Gov't aggressively goes after Palestinian incitement
By HERB KEINON
As Itamar victims are buried, Fatah names square in El-Bireh after Coastal Road Massacre leader.
The Palestinian leadership must be held accountable for continued incitement and failure to stop the glorification of murderers, a senior aide to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday as the Fatah faction named a town square in El-Bireh after the leader of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre.
“The PA refused to issue a clear and unequivocal condemnation on Saturday, after a Jewish family, including three children, were savagely murdered by Palestinian terrorists,” Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer said. “Today, the PA allowed a public square to be named after a mass murderer who perpetrated one of the worst attacks in Israel’s history.”
As Israel on Sunday was mourning the slaughter of the five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction named a town square after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the leader of the 1978 bus hijacking in which 37 Israelis were killed and 71 were wounded.
“We stand here in praise of our martyrs and in loyalty to all of the martyrs of the national movement,” Fatah member and Abbas adviser Sabri Seidam said at the unveiling of a plaque showing Mughrabi cradling a rifle against a backdrop map of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The square was festooned with Palestinian flags.
Around a dozen people attended the ceremony.
The square’s inauguration had originally been scheduled to take place a year ago, coinciding with a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, but the PA – under pressure from the US – canceled that ceremony.
The naming of the square after Mughrabi was one of the examples of continuous incitement that Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, brought to the cabinet on Sunday. After months of the government largely confining discussion on Palestinian incitement to internal meetings and private discussions with international leaders, Kuperwasser brought a PowerPoint presentation of the “incitement index” he formulated to the cabinet, and the Prime Minister’s Office – in response to the terrorist attack in Itamar – issued a paper documenting recent acts of PAauthorized incitement.
Kuperwasser told the cabinet that incitement against Israel and Jews was not on the margins of Palestinian society, but very much in the center of the consensus. He said that the incitement in the media, on television and in the textbooks was the fertile ground that bred atrocities like Friday night’s attack in Itamar.
Last spring, government officials announced on a number of occasions that a new mechanism has been established that would monitor and quantify incitement on a quarterly basis.
For the most part, this index has been kept behind closed doors. On Sunday morning, however, just hours after Kuperwasser told reporters Israel would ask the West to stop funding the Palestinian educational system and Palestinian television until there was a significant supervisory body overlooking those bodies, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a paper documenting recent acts of incitement.
The paper, based on information provided by Palestinian Media Watch, a research organization that monitors the PA’s media and schoolbooks, gave recent examples of incitement inside the PA.
According to the document, incitement against Israel, which periodically spills over into anti-Semitic incitement, is “an integral part of the fabric of life inside the PA. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages are heard regularly in the government and private media and in the mosques and are taught in schools books.”
Terrorists are given an honored status and held up as role models in the Palestinian society, both in the media and in ceremonies organized by the PA, the paper read. This incitement never stopped, even during the height of the diplomatic process in the mid 1990s.
The document presents the following examples of incitement culled from the past few months: • On March 9, Seidam called during a speech to turn Palestinian weapons on Israel, “the main enemy,” and that internal differences should be set aside.
• On March 6, the PA’s official newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida published an announcement stating that the Ramallah youth center had decided to name a soccer tournament after Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber who killed one and wounded more than 150 when she blew herself up in Jerusalem in January 2002.
• On January 24, the governor of the Jenin area awarded a $2,000 presidential grant to the family of Khaldoun Najib Samoudy, a terrorist who was killed trying to detonate two pipe bombs against IDF soldiers at the Bekaot crossing • Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported on December 30, 2010, that Israel wanted to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount in order to build the Third Temple.
• Palestinian television broadcast a children’s program in June 2010 saying that the Jews were “our enemies” and IDF soldiers were “wild animals.
The same television network, in a program from September, broadcast a clip saying that Jewish prayers at the kotel were “a sin and impure.”
Kuperwasser, who screened a number of these clips for the cabinet ministers, said the incitement index from the last quarter of 2010 showed a continuation of incitement against Israel in the PA, with the familiar patterns reappearing: the glorification of terrorists and jihad as part of the national ethos; anti-Semitic stereotypes in the official Palestinian media; and the denial of any connection between the Jewish People and Israel.
Among the material the index surveys on a quarterly basis are the Palestinian media, the education system, leaders’ statements, sermons and Internet advertisements.
The index is divided into four main areas: explicit incitement toward violence and terrorism, encouraging an atmosphere of violence and terrorism, incitement towards hatred and demonization, and “not preparing hearts for peace.”
Netanyahu said he spoke about the incitement with Abbas in a conversation they had on Saturday night, and that he said Israel expected the PA to stop allowing – and even leading – the incitement.
When Abbas said that the PA security apparatus does not even allow the “shooting off of fireworks,” Netanyahu said he was concerned about “fire-words.”