Macabre use of death
Op-ed: Palestinian Authority's strategy based on glorification of 'martyrs' rather than on helping the living
The causes of Arafat Jaradat’s death are still dubious. Conflicting reports indicate that it may take some time to be able to receive any definite medical conclusion regarding the events that took place in the Israeli jail and what happened to the young man. Regardless, the Palestinian Authority and its security forces, whose core funders are among others the European Union and various United Nations agencies, did not wait a minute to celebrate the death of Mr. Jaradat and gave him the honor of a military funeral.
Such a reality has been overly present in the political strategy carried on by terrorist groups and political networks in Judea and Samaria. Since the 1970s a great effort has been put in place to praise the dead rather than help the living. The fact that Jaradat was arrested while engaging in life threatening actions against Israeli defense forces, actions that would make of him a criminal in any modern society, only increases his aura in the eyes of Palestinian officials and youngsters.
Any peace message given by Palestinian associations, pro-Palestinian organizations and the PA itself seems to ignore one reality: These networks’ philosophy is based on the glorification of the dead while the exaltation of violent and illegal actions aimed at putting innocent people in danger is the modus operandi of the majority of their efforts.
If the world is used to Hamas and Hezbollah's martyr-oriented speeches and gruesome parades of women and children armed with assault weapons and suicide vests, international commentators and policy makers need to realize that the PA has been sponsoring a death-glorifying discourse throughout its history.
Not only has the authority in charge of ruling over Judea and Samaria been at the epicenter of some of the worst terrorist campaigns led against the State of Israel, over the last decades it has also promoted a propaganda machine aimed at distorting the realities on the ground and creating a culture of victimization which takes its roots in the death of young people. Receiving billions of dollars in direct foreign aid does not change the fact that the cultural and social drivers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are based on a perverted understanding of success. General aspirations of peace and economic growth are times and again overshadowed by the relentless will to find excuses to kill civilians through imagined martyrs and dramatically real terrorist attacks.
Peace not PA priority
Over the last decade it has been proven how much the Palestinians and pro-Palestinian organizations desperately look for a casus belli through the death of their own militants. With this objective, personal tragedies such as the one of the young Muhammed Al Durrah and Rachel Corrie have been blown out of proportion and the stories about the deaths of young people who could otherwise have flourished have been distorted to fit a macabre policy sponsored and encouraged by the PA.
In a period where any sign of peace negotiation appears to be relegated to the wishful thinking of European think-clubs, the latest attempt to idolize the death of a stone-throwing youth should receive its adequate coverage. The revolts that are taking place in Judea and Samaria are meant to underline a very simple reality: Regardless of any step taken by Israel to disengage and work toward peace, regardless of any step taken by the international community to work toward the creation of a state for the Palestinians and regardless of any step taken by non-governmental institutions to foster socio-economic developments in the territories, the core aspiration of the PA and its satellite organizations is still to wage a long, protracted and blood draining campaign to deprive Israel of its international legitimacy.
Peace is not, and never has been, the priority for the Palestinian leadership because it would intrinsically devoid of meaning an ensemble of organizations and groups, both in Judea and Samaria as well as around the world, who find the core reason of their existence in the conflict with Israel and in the victimization of Palestinians.
Golda Meir reportedly said, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” In 2013 this idea should be amended as follows: “Peace will come when pro-Palestinians love Palestinians more than they hate Israel.” The macabre dance at each funeral is in fact only possible because it receives so much attention by international media and news relaying agencies interested in hurting Israel’s image.
If to the PA and to the Palestinians would be sent a clear message underlining the fact that the world does not condone their propagandist use of lives and their attempts at creating a victim-like image of their society, their PR campaign based on a death centered ideology would sharply lose the fuel it needs to repeatedly sponsor terrorist attacks and defamation against Israel.
Riccardo Dugulin holds a master's degree from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and is specialized in International Security. He is currently working in Paris for a Medical and Security Assistance company. He has worked for a number of leading think tanks in Washington DC, Dubai and Beirut. Personal website: www.riccardodugulin.com