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Myths & Facts
Human Rights

By Mitchell Bard

Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are Semites.
Jews who lived in Islamic countries were well treated.
As “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians are protected under Islamic law.
Modern Arab nations have never been anti-Jewish.
Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens.
Israeli Arabs are barred from buying land in Israel.
Palestinians have the right to sell land to Jews.
Israel treats Palestinians worse than the Afrikaner government treated Blacks in South Africa.
Israel is engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.
Israel uses checkpoints to deny Palestinians their rights and humiliate them.
Israeli checkpoints prevent Palestinians from receiving medical attention.
Israel persecutes Christians.
Palestinians do not violate the human rights of their people.
The Palestinian Authority promotes a culture of peace and tolerance toward Israel.
Israelis should be prosecuted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinian Authority protects women’s rights.
Israel is trying to silence Palestinian human rights groups.
LGBTQ Palestinians enjoy the same rights as Israelis.

MYTH

Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are Semites.

FACT

The term “anti-Semite” was coined in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to refer to the anti-Jewish manifestations of the period and to give the previously used term, “Judenhass”—or “Jew-hatred”—a more scientific-sounding name. 1 Anti-Semitism” has been accepted and understood to mean hatred of the Jewish people. Dictionaries define the term as: “Theory, action, or practice directed against the Jews” and “Hostility towards Jews as a religious or racial minority group, often accompanied by social, economic and political discrimination.”2

The claim that Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because they are also a Semitic people is a semantic distortion that ignores the history of Arab discrimination and hostility toward Jews. Arabs, like any other people, can indeed be anti-Semitic.

MYTH

Jews who lived in Islamic countries were well treated.

FACT

While Jewish communities in Islamic countries fared better overall than those in Christian lands in Europe during the nearly 1,300 years of the Muslim Empire, Jews were no strangers to persecution and humiliation among the Arabs. As Princeton University historian Bernard Lewis has written: “The Golden Age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam.” 3

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, traveled to Medina in 622 C.E. to attract followers to his new faith. When the Jews of Medina refused to recognize Muhammad as their prophet, two of the major Jewish tribes were expelled. In 627, Muhammad’s followers killed between 600 and 900 men and divided the surviving Jewish women and children among themselves. 4

The Muslim attitude toward Jews is reflected in various verses throughout the Koran. “They [the Children of Israel] were consigned to humiliation and wretchedness. They brought the wrath of God upon themselves, and this because they used to deny God’s signs and kill His Prophets unjustly and because they disobeyed and were transgressors” (Sura 2:61). According to the Koran, the Jews try to introduce corruption (5:64), have always been disobedient (5:78), and are enemies of Allah, the Prophet, and the angels (2:97–98).

Jews were generally viewed with contempt by their Muslim neighbors; peaceful coexistence between the two groups involved the subordination and degradation of the Jews. In the ninth century, Baghdad’s Caliph al-Mutawakkil designated a yellow badge for Jews, setting a precedent that would be followed centuries later in Nazi Germany. 5

When Jews were perceived as having achieved too comfortable a position in Islamic society, anti-Semitism would surface, often with devastating results. On December 30, 1066, Joseph HaNagid, the Jewish vizier of Granada, Spain, was crucified by an Arab mob that proceeded to raze the Jewish quarter of the city and slaughter its 5,000 inhabitants. The riot was incited by Muslim preachers who had angrily objected to what they saw as inordinate Jewish political power.

Similarly, in 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving only eleven alive, after a Jewish deputy vizier treated a Muslim woman in “an offensive manner.” The killings touched off a wave of similar massacres throughout Morocco. 6

Other mass murders of Jews in Arab lands occurred in Morocco in the eighth century, where whole communities were wiped out by the Muslim ruler Idris I; North Africa in the twelfth century, where the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities; Libya in 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; Algiers, where Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815, and 1830; and Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than three hundred Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880. 7 When Jewish people were not being slaughtered in Morocco, they were subject to heavy taxes and lived in destitute poverty.

Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293–94, 1301–02), Iraq (854–859, 1344), and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran’s prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465, and 1790–92), and Baghdad (1333 and 1344). 8

The situation of Jews in Arab lands reached a low point in the nineteenth century. Jews in most of North Africa (including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Morocco) were forced to live in ghettos. In Morocco, which contained the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world, Jews were made to walk barefoot or wear shoes of straw when outside the ghetto. Even Muslim children participated in the degradation of Jews by throwing stones at them or harassing them in other ways. The frequency of anti-Jewish violence increased, and many Jews were executed on charges of apostasy. Ritual murder accusations against the Jews became commonplace in the Ottoman Empire. 9

As distinguished Orientalist G. E. von Grunebaum observed:

It would not be difficult to put together the names of a very sizeable number of Jewish subjects or citizens of the Islamic area who have attained to high rank, to power, to great financial influence, to significant and recognized intellectual attainment; and the same could be done for Christians. But it would again not be difficult to compile a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms. 10

MYTH

As “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians are protected under Islamic law.

FACT

This argument is rooted in the traditional concept of the “dhimma” (“writ of protection”), which was extended by Muslim conquerors to Christians and Jews in exchange for their subordination to the Muslims. Yet, as French philosopher Jacques Ellul has observed, “One must ask: ‘protected against whom?’ When this ‘stranger’ lives in Islamic countries, the answer can only be: against the Muslims themselves.” 11

People subjected to Muslim rule often faced a choice between death and conversion, but Jews and Christians, who adhered to the Scriptures, were usually allowed, as dhimmis, to practice their faith. This “protection” did little, however, to ensure that Jews and Christians were treated well by the Muslims. On the contrary, an integral aspect of the dhimma was that, being an infidel, they had to acknowledge openly the superiority of the true believer—the Muslim.

In the early years of the Islamic conquest, the “tribute” (or jizya), paid as a yearly poll tax, symbolized the subordination of the dhimmi. 12 Later, the inferior status of Jews and Christians was reinforced through a series of regulations that governed the behavior of the dhimmi. For example, dhimmis, on pain of death, were forbidden to mock or criticize the Koran, Islam, or Muhammad, to proselytize among Muslims, or to touch a Muslim woman (though a Muslim man could take a non-Muslim as a wife). Dhimmis were excluded from public office and armed service and were forbidden to bear arms. They were not allowed to ride horses or camels, build synagogues or churches taller than mosques, construct houses higher than those of Muslims, or drink wine in public. They were forced to wear distinctive clothing and were not allowed to pray or mourn in loud voices—as that might offend the Muslims.

The dhimmi also had to show public deference toward Muslims; for example, always yielding them the center of the road. The dhimmi was not allowed to give evidence in court against a Muslim, and his oath was unacceptable in an Islamic court. To defend himself, the dhimmi would have to purchase Muslim witnesses at great expense. This left the dhimmi with little legal recourse when harmed by a Muslim. 13

By the twentieth century, the status of the dhimmi in Muslim lands had not significantly improved. H. E. W. Young, the British vice consul in Mosul, wrote in 1909:

The attitude of the Muslims toward the Christians and the Jews is that of a master towards slaves, whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed.14

 

The Arab world is the last bastion of unbridled, unashamed, unhidden, and unbelievable anti-Semitism. Hitlerian myths get published in the popular press as incontrovertible truths. The Holocaust either gets minimized or ;denied . . . How the Arab world will ever come to terms with Israel when Israelis are portrayed as the devil incarnate is hard to figure out.

Columnist Richard Cohen15

MYTH

Modern Arab nations have never been anti-Jewish.

FACT

Arab leaders have repeatedly made clear their animosity toward Jews and Judaism. For example, on November 23, 1937, Saudi Arabia’s King Ibn Saud told British Colonel H. R. P. Dickson, “Our hatred for the Jews dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa (Jesus) and their subsequent rejection of His chosen Prophet.” He added, “that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.” 16

When Hitler introduced the Nuremberg racial laws in 1935, he received telegrams of congratulation from all corners of the Arab world. 17 Later, during the war, one of his most ardent supporters was the Mufti of Jerusalem.

Jews were never permitted to live in Jordan. Civil Law No. 6, which governed the Jordanian-occupied West Bank, states explicitly, “Any man will be a Jordanian subject if he is not Jewish.” 18

Public school textbooks in some Arab countries have been found replete with hateful portrayals of Jews. According to a study of Syrian textbooks, for example, “the Syrian educational system expands hatred of Israel and Zionism to anti-Semitism directed at all Jews. That anti-Semitism evokes ancient Islamic motifs to describe the unchangeable and treacherous nature of the Jews. Its inevitable conclusion is that all Jews must be annihilated.” 19

An Arabic translation of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf was distributed in East Jerusalem and the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and became a bestseller. The official website of the Palestinian State Information Service also published an Arabic translation of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” 20

Arab officials have also resorted to blood libels. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, for example, said that Jews “have a certain day on which they mix the blood of non-Jews into their bread and eat it. It happened that two years ago, while I was in Paris on a visit, that the police discovered five murdered children. Their blood had been drained, and it turned out that some Jews had murdered them in order to take their blood and mix it with the bread that they eat on this day.” 21

Greeting Pope John Paul II in Damascus, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad launched an attack on Jews that may rank as the most ignorant and crude speech delivered before the pope in his two decades of travel around the world. Comparing the suffering of the Palestinians to that of Jesus Christ, Mr. Assad said that the Jews “tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad.” With that libel, the Syrian president stained both his country and the pope.

Washington Post editorial 22

In June 2016, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared from the rostrum of the European Parliament that Israeli rabbis called on their government to poison the water used by Palestinians. 23 Other scurrilous allegations made by Palestinian officials include claims that Israel dumped toxic waste in the West Bank, marketed carcinogenic juice to Palestinians, released wild pigs to destroy crops in the West Bank, and infected Palestinians with the AIDS virus. Palestinian officials also have claimed that Israel dropped poison candy for children in Gaza from airplanes, conducted medical experiments on prisoners and poisoned them, used a “radial spy machine” at checkpoints that killed a Palestinian woman, and spread drugs among young Palestinians to distract them from fighting Israel. 24

The Arab/Muslim media, which is almost exclusively controlled by the governments in each Middle Eastern nation, regularly publish anti-Semitic articles and cartoons, and broadcast hateful television programs. Themes include Holocaust denial, the “exploitation” of the Holocaust by Zionism, and the odious comparison of Zionism to Nazism. Al-Ahram—the most widely circulated Egyptian newspaper—published an article in 2000 accusing Israel of using the blood of Palestinian children to bake matzahs. 25

Arabic social media is also filled with anti-Semitic tropes and calumnies. During the coronavirus pandemic, for example, Israel was blamed for, and compared to the virus, and falsely accused of denying Palestinians aid and testing. 26

As violence in Israel escalated during the “stabbing intifada” in late 2015, content urging Palestinian violence against Israelis began appearing on social media with increasing frequency. The Anti-Defamation League published a selection of this content, including diagrams with instructions on where to stab to cause the most damage, and videos in Arabic showing various stabbing techniques, titled “learn how to stab a Jew.” 27

The Palestinian Authority’s media have also contained inflammatory and anti-Semitic material. Here is an example of a sermon broadcast on PA television in 2018:

The Jews bare their fangs whenever they get the chance. They spread corruption in the land, and they sow discord among the servants of Allah…. They tried to kill the Prophet Muhammad whenever they had an opportunity to do so…. Allah cursed them because they violated their covenant, and “[He] turned them into apes, pigs, and worshippers of false deities”….They are among the corrupt of Allah’s creations, and humanity will never be able to coexist with them…. The Prophet Muhammad told us that at the end of days, the Muslims will fight the Jews, until the Jews hide behind the rocks and the trees… and the trees will say: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” 28

Even Palestinian crossword puzzles are used to delegitimize Israel and attack Jews, providing clues, for example, suggesting that a Jewish trait is “treachery.” 29

MYTH

Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens.

FACT

Israel does not discriminate against its Arab citizens. On the contrary, they enjoy the same rights guaranteed to Jews and all other citizens of Israel.

Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs hold 10 seats in the 25th Knesset, half belonging to the Islamic Movement’s political party (Ra’am), which became the first Arab party to join the previous governing coalition. Other Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset belong to other factions.

Israeli Arabs have also held government posts such as ambassador to Finland, consul-general to Shanghai, and the deputy mayor of Tel Aviv. Oscar Abu Razaq was appointed director general of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without a portfolio. In 2022, for the first time, a Muslim judge was appointed to the Supreme Court (he is not the first Israeli Arab to serve).

More than 300,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel’s founding, there was one Arab high school in the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools. In October 2005, an Arab professor was named vice president of the University of Haifa, and the number of Arabs studying for first degrees in Israeli universities and colleges almost doubled from 10% in 2010 to 18% in 2020, while the number studying for second degrees increased from 7% to 15% in the same period.

The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This is to spare Arab citizens the need to take up arms against their brethren. Nevertheless, Bedouins have served in paratroop units, and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty. Compulsory military service is applied to the Druze and Circassian communities at their request.

While there is no institutional segregation, Jews and Arabs have chosen to live separately in all but a handful of cities. Like minorities in other countries, there are differences in the quality of life for Arabs, but these are not imposed by law. Moreover, Israelis have increasingly recognized the need to address these gaps. Hence, in 2015 the government approved a five-year economic package of nearly $3 billion to promote equality. In addition, 20 different budget areas, including infrastructure, employment, transportation, and education were to be allocated based on the Arab proportion of the population (approximately 21%). Joint Arab List Party leader Ayman Odeh said the plan “could be a first step to reduce economic and social disparities of the country’s Arab population.” 30 In 2020, the plan was extended with another $500 million committed through 2021. 31

In 2021, the government passed a five-year $9 billion economic plan focused on developing employment, including raising the percentage of Arab women in the workforce, investing in technological innovation and high-tech, and developing health services and housing. In 2022, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation launched a five-year $70 million program aimed at “incorporating the Arab sector in the high-tech industry.”

Investing in the Arab sector is expected to boost Israel’s economy, give Israeli Arabs a greater sense of equality, reinforce Israel’s commitment to democracy and pluralism, and show Arabs in the region that making peace with Israel can be beneficial.

The United States has been independent for 246 years and still has not integrated all its diverse communities. Even today, nearly half a century after civil rights legislation was adopted, discrimination has not been eradicated. It should not be surprising that Israel has not solved all its social problems in only 75 years.

MYTH

Israeli Arabs are barred from buying land in Israel.

FACT

In the early part of the century, the World Zionist Congress established the Jewish National Fund to purchase land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. This land, and that acquired after Israel’s War of Independence, was taken over by the government. Of the total area of Israel, 92% belongs to the State and is managed by the Land Management Authority. It is not for sale to anyone, Jew or Arab. The remaining 8% of the territory is privately owned. The Arab Waqf (the Muslim charitable endowment), for example, owns land that is for the express use and benefit of Muslim Arabs. All Arab citizens of Israel are eligible to lease government land.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot allocate land based on religion or ethnicity, and may not prevent Arab citizens from living wherever they choose. 32

MYTH

Palestinians have the right to sell land to Jews.

FACT

In 1996, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mufti, Ikrimah Sabri, issued a fatwa, banning the sale of Arab and Muslim property to Jews. Anyone who violated the order was to be killed. At least three land dealers were killed that year. 33

In 1997, PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein announced that the death penalty would be imposed on anyone convicted of ceding “one inch” to Israel. Later that month, two Arab land dealers were killed. A year later, another Palestinian suspected of selling land to Jews was murdered.

In 2009, the Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, reiterated that those who rented to Jews or facilitated land transactions would face the death penalty. Later that month, a military court found a Palestinian guilty of selling land to Jews and sentenced him to death by hanging. 34

In 2014, PA President Mahmoud Abbas decreed that any Palestinian who sells land “to a hostile country or its citizens” would be punished with “life imprisonment with forced labor.” The Supreme Fatwa Council, chaired by the PA Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, said that “anyone selling Palestinian real estate to the enemy a traitor to Allah and His Messenger, as well as to his religion and homeland, and [decreed that] he is to be shunned by all Muslims.” 35

In 2018, a Palestinian American was convicted of selling land in East Jerusalem to Jews and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor. At the time, 88% of Palestinians agreed people who sold land to Jews were “traitors,” and 64% believed they deserved the death penalty. 36

In April 2021, Sheikh Sabri issued a new fatwa making it permissible to kill anyone who sells land to Jews. 37 Nevertheless, Arabs do sell land to Jews. In 2021, for example, three houses were sold in Silwan, and the Arab owners fled. 38

The silence over this policy discriminating against Jews is yet another example of how human rights crusaders, especially those critical of Israel, ignore Palestinian abuses. Where else in the world is it a crime to sell land to Jews?

The charge that Israel is [like old South Africa] is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

Richard Goldstone, former justice of the
South African Constitutional Court
39

MYTH

Israel treats Palestinians worse than the Afrikaner government treated Blacks in South Africa.

FACT

Even before the State of Israel was established, Jewish leaders consciously sought to avoid the situation that prevailed in South Africa. As David Ben-Gurion told Palestinian nationalist Musa Alami in 1934:

We do not want to create a situation like that which exists in South Africa, where the whites are the owners and rulers, and the Blacks are the workers. If we do not do all kinds of work, easy and hard, skilled, and unskilled, if we become merely landlords, then this will not be our homeland. 40

Today, Jews are a majority of the population, but the Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights and are represented in all the branches of government.

Unlike Israel, under the discriminatory policies of South Africa, skin color determined every aspect of your life from birth until death. Black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population. Laws dictated where they could live, work, attend school, and travel. The government killed Black people who protested its policies. By contrast, Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly, and speech. Some of the government’s harshest critics are Israeli Arabs who are members of the Knesset.

Israeli society is not perfectdiscrimination and unfairness exist there as it does in every other country. These differences, however, are nothing like the horrors of the South African system.

“To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept,” observed Richard Goldstone, former justice of the South African Constitutional Court. “Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination.” But, he added, this is nothing like the situation in South Africa where separation was considered an ideal. “In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration, and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.41

Still, the European Commission said the use of the word apartheid in connection is inappropriate and an example of anti-Semitism.41a

One glaring example of Palestinian hypocrisy in condemning Israel’s treatment of Arabs is the fact that Mahmoud Abbas and other officials send their family members to Israel when they have serious health problems. Abbas’s brother-in-law, for example, underwent life-saving heart surgery at the Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv. A year earlier, Abbas’s wife was also hospitalized in Assuta.42 Hamas leaders calling for Israel’s destruction also send their loved ones to be saved by Israeli doctors. Ismail Haniyeh sent his daughter, granddaughter, mother-in-law, and niece to Israel. His 17-year-old niece was being treated at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv after a bone marrow transplant even as his organization was firing rockets at the city. 43

The difference between the current Israeli situation and . . . [Afrikaner ruled] South Africa is emphasized at a very human level: Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, with the same facilities, attended by the same doctors and nurses, with the mothers recovering in adjoining beds in a ward. Two years ago, I had major surgery in a Jerusalem hospital: the surgeon was Jewish, the anesthetist was Arab, the doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs. Jews and Arabs share meals in restaurants and travel on the same trains, buses, and taxis, and visit each other’s homes.

Could any of this possibly have happened under apartheid? Of course not.

Benjamin Pogrund 44

The situation of Palestinians in the territories is different. The security requirements of the nation, and a violent insurrection in the territories, forced Israel to impose restrictions on Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that are not necessary inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Israeli policy is not based on race but is a result of Palestinian animosity. Palestinians in the territories dispute Israel’s right to exist, whereas Black people wanted an end to the discriminatory regime, not the destruction of South Africa.

Despite security concerns, in 2022, some 90,000 Palestinians from the territories were working in Israel. Another 35,000 work in Jewish settlements. Israel was also increasing the number of permits for Gazans.45  People who are allegedly so persecuted they live in a constant state of fear, anger, and humiliation work side by side with Israelis, earning more money and enjoying superior benefits to what they would receive from Palestinian employers. According to the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat al-Jadida (September 21, 2014):46

  • “The only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli [employer] determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian.”
  • “Whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.”
  • “The salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied West Bank.”
  • “The [Israeli] work conditions are very good, and include transportation, medical insurance and pensions. These things do not exist with Palestinian employers.”

Many people discovered some of these facts when actress Scarlett Johansson was attacked for being the spokesperson for SodaStream because the company’s factory was in Ma’ale Adumim. This city of roughly 40,000 people, ten minutes from downtown Jerusalem, is considered a “settlement,” one which Palestinian peace negotiators agreed would remain part of Israel if a Palestinian state is established. The company employed hundreds of Palestinians, several of whom spoke out against the call to boycott the company: “Before boycotting, they should think of the workers who are going to suffer,” a young SodaStream worker said. He earned nearly ten times what he was paid before joining SodaStream, which also provided transportation, breakfast, and lunch for its employees.47 Though the owners of SodaStream denied the boycott had any effect, they decided to move the plant to southern Israel, and some 500 Palestinians lost their jobs (74 were later rehired).48

Israel could offer Palestinians in the territories full citizenship, but this would require the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians vigorously oppose this idea and demand full independence.

The glaring differences in the way Israel treats its citizens and the way that the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Arab governments treat theirs have led growing numbers of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to apply for Israeli citizenship. When given the choice, many say they would rather live in Israel than Palestine. For example, 54% of Arabs living in East Jerusalem said that if their neighborhood were part of Israel, they would not move to Palestine and when asked what governments they admire most, more than 80% of Palestinians said Israel because they can observe its thriving democracy, and the rights the Arab citizens enjoy there. By contrast, Palestinians place Arab regimes, including their own Palestinian Authority, at the bottom of the list.49

Consider the implication of the claim that Israel is worse than South Africa. That suggests Palestinians would have been better off living as Blacks under Pieter Botha than in democratic Israel.

Does anyone believe that?

MYTH

Israel is engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.

FACT

One of the most odious canards hurled at Israel is that it is guilty of “ethnic cleansing.” In 2001, the UN conference of non-governmental organizations meeting in Durban, South Africa, declared that Israel was guilty of “ethnic cleansing.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) accused Israel of this atrocity in 2020 when Israel demolished the homes of Bedouins in the West Bank that were illegally constructed in a military live-fire range.50 She repeated the charge in 2021 when Israel’s Supreme Court was set to decide whether residents in Sheikh Jarrah should be evicted from their homes.51

The definition of “ethnic cleansing” is “the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority to achieve ethnic homogeneity.”52 The Holocaust was an example of ethnic cleansing, as was the Turkish massacre of Armenians and the forced displacement and mass killings in Rwanda.

Historian Hillel Cohen observed that “there is no non-anti-Semitic way to think or say Israel is carrying out genocide against the Palestinians.”53 The absurdity of the charge is clear from the demography of the disputed territories.

Following the 1948 War, roughly 150,000 Arabs were living in Israel. Rather than expel, imprison, or kill them, Israel granted them citizenship. Today, there are more than two million Arab citizens of Israel, one-fifth of the total population.

What about the West Bank and Gaza?

According to the Israeli 1967 census, the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was 661,700 and 354,000, respectively.54  In 2021, the population of the West Bank and Gaza was 2,949,246 and 1,957,062.55

In addition, the health of Palestinians has improved by every measure and is comparable if not better than in other Middle Eastern and North African countries:56

  • In 1967, the life expectancy of Palestinians was 48.7 years; today it is 76 years. The average for 18 other Middle Eastern and North African countries (excluding Israel) is also 76.
  • The death rate (per 1,000 population) in 1960-1965, before Israel captured the territories, was 16.7; today it is 3. For the 18 other countries, it is 4.
  • The infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) in 1960-1965 was 117; today it is 16 compared to 15 for the other 18 countries.

One reason for the improvement in the health of the Palestinians is that Israel provides world-class medical care to thousands of Palestinians each year, including the families of Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials who seek Israel’s destruction.57

“These numbers demonstrate,” Cohen notes, “that Israel, a militarily potent and effective country, could not possibly be trying to exterminate the Palestinians. Only deeply prejudiced people, either cynically lying or out of touch with Middle Eastern reality, could say that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against Palestinians” (emphasis in the original).58

The real proponents of ethnic cleansing are the Palestinians and advocates of a two-state solution who call for the expulsion of more than 800,000 Jews so Palestinians can achieve ethnic homogeneity in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

I am a proud Israeli—along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Baha’i, Bedouin, Christians, and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but . . . By any yardstick you choose—educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation—Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.

Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin in Israel’s Diplomatic corps 59

MYTH

Israel uses checkpoints to deny Palestinians their rights and humiliate them.

FACT

It is not unusual for nations to guard their borders and establish checkpoints to prevent people from illegally entering their countries and to enhance their security. In the case of Israel, the necessity for checkpoints has been created by the Palestinians. By pursuing a violent campaign of terror against Israel’s citizens, they have forced Israel to set up barriers to make it as difficult as possible for terrorists to enter Israel to conduct acts of violence. The checkpoints are an inconvenience to innocent Palestinians, but they save lives.

The following are just a few other examples of how checkpoints prevent terrorism:

  • On October 23, 2012, a nineteen-year-old Palestinian was caught at the Qalandiya checkpoint with eight pipe bombs he was trying to bring into Jerusalem.60
  • On July 27, 2014, police stopped a suspicious vehicle at a checkpoint near Beitar Illit and discovered a large explosive device attached to gas cylinders inside the car.61
  • On June 29, 2015, a female soldier was stabbed at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.62
  • On May 10, 2016, an Israeli officer was seriously wounded by an explosive device at the Hizme checkpoint near Jerusalem. Five other explosives were found at the scene.63

·         On September 18, 2019, a woman ignored calls from police to halt after she entered a vehicle lane at the Qalandiya checkpoint and was shot after she took out a knife and tried to stab a police officer.64

Barriers are not set up to humiliate Palestinians, but to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens. Frequently, when Israel has relaxed its policy and withdrawn checkpoints, Palestinian terrorists have taken advantage of the opportunity to attack Israelis. Still, Israel has dismantled most of its unmanned checkpoints, reduced the number of manned checkpoints, and streamlined the entry process.65

In addition, Israel issued “VIP” cards to PLO leaders and prominent businesspeople that allow them to go through checkpoints without inspection.66

While the Israeli checkpoints are frequently criticized, few people are aware that the Palestinians have their own checkpoints. In July 2021, for example, Hamas security forces shot and killed a Palestinian who failed to stop at a checkpoint near Gaza City.67

MYTH

Israeli checkpoints prevent Palestinians from receiving medical attention.

FACT

Israel balances its security concerns with the medical needs of Palestinians. According to IDF guidelines, any Palestinian in need of urgent medical care is allowed passage through checkpoints. Palestinians are also allowed to enter Israel for routine medical care unless there is a security problem. Even then, Palestinians can appeal decisions and are also offered other options, such as transfer to neighboring states.

Israeli hospitals extend humanitarian treatment to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. These efforts continued when all other cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis came to a halt during the most recent intifada.

 

Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin in Israel’s Diplomatic corps 59

Ambulances are stopped and searched at Israeli checkpoints because they have frequently been used to transport terrorist bombs, and many of the murderers who have triggered suicide bombings in Israel gained access by driving or riding in Red Crescent ambulances. For example:

  • On May 17, 2002, an explosive belt was found in a Red Crescent ambulance at a checkpoint near Ramallah. The bomb was hidden under a gurney on which a sick child was lying. The driver, Islam Jibril, was already wanted by the IDF and admitted that this was not the first time that an ambulance had been used to transport explosives or terrorists. In a statement issued the same day, the International Committee of the Red Cross said that it “understands the security concerns of the Israeli authorities, and has always acknowledged their right to check ambulances, provided it does not unduly delay medical evacuations.” The sick passengers in the ambulance were escorted by soldiers to a nearby hospital.69
  • On June 30, 2002, Israeli troops found ten suspected Palestinian terrorists hiding in two ambulances in Ramallah. They were caught when soldiers stopped the vehicles for routine checks.70
  • In December 2003, Rashed Tarek al-Nimr, a chemist in hospitals in Nablus and Bethlehem, supplied chemicals from the hospitals to Hamas for use in making bombs and admitted he used ambulances to transport the chemicals. He also said the Hamas commanders would hide in hospitals to avoid arrest.71
  • In December 2004, a Hamas agent with forged documents claiming that he was a cancer patient in need of medical treatment from an Israeli hospital was arrested by security forces. Hamed A-Karim Hamed Abu Lihiya was to meet up with another terrorist, obtain weapons from allies inside Israel, and carry out an attack. That same month, a man recruited by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to plant a bomb on the railway tracks near Netanya tried to use false papers indicating he needed hospital treatment to enter Israel. Another Hamas terrorist planning a suicide bombing was arrested in March 2005 after pretending to be a kidney donor.72

On June 20, 2005, Wafa Samir Ibrahim Bas was arrested for attempting to smuggle an explosives belt through the Erez crossing. Bas aroused the suspicion of soldiers at the checkpoint when a biometric scanner revealed she was hiding explosives. When she realized they had discovered the explosive belt, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it.73

Bas had been admitted on humanitarian grounds to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba several months earlier for treatment of massive burns she received because of a cooking accident. After her arrest, she admitted that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade had instructed her to use her medical authorization documents to enter Israel to carry out a suicide attack. In an interview shown on Israeli television, Bas said her “dream was to be a martyr” and that she intended to kill 40 or 50 people—as many young people as possible.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian obstetrician and gynecologist from the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, who has worked at Soroka Hospital, wrote that he was “outraged at the cynical and potentially deadly suicide bombing attempt.” Dr. Abuelaish said he does research at the hospital’s Genetic Institute and has warm relations with his colleagues. “I make a point, whenever I’m at the hospital, of visiting Palestinian patients,” he said. “I also schedule appointments for other Gaza residents and even bring medication from Soroka to needy patients in the Strip. On the very day that she planned to detonate her bomb, two Palestinians in critical condition were waiting in Gaza to be taken for urgent treatment at Soroka.”

Dr. Abuelaish added, “Wafa was sent to kill the very people in Israel who are healing Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. What if Israeli hospitals now decide to bar Palestinians from seeking treatment? How would those who sent Bas feel if their relatives, in need of medical care in Israel, are refused treatment?”74

By using this tactic, the Palestinians have reinforced the necessity of retaining checkpoints and forced Israel to conduct more stringent inspections, yet another example of how terrorists are making life unnecessarily difficult for innocent Palestinians.

Despite several other cases where Palestinian terrorists tried to take advantage of the “medical route” to infiltrate Israel, tens of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank are allowed to travel each year to hospitals in Israel to receive treatment from some of the finest medical facilities in the world. This includes thousands of children. Many of these patients, including family members of Hamas leaders, receive life-saving treatments that are not available in the Palestinian territories.75

Case Study

Picture a nineteen-year-old soldier commanding a checkpoint when an ambulance arrives. Inside is a woman who is seemingly pregnant and who appears to be in pain; her husband is also highly anxious.

But the soldier has been warned about an ambulance bearing a pregnant woman who is not really pregnant. The intelligence said that underneath the ambulance’s stretcher a wanted terrorist is hiding with an explosive belt for a suicide attack.

It is a hot day, and there is a long line of cars. His commanders are yelling at him on the two-way radio, “Do not let ambulances through without being thoroughly checked, there may very well be terrorists inside!” To complicate the picture, a news video crew is present.

The soldier must make an incredible number of decisions in a very short time. He is only nineteen and has no medical training. He knows that if he lets the ambulance go through and it contains a terrorist, then innocent people will die, and he will have failed in his mission. On the other hand, if there is not a terrorist in this ambulance, and he delays a truly pregnant woman from reaching a hospital, the lives of the mother and baby could be endangered.

What would you do?

MYTH

Israel persecutes Christians.

FACT

While Christians are unwelcome in Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, and most have been driven out of their longtime homes in Lebanon, Christians have always been welcomed in Israel and treated as equal citizens. Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation where the Christian population has grown (from 34,000 in 1948 to 182,000 today).

By their own volition, the Christian communities have remained the most autonomous of the various religious communities in Israel, though they have increasingly chosen to integrate their social welfare, medical, and educational institutions into state structures. The ecclesiastical courts of the Christian communities maintain jurisdiction in matters of personal status, such as marriage and divorce. The Ministry of Religious Services deliberately refrains from interfering in their religious life but maintains a Department for Christian Communities to address problems and requests that may arise.

In Jerusalem, the rights of the various Christian churches to custody of the Christian holy places were established during the Ottoman Empire. Known as the “status quo arrangement for the Christian holy places in Jerusalem,” these rights remain in force today in Israel.

According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 84% of Christians say they are satisfied with life in Israel 76

It was during Jordan’s control of the Old City from 1948 until 1967 that Christian rights were infringed,ss and Israeli Christians were barred from their holy places. The Christian population declined by nearly half, from 25,000 to 12,646. Since then, the population has slowly been growing.

Israel’s detractors also ignore the precarious plight of Christians under Arab rule, especially under the Palestinian Authority, where approximately 50,000 Christians live among 4.9 million Muslims. The total number of Christians in the Palestinian territories has remained stable since 1967; however, the proportion has dropped from nearly 10% in 1922 to 6% in 1967, to just 1% of the population today. Three-fourths of all Bethlehem Christians now live abroad, and most of the city’s population is Muslim.77

Today, approximately 1,300 Christians live among nearly two million Muslims in Gaza. The U.S. State Department said, “According to media accounts, Hamas continued neither to investigate nor prosecute Gaza-based cases of religious discrimination, including reported anti-Christian bias in private sector hiring and police investigations of anti-Christian harassment.”78

“As Christians in this very difficult fundamentalist society, they face all kinds of social and political persecution,” said Robert Nicholson, president and founder of the Philos Project.79

A survey of Palestinian Christians by the Philos Project found that Palestinian Christians are twice as likely as Muslims to emigrate for both economic and security reasons, including attacks by their neighbors. While critical of Israel, 77% said they were worried about radical Salafist groups, 43% believed that most Muslims do not want them in Palestine, and 44% said they were discriminated against when applying for jobs.80

Unlike Christians who enjoy the freedom of speech and religion in Israel, beleaguered Palestinian Christians rarely speak out. “Out of fear for their safety, Christian spokesmen aren’t happy to be identified by name when they complain about the Muslims’ treatment of them . . .[O]ff the record they talk of harassment and terror tactics, mainly from the gangs of thugs who looted and plundered Christians and their property, under the protection of Palestinian security personnel.”81

MYTH

Palestinians do not violate the human rights of their people.

FACT

A steady drumbeat of criticism of Israel for both real and imagined abuses of Palestinians in the disputed territories appears constantly in the media, reports from human rights organizations, and by students and faculty on college campuses. While Israel may be legitimately criticized when abuses are documented, what is shocking is the hypocrisy of the critics who proclaim concern for Palestinian welfare but express it only if Israel can be blamed. This raises the question as to whether their interest in the Palestinians is genuine or simply a propaganda tool meant to tarnish Israel’s image.

It is a legitimate question, given the near-total silence of these critics regarding the treatment and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians living in the Arab world. Palestinians have lived as second or third-class citizens in Arab countries for decades, but since the Arab Spring, thousands have been tortured, murdered, and expelled by their fellow Muslims for alleged involvement in terrorism, for being Sunnis in areas of Shiite control, or for being deemed disloyal.

According to journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, the plight of the Palestinians in Arab countries became increasingly tenuous long before the Arab Spring.82 Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Palestinians cheered Saddam Hussein. Fearing their disloyalty, Kuwait expelled more than 200,000 Palestinians living and working there. When Hussein was finally driven from power in the second Gulf War, Iraqi Shiites began to take revenge and drove most Palestinians from the country.

Palestinian refugees are not welcome anywhere in the region. And the number swelled due to the Syrian civil war where thousands of Palestinians have been killed, imprisoned, and displaced. The lucky ones who escaped to Lebanon or Jordan are unwelcome and confined to refugee camps. In both countries, Palestinians are prohibited from certain professions. In Iraq, a directive was issued preventing the return of any Palestinian who spends more than three months outside Iraq unless they are granted a visa.83

Roughly 98% of Palestinians live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. They deny them basic human rights – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, women’s rights, and gay rights. No presidential election has been held since 2005, and critics of the government are harassed, arrested, tortured, and sometimes murdered, as was Nizar Banat, who was beaten and killed by security forces for his criticism of the corruption of PA officials.84

A report by Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism found that 250 out of more than 2,600 arbitrary arrests made by PA security forces between 2015 and mid-2021 were for either political activity, criticism of the Abbas regime, or participation in protests. Of these, 61% were tortured. The report noted, “Detainees are not the only people impacted by torture; their families are affected as well because they live the details of the harsh experiences for years to come.”85

One Palestinian who escaped Gaza said, “Hamas doesn’t make do with thwarting demonstrations. They shut down parties and performances. They don’t allow concerts, and they spread the notion that artists are heretics….The problems also relate to private life. Women have to wear a head covering when they go outside….Of course, the sale of alcohol is forbidden, even to Christians who need it for religious rituals.”

Another Gazan said of Hamas, “They don’t leave citizens any other option; either join them or stay poor. When there is no work and no food, the only option for a better life – if you can call it that – is to join Hamas.”

A third said, “The Hamas government talks about rehabilitation projects, and they get money for it, but the destruction remains. That’s of course not the situation with Hamas’s leaders, who always end up with renovated homes and new cars.”86

The lives of Hamas residents were also made hellish by PA President Mahmoud Abbas after he imposed financial sanctions on the Gaza Strip. Salaries were suspended for civil servants who were deemed disloyal, and aid to needy families was cut off, as were payments to transfer sick Gazans to West Bank hospitals and keep the electricity on.87

Advocates for Palestinian rights are silent about the cruelties Palestinians suffer unless an excuse can be manufactured to blame Israel.

MYTH

The Palestinian Authority promotes a culture of peace and tolerance toward Israel.

FACT

One of the central elements of the peace process since the signing of the Oslo Accords has been the issue of incitement. Signing this agreement on the White House lawn in 1993, the Palestinians pledged to end the practice of using their media and education system to stoke hatred and intolerance toward Israel. In the decades since, however, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has blatantly broken this promise and continues to glorify terrorists, publish maps without Israel, and use the media and schools to promote contempt for Jews and Israel. A whole generation of young Palestinians has grown up in a culture that demonizes Israelis and discourages peace.

Officials from the PA and Hamas, as well as religious authorities, teachers, and the media, routinely incite violence by calling for “popular resistance,”88 repeating the libel that Jews are endangering the al-Aqsa Mosque and providing financial incentives for terror.

It is a sad commentary on Palestinian society that doctors, lawyers, architects, and scientists do not achieve acclaim; rather, it is the murderers of Jews who get their faces and names commemorated on buildings, at soccer matches, and on trading cards.

What hope is there for peace if generations of Palestinians are raised on hatred? Isn’t this the real obstacle to peace that should outrage the world?

MYTH

Israelis should be prosecuted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

FACT

The Palestinians have for years tried to convince the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge Israeli soldiers and politicians with war crimes. Nothing the ICC can do will bring the Palestinians one iota closer to statehood.

Seven states were invited to submit opinions to the court. All seven asserted the “State of Palestine” does not presently satisfy the conditions to be considered a state because the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not control the territories.

Nevertheless, the court claimed jurisdiction in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.89

When the decision was announced, the State Department issued a statement:

We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and therefore are not qualified to obtain membership as a state, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC. We have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The United States has always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it, or that are referred by the UN Security Council.

Similarly, Israel rejected the decision because no sovereign Palestinian state exists. Other countries, including Germany, Hungary, Australia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Brazil, Uganda, and Canada, also expressed opposition to an ICC probe of Israel.90 Israel has no right of appeal because it is not a member of the court.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is “gravely concerned about the threat the court poses to Israel. The ICC is already threatening Israel with an investigation of so-called war crimes committed by its forces and personnel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Given Israel’s robust civilian and military legal system and strong track record of investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing by military personnel, it’s clear the ICC is only putting Israel in its crosshairs for political purposes. It’s a mockery of justice.”91

The ICC has only prosecuted 30 cases since it was created in 2002, winning only nine convictions.92 It is unlikely the court would have better luck finding fault with the democratically elected leaders of Israel or the soldiers of the IDF. Israel would fight any prosecution vigorously and, like the United States, refuse to recognize the court’s jurisdiction over its citizens.

As with other bodies, such as the Human Rights Council, the focus on Israel represents a double standard. The ICC is not investigating blatant crimes committed by serial human rights abusers such as Turkey, China, and Syria.

MYTH

The Palestinian Authority protects women’s rights.

FACT

Not surprisingly, Israel’s demonizers used International Women’s Day as an opportunity to attack Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. It was equally unremarkable that none of the groups that claim to be concerned with Palestinian welfare would say a word about the appalling treatment of women by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian society more broadly.

Similarly, for Women’s History Month, a U.S.-based group of Palestinian Arab women calling themselves the “Palestinian Feminist Collective” published a statement endorsed by 83 organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace, attacking the “Zionist settler colonial project” (they don’t recognize the existence of the state they are condemning), which says nothing about the treatment of Palestinian women in the PA.93

The Palestinian feminists and other supporters of the Palestinian cause have no problem with the treatment of women in the PA reported by the UN:94

  • “Palestine” has no domestic violence legislation.
  • Sexual harassment is not criminalized.
  • “Palestine” does not have comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.
  • Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is criminalized in Gaza, with a penalty of up to ten years of imprisonment.
  • There is no legal prohibition on female genital mutilation.
  • Abortion for rape survivors is prohibited.
  • Muslim women require the consent of a male guardian to marry.
  • After divorce, a mother automatically loses custody of her children if she remarries.

Here are some of the findings from the State Department human rights report on the treatment of women in the PA:

  • Rape is illegal under PA law, but the legal definition does not address spousal rape.
  • One in five Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza reported at least one incident of physical abuse from their husbands.
  • Palestinian women were frequently unwilling to report cases of violence or abuse to the PA or Hamas due to fear of retribution or little expectation of assistance.
  • The Attorney General’s Office and the security services ignored death threats directed at employees and employees’ family members at a women’s rights organization.
  • No PA law specifically relates to sexual harassment, which was a significant and widespread problem in the West Bank and Gaza. Some women claimed that when they reported harassment, authorities held them responsible for provoking men’s harassing behavior.
  • Women have a right to inheritance but generally received less than men.
  • Men may marry more than one wife.
  • Hamas enforced a conservative interpretation of Islam in Gaza that discriminated against women.
  • Reports of gender-based employment discrimination in Gaza against women were common, and factories often did not hire pregnant or newly married women to avoid the need to approve maternity leave.

One Palestinian man who escaped from Gaza recalled that “a female journalist who was walking outside without a head covering was beaten by Hamas people and taken to the hospital.”95

A woman who also fled described her experience:

As a woman, life in Gaza was especially difficult for me. The oppression takes different forms. A married woman needs to get her husband’s approval to leave the house, and an unmarried woman can go out only if she is accompanied by a male relative. Traveling with a strange man is forbidden, so there are female taxi drivers only for women. Israel’s blockade hurts women in Gaza a lot because the exit permits are given mainly to men. Unemployment among women has increased, and so has domestic violence. In 2014, the daughter of neighbors was murdered, because she was said to be having sexual relations with a strange man. The doctors who examined the body found that she hadn’t lost her virginity 96

According to the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), 58 women were murdered in the West Bank and Gaza in 2019-2020, many in “honor killings” where their actions were judged socially or culturally unacceptable and brought dishonor to the family.97

“The state of women’s rights in Palestine remains at a standstill, and women are still being murdered,” according to the Palestinian Human Rights and Democracy Media Center. “Women remain the most prominent victims of the male culture and of the violence that grows out of it, while this culture elevates men beyond the culture of shame, appoints them as masters and guardians of morality – even when they act immorally – and grants them complete immunity.98

ASWAT, an organization of Palestinian gay women, says Palestinian society “has no mercy for sexual diversity and/or any expression of ‘otherness’ away from the societal norms and the assigned roles that were formed for women. ... The Palestinian woman has no right to choose an identity other than the one enforced on her by the male figures in her family and surroundings.”99

The PA signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) but ignores its provisions. The Supreme Fatwa Council, which is part of the Palestinian government and has no female members, ruled the agreement violates Sharia law.100 Similarly, the Supreme Commission for Tribal Affairs said provisions of the CEDAW related to inheritance, adultery, homosexuals, and Muslim women who marry non-Muslims “contradict the Palestinian national identity, our Islamic religion, customs and traditions, and we are not obligated to apply them in our society.”101

The Human Rights and Democracy Media Centers (SHAMS) said the CEDAW was “attacked under false pretenses based on conspiracy theories” and that women suffer from “hate speech and discrimination” while civil society organizations that support their rights “were targeted by systematic campaigns led by the traditional and conservative power centers.” The Center said legislation needed to be enacted “to protect the family from violence” and “covers key issues about women’s economic and social rights.” The Center also said the penal code had to be modernized to increase “the penalties against killers of women.”102

MYTH

Israel is trying to silence Palestinian human rights groups.

FACT

On October 22, 2021, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six Palestinian NGOs as terror organizations. If Israel was interested in silencing Palestinian human rights groups, why choose just these six? According to the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network, there are more than 140 civil society institutions that are part of the overall network, 29 are members of PNGO.103

A small number of organizations were targeted because of their links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP, whose goal is to liberate all of “Palestine,” is recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU, the United States, and other countries. It has engaged in high-profile terror attacks against Israel and Jews since 1968, when its hijacking of an El Al flight marked the beginning of the age of air piracy.

The six organizations designated as terrorist organizations are the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Palestine Women’s Committees (UPWC), Addameer, Al-Haq, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development. The Israeli government has not publicly released the classified intelligence used to make the designation; however, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs published a report in 2019 which found:

Hamas and PFLP operatives have infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, North America, and South Africa, for the purpose of advancing their ideological goal: the elimination of the State of Israel….Moreover, it appears that terrorist organizations view NGOs in the West as a convenient means for raising funds which they could not otherwise obtain.104

NGO Monitor has also reported on connections between the PFLP and staff members of the organizations, and some evidence against the organizations has come from statements by other NGO employees.105 One employee of the UHWC, for example, told police that “the PFLP-affiliated institutions are inter-connected and serve as the organization’s lifeline financially and organizationally, i.e., money laundering and financing PFLP activity.” According to Matthew Levitt, “In the arrangement, one NGO would learn how to conduct various types of fraud and money laundering, then pass this knowledge on to the others.”106

As Levitt, a former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department, noted, one way NGOs raise money for the PFLP is to forge documents and receipts they present to their donors with inflated costs. The difference between the amount they receive and the real cost is forwarded to the PFLP. Some employees spend some time working on human rights issues while also serving as operatives for the PFLP. The organizations also have been known to host the PFLP in their offices.

Law student Lea Bilke and former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker observed that Israel’s action is consistent with international law norms and obligations. For example, they cite UN Security Council (2001), which refers to the “need to combat by all means” threats to peace and security from terrorism and says that states “shall criminalize the willful provision or collection, by any means, directly or indirectly, of funds by their nationals or in their territories with the intention that the funds should be used … to carry out terrorist attacks.”107

Similarly, Resolution 2642 (2019) states that acts of terrorism are criminal and calls upon states to “more effectively investigate and prosecute cases of terrorist financing and to apply appropriate, effective and proportionate and dissuasive criminal sanctions to individuals and entities convicted of terrorist financing activities.”

Bilke and Baker also note that the Terror Financing Convention holds that “any person commits an offense within the meaning of the Convention if that person … collects funds with the intention that they should be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out an act which constitutes an offense….”

The fact that the NGOs engage in human rights work does not absolve them of their complicity in supporting a terrorist organization.

One country that responded to the revelations was the Netherlands, which announced in January 2022 that it would no longer fund the UAWC after its investigation found that 34 employees were active in the PFLP. The government had previously suspended donations after two senior UAWC officials were indicted for taking part in a bombing that killed Israeli Rina Shnerb in August 2019.108 Earlier, the European Union suspended funding to al-Haq and instructed Oxfam to cut funding to the UAWC.109

Meanwhile, as journalist Khaled Abu Toameh points out, no publicity or condemnation has been directed at the PA, which “imposes severe restrictions on the activity and finances of Palestinian NGOs.”110

MYTH

LGBTQ Palestinians enjoy the same rights as Israelis.

FACT

The most influential Islamic Sunni jurist before his death in 2022, Qatar-based Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, maintained that the punishment for homosexuality should be death. 111 Legally, gay people are treated differently in the West Bank and Gaza; however, it is socially taboo to be openly gay in either place. In the West Bank, the Jordanian Penal Code has been in force since 1951, which does not outlaw homosexuality. Gaza, however, operates under the British Mandate Criminal Code Ordinance of 1936, which criminalizes sexual acts “against the order of nature” and stipulates penalties of up to 10 years. In addition, “laws against ‘indecency’ are sometimes used, on an irregular and unpredictable basis, to criminalize same-sex acts.”112

A survey by Pew asked people from 39 different countries whether “society should accept homosexuality,” 93% of Palestinians said “no,” which ranked 31st, only slightly better than the 98% of Nigerians at the bottom of the rankings.113 Similarly, a BBC poll of six Muslim countries and the PA found that only 5% of Palestinians believed homosexuality was acceptable, the lowest figure in the survey.114

Some gay Palestinians have been killed by the authorities or by family members. Hamas commander Mahmoud Ishtiwi, for example, was tortured and killed after being accused of being gay 115

Majd, a gay Palestinian man from a village near Jenin admitted that coming out would be dangerous. “If my male relations knew, they would come and beat me or kill me,” he says. “My father couldn’t stand that his son is gay. My parents are religious and see homosexuality as a disease.”116

The PA offers no legal protection from discrimination or harassment for LGBTQ people. Palestinian authorities often do the harassing, including extorting gay men by threatening to reveal their secrets. Saif, a 20-year-old student living near Ramallah, for example, said that if it became known that he was gay, he could be murdered. The police keep files on him and other homosexuals to blackmail them into working as spies and informants. Saif said he heard “of guys being called at random and told to come into police stations, with threats their families would be told about their sexuality if they didn’t show up.”117

In Gaza, Jamil, a 21-year-old student, says, “Hamas is always on the lookout for gays, and it monitors the social media.” Gay men do sometimes meet in public, “but they try not to be seen together at the same place more than once.” If they want to meet privately, they need to be sure no family members are around. He added that he doesn’t know any lesbians and suggests that it would be much harder for women in the Strip to engage in a same-sex relationship. “There are too many restrictions on girls, things that are controlling them,” he says. “Women don’t dare to talk about those things, even among themselves.”118

This is backed up by ASWAT, an organization of Palestinian gay women, which says Palestinian society “has no mercy for sexual diversity and/or any expression of ‘otherness’ away from the societal norms and the assigned roles that were formed for women. ... The Palestinian woman has no right to choose an identity other than the one enforced on her by the male figures in her family and surroundings.” 119

Gay Palestinians often seek refuge in Israel. Many say they would rather live under house arrest in Israel than at home.120 According to lawyer Shaul Gannon, from the Israeli LGBT organization Aguda, approximately “2,000 Palestinian homosexuals live in Tel Aviv at any one time.”121

Palestinian political organizations do not advocate for LGBTQ rights; however, some organizations based in Israel attempt to aid LGBTQ Arabs and Palestinians. These include Jerusalem Open House, Black Laundry, and Aswat for women. Another, Al-Qaws, was banned in 2019 from conducting activities in the West Bank because a spokesperson for the PA police said, they are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.” The police said they would arrest members of the group and asked the public to inform them about anyone connected to the group. Subsequently, members of Al-Qaws began receiving death threats. “They are calling us traitors and corrupt people and many are calling for our execution,” one member told the Jerusalem Post. “We are afraid for our lives.”122

Organizations outside the Middle East that campaign for Palestinian rights, however, are silent when it comes to the persecution of gay people, preferring to accuse Israel of “pinkwashing.”123

The Italian gay rights organization Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti condemned the delegitimization of Israel by LGBTQ rights groups that use the term “pinkwashing.” The group said, “The alarming increase in political calls by LGBTI groups to boycott Israel diverts from the real battle these groups should hold, i.e., the advocacy for the promotion of LGBTI rights among the Palestinian people.” The organization praised Israel for being the only state in the Middle East that protects LGBTI rights and condemned the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for not recognizing the rights of the LGTBI community.124

Christopher Scott McCannell, a member of the advisory board of A Wider Bridge, a group that promotes connections between LGBTQ Americans and Israelis, admitted, “Israel is not perfect, and Israel has much further to go to provide equality for all but to say that Israel’s acceptance, recognition, and freedom of LGBT citizens is somehow “pinkwashing” is trying to divert attention from the poor record for LGBT Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.”125

Israel’s treatment of gay people is unique in the Middle East and a model for much of the world. Unlike the PA, workplace discrimination against gay people is outlawed; the Knesset has openly gay members; the Israel Defense Force has openly gay soldiers and officers, and the Supreme Court has ruled that gay couples are eligible for spousal and widower benefits. Israel has also signed the United Nations’ Gay Rights Protection Resolution (2011) and recognizes a domestic partnership between same-sex couples and foreign gay marriages. Surrogacy is legal, and in vitro fertilization is paid for gay couples.126

Gay Palestinians are not the only ones who appreciate Israel’s tolerant attitude. The country’s reputation has made it a major destination for gay tourists, and Tel Aviv has been named one of the most LGBTQ-friendly places in the world.127


1 Vamberto Morais, A Short History of Anti-Semitism, (NY: W. W. Norton and Co., 1976), p. 11; Bernard Lewis, Semites & Anti-Semites, (NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 1986), p. 81.

2 “Anti-Semitism,” Oxford English Dictionary; Webster’s Third International Dictionary

3 Bernard Lewis, Islam in History: Ideas, People, and Events in the Middle East, (Chicago, IL: Open Court, 2001), p. 148.

4 Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985), pp. 43–44.

5 Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, pp. 185–86, 191, 194.

6 . Norman Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands, (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979), p. 81; Maurice Roumani, The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue, (Tel Aviv: World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, 1977), pp. 26–27; Bat Ye’or, p. 72.

7 Stillman, pp. 59, 284.

8 Roumani, pp. 26–27.

9 Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, (NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 158.

10 G. E. Von Grunebaum, “Eastern Jewry Under Islam,” Viator, (1971), p. 369.

11 Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, p. 30.

12 Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, p. 14.

13 Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, pp. 56–57.

14 Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide, (Rutherford, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002), p. 107.

15 Richard Cohen, “Where Bigotry Gets a Hearing,” Washington Post, (October 30, 2001).

16 Official British document, Foreign Office File No. 371/20822 E 7201/22/31; Elie Kedourie, Islam in the Modern World, (London: Mansell, 1980), pp. 69–72.

17 Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), p. 196.

18 Jordanian Nationality Law, Official Gazette, No. 1171, Article 3(3) of Law No. 6, 1954, (February 16, 1954), p. 105.

19 Meyrav Wurmser, “The Schools of Ba’athism: A Study of Syrian Schoolbooks,” (Washington, DC: Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI), 2000), p. xiii. See also Modern World History, Jordanian Ministry of Education, 1966, p. 150 and studies by IMPACT-se.

20 Aaron Klein, “Official PA Site Publishes ‘Protocols’ in Arabic,” WorldNetDaily, (May 21, 2005); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Old Antisemitic Forgery Alive and Well in the PA: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Palestinian Media Watch, (February 25, 2013).

21 Al-Mussawar, (August 4, 1972).

22 “Vile Words,” Washington Post, (May 8, 2001).

23 Diaa Hadid, “Mahmoud Abbas Claims Rabbis Urged Israel to Poison Palestinians’ Water,” New York Times, (June 23, 2016).

24 Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI); Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, (May 15, 1997); Jerusalem Post, (May 23, 2001); Palestine News Agency WAFA, (April 28, 2005); Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA Official Repeats Libel: ‘Zionist policy’ Is to Cause Drug Addiction among Palestinian Youth,” Palestinian Media Watch, (October 15, 2014).

25 “Leading Egyptian Newspaper Raises Blood Libel,” MEMRI, (November 6, 2000). For more recent examples see Haisam Hassanein, “Ramadan Soap Operas Contradict Sisi’s Outreach to Israel,” Washington Institute, (June 7, 2019).

26 Emily Schrader, “Arabic social media campaign compares Jews to coronavirus,” Jerusalem Post, (April 29, 2020).

27 “Instructional Content on How to Stab Jews Spreads on Social Media,” ADL Official Blog, (October 15, 2015).

28 “Antisemitic Friday Sermon On Palestinian Authority TV: Allah Turned Jews Into Apes And Pigs; Vile Traits Run In Their Genes; Humanity Cannot Coexist With Them; U.S., Europe ‘Vomited Them Out’; Rocks And Trees Will Say: ‘There Is A Jew Behind Me, Come And Kill Him,’” translation by MEMRI of sermon delivered by Sheikh Osama Al-Tibi on Palestine TV, (December 14, 2018).

29 Jonathan Krashinsky, “Even Palestinian Crosswords Reject Israel,” Palestinian Media Watch, (March 15, 2001).

30 Ariel Ben Solomon, “Israeli Government Reaches Historic Budget Deal for Arab Sector,” Jerusalem Post, (December 30, 2015).

31 Aaron Boxerman, “Government extends multi-billion dollar plan for Arab municipalities,” Times of Israel, (October 26, 2020).

32 Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel, (NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2003), p. 157

33 Storer H. Rowley, “Land Sales Becoming A Weapon In Battle For Jerusalem,” Chicago Tribune, (May 14, 1997).

34 Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA: Death penalty for those who sell land to Jews,” Jerusalem Post, (April 1, 2009) and “PA court: Death to man who sold land to Jews,” Jerusalem Post, (April 29, 2009).

35 Official PA TV, October 21, 23, 2014, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Abbas Decrees Life Imprisonment for Selling Land to Israelis,” Palestinian Media Watch, (January 6, 2015).

36 Maurice Hirsch, “The PA’s Apartheid land laws,” Palestinian Media Watch, (December 31, 2018).

37 “Khatib Al-Aqsa issues a Sharia fatwa regarding the diversion or sale of real estate to settlement associations,” Sama News Agency, (April 8, 2021).

38 “Another house in Silwan sold to Jews - 3rd this month,” Elder of Ziyon, (July 29, 2021).

39 Richard Goldstone, “Israel and the Apartheid Slander,” New York Times, (October 31, 2011).

40 Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion, and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War, (London: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 140; Haaretz, (September 23, 2003).

41 Richard Goldstone, “Israel and the Apartheid Slander,” New York Times, (October 31, 2011).

41a Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell i Fontelles on behalf of the European Commission,” European  Parliament(January 20, 2023).

42 “Abbas’s brother-in-law gets life-saving heart surgery in Israel,” Times of Israel, (October 23, 2015).

43 Ido Efrati, “Hamas Leader’s Daughter Received Medical Treatment in Israel,” Haaretz, (October 19, 2014); “Hamas chief’s niece has been hospitalized in Israel for over a month — report,” Times of Israel, (May 27, 2021).

44 Benjamin Pogrund, “Israel is a Democracy in Which Arabs Vote,” Focus, 40, (2005).

45 Daniel Avis, “Israel to Offer More Work Permits for Palestinians, Bennett Says,” >Bloomberg, (January 18, 2022).

46 Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Official PA Daily Lauds Israel’s Treatment of Palestinian Workers,” Palestinian Media Watch, (September 23, 2014).

47 Christa Case Bryant, “Palestinian Workers Back Scarlett Johansson’s Opposition to SodaStream Boycott,” Christian Science Monitor, (January 30, 2014).

48 “SodaStream bringing 74 West Bank Palestinians back to work at Negev plant,” JTA, (May 23, 2017).

49 Daniel Estrin, “Jerusalem Palestinians Taking Israeli Citizenship,” AP, (January 12, 2011); Jackson Diehl, “Why Palestinians Want to Be Israeli Citizens,” Washington Post, (January 12, 2011).

James Bennet, “Letter from the Middle East; Arab Showplace? Could It Be the West Bank?” New York Times (April 2, 2003). The last time the question was asked was in 2002

50 @IlhanMN, (November 5, 2020); Sarah Chemla, “Ilhan Omar: Defund Israel over illegal Bedouin homes that were demolished,” Jerusalem Post, (November 11, 2020).

51 @IlhanMN, (May 9, 2021).

52 “ethnic cleansing,” Merriam Webster.

53 Hillel Cohen, Army of Shadows, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), p. 274.

54 Wael R. Ennab, “Population and Demographic Developments In The West Bank And Gaza Strip Until 1990,” United Nations Conference On Trade And Development, (June 28, 1994).

55 “The World Factbook,” CIA, (June 17, 2021).

56 CIA and “World Population Prospects 2019,” UN.

57 See, for example, Ido Efrati, “Hamas Leader's Daughter Received Medical Treatment in Israel,” Haaretz, (October 19, 2014) and “Hamas chief’s niece has been hospitalized in Israel for over a month — report,” Times of Israel, (May 27, 2021).

58 Hillel Cohen, Army of Shadows, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), p. 274.

59 Ishmael Khaldi, “Lost in the Blur of Slogans,” SFGate.com, (March 4, 2009).

60 Yaakov Lapin, “‘Palestinian with Explosives Was Heading for J’lem,’” Jerusalem Post, (October 23, 2012).

61 Ben Hartman, “Border Police Stop Suspected Bombing Attack during Arrest at West Bank Checkpoint” Jerusalem Post, (July 28, 2014).

62 Avi Lewis, “Female Soldier Wounded in Bethlehem Stabbing Attack,” Times of Israel, (June 29, 2015).

63 Gili Cohen, “Israeli Army Officer Seriously Wounded in Blast at West Bank Checkpoint,” Haaretz, (May 11, 2016).

64 Marcy Oster, “Palestinian woman pulls knife at West Bank checkpoint and is killed by police,” JTA, (September 18, 2019).

65 “UN: Israel Has Dismantled 20 percent of West Bank Checkpoint,” Associated Press, (June 16, 2010); “Israel, the Conflict and Peace: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (December 30, 2009).

66 “Report Of The Special Committee To Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting The Human Rights Of The Palestinian People And Other Arabs Of The Occupied Territories,” United Nations, (November 14, 1997).

67 “Hamas Shoots Dead Palestinian for Failing to Stop at Checkpoint,” Asharq Al-Awsat, (July 25, 2021).

68 “Behind the Headlines: Abortive Suicide Attack at Erez,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (June 22, 2005).

69 “Palestinian Use of Ambulances for Terror,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (December 22, 2003); Amos Harel, Amira Hass, and Yosef Algazy, “Bomb Found in Red Crescent Ambulance,” Haaretz, (March 29, 2002).

70 “Palestinian Use of Ambulances for Terror,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (December 22, 2003)

71 Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), p. 100.

72 “Attack by Female Suicide Bomber Thwarted at Erez Crossing,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (June 20, 2005).

73 Ibid.

74 Behind the Headlines: Abortive Suicide Attack at Erez,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (June 22, 2005).

75 “Hamas Leader’s Daughter Received Medical Treatment in Israel: Sources,” Reuters, (October 19, 2014).

76 “Israel’s Christian community is growing, 84% satisfied with life here – report,” Times of Israel, (December 22, 2021).

77 Alex Safian, “New York Times Omits Major Reason Christians Are Leaving Bethlehem,” CAMERA, (December 24, 2004); “The Palestinian Christian Population,” JCPA Background Paper, (2011); Matt Hadro, “Why are Christians leaving Palestinian territories?” Catholic News Agency, (June 19, 2020).

78 “2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Israel, West Bank, and Gaza,” U.S. Department of State, (June 10, 2020).

79 Courtney Mares, “Gaza Exodus: Helping Christians caught in a crisis,” Catholic News Agency, (January 14, 2020).

80 Hadro, op. cit.

81 Raab, op. cit.

82 Khaled Abu Toameh, “The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians,” Gatestone Institute, (August 10, 2015).

83 Khaled Abu Toameh, “How Arabs Discriminate Against Palestinians,” Gatestone Institute, (March 19, 2021); Abu Toameh, “Palestinian Victims of an Arab Country,” Gatestone Institute, (January 21, 2021).

84 Bethan McKernan, and Quique Kierszenbaum, “Nizar Banat’s death highlights the brutality of Palestinian Authority,” The Guardian, (August 31, 2021).

85 “Torture Continues in the Prisons of the Palestinian Authority: Arrests Violate Domestic Laws and International Conventions,” Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism, (December 2021).

86 Ofir Berman, “Life in Gaza Was Hell. They Managed to Escape. These Are Their Stories,” Haaretz, (June 10, 2021).

87 Khaled Abu Toameh, “How Palestinian Leaders Inflict Pain on Their People; EU Shrugs,” Gatestone Institute, (November 10, 2021).

88 See, for example, Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA calls for terror - “popular resistance” – like the first Intifada when “we were masters of the roads” and “the settlers were like hiding rats,” Palestinian Media Watch, (March 3, 2022).

89 Isabel Kershner, “I.C.C. Rules It Has Jurisdiction to Examine Possible Israel War Crimes,” New York Times, (February 5, 2021).

90 Lahav Harkov, “Germany, Hungary join states opposing ICC probe of Israel,” Jerusalem Post, (February 9, 2021).

91 “Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At a Press Availability with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Attorney General William Barr, and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien,” U.S. Department of State, (June 11, 2020).

93 (“Pledge that Palestine is a Feminist Issue,” Palestinian Feminist Collective, (March 2021).

94 “Palestine Gender Justice & The Law,” United Nations Development Programme, (2018).

95 Ofir Berman, “Life in Gaza Was Hell. They Managed to Escape. These Are Their Stories,” Haaretz, (June 10, 2021).

96 Ibid.

97 Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “58 Palestinian women murdered in domestic violence in 2 years; PA blamed for not ratifying law to protect them,” Palestinian Media Watch, (July 8, 2021).

98 Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, “After alleged honor killing, Palestinians examine discriminatory culture,” Jerusalem Post, (September 6, 2019).

99 “ASWAT – Palestinian Gay Women,” Mediterranean Women, (August 15, 2006).

100 “The Supreme Fatwa Council does not accept anything that contradicts Sharia in CEDAW and elsewhere,” State of Palestine House of Iftah [ Arabic], (December 12, 2019).

101 “Clans: Any agreement that violates the law of God will not be accepted by our society,” Alresala Net [ Arabic], (December 24, 2019).

102 “On the occasion of International Women’s Day “SHAMS” Center calls for ending the state of judiciary backlog in Sharia courts,” The Human Rights and Democracy Media Centers (SHAMS), (March 8, 2020).

104 “Terrorists in Suits,” Ministry of Strategic Affairs, (February 2019).

105 “Summary of the PFLP’s NGO Network,” NGO Monitor, (October 20, 2021).

106 Matthew Levitt, “A Blurred Line Between Civil Society and Terrorism,” Policy Notes, No. 112, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, (November 2021).

107 Lea Bilke and Amb. Alan Baker, “Israel’s Designation of Six Terrorism-Linked NGOs Was in Full Accordance with International Law,” JCPA, (November 2, 2021).

108 Lahav Harkov, “Netherlands defunds Palestinian NGO Israel declared terror organization,” Jerusalem Post, (January 5, 2022 ).

109 “Parliamentary questions,” European Parliament, (December 17, 2021).

110 Khaled Abu Toameh, “The Palestinian Authority Campaign Against Palestinian NGOs,” Gatestone Institute, (November 4, 2021).

111 Liza Rozovsky, “What It’s Like to Be Gay in Gaza: Meeting Israelis on Dating Apps, Evading Hamas and Plotting Escape,” Haaretz, (February 21, 2018).

112 “LGBT Rights in Palestine,” Equaldex, accessed (June 27, 2018).

113 “The Global Divide on Homosexuality,” Pew Research Center, (June 4, 2013).

114 “The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?” BBC, (June 24, 2019).

115 Jack Moore, “Hamas Executes Prominent Commander After Accusations Of Gay Sex,” Newsweek, (March 2, 2016).

116 Nigel O’Connor, “Gay Palestinians Are Being Blackmailed Into Working As Informants,” Vice, (February 19, 2013).

117 Ibid.

118 Liza Rozovsky, “What It’s Like to Be Gay in Gaza: Meeting Israelis on Dating Apps, Evading Hamas and Plotting Escape,” Haaretz, (February 21, 2018).

119 “ASWAT – Palestinian Gay Women,” Mediterranean Women, (August 15, 2006).

120 “Palestinian gays flee to Israel,” BBC, (October 22, 2003).

121 Nigel O’Connor, “Gay Palestinians Are Being Blackmailed Into Working As Informants,” Vice, (February 19, 2013).

122 Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA bans LGBTQ activities in West Bank,” Jerusalem Post, (February 27, 2020).

123 Mitchell Bard, “Israel: The world’s cleanest country,” JNS, (April 27, 2022).

124 “Italian gay rights group rejects anti-Israel ‘pinkwashing’ accusation,” Times of Israel, (November 22, 2016).

125 Christopher Scott McCannell, “West Bank, Gaza no haven for LGBT Palestinians,” Washington Blade, (July 9, 2015).

126 Alina Dain Sharon, “Israel and Arab Countries Are Miles Apart on LGBT Rights,” Outward Magazine, accessed June 27, 2018; Myriam Miedzian, “Never mind the pinkwashing charge, and celebrate Israel,” Daily News, (June 2, 2018).

127 See for example Keith Langston, “The 12 most LGBTIQ+ friendly places on Earth: where to go for Pride 2022,” Lonely Planet, (April 20, 2022) and “Where Is The Gay Capital of the World? Ten Fabulous Contenders…” Queer in the world,” accessed May 13, 2022.