The victim-blaming narrative that says that Israel’s so-called “occupation” of the West Bank is responsible for Palestinian violence has been getting a lot of air time since the murder of four by a terrorist in Tel Aviv earlier this month. It has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Politico, and has even been parroted by the mayor of Tel Aviv himself.

This narrative ignores decades of history, and has no more truth to it than the vile claim that LGBT people deserved the Orlando attack. Israel’s military presence in the disputed territories of the West Bank is the result of Arab violence against Israel, and not the cause of it.

Israel took control of the West Bank as a result of a defensive war, during which Jordan used its positions in the West Bank to attack to Israel. After the Palestinian Authority rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David to leave most of the West Bank and all of Gaza in 2000, then-PA President Arafat intentionally started the Second Intifada.

The much-maligned checkpoints and separation barrier were put in place in response to the Second Intifada, and they have saved many lives. Palestinian leaders again rejected an Israeli offer of independence and statehood in 2008, and ended negotiations in 2014.

The assertion that an attack on Israeli civilians in a coffee shop is a consequence of “Palestinian despair” or “frustration over the occupation,” therefore, doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. To claim that the violence is caused by the “occupation,” or by the checkpoints or by the “Apartheid wall,” is to invert cause and effect.

What, then, are the causes?

The effect of financial compensation that the Palestinian Authority pays to terrorists and their families can’t be ignored. In a January op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, explained that,

The Palestinian regime in Ramallah pays monthly stipends of between $400 and $3,500 to terrorists and their families, the latter of which is more than five times the average monthly salary of a Palestinian worker.

This past March, the Daily Mail confirmed that the Palestinian Authority continues to pay these salaries to terrorists, despite promises to stop doing so.

One Hamas master bomber has reportedly been given more than £100,000. Other ‘salaries’ go to the families of suicide bombers and even teenagers involved in the latest upsurge of deadly attacks on Israel.

DFID and the European Union are still effectively supporting these payments to thousands of terrorists – despite claims to have ended such links two years ago.

Additional motivation for violence comes from incitement, from both Hamas and from the Palestinian Authority. The current wave of terror attacks began around the time that PA President Abbas said in an address from Ramallah,

Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God. … The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours as well. They have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet, we won’t allow them to do that.

As this “knife intifada,” as it’s been called, has continued, it has been glorified from all ends of the Palestinian political spectrum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qqyyM2R5Ms

In May, the Palestinian Authority praised a terrorist who had murdered an American tourist, calling him a “heroic martyr.” After an attack on a Jerusalem bus in April, a Hamas spokesman said that Hamas “welcomes the Jerusalem operation.”

Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh exposed the Palestinian cartoonists who drew cartoons “celebrating the ‘heroic operation’ against Israeli civilians.” These cartoons included one that “feature[ed] a Palestinian woman celebrating the terror attack by ululating and handing out candies.”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7879/palestinians-celebrating-terrorism

Ignoring these factors and blaming terror victims for the attacks on themselves will do nothing to help either Palestinians or Israelis. It will only encourage more violence and more death, driving the two sides even farther from a just and peaceful resolution.

———————

Mirabelle is a non-practicing lawyer and blogger, writing about Israel, the US-Israel relationship, and media bias at Israellycool.com. On twitter: @MirabelleW18