Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is reported to have told Vice-President Joe Biden this week that “Israel has made enough efforts to reach a peace settlement [with the Palestinians] and has not received sufficient gestures in return.” If so, it was a great understatement.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has published an overview of anti-Israeli incitement in the Palestinian Authority during July and August of this year. That was the time of the Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks, the result of intensive U.S. diplomacy spearheaded by Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
Those proximity talks led to the crowning glory: the direct talks of September, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ended almost as soon as they had begun by demanding that Netanyahu extend Israel’s settlement freeze — something Abbas knew he wouldn’t do.
With the talks now in suspension and a change having swept Washington, speculation is rife as to whether, and how much, the administration will keep pushing for the “process” to continue.
No one who reads PMW’s report, however, can rationally believe that the PA is ripe for peace or that U.S. efforts to promote this entity to statehood are efforts well spent.
Since June of last year Netanyahu has been airing the demand that the Palestinian side recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But as far as the official PA is concerned, Israel’s nature is not in question: it doesn’t exist at all.
As PMW notes, on June 4, 2008, then-candidate Obama told the AIPAC conference: “I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security. … Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don’t even acknowledge Israel’s existence.”
And yet, as PMW points out — displaying many examples — “all the official PA maps in offices, websites, schoolbooks, and those appearing on official PA TV since the start of the proximity talks continue the policy of defining all of Israel as ‘Palestine.’”
That policy is also expressed verbally by referring to Israel in official PA TV shows, its official newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, and so on solely with such epithets as “the occupied homeland,” the “Palestinian interior,” and the like. And this refers to Israel within the 1967 borders, the part that’s supposed to be one of the “two states living side by side in peace and security.”
This goes hand in hand with a systematic, total denial of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the land of Israel, laced by constant incendiary claims that Israel plans to seize and even destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Blatant demonization of Israelis and Jews is also an ongoing feature of PA media and sermons, to the point that the supposed distinction between “radical” Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, and the supposedly “moderate” Fatah, the rulers of the PA, emerges as meaningless.
Statements from Al-Hayat Al-Jadida include “[The Israelis] are the new Nazis upon the earth” and “Palestine has been torn in the hands of the Zionists, and the Jews have crucified it and caused blood to flow from its body.” The paper also makes allegations that Israel is “spreading drugs among the [Palestinian] young people.”
In July, after Israel had expelled four Hamas officials from Jerusalem, it was claimed this was a “prelude to the forced expulsion of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, whose aim is to change the geographical and demographic situation in the holy city.” The speaker of those words, quoted in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, was Abbas.
Anyone for peace?
And among several examples in the report of Der Stürmer-type graphics, here, for example, from PA TV on July 1 this year, is a Jew eating the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s adjacent shrine in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock:
And here, from PA TV on July 4, are Jewish snakes making sure no one can climb up ladders of peace:
And how do you become an exalted figure in the PA? By being a terrorist — best of all, a dead one — who murdered as many Israelis as possible.
For instance, on July 3, Mohammad Daoud Oudeh (Abu Daoud), engineer of the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972, breathed his last. Fatah, Abbas’s ruling party, reacted by opening an official mourners’ tent and declaring: “He will always remain our ideal and a role model for the generations to come.” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida proclaimed that “his name shone brightly in … Munich in 1972.”
And Abbas himself went so far as to telephone Abu Daoud’s family and “noted [his] life filled with struggle, his devoted effort.”
But accolades aren’t all. PMW also lists eight cases in July and August alone of PA summer camps and sports tournaments being named after terrorists. In two cases the terrorist was Dalal Mughrabi. She led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre — the worst terror attack in Israel’s history, taking 37 lives including 12 children.
On April 8 of this year, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, “We also strongly condemn the [PA’s] glorification of terrorists. Honoring terrorists … by official statements or by the dedication of public places … must end.”
Clearly, the PA didn’t listen to him. Yet the diplomatic activity rolled on and still does today, with most of the heat directed at Israel for building homes in the West Bank.
Now that so many pro-Israel Republicans have been voted in, is there light at the end of the tunnel? No one knows what will happen in 2012, but one can only hope so.
Roughly, since George Shultz, President Reagan’s secretary of state, opened contacts with Yasser Arafat’s PLO in 1987, getting a state for the Palestinians (in addition to the one they already have, Jordan) has been a bipartisan obsession of U.S. administrations. Presidents Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama have all had the bug — the last with, arguably, the most severe case of it.
This has meshed with Israeli wishful thinking to produce an empowerment of the Palestinians and consequent unprecedented suicide attacks, rocket attacks, and other terrorism in Israel.
The Fatah-led PA and Hamas-led Gaza now exist and are realities Israel has to deal with. Given that these two Palestinian entities compete with each other in anti-Israeli hatred, the reason the PA is currently less of a problem is that Israel retains military control over it.
Pushing for one, or both — a point no one seems to clarify — of these hate-filled entities to attain sovereign statehood within a year or so, untrammeled by any Israeli military presence, flies in the face of logic and of Israeli and American interests.