By Barry Rubin
While the Western mass media virtually always portrays the Palestinian Authority (PA )as moderate the PA simply doesn’t act that way. Its contrary behavior involves not keeping its commitments, daily incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel in its institutions, and refusal to negotiate seriously.
Above all, it means refusing to make peace in the context of a two-state solution. Among other things, it rejects the idea off a peace treaty ending the conflict–a pretty remarkable stance–or resettling its people within the state of Palestine but insisting many should go to Israel to live–a pretty remarkable stance for what’s supposed to be a nationalist movement.
But then there are the symbolic things that persuade Israelis not to trust the PA with their future fate, even if Israel must deal with the PA and even save it from being overthrown by Hamas.
To put it in one sentence; there is nothing the PA won’t do in terms of justifying the murder of Israelis as a heroic deed that should be considered. Here is a case so extreme—publicized by the praiseworthy Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) that it should reverberate internationally, making people understand the true reason why this conflict cannot be settled. Oh, and it immediately follows PMW’s revelation that the highest-ranking, PA-appointed Palestinian Muslim cleric called for genocide against the Jews.
Now, twice in one week, a PA television host praised Hakim Awad, the murderer of the Fogel family who, last March, carried out the bloody slaughter of an unarmed father, mother, and three children (11 years, 4 years, and 2 months, respectively) in their home. The program held him up as a good role model for Palestinians.
There are hundreds of such events–you can visit the PMW site to read about them and see them on video–yet the Western mass media, not to mention governments, never take this incitement seriously even though it violates many agreements made by the PA.
What do you think their effect is going to be? Despite the way the mass media often portrayed this killing—when they didn’t ignore it—the fact that the Fogels were settlers did not justify their murder. When you understand the official nature and intensity of PA and Fatah incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel, does Israel-Palestinian peace seem so easy to achieve or does it seem impossible until these attitudes, and the policy based on them, changes?
Pointing this out is not an attempt to score propaganda points. It is a factor in the political situation. If the role of this incitement to terror and demonization of Israelis—and there is nothing like it on the other side—isn’t understood then the continuation of violence and the absence of peace cannot be understood. What does it mean when Awad’s mother calls him a “legend”? Where did a 17-year-old get the idea that deliberately murdering babies would make him a great hero?
Here is the transcript of the segment, broadcast on official PA television, on January 19 and 21. Note that this actual propaganda in Arabic far outweighs the official renunciations of some terrorist murders in English directed exclusively at a Western audience. The other two men mentioned are also in prison for killing Israeli civilians:
PA TV host: “We have a call from the family of prisoner Hakim Awad.”
Mother of Hakim Awad: “I thank you for connecting me with my son, because I and all of the family are prevented for security reasons [from visiting him].
Host: “Go ahead, sister, we can convey your voice.”
Mother of Hakim Awad: “My greetings to dear Hakim, the apple of my eye, from the village of Awarta, 17 years old, who carried out the operation in Itamar (i.e., killing of 5 Fogel family members), sentenced to 5 life sentences and another 5 years, in prison.”
Aunt of Hakim Awad: “I’m the sister of prisoner Hassan Awad and of Salah Awad; [I am] Um Habib, from the village of Awarta. My warm greetings to all the great heroic prisoners, to my brother Hassan Awad, head of the village council; to my brother Salah Awad, the heroic prisoner journalist; to the heroic, resolute prisoner, the lion, Yazid Awad, my nephew; and to my nephew Hakim Awad, the hero, the legend.”
Host: “We [PA TV], for our part, also convey our greetings to them.”
Aunt of Hakim Awad: “I dedicate this song to Hassan Awad, Yazid Awad, Hakim Awad, and Salah Awad, in prison:
‘My brother, in solitary confinement, your voice calls to me
You dare not throw down the rifle
That is what the homeland asked of me
In your eyes, we are all self-sacrificing fighters.
I convey greetings to the sound of the bullets of Ahmad Sa’adat and Hakim Awad.'”
Host: “Thank you for being with us, the family of prisoners Hassan and Salah Awad of Awarta.”