Thirteen-year-old Israeli Hallel Ariel was stabbed to death while she slept in her bed. Professor Michael Feige, scholar and father of three, was gunned down in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. Travel planner Eddie Sotomayor was shot dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Ukrainian Larisa Tsybakova, a vacationer in Turkey, was killed at the Istanbul Ataturk airport. French graphic designer and mother of two, Claire Camax, was murdered at the Paris Bataclan. These terror victims, while differing in age, profession, nationality, religion and citizenship, have one thing in common — they were slaughtered in the name of radical Islam.
It is long past time to acknowledge that both the West and Israel face a common enemy — Islamic terrorists who are blatantly anti-Semitic, believe that there is a Western-Jewish conspiracy against Islam, and proclaim that it is Allah’s will to rid the Middle East of all infidels — Jews, Christians and Western “colonialists.”
Doing so would mean recognizing that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is much more than a border dispute.
In a 2015 video message, Osama Bin Laden’s son, Hamzah, exhorts Muslims to attack the “Zio-Crusader alliance” led by America and to “participate in our Palestinian brothers’ intifada” by “killing Jews” to “purge their beloved Palestine.”
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi echoes this message, saying that the world is divided into “the camp of the Muslims… and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies… led by America… and mobilized by the Jews.” An ISIS video declares, “So we fight in Iraq and our eyes are on Jerusalem.”
Accepted dogma is that the Palestinian conflict against Israel is about secular nationalism, the desire of the Palestinians to have a state of their own. But today, Palestinian society is undergoing a major shift towards radical Islam. Just as international terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS base their actions and mission on an interpretation of Islam, Palestinians use the very same Islamic interpretation to indoctrinate and incite their people to terror against Israel.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, current Palestinian political and religious messaging to its people describes the conflict with Israel as a “ribat,” an Islamic holy war, fought by Muslims against Jews to liberate Muslim land, including Israel, which they view as an Islamic Waqf, an inalienable religious endowment. Children are taught that their conflict with Israel is “one of the greatest of the ribat” and “worthy of a great reward from Allah.”
“Ribat” is not uniquely Palestinian — it’s an Islamic military concept based on the Quran and invoked by ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
Palestinians are told on TV, in political speeches and sermons, in newspapers and textbooks, “Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith.” Palestinian Authority political and religious leaders claim that Allah, through Islam’s prophet Muhammad, instructed humanity that the extermination of Jews is a necessary step to bring redemption — that the destruction of Israel is a holy act to cleanse the Jews from the Middle East. This mentality is enshrined in the Hamas Charter.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh describes the recent Palestinian knifings and vehicular attacks on Israeli civilians as a jihad, a “holy war” undertaken not out of despair, but to “drive the occupier out of Palestine.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas publicly declares to his people that the conflict with Israel is a “war for Allah” and encourages stabbing attacks on civilians, saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem… blood on its way to Allah.”
In keeping with their religious motivations, Palestinians, ISIS, al Qaeda and other Islamists invoke “Allahu Akbar” (God — Allah — is greater) during acts of terror and use the honorific term shahid to describe dead comrades as martyrs fulfilling the religious commandment to wage jihad for Islam.
Polls reflect the success of Palestinian Islamist indoctrination. A survey conducted by the PEW Research Center found that 59 percent of Palestinians support attacking/ killing civilians in “defense of Islam,” significantly greater support than expressed by any other Muslim population. And Palestinians view themselves as part of a global Islamic struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arab Barometer polling indicates that three in five Palestinians believe “U.S. involvement in the region justifies armed operations against the U.S. everywhere.”
Palestinians, just like ISIS, al Qaeda, and other brands of Islamist terror, use Islam to justify targeting Jews, Israel, and the West. Drawing a clear parallel between the terrorism in Orlando and the killings in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu observed, “Radical Islamist terror makes no distinction between shades of infidel.”
Refusing to acknowledge that Israel and the West face a common enemy is an extraordinary act of willful blindness. The turmoil in the Middle East will never be effectively addressed until America and the West open their eyes to reality.