Last week's terror attack against students at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem shows that really, the "peace process" has changed nothing on the Palestinian side, whether it be in their own leaders or their supporters around the world. Their goal in 2008 remains the same as it was in 2000, in 1972, and in 1948: the elimination of Jewish self-determination in our homeland. Their methods remain the same: the random slaughter of as many Jews as possible, especially those going about their daily lives in schools, in restaurants or on buses, to spread terror among the civilian population. Their reaction to these atrocities remains the same: the Palestinian street's celebration of mass murder and the near-deification of the murderers as "martyrs", and their apologists around the world blaming the victims and excusing the perpetrators.
Mahmoud Abbas gave his usual condemnation of the attack. However, expecting him to actually take any steps against Hamas in the West Bank, or even to stop official PA incitement of terrorism, is clearly out of the question. After all, the official PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida gave the murderer front-page coverage and declared him a "shahid". And Abbas himself got a little careless when speaking in Arabic to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur, boasting about his pride in having "fired the first shot" for Fatah against Israel in 1965 (2 years before Israel took the West Bank from Jordan in the Six Day War) and having taught other terror groups how to conduct "resistance". He did reiterate his position against armed conflict with Israel--"because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different."
Of course, in Hamas-stan, there's no need for any type of pretense. The scenes of joy caught on camera would suggest something benign and cheerful like a victory in a World Cup soccer match. Despite the supposed dire humanitarian condition in Gaza, there's always candy to hand out and weapons to fire into the air when Jews are killed, and always enough material to make more rockets to launch at Sderot and Ashkelon. It's impossible to watch these without wondering how this raw hatred and addiction to violence will ever be overcome. None of these people are under the illusion that acts of terrorism like this will lead to a Palestinian state alongside Israel, because these are not people who are interested in living alongside a Jewish state. If anyone doubts that, read the Hamas Charter. And to anyone who wishes to claim that this is all just part of a "cycle of violence", try to find a film of Israelis celebrating deaths of Palestinian civilians, or articles in the Israeli press cheering Palestinian civilian deaths (I mean REAL civilians, not the apparent BBC definition of a civilian as an armed fighter in a ski mask who doesn't happen to have an official militia card in his pocket) .
The apologists for Palestinian terror of course had to try to explain this atrocity away as being the fault of the Israelis; I suspect the same people who are so dedicated to "peace and justice" would react in utter horror to a rapist blaming his crime on the victim. Some will undoubtedly claim a similarity to Baruch Goldstein, who was correctly and widely condemned by all but a fringe element of Israeli society (and the worldwide Jewish community), as opposed to being officially lauded as a hero and his murderous acts publicly taught to schoolchildren as an example of heroism. The bleating voices at "Jewish Peace News" managed to talk out of both sides of their mouths at once, condemning the violence and admitting that "Hamas' praise for the operation is both contemptible and chilling" yet then going on to say that "terrorist violence like this is almost always a symptom of Israel's expansionist policies and is unlikely to end until the occupation is over." It makes me wonder; what part of Article 11 of the Hamas Charter don't they believe? "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."
Palestinian terror existed before the state of Israel was established , it existed before the West Bank and Gaza were under Israeli control (as Abbas himself proudly pointed out), it existed before the Oslo Accords, and it exists now. The goal now is the same as it was then: "itbach el-Yahud" (slaughter the Jews). Those who think that this appetite for blood will stop when Israel withdraws from the West Bank, as it has already withdrawn from Gaza, are naive at best and fraudulent at worst.
If Israel reacted the way other countries around the world would respond, then Gaza City would look like Grozny after the Russians were through with it, or the Old City of Hama, Syria which Hafez Assad paved with asphalt after eliminating the Muslim Brotherhood (as well as thousands of other citizens) there. The fact that Israel is still willing to conduct talks with Mahmoud Abbas, and that Israel has shown incredible restraint not only after terror attacks like this but also during the daily shelling from Gaza, stands in stark contrast to the bloodlust shared by too many Palestinians and excused by too many of their supporters around the world.