One of the Palestinian Authority’s core obligations under the terms of the Oslo Accords is ending the popular anti-Israel incitement that permeates official Palestinian institutions and civil society. The PA’s failure to condemn calls to violence against Israelis, magnified by its own frequent contributions to the toxic rhetoric, has led to a dangerous swell in anti-Israel public sentiment that periodically bursts in lethal waves of terror against civilians. This incitement poisons the very foundation of peaceful coexistence, particularly when spread by Palestinian leaders whose cry for a national struggle against Israel spills into public discourse. When PA officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, routinely lionize murderers and deny Israel’s legitimacy, it’s not surprising that Palestinian social media and popular culture follow suit.
Multiple surveys of Palestinian public opinion have found widespread, consistent support for terror attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as negative perceptions of Jews. Dan Polisar, the provost of Shalem College, explained in a recent article for Mosaic that these polls reveal the extent to which “Palestinian perpetrators of violence reflect and are acting on the basis of views widely held in their society.”
Below is a collection of some of the most outrageous examples of Palestinian incitement that stoke this extremism, which has erupted in series of stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks that claimed more than a dozen lives over the past two months.
1. The PA’s UN representative accused Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs.
In a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the UN, wrote that Palestinians shot by Israeli security forces “were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports about organ harvesting by the occupying power.” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, called Mansour’s accusation a blood libel.
2. The PA condemned Israel for shooting two terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks in Jerusalem.
On October 4, the PA called on the international community to intervene after two Palestinian men, Fadi Aloon and Muhannad Halabi, were killed by security forces in Jerusalem. Notably, the PA failed to mention that Aloon was shot after stabbing an Israeli teenager near Jerusalem’s Old City, while Halabi was shot after murdering Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita, and wounding Banita’s wife and their 2-year-old baby. The PA issued no condemnation of the attacks.
3. A Palestinian village, law association, and multiple government officials honored a terrorist who killed two Israelis and injured a mother and her child.
The Surda-Abu Qash municipality in the northern West Bank decided to rename a street after Muhannad Halabi on October 13, less than 10 days after he killed two Israeli men and wounded a mother and her child. The mayor of the municipality, where a memorial to the terrorist was erected, called him “a pride and badge of honor for the whole village.”
Halabi was also praised by the PA Bar Association, which awarded him a law degree posthumously, as well as by Abbas’ advisor Sultan Abu Al-Einein, who wrote in a Facebook post, “We loved you, Muhannad. We loved you, while you sowed life for all Palestinians.”
At a rally held in honor of the terrorist, Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen declared that Palestinian men have a right “to cause Israeli women to cry.” Fatah, the dominant political party in the PA, is led by Abbas.
4. A Palestinian cleric in Gaza called on men in the West Bank to form stabbing squads and cut Jews “into body parts.”
In an October 9 sermon at a mosque in the Gaza city of Rafah, Sheikh Muhammad Salah “Abu Rajab” exclaimed, “My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!” A video of the sermon with a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute is embedded below.
Oh people of Al-Abrar Mosque and the people of Rafah – from this mosque of yours, you have the honor of delivering these messages to the men of the West Bank: Form stabbing quads. We don’t want just a single stabber. Oh young men of the West Bank: Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while others attack him with axes and butcher knives. …
Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.
5. Thousands of Palestinians attended a hate-rally in Rafah.
During the October 16 rally, a sprawling crowd waved butcher knives, meat cleavers, and other weapons while encouraging more terror attacks against Jews. A number of children were brandishing the lethal blades. A video of the rally is embedded below.
6. A Palestinian official called a shooting attack in Beersheba that killed two and injured 11 an “act of heroism.”
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association and a possible successor to Abbas, made the remarks during an interview with official Palestinian media on October 19. Two days earlier, he glorified the recent Palestinian stabbing attacks, saying, “I am proud of them and congratulate all those who carried them out.” In 2013, Rajoub said that if Palestinians had a nuclear weapon they would have used it against Israel “this morning.”
7. Mahmoud al-Habbash, an advisor to Abbas and a Supreme Sharia Judge, called Israel “Satan’s project.”
“The conflict here in Palestine between us and the criminal occupation and its criminal leaders, is a further manifestation of our trials,” al-Habbash said during a broadcast on an official PA television channel on October 23. “This is a conflict between two entities, good and evil, between two projects: Allah’s project vs. Satan’s project, a project connected to Allah, which is his will – true and good – and a project connected to oppression and Satanism, to Satanism and animosity, occupation and barbarism.”
Al-Habbash was appointed to his post by Abbas in 2009. Earlier this year, he said that the Western Wall is part of the al-Aqsa Mosque and that “non-Muslims had no right to it.” In 2014, he declared before an audience of PA officials, including Abbas, that young jihadists who go to fight in Syria should direct their attention to Jerusalem instead. Abbas applauded his remarks.
8. Hashtags and images encouraging murder went viral on Palestinian social media.
According to reports published by the Middle East Media Research Institute and The New York Times last month, Palestinian social media has been alight with hashtags including “Poison the Knife before You Stab” and “Slaughtering the Jews,” as well as violent images and how-to guides encouraging more terror attacks. “One crude cartoon making the rounds on Facebook, including on the official Palestinian TV page before it disappeared late Tuesday, depicts an Israeli soldier as an ape, accompanied by a pig, over a bloodied youth,” the Times wrote. “Another has a close-up of a menacing blade, and is captioned: ‘This is not difficult. To the closest kitchen, and go in the name of God.’”
9. Violent songs, including “Stab, Stab” and “Run Over, Run Over the Settler,” became popular sensations.
In October, The New York Times reported on some of the “nationalistic” tracks dominating Palestinian airwaves.
“Stab the Zionist and say God is great,” declares one, a reference to the spate of knife attacks since Oct. 1. “Let the knives stab your enemy,” says another. A third is called “Continue the Intifada” and comes with a YouTube warning — the video shows the Palestinian woman who pulled a knife at an Afula bus station surrounded by Israeli soldiers pointing guns.
“Resist and carry your guns,” the song urges. “Say hello to being a martyr.”
10. Abbas referred to all of Israel as occupied Palestinian territory before the UN Human Rights Council.
“Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, haven’t you wondered: For how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land last?,” Abbas asked on October 28 in Geneva. “After 67 years [i.e., Israel’s creation], how long? Do you think it can last, and that it benefits the Palestinian people?”
Abbas then spoke of “holy sites which have been desecrated every other second again and again for seven decades now, under an occupation that does not quit killing, torturing, looting and imprisoning.”
The mention of 67 years or seven decades indicates that Abbas was speaking about the time of Israel’s establishment in 1948, rather than 1967, when Israel assumed control of the West Bank.
11. The PA’s official newspaper ran an op-ed claiming that Israel was behind the terror attacks in Paris.
The op-ed, which was published in al-Hayat al-Jadida on November 15, two days after the deadly attacks in France, said that the search for the terrorists must extend to “the last place reached by the octopus arms of the Mossad… It is clear that its ‘Mossad’ will burn Beirut and Paris in order to achieve [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s goals. He, who challenged the master of the White House, hides in his soul enough evil to burn the world.”
A day earlier, the official Facebook page of Fatah posted an image equating Israel with ISIS.
Dishonorable mention: UNRWA employees spread anti-Semitic graphics on social media.
Though the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN body dedicated to Palestinian refugees, is an international rather than Palestinian institution, UNRWA officials have been repeatedly caught using social media to incite violence against Jews. Reports by the monitoring group UN Watch and blogger “Elder of Ziyon” last month exposed employees who shared violent graphics, hashtags, and called on Palestinians to “stab Zionist dogs.”
Initially, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness responded to the reports by calling them “baseless,” and attacking the credibility of UN Watch. It was only after much pressure that UNRWA investigated the allegations and eventually suspended a number of employees over the incitement.