The Fogel Murders: A Call to Combat Incitement

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) David Pollock - Incitement to violence has returned to the front burner. On March 11, the Fogel family was massacred in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, prompting large numbers of U.S. senators and congressmen to press senior U.S. officials to take steps to end incitement. Palestinian officials published their own list of Israeli acts of "incitement," featuring calls by a rabbi and several journalists for a response to or revenge for the Itamar murders. But the list lacks examples of any Israeli leader, government official, or government-sponsored publication advocating or condoning violence against Palestinians. It was the Palestinian Ministry of Information that disseminated an article by a deputy minister claiming that Jews have no historical connection to the Western Wall. PA television alleges that the Israel Prison Service tortures prisoners with hot irons, amputates limbs, and harvests organs. PA television also perpetuated the libel that the deranged Australian Christian who attempted to set fire to the al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 was Jewish and supported by the Israeli government. The issue of incitement presents the U.S. with an opportunity. With progress on the peace process virtually nonexistent, and the risk for violence increasing, a resumption of the trilateral anti-incitement committee would give Israelis and Palestinians the chance to meet face-to-face and commit to a common cause. Brokering such talks offers the chance both to address an important issue and to restart at least some form of direct negotiations. Such talks should concentrate narrowly on official incitement by government officials and institutions under governmental authority or funding.

2011-04-08 00:00:00

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