As I write this, many Israeli, Jewish, and Arab friends are mourning the horrifying murder of Ari Fuld at the hands of a teenage terrorist.
Stabbed to death at the Gush Etzion Junction shopping center, Fuld left us in honor – he was stabbed trying to save a female worker from an armed attacker. Ari, a proud father of four and a dedicated friend to many, was a resident of the Efrat settlement.
For those who knew Ari, his family was everything, just as his feelings for Israel were. This tragic terrorist act underscores everything that’s wrong with the status quo and the “peace process.”
As I reflect on both Ari’s life and Yom Kippur, I wonder what he would do or say if we asked him about his own demise and the soon to be proposed peace plan.
I first met Ari in the summer of 2014. The black belt in karate was a gentle giant, making him warm and easy to talk to. Israelis treated him as a patriot, while his Arab neighbors treated him as a friend thanks to him helping them find work in the settlements.
His work often took him to the mall and the spot where he fell. Since the mall is less than a mile away from my in-laws’ Bethlehem home, I have visited it many times, and I can see in my mind where the attack took place. The stores are filled with merchandise, Palestinian women in hijabs pushing carts next to orthodox Jewish men and Arab workers earning a living alongside their Israeli counterparts. You also see cars with Palestinian license plates parked next to Israeli ones. Both come here for the selection and savings.
Now I will always see blood out in front of my favorite store in the West Bank.
I can also see the young terrorist, from the local Arab village of Yatta, who carried out the attack. He knew he would be able to enter the mall without being stopped by Israeli security because the mall does not discriminate – it welcomes everyone, including Arabs, unlike what we hear from the propaganda machines of regional terror-mongers like the king of Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, the P.A., and Hamas.
Everyone who knew Ari knew that he died in the land he loved. He didn’t deserve to die this way, nor did his kids deserve to be orphaned.
As the world contemplates major changes in the region that will hopefully lead to peace, and his friends mourn his loss, a tragic bell rings: enough is enough. The status quo cannot go on forever. This lunacy must stop, once and for all!
It needs to be made clear that the 17-year-old terrorist didn’t do this act unwittingly; he was born under the Oslo Accords and then brainwashed by the tyrannical Palestinian Authority that grew up from it. In fact, the killer was so brainwashed by the P.A. propaganda mill that he had not even finished high school before he decided to commit this murder. It also included him knowing that if he was killed or imprisoned, his family would receive a substantial stipend from one of the terrorist entities listed above, and if he died as a “martyr,” he would bypass all the suffering and economic hardship brought upon Palestinians and find his reward in Heaven.
That understood, I think Ari would agree with me that in the 25 years since Oslo, the agreement has brought everyone nothing but pain. The time has come to speak out against it: the Oslo agreement is dead; cannot be sustained; and is costing us lives, money, and resources.
As my group and I are pushing for change in how we approach the peace agreements, I think Ari would agree that it’s time that everyone accept that Palestinians and Jordanians are one people, and that no peace can really materialize without recognizing our human rights in Jordan, as it is, after all, our legitimate and sovereign homeland.
Several facts support this claim. First, most Palestinians live in 78% of the “historically promised Palestine.” Second, most West Bankers (including the Abbas family) hold Jordanian passports. Third, most Palestinians passionately hate the P.A. and openly yearn for the economic and political freedoms found in Israel. Fourth, over 70% of the Jordanian population is Palestinian in nature, not that there is any difference at all between us and our East Bank brothers, whom we love and with whom we share blood connections, faith, and soil. Finally, 1.1 million Jordanians of Palestinian heritage hold Israeli green or yellow cards, providing them with the right to return should they decide to claim that right. Nonetheless, they are not returning because they love Jordan.
As the U.S. administration prepares to release its groundbreaking Peace Plan – dubbed the Deal of the Century – we have to ask what Ari would say about it.
I believe that Ari would not only support peace between brothers as long as it is based on facts, truth, love, and moderation. I also believe that he would support what the media have reported: Israeli sovereignty and a confederation between Jordanians and Palestinians as one people.
From what I know of the man in the White House, he fully understands Ari’s vision of peace with his brothers. As such, I have never been more optimistic about the future of Palestinians/Jordanians and Israelis.
Mudar Zahran is secretary general of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition.