Editorial: PA incitement

Does Israel have any chance of a fair hearing in the international arena, or should it expect “delegitimization on steroids” no matter what it does?

August 15, 2013 23:03
3 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Abed Rabbo [file photo]

Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Abed Rabbo 311 (R). (photo credit: Nasser Nuri/Reuters)


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With an Israeli-Palestinian round of negotiations off to another wobbly start, there are few, if any, optimistic prognoses from anyone involved. Simultaneously, there appears to be an overabundance of warnings about what might likely scuttle the process. This in itself is telling, especially when the nature of the profuse admonitions is examined.

Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo charged that Israeli “settlement expansion is unprecedented” and “threatens to make talks fail even before they’ve started.”

While assuming the guise of an honest broker, the US rushed to side with the PA position. Behaving more like an adjudicating overseer than a non-interventionist mediator, Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced all so-called settlements as inherently illegitimate (this includes entire extensive veteran neighborhoods of Jerusalem).

Moreover, Kerry has reportedly threatened Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with “delegitimization on steroids” should the talks flounder. The subtext is that unless Israel surrenders more and more ground, it will become a pariah. The onus is on Israel.

Israel stands alone at the other side of the table, against the combined forces of its antagonist interlocutor and the supposed impartial referee. Netanyahu has written Kerry that “incitement and peace cannot coexist.... Rather than educate the next generation of Palestinians to live in peace with Israel,” unremitting “hate education poisons them against Israel and lays the ground for continued violence, terror and conflict.”

Suffice it to say that Israel’s complaint has gained zero resonance not only in the international media but also from Kerry and his team. Netanyahu’s words were studiously ignored.

But are they unimportant? They should not be if Israel is viewed a priori as a negotiating partner rather than as a scoundrel state to be pressured and squeezed into submission.

Hate propaganda should be prohibited in the context of any quest for peace. Where incitement is tolerated, it may be argued that peaceful intentions are dubious. But, as in the PA’s case, where incitement is the pet project of the authorities, it amounts to a gross violation of any and every undertaking to pursue any mode of coexistence.

In the PA, incitement is omnipresent and actively nurtured by officialdom via its controlled media, the school system it operates and in the mosques whose clerics it appoints and sustains.

Numerous daily reports by Palestinian Media Watch more than amply illustrate this. Calls for what amounts to genocide and for ethnic cleansing against Jews proliferate without offending any State Department sensibilities or generating the slightest indignation in overseas media.

Ubiquitous Palestinian denial of any Jewish connection to this land and right to exist here is serially overlooked.

Just last week, PMW informed all and sundry that the official Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas’s Presidential Guard posted a picture of the Western Wall with a Palestinian flag superimposed on it. Not a murmur of protest anywhere about the Arab claim to ownership of the holiest relic to Judaism.

A documentary broadcast twice on official PA TV declared that the PA plans to destroy Western Wall Plaza, Judaism’s ultra-scared prayer site frequented by millions of Jews, and replace it with assorted edifices. The documentary stated that Jews worshiping at the Western Wall were “sin and filth.” No foreign statesmen or journalists were bothered in the least.

There is more here than an unspeakable double standard.

Ceaseless indoctrination of young, impressionable minds is an antithesis to peace. Its effects are lasting and pernicious. The PA has promised repeatedly to clean up its act but in reality has done the opposite with absolute impunity. Clearly in the eyes of the international community, Ramallah’s rulers are unassailable, which in itself constitutes a huge disincentive to compromise.

Concomitantly, the world seethes against housing construction in distinctly Jewish areas. It creates a hullabaloo against tenders and blueprints that are years away from implementation.

Given this, does Israel have any chance of a fair hearing in the international arena, or should it expect “delegitimization on steroids” no matter what it does?

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