Israel’s government accused the Palestinian Authority Sunday of educating children to seek the destruction of Israel and look to Adolf Hitler as a role model.
At the same time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu connected Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state to what he said was continuing Palestinian incitement.
“True peace cannot exist without stopping the incitement against Israel, and educating for peace,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people and declare the end of national demands – this is the root of the conflict.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz pointed to a number of cases of anti-Israel statements as proof that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not trying to make peace.
“As it talks of peace in the United Nations, and in the international forums, it teaches for the destruction of the State of Israel and the expulsion or destruction of the Jewish people,” Steinitz told Israel Radio. “It is an entire system of hatred and one that shows elements of admiration of Adolf Hitler as someone who knew how to deal with the Jewish people.”
Steinitz, whose ministry publishes an “incitement index” meant to track Palestinian statements against Israel, presented new findings on the subject to the cabinet Sunday.
Steinitz’s presentation focused on denials of Israel’s right to exist; emphasis on Israel’s inevitable disappearance; depiction of Jews as subhuman; and statements that all forms of resistance — including terror — are legitimate.
Among presented findings were posts on Abbas’s Presidential Guards’ Facebook page that showed maps of Israel labeled as Palestine.
Another post used as evidence, taken from the official Fatah Facebook page and the website of its military wing from November 2013, threatens to kidnap soldiers and fire rockets at Israel.
“We are talking about very serious things and it is about time that we stopped burying our heads in the sand,” Steinitz said.
During the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu backed up Steinitz’s assertions.
“To my regret, this incitement is continuing,” Netanyahu said. “Opposition to recognizing the Jewish state and our right to be here is continuing. We are not foreigners in Jerusalem, Beit El or Hebron. I reiterate that in my view, this is the root of both the conflict and the incitement: the nonrecognition of this basic fact.”
Speaking at the same cabinet meeting, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who also serves as Israel’s chief peace negotiator, emphasized that the high levels of incitement must not be used as a pretext to terminate the peace process with the Palestinian leadership. Instead, the justice minister said, Israel must work toward reaching an agreement in order to ensure it stays both a Jewish and a democratic state.
The incitement against Israel taking place within Palestinian society, and especially within the Palestinian education system, may result in extreme consequences and should serve as an incentive for the Jewish state to advance a two-state solution in order to separate from the Palestinian people, Livni said.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) told Israel Radio on Sunday that while he doesn’t take the incitement lightly, he rejects the notion that the hateful speech reflects the Palestinian Authority’s point of view.
Herzog called on the prime minister to make historic decisions and noted that he wouldn’t be surprised if a final agreement sees Palestinian government buildings located in East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Some Israeli leaders have long pointed to Palestinian incitement, in education and the media, as evidence that there is no peace partner.
Last week Netanyahu, recalling Palestinian celebrations over a prisoner release earlier in the week, told Kerry he was skeptical over Ramallah’s commitment to peace.
“I know that you are committed to peace; I know that I am committed to peace; but, unfortunately, given the actions and words of Palestinian leaders, there’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace,” Netanyahu said during a joint press conference on Thursday.
On Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said terror attacks were rooted in Palestinian indoctrination and Abbas was not actually seeking peace.
“They are only trying to get what they can and then they will continue,” he said, charging that the biggest problem preventing reconciliation is the continued education supporting anti-Israel terrorism within Palestinian society.
“It all begins with education,” Ya’alon said.