In case you haven’t seen the viral video, here is what happened: Ayman Mohyeldin, an MSNBC reporter on the far left of the political spectrum who formerly worked for Al Jazeera, was reporting from the field on an incident unfolding before his very eyes. Mohyeldin described how Israeli police shot a young unarmed Arab who was fleeing for no apparent reason. What he did not know was that several seconds before his report a video of the incident, shot on a mobile device, was shown on the broadcast, and it was clear from the video that the Arab was holding a knife. Thus an anti-Israel libel, which would certainly have been widely used for propaganda purposes, was immediately refuted.
The Walking Dead, the Violent Moderates, and the Innocent Murderers
But what you can do in Ramallah you can’t do in Jerusalem. It wasn’t long before video clips were posted online showing 13-year-old Palestinian terrorist Manasra with his 15-year-old cousin on a killing spree in the streets of Jerusalem, attacking Israeli civilians with a knife, including a Jewish 13 year old youth on a bicycle who was hospitalized in critical condition. Furthermore, Israel released photographs proving that Manasra was alive and receiving good treatment at an Israeli hospital. An embarrassed Abu Mazen attempted to limit the damage, and an English-language press release issued by his office referred to “the shooting of our children in cold blood.” But even this allegation was quickly exposed when the head of the hospital where Manasra is being treated announced that there were no signs he had been shot.
Abu Mazen, of course, is just the cherry in the Festival of Martyrs taking place among the “moderate” Palestinian leaders who, when they are not giving interviews to foreign networks, are busy justifying violence. Thus, for example, Tawfiq Tirawi, a PLO Central Committee member and the former head of the Palestinian security apparatus, stated in an interview with the Amad news agency’s website that he favored “popular resistance,” that is, stabbing innocent Jews, which is “one of the means of resistance.”
Other officials on the PLO Central Committee, such as Azzam al-Ahmed, called for “an expansion of the cycle of popular resistance,” and Abbas Zaki went so far as to suggest that a “war room” be established to coordinate all terrorist activity. Muhammad Dahlan, former head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, wrote similar things on his Facebook page, while PLO Executive Committee member Mahmoud Ismail called the murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their four small children “a national duty.”
Saeb Erekat, like his boss, accused Israel at a press conference of murdering children. When Erekat, who is head of the Palestinian negotiating team, a member of the PLO Central Committee, and one of the most prominent “partners” of the various peace initiatives, called on the UN to immediately come to investigate the “kangaroo courts,” he was referring specifically to Fadi Alun, who stabbed a 15-year-old Jewish boy and caused him moderate wounds, and Mustafa al-Khatib, who attempted to stab a police officer at the Lions’ Gate and was shot on the spot. In keeping with the accepted practice in Palestinian diplomacy, Erekat added that the Palestinians had begun to gather evidence in order to file a complaint at the Hague against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and the head of the Shin Bet.
In the meantime, Palestinian Authority spokesmen have not ceased lying and spreading false accusations. This was what happened, for example, when a female terrorist tried to carry out a car bombing in Jerusalem. Adnan al-Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian security services, claimed that the car went up in flames only because of an electrical malfunction. Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam explained to its readers that “Israel fabricated a story about a supposed car bomb, just as it has done in countless instances in the past.”
Another example: Several days after the start of the current wave of terror, the PLO released an announcement about “the youth Yussuf Tabib, who was seriously wounded by shots fired by settlers.” The boy’s parents, who live in a village in the Kalkiliya area, stated that he “was shot in the stomach by a driver traveling in an Israeli vehicle near the village of Nabi Ilyas” and that “the driver who shot him fled from the scene.”
Violence for the Sake of Violence
Furthermore, the profiles of some of the attackers, which are revealed immediately on social media, show that reasons such as poverty, discrimination, the occupation, or backwardness do not explain their violence. The attackers themselves, in their authentic public statements, leave no room for doubt that theirs is a murderous ideology and hatred that is essentially religious and nationalist and is directed against Jews as Jews.
Even the semi-official cause of the violence—allegations that the Temple Mount status quo is being violated—are very easily refuted. While it’s true that the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount has increased in recent years, the status quo restricts the behavior of Jews on the Temple Mount, not their numbers. In any case, it’s worth noting that the numbers are small: While there have been some 3.5 million Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount in recent years and another 80,000 Christians, only 12,000 of the visitors have been Jews—or in other words, only about 0.3 percent.
Anyone who has been on the Temple Mount in recent years recognizes the phenomenon. When Jews approach the center of the Temple Mount plaza, a regular commotion begins: dozens of activists, mainly female, gather around the Jewish visitors, screaming loudly and threatening them. “Al-Aqsa is in danger, Allahu Akbar,” they call out, loudly and rhythmically, in order to interrupt the tour and the tour guide, and in some cases, as the following video clips show, they have spit at the visitors and attempted to attack them.
Thus, the Jews enter the complex frightened, in small groups, and with heavy police security. All of them are accompanied by waqf officials, who monitor every movement by Jewish visitors and report to each other using walkie talkies. Recently, the government decided to ban these organizations and to work to dismantle their financial infrastructure. This does not violate the status quo; it defends it.
Another player violating the original status quo is the Kingdom of Jordan. The Jordanians, as part of their peace treaty with Israel, have been given standing concerning events on the Temple Mount. They have demanded that Israel not construct a permanent, stable, and safe bridge at the Mughrabi Gate, caused the postponement of a Knesset session on Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and prevented the removal of garbage near the Little Western Wall. And if all that is not enough, the ban on raising flags on the Temple Mount is enforced only against Jews, while PLO, Hamas, and sometimes ISIS flags are proudly flown there.
After asserting that Israel is taking over the mosques, Abu Mazen continued: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem; it is clean, pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, for God’s will. Every martyr will reach Paradise, and every person wounded will be rewarded by Allah.” Now go and convince the world that you are “opposed to violence.”
And here, too, the Palestinian calumny has failed to take off. Perhaps the best proof of this is the recent statement by John Kerry, who backed Netanyahu. Kerry noted that “we don’t contemplate any change [on the Temple Mount], but nor does Israel. Israel understands the importance of that status quo.” Kerry also expressed U.S. opposition to the French proposal to send observers to the Temple Mount, which the Palestinians support.
These rules of the game have changed drastically in the recent attacks, which are occurring in a civilian arena with numerous cameras. The special nature of the current conflict, documented in real time, is eroding the Palestinian allegations at record speed and showing their propaganda in a false light. Abu Mazen and other Palestinian Authority spokesmen have failed to understand that the reality in the Internet age limits their ability to fabricate and create effective propaganda for the world.
English translation by Miriam Himmelfarb. This article appeared on Mida.