Peace can never reign between Israel and the Palestinians as long as generation-after-generation of Palestinians are being fed a never-ending diet of anti-Israel incitement. There is a direct connection between anti-Israel incitement and terrorism. True acceptance of Israel's right to exist in peace cannot be achieved solely through signatures on a piece of paper; it must also exist in the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people. Just as Israel has educated for peace throughout its history, so too must the Palestinians begin this process.
The Palestinian education system, media, literature, songs, theater and cinema have been mobilized for extreme anti-Israel indoctrination, which at times degenerates into blatant anti-Semitism
. This incitement to hatred and violence is pervasive in Palestinian society, particularly in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. It exists in nursery schools and kindergartens, youth movements, schools, universities, mosque sermons, and street demonstrations.
Incitement against Israel has many faces. It begins with the complete denial of the very existence of the State of Israel. Maps in schools and universities do not even bear the name of Israel, nor a large number of its cities and towns.
Palestinian officials and religious leaders frequently deny the thousands of years of Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. By repudiating Jewish history (and the New Testament as well), the Palestinian leadership is promoting a narrative that disavows any Jewish rights to the Jewish historical homeland. Peace cannot be achieved as long as the right of the Jewish people to their own nation-state in their native land is denied.
Incitement is also characterized by the hero worship of terrorists
. Inciters extol the deeds of suicide bombers, name schools and football teams after them, and hold them up as models to be emulated.
This phenomenon bodes ill for the next generation, educated to disregard the peacemakers and worship the symbols of death and destruction. Children, such as those in Hamas-controlled Gaza, who have been taught from the earliest age to hate, kill and destroy
, are a tragedy for their own people and a potential danger for others.
The question that must be asked is what kind of future does the industry of incitement offer the next generation, which is growing up learning to hate. Will that young generation be capable of thinking in terms of peace, of good neighborliness, of tolerance and compromise? Can Palestinian society create the new state of mind that is needed for peace, rather than just signing a peace treaty?
One cannot ignore the intensity of the emotions that exist on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East. Suffering and feelings of deep frustration exist on Israel's side as well. But there is a huge difference between feeling anger or frustration on a personal level, on the one hand, and promoting a culture of hatred, on the other.
Unlike a large part of Palestinian society, Israeli society sees peace as the noblest of goals; it's highest of aspirations on both the individual and national level. The desire for peace and for the normalization of day-to-day life is at the very center of Israel's being and culture. The many thousands of songs, books, artistic works, and articles that have been written about peace in Israel, since the very establishment of the state, are too numerous to mention. Peace is an important core value, the greatest dream of every mother and father, the embodiment of the Zionist idea which envisages Israel living in peace and cooperation with all its neighbors.
There is no legitimate reason why Israeli children learn about peace and coexistence in their schools, while at the same time Palestinian children are taught to honor suicide bombers
and to seek 'martyrdom' through Jihad. Those who desire peace should educate for peace, and not promote hatred and murder.