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  • "I saw a mob of 40 to 50 masked Palestinians on the side of the road. They were holding rocks and cinder blocks. ... I have no doubt that I would be dead now if I hadn't used my gun. They were going to kill me." – Josh Hasten, Oct. 7, 2015.

  • Arab children watch other Arab children on television throw rocks and firebombs, and speaking of knifing and shooting Jews, and they want a part of the action.

  • When Arabs hear from their leaders that Jews are "desecrating" Islamic holy places with their "filthy feet" and plotting to destroy them, it is a code, telling them to go out and attack Jews.

Yesterday, a friend, Josh Hasten, was set upon by a crowd of rock-wielding Palestinians, while he was driving to Jerusalem. "I saw a mob of 40 to 50 masked Palestinians on the side of the road. They were holding rocks and cinder blocks," Hasten said. "As they approached my car, I took out my gun and fired one round in the air. The shot obviously scared them and they ran up the hill away from the road. I have no doubt that I would be dead now if I hadn't used my gun. They were going to kill me."

In Europe and the West, acts of terrorist violence are relatively rare; in Israel, they occur several times a day -- on a regular basis.

Last week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations, highlighting Israeli "crimes," but without specifying any. He is, apparently, aware of losing control of the Palestinian "street," which now seems to feel closer to radical elements within Palestinian society -- especially since Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad take credit for recent murders in Israel.

Palestinians who commit terrorist attacks are not, as in Europe, radicalized primarily by social media or clerics. They are, rather, radicalized primarily by their own Palestinian Authority or Hamas leadership. Arab children watch other Arab children on television throwing rocks and firebombs, and speaking of knifing and shooting Jews, and they want a part of the action.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government is prevented by international pressure from disbanding these groups or arresting their leaders. The equivalent is as if Britain were plagued by daily terror attacks directed by a leadership based in Birmingham, and with the British government prevented from acting against the source, under pain of condemnation and punishment from the European Union and the United Nations.

The current wave of Arab riots and terrorist attacks has been compared to an "intifada," an Arabic word meaning "uprising" or "shaking off" -- a word used to describe the desire of Palestinian Arabs to drive the Jews out of the land.

The violent demonstrations and riots are initiated and orchestrated by the Palestinian leadership, seemingly concerned about losing the support of their own people. Palestinian leaders have been seeing, in local surveys and student elections, a growing disenchantment with the corrupt and sclerotic Fatah-led Palestinian governance, as well as a growing popularity for Hamas.

Palestinian Authority leaders have also been seeing the rise in popularity of rival groups at the same time as they are being ignored by the world's media and diplomatic community, who are busy with Iran, Russia, Syria and ISIS.

The current violence has a greater religious component than earlier intifadas.[1] Perhaps seeing that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are strongly Islamic, PA President Mahmoud Abbas latched onto the extremist -- albeit totally incorrect -- Islamist theme that Jews are trying to destroy Islamic holy places. He thereby ignited a firestorm of competition among radical groups as to which faction could incite the most violence.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) ignited competition among radical groups as to which faction could incite the most violence. Left: official PA media incite Palestinians, from a young age, to murder Jews.

Hamas, ruling in the Gaza Strip, has made no secret of its wish to deepen its influence in the West Bank. This time, it was assisted by the Palestinian Authority, which used the Jewish high holy days as an excuse to accuse Jews praying at the Western Wall, of trying to take over Muslim holy places. The Western Wall, a holy place to Jews, is all that is left of the Jews' Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

When Muslims hear from their leaders that Jews are "desecrating" Islamic holy places with their "filthy feet" and plotting to destroy them, it is a code, telling them to go out and attack Jews.

In addition, Muslim women, in organized groups funded by the Islamic Movement in Israel, have been bused to Jerusalem, and paid to abuse, and sometimes use violence, to prevent non-Muslims, mainly Jews, from visiting the Temple Mount. The women punch, kick, spit, and hurl insults at Jews (and often other non-Muslims) who visit or attempt to visit the Temple Mount.

For years, Mahmoud Abbas has been whipping up the Palestinians with claims -- all false, as can be seen throughout the Bible -- that Jews have no heritage or history in Jerusalem, and therefore have no right to be there. It is a charge he repeats despite a Jewish presence and culture in the land that dates back over 3000 years.

Incitement to violence leads to actual violence. So, on October 3, an impressionable 19-year-old Arab man became a murderer. Muhannad Halabi, before setting out on his killing spree, wrote on his Facebook page, "The Third Intifada has erupted!...Defending the sanctity of Al-Aqsa and its women is out pride and honor... We know only that Jerusalem is undivided and that every part of it is holy."

This young killer was apparently caught up in the passion of the false claims of Abbas that Jews were defiling Islamic holy places with their "filthy feet," that he took a knife and entered the Jerusalem's Old City in search of Jews. There, he attacked a Jewish family that on its way to pray at the Western Wall. He stabbed Aharon Banita, and his wife, Adele. Hearing the screams of the victims, 41-year-old Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, armed with a pistol, ran over to stop the attack. Halabi stabbed and killed Lavi, took his gun, and shot and wounded 2-year-old Matan Banita. Seconds later, security forces arrived and killed Halabi in a shootout. Adele and Matan Banita survived.

During the attack, as the wounded and bleeding Adele Banita ran through the street screaming for help, she was jeered at, spat on, hit and insulted by Arab passersby and local Arab shopkeepers. None of them helped her. She reported later from the hospital that many of them screamed at her to die. The anti-Jewish incitement by Palestinians resulted in the killing of four Jews – simply because they were Jews.

In the minds of radicalized Palestinians, there is no difference between shooting or stabbing women and children, and shooting men.[2]

Many in the Western media fail to portray events in Israel accurately. The most morally tortured headline came from BBC News. Its headline on October 4 read "Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two." It appeared a clear effort to make readers believe that the Palestinian terrorist was the victim.

Unless the West persuades Abbas to stop the incitement, perhaps by linking financial aid to performance, his intifada will continue to escalate.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of 'Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.'


[1] In the first "intifada," from 1987-1993 Arabs attacked primarily Israeli soldiers and police, mainly with rocks and firebombs. The second "intifada" (2000-2005), planned by the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, included widespread attacks -- suicide bombings, shootings and car bombs -- against any and all Israeli targets, mainly civilians.

[2] In 2011, for example, three of the six children from the Fogel family in the village of Itamar were hacked to death in their beds, along with their parents, when Palestinian terrorists broke into their home. It was near Itamar that four small children from the Henkin family miraculously avoided death under a hail of bullets on October 1, when Palestinians murdered their parents (Eitam and Naama Henkin) in a drive-by shooting. The nine-year-old son recited the mourner's prayer at his parents' graves the following day.

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