Cheering on the Slaughter

National Post Editorial
Aug. 10, 2001

On Thursday, a Palestinian terrorist detonated a nail-packed bomb in a Jerusalem pizzeria, killing at least 15 innocents, including about six infants. "We saw bodies thrown all over the floor and people ran into my store dripping with blood," said a local shop owner. "I saw bodies inside the restaurant and the body of a little girl on the street outside full of blood. Bodies were all over inside and outside." Naturally, ordinary Palestinians roared their approval. And why not? In the West Bank and Gaza, as in many parts of the Arab world, murderous anti-Semitism is preached as a state religion. A week ago, Palestinian state-run television broadcast a sermon conducted by Sheik Ibrahim Madhi at the Sheik 'Ijlin Mosque in Gaza. "A young man said to me: 'I am 14 years old, and I have four years left before I blow myself up amongst the Jews.' I said to him: 'Oh son, I ask Allah to give you and myself Martyrdom,'" he preached. "All spears should be directed at the Jews, at the enemies of Allah, the nation that was cursed in Allah's book. Allah has described them as apes and pigs, the calf-worshippers, idol-worshippers ... Blessings for whoever has saved a bullet in order to stick it in a Jew's head."

Blessings, indeed. Among most Israeli Jews, life is taken seriously -- and profuse apologies emanate from the government whenever a bystander is killed in an anti-terrorism operation. But the Palestinians apparently exult in the slaughter of civilians: In a recent poll conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion, 76% of respondents indicated they supported suicide bombings. Given the steady diet of poisonous anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda that rains down on them, it is a wonder the number is not higher.

Thus, it makes sense that Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, is now reportedly considering bringing Islamist terrorist groups into his administration in some capacity -- including Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for Thursday's restaurant attack. Mr. Arafat's PA administration has a strong symbiotic relationship with terrorist groups: Last year, he released dozens of terrorists from jails when he felt the need to create a bargaining chip. Naming these groups as official elements of the PA government would merely serve to render a de facto partnership de jure.

The move would also serve to bring exterminationist anti-Semitism into the open as a core Palestinian ideology. In Article 13 of Hamas's founding 1988 covenant, the group claims: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time." Article 7 urges the slaughter of Jews. Article 20 compares Jews to Nazis. Article 22 informs readers that Jews are the source of war and that "with their money, they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies." Article 28 notes that Jews are "behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion." Who knew?

Last year, the West urged then-prime minister Ehud Barak to concede the moon to Mr. Arafat at Camp David so that the Palestinian leader would be able to make peace with the full approval of what pundits invariably refer to as "the Arab street." Mr. Barak duly complied, offering Mr. Arafat his own state, including Gaza, more than 90% of the West Bank and a capital in Jerusalem. But Mr. Arafat balked, knowing that what "the street" really wants, in no small part due to his own administration's propaganda, is the destruction of Israel and the creation of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian nation that extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, has been decried by doves for his hardline stance. But, having battled Arabs since 1947, he understands the depth of hatred many feel for Jews and for the Jewish nation. With every Arab cheer that goes up when Jewish innocents are slaughtered, the depth of that hatred is betrayed.