Understanding “Lone Wolf” Terrorism


hamas-terroristBy Benyamin Korn

There was an interesting twist to news media coverage of the most recent Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis.

The stabbings, car-rammings and other Arab attacks were “isolated” incidents, the Associated Press declared. New York Times correspondent Diaa Hadid emphasized, in the second sentence of a recent dispatch, that the attackers “appear to be acting alone and without the backing or instruction of any organization.”

Why are the major news media, and other Palestinian sympathizers, so intent on presenting the attackers as lone wolves?

The first reason is that many pro-Palestinian journalists are genuinely hoping that such attacks signal the start of a new wave of popular “intifada” violence. The latest attacks are “raising fears of a renewed wave of violence,” the AP reported. It didn’t say who exactly it is that has such “fears.” It didn’t have to. We all remember the slew of articles in the international news media, several months ago, hopefully predicting a “third intifada” undertaken by the Palestinian masses.

Palestinian sympathizers actually look forward to such violence. They hope it will drive the Israelis out of the rest of Judea-Samaria. They are genuinely surprised and disappointed when an attack or two turn out to be just an attack or two, and not part of a full-scale wave of daily violent assaults on Israeli Jews.

Over the years, several U.S. officials have made statements that came perilously close to justifying Palestinian violence. In 2000, President Bill Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Samuel “Sandy” Berger, said Palestinian violence was not just “a curse” but also “a blessing,” because it might lead to more Israeli concessions. In May 2014, a “senior U.S. official” told reporters “The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.” Haaretz subsequently reported that President Obama’s Mideast envoy, Martin Indyk, was the one who said it. Indyk never denied it.

The second reason for all the emphasis on the claim that the latest attacks are by “lone wolves” is that it’s a way of absolving the Palestinian Authority of any responsibility. Supporters of the Palestinian cause are anxious to shield the PA from criticism. Evidence of PA support of terrorism undermines the chances of bringing about the creation of a Palestinian state. It could endanger U.S. aid to the Palestinians. It could drive Israeli voters to support parties that are strongly anti-terrorist. Hence the PA’s image must be protected at all costs.

But the New York Times and Martin Indyk don’t seem to have considered the possibility that Israelis might draw a very different lesson from these latest “lone wolf” attacks.

They might legitimately conclude that there’s a reason why an individual Palestinian, even without organizational backing, might choose to stab a Jew at random or slam his speeding car into a crowd of Jews waiting at a bus stop.

It might have something to do with what they are taught in schools, what see on television, and what is being preached in their mosques. The textbooks in Palestinian schools teach children that Jews are evil and Israel must be destroyed. Programs on official PA Television portray mass murderers as heroes and martyrs who should be emulated. The imams in their mosques accuse Jews of desecrating the Muslim religious sites.

In short, the “lone wolves” are not really so “alone,” after all. They are the product of a culture of hatred and violence that the PA sponsors and nurtures. “It Takes a Village” to raise a child, according to Hillary Clinton’s famous children’s book. The Palestinian Authority’s village is raising a generation of killers.

(Mr. Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune.)

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