Peter Herbst’s letter, “Flatow demonizes Palestinians” (Feb. 1), urges me to write about “Israeli-Palestinian groups which promote mutual respect,” such as the Parents Circle Families Forum. Very well, then: The Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF) consists of a handful of relatives of Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism who hold meetings that sometimes include the relatives of Palestinians who were killed while taking part in attacks against Israelis. The Israeli Ministry of Education was so appalled that back in 2011 it ordered the PCFF to stop inviting relatives of dead terrorists to its activities. “There is no room for comparison between terror victims and terrorists,” the education minister explained, according to Ynetnews.com.
Parents whose loved ones have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists respond in different ways. One of the ways in which I have chosen to respond is by writing about the dangers of Palestinian terrorism and the extent to which that terrorism has found support among the Palestinian-Arab public. I have never written that “all Palestinians” support violence, as Herbst falsely claims. I have never written that “all Palestinians” have the same opinion on any issue. At the same time, we would be deluding ourselves if we were to turn a blind eye to the frequent demonstrations of popular support among Palestinians for violence against Jews.
Moments before reading his letter, I read about the near-lynching last week of an Israeli civilian who accidentally drove into Abu Dis, a Palestinian-Arab suburb of Jerusalem. The driver was not “occupying” anybody’s territory. He was not establishing a Jewish settlement in Abu Dis. He was not oppressing any Palestinians. His crime was DWJ — Driving While Jewish. Within moments of entering Abu Dis, the Israeli car was surrounded by a mob of 200 Palestinians who smashed its windows with rocks and set it on fire. The man barely escaped with his life.
Is there any other place in the world where the mere sight of a Jew causes a gigantic mob to spontaneously assemble and try to stone and burn him to death?
Perhaps we should not be surprised that after decades of being inundated with anti-Jewish television and radio programs, and anti-Jewish incitement in their schools and mosques, that so many Palestinians would be filled with anti-Jewish hatred. Notice I didn’t write “all Palestinians.” I wrote “many Palestinians.” Isn’t it enough that so many feel and act that way?
Herbst contends that the solution is to give the Palestinians “their own state.” The dangers of having a Palestinian state next door are obvious and have been described many times by myself and others: Israel will be reduced to just nine miles wide at its vulnerable mid-section; a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile standing inside the border of “Palestine” could shoot down a plane taking off from Ben-Gurion airport; Israel will be slammed with international sanctions if it tries to stop “Palestine” from importing tanks and Iranian “volunteers,”
and so on.
I’ll just add one more: If under the current circumstances, hundreds of Palestinians in Abu Dis have no compunctions about trying to participate in the mob murder of a Jewish passer by, imagine how much more emboldened they will be if they are given the additional advantages and powers of national sovereignty? Not every group in the world that demands its own sovereign state should be given one; it is their own behavior, over many years, that reveals whether they are truly ready for peaceful, civilized, democratic statehood.
Stephen M. Flatow
Religious Zionists of America