The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of Dvir Sorek, a Jewish teenager, sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.
Palestinians are again celebrating the murder of a Jew – this time 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, an unarmed off-duty soldier who was fatally stabbed and whose body was discovered August 8 on rocky ground in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem.
Not even a single Palestinian has condemned the ruthless killing of the teenager. The Palestinian Authority (PA), whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has previously said that he is opposed to terrorism, apparently does not see a need to denounce the killing of Sorek.
Instead, the Palestinian Authority continued to issue multiple statements condemning Israel for "violating international law" for building new housing units for Jewish families in the West Bank. The statements, issued hours after the terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, made no reference to the murder of the Jewish teen.
In the eyes of the Palestinian Authority leadership, the inauguration of a new neighborhood in a settlement is a "major crime" that needs to be brought before the International Criminal Court.
Here is what Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, had to say about the building of the housing units in the settlement of Bet El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah:
"This act is condemned and rejected and in violation of international resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which says settlement activity constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. These continued provocations and hostile acts require practical decisions."
Just as Israeli security forces were conducting a manhunt for the terrorist or terrorists who killed the Jewish teenager, Abbas instructed his foreign ministry to file a complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court over its policy of settlement construction. Abbas also instructed his envoy to the UN, Riad Mansour, to hold consultations with members of the Security Council in preparation for holding an emergency session to condemn Israel's settlement activity.
Abbas's instructions were published by the Palestinian Authority's official media while the Jewish teenager was being brought to burial. Again, Abbas's media chose totally to ignore the terrorist attack that claimed the life of a young Jewish man.
No-one was expecting Abbas to offer condolences to the family of Sorek or to send Palestinian officials to attend the funeral. Yet, by remaining silent about the brutal murder of an unarmed Jewish teen and publishing statements condemning Israel on the same day of the attack, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority demonstrate with utter clarity their reckless disregard for human life.
As the manhunt was underway for the capture of the terrorist or terrorists, Abbas's ruling Fatah faction called on Palestinians to form "guard committees" to "thwart" purported retaliatory attacks by settlers. The Fatah appeal is nothing but a continuation of Palestinian incitement against Jews living in the West Bank.
Needless to say, Jewish settlers, most of whom are law-abiding citizens, did not carry out retaliatory attacks against Palestinians after the discovery of Sorek's body. In fact, Jews living in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc have always maintained good relations with their Palestinian neighbors, many of whom are employed in settlements and Jewish-owned businesses in the area.
The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of the Jewish teenager sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.
Abbas's silence, in fact, encouraged many Palestinians to express joy over the terrorist attack.
As soon as news about the fatal stabbing spread, Palestinian terrorist groups seemed to be competing with each other over heaping praise on the perpetrators. Islamic Jihad, Hamas and several PLO factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were quick to issue statements "welcoming" the "heroic operation." The groups also urged Palestinians to increase their terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank.
In an attempt to prevent the Israeli security forces from laying their hand on the terrorists, Palestinian factions and activists appealed to Palestinians living in the area where the terrorist attack took place to delete footage quickly from security cameras installed at their homes and businesses.
At the West Bank's Bir Zeit University, students celebrated the murder by handing out candies and praising the terrorists.
Meanwhile, many Palestinians took to social media to celebrate the killing of Sorek in the most straightforward rhetoric.
Some Palestinians compared the victim to the "sheep of Eid al-Adha," the Muslim "Festival of Sacrifice." The feast honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb for sacrifice instead. On Twitter, Palestinians called Sorek the "sheep of Eid al-Adha" because he was "slaughtered" on the eve of the Muslim feast.
Referring to the Muslim feast, which begins on Sunday, another Palestinian commented: "Apparently, the Palestinians have become used to making their sacrifices before Eid al-Adha."
Some Palestinians even exchanged greetings for the feast upon learning about the killing of Sorek by stating that this was a "happy Eid."
Other Palestinians said they were delighted to learn that Sorek's grandfather, Holocaust survivor Rabbi Benjamin Harling, had also been murdered by terrorists 19 years ago. "Blessed are the hands of the Palestinian resistance fighters who killed the soldier, whose grandfather was killed in an operation in 2000," wrote another Palestinian on Twitter.
It was hard to find even one Palestinian who was willing to express his or her revulsion over the terrorist attack. But this makes sense. Why should any Palestinian come out against terrorism when their leaders are either silent or joyously celebrating the murder of a Jewish teenager?
This is the hate that has been embedded in the hearts and minds of Palestinians toward Israel and Jews. When Palestinians run to link the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish teen to a Muslim feast and the tradition of sacrificing sheep, it is clear that the time has come for Palestinians to take a hard look at themselves – and if they are nonetheless unwilling to do so, perhaps the international community might finally bring a mirror to them.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.