By Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute—
When former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel in 1991, many Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate the attacks. Many demonstrations took place in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem even while Palestinians were being issued gas masks by the Israeli authorities to protect them against a possible chemical attack by Iraq against Israel.
The Los Angeles Times reported back then that “several Palestinians expressed joy at last week’s missile assault on Tel Aviv and Haifa.”
When the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group launched rocket attacks on Israel from Lebanon in 2015, Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate, holding Hezbollah flags and handing out sweets to drivers and passersby.
For the Palestinians, anyone who attacks Israel or threatens to destroy it is a real “hero.”
In the past few days, the Palestinians have been cheering another “hero”: Mohammed Deif, the shadowy figure who heads the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas.
Deif has been Israel’s most wanted terrorist for the last 25 years because of his involvement in several terror attacks, including the killing of Israeli soldiers, suicide bombings and kidnappings. In 2015, the US State Department added Deif to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
Because of his direct involvement in terrorism against Israel, Deif has always been regarded by many Palestinians as a “hero.”
Now, after Deif warned Israel of retaliation if it does not change its policies in east Jerusalem, he seems to be even more popular among the Palestinians.
In a rare public statement, the arch-terrorist, who is based in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said that Israel will pay a “heavy price” if it does not stop the eviction of Palestinian families living in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. “This is a clear and final warning,” Deif threatened, hinting that Hamas would resume its rocket attacks and other forms of terrorism against Israel.
The threat came after a Jerusalem court approved the eviction of a number of Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah from homes that had belonged to Jews before the establishment of Israel in 1948. Continue Reading…