Originally published under the title "On That 'Sudden' Eruption in Palestinian Violence."
The Israel Law Center, Shurat HaDin, has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social media platform is facilitating incitement against Israelis.
The recent spike in suicidal terror attacks in Israel by mostly teenage Palestinian Arabs was allegedly sparked by the fire bombing of an Arab house near Jerusalem, and the death of an Arab infant and his parents. Because that horrific arson followed several non-lethal attacks by Jewish fanatics seeking "revenge" for regular fatal attacks by Palestinians, it was assumed that Jews perpetrated the atrocity (though no proof is available). As a result, violent Arab teenagers went on a rampage ton Tuesday submitted a lawsuit against Facebook in a New York court on behalf of 20,000 Israelis, with the plaintiffs hat lasted some three weeks, mostly in Jerusalem. Many Jews were stabbed to death, while most of the perpetrators were killed.
However, what really prompted these growing solitary teenage attacks was the intensified incitement by the Palestinian media and social networks, which are controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and by Palestinian leaders, notably the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas.
For months now, a drumbeat of murderous propaganda (seldom reported in the international media) has urged Arab adults and children to kill Jews in order to foil their alleged plot to destroy the venerated Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque, situated on Jerusalem's holy Mount Moriah, where the first and second Jewish Temples stood, marks the spot from which, according to Muslim tradition, the prophet Mohamed ascended to heaven. "The Jews" the inciters screamed, are plotting to destroy the mosque and rebuild on this hallowed mount their own Temple.
"Save Al-Aqsa" has been a rallying cry of Arab radicals for nearly a century.
This is actually an old slander. "Save The Al-Aqsa Mosque" has been a rallying cry of radical Arab nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists since 1920, when the British were entrusted by the League of Nations with a mandate over former Ottoman Palestine, in order to establish a Jewish national home there. The Jews were given a small sliver of desert of their ancestral land (Mark Twain described it as "the prince of desolation"), while Arabs received most of the vast former Ottoman territories. The Arabs established 21 new Arab states on an area 650 times that of Israel. In return, their leader, Hussein, the Sheriff of Mecca, agreed not to make any claims on Palestine.
"Kill Jews to save Al-Aqsa" was repeatedly used by Arab leaders to provoke the massacre of innocent Jews, as in 1929 in Hebron, where many members of the ancient Jewish community were butchered and burned alive by their Muslim neighbors. Arabs perpetrated massacres of Jews also in 1921, 1933, 1936-39, and some years in between.
Internal politics prompted the Palestinian Authority to intensify its anti-Israel incitement.
What prompted the Palestinian Authority to intensify its routine incitement this time around was a succession war brewing within the PA between the unpopular President Abbas and local Palestinian clan leaders that command the Tanzim terrorist arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas's age (81), along with his waning power and popularity, offers them an opportunity to get rid of his "Tunisian gang", before he installs his successor.
To defend himself against accusations of cooperating with Israel (he does, in his struggle with Hamas) Abbas has intensified incitement against Israel, a habitual tactic of shaky Arab dictators desperate to redirect public rage against a foreign enemy: Israel.
It's a very old strategy. Recently disclosed British documents reveal that local Arabs were encouraged by British agents seeking to perpetuate British control over Palestine to fight the establishment of a Jewish national home from its inception by fomenting, as in India, ethnic and religious strife to divide and rule.
The British appointed a notorious anti-Semite – Hajj Amin al-Husseini – as the Grand Mufti. They gave him control of the considerable treasure of the Muslim religious trusts that he used to finance his terror campaign. Husseini's terrorists murdered not only Jews, but also most of the Mufti's Arab political opponents and heads of rival clans, especially those who sought an accommodation with the Jews. In 1943, Husseini planned with Hitler the extension of the Holocaust to North Africa and the Middle East. He left the Palestinian community leaderless, unable to establish a state when the UN partitioned Palestine in 1948.
The recent explosion of Arab violence is only another phase, then, in a century long war by Islamists to destroy Israel. Incitement as a political strategy is nothing new. Millions of Muslims, Sunni and Shiite, continue to transcend their mortal enmity (evident in the deadly rivalry between the Sunni Al Qaeda and ISIS and the Shiite Iran and Hezbollah) and unite to destroy tiny Israel.
Daniel Doron is founder and director of the Israel Center for Social & Economic Progress (ICSEP), an independent public policy think tank, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.