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Editor's Notebook: Don't Be Deceived

My dream of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians turns nightmarish under the slate gray skies of the conflict. The hard reality is that the political and religious leaders of the Palestinian people aren't crediting themselves with anointing the Jews as the scum of the earth, but Allah himself. So tactically, there's no room for debate given the divine order.
The net effect is ominous: It'll take a generation or more to reverse the psychological damage done to the youngest, most impressionable minds within the Palestinian Authority, a ticking time bomb of human emotion and hatred.
I don't think U.S. Jews realize the depth of disdain among Palestinians toward Israeli Jews. By pinning the directive on Allah, Palestinian leaders elevate its impact on the Muslim masses within the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. Simply, Palestinian kids are raised to hate Jews. "Palestinian society is very religious and a lot of the hatred is packaged as God's will," a Brooklyn-born Jew, now one of Israel's foremost authorities on Palestinian culture, told me over our matching bowls of tomato rice soup at Rita Jerome's Unique Restaurant in Oak Park on Nov. 15.
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, a highly respected pro-Israel watchdog for bias and hate emanating from the Palestinian-controlled news media, added, "The Jews are said to be descendants of monkeys and pigs. Kids on Palestinian television use this terminology and they believe it. It`s so difficult to change because it`s not the opinion of their leaders or their teachers: It's Allah's opinion. That's why it is not going to change very easily."
Change isn't an option until Palestinian role models like imams say that Allah has changed his mind about the Jews. These imams would have to say they are interpreting Islam differently, that the Jewish people no longer are the enemy. That's unlikely. So peace will remain elusive notwithstanding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas` hollow pleas for renewed talks.

The Backdrop
Marcus, 53, made aliyah in 1974. He served in the Israeli army from 1975 to 1977; three of his five children served in Lebanon this summer.
Marcus was in Metro Detroit as a guest of StandWithUs-Michigan, a pro-Israel education and advocacy group. He sought to spread his fundamental message: that Palestinian propagandists and apologists have duped world Jewry.
And he tells it straight: "You might have a temporary respite, a few years of relative calm like what we had before 2000. But you'll never have peace until the Palestinian leadership re-evaluates exactly how they see the world. And that will only happen under incredible international pressure."
The international sanctions in place aren't nearly enough. Because we're civilized, the West continues to support the Palestinians through aid to programs and to the government. The U.S. alone gives $200 million a year.
I find it galling that the West talks about isolating Iran because of the anti-West and anti-Zionist rants of its leadership yet seems to diminish the same propaganda espoused by Palestinian leaders. In both cases, Jews are portrayed as infidels. Like it's talking about doing with Iran, the West must consider isolating the Palestinian Authority. Says Marcus: "The P.A. must be ostracized. If that would happen and the society would begin to crumble, the people might throw out their leadership and seek others who can work toward a message of peace."
I see no hope for lasting peace right now because that's such a remote possibility. Jews in America like to fashion Abbas and his Fatah Party as moderate when compared with Hamas, a terrorist organization. But what Abbas says to Western leaders in English is couched in Jew-baiting over P.A. television. Distortion, violence and terror against Jews is still promoted and admired on the air. Abbas isn't trying to bring reconciliation. At least with Hamas, Marcus argues, Jews know where they stand at all times.

Double Edged
By not recognizing Israel, Abbas is guilty of the ultimate in double talk. Take it from Marcus: "It's very dangerous for Israel when we have Palestinian people in power who represent themselves as moderate but who are not moderate at all."
The problem is that Western Jews embrace false hope. It's why we fawned over terror-monger Yasser Arafat amid the 1993 Oslo Accords, and why we somehow thought he'd help a few years later in the wake of Palestinian Media Watch exposing Palestinian schoolbooks as incitement to violence against Jews. Israeli leaders at the time helped perpetuate the myth that Arafat was a peace partner.
Jews the world over couldn't, or didn't want to, grasp the impact of the lessons in Palestinian schools. And we've paid the price with the second intifada, now six years running. Marcus put it bluntly, "If you poison the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people, you can sign whatever you want; but it's meaningless."
That's what paralyzed Oslo, a Trojan horse if there ever was one, because of Arafat's success in undermining the intended result. "Oslo was an important process," Marcus said. "Without Oslo, we could not have had the intifada. Without Oslo, we could not have had weapons infiltrate through to the Palestinians. Oslo was a way to prepare for and execute violence, terror and war."
Without a doubt, Oslo and the Wye River Accords five years later were meant to end the incitement, but the Palestinians have shown no interest. Itamar Marcus' message must resound: Peace won't come until Palestinian kids no longer learn in school, on TV and via music videos that it's an honor to die as a suicide bomber targeting Israelis.
A signed document without a cultural sea change over a generation is worthless. You can't have peace unless you teach peace... period.