On a recent trip to Israel, I met a Palestinian student who studies at a diverse international school. I asked her if any of the Palestinian groups believe in Gandhian non-violence to redress their grievances. She knew of only one group — the small communist party to which she belonged. Only one.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, it is not by much. Nor is it surprising. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has inculcated a culture of violence and hatred of Jews in each successive generation of Palestinians since it was founded by Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1964.
Israeli journalist Eliezer Whartman wrote that when he visited Gaza in 1967, after Israel had driven out the Egyptian army, he found that:
“Indoctrination to hatred of Israel started at the very tenderest years. I saw pictures which children had drawn, with the encouragement of their teachers, depicting themselves killing Israeli children. The textbooks dripped venom. One text for the third grade, entitled Arabic Islamic History read: ‘The Jews are always the same, in every time, every place. They live only in darkness. They secretly plan to do evil; they fight only from hidden places because they are cowards. We must purify holy Palestine from their filth in order to bring peace back to the Arab homeland.'”
This trend has continued, unbroken, to the present day.
In Lebanon in 1982, Israel encountered hundreds of preteen and early teenage Palestinian boys specially trained by the PLO to use rocket-propelled grenades.
In 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of this phenomenon:
“I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.”
“Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing,” Netanyahu said. “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 PLO has signed peace agreements before, each time with forked tongue. One notable occasion was the 1993 Oslo peace process, which earned PLO head Yasser Arafat the Nobel Peace Prize. While he spoke of peaceful coexistence at the White House, he was singing a very different tune to Arab and Muslim audiences. On May 10, 1994, Arafat was secretly recorded speaking at a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa. He said:
“This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammed and Koraish, and you remember the Caliph Omar had refused this agreement and [considered] it a despicable truce.
But Mohammed had accepted it and we are accepting now this peace offer. But to continue our way to Jerusalem, to the first shrine together and not alone. We are in need of you as Moslems, as warriors of Jihad.”
(The treaty with the Koraish, known as the Treaty of Hudaybiya, was a peace treaty Mohammed signed with the Koraish tribe of Mecca at a time when his army was not strong enough to conquer the city. Two years later, however, Mohammed’s forces had gained in strength, so he abrogated the treaty and conquered Mecca.)
A few years later, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat everything he asked for as part of the agreement, Arafat rejected the offer and subsequently launched one of the bloodiest waves of terrorism in modern Israeli history.
In 2015, Palestinan Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shaheed (martyr) will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward. … Al-Aqsa is ours, and the (Church of the) Holy Sepulcher is ours, everything is ours, all ours. They (the Jews) have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet and we won’t allow them to.”
The PLO is poison. It has destroyed the prospect of peace and it holds hostage the aspirations of the Palestinians. If there is to be peace someday, it will be when the legacy of the PLO is undone.