Hamas is calling for the resumption of suicide bombings targeting Israelis in the wake of Friday's arson attack that killed a Palestinian toddler. Israeli extremists, perhaps from a nearby illegal settlement outpost, are suspected in the attack. Police appealed for public help Tuesday to find those responsible.
Two homes in Duma, a Palestinian village, were torched in the attack. The fire killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha. The arsonists reportedly spray painted "Revenge" and "Long live the king messiah" in Hebrew on the house.
Senior Hamas leader Hamad Al-Rakav called for Palestinians in the West Bank to take "revenge" and attack Israeli and even Palestinian Authority (PA) security personnel, referring to them as "traitors and collaborators."
Friday's attack prompted widespread condemnation from Israelis of all stripes and acknowledgement for the need to address Jewish extremism more seriously.
"I am shocked by this horrific, heinous act. This is a terror attack in every respect. The State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Naftali Bennet, Jewish Home party leader, said that the attack was not "a 'hate crime' or a 'price tag' – it's murder ... Terror is terror is terror."
In contrast, Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis – including those which kill children – often are celebrated and result in people handing out treats to people on the street. The documented glorification of terrorists and martyrdom is widespread and institutionalized in schools and the media.
For example, after a Palestinian terrorist killed a three-month-old Israeli baby in a vehicular attack last October, Palestinian leaders praised the attack and urged others to "escalate the confrontations" against Israel.
A senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas referred to the terrorist as a "heroic Martyr" and a Hamas statement glorified the "operation of running over the settlers...which led to the death of a female settler and the injury of 8 others."
Whereas Israeli authorities actively pursue and arrest Jewish extremists following terrorist attacks, the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to convicted terrorists.
Terrorism – political violence targeting civilians – should be condemned and combatted in all forms. In context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, there is no moral equivalence with respect to how each side addresses the threat of terrorism.