- - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There are those who believe that contemporary terrorism commenced on Sept. 11, 2001, when radical Islamic terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans. However, that horrific day can be more precisely described as another milestone in an ongoing reign of terrorism.

Terrorism existed long before that terrible day, and although it is often ignored by American leaders to our peril and their own, terrorism is increasingly pervasive. Nowhere is this clearer than in the state of Israel.

In Israel, there are terror attacks each and every day. These attacks are perpetrated by radical Islamic terrorists who are incited to act by their own Palestinian leadership and subsequently lauded by the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Iran, the most pervasive of the purveyors of terrorism, even announced cash rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families for killing Israelis.

In the last quarter of 2015, rock attacks against Israel were prevalent. A terrorist act of throwing rocks (rocks being a euphemism for large pieces of building material, often weighing 50 lbs. or more) at cars and individuals is without doubt an act of murder. While some in the media might scoff at rock attacks as a form of terrorism, the smashing of heavy rocks into cars while children scream from the back seat is terrorism by any sane appraisal.

These are not harmless attacks without consequences. Just one of many examples, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah last year, a rock was thrown at Alexander Levlovitz’s car, causing him to lose control and crash, fatally injuring him. And since that day, Palestinian attacks on Israelis have included 31 murders (including a Palestinian man mistaken for a Jew), 357 injuries, 187 stabbings and attempted stabbings, 75 shootings, and 39 attacks using vehicles.

Beyond the deaths, the gunshot and stab wounds, there is also a hidden psychological effect of constant terror. Reportedly, 8,000 Israelis have developed post-traumatic stress disorder due to the current wave of terror. What is more, the number of people who have witnessed traumatic events firsthand and the effect this has on them and their families is incalculable.

The tentacles of terror extend far beyond the boundaries of the attacks themselves. They reach into every crevice of society and affect everyone — directly or indirectly. No responsible government of any country in the world would allow this to continue, yet Israel’s pain is largely ignored, dismissed as inconsequential by many in the world, who sympathize with the proponents, sponsors and perpetrators of terror rather than with its victims.

But it is exactly this dismissive attitude that has led to the increased terror we witness today. Terrorism does not begin in a vacuum, and contrary to what we’re led to believe, it also doesn’t begin with hopelessness, poverty or desperation, as the secretary-general of the United Nations would have you believe. The perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks were largely wealthy Arab men from Saudi Arabia — just as the Palestinian leadership has become wealthy by reaping the cash flow earmarked for development of Palestinian society.

Terrorism begins with incitement and a constant brainwashing of people into a doctrine of hatred and murder, calculated to see their “enemy” not as individuals or people, but as a dehumanized, false entity that must be eliminated. Every day we see examples of this on Palestinian television, where children’s shows talk of killing Jews, and sermons by religious authorities tell their faithful to raise up their knives. Yet these are not shows run by individuals with an illegal transmitter. These are shows that are commissioned and run on official Palestinian government channels. It is a carefully orchestrated campaign to launch an intifada against Israel by the highest authority.

No one is born hating. However, Palestinian hatred toward the Jews is taught and carefully cultivated until it becomes the sole reason for existence. This is the legacy of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian Authority.

Last November, as the Palestinian wave of terror was rolling on, instead of trying to prompt an atmosphere of calm as any responsible leader would do, Mahmoud Abbas, said, “This is a peaceful uprising.” Peaceful? Quite clearly, the Palestinian idea of peace looks very different Israelis.

And yet, the money continues to flow into the coffers of terror by a world that simply doesn’t get it. Those who continue to fund this terror machine, and those who prefer to label tomatoes and wine rather than identify those who are inciting the violence are contributing not to a peaceful and prosperous future, but to one wrought in violence and despair.

Jason Katz is the principal of TSG, LLC, and is former head of public affairs and public relations for the American Jewish Committee. Justin Amler is a Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues.

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