Light for the Last Days

Israel Desk – Israel and Palestinians

No peace movement for the Palestinians.  September 2017.

Palestinian teenage girls are facing ridicule and hate for attending a summer camp for coexistence in the US.   The camp, which brings Palestinian and Israeli girls together, is organised by Creativity for Peace, an organisation in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Photos of the Israeli and Palestinian girls enjoying their time together have enraged many Palestinians and other Arabs, who took to social media to express their disgust and outrage over the event and hurl abuse at the Palestinian participants.

The angry reactions to the joint Palestinian-Israeli camp in the US should be seen in the context of the Palestinians’ strong opposition to all forms of ‘normalisation’ with Israel.  Palestinian activists have waged a long-standing war against any form of ‘normalisation’ with Israel.   Activists have repeatedly targeted even meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, especially in Ramallah and east Jerusalem, on the pretext that such encounters pave the way for ‘normalisation’ with Israel.  Some of these activists have resorted to threats, intimidation and violence to prevent such meetings from taking place.

On social media, these Palestinian girls and their families are being condemned as ‘traitors’ and ‘prostitutes.’  The postings brand them as traitors, sluts, filthy people who are not ashamed to be seen in the company of Israeli girls. Then there is the barrage of abuse that is not fit for print.  The Palestinian girls being castigated on social media are the latest victims of a culture of hate into which Palestinians have been inculcated. This environment is the direct result of an ongoing campaign of incitement and indoctrination that aims to delegitimise and demonise Israel and Jews.

More to the liking of the Palestinians was a Summer camp organised at the Quaker School in Ramallah with US tax funding, called ‘Go Palestine’ whose stated mission was to provide Palestinian teens from abroad with ‘introductions to Palestinian culture, cuisine, life and work, and the Arabic language.   In fact the participants were immersed in anti-Israel films, and lectures by militants — some with terrorist connections. There were calls to boycott Israel and its institutions, glorification of students while engaging in violence against Israel.  Haifa, Israel’s third city, was described as being in Palestine, while Israel was described as an ‘Apartheid regime’ and films shown depicting Israel as a racist, savage oppressor. 

Middle East scholar Asaf Romirowsky, said that it is ‘hypocritical’ for Quaker leaders to claim to be pacifists and advocates of coexistence ‘while their Ramallah school is training teenagers from around the world to hate Israel and idolise terrorists.’

At the same time the anniversary of a terrorist attack on Sbarro’s pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including seven children, and wounded another 130 was cause for celebration by the governors of the Palestinian territory of Gaza.  Hamas, on the website of its TV channel, recalled ‘news of the operation made Palestinians joyous everywhere,’ reported the Israeli news monitor Palestinian Media Watch.  ‘Masses of people went out to the streets, cheered and distributed candies out of happiness,’ Hamas said on its Al Aqsa Channel website.

In its charter, Hamas declares allegiance to Allah and its belief that Israel will be ‘eliminated’ by Islam. The Hamas ‘slogan’ is: ‘Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.’  Hamas, in its charter, denounces ‘so-called peaceful solutions’ to the Palestinian conflict with Israel, declaring, ‘There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.’

Police officers murdered at Temple Mount.  July 2017.

There was bolstered security in and around Jerusalem’s Old City just days after two Border Police officers were shot dead by Muslim terrorists following prayers atop the Temple Mount.  Before this attack Jordan, which administers the Temple Mount, complained about Israel installing metal detectors at the entrances to the holy site.  So, Israel removed them.  And that allowed three terrorists from the northern Israel town of Umm al-Fahm to attend Friday Islamic prayers armed with guns, which they used to murder the Israeli policemen as they departed the time of worship.  

Israeli responded by closing the Temple Mount completely for the first time since 1969, reinstalling the metal detectors and arresting three Islamic Trust (Waqf) officials who are believed to have facilitated or encouraged the attack.  This led to a fierce outcry from the Islamic world.  Ignoring almost completely the unprovoked attack on the policemen, Muslim leaders from Israel and from across the Arab world accused the Jewish state of moving the region closer to religious conflict.  Muslims claim that Israel will use such incidents to “Judaize” the Temple Mount.  

Closing the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, could lead to a third intifada, said Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh.   The leader of the Arab bloc in the Knesset told Channel 2’s Meet the Press: “Closing the Aksa Mosque is explosive. The Second Intifada broke out on al-Aksa. I warn against the third.”  Fatah has called for a ‘day of rage’ to protest Israel’s security measures and there is a danger of unrest spreading as militant Muslims call for Friday prayers to be held in public squares in the main Palestinian cities and sermons to be dedicated to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and against Israel’s increased security measures.  Israel is concerned that radical Muslims wish to exploit the situation to fan a new wave of terror and violence.

Palestinian official admits Christians being driven out by Muslims.  July 2017.

Anti-Israel elements have long insisted that the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land must be blamed on the Israeli ‘occupation’ alone. For the past decade that claim has been the cornerstone of the bi-annual ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College.  Proponents of Replacement Theology have latched on to this conference as it speaks to their desire to deny that modern Israel is a fulfilment of biblical prophecy.  After all how can this be God’s Israel if it is persecuting and driving out Christians?

The problem with that assertion is that it is certifiably false.  And none other than the Palestinian Authority’s director of diaspora affairs, Me Nihad Abu Ghosh, admitted as much in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hadath.  He writes about the bombings of churches in Egypt and the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq by Muslims.  Then he says, ‘And what of Palestine, the cradle of Jesus?  Is a danger hovering over the Christian presence in our country as well?  In answering this question there is usually a tendency to fall into the trap of emotional words about national unity or to blame the occupation (i.e. Israel) for the steady decline in the number of Christians.  But this is not enough to justify the fact that the Christian population of Palestine declined from 20% to less than 2% in the lands that were conquered in 1967.’  

He goes on to say that in Palestinian society there exists ‘an ISIS like culture that excludes the Palestinian Christians.  To this very day we hear of a preacher at Al Aqsa Mosque who advocates imposing a poll tax on Christians.  (Note in traditional Muslim societies Jews and Christians were declared to be dhimmi citizens, so called protected peoples, but in fact second class citizens, and required to pay the jizya poll tax to the Muslims to guarantee their ‘protection’).  We also hear of someone issuing a fatwa that bans congratulating Christians on their holidays.’

Israel Today comments that this shows that a Palestinian state would be ‘another oppressive, jihadist harbouring Middle East pseudo-democracy, where Christians and all other minorities face routine and unacknowledged persecution.  And that’s why most Christians are getting out while they still can.’

Gaza electricity crisis threatens collapse of services.  June 2017.

Residents of impoverished Gaza, where two million people live between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean, are receiving only a few hours of mains power a day.  Israel had been supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza a month, making up around a quarter of the territory’s needs, with the Abbas-run Palestinian Authority paying the 11.3 million euros ($12.65 million) monthly bill.  But after Abbas announced he would no longer pay, the Israel Electric Corporation said power supply would ‘effectively be reduced on two lines out of 10 every day, until the reduction applies to all 10 lines’.  The move threatened to leave Gazans with as little as two hours of power a day, prompting a UN warning that basic services in the enclave faced ‘total collapse’.

Israel has expressed concern about the situation but attributed the crisis to an internal Palestinian power play. Jerusalem was said to be in talks with Egypt and with European countries in an effort to solve the matter. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that ‘Israel has no interest in an escalation’ of the situation in Gaza, adding that it was related to an ‘internal Palestinian dispute,’ and that the PA was refusing to pay for electricity.

The United Nations said that Gazans were being held hostage to Palestinian political infighting, warning that longer blackouts triggered by Abbas threatened a ‘total collapse’ of basic services.  Hospitals, water supply, waste water treatment and sanitation services have already been dramatically cut back since mid-April, he said, and depended almost exclusively on a UN emergency fuel operation.

The prospect of even lengthier blackouts in Gaza has raised fears of a new upsurge in violence with Hamas warning that it may lead to renewed conflict. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

Erdogan attacks Israel.  May 2017.

In a slanderous attack on the Jewish state, Turkish President Erdogan accused Israel of racism, warned Trump against moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and called on Muslims to flood the Temple Mount.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Israel in a speech on May 8th, accusing the Jewish state of racism, and warned against making any changes to the status quo at the Temple Mount.  Bemoaning an Israeli presence, he called on Muslims from around the world to flood the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  ‘Every day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to Muslims,’ said Erdogan. ‘Visiting the Temple Mount would be the greatest support to our brothers there.’

The Turkish leader slammed Israel’s plan to curb the volume of the Islamic calls to prayer with the Muezzin Bill.  ’It is shameful that this issue is even on the agenda,’ he stated. ‘The fact that those who talk about freedom of thought even approve this measure by remaining silent is noteworthy. We will not allow the silencing of prayers from Jerusalem.’

A bill seeking to regulate the often ear-splitting Muslim call to prayer, known as the Muezzin, in the early hours of the morning has raised hackles among Muslims, who contend that the measure amounts to an assault on their freedom of religion.  Erdogan also warned the Trump administration not to move its embassy to Jerusalem. ‘It is wrong,’ he said. ‘Such a plan should be dropped.’

The changes in Turkey under Erdogan and its increasing hostility to Israel point to the country’s involvement in the coming War of Gog and Magog as the nation describes as Togarmah in Ezekiel 38.6.

Rally for Islamic Caliphate in Ramallah.  May 2017.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to call on Arab armies to ‘liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.’ The Palestinians also called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate.  The call for the elimination of Israel was made in the center of Ramallah, only a few hundred meters away from Abbas’s office. It came during a rally organized by Hizb ut Tahrir (Party of Liberation), a radical pan-Islamic political organization whose goal is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic state. Like the terrorist group ISIS, Hizb ut Tahrir seeks to establish a state to enforce Islamic sharia law and carrying the da’wah (preaching) of Islam to the rest of the world.

The rally was organized to mark the 96th anniversary of the abolition of the Islamic Caliphate in 1924. It was held with the permission of the Palestinian Authority leadership, even though Hizb ut Tahrir is vehemently opposed both to Abbas’s policies and Israel’s right to exist, which it rejects.   One after the other, leaders of Hizb ut Tahrir stood up in Ramallah this week to proclaim the need to ‘liberate all Palestine’ and to restore the Islamic Caliphate. Dr. Maher Ja’bari, a Hizb ut Tahrir leader, said:  ‘The Islamic Caliphate will be restored only when Palestine is fully liberated. Palestine was occupied because of the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate. The issue of the caliphate has united the [Islamic] nation and it is the basic case for the liberation of Palestine and the implementation of Sharia for all Muslims under one [Muslim] ruler.’

 

Once the Muslim extremists come to power, Abbas and most of his officials would be the first to be beheaded or hanged in public squares for ‘selling out to the Jews.’ Still, Abbas’s leadership did not see a need to prevent the Hizb ut Tahrir supporters from holding their rally in Ramallah to voice their extremist views, which also included an appeal for the ‘mobilization of Arab and Islamic armies to liberate Palestine and the Aqsa Mosque.’  Many of the extremist groups hoping to take over the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) despise Abbas and his PA leadership, who for them are arch-infidels.

‘They have said, ‘Come let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’  Psalm 83.4.

Palestinians Exploiting Children to Fight Israel.  April 2017.

The new Palestinian curriculum for grades 1 to 4 “is significantly more radical than previous curricula,” concludes a new study by Hebrew University’s Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). It “teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel, and focuses on a ‘return’ to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.”

In response to pressure from President Trump, Israel reportedly is preparing a series of concessions to Palestinians in a bid to re-launch peace talks. Trump may want to consider pressuring the Palestinians for parallel gestures, including correcting educational policies that are antithetical to peace.  Indeed, the IMPACT-se study warns that the “educational system has created a Palestinian nationalism that absolutely rejects the Other and is therefore incompatible with Israel’s existence.” Even more alarming, the report notes that the “Struggle against Israel and its disappearance is the main theme,” and “The 1974 PLO’s Phased Plan for the conquest of the Land of Israel/Palestine is taught. The curriculum reflects a strategy of violence and pressure in place of peaceful negotiations.”

The “Palestinian school curricula are inspected by the international donors who finance the Palestinian Authority and, by extension, its public education system,” the Times of Israel reported.

That includes huge investment from Britain, the Daily Mail reported, money that goes “into Palestinian schools named after mass murderers and Islamist militants, which openly promote terrorism and encourage pupils to see child killers as role models.”  Incredibly, European countries pressure Israel to freeze settlement growth and take other steps towards peace, while funding pro-war messages targeted at future generations of Palestinians.

Islam is not used as a radical political tool in grades 1–4, but the educational message “includes biases towards non-Muslims,” the IMPACT-se study says. And, in grades 11-12, “Religion is clearly abused…to foment hate amid calls for eternal war in the Levant.”  The Palestinian curriculum of violence and hate highlighted by the IMPACT-se study is just one of the many ways in which Palestinian leaders have forced their violent agendas onto children.

Reforming the anti-Israel indoctrination of Palestinian children will not be easy. Palestinians reportedly responded with threats over reports that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is considering curricular changes that might curtail incitement.

Nevertheless, if world powers are serious about promoting a genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace, they must pressure Palestinian leaders to start preparing future generations for peace by replacing anti-Israel incitement and “martyrdom” adulation with messages of peaceful coexistence, including maps and history that acknowledge Jewish claims to Israel proper and territories in dispute.

Tony Pearce

Tony Pearce

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