by David Bedein
For the first time since the genesis of Middle East peace negotiations, more than 30 years ago, the government of Israel has placed the cessation of official Arab incitement to murder Jews as a condition for the continuation of Middle East peace negotiations.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared after last week’s government weekly cabinet meeting, “It is not only missiles and rockets that endanger security and push peace further off. Words can also be dangerous.”
Referring to recent ceremonies held by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in honor of Palestinian terrorists who had murdered Jews. Mr. Netanyahu observed that “Sadly, there has been a retreat in this area in recent months, both within the Palestinian Authority and by its leaders. Whoever sponsors and supports naming a square in Ramallah after a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis on the coastal road - encourages terrorism. Whoever declares those responsible for the murder of the late Rabbi Meir Hai, father to seven children, as holy martyrs - pushes peace further away.”
Mr. Netanyahu also made reference to the new Palestinian curriculum, which represents the first official curriculum since the Third Reich to inculcate war against the Jews.
In Mr. Netanyahu’s words,
“incitement continues in the Palestinian media and education system; in its official media outlets and in the schools under its supervision. These serious actions represent a harsh violation of the Palestinians’ international obligation to prevent incitement. I say to the chairman of the Palestinian Authority: Stop the incitement. This is not how peace is made. Peace is made by educating towards reconciliation, by encouraging good neighborly relations and by developing mutual respect. Therefore, the cessation of Palestinian incitement is a necessary condition, not for entering into discussions, but so that we may complete them in a way that will bring about genuine peace between our two peoples.”
While Israeli concern over incitement is not new, the fact that Israel has conditioned the cessation of incitement as a condition for continuing Middle East negotiations is unprecedented.