Op-Ed: Hamas Violence: The Bigotry of Low Expectations
The murder of 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khder, allegedly by Jews, shamed the Jewish people everywhere and was immediately denounced by the full spectrum of Israel’s political and religious leadership, including Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres and the Chief Rabbis. The people of Israel expressed remorse and genuine shame that those alleged to be responsible for this savage act came from among us, despite its being an isolated act said to be perpetrated by deranged persons.
It occurred as the nation was in deep mourning over the discovery of our three boys, kidnapped and shot dead in cold blood by Palestinian Arab terrorists. In response to the murder of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gil-Ad Shayer, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, we heard the inspiring words and comments of the families who asked the people of Israel to remain strong and sanctify their memory by perpetuating the values they represented: unity of Am Yisrael - the Nation of Israel - humility, goodness, and a sincere commitment to live a moral life. Town squares throughout the cities and of Israel were spontaneously filled with subdued and saddened young men and women who lit memorial candles to pay final respects and reflect on the tragic deaths.
In contrast, in response to the despicable murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, we heard MK Ahmed Tibi, a veteran Israeli Arab member of the Knesset, give the green lite to the violent and criminal rioting that broke out throughout Arab communities in Israel in recent days by stating again and again –
“From now on all citizens of Israel are made responsible for the criminal assassination of Mohammed”.
During the past few days, the entrance to Arab cities and villages have become battlegrounds with thousands of young Arab rioters, many masked, combatting Police forces attempting to restore order. These Arab rioters have attacked Jews innocently driving close by with rocks, Molotov cocktails, metal bars, and wantonly destroyed infrastructure such as train stations and electrical lines, leaving destruction and havoc behind. The national leadership of the Arab communitiy in Israel has lined up unanimously and called for the Arabs of Israel to continue their violent behavior under the perverted pretense of “free speech and the right to demonstrate”.
Hamas, in Gaza, after several months of relatively few rocket launchings at Israel - an Orwellian statement if there ever was one - entered on the scene in full force and launched over a hundred rockets at Israeli civilian targets, with over thirty sent in the space of ten minutes at one point in time.
Through the prism of Western media coverage and reactions by Obama and other political leaders from Europe, it has become painfully clear how the bigotry of low expectations of Arabs plays itself out here in the Middle East. It seems as though Arabs are seen as incapable of measuring up to the high expectations of international morality.
Prior to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, the kidnapping and murder of our three boys elicited little if any coverage in the major Western media outlets and no sympathy at the UN in Geneva, despite the outpouring of peaceful grief and unity throughout the Jewish world. It seemed as if the world accepts the legitimacy of barbaric behavior on the part of Palestinian Arab terrorists as the necessary price Jews must pay for not forfeiting their rights to live in Israel.
The use of the legally inapplicable term “occupation” as responsible for all of the violence that is directed against Israel - as if it began in 1967 -has become the all-encompassing code-word that justifies low expectations of moral behavior by Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Perpetuating this myth only reinforces the continuing violence that has rocked not only Israel in recent days, but is spreading murder and mayhem in all of the Middle East.
Low intensity genocide is being conducted systematically in Syria and Iraq. Christians are persecuted, hounded, and murdered throughout the Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa. In the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Arab civilians have lost their lives throughout the Middle East due to civil wars and the violent emergence of new political leaderships in different countries. Any objective observer searches in vain a for international outrage and indignation, but other than the occasional politically correct lip service of sympathy, condemnation is rare. Rockets can rain with impunity on Israeli men, women and children, launched by an elected terrorist organization which has obtained vast stores of lethal weaponry and vows publicly to destroy a member state of the United Nations
The absence of moral indignation can only be explained by the perception by Western leaders and the Western media that there can be no expectations that the Arab world can embrace the idea of the sanctity of life,
This is true bigotry, the racist bigotry of low expectations.
Among the Jewish population there are probably walking time bombs waiting for the opportunity to fulfill their primal need to hurt others. They, however, are the margin and beyond the pale, enjoying no public reinforcement of their violent intents.
On the Palestinian Arab side, our neighbors operate in an entirely different mode. Palestinian Arab baby-killers of Jews are admired, squares are dedicated in their name and study materials in the Arab schools glorify their mission. Rockets are launched from schools and hospitals with not a word of protest from Palestinian Arab residents at putting their children in danger of retaliatory fire.
For those that have joined me for day tours of the Shomron, I always take the time to point out as we drive through the village of Hawarra, the pictures of suicide terrorists, including those that butchered the sleeping Fogel family, hung permanently on light poles throughout the village and presenting future role models for the local population.
Let us not forget that after our three boys were kidnapped and found murdered, Palestinian Arabs distributed sweets and candies in Gaza and Ramallah to express their support and joy at this murderous behavior by their brethren.
The world's reluctance to expose and explicitly condemn the savagery so prevalent among Arab societies, while zeroing in with a magnifying glass on Israel's defensive actions, demanding that she maintain an unsustainable level of respecting human rights - even when it conflicts with the basic right of self- defense, only perpetuates the racist bigotry of low expectations from Arab society.
And it is a black stain on the face of the Family of Nations.
The author is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, serving as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he has been providing consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities throughout Israel. Today, Ron serves as the Strategic Advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria To contact: firstname.lastname@example.org