by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
While Hamas's rockets and suicide bombers have been killing Israelis over the past twenty-five years, the Palestinian Authority's rhetoric has not been less lethal.
In fact, it is this fiery rhetoric that has created the inviting atmosphere for launching terrorist attacks against Israel, such as the attack that took place in Jerusalem on Wednesday, October 22.
Chaya Zissel Braun, a three-month-old infant, was killed when a Palestinian man slammed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a light rail stop in the city. Nine people were injured, three seriously, in the attack.
A security camera recorded 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun being wheeled in her stroller by her parents, about 15 seconds before they were hit by the terrorist's vehicle.
The Palestinian who carried out the attack was identified as 20-year-old Abdel Rahman al-Shalodi of the Silwan neighborhood in east Jerusalem. He was shot on the scene and later died in hospital.
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority [PA] cannot avoid responsibility for killing the baby.
In order to understand what drives a young Palestinian man to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of PA leaders during the past few weeks. These are the kind of statements that encourage young men such as al-Shalodi to go out and kill the first Jews he meets on the street.
These statements refer to three developments linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Operation Protective Edge last summer, visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount (or "Noble Sanctuary"), and Jews moving in to apartments in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.
During the 50-day military confrontation between Israel and Hamas in July and August, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his senior officials in the West Bank made it a daily practice to incite their people against Israel.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN General Assembly last month, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Now that the war in the Gaza Strip has ended, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have shifted their focus to recent events in Jerusalem.
A few days before the terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Abbas strongly denounced Jews who visit the Temple Mount as a "herd of cattle."
A video still of al-Shalodi driving along the station platform, hitting passengers.
"We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary by all means. This is our Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa is a red line: Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and without it, there will be no state."Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have been exploiting the visits by Jews to the Temple Mount to incite Palestinians against Israel. They have been incorrectly denouncing these visits as "assaults" and "raids" on Islamic holy sites by Jewish "extremists."
Forty-eight hours before the Jerusalem attack, Abbas intensified his rhetorical assault on Israel by announcing that any Palestinian who is involved in property transactions with "hostile countries" (Israel) would be punished by life imprisonment with hard labor.
Abbas's announcement came in response to reports that Palestinians had sold homes to Jewish families in Silwan -- the Jerusalem neighborhood where al-Shalodi lived. By threatening to punish Palestinians for selling property to Jews, Abbas was sending a message that this is an awful crime that should not pass without a Palestinian response.
These are the three major events that have been used by the PA leadership to whip up Palestinians.
Of course, there is also the tragic case of the Palestinian teenager, Mohamed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and murdered by Jewish extremists. The Palestinian Authority has also taken advantage of that gruesome event to incite Palestinians against Israel.
And then there is another tragic case, involving a five-year-old Palestinian girl, Einas Khalil, who was killed after being hit by a car driven by a Jewish settler in the West Bank on October 19. The PA has also used this tragedy as part of its anti-Israel campaign.
The PA's words have not fallen on deaf ears. Several neighborhoods of east Jerusalem are already witnessing what Palestinians call a "mini-intifada": daily clashes between stone-throwers and police forces.
Palestinians say that the man who plowed his car into the crowd at the Jerusalem light trail stop was seeking retaliation against Israeli "crimes."
Some say he carried out the attack because of the Gaza war; others say it could be linked to what is happening at the Temple Mount or because Jewish families recently moved into homes in his area. Others are now claiming that the Jerusalem attack came in retaliation for the car accident that killed the Palestinian girl four days earlier.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that al-Shalodi, the driver who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced, in one way or another, by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people. Unless the harsh and incendiary rhetoric stops, more terrorist attacks are likely to take place.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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