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Palestinian incitement refers to the promotion of hatred and violence against Jews and Israel in Palestinian society and in the official governmental institutions of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

According to the Israeli government, "There is a direct connection between anti-Israeli or antisemitic incitement and terrorism. The extreme anti-Israeli indoctrination that is so pervasive in Palestinian society nurtures a culture of hatred that, in turn, leads to terrorism. The Palestinian education system, media, literature, songs, theater and cinema have been mobilized for extreme anti-Israeli indoctrination, which at times degenerates into blatant antisemitism. This incitement to hatred and violence is pervasive in Palestinian society, particularly in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip."[1]

Israel states that such incitement harms the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The cessation of Palestinian incitement has been a key provision of the peace process since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993.

In the peace processEdit

Combating Palestinian incitement has played a central role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since the signing of the Olso Accords in 1993.

Oslo AccordsEdit

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is obligated to refrain from incitement to violence against Israel and prevent others from engaging in it. In an exchange of letters with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on September 9, 1993, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat wrote, "the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators."[2]

Article XXII of Oslo II (the "Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip"), signed on September 28, 1995, stipulates that the Israel and the PA "shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other and, without derogating from the principle of freedom of expression, shall take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups or individuals within their jurisdiction."[2]

In the Note for the Record which accompanied the Hebron Protocol of January 15, 1997, the Palestinians reaffirmed this commitment: "Preventing incitement and hostile propaganda, as specified in Article XXII of the Interim Agreement."[2]

Wye River MemorandumEdit

The Wye River Memorandum, an agreement passed on October 23, 1998 to implement the earlier Olso II Interim Agreement, increased the focus on Palestinian incitement. The agreement contained a provision entitled "Preventing Incitement" which stated:[3]

  1. The Palestinian side will issue a decree prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence and terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror.
  2. A U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli committee will meet on a regular basis to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement. This committee will be comprised of law enforcement, education and media specialists as well as current or former elected officials from all of the sides.

Trilateral Anti-Incitement CommitteeEdit

The Trilateral Anti-Incitement Committee between the Israelis, Palestinians and the U.S. was established pursuant to the Wye Memorandum in 1998.[4] The Israeli team was led by journalist Uri Dan and the Palestinian side by Yasser Arafat’s spokesman Marwan Kanafani. Ex-U.S. congressman Mel Levine was chair of the U.S. committee.[5]

Within about a year, the committee disbanded due to continuous disagreement.[6] The committee was unable to agree on a definition of what constitutes incitement to violence and terror. The Palestinian side reportedly wanted to limit it to statements made by officials while the Israelis wanted to include all such manifestations in Palestinian society. The U.S. team reportedly was frustrated by the Palestinians refusal to consider all proposed measures.[7]

Roadmap for peaceEdit

The cessation of Palestinian incitement was a key provision of the 2003 "Roadmap for peace" plan endorsed by the United States and Quartet for the Middle East. The text of the Roadmap reads that at the outset of Phase I:[8]

Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

The Israeli government’s fourteen reservations to the Road Map emphasized the issue of incitement. The first reservation reads: "The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace)." The second reservation follows: "Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement."[9]

Monitoring incitementEdit

Israeli governmentEdit

In March 2010, the Israeli government announced it would begin to officially monitor incitement in the PA and issue a periodic report on it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, "We will set parameters by which to measure the level of incitement. People must know exactly what is happening on this issue, because for a peace agreement, education toward peace and acceptance of Israel are needed." A senior Israeli government official said a main focus of the monitoring process would be to determine whether the PA was inculcating a "culture of peace."[10]

The index, which is spearheaded by Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser is divided into four main areas: "explicit incitement toward violence and terrorism, encouraging an atmosphere of violence and terrorism, incitement towards hatred and demonization, and 'not preparing hearts for peace.'" In March 2011, the Israeli government issued a paper documenting recent acts of incitement. According to the document, incitement against Israel is "an integral part of the fabric of life inside the PA. Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages are heard regularly in the government and private media and in the mosques and are taught in schools books."[11]

In August 2012, Kuperwasser stated that Palestinian incitement is "going on all the time" and that it is "worrying and disturbing." At an institutional level, he said the PA has been promoting three key messages to the Palestinian people that constitute incitement: "that the Palestinians would eventually be the sole sovereign on all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea; that Jews, especially those who live in Israel, were not really human beings but rather 'the scum of mankind'; and that all tools were legitimate in the struggle against Israel and the Jews."[6]

Palestinian Media WatchEdit

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israel-based media watchdog organization, highlights anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian society.[12] PMW states that it "studies Palestinian society from a broad range of perspectives by monitoring and analyzing the Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbooks. PMW’s major focus is on the messages that the Palestinian leaders, from the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas, send to the population through the broad range of institutions and infrastructures they control."[13] In July 2010, PMW head Itamar Marcus led a presentation on Palestinian incitement at the U.S. Congress.[14]

Palestinian responseEdit

The Palestinian Authority has both combated incitement at times and also downplayed its significance by accusing Israel of similar incitement.

Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmud Abbas vowed in April 2003 to crack down on incitement to violence.[15] In June 2003, Prime Minister Abbas pledged at a summit with U.S. and Israel to "act vigorously against incitement to violence and hatred, whatever their form or forum may be. We will take measures to ensure that there is no incitement emanating from the Palestinian institutions."[16] In July, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that anti-Israel incitement within the PA had declined and was the "direct result of the decision by the new PA leadership to change the behavior of the past."[17] The same month, the PA also published a report of Israeli incitement against Palestinians in order to counter Israeli charges of Palestinian incitement.[18]

In November 2004, it was reported that PLO Chairman Abbas had met with the head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Authority and requested he prevent the broadcast of inciting material on state television. The move, however, stopped short of the Israeli demand to cease all incitement in Palestinian media.[19][20]

After Israel announced that it would officially monitor Palestinian incitement in November 2010, the PA responded that it had cracked down on official incitement while Israel engaged in its own manifestations of incitement. PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said that Israel "cannot set the definition of incitement unilaterally and then apply it to our side."[21] Israel has countered such charges by stating there is a need to distinguish between the institutional incitement of the PA and acts of incitement by individuals in Israel. Additionally, according to Israel, there is a difference between incitement created by PA media and acts of incitement reported by Israeli media.[6]

Incitement incidentsEdit

Itamar massacreEdit

In response to a PA television broadcast glorifying the murderers of the Fogel family in the Itamar massacre,[22] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in January 2012 that Palestinian Authority incitement is tantamount to "confidence destroying measures."[23]

In March 2011, 27 U.S. senators sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting she work with the Obama administration to take steps to end Palestinian incitement. The letter stated, "The Itamar massacre was a sobering reminder that words matter, and that Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel can lead to violence and terror. We urge you to redouble your efforts to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that continuing to condone incitement is not tolerable."[24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "How does incitement harm peace?". Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1 November 2007. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israel-+the+Conflict+and+Peace-+Answers+to+Frequen.htm#incitement. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Incitement to Violence Against Israel by Palestinian Officials". Government Press Office. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 9 April 1997. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Peace+Process/1997/INCITEMENT+TO+VIOLENCE+AGAINST+ISRAEL+BY+PALESTINI.htm?DisplayMode=print. 
  3. "The Wye River Memorandum". Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 23 October 1998. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/The%20Wye%20River%20Memorandum. 
  4. "Washington Meeting of the Trilateral Anti-Incitement Committee". U.S. State Department. 
  5. "Committee makes little progress in effort to curb terror incitement". JTA. 1 March 1999. http://www.jta.org/news/article/1999/03/01/3942/Committeemakeslitt. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "'Palestinian incitement continuing unabated'". The Jerusalem Post. 13 August 2012. http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=281005. 
  7. "Anti-Incitement Committee Still Can't Define Incitement". The Jerusalem Report. 1 February 1999. 
  8. "A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict". BBC News. 30 April 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2989783.stm. 
  9. "Israel's road map reservations". Haaretz. 27 May 2003. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-s-road-map-reservations-1.8935. 
  10. Barak Ravid (10 March 2010). "Israel to soon publish 'Palestinian incitement index'". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-to-soon-publish-palestinian-incitement-index-1.264508. 
  11. "Gov't aggressively goes after Palestinian incitement". The Jerusalem Post. 13 March 2011. http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=211988. 
  12. Isabel Kershner (12 March 2010). "Palestinians Honor a Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist". The New York Times: p. A9. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/world/middleeast/12westbank.html. 
  13. "About Us". Palestinian Media Watch. http://palwatch.org/pages/aboutus.aspx. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  14. "Hill staffers briefed on Palestinian incitement". JTA. 22 July 2010. http://jta.org/news/article/2010/07/22/2740177/hill-staffers-briefed-on-incitement-allegations. 
  15. "Palestinian PM vows crackdown on arms, incitement, calls for talks with Israel". Agence France Presse. 29 April 2003. 
  16. "Abbas pledges full efforts to end armed uprising". Agence France Presse. 4 June 2003. 
  17. "PA incitement has dropped - Shalom". The Jerusalem Post. 8 July 2003. 
  18. "PA prepares own dossier on 'incitement'". The Jerusalem Post. 21 July 2003. 
  19. "PA weighs ending media incitement". The Jerusalem Post. 30 November 2004. 
  20. "In gesture, Palestinian leaders order media to halt anti-Israel incitement". Associated Press. 30 November 2004. 
  21. "Israel takes aim at Palestinian 'incitement'". Associated Press. 3 November 2010. http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2010/11/03/israel_takes_aim_at_palestinian_incitement/?rss_id=Boston.com+%2F+Boston+Globe+--+World+News. 
  22. "PA TV glorifies murderers of Fogel family". The Jerusalem Post. 30 January 2012. http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=255633. 
  23. "'PA incitement is confidence destroying measure'". The Jerusalem Post. 29 January 2012. http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=255633. 
  24. "US Senators ask Clinton to help end anti-Israel incitement". The Jerusalem Post. 30 March 2011. http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=214462. 

External linksEdit

“Palestinian incitement” (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


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