Background to the Current Palestinian Uprising

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The media often attributes the current ‘Palestinian’ uprising to “‘Palestinian’ frustration”; however one Palestinian scholar living in the Middle East views it differently;

“Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long argued. Instead, they are driven by hatred for Jewsbecause of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.”

~Bassam Tawil


People act on what they believe to be true and the more shocking what they believe, the more passionate the response.  In this article, we will look at what the Arabs of Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the ‘West Bank’) have been told by their leaders and the media — because what they believe sheds light on their violent attacks against Jews.  We will also look at the current Arab violence in the context of similar repeated attacks against Jews over the last 90 years.

The Role of the Media

Since the beginning of the wave of current attacks on Jews in Israel, media reports both in the West and in the Middle East have been contributing to how Israelis and Jews in general are viewed.  In the West, the media highlights ‘Palestinian frustration‘ resulting from ‘Israel’s occupation‘ of the land and sets that up as the situation that underlies the wave stabbings and car rammings.  Israel is portrayed as ‘land-grabbers‘ and ‘aggressors‘.  In the Middle East media, Jews are seen as carrying out “cold blooded executions” of Arabs and “threatening Muslim holy sites“.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda said;

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from it. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

~Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945

What the ‘Palestinian’ leaders tell their people is no small matter, especially if it is untrue and it is repeated often enough’. Having been told the same lie over and over by their leaders, media and mosques, they believe these lies and this drives their hatred for Jews.

Middle East Media
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Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) at UN September 30 2015

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 30 2015 said;

“I come before you today from Palestine, compelled to sound the alarm about the grave dangers of what is happening in Jerusalem, where extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque, aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount], allowing extremists, under the protection of Israeli occupying forces and accompanying ministers and Knesset members, to enter the Mosque at certain times, while preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque at those times and freely exercising their religious rights. This is the scheme that the Israeli Government is pursuing, in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter. By doing so, the occupying Power is committing a grave mistake, because we will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme, which is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere. I call on the Israeli Government, before it is too late, to cease its use of brutal force to impose its plans to undermine the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem, particularly its actions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, for such actions will convert the conflict from a political to religious one, creating an explosive in Jerusalem and in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

~Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority,

Willing to Die for a Lie

What the Arabs in Gaza and Arabs in the ‘West Bank’ (Judea and Samaria) do not know is that the allegations of Israel’s “threat to their holy sites is totally unfounded.  It is a lie, told by their leaders, the content of cleric’s sermons in their mosques and then fueled by their media.

Israel has not threatened, nor does it have plans to take over the Al-asqa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock, for that matter.

Below is an excerpt from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu recent speech yesterday (October 20, 2015).

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to international Jewish leaders meeting in Jerusalem October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to international Jewish leaders meeting in Jerusalem October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

“Now let me try to put in perspective what it is we’re fighting: We’re fighting not only a campaign of physical assaults on the Jewish state – the Jewish people have experienced that throughout the centuries – but as we’ve experienced in our history, the physical assaults on the Jews is always preceded and accompanied by an assault on the truth, campaign of defamation and slander. And what I would like to examine with you today are the ten big lies that are hurled at us. And the only way that you can fight lies, and especially big lies, is to puncture them with the simple truth.

So here’s the first big lieIsrael is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. No, we’re not. We haven’t changed the status quo on the Temple Mount in years. There’s a simple arrangement: Muslims visit the Temple Mount and they pray there. Others, Jews, Christians and other denominations, secular people, they come – secular people pray too by the way – they visit the Temple Mount but they don’t. Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 to 11:00, the non-Muslims visit. Muslims visit the rest of the time. How many Muslims have visited and prayed on the Temple Mount, on average, last year? Anybody know? No, not 300,000, three and a half million. Eighty thousand Christians and other denominations and 12,000 Jews. That hasn’t changed.

Though the Temple Mount is our holiest site – it was built there by king Solomon 3,000 years ago, 1,500 years before the birth of Islam – though we’ve been attached to it for 3 millennia, we in no way deny the sacred sites or the rights or the free access for other denominations, and Israel has not and will not change the status quo. This is one huge lie.

The second (lie) is not only that we seek to change the prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount and the non-prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount, which we don’t, is that we seek to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque.

attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929 were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution… Haj Amin al-Husseini said “The Jews seek to destroy the Temple Mount.” Sorry, the al-Aqsa Mosque.

So this lie is about a hundred years old. It fomented many, many attacks. The Temple Mount stands. The al-Aqsa Mosque stands. But the lie stands too, persists.”

~Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

The current wave of terror needs to be seen in its historic context and that is as “just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world”.

Our conflict with Israel is not about “occupation” or Jerusalem or ‘holy sites’ or borders. Nor is it about poverty and poor living conditions or walls and fences and checkpoints. This conflict is really about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world. The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. This is not an intifada. It is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world.”

~Bassam Tawil, Palestinian scholar based in the Middle East (writes for Gatestone Institute)

Western Media

It is not only the Middle Eastern media that spreads misinformation and outright lies. The Western media has been fueling anti-Israel sentiment by portraying Israel as ‘land-grabbing’ and as using the smallest action on the part of Arabs to ‘execute’ them.

Here are a few recent examples;


MSNBC’s Shrinking Palestine Map

 

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On October 16, 2015 MSNBC host Kate Snow discussed the background to the current situation in Israel with Middle East expert Martin Fletcher using the “shrinking Palestine” maps to demonstrate the land the Jewish state has ostensibly taken from the ‘Palestinians’ since Israel’s creation in 1948.

Snow is heard stating that the mapshows historically the areas that used to be Palestine in 1946” that hasshrunk down to basically Gaza and the West Bank” and that “the area where Palestinians are living has been growing increasingly smaller“. The Middle East ‘expert’ appearing with Snow,  Martin Fletcher is heard saying “absolutely, this is what it’s all about, it’s all about the land and it’s pretty shocking when you present that way“. Both the map and the narration are inaccurate at best or deliberately deceptive, at worst.

It took 3 days for the network to admit it’s error and only did so after considerable social media outrage.

In an apology Monday (October 19 2015), Snow told viewers that the mistake had become apparent after the segment aired and the network ‘regretted’ using the maps.

MSNBC apologized for ‘completely wrong’ maps of Israel and that “it regrets the mistake showing Palestinian loss of land” and noticed the ‘error’ after the live segment aired and said the maps were “not factually accurate“.

Snow and Fletcher added that the maps  “gave the wrong impression” of the region and “did not reflect the demographic reality“.  

The bottom line is it was completely wrong; there was no state called Palestine.” Fletcher added.

In an attempt to explain the mistake, Snow and Fletcher went on to say how it highlighted the challenge of reporting on Israel, with Fletcher again showing his lack of knowledge, when seeming to argue that inflamed passions in the region made accurate reporting hard.

“Well, the passions are so high. It’s such a tiny area,” he said. “You know, you’ve got this one tiny piece of land which is basically the Jews and the Palestinians – the Jews and the Muslims both believe that God gave them the land. It’s that one piece of land for two peoples. That’s what the conflict has been all about for a very long time.”

~Martin Fletcher, Middle East expert

Fletcher claimed in his retraction that “both the Jews and Palestinians claim the land was given to them by God” – which is incorrect. In fact, the Arabs of Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the ‘West Bank’) are Muslims and as such know that the Qur’an states that Allah gave the land of Israel to the Jews;

Qu’ran Surah 5: 20-21 says Moses declared, “O my people! Remember the bounty of Allah upon you when He bestowed prophets upon you, and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”

Qur’an: Sura 10:9 says: “Allah settled the Israelites in a blessed land and provided them with good things“.

Qur’an: Sura 17:103 says:”Pharaoh sought to scare them [the Jews] out of the land [of Israel]: but Allah drowned him, together with all who were with him. Then Allah said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land. When the promise of the hereafter comes to be fulfilled, Allah shall assemble you all together [in the Land of Israel in the End of Days]“.

Qur’an: Sura 28:5-6 says:
It was Allah’s will to favour those who were oppressed [the Jews] and to make them leaders of mankind, to bestow on them a noble heritage and to give them power in the land [of Israel]: and to inflict on Pharaoh, Haman, and their army, the very scourge dreaded by their victims“.

Qur’an: Sura 7:137 says: “Allah gave the persecuted people [the Jews] dominion over the eastern and western lands which Allah had blessed [the east and west banks of the Jordan River]. Thus your Lord’s gracious word was fulfilled for the Israelites, because they had endured with fortitude; and Allah destroyed the edifices and towers of Pharaoh and his people“.


BBC – two contrasting headlines

BBC recently reported the identical type of event occurring outside Israel differently than the one occurring inside Israel.

 

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Describing an event in Germany last week, the BBC headline read; “Germany police shoot Berlin Islamist after knife attack“.

Describing an event with the identical circumstances in Israel the week earlier, the BBC headline read “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two”.

The headline from Germany makes it clear that it was the German police that shoot someone known to be an Islamist and it is clear that the person had attacked people with a knife and that is why German police shot him.  

The headline from Israel focuses on a Palestinian being shot dead. It does not say he was a terrorist (which he was), an Islamic Jihad member or that it was Israeli police that shot him. It also does not say that he was related to the ‘attack’ that killed two.  In fact, a 19 year old terrorist and Islamic Jihad member murdered a 21-year-old man, wounded his wife and two-year-old child and murdered 41-year-old father of seven,  as he attempted to save them. The terrorist then opened fire on police who responded by fatally shooting him.

NBC Quotes Abbas Rather than the Facts

 

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Then there was the report on NBC (October 14) where the network asserts that the facts are simply “too murky” to determine whether 13-year-old Ahmed Manasrah along with his 15 year old cousin stabbed a 13 year old Jewish boy to death and then falsely reported that Israelis forces “shot him dead” (from the story ‘Dispute Over Viral Video of Shot Ahmed Manasrah Sums Up Israel-Palestinian Conflict’).

Let’s  look at this a little closer.

Firstly, there is one small problem with this report.  Ahmed Mansara was not killed. He was hit by a car as he and his cousin ran along a busy street holding large knives. Mansara’s 15-year-old cousin and accomplice was indeed shot dead after charging at police with his knife. Their rampage through the streets of Jerusalem was recorded almost in its entirety by CCTV cameras, in footage released to the press by Israeli police;

 

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Secondly, Manasrah was notshot dead” as NBC asserted, but was being treated in a Jerusalem hospital for his injuries, after he was hit by a vehicle as he fled the scene of his stabbing attacks. Mansarah was evacuated alive to Israel’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, where he was treated.

(Update: Mansarah was released from hospital on October 19 2015)

 

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Finally, NBC seemed to base their report on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech aired on Palestinian TV rather than on facts gleaned by investigating the story  — where they would have learned that Mansarah was neither dead nor innocent. 

The Committee for Accurate Reporting in the Middle East (CAMERA) reported October 18, 2015 (“NBC Can’t Be Sure, Assailant Ahmed Manasrah, 13, Could Be Innocent”) that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in his October 14 2015 televised speech that:

“Israeli government and its settler herds… are using terror against our people, our holy places, our homes and our trees and are executing our children in cold blood, just as they did to the boy Ahmad Manasra and to other children in Jerusalem and elsewhere.”

~ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, October 14 2014, televised speech

Rather than NBC taking the opportunity to expose the truth. NBC repeated the Abbas’ assertion that Israeli police shot Mansarah dead.  


Driven by Hatred for Jews – fueled by leaders, media and mosques

According to Palestinian scholar Bassam Tawil in the quote at the top of this article;

“Palestinian terrorists are not driven by poverty and deprivation, as many have long argued. Instead, they are driven by hatred for Jewsbecause of what their leaders, media and mosques are telling them.”

So lets look more closely at what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said (1) to the UN General Assembly on September 30, 2015 and (2) in his televised speech on Palestinian TV on October 14 2015 and see how the hatred of Jews is being fueled.

(1) Abbas’ speech to the UN General Assembly on September 30, 2015

“I come before you today from Palestine, compelled to sound the alarm about the grave dangers of what is happening in Jerusalem, where extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque, aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount], allowing extremists, under the protection of Israeli occupying forces and accompanying ministers and Knesset members, to enter the Mosque at certain times, while preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque at those times and freely exercising their religious rights. This is the scheme that the Israeli Government is pursuing, in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter. By doing so, the occupying Power is committing a grave mistake, because we will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme, which is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere. I call on the Israeli Government, before it is too late, to cease its use of brutal force to impose its plans to undermine the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem, particularly its actions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, for such actions will convert the conflict from a political to religious one, creating an explosive in Jerusalem and in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

~Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority,

Let’s examine what Abbas is telling his people, and the world in this speech;

  1.  extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions [ i.e. invasions or attacks] upon Al-Aqsa Mosque
  2. Israel is imposing a new reality at the Al-Aqsa Mosque
  3. Israel is dividing Al-Haram Al-Sharif [i.e. the Temple Mount]
  4. Israel is allowing extremists to enter the Mosque
  5. Israel is an occupying force
  6. Israel is preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque and freely exercising their religious rights.
  7. the Israeli Government is pursuing a “scheme
  8. what the Israeli Government is doing is in direct violation of the status quo
  9. Israel is an occupying Power (implying they are ‘occupying Palestine’)
  10. Israel is committing a grave mistake at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (implied threat)
  11. Israel “scheme” is illegal
  12. the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of Israel’s “scheme” (i.e. armed resistance)
  13. Israel is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere (implying this is religious in nature, not political and that Muslims outside of Israel are being aggravated as well ( i.e. stirring up a religious response from inside and outside Israel)
  14. the Israeli Government is using brutal force
  15. the Israeli Government seeks to impose its plans (on Palestinians and Muslims)
  16. Israel is undermining Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly at the Al-Aqsa Mosque
  17. the Israeli Government will be responsible for converting the current conflict from a political to religious one
  18. the Israeli Government will be responsible for creating an explosive situation in Jerusalem
  19. the Israeli Government will be responsible for creating an explosive situation in ‘the West Bank’
  20. Israelis living in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank) are “occupying” ‘Palestinian’ Territory.

Do you see how right from the opening of his speech, Abbas is inciting the Arabs of Gaza and the ‘West Bank’ (Judea and Samaria) to violence?

(2) Abbas’ speech on Arab television on October 14 2015

“Israeli government and its settler herds… are using terror against our people, our holy places, our homes and our trees and are executing our children in cold blood, just as they did to the boy Ahmad Manasra and to other children in Jerusalem and elsewhere.”

~ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, October 14 2014, televised speech

Let’s examine what Abbas is telling his people in these few words;

  1. Palestinians will not accept the existing situation (i.e. implying armed resistance)
  2. Israel is really “occupied Palestine” (illegally ‘occupying’ Arab land)
  3. Israeli is using oppressive force
  4. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) have a policy of occupation (see #2)
  5. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) have a policy of aggression
  6. Israeli people are settlers (i.e. on land ‘rightfully’ belonging to ‘Palestine’)
  7. Israeli people are ‘herds’ ( implying they are blindly lead)
  8. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) are using terror against the Palestinian people (i.e. Israel and Israelis are political terrorists)
  9. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) are using terror against  Palestinian holy places (i.e. Israel and Israelis are religious terrorists)
  10. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) are using terror against Palestinian homes (i.e. Israel and Israelis are committing terrorist’s acts on Palestinian homes)
  11. Israeli government and its people (‘settlers’) are executing our children in cold blood (i.e. Israel and Israelis are cold-blooded murderers)

Do you see how in such a short speech Abbas is inciting the Arabs to violence?

Hamas and al-aqsa Martyr’s Brigade Response

Responding to Abbas’ statement on Palestinian TV on October 14, on top of his address to the UN General Assembly on September 30, terrorist groups Hamas (in Gaza) and the terrorist wing of Fatah called the Al-asqa Martyrs Brigade (in the ‘West Bank’) released statements (October 19 2015) that they must use all means necessary to “protect their holy sites

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Hamas terrorists in Gaza

On October 19, 2015 Hamas in Gaza has ordered its terrorists in Judea and Samaria (the ‘West Bank’) to conduct suicide bombings in the region as well as in Jerusalem, in a call that has Israeli security forces preparing against potential bombings that could reach anywhere in the country.

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Fatah al aqsa Martyr’s Brigade

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades announced;

“We call upon the Arab and Islamic nation to shoulder its responsibility towards Al-Aqsa Mosque. We urge all our people to back the popular struggle and [terror] outbreak to protect the holy places“…”The Zionist enemy knows very well that suicide bombings stood at the top of our priorities, and in the depths of Zion using our own bodies to blow up your soldiers and settlers“.


The Arabs of Gaza and the ‘West Bank’ are being incited to violence by their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, fueled by the media and reinforced by their clerics.

 

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Let’s conclude this article with the idea, as Bassam Tawil has said, that the current wave of violence is “just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world“.

Brief Overview of the History of Arab Attacks Against Jews – last 100 Years

[Acknowledgment: material presented below is adapted from material written by David Collier]

It is 19th August 1929. There is no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation and no refugees. Adolf Hitler is out of jail, but yet to receive major popular support at an election. Zionist immigration is still on the slow dripping 4th Aliyah rather than fast flowing 5th Aliyah. A young Sephardic Jew named Abraham Mizrachi was stabbed to death by an Arab near Mea Shearim. The following Friday, August 23rd, a violent Arab demonstration took place at the Western Wall and that afternoon a massacre of Jews in Jerusalem began (17 Jews murdered). The violence spread across British Palestine and in the coming days, Hebron (65+ massacred) and Safed (18+ massacred) saw the worst of the incidents.

It is April 19–20, 1936. There is no partition, no Israel, no settlements, no occupation and no refugees. Even the original suggestions of partition first raised by the Peel commission are still some time away. But ‘The Bloody Day in Jaffa’ is upon us and the first day of the ‘Great Arab Uprising’. By the end of the first week, 17 Jews had been murdered. The revolt was to last 3 years and led to an almost absolute curb on Jewish immigration into British Palestine. The British, and the media placed the blame for the murders and the violence of the revolt on Arab opposition to growing Jewish immigration that was caused by Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.

It is December 2nd 1947. There are no refugees, no occupation and Israel does not yet even exist. The Arabs of the area have not yet even labelled themselves as Palestinians. It is 3 days after the United Nations voted in favour of Partition, pushing a two state solution that the Arabs totally rejected. The Arabs begin a riot in Jerusalem, with 8 Jews reported as being killed. The New York Times pointed out that it was the knife that was the weapon of choice. The killings had begun even earlier with an ambush against buses near Kfar Syrkin on November 30th, and the following months were to see escalating violence as civil war erupted throughout the British Mandate of Palestine. Arabs began to leave the region within weeks, with 100,000 having fled by March. In January irregular Arab armies entered the arena to wipe the Jews out and the neighbouring Arab nations declared openly Israel would never be born. It is impossible to calculate precise Jewish losses over each period in a conflict that was to turn from civil to regional war, but in total over 6000 Jews were to be killed in the following 18 months. Proportionally more than the UK lost in the entire 7 years of WWII. According to western politicians and media of the time, this, all because of the ‘understandable’ Arab reaction to resolution 181 and partition.

It is 1966. The entire West Bank and Gaza are in Arab hands and there is no ‘occupation’. Not a single settlement exists.  The situation has been the same for 17 years and because most of the attacks against the Jews in Israel began beyond the border, the terrorists were armed with guns or explosives rather than knives. There were massacres on buses, attacks on trains, archaeologists, cross border shootings and numerous sniper attacks. The knife still made its appearance with an attack against the odd shepherd, kidnap rape and murder of women and various random attacks where specific details have been lost through time. Between 1949 and 1967, when Israel was in existence completely behind the ‘Green Line’, hundreds of Jewish people were murdered in Israel. Rather than take the available option and declare a Palestinian State, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) was formed in Cairo in 1964 with the intention of destroying Israel. Through all this violence, western media and the politicians placed the blame on the tensions in the region caused by the status of the refugees created during the War of Independence that followed the birth of the State of Israel.

It is 21st March 1989 and the Oslo Peace Process is not yet even a seed in Yossi Beilin’s mind. The first Intifada has hit its peak and Muhammad Zakut, an Arab construction worker in Tel Aviv began randomly stabbing Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv on the Jewish holiday of Purim. Zakut stabbed three Israelis with a commando knife as he shouted “God is great.” One of the victims, Kurt Moshe Schallinger, 73, was killed as he left his car on a Tel Aviv street full of children in costume. Zakut received a life sentence, but like Aziz Salha from the Ramallah lynching, Zakut was released as part of the Gilad Shalit exchange. Around 160 Israelis were murdered during the first Intifada, with western press and politicians blaming frustration at the ‘occupation’ and the building of settlements for the outbreak of violence. The violence over the coming years, some of the most brutal seen inside Israel since 1948 was explained away as a ‘side effect’ of the peace process itself. Over 250 Israelis died in the years immediately following the Oslo accord, sacrificed for a peace that never came. Western media and politicians explained away these terrorist actions as the desperate measures of extremists intent on stopping the process.

It is late 1993 and the stagnation of the peace process is yet to be seen on the distant horizon. ‘Hope’ is now the keyword as Israelis and Palestinians embark on a mission of mutual recognition that results in the beginning of the Oslo peace process. Within weeks, on 24/9/1993, Yigal Vaknin became the first of many victims of this process, as he was stabbed to death in an orchard near the trailer home where he lived. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is September 1999 and Ariel Sharon’s foot has not yet been placed on Temple Mount. Haifa couple Sharon Steinmetz and Yehiel Finfeter went hiking in the Megiddo region when they were stabbed and murdered by an Israeli Arab, Abdullah Salah Aghbariya. ‘Aghbariya reportedly first attacked Finfeter, 25, with a knife and stabbed him several times in front of his girlfriend, before hitting her with a rock and stabbing her to death. Although the terrorist suggested he had murdered these two ‘because they were Jewish’, the media and politicians of the time were having none of it. They suggested that the late 1999 tension was caused not by the self declared hatred of Jews of the terrorist, but by the friction and stagnation of the peace process.

It is October 2000, the conflicts against Hamas run Gaza are still a decade away, but the 2nd Intifada is upon us, Israelis are about to be murdered on the streets of Netanya, Afula, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, anywhere in fact that they can be reached. Two Israelis, Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami having accidentally entered Ramallah, were ‘arrested’ by PA policemen and taken to the local Police Station. There they were ‘beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out, and were disembowelled’ by a mob of Palestinians. The picture is of Aziz Salha, one of the ‘lynchers’, waving his blood-stained hands from the police station window. Salha was later arrested by Israel and sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. The general consensus amongst politicians and the western media was that this outbreak of brutal violence was the result of Ariel Sharon provoking the Palestinians by stepping foot on Temple Mount.

It’s April 30th 2003, at about 00:45 and 22-year-old Asif Muhammad Hanif entered Mike’s Place, a live music tourist pub on the Tel Aviv beachfront. Asif, from London and his friend, Omar Khan Sharif from Derby, had been born, grew up and were educated in the UK. Their entire itinerary had been planned using the latest Lonely Planet Guide book and they had spent the evening with a hundred other tourists at the Hayarkon Hostel, just up the road. Upon entering the pub, Asif detonated his bomb, killing 3 and injuring 50, with the damage restricted by the brave actions of Avi Tabib, the security guard. One of the fatalities was 29-year-old French-born Dominique Haas, a personal friend of mine. It would be difficult to argue that Asif and Omar were any more desperate than you or I. Young, British and university educated, they had their whole lives before them, but simply believed there was more to gain from murdering Jews in Tel Aviv instead.

It is 2014. The status quo on the Temple Mount is not being threatened. This is an attack by a 16-year-old terrorist who began stabbing Jewish customers at the Rami Levy supermarket in Mishor Adumim. The reason given by western media and politicians alike for the violence of late 2014, was that the conflict in Gaza earlier in the year had created a feeling of desperation and a need for revenge.

It is now October 2015 and Jews are again being murdered on the streets of Israel. Today, we are being told the reason Arabs are murdering innocent Jews is because the ‘status quo’ on the Temple Mount is being threatened. It is a false rumour that has been used before.


 

Our conflict with Israel is not about “occupation” or Jerusalem or holy sites or borders. Nor is it about poverty and poor living conditions or walls and fences and checkpoints. This conflict is really about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world. The current wave of terrorism is just another phase in our dream to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. This is not an intifada. It is just another killing-spree aimed at terrorizing the Jews and forcing them to leave this part of the world.”

~Bassam Tawil, Palestinian scholar

It seems clear that as Bassam Tawil has said, the current ‘Palestinian’ uprising is not about “occupation” or “holy sites such as the Al-Asqa Mosque, nor about borders of the land, but about Israel’s very existence.

The issue is not where Israel exists but that Israel exists.