The terror attack by Hamas terrorists on October 7 is another grim chapter in a century-old history of brutal Palestinian attacks. Notable incidents include the 1929 Palestine riots, the killing of a convoy of 35, the Ma'ale Akrabim massacre the Ma'alot school massacre, the Coastal Road massacre in 1978, suicide bombings on buses during the 1990s, the Second Intifada, the October 2000 Ramallah lynching, the slaughter of the Fogel family in the Itamar settlement, and the murder of the Solomon family in Halamish.
This brutality is deeply rooted in the ethos of the Palestinian society. It's interwoven with collective emotions and is entrenched in fundamentalist religious beliefs. Palestinians draw moral justification for killing and violence (or jihad, as they term it) from their deep-seated anti-Jewish beliefs, fueled by negative stereotypes, stigmas, and ethical boundaries that deviate from conventional moral values.
This delegitimization, carrying the emotional connotations of hatred and vengeance, has been ingrained by the Palestinian leadership for generations since the beginning of the conflict. It was spread through cultural mediums such as newspapers, radio, television, children's songs, textbooks, social networks, and mass mourning festivals for those who turned into societal heroes. This hatred was nurtured by equating Jews with symbols of evil and wickedness or despicable animals while denying their humanity, which provides terrorists with the moral justification to kill anyone they do not regard as human.
The roots of this hatred can be traced back to the Mandate era but gained momentum with the establishment of the PLO. The Palestinian nationalist narrative portrayed Zionism as a fanatical, expansionist, racist, and fascist movement. After Hamas was founded in 1987, the animosity and delegitimization took on new dimensions, intertwined with religious extremism. The movement's founding proclamation branded Jews as "bloodsuckers, corruptors, enemies of humanity, who revel in a sea of skulls and corpses."
This belief assigned Jews the blame for all the world's ills, with the imagery of Jews being drawn from the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion. After Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the legitimization of hatred reached a new peak, becoming an inseparable part of the "education" system, particularly focusing on indoctrinating children and youth, turning them into bloodthirsty terrorists.
This hatred has evolved into a dominant emotion and a driving strategic force within Palestinian society in the conflict. It is an intangible, ideological, religious, and imaginary hatred nurtured primarily by the intellectual elite, especially within Hamas. Dr. Ahmed Youssef Khalbayeh, the rector of Gaza's Islamic University, a hotbed of terror, recently explained that "Jews are liars, terrorists; they must be slaughtered and killed in the name of Allah. You must show no mercy to the Jews; kill them wherever they are."
In media and mosque sermons, Jews are dehumanized as lower beings, akin to pests, worms, scorpions, donkeys, apes, and pigs. Palestinian children can recite Quranic verses that claim Jews originated from apes and pigs (Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 59-60).
Terrorists infiltrated Israeli cities and kibbutzim armed with a fanatic, hate-fueled, religiously inspired fundamentalist doctrine, learned from Hamas teachings. It remains highly doubtful whether this deranged ethos can be altered. Even if Hamas's rule were to crumble, the ideology would persist. We must prepare for the next conflagration.