Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips Courtesy

(JNS) When an Arab terrorist murdered five Israelis in Bnei Brak this week by opening fire indiscriminately with an M-16 rifle, Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip and the “West Bank” handed out sweets in celebration and held jubilant rallies.

It made no difference to them that one of the five victims, police officer Amir Khoury, was an Israeli Arab who was gunned down as he shot the terrorist dead. Palestinian Arabs celebrate with sweets and fireworks whenever they murder Jews.

This was the third such deadly terrorist attack in eight days, leaving a total of 11 Israelis dead. Once more, Israeli families have been left devastated and grieving after attacks perpetrated against them simply because they are Israelis.

At the Negev Summit held earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the unprecedented peace agreements between Israel and the Arab world that have followed the historic Abraham Accords “are not a substitute for progress between Palestinians and Israelis.”

What did Blinken mean by “progress”? Did he perhaps mean that the Palestinian Arabs must stop killing Israelis?

Did he mean they must cast aside the mindset that causes them to celebrate wildly whenever Jews are murdered?

Did he mean that the Palestinian Authority must abandon teaching its children to murder Jews and steal Israeli land?

No, Blinken did not mean this. By “progress,” he meant Israeli concessions.

Although he issued a condemnation of the Bnei Brak atrocity within hours of its taking place, he made no acknowledgment that the sole reason for such attacks is that the Palestinian Arabs, backed by Muslim regimes such as the rulers of Iran, want Israel annihilated.

He omitted to acknowledge that the war against Israel is driven by profound anti-Semitism and religious fanaticism. At a press conference before the Negev Summit began, he failed to acknowledge that the people responsible for the absence of a Palestinian state are not the Israelis, who have repeatedly agreed to it, but the Palestinian Arabs themselves, who have refused such a state alongside Israel for the best part of a century.

Instead, he put most of the blame for the lack of progress on Israel. Peace should be promoted, he said, through “working to prevent actions on all sides that could raise tensions, including settlement expansion, settler violence, incitement to violence, demolitions, payments to individuals convicted of terrorism, evictions of families from homes they’ve lived in for decades.”

Coming in the midst of the past week’s atrocities against Israelis, Blinken’s remarks were obscene.

“Settlement expansion” only increases tensions because people like Blinken make this so by continuing to perpetuate the lie that Israelis have stolen “Palestinian” land in the disputed territories. The truth is that they are the only people with a legal and historical right to be there.

“Settler violence,” although reprehensible, is miniscule compared with the countless, daily and never-ending attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis—the vast majority of which go entirely unreported in America and Britain.

The Arab “evictions” from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shimon HaTzadik (also known as Sheikh Jarrah) were nothing other than a dispute over non-payment of rent, grossly misrepresented by Blinken and his ilk as a form of ethnic cleansing.

By lumping in Palestinian incitement and rewards to terrorist families along with these criticisms of Israel, Blinken erased the distinction between Israeli rights and Palestinian Arab attempts to erase those rights. And by claiming that his distorted and misleading list of alleged Israeli offenses was blocking “progress,” he effectively blamed Israel for its own victimization.

This inversion of Arab aggressors and Israeli victims is typical of Western liberal Israel-bashers who resolutely refuse to acknowledge the bigotry, savagery and lies among the “Palestinians” whose cause they promote.

After pressure from Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz, P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas issued a rare condemnation of the Bnei Brak attacks. This gesture was worthless. The terrorist was reportedly affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the “military wing” of Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Abbas himself persistently glorifies as “martyrs” those who murder Israelis. As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, when three Fatah terrorists were killed in confrontations with Israel recently, Abbas himself openly called on Palestinians to murder Israelis—to “dish out to them twice as much as we’ve received.”

The fact that Fatah’s Jenin branch repeated Abbas’s exact term in its social-media post glorifying the Bnei Brak terrorist made clear that the movement saw the attacks as answering Abbas’s call.

Yet Abbas is the individual with whom Blinken is pressuring Israel to make “progress” through concessions.

Israel is currently enduring reportedly the deadliest wave of violence since 2006. With Ramadan coming up, there are concerns that this wave will further accelerate—and the deepest anxiety is that this will involve not just “Palestinian” terrorists but also Israeli Arabs.

The attacks over the past few days in Hadera and Beersheva, in which six Israelis were murdered, were perpetrated by three Israeli Arabs with connections to Islamic State. This week, there were rock attacks on Israelis and a stabbing on a bus, following two previous stabbings in both eastern and west Jerusalem. And the country was severely shaken by Arab riots in hitherto calm mixed communities last May.

Effi Eitam, a retired brigadier-general in the Israel Defense Forces and former housing minister, warned this week that Israel is currently facing a violent, Islamic-nationalist uprising among Arab Israelis, whose ultimate goal is to dismantle the Jewish state.

Speaking on Army Radio about the hundreds of thousands of weapons stolen from IDF bases and police stations over the last decade, he said: “The [Arab] sector is building a military force against the state. Israeli Arabs are becoming a separatist population.”

The main reason is that, while many Israeli Arabs have been steadily becoming more educated, prosperous and assimilated, there have also been systematic attempts to radicalize them by Hamas, the P.A., Isis and Iran.

Even more significant is their belief that final victory over the Jews is now within their grasp. These attacks are being fueled by an exultant fervor that the United States is in retreat and, by its craven submission to Iran, is surrendering to Islam.

This plays into the strand of apocalyptic Islamic messianism promoted by Islamic preachers whipping up expectations that the weakness of America and the resulting likely victory over the Jews means that the end of days is imminent.

Blinken assumes that the “Palestinian” cause is one that needs addressing in order to achieve progress towards peace. On the contrary—since the “Palestinian” cause is nothing other than the extermination of Israel, the only way to achieve peace is to sideline that cause altogether. Insisting on making “progress” with it is tantamount to insisting upon progress in achieving the destruction of Israel.

Contrary to Blinken’s words, the Abraham Accords were indeed a crucial substitute for that cause. The alliance makes true progress in ending the war against Israel’s existence by abandoning the people who continue to wage that war.

Yet the Biden administration regards the alliance between Israel and its new Arab allies as an impediment to the actual progress it so incomprehensibly desires—to empower Iran.

While Israel and its Arab allies understand that the Iranian regime poses a mortal threat to themselves that must be defeated, Blinken and the rest of the Biden team are desperate for an agreement which will enable Tehran to develop nuclear weapons within a short space of time and which will funnel into its coffers tens of billions of dollars to fund its infernal activities.

What Blinken demonstrated in the Negev was what it currently means to be a Western progressive. It means supporting people who murder Israelis and empowering others who want to wipe out Israel—while spouting liberal pieties out of the other side of their mouths.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.