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(photo credit: Ben Hartman and Jeremy Last)
A British taxpayer watchdog group unveiled two reports on Monday detailing the role of European foreign aid in the transmission of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic narratives in Palestinian Authority schools and media in Jerusalem.
The reports, “Palestinian Hate Education Since Annapolis” and “Funding Hate Education,” detail what the Taxpayers’ Alliance refers to as a campaign of “demonizing Israel” largely funded by European taxpayers, a policy it says diminishes long-term hopes for peace.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance said it has taken up the issue of incitement against Israel in the Palestinian territories because it believes there must be greater scrutiny of aid programs for the PA, so that taxpayer money from the UK and the EU no longer funds programs that harm the peace process and the national interests of British and EU citizens.
Matthew Sinclair, research director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said at a press briefing in Jerusalem, held with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, that in Palestinian society, “we’re looking at a population where 42 percent are under the age of 15. You have a huge younger generation whose views are going to shape the situation for a long time.
“Peace lies in the hearts and minds of people and it’s vital that the right attitudes are encouraged in people and the right conditions are created for peace,” Sinclair continued.
“It’s rare we see it [foreign aid] doing as much harm to the British taxpayers as we do in this case,” he said.
According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, European foreign aid provided to the PA, including €420 million and £63.6m. in 2007 alone, “create[s] a responsibility to ensure that the Palestinian Authority does not misuse its budget.”
Ayalon described the problems that hatred and incitement toward Israel in the Palestinian territories spell for coexistence and said that peace will remain impossible “as long as we don’t see the acceptance of Israel as a legitimate and natural part of the Middle East.”
He then related an anecdote from a debate with a British man at the London School of Economics, whom he asked: “‘Can you name one leader of Palestine, one king, one leader?’
“Of course they couldn’t because Palestine never existed,” Ayalon said.
“There has never been a Palestinian state,” he said. When we came here we didn’t find any other nation here. We aren’t going to argue narratives with the PA, he said.
Ashley Perry, the media adviser for the deputy foreign minister’s office, told The Jerusalem Post
that much of the onus for battling incitement must shift from Hamas to
Fatah, arguing that the image of the Mahmoud Abbas-led party as
“moderate” has allowed Fatah to skirt responsibility for battling
incitement and indoctrination against Israel in PA-run schools and
“When [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas is mentioned, he is talked about as
a moderate and a good leader and the complete opposite will be said of
Hamas. It’s time for Fatah’s actions to be in line with the
perception,” Perry said.
He called on Fatah to adhere to the demands made of Hamas.
“For the [peace] process to go forward, they [Fatah] must stop calling
for the end of Israel, end indoctrination and [stop] naming summer
camps after murderers.”