Congress & the Middle East: Senate Letter Urging Administration to Press PA on Incitement
(March 29, 2011)
Dear Secretary Clinton:
In the wake of this month's brutal terrorist murders of a Jewish family in Itamar and the terrorist bombing of a civilian bus in Jerusalem, we are writing with serious concern over continuing incitement directed against Jews and Israel within the Palestinian media, mosques and schools, and even by individuals or institutions affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA). We would like to know what specific steps you are taking to press for an end to this dangerous incitement.
Palestinian incitement includes the glorification of terrorists and jihad, and anti-Semitic stereotypes in the Palestinian media. There are a number of examples of Palestinian incitement over the last year listed in an index established by the Israeli Prime Minister's office.
On March 9, 2011, PA President Mahmoud Abbas' advisor, Sabri Saidam, delivered a speech in which he emphasized that Palestinian weapons must be turned towards Israel. Saidam reportedly demanded that the Palestinian people be attentive to the living conditions of martyrs' families and said that the anniversary of the death of Dalal Mughrabi (one of the perpetrators of a 1978 coastal highway massacre) should be marked by inaugurating a square in her name in the city of El-Bireh.
On February 9, 2011, the official Palestinian television station broadcast a clip from a campaign entitled "Women as Exemplars," during which Dalal Mughrabi (see above) was extolled. In the summer of 2010, several children's summer camps were named after her.
On January 24, 2011, the Governor of Jenin issued a Presidential Grant worth $2,000 to the family of a Palestinian terrorist, Khaldoun Samoudi, who was killed while trying to detonate two bombs against Israeli soldiers at the Beka'ot Crossing.
On January 2, 2011, Al Hayat Al-Jadida reported that Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, attended a gathering on the 46th anniversary of the establishment of Fatah during which models of settlement buildings were blown up. He reportedly reviewed terrorist attacks perpetrated by Fatah and said that, "Fatah is a mass movement which believed in popular revolution and wrested its right to use all means of resistance in order to achieve its aim."
Although President Abbas has expressed his sorrow over the Itamar massacre, the Palestinian Authority must take unequivocal steps to condemn the incident and stop allowing the incitement that leads to such crimes. Educating people toward peace is critical to establishing the conditions to a secure and lasting peace.
The Itamar massacre was a sobering reminder that words matter, and that Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel can lead to violence and terror. We urge you to redouble your efforts to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that continuing to condone incitement is not tolerable. We also urge you to consider focusing adequate training and educational programs in the West Bank and Gaza that promote peaceful coexistence with Israel.
Kirsten E. Gillibrand
Barbara A. Mikulski
Mary L. Landrieu
James E. Risch
Charles E. Schumer
James M. Inhofe
Joseph L. Lieberman
Frank R. Lautenberg
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Benjamin L. Cardin
Patrick J. Toomey
Sources: JTA, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk