If you want to know the No. 1 reason Israel and the Palestinians aren’t at peace, don’t look to Israeli settlements or Palestinian refugee camps or calendars marking 50 years since the Six-Day War.
Instead, look at the statements from the only two viable Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas, after a two-site, three-person, coordinated terrorist attack Friday, June 16, in Jerusalem killed Border Police Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka.
Malka was fatally stabbed near the Damascus Gate while trying to stop one of three Palestinian terrorists from the village of Deir Abu-Mash’al, near Ramallah. She was doing a job similar to that of Israel Defense Forces Sgt. Emma Browne, who told the capacity crowd at a Friends of the IDF event June 12 about a knife-wielding Palestinian who recently tried to get past her checkpoint and wounded another woman in her unit.
“I can only guess how many lives we saved that day” by stopping one man bent on violence, Browne said. She noted that the troops guarding Israel’s borders and major cities “are the first line of defense against terrorists.”
The murderous trio June 16 carried at least one automatic weapon in addition to knives, but that firearm reportedly jammed, preventing a higher toll. As it was, four other people suffered stab wounds that fortunately were not life-threatening.
Israeli security forces prevented further casualties by stopping the terrorists in the only way possible: shooting them dead. Remember, these three young men, like the hundreds of other Palestinians killed in terrorist attacks since September 2015, were on a suicide mission as surely as bombers who hit buses and restaurants during the Second Intifada. As long as they lived, they were going to try to keep killing.
No one who has paid attention to its words or deeds could have been surprised by the reaction of Hamas, which rules Gaza with an iron hand and has the habit of committing a double war crime by firing rockets at civilian areas of southern Israel from the shield of civilian locations.
A Hamas spokesman said the attack proved “that our Palestinian nation continues its revolution against the criminal occupation and that the intifada will continue until we achieve full freedom.”
But those who hold out hope that Fatah, the party of perpetual Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, provides a moderate, peace-seeking alternative to Hamas should pay close attention to its post-attack statement. Fatah condemned “the murder of three young men,” as if the 18-year-old and two 19-year-olds were just out for a pre-Shabbat stroll when Israeli troops picked them out at random and gunned them down.
Sadly, international news outlets such as the BBC perpetuated that misconception with headlines that emphasized the deaths of the three Palestinians and not their attempted killing spree.
Even sadder, however, is that Hamas was more honest about the attack than was Fatah. Hamas celebrated the violence as part of an uprising; Fatah presented the alternate reality of an Israel trying to slaughter innocent, defenseless Palestinians.
When the Palestinian leaders on one side want only Israel’s destruction and the Palestinian leaders on the other side wrap themselves in the cloak of victimhood, where can Israel find a partner for peace?