Despite the fact that all agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have included the requirement that the PA put an end to incitement, this requirement has not only been ignored by the PA but by the world community. Instead, Israel has been routinely singled out and criticized by the world community for building homes in Jerusalem, maintaining secure borders, and taking on the right to self defense.Unfortunately, there is a double standard when it comes to actions by the PA. Where is the criticism of the PA for promoting the killing of Jews? How about their clear intentions to have a Jew-free PA state? How did the press worldwide react to the killing of the Fogel family? For the most part, if there was any reporting on the horrific incident at all, it was treated like just another crazy person committing an atrocity with no thought to the underlying problem – young people are growing up with a hatred of Israel and the Jewish people as a result of persistent incitement.
Children are exposed to many forms of incitement from a young age. They see programs on television that teach them to hate and they learn from textbooks that promote the same inflammatory and untrue tales that consistently demonize Israel. Throughout my travels to cities controlled by the PA in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), I observed just how engrained incitement is in this society. Large posters praising young children who lost their lives in terror attacks and inflammatory banners are posted on the city walls in close proximity to schools, making their hatred of Israel evident. It is easy to understand how these young students have been brainwashed inside of PA schools to hate Israel – this message is reinforced by the propaganda they see the second they step out of the door.
Other subtle incitement techniques used include the sale of key chains with images of terrorists such as Fathi Shaqaqai (from Islamic Jihad) and Abu Ali Mustafa (from PFLP). By selling these items, their intention is to promote and popularize terrorists who targeted innocent civilians in Israel. David Kadosh, Zionist Organization of America’s East Coast Campus Coordinator, compared the collection of terrorist key chains to, “The way that I and many others in America grew up collecting baseball cards.” What makes it even more absurd is that these key chains are readily available and have a lot of appeal to young people. It is frightening to think of Shaqaqai, the originator of suicide bombing, attaining hero status to the Palestinian people.
The Fatah flag is another example of incitement. Since Fatah has been embraced by the world community and labeled as a “moderate” group, you would think that their main focus would be coexisting with Israel. But, this is not the case. Not only does the group’s television channel promote the end of Israel, but their official flag does the same. The flag shows the entire map of Israel (not excluding Judea, Samaria, and Gaza), with two Kalashnikov rifles and a grenade over it. Both above and underneath the drawing reads Fatah: the National Liberation Movement of Palestine. This illustrates that the conflict between the PA and Israel is not over lands conquered in the Six Day War, but over Israel’s existence.
The same message is reinforced at Palestinian Arab weddings. The “traditional scarf” that men wear to the ceremony features the map of Israel labeled as “Palestine” with all cities, such as Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, etc written in their Arabic names. On the reverse side of the scarf is the Dome of the Rock, with text above it saying “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is ours.” This is very significant because a wedding is one of the most solemn days of someone’s life. To think that erasing Israel would be such an integral part of the wedding is another disturbing act of incitement, which unfortunately is a reality when talking about making peace between Israel and the PA.
Incitement is also promoted throughout the PA communities by hanging inflammatory banners, naming public squares or events after terrorists, and allowing provocative graffiti to remain. Personally, I have seen a number of banners that say things such as, “No peace without return to our homes” and graffiti that makes statements like, “We will return to our land which was taken from us in 1948 by Zionism.”
Today, incitement is the biggest obstacle to peace, and it is peculiar that much of the world community has turned a blind eye to this issue. It will continue to be an on-going problem that will take peace out of the equation as generation after generation grow up believing that Jews are foreign to Israel and that Zionists robbed their land.