The Palestinian Authority has slipped 7.1 points on a governmental index which
measures its incitement against Israel.
The scale, in which the further
away from a positive number the measurement becomes the more aggravated the
level of incitement, dropped from -30.19 last year to -37.18, according to
government officials. The index was presented to the security cabinet for the
first time on Wednesday morning.
The Region: One land’s bigot is another land’s everyman
Washington Watch: Incitement, Israeli style
The index was developed in 2009 by
officials from various ministries including the Defense Ministry under the
auspices of Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon
The index has focused on four key points: violence; support of
violence and terror; demonization and incitement to hatred; and preparation for
It uses these points to measure statements made by Palestinian
leaders and textbooks used in PA schools, as well as the Palestinian media and
For example, said a government source, it’s problematic that
Palestinian officials have referred to terrorists who killed Israeli athletes in
Munich during the 1972 Olympics as national heroes.
In a statement he
released to the media, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the index was
important because “Achieving an historic peace with the Palestinian people
requires a change of approach by the authority and recognition of Israel as a
Jewish state. Just as in Israel there is no rejection of the other side,
so too do we expect the Palestinians to act and to educate for
Israel plans to share this index, along with supportive data,
with the United States, members of the Quartet and other international
A government official told The Jerusalem Post that under the
Road Map, Palestinians had an obligation to stop incitement against Israel. The
source added that it was important that Palestinian leaders more effectively
prepare their population for peace through education.
director of Palestinian Media Watch, an advocacy group that monitors the
Palestinian media, said incitement has increased since peace talks resumed in
Marcus said Palestinian officials have recently claimed that
Israel spreads AIDS in Palestinian territories, and his most recent report cites
an example of a TV host describing the port city of Jaffa as “occupied area in
the occupied territories.”
He also pointed to a Palestinian TV show in
May showing children singing “I want to carry a machine gun and a rifle. I won’t
care about you, my enemy, or about the West. And we shall strike Israel, we
shall strike Israel.”
PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib dismisses Israeli
efforts to monitor incitement, saying Israel “cannot set the definition of
incitement unilaterally and then apply it to our side.” He said for the matter
to be addressed fairly would require “either a neutral body or both of us [to]
agree on what incitement is – and then it has to apply to both
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has acknowledged that there have
been problems in the past, but said he is dealing with the issue. “I can’t deny
that some of our people make incitement [sic]. We want to eliminate this. We
have to work on it,” he told a group of Jewish American leaders during a trip to
the US in September.
Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian lawmaker, called the
initiative “another Israeli attempt to draw attention away from the [peace]
talks.” She argued that “there is incitement and discrimination on the Israeli
side” as well.
AP contributed to this report.