Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says that though Israel has no pre-conditions for "proximity talks" that are to begin with the Palestinian Authority this week, it has "logical and moral demands" regarding the ongoing anti-Israel incitement that is rampant throughout the PA-controlled areas.
Ayalon held a press conference with Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) at the Foreign Ministry on Monday morning, announcing PMW's new campaign to publicize Palestinian incitement. The ongoing PMW research reveals new evidence of the glorification of Arab terrorists not only in high political PA echelons, but also in textbooks, on television, and elsewhere.
The press conference also featured the screening of a TV ad that has appeared on CNN and Fox News for PMW. The ad notes that the Obama Administration has strongly condemned PA glorification of terrorists, and says it imperils peace. But, the narrator emphasizes, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas "recently promoted a terrorist who planned the killing of three Americans, and supported the naming of a city square after a terrorist who murdered 37 civilians. In addition, [PA] prime minister [Salam] Fayyad just sponsored a tournament for teams named after terrorists."
"If terrorists are glorified," the narrator asks dramatically, "how can there be peace?" (See video below of ad and of conference.)
Ayalon praised PMW, saying it is "a very important NGO, in the absence of any civic society and democracy in the Palestinian Authority."
Marcus explained, "This glorification of terrorists is the ultimate incitement, putting its stamp of approval on these terrorists and telling the children: 'Here are your heroes.' We are now starting this campaign in order that the peace process can be genuine and not go nowhere just because the hatred continues so strongly."
Asked if PMW’s findings will be put on the negotiating table, Ayalon answered in the affirmative, and Marcus elaborated: "I think it’s critical... This will give the Israel government an opportunity to put these issues in front of the Palestinians in a very public way, and hopefully, with the world's attention and that of the U.S. government, the Palestinians will stop this incitement."
Ayalon said, "The Americans are very much aware of our concerns in this matter, and they realize that though we have no pre-conditions for the talks, these very logical and moral demands will be very high on our agenda once the talks start."
Marcus added, "There cannot be such glorification of terrorists without a large infrastructure of hatred behind it." He said that the continued and growing demonization of Israel is very critical in this context, as is the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist. It allows the PA to call its terrorism “defensive” and a reaction, as opposed to something it initiates.
Ayalon said that the UNRWA claims that anti-Israel incitement has been removed from PA textbooks “does not correspond with the facts we have, or with the books we have from this school year.”