Incitement against Israel in mainstream Palestinian media
. during 2010 peace talks

Published: 9 October 2010
Briefing Number 269



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Summary:   This Briefing highlights five examples of incitement against Israel within Palestinian society.  These episodes of incitement occurred during a few days in September 2010, and coincided with the resumption of face-to-face peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  The incitement was reported  by Palestinian Media Watch (www.palwatch.org). Palestinian incitement is a serious long-term obstacle to peace.  Only by publicly exposing incitement is there any chance that the Palestinian Authority will take meaningful steps to curb it.  Ultimately the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not territorial, but ideological, and the prevalence of Palestinian incitement is another sign of that.



Incitement within Palestinian society: the ongoing phenomenon
 
Mainstream Palestinian media, and spokesmen for the PLO, continue to incite the Palestinian public to feel hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people.  

The culture of incitement in Palestinian society was in fact identified in interim peace agreements during the 1990s as a problem that would need to be addressed.  However, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad claim in the presence of Western audiences and Jewish diaspora leaders that steps have been taken to curb incitement in recent years, that claim is contradicted by the facts, and by the Palestinian Media Watch website. 

In this Briefing we provide a snapshot of incidents of incitement, based on Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports which are available on their website at:  www.palwatch.org.  (On PMW goals see Beyond Images Briefing 270). 
They took place during a few days in September 2010, at a time when Israel and the Palestinian Authority were engaged in a fresh round of peace negotiations.
The PMW website in fact provides in-depth evidence of the extent of incitement going back years, and how deep-rooted it is in Palestinian society and culture.  

A phenomenon of the ‘moderate’ Palestinian wing, not just Hamas

The incitement highlighted in this Beyond Images Briefing originates from media which are under the direct responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. This is the section of the Palestinian movement which is always labelled by liberal Western commentators as “moderate”.  The prevalence of this incitement calls that description into question.   

It goes without saying that Hamas TV in Gaza promotes vicious incitement of its own against Israel. (See for example: Beyond Images Briefing 192 – ‘How many children did Mama kill? Children on Palestinian TV).

Virtual silence in the international media on Palestinian incitement, while fringe Israeli wrongdoings are given global attention….

There is virtual silence in the international media and among European diplomats concerning this phenomenon.   This contrasts with the massive attention given, for example, to a private and unauthorised YouTube video of a junior Israeli soldier dancing around a Palestinian prisoner (a video condemned by the entire Israeli establishment).  When will the Palestinian incitement chronicled in this bulletin receive the same attention?

Palestinian Authority TV – “Jewish history is false….”

On 9 September 2010 a PA TV documentary showed film clips of Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The PA TV narrator’s voice-over said:

“They [Israelis] know for certain that our [Palestinian] roots are deeper than their false history….”

Palestinian Authority TV – “Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall are referred to as ‘sin and filth’….

In the same TV broadcast the PA narrator continued by saying:

“We, from the balcony of our home, look out over [Islamic] holiness and on sin and filth….”. 

The picture on screen as the narrator uses the words ‘sin and filth’ is of orthodox Jews praying at the Western Wall.  This programme was broadcast on Palestinian TV on the day of the Jewish New Year.        

Note: PA TV is controlled by the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.  

PLO Ambassador to Lebanon: ‘Our goal is to tighten the noose round Israel’s neck…. Israel is a rebellious, racist state….’

The PLO representative in Lebanon, Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah, said on 8 September 2010 that “the negotiations which have begun with Israel are not a goal, but another stage in the Palestinian struggle…”. He said that “Israel will not be dealt a knock-out defeat, but rather an accumulation of Palestinian achievements and struggles, as happened in South Africa, to isolate Israel, to tighten the noose on it, to threaten its legitimacy, and to present it as a rebellious, racist state…..”

(This account of what Abdallah said is Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the newspaper of the Palestinian Fatah faction, and was published on 9 September 2010)

Note: The head of the PLO, which is represented in Lebanon by Abdallah, is Mahmoud Abbas, who is therefore ultimately responsible for this statement  

Palestinian song broadcast on PA TV: “we attacked the despicable Zionists….Pull the trigger”

A few days later, on 12 September 2010, Palestinian TV, controlled by Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast a singer performing a song which included the following words:
“The Zionists went out from [their] homelands,
compounding damage and enmity.
But the Palestinian revolution awaits [them].
The orchard called us to the [armed] struggle.
We replaced bracelets with weapons.
We attacked the despicable [Zionists].
The invading enemy is on the battlefield.
This is the day of consolation of Jihad.
Pull the trigger.
We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country….” 

Hafez Barghouti, editor of Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida: “Israel carries out pre-planned massacres….”

Ten days earlier, on 2 September 2010, Hamas gunmen killed four Israeli civilians outside Hebron.  The next day, Hafez Barghouti, editor of PA newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida,  commented as follows in his newspaper:

“The operation [by Hamas] reminds us of a series of operations or acts of massacre which the occupation [ie Israel – Beyond Images] carried out with precise timing prior to the visits of former Prime Minister Sharon to Washington – six visits, each preceded by a pre-planned massacre by the occupation , in order to draw a Palestinian reaction…. If the Israelis want to destroy something, they accelerate settlement or carry out some massacre, and wait for a Palestinian operation in response….”

Some related Beyond Images Briefings

Exposing Palestinian incitement against Israel: the goals of Palestinian Media Watch (‘PMW’) – Beyond Images Briefing 270, dated 9 October 2010

‘Moderate Palestinian leaders believe in a two-state solution….’ – Beyond Images Briefing 227, dated 25 December 2008

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about territory… “- Beyond Images Briefing 262, dated 15 July 2010