In a Facebook post a few hours before he stabbed three Israeli Jews to death as they were enjoying a Shabbat meal, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed made clear what he thought of Jews:
“You, sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa, I am sure that men will follow me and will hit you with an iron fist, I am warning you.”
A century of Arab lies, delusional swagger and Jew-hatred can be found in that one sentence.
First, the lies. The gates of Al-Aqsa were not closed. They were open. They just had metal detectors for everyone’s protection. Those detectors were installed after two Israeli security guards were killed by Arab terrorists using weapons that had been smuggled into the compound.
The hysterical and violent Arab response is very much about symbols. The metal detectors were a concrete, visible reminder to the world that Israel has ultimate sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where the Al-Aqsa mosque is located and where the Jewish Temples of biblical times once stood.
Removing the detectors won’t remove the deep, 3,000-year Jewish connection to Jerusalem, which Arab leaders consistently reject. As Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas once put it, Jews defile the Temple Mount with their “filthy feet.”
Of course, such blatant lies and incitement against Jews have long been par for the course for Arab dictators desperate to distract attention from how they oppress and fail their own people.
Next, the delusional swagger. The killer thinks that murdering a few Jews during a Shabbat dinner will encourage an army of Muslims to hit Israel with an “iron fist.” These kind of grandiose dreams date to the very beginning of the Jewish state, when Arab armies invaded the infant state but failed to destroy it. They have been failing ever since.
Recognizing this reality — that Israel is too powerful to be destroyed — is out of the question. Better to demonize and demean the Jews as “sons of monkeys and pigs” and spin military defeats as battles in a never-ending war against the Zionist monster.
Finally, the Jew-hatred. It’s crucial to note that the Jew-hatred which permeates Arab consciousness long predates any settlements in the West Bank. Decades before anyone ever heard of an Israeli “occupation,” Jews were hated for trying to assert their sovereign rights in their ancestral homeland.
Arab countries rejected the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine of 1947 — which allocated land for an independent Arab state and a Jewish state — because they couldn’t stomach the very idea and legitimacy of a Jewish state. For centuries, Jews were tolerated in Arab and Muslim societies only because they kept their heads down and accepted their status as second-class citizens.
Then, with the backing of the United Nations, these lowly Jews had the chutzpah to return to their biblical homeland and build their own country with universities, hospitals, roads, farming communities and a modern economy. On top of that, all of the Arab armies combined could not chase them away.
In a culture that prides honor and is repulsed by shame, can you imagine how much humiliation has been felt by failing Arab states next to the extraordinary success and power of the Jewish state?
Needless to say, there was another way. Had the Arab nations accepted the U.N. Partition Plan and started building their own state next to Israel, there never would have been an Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Had the Palestinian Arabs looked at Jews as potential allies who could help them succeed, there would be a Gaza Riviera today that would compete with the Tel Aviv beachfront as one of the world’s hotspots.
There would be a thriving high-tech sector in Ramallah that would compete with Israel’s Startup Nation and elite Palestinian universities, research centers and a cultural scene that would be the envy of the Arab world.
But instead of partnering with the Jews, Arab nations chose to hate the Jews. Instead of taking responsibility for their future, they blamed the Jews for their misery.
As pro-Israel activist Chloe Simone Valdary wrote last week on Facebook, in a message to Palestinians: “It’s the belief that Israelis are holding you back that’s holding you back. Holding you back from letting go of all the hatred and the envy and the jealousy which is just so damn exhausting to hold on to.”
The “iron fist” that is killing Arab hope is coming from Arab leaders who demonize Jews and use excuses like metal detectors to start holy wars. What a tragic irony that if Arabs ever wanted to build a better future, it would be in their interest to learn from people they’ve been told are subhuman.