The television camera lens moves with seeming effortlessness from the pictures of suffering and death at the Hebrew University to the carnival in Gaza City, where thousands take to the streets in celebration of the pictures from Jerusalem.
Gazing at the revelers on the screen, one strains one's eyes to find an expression of shame, guilt, or remorse on the faces in the crowd. One unconsciously prays to discern anything that would show that those in front of the camera are there by accident or because they were forced to be there. But no, the faces on the screen are uninhibited, joyful ones.
Far from being forced to participate in the festivities, each and every one of the people at the parade in Gaza makes a personal decision to leave his or her home and join the crowd in applauding the mass murder of Jews. They are there because they support the murders. They are there because such murders make them happy.
These Gazans, and their counterparts at Balata refugee camp near Nablus, were not celebrating a military victory. There was no battle at the cafeteria in the Frank Sinatra International Student Center. These Palestinians – men, women, teenagers, and small children – came together to celebrate another massacre in their genocidal campaign against the Jewish people.
Yes, genocide. The Palestinians have reached a point in this war where it has now become clear that their goal in this struggle is not the end of the so-called "occupation," but rather the organized, premeditated mass murder of Jews because they are Jewish. That is, the Palestinian goal today is genocide.
In a seminal article in Commentary magazine this past February on the recent rise of anti-Semitism, Hillel Halkin argued, counterintuitively, that the Holocaust is the main reason why it is so difficult for Jews today to accept the fact of anti-Semitism. In his words, "The Holocaust has made some Jews less, rather than more, able to see anti-Semitism around them. This is because if the Nazis demonized the Jew, they also demonized the anti-Semite." In short, if an anti-Semite is not a Nazi, then it is hard for Jews to perceive him as a threat.
Just so, even as generations of Jews adopted "Never Again" as their rallying cry, the Holocaust made it difficult for us to notice when genocide is adopted as a policy against the Jewish people, without gas chambers present. The fact that the Palestinians currently lack the means used by the Germans to perpetrate their genocidal policy against the Jews blinds us from the fact that their desire to do so is the same as that of the Germans in the 1930s and 1940s.
The absence of the trappings of the Nazi Holocaust also prevents us from properly identifying repeated massacres of Israelis by Palestinians. Contrary to what we tell ourselves, these attacks are not expressions of rage or reactions to specific actions by the IDF. They are acts of genocide perpetrated against Jews as Jews because the Palestinians have descended to the level of depravity where they do not view the Jews as human beings whose murder is an inherently immoral act.
The fact that the Palestinians don ski masks and keffiyehs rather than brown shirts and swastikas also makes us undervalue the fact that, like the Nazis, the Palestinians are utilizing all their technological know-how and military resources to kill Jews and are making their best efforts to constantly improve and enhance these resources to increase their kill rate.
Daniel Goldhagen showed in his masterful book, Hitler's Willing Executioners Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, that contrary to popular belief, the Holocaust was not a Nazi-specific affair, but rather a German affair. While Hitler and his Nazi Party dominated Germany, the Germans allowed themselves to be dominated. While the Nazis were the architects of the Holocaust, they perpetrated it with the active support and participation of many rank-and-file Germans from all walks of life, in all sectors of German society regardless of membership in the Nazi Party.
Such is also the case in Palestinian society today. It is not just Hamas or Tanzim or Islamic Jihad that we must fight, but Palestinian society itself must be transformed for there to be peaceful coexistence. All major indicators point to the conclusion that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians is complicit in the aim of committing genocide against the Israelis. Poll after poll shows that a solid majority of Palestinians from all socio-economic levels supports suicide bombers and other forms of terrorism against Israel. In fact the polls show that the higher the socio-economic level of the respondents, the stronger their support for terrorism.
Virulent, Nazi-style Jew hatred and dehumanization has become for the Palestinians, as for the Germans before them, the central unifying theme of society. The best-seller lists in the PA for years have included such works as Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Being a relative of a suicide bomber is a status symbol.
From the schoolrooms to the mosques to the daily papers to the art studios, Palestinians teach, preach, write and paint in praise of genocide. Even Yasser Arafat's purportedly democratic and pro-Western opposition has no moral qualms about massacring Israelis. Leaders like the much-feted Sari Nusseibeh argue against suicide bombings not because they are morally reprehensible, but because of their tactical inconvenience.
In an interview on Al-Jazeera television on July 14, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Nusseibeh praised everyone involved in jihad against Israel. Explaining that he did not want to pass moral judgment on the murderers when he signed a petition a month earlier calling for an end to suicide bombers, Nusseibeh said that terrorism presents no moral dilemma, it is only a question of whether or not "political benefit" accrues from killing Israeli civilians.
Nusseibeh's explanation echoes the official PA condemnations of every attack. There is never a moral judgment made, only a cost-benefit analysis. That killing Jews is acceptable is quite simply taken for granted.
Once we understand that this is the situation in Palestinian society, we reconcile ourselves with the fact that we are not in a struggle against a political movement for national sovereignty. We are being victimized by a genocidal campaign for our violent elimination supported by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians.
To defuse the danger presented to Israel by the genocidal Palestinians, we must also look to the German experience and take our cue from the Allied policy for the de-Nazification of postwar Germany. In World War II it was clear to the Allies that Germany would have to undergo a long process of social and political transformation before the Germans could again be trusted with sovereignty. The first step on the road was an unconditional surrender of the German army to Allied forces. As part of their military surrender, German nationals were forcibly deported from the strategically vital Danzig corridor and East Prussia, which were handed over to Poland. The Germans ceded all claims to the territory and deported nationals were banished with no right of return.
Furthermore, the surrender terms for Germany involved the stationing of a permanent occupation force on German soil, which still exists today, 58 years later, and forced limitations on German military capabilities and troop levels. The transformation of German politics involved permanently banning anyone involved in the Nazi regime or supportive of that regime from participation in German political life.
There is no longer any room to doubt that the Palestinians, to become a nation that will live at peace with Israel, must undergo a similar transformation. Whether Israel can force such a process onto the Palestinians by itself or whether such a transformation will nece
ssarily take place as part of a reshuffling of the Arab world that supports its genocidal program remains to be seen. But what is clear enough is that there can be no negotiations, no legitimacy, and no tolerance for a society whose central organizing principle is the physical elimination of the Jewish people.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.