Palestinians strike back with reports on 'Israeli incitement'
In response to Israeli allegations of anti-Israeli incitement, Ramallah sending foreign embassies monthly survey of statements by Israeli officials, media.
The Palestinian Authority has been distributing to embassies throughout the world for the last few months reports of what it describes as examples of Israeli anti-Palestinian incitement, in response to Israeli allegations of anti-Israel incitement in the PA's educational system and official media outlets.
The reports, which are issued by the Government Media Center of the PA's Prime Minister's Office, are based mainly on statements by senior Israeli officials in the media, notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, but also on Israeli textbooks and various cabinet resolutions.
"Incitement takes many forms: calls for hatred and violence, racial caricatures and other displays of contempt, and the provocative denial of others' histories," begins the Israeli Incitement report for May. "Distorting history for political purposes is profoundly disturbing, ... and is an obvious incitement against those who wish to live in peace side by side."
The May report focuses on events surrounding the commemoration of Jerusalem Day in Israel and mentions a right-wing demonstration in the city, during which some of the marchers chanted "Death to Arabs." The report includes the URL of a YouTube video of the offensive chanting, which "happened under the eyes and protection of the Israeli police, who did nothing to stop it." It goes on to say that no representative of the Israeli government has condemned the expressions of racism.
The report criticizes Sa'ar for obscuring "any Palestinian identity for the city of Jerusalem" in study materials issued by his ministry for students competing in a national quiz for Jerusalem Day on May 20. It takes the ministry to task for presenting "'united Jerusalem' as part of Israel" without mentioning the "political challenges in the city."
Additional examples from the study booklets condemned in the report are the characterization of residents of the Old City as Jews and non-Jews, and to call Jerusalem's Palestinian residents "Arab," in "[a] continuous move not to relate anything to the word Palestine or show the residents as not part of the same nation as those in the West Bank."
The report extensively quotes remarks by Sa'ar on Jerusalem Day, including his calling claims by [PA President] "Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies ... about occupation of Jerusalem by us ... a 'whole pack of lies.'
"It goes without saying if the Israeli Education Minister has these views, he would indoctrinate it through his education policies to Israeli students," the report states.
Regarding Jerusalem Day statements by Netanyahu, according to which Jerusalem will always be Israel's united capital, the report states: "When an Israeli leader says Jerusalem would be 'united,' that means maintaining 1948 West Jerusalem as well as 1967 occupied East Jerusalem. It is a staunch negation of the peace process and the two-state solution. Furthermore, it continues to teach Israelis that what is not theirs, they could keep."
A few months ago, Israel criticized the Palestinian Authority after the Palestinian mufti quoted a Quran verse that called for the killing of Jews. The Palestinian report responds with a list of rabbis' quotes against Palestinians.
For example, the report presents portions of a sermon given by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in mid-May, in which he states that "the Torah does not allow to desecrate the Sabbath for a goy," regarding medical treatment on the weekend. The report also cited Rabbi Aaron Leib Steinman, one of the leading Haredi adjudicators, who said in a Shavuot sermon that "non-Jews are murderers, thieves, brainless and evil-doers."
In the past two years Israel has claimed that by naming squares and streets after terrorists – such as Yihye Ayash (known in Israel as the 'Hamas engineer') and Dalal al-Mughrabi, who took part in the 1978 bus hijacking in which 35 Israelis were killed – the Palestinian Authority was encouraging violence.
In the PA's report, Israel is also portrayed as a country which glorifies "terrorists" such as former Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi, who was murdered during the second intifada by operatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian. The report points to the fact that Israel has recently allotted NIS five million to commemorate Ze'evi's legacy, and that dozens of streets around the country are named after him.
The report portrays Ze'evi as a terrorist due to his activities in the Palmach, and depicts him as a racist for supporting the idea of transfer of Arabs from Israel during his military career in the 80s and 90s. "This resulted in the forcible displacement of thousands of Palestinians following accounts of executions in which dozens of Palestinians were killed inside Dahmash Mosque, and their corpses burnt in the city’s cemetery," the report said of the 1940s assault on Lod and Ramla.