Amr Abu Lila was an Arab youth who at the age of 19 had good looks and everything to live for. Instead he chose to go to a Jewish city near his home, a city that has brought and is still bringing much prosperity to his own region and brutally murder two Israelis whom he didn’t know while grievously wounding another. One of his victims was Gal Keydan, a gifted mandolin player his own age. The other was Achiad Ettinger, a Torah scholar and a father of twelve children.
Abu Lila himself was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces just a couple of days later, an outcome he must have expected. Why did this good looking kid with his whole life ahead of him throw that life away? The economic situation in the Arab territories in Samaria is far from hopeless. In fact, it is better than in many Arab countries. It could be much better yet, if the Arab inhabitants of Samaria could give up their animus towards Israel and their Jewish neighbors and allow themselves to benefit more fully from Israel’s thriving economy.
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Politically, the Arabs in Samaria are exclusively self-governed from their capital city of Ramallah. It is true that like in most Arab countries, their government is corrupt to the core and acts against the interests of its own citizens, but this is hardly Israel’s fault. No, Abu Lila was neither poor no oppressed. He was, however, a Muslim Arab. As such, he was raised on Jew hatred from the earliest age. A hatred that was being reinforced at every stage of his development by everyone in his surroundings. From his parents through his K-12 teachers and the leaders of his community he heard nothing but the most vile anti-Jewish propaganda imaginable, making him, like any other Muslim Arab a loaded gun.
We may never know what has prompted him to pull the trigger, but we do know that his actions and his death are already being used to load the next human weapon. Jordan, which supposedly has a peace treaty with Israel, a peace treaty for which it has received valuable lands in the Jordan Valley and much needed American and European political, economic, and military support is governed by a royal family from the minority Bedouin community, a family that was installed on its throne by Britain in the 1940. The majority of the Jordanian population are Palestinian Arabs who do not much like to be lorded over by their Bedouin monarchs. These folks can sound off in the symbolic and powerless Jordanian parliament and sound off they do, usually against Israel.
Today, a memorial service was held in the Jordanian parliament for Abu Lila and a commemorative Koran chapter was read. A mourners’ center in his memory was opened in the Jordanian town of Zarka. He is being hailed as a hero and many a young Palestinian boy and girl are being encouraged by their parents and their teachers to one day be just like him.
After more than a century of needless violence, the Jews in Israel have proven it to be utterly ineffective in driving them away from their ancestral homeland. Israel’s growth in every way imaginable is on par with countries that have enjoyed peace and prosperity for many generations, so Arab violence has been equally ineffective in slowing Israel’s progress as in threatening its existence. The offer of peaceful and prosperous joint future has been on the table for Arabs from the time that Zionism first began and it remains there today. It is undeniably and sadly true nevertheless that the Arabs have shown no growth whatsoever in their willingness to accept the offer. This unwillingness, this hatred towards the “Yahood”, does not come from the top. Neither is it the sole occupant of the grass roots.
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Had it been from the top, the leadership could be replaced. Had it been from the grass roots, with hard work and education, minds could be changed. But alas, it is pervasive, endemic, fully vertically and laterally integrated. It infects every aspect of the Arab society from the poorest laborer to the richest merchant, from Gaza City to Ramallah, from the Hamas to the PLO. People often ask: how many more innocent lives will be lost, how much more senseless violence will there be? The only correct answer is: much much more.