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Jewish World Review August 29, 2001/ 10 Elul 5761

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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Arafat's hate is
the bar to peace --
EVER wonder what makes a Palestinian suicide bomber? Or why any young person would volunteer to open fire on a carload of civilians?

The core answer lies in the steady diet of hatred that Palestinian leaders force-feed their children. Toddlers are taught songs honoring suicide "martyrs." At demonstrations - and even funerals - kids barely big enough to lift them tote toy machine guns while swearing to "give our blood to destroy the Jews."

This year's Gaza and West Bank summer camps boasted courses in terror bombing. Now that school is reopening, teachers will reinforce the message of hatred.

Consider the following sample quotes from Palestinian grammar school textbooks - not those published by Hamas extremists, but those officially sanctioned by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and printed with money donated by the European Union: "There is no alternative to destroying Israel." "The Jewish claim that Palestine is theirs by historical right is the greatest lie known to humanity." "The true goal of the Jews is to rob the majority of all the Arab homeland."

The hate-filled message worsens under the cloak of religion. In a recent sermon preached from a Gaza mosque and broadcast live on Arafat's official TV channel, one Arafat-appointed imam offered the following spiritual wisdom: "We blow up Jews in Hadera, we blow them up in Tel Aviv and in Netanya, and in this way Allah establishes us as rulers over these gangs of vagabonds."

In June, just a week before a Palestinian bomber slaughtered 21 young Israelis outside a Tel Aviv disco, the mufti of Jerusalem, one of Arafat's most venomous preachers and an open supporter of suicide bombings, told the faithful: "Muslims, attack and you will gain one of two blessings: victory or martyrdom. ... The Muslim loves death and martyrdom."

Anti-Israeli Palestinian hyperbole was a regular feature when Arafat still openly embraced terror. I remember entering Gaza as a foreign correspondent during the 1967 Six-Day War and seeing arithmetic books with questions like: "If you have 36 Jews and you kill 11, how many are left?"

But that was in the days before Arafat became a so- called peacemaker and signed the Oslo peace accords that obligate Israelis and Palestinians to "abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other" and to "take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups or individuals within their jurisdiction."

Israel has done so; a young Israeli woman who insulted the Prophet Muhammed in a crude cartoon was actually jailed by Israeli authorities. Compare that with the way in which Arafat not only tolerates anti-Jewish hatred, but foments it. He and his spinners speak to the world about "thepeace of the brave" and the need for Israelis and Palestinians to live together "as neighbors, brothers and friends."

But what Arafat's Western apologists forget - or ignore - is that this is not the message he imparts to his own people and certainly not to the children. For them, it's still the old line: liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine, and, at the very best, a wink and nod about peace agreements that, he implies, are not meant to last forever.

Until Arafat changes his message to his people, young Palestinians will continue to blow themselves up, and both Israelis and Arabs will continue to die.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report and a columnist at the NY Daily News. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History.

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

© 2001, N. Y. Daily News