Recently, more and more young Palestinian men, women and children have left their homes and gone off to stab Israelis. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials claim our children make this decision independently and that no one sends them to carry out terrorist attacks. But in reality, every Palestinian knows that behind these supposedly "independent," "spontaneous" attacks there is organized, deliberate incitement, some from politicians and some from fatwas [religious opinions] issued by clerics.
One such cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, sits far away in the safety of Qatar and sends Palestinian children to their deaths. The mosques and schools in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip, as well as their social media, often unashamedly exploit Palestinian children – perhaps emotionally a bit lost, and who long for admiration for a grand, "heroic act" in a grand romantic "cause."
Tragically, as Israeli forces often do not let such attackers get away, many murders these children commit also end up as needless "passive" suicides.
Our perverted leaders do not only encourage young Palestinians to commit murder. When these children are killed in the act of committing murder, both the PA and Hamas claim that that Israelis "executed" them. They then call our kids martyrs (shuhadaa), glorify them and turn them into role models for other loser kids. Then they pay their families enormous bonuses.
They send minors to do their dirty work, while knowing full well they will likely be killed by the Israeli security forces. How can we justify this to ourselves? What have we allowed to happen to the good minds that Allah gave us? Whatever happened to our sense of morality?
It is agonizing to see how these youngsters are turned into bargain basement castoffs. It is child sacrifice by a cynical Palestinian leadership that fosters a dark culture of murder and death.
If the Palestinians really want to pick a fight with Israel, why do they send children to fight a "holy war" instead of fighting it themselves, like men?
No good has come -- or is even expected to come -- from these deaths on either side. Has the situation of Al-Aqsa mosque "improved?" Is it no longer "in danger?"
The problem is, Al-Aqsa mosque never was in danger. There were also never were any poison-resistant rats, supposedly released by Israelis, as claimed by the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, to drive Arab residents of Jerusalem out of their homes. As one Arab reporter dryly wrote, "It is not clear how these rats were taught to stay away from Jews, who also happen to live in the Old City." There was also never any chewing gum supposedly laced with an aphrodisiac by the Israelis to corrupt our men and women. Has one meter of Palestinian land ever been liberated? Are the Jews really fleeing "in terror" from Israel? On the contrary, the Jews of Europe are fleeing to Israel. Ironically, while the Jews seem divided and at each other's throats, we have only been driving them closer together.
Somehow, the Israelis always seem to overcome the abductions, suicide bombers, murders and general terrorism we Palestinians throw at them. They never retreat; they advance.
There are, then, two jobs that seem urgent. First, we need to decide, and quickly, if we really want another armed conflict with the Israelis. Second, we really need to get our kids away from our killing fields. Anyone who sends young people -- many of them probably with emotional problems -- to kill and to be killed, is a murderer himself and will be destroyed in the end.
Palestinian society seems to be regressing towards the dark era of the jahiliyyah, before Islam brought us into the light. Instead of educating our children, as they do in the West, to be part of the Startup Generation, we follow the lead of darkest Africa, where children are armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and sent out to kill other children. We have become no better than the Iranians, who sent children, armed with plastic "Keys to Paradise," to dismantle land mines during the Iran-Iraq War. Why are these not "war crimes"?
Every day, our children drink from the poisoned well of the internet and learn how to behead and crucify and slit throats. We return to the jahiliyyah and sacrifice our sons and daughters in the name of Allah, as though Allah were a pagan statue with an altar, and had to be appeased with the blood of children. That is roughly the situation of Palestinian terrorism today. Those who neglect the education of their children need to remember that unprotected girls who today leave their homes without their parents' knowledge to go stab an Israeli today, might tomorrow bring dishonor to their home. Such a society will not frighten the Jews or anyone else. We will probably end just up raising throat-cutting fundamentalists and destroying ourselves.
We live in a sick society now, in which the laws of self-preservation demand murder and vengeance. On holidays, our children watch as we slaughter sheep, so they become accustomed to the use of knives, slit throats and flowing blood. They see videos of live people burned and drowned in Iraq and Syria. They see ISIS. Nothing shocks them. In the West, the death of a household pet, even a goldfish, brings a child to near collapse. Our kids watch sheep screaming in their last agony, and do not bat an eyelash
Islam forbids the killing of women, children and the aged, but the Palestinians receive fatwas from radical Islamists telling them to murder them anyway -- as long as they are Jews, even infants. "Tomorrow they will be soldiers," Palestinians say.
Fatwas such as this distort and twist the very foundation of our Islam in sending children to their deaths. Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and ISIS -- all the radical terrorist organizations -- festered in and grew out of the same Muslim Brotherhood Petri dish. The knives of the Palestinians are no different from the knives of ISIS. They behead children, journalists, impoverished workers and other innocent victims -- all in the in the name of Allah, and then go to carry out terrorist attacks throughout the rest of the world. The only difference is that the members of ISIS go out themselves to kill; the Palestinians send their young.
Anyone who thinks he is constructing the future of Palestine on the backs of child murderers is not only on the way to destroying Palestinian society, but on the way to hellfire as well.
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) and his companions also beheaded infidels -- but that was in the seventh century. There are more and more voices of devout Muslims calling for reform.
Just last week, the distinguished author, Professor Ibtihal Al-Khatib of the Kuwait University, said on television, "If we do not reform ourselves, we will become extinct. Nations which stick to principles that are at odds with the progress of civilization will come to an end. Such nations will not survive. Any attempt to justify or to legitimize terrorism is a terrorist idea; the idea and the act are equally dangerous."
Al-Khatib's statement instantly showed her to be light years more advanced than U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who idiotically blurted out that some terrorist attacks had "a legitimacy... a rationale." For this pronouncement, he was roundly and befittingly ridiculed. The excuses the terrorists find to justify murdering the innocent are infinite in number, unlimited in depravity, and they corrupt our societies.
These voices calling for reform often are held back by those who fear that their power, influence and golden jobs -- held only thanks to your zakat [tithe] -- might then be under threat. Most of us do not like to lose comforts and conveniences. Many Muslims still do not want to give up having slaves -- not only in Mauritania, but at the top tiers of the Muslim community.
But there is no justification for terrorism. The French, who so easily justify terrorism against Jews in the Middle East, now face the same situation at home. The only surprising thing is that they were surprised.
The picture of global Islamic terrorism is coming into focus. Here, the Islamists want to "liberate" Jerusalem from the infidel Zionist-Crusader occupation. Next, they also want to "liberate" occupied Spain, once Muslim Andalusia, and return it to the bosom of Islam. After that, they want to occupy the Vatican and establish the Islamic Emirate on the ruins of Christianity, as they did in heir "Golden Age" when they captured Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium.
While the Jews excel at improving agriculture, winning Nobel Prizes, inventing life-saving medicine, founding startups and in general advancing cutting-edge global science and technology, we Palestinians, hurtling back toward jahiliyyah, have given the world nothing but terrorism and death.
Even before the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam became Osama bin Laden's mentor, the Palestinians were waging a global terrorist campaign. Palestinian terrorism got into gear in the 1970s. In May 1972, passengers on the ground in Israel's Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) were massacred. In September 1972, they slaughtered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. In May 1974, they slaughtered Israeli children in Maalot. In 1976, they hijacked an Air France plane on its way from Tel Aviv to Paris, and singled the Jewish passengers out. In 1978, on the Israel's Coastal Road, they massacred civilians in a bus. In 1985, they hijacked the ship, the Achille Lauro, on its way from Egypt and threw a 69-year-old, wheelchair-ridden invalid "heroically" overboard.
The list goes on and on -- from suicide bombings in buses, cafés, hotels, kindergartens, shopping centers, and discotheques, most often targeting the civilian population -- to today's current wave of attacks on Israelis on the streets, in their cars and at worship.
And now what? Our Palestinian leaders defend these underage knife-wielders by explaining that they try to kill Jewish civilians because of the "occupation," or because "Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger" -- false claims finally put to rest by a Palestinian poll last week.
Even as our children are manipulated into killing themselves, there are still Fatah leaders, such as Abbas Zaki, a senior activist in the Fatah organization, who delude themselves into thinking there is some benefit to be gained from another useless intifada or from ending security coordination with Israel. He and those like him might do well to recall that, as most Palestinians know perfectly well, security coordination with Israel is first and foremost in their interest. It keeps the Palestinian Authority from collapsing: it protects our leaders from assassination at the hands of Hamas, as was the fate of Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip. It is the only guarantee we have of the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.
We also might do well to remember the results of the first two intifadas. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Palestinians died, but the Israelis did not move a meter. We carry out terrorist campaign after terrorist campaign, and the violence gets us nowhere and brings us nothing -- not from Israel and not from the international community.
If we really want to have our Palestinian State, we can have it tomorrow. All we have to do is change our image as terrorists.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East