The Palestinian Authority and its leaders share the blame for the murders of
those five Israelis from Itamar on Friday – including two children and an infant
– along with the terrorists who committed them. It is the PA and its leaders who
have prepared the ground for these murders with the incessant incitement to
hatred and the glorification of violence and terror.
In spite of its
conciliatory statements in English, the PA continues to use all the structures
it controls to demonize Israelis and to promote violence. Terrorists are
presented as heroes and role models for Palestinians, teaching that killing
Israelis is a way to earn eternal fame.
Just two months ago, PA President
Mahmoud Abbas sent a clear message of support for terror when he awarded $2000
to the family of a terrorist who attacked IDF soldiers. Last week, the PA’s
official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
announced a football tournament named after
Wafa Idris, the first female Palestinian suicide bomber, and three weeks ago PA
TV, which is under the direct control of Abbas’s office, broadcast videos
glorifying the terrorist Habash Hanani, who in May 2002 entered Itamar and
murdered three Israeli students. Twice the PA named summer camps after the
terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 led the most deadly attack in Israel’s
history in which 37 civilians were killed in a bus hijacking, both in 2008 and
again this past summer.
But the long arm of the PA’s promotion of
violence and terror goes even farther, penetrating the realm of culture and
music, which has been used so often in recent years in other places in the world
to promote peace and tolerance. Last year, PA TV broadcast a number of
performances of a band called Alashekeen, including a song anticipating the
conquering of Israel through holy war. The song presents all of Israel as
“Palestine,” mentioning the Carmel region near Haifa, and the cities of Lod,
Ramle, and Jerusalem as regions to be liberated: “In Ramle we are grenades...
the Palestinian revolution awaits [them]... We replaced bracelets with weapons.
We attacked the despicable [Zionists]. This invading enemy is on the
battlefield. This is the day of consolation of jihad. Pull the trigger. We shall
redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country.”
More significant than the
repeated exposure on PA TV and at cultural events was the fact that Abbas chose
to honor the musical group. He issued a presidential decree turning it into an
official Palestinian national band.
COMPOUNDING THE PA’s nationalistic
hate promotion are its Islamic-based messages. The PA seems to have adopted what
was once thought to be only Hamas ideology, that the conflict with Israel is a
– a religious war for Allah to defend Islamic land in which conflict with
Israel is uncompromising. Abbas’s appointed minister of religion, Mahmoud
Habbash, has taught repeatedly that the conflict with Israel is not territorial
but is in accordance with Islamic law: “Allah has preordained for us the Ribat
on this blessed land. We are committed to it by Allah’s command. Let no one be
mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat is a choice and nothing
more. It is a commandment.”
He has also preached that the conflict
against Israel – over all of Israel – is cited in the Koran: “The catastrophe,
in truth, did not begin in 1948, but began perhaps in 1917 with the cursed
[Balfour] Declaration, which gave a promise to those who did not deserve it...
Since that date, resolute people, fighters and Ribat fighters have not ceased
upon our blessed land... This conflict is explicit in the Koran and our
obligation with regard to it is clarified by the Koran.”
In short, the
PA, like the Hamas, is telling its people that Islam does not allow for
reconciliation with Israel.
WITH CONTINUOUS messages like this coming
from the so-called moderate leadership of the PA, is it any wonder that people
can go on terror rampages like the one in Itamar this weekend? Palestinians may
assume that their leaders and society will honor them if they murder Israelis,
that their families will receive payment if they are killed, and that their
religion encourages Israel’s disappearance.
Was the terrorist who
committed those brutal killings dreaming about a future Palestinian summer camp
in his name? Was he imagining Allah granting him everlasting rewards in paradise
for fulfilling his command? Did he feel that he was fulfilling his national duty
and would receive a financial reward? And what about the international community
which has accepted and naively believed PA leaders’ assurances that incitement
had stopped? It was the international community, represented by US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, which stipulated preconditions for the PA to enter into a
renewed peace process: “We will only work with a Palestinian Authority
government that unambiguously and explicitly accepts the Quartet’s principles: A
commitment to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous
agreements and obligations, including the Road Map” (House Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, April 23, 2009).
The Road Map states that “all
official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.”
international community has completely failed because it never followed up to
see if these preconditions had actually been met, but gladly satisfied itself
with Abbas’s promises, and continues to fund the PA.
Everyone involved in
the peace process is making a tragic mistake by assuming the incitement is just
another issue that has to be dealt with, like the issues of water, borders, and
refugees. All of those are issues that must be negotiated as part of a peace
process. But as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to teach these
messages, clearly there is no
It is incumbent on the
international community to inform the Palestinian Authority that a condition for
“working” with it, as Clinton stated, is that it erases the messages of hate and
replaces them with peace promotion.
And until that time the international
community must ostracize and isolate the Palestinian Authority, just as they do
Hamas, and stop pretending there is a peace process.
Itamar Marcus is
director of Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org). Nan Jacques Zilberdik is
a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch.