Washington, Jan. 4 - Palestinian society in Fatah-controlled areas continues to glorify terrorism and reject Israel’s existence while outwardly voicing support for the peace process, Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus said Wednesday.
“Everything they’re telling their people, everything they’re telling their children, everything that’s happening in that internal world is really betraying the peace process…there is this deception, this duplicity going on in a very intense way,” Marcus told participants during a conference call organized by The Israel Project.
Palestinian Media Watch, founded by Marcus in 1996, monitors Palestinian society for such occurrences of incitement in speeches, the media, textbooks and other firsthand sources.
Marcus said the impression by many in the international community that the Palestinian Authority had stopped its incitement was wrong. He offered several examples of continued hateful speech and actions, including literature from Palestinian society where Israel either doesn’t exist or doesn’t have the right to exist, as well as streets and public institutions named after terrorists.
The issue of glorifying terrorism is particularly relevant, Marcus said, in a striking recent example. Palestinian Authority officials gave the honor of handing over the PA’s bid for Palestinian statehood to the U.N. representative in Ramallah to a woman whose four children are serving sentences for murdering Israelis.
In another recent incident of incitement Marcus referenced, a Palestinian Authority official claimed that Palestinians in Israeli prisons were worse off than "the Auschwitzes of the Nazis,” invoking the name of the most brutal concentration camp in World War II.
“Everything is being done to make sure Palestinians won’t accept Israel,” Marcus said
The biggest challenge to Palestinian Media Watch’s work in publicizing the hate within Palestinian culture has been getting the facts out to journalists, Marcus said, as most media covering the conflict simply unaware about the level of hatred within Palestinian society.
While Israel could not do much to change this internal Palestinian culture, Marcus said, countries that provide major financial aid to the Palestinian Authority could use that leverage to change provocative behavior and statements from Palestinian leaders.
Ultimately, the continuing incidences of incitement and hateful speech highlight a society and leadership that is not fully committed to a two-state solution, Marcus said.
“In many respects, the Palestinian Authority has not even started the peace process with Israel,” he said.