Monday, March 18, 2013
UK Parliament scrutinizes Palestinian hate incitement
UK Parliament scrutinizes Palestinian hate incitement, terror glorification and British funding of PA in debate examining PMW findings
MP Ellman: "The matters... are truly shocking and put a question mark over the status of the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace"
MP Henderson: "No peace agreement will be able to guarantee...peace if a generation of Palestinians is growing up indoctrinated to hate Israel, Jews and the West"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Parliament recently held a long debate examining "hate incitement against Israel and the West by the Palestinian Authority." The debate was initiated by MP Gordon Henderson. Henderson and other MPs cited Palestinian Media Watch documentation of PA hate promotion and terror glorification, which they had seen in recent meetings with PMW Director Itamar Marcus as well as in PMW bulletins and reports.
MP Gordon Henderson on the severity of the Palestinian culture of hate:
"It is clear that a culture of hate has wormed its way into the very fibre of Palestinian society. Incitement to hate is pervasive in Palestinian school textbooks, on television programmes and at cultural and sporting events. Palestinians have been consistently and unremittingly taught to hate Jews, Israel and the West... Incitement takes many forms. It ranges from the denial of Israel's right to exist to the abhorrent glorification of violence and infamous Palestinian terrorists." [British Parliament debate, Feb. 26, 2013. All quotes below are from this debate.]
Documentation cited by MP Henderson:
"During the Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations in September 2011, the PA's official TV channel broadcast a map that depicted all of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories wrapped in the Palestinian flag with a key through it. Therefore, at a time when President Abbas was telling the UN that he sought two states living side by side, residents on the west bank were being shown a map carrying an unmistakeable message of Palestinian sovereignty over the whole area."
(See PMW bulletin, Oct. 6, 2011)
"Last summer, a PA TV broadcast showed a painting depicting Israel as an ogre with a Star of David skull cap that impales and eats Palestinian children in Gaza."
(See PMW bulletin, July 23, 2012)
"Just this month, PA TV broadcast a music video honouring a number of convicted terrorists... One of the terrorists who was honoured in that video was Ibrahim Hamid, who is serving 54 life sentences in Israel for planning a series of suicide bombings that killed 46 Israelis."
(See PMW bulletin, Feb. 5, 2013)
"Official Facebook page of Fatah in Lebanon recently posted a photo of a mother dressing her young son with an explosive suicide belt and encouraging him to blow up the Sons of Zion."
(See PMW bulletin, Oct. 29, 2012)
Other MPs from various parties likewise cited examples and agreed reiterated the significance of PMW's findings.
MP Dr. Matthew Offord (Con):
"Fatah's Facebook page routinely publishes pictures and slogans venerating arms and violence against Israel. In some pictures, young children are even shown carrying rifles."
(See PMW bulletin, Jan. 7, 2013)
MP Louise Ellman (Lab) said the findings raise the question of the PA as a partner for peace:
"I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this important debate. The matters that he brings to the attention of the House are truly shocking and put a question mark over the status of the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace."
MP Henderson raised the problem of the of the UK funding PA salaries to prisoners, a topic being debated now in Norwegian Parliament as well:
MP Gordon Henderson:
"Consistent with the Palestinian Authority's policy of glorifying terrorists, the PA financially rewards terrorism by paying a monthly salary to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons convicted of terror offences... I was shocked to learn that those payments are part funded by the British taxpayer. Indeed, the payments come from the PA's general budget, into which the UK contributes more than £30 million each year. I am unaware of any known safeguards in place preventing the use of UK aid to that end. Previous attempts by my parliamentary colleagues from all parts of the House to raise that issue have been met with apparent denial and a declaration that the payments are simply "social welfare payments to the families of prisoners" ...However, since these payments are not explicitly given to those in need, it seems logical to assume that they are given as a form of reward for prisoners' terror acts."
(See PMW reports)
MP Guto Bebb (Con) cited proof that the payments were not social welfare, but in fact salaries for prisoners:
"... in December 2012, a Palestinian Authority statement, which was released through its official news service... which is made in the name of the Palestinian Minister responsible for prisoners' affairs, Issa Karake, announced that those payments were salaries and not social assistance. It went further by stating that any talk of social assistance was incorrect rumour. How can my hon. Friend square that issue with the denials made by our own Government?"
(See PMW bulletin, Feb. 14, 2013)
MP Henderson cited what he saw as a positive remark by Prime Minister David Cameron:
"I am reassured that this is an issue that the Government are starting to regard with increased seriousness. Indeed, the Prime Minister made his position clear at a United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner late last year, when he said: "Britain will never support anyone who sponsors a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism."
(PMW notes that contrary to PM Cameron's policy, Britain does in fact support those who glorify terror. All the examples of terror glorification cited by the MPs in the debate were sponsored by the PA. Moreover, the PA leadership consistently glorifies terror. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad sponsored a summer camp honoring Dalal Mughrabi, whose bus hijacking killed 37 civilians. Abbas supported naming a square after Mughrabi and personally sponsored a computer center named after her. These are just a few examples of many. PMW recently prepared a report for the Foreign Affairs Committee of Dutch Parliament with 40 pages of examples of PA-sponsored terror glorification. All of these events and programs glorifying terrorists are funded by the PA general budget that Britain supports. Contrary to PM Cameron's assertion that "Britain will never support" anyone who glorifies terror, it is supporting the PA, which glorifies terror almost daily. In addition to naming sporting events and places after terrorists, PA TV currently broadcasts four different weekly TV programs that are dedicated to honoring and glorifying Palestinian prisoners who are imprisoned for terrorism and security offenses. As long as Britain is supporting the PA, it is supporting those who glorify terror.)
The British government responds
Responding in the name of the British government was Alistair Burt, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Burt acknowledged the problem, referring to documentation he saw in a recent meeting with PMW Director Itamar Marcus, but argued that hate incitement is a symptom and not the problem:
"I had a briefing on some of the material some weeks ago, through Palestinian Media Watch. There are some tough examples. I think that I was expected to be shocked, but I was not. Hon. Members should not mistake me. Some material was shocking and offensive. It has no place in any political or historical discourse in which any credible democratic authority has a part. But my deep and genuine worry is that this incitement is not simply a cause of separation between peoples and hatred; I am afraid that it is a symptom of it."
Burt also seemed to imply a symmetry between PA and Israeli incitement although he did don't cite any examples of Israeli incitement to back this up:
"I welcome this opportunity to reiterate the Government's position on incitement. We oppose, in all circumstances, the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. We deplore incitement on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"We do not hesitate to raise instances of incitement with both the Palestinian Authority and Israel whenever we feel that it is appropriate to do so."
Burt cited a video he had been shown by PMW director Itamar Marcus in their meeting, of a younggirl singing about martyrdom at a performance broadcast on PA TV. However, following Burt's policy of blaming both sides equally, he did not blame the official PA schools who may have taught the girl the song, nor did he blame official PA TV for broadcasting the song, nor did he blame the producers of the event for including it in the program. Furthermore, he did not mention that PM Salam Fayyad and the Secretary General of the Presidential Office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, were in the audience applauding the singers. Instead, he blamed both sides equally:
Burt: "My overwhelming feeling in looking at some issues, particularly in relation to children, was sadness that those on both sides of the divide who wish to emphasize difference and separateness are steadily winning that battle. One example, which my hon. Friend may be aware of, is a little girl of about seven years of age reciting with pride a poem about a suicide bomber, or so-called martyr. If we see a child reciting a poem about such a thing, instead of what ought to be filling her mind, how do we react? Anger towards her is clearly not appropriate. Whoever's fault it is, it is not hers. I felt sadness for her, but anger that those who possess the ability to take down some of the barriers between Palestinians and Israelis simply do not do so, but continue actions that perpetuate the hatred." (emphasis added)
Burt also praised the PA leadership for what he called "their genuine commitment to non-violence":
"On the PA's leadership, it is important to stress that we consider that the track record of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad shows their genuine commitment to non-violence and a negotiated two-state solution."
MP Andrew Percy rejected Burt's praise of the PA leadership, noting the PA may be telling UK leaders one thing and "saying something slightly different in Arabic":
"I am a little alarmed at that statement by the Minister, because there are many examples - example after example, indeed - of senior Palestinian officials at the very top levels attending sporting competitions named in honour of people who have murdered innocent Israelis, or of their attending ceremonies to rename squares and streets after people who have murdered innocent Israelis. So while they may say one thing to the West, they may be saying something slightly different in Arabic."
Alistair Burt responded by ignoring the facts cited by Percy and repeated UK policy:
"The Prime Minister was clear in his denunciation of those who set up sporting tournaments or who support activities named in memory of the so-called martyrs and the suicide bombers. Of course, that is the clear position of the UK Government."
(PMW notes that MP Percy was correct to state that PA leaders are involved in the terror glorification that Britain condemns. Burt's statement that Britain's policy is to "denounce those who set up sporting tournaments or who support activities named in memory of the so-called martyrs and the suicide bombers" is likewise not being implemented. Praising Fayyad and Abbas from the floor of UK Parliament for "their genuine commitment to non-violence," and not "denouncing" the fact that they are honoring terrorists, is contrary to stated UK policy.)
Finally, in spite of all the documentation, Burt tried to minimize the severity of the problem:
"I do not fully share the bleakness of the rhetoric with which my hon. Friend began his remarks, particularly his comment that Palestinians have been consistently and unremittingly taught to hate Jews, Israel and the west."
Possibly anticipating Burt's comment or having heard it before, MP Gordon Henderson in his earlier remarks criticized those who fail to acknowledge the significance of the PA hate incitement. He also warned that the PA hate incitement will undermine any future peace agreement:
"It is shameful that such incitement to hatred has been denied by too many people... I contend that incitement is a form of abuse of Palestinian children. We must remember that those children are the next generation of peacemakers and state-builders. Simply put, no peace agreement will be able to guarantee peace in the medium to long term if a generation of Palestinians is growing up indoctrinated to hate Israel, Jews and the West." (emphasis added)
Click to see PDF of full debatein British Parliament, Feb. 26, 2013.
Click to see how PMW sparked debate in Norway, the responses of Norwegian MPs, and how as a result a parliamentary committee investigated if Norway is funding Palestinian terrorists in prison.