A new phrase has been coined: "atmospheric terrorism." This is not the Third Intifada, senior officials explain, but rather sporadic, low-level incidents of stone throwing, fire bombs and stabbings; with a few exceptions (for now), such as the Bat Yam bus bombing, these incidents were just spontaneous products of the atmosphere.
Describing the situation in such placating terms has just one advantage. It allows us to grab the bull by the horns and ask: What exactly is the origin of this atmosphere, which has triggered small incidents that may easily develop into something more organized ?
This atmosphere, the one that has spawned these terrorist attacks, developed amid an ongoing festival promoted by the Palestinian Authority, which glorifies terror, jihad and slaughtering Jews and Israelis whoever and wherever they are. Just this week, Palestinian Media Watch revealed a shocking event organized by the Palestinian Authority, under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian culture minister.
In this so-called "cultural" event, certificates were handed out to several of the murderers whom Israel recently released. Palestinian teenagers then staged a play in which two groups of actors assembled on either side of the stage, one representing the Gaza-ruling Hamas, and the other the West Bank-dominant Fatah. The two sides brandished their flags, but then began tossing them into a space in the middle depicting Israel. Finally, the teenage actors coalesced under a single flag, representing the Palestinian Authority, and, once united, started shooting the "Israelis" facing them.
The people who go for Molotov cocktails, rocks or blades, eventually grabbing a firearm, have been consuming this culture of hatred for years. They and their children were born, raised and continue to live off of notions that Haifa and Acre within the Green Line are the same as Efrat and Ariel in Judea and Samaria. Israel does not appear on their maps. This "atmospheric terrorism" grew out of a hatred for all things Jewish and Israeli. It prospered in a public space where it was the norm to demonize and incite against Israel, to deny the legitimacy of its very existence.
Examples of such defamation abound. Often they successfully compete for attention. Sometimes, they are more shockingly worded than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or even the Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Stürmer. Palestinian leaders are responsible for creating this atmosphere of hate, this breeding ground for terror, whether through its television programing, education system, newspapers, universities or religious authorities.
This is how you plant the seeds of intifada. This is how you kick-start the terrorist mechanism of "reaping and sowing," whereby the Palestinians sow the seeds of terror while reaping the benefits of negotiations. The PA assumes the more it batters the Israeli homefront, the weaker the Israeli government.
We cannot continue playing this game. We've already played it. Former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon fell into that trap. But despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's obsession with securing a deal, there is still another way. The Palestinians are hoping, perhaps, that we will let them engage in terrorism as if there are no negotiations, but we've already seen that film. We need to say, loudly and clearly, that we accept negotiations, but not at any cost. Until further notice, Israel should seriously reconsider the third phase of the prisoners release. After all, the first two phases just added more fuel to the fire of terror. Why stoke the flames even more?