Arafat's Harvest of Hate

By Charles Krauthammer

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Sept. 11 awakened Americans to the anti-American vitriol in the
state-controlled media of such apparently friendly states as Egypt and
Saudi Arabia. We are just beginning to understand how a daily diet of
hatred fed through schools and the media -- a hatred quietly incubating
for years -- found its most perfect expression in the slaughter of Sept. 11.

We have failed, however, to see how a similar campaign of hate has laid
the groundwork for the orgy of murder-suicide the Palestinians are now
engaged in. A mother appears on videotape proudly sending her 18-year-old
to his death just so he can kill as many Jews as possible. This is
unprecedented. Before the Oslo peace accords of 1993, suicide bombing was
a practice almost unheard of among Palestinians.

And it is not as if they had no grievances before 1993. On the contrary.
The advent of suicide bombing coincides precisely with the era of Israeli
conciliation and peacemaking: recognition of the PLO, repeated concessions
of territory, establishment of the Palestinian Authority, acceptance of an
armed Palestinian police -- all culminating in the unprecedented offer of
an independent Palestinian state with its capital in a shared Jerusalem.
It is precisely in the context of the most accommodating, most
conciliatory, most dovish Israeli policy in history that the suicide
bombings took hold.

Where, then, did they come from? During the past eight years -- the years
of the Oslo "peace process" -- Yasser Arafat had complete control of all
the organs of Palestinian education and propaganda. It takes an
unspeakable hatred for people to send their children to commit
Columbine-like murder-suicide. Arafat taught it. His television, his
newspapers, his clerics have inculcated an anti-Semitism unmatched in
virulence since Nazi Germany.

When U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross stepped down last year, he
acknowledged, to his credit, that a major error of diplomacy in the
Clinton years was turning a diplomatic blind eye to the poisonous
incitement in Palestinian media. Just as Osama bin Laden spent the '90s
indoctrinating and infiltrating in preparation for murder, Arafat raised
an entire generation schooled in hatred of the "Judeo-Nazis."

This indoctrination goes far beyond expunging Israel, literally, from
Palestinian maps. It goes far beyond denying, indeed ridiculing, the
Holocaust as a Jewish fantasy. It consists of the rawest incitement to
murder, as in this sermon by Arafat-appointed and Arafat-funded Ahmad Abu
Halabiya broadcast live on official Palestinian Authority television early
in the Intifada. The subject is "the Jews." (Note: not the Israelis, but
the Jews.) "They must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty said:
'Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands.' . . . Have no mercy
on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them,
wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them."

The rationale offered for such murderousness is Jewish villainy as taught
not just in Palestine but throughout the Arab world. On March 10, for
example, an article in the official Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh described in
rich detail how the Jews ritually slaughter Christian and Muslim children
to use their blood in their holiday foods. With almost comic
pseudo-scholarship, it explained that for one holiday (Purim) the Jew must
kill an adolescent, but for Passover the victim must be 10 years or younger.

When the article achieved wide notoriety in translation, the editor
apologized under pressure. He said he had been out of town when the
article appeared. An odd excuse, given the fact that this elaborate blood
libel ran as a two-part series.

A precondition for peace is to prepare your people for peace. Egypt's
Anwar Sadat did that after signing his peace treaty with Israel. The
Israelis did that after signing Oslo. They changed their textbooks and
altered their civic culture to recognize and accept the Palestinians. On
the 50th anniversary of Israel's independence, for example, Israel
Television aired an epic multipart historical documentary that offered a
view of the Palestinians that was deeply sympathetic and understanding.

While Israeli leaders, both political and intellectual, were preparing
their people for peace, Arafat was preparing his people for war -- the war
he unleashed two months after rejecting Israel's Camp David peace offer of
July 2000 -- with an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic vilification
carried out by every organ of his media. And how he has succeeded. When
Arafat's state-controlled media glorify a "martyrdom operation," it is not
just a commendation of the murderer, it is a vindication of their own
pedagogy. We now see its fruits in the streets of Jerusalem, where the
blood from the latest suicide bombing graces the third floor of
surrounding buildings.

2002 The Washington Post Company