Friday, August 17, 2012

Incitement index — a warning to us all

Incitement index — a warning to us all

Eli Hazan

In a week during which the Muslim Brotherhood completed its historic takeover of Egypt and Israel is increasingly talking about attacking Iran, the "Incitement Index," which measures incitement to violence in the Palestinian Authority, took a back seat. But make no mistake, this index has far-reaching implications on relations between Israelis and the Arabs in the region, and it should viewed with the proper perspective.

It must be pointed out that in an agreement signed in September 1993, Israel vowed to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people, and in return the PLO, which over time became the biggest power holder in the Palestinian Authority, pledged to, among other things, recognize Israel's right to exist peacefully.

However, vows are one thing and reality is another. As the years went by, and the PLO masterminded acts of terror and the killing of Jews everywhere, it became clear that then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat never really intended to make peace, and even planned to implement the PLO's multi-stage plan, unveiled in 1974, to destroy Israel. Incitement was one of the methods used to realize that plan.

The findings on incitement in the Palestinian Authority, as presented by the government and reported in the media this week, are troubling, but they are only a continuation of something that has been ongoing for the last 20 years. One claim held by anti-Israel activists is that Israel unjustly controls Palestinian educational curricula and media outlets.

But the moment the Palestinians gained control over their media outlets, they implemented, both psychologically and practically, incitement that presented Israel in an extremely negative light. The incitement affects the general population, as every Palestinian is exposed to it at every age and every stage. Such incitement was especially prevalent in the lead-up to the barbaric murder of the Fogel family in Itamar in 2011.

Here is another example of incitement propagated by the Palestinian Authority against Israel in recent years: Ibrahim Mudeiris, the official representative of the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Endowments, said in 2008 on Palestinian television: "Diseases like smallpox can be eradicated, except for the disease that has plagued the Palestinian people and Arab nations in general, and that is the Jewish disease."

Mudeiris is not the only one. There are numerous instances in which the Jews have been portrayed as apes and pigs. Omar al-Ghul, adviser to the Palestinian prime minister, said in a Palestinian TV broadcast in 2009: "The world needs to know and see Israel's crimes, starting with the theft and sale of Palestinian martyrs' organs; 69 martyrs have had their organs stolen." Not to mention the textbooks and educational material given to Palestinian students in schools. These are a but few of the many horrifying examples.

The main conclusion presented to the government alongside the incitement index was that the Palestinian Authority decides how much to fan the flames of incitement and regulates the level of hatred to suit its interests. There is a clear distinction between permitted and forbidden. Attacking with firearms is forbidden. Hatred and desiring Israel to disappear are permitted. This is a new discovery as it indicates that the Palestinian Authority is working internally against normalization of ties with Israel on all levels.

All these things can serve as tools of Israeli advocacy to show just how cautious our nation needs to be, and also to serve as a warning sign against the progress made in negotiations. One of the conditions for Palestinian self-rule must be ending all incitement, not with claims but with actions, literally and figuratively.