My daughter called me crying from school. Her 13-year-old schoolmate Hodaya had been killed that morning on her way to school in a terrorist attack on a bus in Jerusalem. I heard sobs from her and, in the background, school children crying out in sadness.
And yet as a country, we sit, day in and out, attacked almost each hour by terror.
The truth no one wants to admit is this: A suicide bomber is not an aberration, but the apotheosis of all that is authored by the Palestinian Authority. He is the hero of the Palestinian story.
It is difficult for many of us to believe that such a cruel "hero" could be purposefully created and celebrated. We want to deny the evil of such a creation. So we indulge in believing the twisted story of a causal relationship between despair and terror, as if there were a correlation between hopelessness and killing.
In this interpretation, terrorists kill because they have no choice.
Many Israelis also buy this apologetic plot line. One mother whose daughter was killed by a suicide bomber on Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda mall said, "The guy who killed my daughter was crazy enough to kill himself as well because he had nothing to lose; he had nothing to live for because of the occupation."
The character of the terrorist created in this distorted version of reality is crazy and hopeless, pathetic. This interpretation would be absurd if it weren’t so dangerous. My 13-year-old son, Koby, was stoned to death by terrorists not because his murderers had no hope -- but precisely because they had hope.
Terrorists are not hopeless; they are ruthless.
A more nuanced reading of terrorism would discern that terrorists are not hopeless, but ruthless. The terrorist is not in despair, but indoctrinated with an ideology of evil where meaning in life is equated with the destruction of Jews.
In fact, many terrorists are educated in universities where violence is taught as the master narrative of the Palestinian people.
America gives credence to the Palestinian text of hate when the US talks about its road map, about the need for each of the two sides to take steps to calm the situation – as if the intifada were a cycle of violence and not violence perpetuated by a Palestinian leadership inciting its population with the murderous intent to destroy Israel.
When Secretary of State Colin Powell justifies the targeted killing of al-Qaida operatives in Yemen at the same time condemning Israeli targeted killings of terrorists, he supports Palestinian terror.
When Bush calls for a tough stance against Iraq while countenancing the killing the innocent Israelis, he encourages terrorism. When the European Union calls for the Palestinian Authority to desist from killing Jews in Israel proper while allowing the killing of Jews in the territories, it sanctions murder.
It is time to stop trying to understand and analyze the cruel behavior of the Palestinians. What is needed is a Palestinian narrative coming from its own leadership that can encourage its people to adopt a strategy of hope and compromise rather than the infantile language of victimization, rage and violence.
It is unlikely to come into being in the foreseeable future. Instead, the "Quartet" must make one condition, and one condition only in its "road map": No progress can be achieved until the Palestinians renounce terror.
We cannot allow ourselves to engage in the deceit that the text of terror has more than one interpretation. Terror should not be interpreted. It should be eradicated.
This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.