Thursday, May 28, 2009

If U.S. Government Ignores Palestinian Incitement to Violence There's No Hope for Peace

By Barry Rubin

There is probably no more obnoxious action of the Palestinian Authority (PA) than its continuing glorification of terrorists who have murdered Israelis. Not only does this show a lack of support for any peace process, but doing so for facilities built with U.S. taxpayer money is against U.S. law.

To my knowledge, the U.S. government has never pressed or even mentioned this issue. It is important as a signal of the lack of effort to hold the PA to commitments. If the current administration wants to press for progress, this is the kind of question which must be taken up, especially since PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is about to go to Washington and meet President Barack Obama.

In a May 25 200, Jerusalem Post op-ed, Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, who deserve credit for monitoring this issue, point out that $900 million in aid to the PA is being offered. Yet the PA’s new computer center is named after “the martyr Dalal Mughrabi””who led a terror attack which murdered photographer Gail Rubin and then hijacked a bus in which 37 civilians, 12 of them children, were gunned down. To honor terrorists is against the U.S. law governing the funding of Palestinian institutions.

Last year, the PA sponsored a football championship for children and a summer camp named for Mughrabi, someone who has know positive achievement. A party was also held under Abbas’s personal auspices for top students named for Mughrabi.

A television program was also produced which called the killing of 38 Israeli civilians “one of the most important and most prominent special operations” and referred to Mughrabi as a “heroic fighter.”

This is by far the only such example of such behavior.

The PA never seriously cooperated, for example, in the investigation into the murder of three U.S. government employees in the Gaza Strip when it was in control. The killings were carried out by an ally of Hamas, which of course shields these people at present.

What were these Americans doing in Gaza? Protecting embassy personnel who were visiting there to arrange scholarships for Palestinian students.

The authors recall that in 2002, after a girls’ school was named for Mughrabi, the U.S. State Department cancelled the funding. The PA then promised to change the name and the money was paid. The school, however, continues to carry Mughrabi’s name.

Reread the previous paragraph. To see the perfect symbol of the problem with U.S. Middle East policy you need look no further. No one in the region takes America too seriously because it does not follow up and enforce its positions. The PA knows that it can do what it wants and pay no price. There is no—repeat no—real pressure on it to stop incitement, educate its people for peace, make any real compromise or concession. Instead, this “moderate” institution is continuing to teach its children that being a terrorist is the highest calling and due the greatest honor.

Just like Hamas does.

The Western media also has no interest in this issue either despite energetically seeking out any issue on which Israel can be criticized, even often when such things are made up and prove to have no basis in reality.

We have seen, and will see, the administration devote huge efforts to stopping settlers from adding a room onto an existing apartment. Will it devote any effort at all to turning the PA in the direction of peace or even enforcing U.S. law?

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