Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Palestinian Incitement to Violence Continues Unabated

While Steve Erlanger of the New York Times notes that Hamas is running hate-filled propaganda calling for Israel's destruction and inciting Palestinians to violence, he claims that the PA is cracking down on such instances.

Guess he overlooks the Fatah/PA media machine, which is churning out anti-Israel pablum 24/7/365 ever since it was established, despite it being banned under Oslo.
Such incitement against Israel and Jews was supposed to be banned under the 1993 Oslo accords and the 2003 “road map” peace plan. While the Palestinian Authority under Fatah has made significant, if imperfect efforts to end incitement, Hamas, no party to those agreements, feels no such restraint.

Since Hamas took over Gaza last June, routing Fatah, Hamas sermons and media reports preaching violence and hatred have become more pervasive, extreme and sophisticated, on the model of Hezbollah and its television station Al Manar, in Lebanon.

Intended to indoctrinate the young to its brand of radical Islam, which combines politics, social work and military resistance, including acts of terrorism, the programs of Al Aksa television and radio, including crucial Friday sermons, are an indication of how far from reconciliation Israelis and many Palestinians are.

Hamas’s grip on Gaza matters, but what may matter more in the long run is its control over propaganda and education there, breeding longer-term problems for Israel, and for peace. No matter what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree upon, there is concern here that the attitudes being instilled will make a sustainable peace extremely difficult.

“If you take a sample on Friday, you’re bound to hear incitement against the Jews in the prayers and the imam’s sermon,” said Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University here. “He uses verses from the Koran to say how the Jews were the enemies of the prophet and didn’t keep their promises to the prophet 1,400 years ago.”

Mr. Abusada is a Muslim and political independent. “You have young people, and everyone has to listen to the imam whether you believe him or not,” he said. “By saying the same thing over and over, you find a lot of people believing it, especially when he cites the Koran or hadith,” the sayings of the prophet.

Radwan Abu Ayyash, deputy minister of culture in Ramallah, ran the Palestinian Broadcasting Company until 2005. Hamas “uses religious language to motivate simple people for political as well as religious goals,” he said. “People don’t distinguish between the two.” He said he found a lot of what Al Aksa broadcast “disgusting and unprofessional.”

Every Palestinian thinks the situation in Gaza is ugly, he said. “But what is not fine is to build up children with a culture of hatred, of closed minds, a culture of sickness. I don’t think they always know what they are creating. People use one weapon, language, without realizing that they also use it against themselves.”

Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli group, said Hamas took its view of Jews from what it considered the roots of Islam, then tried to make the present match the past.

For example, in a column in the weekly Al Risalah, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.”
The Fatah media machine has a very long history of running deceptive pieces in the media (and which sought to get other media outlets to pick up the items), running campaigns in Palestinian controlled areas extolling the virtues of suicide bombers and terrorists, regularly engages in revisionist history to recast historical and biblical events in a light most favorable to Fatah and to justify its own actions, and manipulating media reports so as to claim the high ground in its ongoing war against Hamas. And those are just examples from the past three years.

Then, there's Erlanger's own bias that has a longstanding and well documented history. "Significant but imperfect efforts to end incitement" is how he phrases things. Then, perhaps he'd like to remind readers that the PA maps of the region do not show Israel existing, or the fact that Palestinian children are regularly indoctrinated in seeking Israel's destruction. Or, perhaps he'd like to remind readers that Fatah has not eliminated clauses within its organizational charter seeking Israel's destruction.

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