Less than 48 hours after 20 US Democratic Senators urged President Joe Biden to push for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran's Palestinian terror proxies launched a massive attack on Israel, killing more than 1,200 Israeli men, women and children, and wounding thousands more. An unknown number of Israelis (estimated at more than 100), including infants, toddlers and an elderly Holocaust survivor in a wheelchair, have also been kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip.
This war, as reported on October 8 by the Wall Street Journal, was caused directly by Iran, which has made no secret of its desire to "eradicate" Israel -- and America -- and which funds and directs Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and by the appeasement of the Iranian regime by the Biden administration and its allies.
The large-scale Palestinian attack on Israel on October 7 may have surprised Israel, but not those who have been closely following the recurring threats by Hamas and PIJ to murder Jews and eliminate Israel.
On October 4, the same day the Senators wrote a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to promote the idea of establishing a Palestinian state, Hamas and PIJ officials and affirmed their commitment to pursue the Jihad (holy war) against Israel.
In the letter to Biden, the Senators wrote that a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia "should include meaningful, clearly defined and enforceable provisions to achieve your stated objective of preserving the option of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The letter coincided with the 36th anniversary of the founding of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. PIJ leaders used the occasion to repeat their threats to kill Jews and eliminate Israel. PIJ leaders also seized the opportunity to warn Saudi Arabia and other Arab states against normalizing their relations with Israel.
The latest Palestinian terror attack on Israel is also part of an effort by Iran and its Palestinian proxies to foil a possible normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
On October 5, PIJ leader Mohammed al-Hindi said in an interview on the occasion of his group's 36th anniversary that the "resistance" against Israel will continue. He also warned the Arab states not to normalize their relations with Israel.
"The Palestinian people say that the only path is resistance, regardless of the sacrifices," al-Hindi said. "Palestinian Islamic Jihad will continue to resist the Zionist enemy until we meet God and He is satisfied with us."
Referring to a possible normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the PIJ leader said that the Palestinians will rise against this "conspiracy."
Khaled al-Batsh, another PIJ leader, also said that his group will continue to carry out terror attacks against Israel. He thanked Iran for its support for the Palestinian terrorist groups. "We are continuing in the path of resistance and Jihad without hesitation," al-Batsh remarked.
Like Hamas, PIJ believes in the idea of "liberating Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" and an armed Jihad against Israel.
The two groups do not recognize the Oslo Accords that were signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993-1995, and they are opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state only in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. The only solution they believe in is one that would see Israel replaced with an Islamic state.
Since 2007, Hamas has been ruling the Gaza Strip, home to some two million Palestinians. The Palestinian terror groups have since turned the Gaza Strip into a launching pad for countless forms of terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings, and firing tens of thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and towns.
If the Democratic Senators have it their way, the future Palestinian state will also be controlled by Hamas and PIJ.
Instead of condemning the Palestinians for transforming the Gaza Strip into a base for Jihad against Israel, the Senators who signed the letter are asking the Biden Administration to give the Palestinians another state in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Like the Gaza Strip, the new Palestinian state will also be quickly transformed into an Iran-backed terror entity and a base for pursuing the Jihad against Israel.
The scenes of Israeli civilians, including women and children, being butchered in their homes in Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip are likely to be repeated in the Palestinian state the Senators want to create in the West Bank.
In the past two years, Hamas and PIJ have increased their terror activities in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, has done nothing to stop terror attacks against Israelis. Abbas knows that the day he orders his security forces to crack down on the terrorists, his people will condemn him as a traitor and collaborator with Israel. That is why he has not condemned the Palestinian terror attack on Israeli towns and cities near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Instead of denouncing the terrorists, Abbas continues to reward them with monthly stipends through what is known as a "Pay-for-Slay" program. In 2021, the Palestinian Authority spent no less than 841 million shekels ($270.75 million) paying rewards to terrorists. 600 million shekels ($193.16 million) were paid to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists and another 241 million shekels ($77.59 million), at least, were paid to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. That totals, in just one year, $541.5 million (nearly 1.7 billion shekels).
On October 5, Abbas honored the terrorists held in Israeli prisons by providing them with grants that would enable them to enroll in programs for doctoral degrees through Palestinian universities. Instead of distancing himself from terrorists, Abbas is investing money to turn them into holders of PhD degrees and professors. Abbas is sending a message to Palestinian terrorists that if they kill or wound Israelis, he will not only pay them a monthly salary, but also fund their remote learning in Palestinian universities for a future career in higher education.
The US Senators completely ignore that the Palestinians already have an independent and sovereign Iran-backed terror state in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has no military or civilian presence. In their letter, they make no mention of the tens of thousands of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel over the past two decades -- into a country roughly the size of New Jersey (22,000 km2), or the thousands of rockets that are raining down on Israel since October 7. Imagine thousands of rockets fired into New Jersey.
The Senators also failed to mention the wave of Palestinian terrorism that Israel has been facing over the past two years in the West Bank. Hardly a day passes without Israelis being targeted with shootings, stabbings, and car-rammings.
The Senators further ignore Abbas's "Pay-for-Slay" program that rewards terrorists and their families, as well as the Palestinians' ongoing campaign of incitement to violence and antisemitic propaganda against Israel and Jews. The Senators want to give a state to a Palestinian president who pays salaries to terrorists and goads them to murder on a regular basis.
Recently, Abbas tried to claim to Palestinian leaders that the Holocaust was not driven by antisemitism, but by frustration over the financial activities of European Jews. "Jews who moved to east and west Europe were facing a massacre every 10 or 15 years from a different country," Abbas told leaders of his ruling Fatah faction. "The hatred towards the Jews is not because of their religion but because of their social roles related to taxes and banks."
Abbas also re-aired a discredited theory that Ashkenazi Jews hail from Khazaria, a medieval empire located in what is modern-day Kazakhstan, western Russia and Crimea, rather than the biblical Holy Land. "Khazar was a kingdom with no religion, then they became Jews and left the kingdom and spread all over Europe," Abbas elaborated. "And those are Ashkenazi Jews, which means they are not Semitic and have no relation to Semitism and have nothing to do with the prophets Abraham or Jacob." Historians and academics have debunked what they call the Khazar myth claims.
The Senators calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state also ignored the fact that the Palestinians have never abandoned the Palestine Liberation Organization's 1974 "Ten Point Plan" (also known as the "phased plan") for the "comprehensive liberation" of all the land stretching "from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea" -- a euphemism for the destruction of Israel.
The plan in brief:
- Through the "armed struggle" (i.e. terrorism), to establish an "independent combatant national authority" over any territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule. (Point 2)
- To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations. (Point 4)
- To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab neighbors destroy it entirely ("the liberation of all Palestinian territory"). (Point 8)
The Palestinians could have had a state of their own many years ago. However, they chose over the past two decades to reject every peace offer ever made, without so much as a counter-offer. Instead of peaceful negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians chose terrorism. In 2000, the Palestinians were offered most of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. They responded with a massive wave of suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism. Five years later, after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians were given, with no conditions, all of Gaza.
The Palestinians replied by launching tens of thousands of rockets into Israel. These are inconvenient facts that the 20 Democratic Senators, who appear to be shockingly uninformed, do not want to acknowledge.
It now remains to be seen whether the same Senators who are pushing for the establishment of a Palestinian terror state will speak out against this latest grisly massacre of Jews.
Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.