomed for terror, young Palestinians living in desperate conditions due to the PA’s corruption and mismanagement know they will be richly rewarded for murdering a Jew. They don’t fear death, knowing if they die carrying out an attack, they will be lauded as a hero and their families will receive generous payment.

Looking Forward

Palestinians who are willing to negotiate with the Jewish nation are few and far between, as Hamas and the PA view any form of normalization with Israel as heinous treason—one group of Palestinian scholars calling it a “stab in the heart” of the Palestinians. Another Arab organization is compiling a “list of shame,” listing every Arab who promotes peace or ties with Israel—likely a death sentence for those named.

Is coexistence possible? Nothing is impossible. However, with the Palestinian leadership encouraging and rewarding violence against the Jewish people and squelching the voices of those who dare disagree, neighborly harmony doesn’t seem probable anytime soon.

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