The Obama administration justified releasing more than $192 million in financial aid to the Palestinian Authority with false information, according to an Israeli expert who monitors the Palestinian media’s constant promotion of violent, hateful rhetoric.
The administration quietly reinstated the P.A.’s aid last month after it was frozen by Congress in the wake of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to declare statehood before the United Nations. The administration also secretly attempted to restore funding to a U.N. cultural agency that unilaterally—and illegally—recognized the "State of Palestine."
Recent Stories in National Security
In explaining the administration’s rationale for reinstating the funds, White House spokesperson Tommy Vietor claimed, "The P.A. has recognized Israel's right to exist, renounced violence, and accepted previous agreements, including the Roadmap," in reference to the peace plan advanced by the Middle East Quartet, according to AFP.
Each of these claims is false and promotes the erroneous notion that the Israelis have a genuine partner for peace, said Itamar Marcus, the head of an Israeli research institute, who was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to represent the Israeli government in negotiations with the P.A. on incitement issues.
"This is totally, totally false information," Marcus told a crowd of congressional staffers and other observers Friday during a presentation on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth. "Someone has to get the proper information to the White House" because it is "releasing $192 million based on false information."
"The Palestinian Authority is in total violation of these principles" detailed by the White House, he noted, before launching into a presentation outlining the multiple ways in which the P.A. teaches its youth to hate Israel and become violent terrorists intent on eliminating the Jewish state.
During a broadcast of a popular Palestinian children’s show earlier this month, a child is praised for stating: "Our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail."
She goes on, with the moderator’s encouragement, to discuss taking Israeli lands, a declaration that elicits the host to applaud and exclaim, "Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!"
"This is an educational program, and they recited this at the opening," said Marcus, the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, which translates and catalogs public instances of Palestinian incitement. "Twice in the same month they are reciting this hate message."
Videos of multiple children claiming that Yasir Arafat was poisoned by Israel were also displayed, eliciting murmurs of shock from some attendees.
Another children’s television show tells viewers how to create a map of "Palestine" that depicts the nonexistent state as encompassing the entirety of Israel. A narrator informs children that the maps will help them "remember our country, Palestine, in its historic area."
During another broadcast, a group of young children listen to playful music as they are taught that the Northern portions of Israel—which have never been deemed Palestinian land—are occupied Palestinian territories.
"There is a very active denial of the past history as well to create a justification of denying Israel," explained Marcus. "This is an official message."
Additionally, claims that Palestinian political players believe the Jewish state has a right to exist are easily disproved by their comments, in Arabic, on the P.A.’s official television station, Itamar said.
In one video clip translated from Arabic, the P.A.’s mufti, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, explained why Israel does not deserve to exist.
"The most important religious figure in Palestine is saying Israelis have no connection [to their land], and that’s a constant message of Palestinian TV," Marcus said.
Hussein claims in another clip that was aired on official P.A. television stations that Jesus was a Muslim.
"They’re saying Jesus was the first martyr," Marcus explained after airing the video. "They are taking away his Christianity and turning him into a Muslim and saying he preached Islam."
Slickly produced propaganda videos claiming that Palestinians—not Jews—lived in Israel during biblical times also are broadcast on a regular basis.
"It’s a very, very powerful message of Israel not having a right to exist," Marcus noted. It reveals a campaign aimed at "denying all of Jewish history and Jewish right to exist there, and an ongoing denial of Christian tradition as well."
Marcus also displayed a translated version of a highly inflammatory article penned by Adli Sadeq, the P.A.’s ambassador to India. It contradicts the generally accepted notion that Fatah is a moderate political party that pursues peace.
"They [Israelis] have a common mistake or misconception by which they fool themselves into assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them," Sadeq wrote in a November 2011 article published in the newspaper Al Hayat Al-Jadida. "They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never has any shred of a right to exist."
"There are no two Palestinians who disagree over the fact that Israel exists, and recognition of it is restating the obvious, but recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from the recognition of its [physical] existence," Sadeq adds.
Palestinian newscasts also promote a dangerous ideology, Marcus said.
An official of Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki states in one broadcast from March 17 that Israel "imitates the period of Hitler."
This type of violent, patently false rhetoric is rarely condemned by the United States, further emboldening the P.A., Marcus said.
"The Palestinians will never stop if the U.S. keeps doing this," he said. "If we want peace this has to stop. The policy should be based on correct information."
Referring to Vietor’s official explanation of why the P.A. should be given millions of taxpayer dollars, Marcus said, "That first statement from the White House is a total mistake," and noted, "all of these examples happened in the last few months, some of it in the same week that the White House made that statement."
When the White House signs off on P.A. aid without condemning such rhetoric, "they’re telling the P.A. that you can continue glorifying violence and teaching your kids to continue making maps that don’t show Israel. They’re giving them a clean bill of health, and that’s the danger here."