The Palestinian teenager accused of stabbing Israeli mother-of-six Dafna Meir to death last week was influenced by Palestinian TV, the Shin Bet security agency said Sunday.
The linkage between the fatal attack and the Palestinian broadcast was the latest in a string of accusations from Jerusalem that an almost 5-month-long wave of terrorism and violence is being driven by Palestinian incitement on social media and via official channels.
Prior to carrying out the deadly attack, 15-year-old Morad Bader Abdullah Adais watched “Palestinian television broadcasts which portrayed Israel as ‘killing young Palestinians,’” a statement from the Shin Bet said, a week after the slaying of Dafna Meir in her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel.
“On the day of the murder, while under the influence of the programs he had been exposed to on Palestinian television, the minor decided to commit a stabbing attack with the goal of murdering a Jew,” the statement read.
The agency did not name what shows Adais had watched, or explain how it knew there was a direct link between the broadcast and the terrorist act.
The killing, inside a heavily guarded settlement and in front of Meir’s children, shocked the nation. Adais was caught after a manhunt of several days.
According to the Shin Bet, Adais confessed to the attack and told interrogators the attack was nationalistically motivated.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said international groups should cut funding to the Palestinians, which she claimed was paying for inciting media content.
“The Shin Bet proved there is a direct connection between incitement and the atrocities and terror we have witnessed recently,” she said in a statement following the Shin Bet release. “The world must be held accountable for the hundreds of millions of dollars that go to the Palestinian Authority. This money goes to incitement, this money motivates terror. This is what I tell those heads of state that funnel millions to the PA. Check where the money goes.”
Israeli officials and watchdog groups have long claimed Palestinian media promotes terrorist activity, teaches anti-Semitism and incites hatred of Israelis, especially in its programming for children. They claim the current wave of violent attacks by Palestinians on Israelis has been spurred by videos, songs, photos, and other content, mostly on social media, that inspires would-be terrorists to pick up knives, guns, rocks, and other weapons to attack Jews.
“The difficult results of the attack indicate, once again, the severity of the threat of wild incitement against the State of Israel and the Jews on Palestinian media, which influences lone attackers to murder and carry out serious terror attacks,” the Shin Bet said.
Last week, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan unveiled a plan requiring Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks to take greater responsibility for content that incites to terrorism.
The social media giants “make millions but claim they are not responsible for content, and that they only provide a platform,” a spokesperson for Erdan told The Times of Israel. “That is not going to [fly]. We are planning to put a stop to this irresponsibility, and we are going to do it as part of an international coalition that has had enough of this behavior as well.”
At the weekly cabinet meeting last week, hours before Meir’s murder, Erdan presented ministers with an “index of incitement,” showing a correlation between instances of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content posted by Palestinians, and the level of violence by Palestinians against Israelis.
Israeli security forces in recent months shuttered a number of Palestinian TV and radio stations in the West Bank due to accusations that it has been inciting violence against Israelis.