The Palestinian Authority was created by the Israeli Labor Party in 1994. The Labor Party believed that, with the breakup of the Soviet Union and America’s ringing defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War, radicalism had essentially become a losing proposition and the Palestinians knew they had no choice but to work out peaceful coexistence with Israel.
Since then the idea of Israeli-Palestinian peace has been an obsessive theme of international politics. For a time it also sharply divided Israel into two camps of believers and nonbelievers; today, after two decades of terrorism and rocket fire, all polls show that the nonbelievers are by far the dominant camp.
For those who bother to inform themselves about the Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza—their education, culture, politics, religion—the ongoing insistence of U.S. and European establishments that Israeli-Palestinian peace is the order of the day, with Israel as the party that stymies it, is surreal almost beyond belief.
Palestinian schools, media, and mosques entirely negate Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, and systematically deny any Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. They also honor and glorify Palestinian terrorists in every possible way, from stipends and ceremonies for living ones to the naming of streets, public squares, sporting events, and children’s camps after deceased terrorists. Glorification is especially lavished on those who killed large numbers of Israelis in mass attacks.
For about six years, what used to be the unitary Palestinian Authority has been divided into what are essentially two entities—the remaining Palestinian Authority on the West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza. The latter is an Islamist statelet openly sworn to Israel’s destruction; the U.S. and even the European Union officially outlaw Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The Palestinian Authority, however, with its relatively secular Fatah leadership, continues to be regarded as a force for peace. The problem with that view is that it is an inversion of the truth.
Last February a report funded by the U.S. State Department, called Victims of Our Own Narratives? Portrayal of the “Other” in Israeli and Palestinian School Books, created a stir by claiming Israelis and Palestinians were instilling negative stereotypes in their children to equal extents.
In an analysis of the report, Israeli journalist Adi Schwartz noted that the State Department, while funding its early stages, had not endorsed its findings. That made sense, since, as Schwartz remarked, “The report is not only flawed, but also dishonest.”
For instance, it entirely left out certain passages from standard Palestinian textbooks, such as this one from the Hadith (sayings and deeds attributed to Muhammad):
God’s Messenger said: “The Hour of Resurrection will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Muslims will kill them, and when a Jew would hide behind a rock or a tree the rock or the tree would say: O Muslim, O worshipper of God! There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him!”
Another concern is that the text of the study often contradicts what—we’re told—it is supposed to mean. For example, the report calls one of its sections “Major Common Problem: Consistent Negative Portrayal of the Other.” And yet,
The report itself states that “the other” is portrayed in positive or neutral terms in 51 percent of Israeli textbooks, but only 16 percent of Palestinian textbooks. “The other” is portrayed in negative terms in 49 percent of Israeli textbooks, but a stunning 84 percent of Palestinian texts.
“One almost gets the feeling,” says Schwartz, “that the authors didn’t read their own report.” Or had already decided on their conclusion before checking into the data.
A 2011 report by IMPACT-SE, an NGO that studies school textbooks throughout the Middle East, gave a more honest portrayal of Palestinian Authority education. Some examples:
● Israel is never mentioned as a state and never shown on any map of the Middle East.
● Jews are described as “violating treaties, getting rich unduly, deceitful, murdering children, disemboweling women, [and as] invading snakes. They are never presented in neutral or positive terms.”
● “Palestine”—all of it, including Israel within the putative borders of the “two-state solution”—is presented as a land that has to be freed in a bloody struggle, with statements such as:
Good morning oh my homeland, Morning of glory and red redemption, nourished by the blood of martyrs….
Today the Muslim countries urgently need jihad and jihad fighters in order to liberate the robbed lands and to get rid of the robbing Jews from the robbed lands in Palestine and in the Levant….
In any other context, this would be called antisemitic incitement in a murderous vein. In the “Israeli-Palestinian” context, it somehow fits under the rubric of “peace.”
There is basically no limit to the Palestinian Authority’s demonization of Israelis and Jews. As Palestinian Media Watch notes, and has been exhaustively documenting on its site since 1996:
Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more….
The PA assigns responsibility to the Jews for all the problems in the world: Wars, conflicts and civil wars are all said to be triggered by Jews….
In the above cartoon, as Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus explains,
The official Palestinian Authority daily [on August 23, 2012] depicts Israel as a demonized religious Jew holding a knife dripping with blood.
…President Obama is shown reading a newspaper and reassures the Jew that the American media has not reported on the crime he has supposedly committed with the bloodied knife.
In this one, shown on official PA TV on July 4, 2010, the loathsome Jew is in the process of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem—by greedily licking it in the form of an ice cream cone:
The Jews’ supposed designs on Jerusalem are indeed a frequent motif. In this one, from the PA-affiliated Al-Ayyam daily on October 13 this year, the Jew-figure is no longer even grotesquely human but, rather, an octopus devouring the city:
The notion of the Jew as an octopus stretching its tentacles around whatever it covets—whether Jerusalem or the globe—is also in evidence here:
Except that this cartoon is not a creation of the Palestinian Authority but comes, rather, from Nazi Germany ca. 1938.
The Palestinian Authority’s demonization and dehumanization of Jews is matched only by its exaltation of those who kill them.
As mentioned, terrorists are systematically lauded, feted, subsidized, and commemorated by the Palestinian Authority. The most egregious of numerous examples is Dalal Mughrabi, a female terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre. The largest of all Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis, it killed 38 civilians including 13 children and wounded 70.
For the Palestinian Authority, Dalal Mughrabi is a supremely exemplary figure. As Palestinian Media Watch sums it up:
The Palestinian Authority has turned this terrorist into a celebrated hero and role model, as schools, summer camps, and sports tournaments are all named after her. Her attack was celebrated by a Fatah spokesman as “the most glorified sacrifice action in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle” (Al-Ayyam, July 13, 2008). Palestinian newspapers also frequently glorify Mughrabi, as in the Al-Ayyam article which described Mughrabi as writing “the most glorious page of heroism in the history of the Palestinian struggle” (Aug. 2, 2009). The PA celebrated the 31st anniversary of the killings with an hour-long TV special, which opened with the narrator glorifying the attack….
Just last September 26, a ping pong tournament was dubbed “The Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Table Tennis Tournament.” As reported by Ma’an, the independent Palestinian news agency, the tournament was “intended for three groups: Women, young women, and girls.”
It doesn’t augur a future of amity and reconciliation.The Palestinian Authority must rank high on any list of today’s purveyors of antisemitism. It exists adjacent to the Jewish state. It already has a high level of autonomy, receives unique amounts of international aid and attention, and has repeatedly been offered statehood by Israel—down to current prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a reputed “hardliner” who grew up on a Land of Israel ideology.
Yet the Palestinian Authority feeds it population—and most significantly its children—on a monolithic diet of hate, ensuring ongoing strife with its Jewish neighbor. True, such indoctrination hardly makes the Palestinian Authority unique in the Muslim and, particularly, the Arab world. Yet a Pew survey released last September found a large majority of Palestinians favoring suicide bombings—a far higher percentage than in other Muslim populations.
The most recent victim of the hatred was Eden Attias, an 18-year-old Israeli soldier brutally stabbed to death on a bus on November 13. The stabber was a 16-year-old Palestinian from Jenin on the West Bank.
This 16 year old, now in custody, was not born hating Jews. He is a product of the Palestinian Authority.