State Department Report Minimizes Palestinian Incitement to Violence
The U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 issued on Friday minimizes official Palestinian incitement to violence against Israel, and completely overlooks Palestinian glorification of terrorists.
The annual report lists major terrorist incidents worldwide and outlines each country’s counterterrorism efforts and legislation. Terrorism attacks and their resulting deaths spiked last year, the report found, an increase largely driven by attacks by the Islamic State and Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist groups.
With respect to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the report praises the PA for taking “significant steps to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank that fall under its control do not create content that leads to incitement to violence.” The report acknowledges that “some instances of inciting taking place via official media” still occur, listing only three examples. However, the report diminishes the fact that incitement to violence is a systematic and institutionalized PA phenomenon.
Click here for an Investigative Project on Terrorism comprehensive outline of Palestinian violent incitement focused only on incidents last Fall.
The State Department assessment also ignores the direct participation of senior PA officials in praising terrorists and inciting violence against Israelis and Jews.
For example, the report does not mention PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ call last October for Palestinians to prevent Jews from going to the Temple Mount compound “in any way.” The video clip of Abbas’ October 17 speech was shown on PA television 19 times in three days, implicitly calling for Palestinians to use violence against Israelis.
Instead, the report described PA efforts “to ensure” Friday sermons in more than 1,800 mosques controlled by the PA “do not endorse incitement to violence … the guidance is that no sermon can discuss political or lead to incitement to violence.”
In February, however, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs and other prominent religious officials resorted to an age-old blood libel accusing Jews of attacking Muslims sites and that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports. Such accusations are baseless and encourage Palestinians to conduct terrorist attacks against Israel.
The State Department report also omits any reference to official Palestinian glorification of terrorists.
For example, after the October shooting of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, Abbas sent a condolence letter to the family of terrorist Mutaz Hijazi who was killed by Israeli authorities in a firefight during a raid for his capture. In the letter, Abbas called the terrorist a “Shahid,” a martyr, who “rose to Heaven while defending our people’s rights and holy places,” PMW reported.
Moreover, a senior Fatah official claimed that Hijazi was a Fatah operative and expressed pride in his actions, a PMW translation shows.
These blatant omissions from the report create a sense that examples of Palestinian incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists are sporadic occurrences. In reality, the Palestinian Authority institutionalizes a systematic campaign of violent incitement and continues to praise terrorists for killing Jews and Israelis, while encouraging other Palestinians to follow in their footsteps.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.