Two incidents that took place at university campuses in the West Bank in the past few days serve as a reminder that some Palestinians have no problem attacking or threatening even those who support and try to help them.
It is not the first time that Palestinians are ungrateful to those who take pains to reach out to them.
Of course, there is no logic in targeting those who work hard to help you and your people. But who said that Palestinians, or anyone else, always act in according with their interests and in a rational way?
Over the past two decades, Palestinians, like most Arabs, have been subjected to a large-scale campaign of incitement against Israel and the US. This is a campaign that is being waged through the media, especially Arab and Islamic TV stations, the internet, mosques and the rhetoric of leaders and politicians.
As a result of the ongoing incitement, some Palestinians and Arabs are no longer able to distinguish between those who support them and those who stand against them.
If you are told that all Israelis are evil, you do not see a difference between a leftist and a right-wing Israeli. You are being taught, from very early stage of your life, that Jews are "occupiers" who "stole" the land of Palestine from its rightful owners. You are also being taught that all Jews (including innocent civilians) are legitimate targets because they either serve in the army or identify with the Zionist movement.
Because of the indoctrination, a growing number of people in the Arab and Islamic countries regard all Israelis as "settlers." Palestinian spokesmen representing various groups, including Hamas and Fatah, often refer to Israeli cities (inside Israel proper) as "settlements."
During the last confrontation between Hamas and Israel, Palestinian media outlets would regularly report that rockets have been fired at the "settlement" of Ashkelon or Ashdod or Ramat Gan.
Back to the campus incidents, which provide further proof of increased radicalization among Palestinians.
In Nablus, the largest Palestinian city, students rioted in protest against a visit to their campus by U.S. consular officials. According to Palestinian sources, the officials had come to An-Najah University as part of continued efforts to support educational and cultural activities on campus.
Dozens of students, chanting anti-U.S. slogans, surrounded one of the U.S. vehicles and tried to prevent it from entering the premises of the university. Eyewitnesses said that campus security personnel used excessive force to disperse the protesters.
One student, Mohamed Abu Awwad, was later admitted to hospital with a broken arm.
The clash that erupted at the Palestinian university has enraged many students and human rights advocates. "The university administration does not have the right to disperse a civilized and democratic protest and beat up participants," said Mohamed Dweikat, a political activist from Nablus.
Hazem Abu Hilal, a human rights activist, said that the problem was not with the assault on the protest, but that the university had banned the protest on campus. "Universities are supposed to serve as a podium for freedom of expression," he said.
But this incident is not about freedom of expression as much as it is about extremism and hatred for the US. The protesters did not want US officials on their campus because, they argued, "the U.S. supports Israel." They were also protesting what they called "U.S. backing for Israel" during Operation Protective Edge.
These students have been told that the U.S. is an enemy because it supports Israel financially and militarily. It does not matter whether the U.S. officials came to Nablus to help Palestinians. They were attacked because they represent a country that is viewed by many Arabs and Muslims as an enemy because of its support for Israel's right to exist.
The second incident also reflects intolerance and, to a certain degree hostility, toward Israelis who have long been supporting the Palestinians.
The incident, which has even shocked some Palestinians, involves an Israeli journalist with Ha'aretz who was kicked out of a conference at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah. That the journalist, Amira Hass, has been writing in favor of the Palestinians for decades did not leave an impression on her Palestinian friends, who demanded that she leave the campus instantly.
The journalist was expelled from the university not because of her writings – which are extremely supportive of the Palestinians – but because she's an Israeli and a Jew. The university's ban does not apply to Israeli Arabs.
Pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist Israeli journalist Amira Hass was thrown out of Bir Zeit University campus, near Ramallah, only because she is an Israeli Jew. (Image sources: Bir Zeit University, Wikimedia Commons)
She was expelled because her presence on campus was in violation of the regulations of the "anti-normalization" movement in the West Bank, which bans all forms of contact between Palestinians and Israelis, even if it is a soccer match involving children.
Earlier this year, another Israeli journalist, Avi Issacharoff, was nearly lynched by Palestinians as he was covering a clash between stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers near Ramallah. He too was attacked not because of his writings, but for being an Israeli Jew.
The two incidents once again prove that peace is impossible unless Palestinians stop inciting their people against Israel and Jews. Ironically, the Palestinian Authority, which is engaged in daily contacts with Israel, publicly supports anti-Israeli boycott campaigns.
If those who support the Palestinians no longer feel safe visiting Palestinian universities and cities, the Palestinians need to realize that the incitement is making them lose even their closest friends and allies.