ZOA working on Hill on resolution demanding PA end incitement
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus demand of Mahmoud Abbas Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) that is to cease all incitement to hatred and murder against Israelis and Jews in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps, following the recent horrifying and bestial murder of five members of an Israeli family in Itamar as they lay asleep in their beds. The ZOA has also called the condemnation of the attack by the Obama Administration and the Middle East Quartet (U.S., European Union, Russia, United Nations) inadequate because an end to the PA support for terrorist groups and the incitement and hatred that breeds terrorism is not demanded and continuation of diplomatic and financial support for the PA not made conditional upon this occurring. In the case of the Quartet, the condemnation is also accompanied by praise for Abbas clearly insincere and disingenuous condemnation of the murders which adds insult to injury. The ZOA is working with members of Congress on a resolution demanding that the PA put a definitive end to incitement.
The perpetrator(s) entered the house of the Fogel family in Itamar last Friday night, murdering the husband and wife in their bed, along with their baby girl of four months who slept with them, as well as murdering their two sons, aged 11 and four, in a separate bedroom. Two other children escaped unharmed, as did a daughter who had been absent at the time and who came home and discovered the slaughter of her family. Palestinian media on Saturday reported that a faction of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group on the U.S. terrorism list belonging to Fatah, the party co-founded by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the stabbing incident (Terror attack in Itamar: 5 family members murdered, Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2011).
Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response to the murders that, They all had their throats slit. They were sleeping in their beds and they were savagely murdered by animals. The international community that so quickly rushes to condemn Israel over a building here or a building there, for some reason takes its time in condemning this savagery, this brutality, this murder that has no justification. Something else has to be pointed out. The Palestinian Authority engages in double talk. To the world outside they speak peace. To their own people inside, they teach incitement. They allow incitement and hatred against Israel, in their schools, in their mosques, in their state controlled media. This has got to end. The international community must demand from the Palestinian Authority, an end to incitement. The Palestinian Authority must stop incitement and begin to educate its people towards peace. Thats the only way that well have peace. (Statement by PM Netanyahu following the murders in Itamar, March 12, 2011).
In contrast, PA president Abbas said he stressed his rejection and condemnation of all violence directed against civilians, regardless of who was behind it or the reason for it violence produces violence and what is needed is to speed up a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict (Abbas Condemns Attacks Against Civilians, WAFA [PLO news agency], March 12, 2011). Only today, after Prime Minister Netanyahus criticism and in an interview with Israel Radio, did Abbas say that the killings were despicable inhuman and immoral A human being is not capable of something like that (Marcy Oster, Murder of West Bank family members spurs protests, new housing approval, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 13, 2011).
In the official PA daily, Al Hayat al-Jadida, the editor pretended that Palestinian groups had nothing to do with the crime before claiming Israel was responsible for the crime, saying, The true murderers in Itamar are the extremist settlers The operation in Itamar was a message to the occupation and to the world… whose meaning is clear the occupation must leave. Adli Sadeq, a PA Foreign Ministry senior official and columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote that it is a crime that hurts us politically and [turns] public opinion against us, and enables the extremist [Israeli] government to hold us all responsible Since Israel carried out organized murder of Palestinian children, the Israeli government was ultimately responsible for the attack in Itamar (Senior PA Officials Condemn Itamar Murder while Blaming Israel for Palestinian Hostility, Middle East Media Research Institute, March 14, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We express our heartfelt condolences to surviving children, relatives and friends of the Fogel family, who were savagely slaughtered by bestial murderers. Words cannot describe the revulsion we feel for this heinous crime.
We are, quite simply, appalled and repelled by Mahmoud Abbas clearly insincere and disingenuous response to these murders. As soon as any Palestinian official speaks of rejection and condemnation of all violence directed against civilians, it is immediately apparent that he is not condemning the deliberate murder of innocents but rather sanitizing the crime by stealthily equating it with the deaths of all civilians, including those accidentally killed in legitimate military operations.
Additionally, by adding in this context that violence begets violence, Abbas is simply intimating to Palestinians that Israel is responsible for Palestinian terrorism, in line with the dishonest Palestinian claim that the presence of Israeli troops or even civilians merely living in Judea and Samaria is in itself violent and that Palestinian violence is merely a response to this. Such is the sum total of the PA editorial in Al Hayat al-Jadida. This is cynical bad faith and disgusting moral equivalence which neuters any value such a condemnation could have had.
Moreover, only recently, Abbas was seeking to have Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews, removed from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. Are these the acts of a government that is genuinely appalled by terrorism and which wishes to make peace?
Subsequent words by Abbas, to an Israeli audience and only after coming under pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahus words, that suggest he is actually appalled by the crime, ring hollow. Why did he not say that to a Palestinian or Arab audience in the first place? Because he doesnt regard Palestinian terrorism against Jews as a crime and obscenity, merely something that is presently counter-productive for the image of the PA. Indeed, he has often in the past condemned such terror only on the grounds that it harms Palestinian interests, not on any other ground. The only times Abbas utters words like crime against humanity and heinous massacre are when Palestinian terrorists are tracked down and killed by Israeli forces!
Even more importantly, the fact that Abbas and the PA glorify terrorists and inculcate hatred and extremism in the PA-controlled, media, mosques, schools and youth camps shows that it is they who are in large part responsible for producing the terrorists who carry out such crimes. The ZOA has published much detail of continuing PA anti-peace pro-terror acts in recent weeks and months. We therefore strongly support Prime Minister Netanyahus demand that the PA definitively end incitement and urge Israel to offer no negotiations or concessions to the PA until it does.
Given these circumstances, the condemnation of these murders from the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while suitably strong, are insufficient, because they lack the key element that would make their words effective a demand that Abbas and the PA immediately end the incitement to hatred and murder within the PA and condition all further diplomatic and financial support for the PA on this occurring. This they have not done in the past and they have not done it now.
Worse, the Middle East Quartet, by saying that it welcomes the strong condemnation of this attack by President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership gives them unmerited praise and indeed a pass, when they have in fact failed to state unequivocally that the deliberate slaughter of innocent civilians is a crime and obscenity and taken no steps towards ending the PA-sponsored incitement that leads to it. The U.S. is member of the Quartet and as such shares responsibility for its failings. It is high time the Quartet was disbanded.