Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jerusalem Post Editorial: Paper, rock, scissors

Image from article, with caption: Stone-throwing Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Sur Baher, a village in the suburbs of east Jerusalem.

The stabbings that characterize the current tidal wave of terrorism is violence on the personal level.

Life in the Holy Land is becoming more and more like a grim version of that child’s game where each of three components has power over another.

Paper covers rock but is cut by scissors, which can be smashed by rock, and so on. In the current Middle Eastern version of the game, paper is represented by Palestinian propaganda; rock is the often lethal but impersonal level of Palestinian violence; while scissors – like those employed last Monday by teenagers at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market – represent the ubiquitous and more personal violence perpetrated by the knife-wielding terrorist.

The stabbings that characterize the current tidal wave of terrorism is violence on the personal level. It is an attempt to kill someone directly, not on a bus or in a cafe as in a second intifada bombing. Today’s terrorist slashes a few people at most before being shot and killed.

The second intifada was accompanied by signs posted everywhere reminding the public to be on the lookout for suspicious objects. There are no similar signs at bus stops – yet – warning you to be on the lookout for suspicious people. But Israelis have grown cautious in the awareness that what passes for normal life in this country may be disrupted at any time by terrorism.

Any serious attempt to win the terrorist version of this most dangerous game must deal with all three interrelated components. First, the Palestinian success at winning what appears to be the entire galaxy to its cause in defiance of all logic and truth has never been countered adequately by any of our governments. In lieu of appointing yet another commission to analyze this ongoing failure, the government should outsource its so-called “public diplomacy” to a professional advertising agency.

Government bureaucrats have proven themselves incapable of countering the Palestinian propaganda machine.

It’s time to let professionals do the job. There is ample precedent – for example, PR pros have often been hired from the US to help with certain election campaigns.

But there is a grimmer dimension of Palestinian propaganda that must be dealt with: its internal side. The world at large is used to hearing Mahmoud Abbas rant about the horrors of life under “occupation” and the rigors of “apartheid” and so forth, while he oversees an entire generation of Palestinian children being raised on TV shows and school textbooks that teach hatred of Jews.

The result is that a Palestinian schoolboy as young as 11 recently committed a knife attack on a Jerusalem light rail guard, declaring he did so for the purpose of dying as a martyr. Whatever education his parents gave him could not compete with the certainty that he would eventually have a West Bank stadium, or at least a street, named in his honor. Unless a strategy is conceived that will effectively counter such vile and lethal incitement, we’ll probably have to rely on that advertising energy to sell our case.

The rock phase of the deadly game will never end until Palestinian parents teach their children not to throw rocks. This is unlikely for the foreseeable future, barring a complete reversal of the Palestinian culture of incitement.

They might start by renaming streets and stadiums that were crowned with the names of terrorist murderers and call them after real Palestinian heroes, those who would work to achieve independence for their people via a just settlement with Israel. Just a thought. But given the ubiquity of rocks and the present poisonous atmosphere, it is likely that the rock phase of the game will drag on.

Unfortunately, the final component of this grim game is also likely to linger on. While the weapon of choice of this cold-steel intifada is a large kitchen knife, variants have also been favored, such as a meat cleaver. Another, less personal, terrorist technique has appeared in car-ramming attacks. But these are not new to Jerusalemites, at least, who have suffered numerous ramming attacks over the years featuring both cars and bulldozers.

The choice of weapon used by two brainwashed, teenaged Palestinian girls in a Jerusalem attack last week is a chilling illustration of how desperate the youngest generation of terrorists has become – and how ultimately self-defeating is their violence. The two used scissors to attack an elderly man they took for a Jew, but in fact stabbed an innocent Palestinian passerby.

No comments: