It is an alarming phenomenon, to say the least. Seemingly ordinary Palestinian civilians, acting not on behalf of an organized terrorist organization but apparently on their own, taking everyday household instruments and stabbing Israelis with them on the streets.
Violence, in fact, has been a top-down factor in the Palestinian body politic. As recently as last month, the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was glorifying the murder of Jews, responding to the riots and killings in Jerusalem with this:
“Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”
An imam in Gaza last Friday waved a dagger as he gave his sermon – a sermon broadcast weekly over the internet – urging followers to stab and kill Jews.
These incitements to murder are omnipresent in Palestinian society, from the “radical” Hamas to the “moderate” Fatah. So, the spate of stabbings is the natural fruit of seeds of hatred planted by decades of political and religious leaders, relentless media propaganda and the glorification of “martyrs” gone before.
It is often said that the Israeli-Arab conflict is an intractable one with complexities and nuances that make it drag on. That’s true. There are complexities, but some things are simple – when you inculcate violence, you get violence.
Our hearts go to those killed and wounded, their families and all who are suffering.