Over the past several months, Israel has seen an increase in Palestinian attacks from Gaza via incendiary balloons, and from Judea and Samaria via violent protests in Jerusalem. It looks like the cease-fire that went into effect between Israel and Gaza on May 21 is now gone.
But did it ever have a chance?
By analyzing Palestinian media compiled by watchdog Palestinian Media Watch and other sources, a pattern emerges showing a wave of incitement to violence, including explicit calls for an “intifada,” from the Palestinian Authority and other groups beginning mere days following the ceasefire. This analysis shows a top-down effort of Palestinian leadership to undermine the ceasefire by calling for continued armed conflict against Israel.
Incitement of Violence in Jerusalem
Fatah / the Palestinian Liberation Organization / the Palestinian Authority (collectively referred to as “the PA”), long trumpeted by many as a “moderate” voice and a “peace partner to Israel,” has been inciting violence against Israel in Jerusalem since the cease-fire. There are ample examples in May and June alone of the PA sending not-so-veiled threats through Palestinian media that it is trying to ignite an intifada in response to Israelis’ proposed flag march in Jerusalem.
The PLO Department of Jerusalem Affairs stated that an Israeli march in Jerusalem would create “an additional explosion in Jerusalem, which is liable to spread to all the occupied Palestinian territories and cause the outbreak of a new wave of rage.”
Fatah Ramallah and El-Bireh Branch Secretary warned that “the Palestinian people, which has sacrificed thousands of Martyrs, thousands of prisoners and wounded, is prepared to sacrifice thousands of Martyrs, wounded, and prisoners for the sake of Jerusalem.”
Fatah Jenin Branch Secretary called on Palestinians to “to head towards Jerusalem to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and defend our people.” A PLO Executive Committee member and Fatah Central Committee member warned that the march will “cause an explosion.” The Fatah Central Committee warned that Palestinians “will continue to stand firm and resist, until it removes the last of the Israeli soldiers and settlers from its homeland.” The PA Jerusalem Deputy District Governor claimed that the march “will cause a new explosion in the city [Jerusalem].” Official PA TV also broadcast Gaza children singing “Millions of Martyrs are marching to Jerusalem,” words used by the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
Hamas, of course, has also threatened Israel over the march. A Hamas spokesman warned that “[t]he flags march is like an explosive that will cause a new campaign to protect Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to ignite.” Hamas has also called for Palestinians to “confront Israeli settlers” during the march. Palestinian Islamic Jihad also called the march a “provocative act and a dangerous escalation that affects our most sacred sanctities, and an aggression targeting all Arabs and Muslims,” and called on Palestinians to “confront any aggression.”
Incitement of Additional Violence Against Israel
Palestinian groups also incited violence against Israel not specific to Jerusalem in May and June immediately following the cease-fire. This month, a Fatah Central Committee member supported rocket attacks from Gaza, praising “the prominence of the Jerusalem Brigades [Islamic Jihad’s military wing in Gaza], which taught the enemy an important lesson,” and also giving “’[b]lessings to the rockets…that put Israel on alert or put them in bomb shelters.”
In May, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for “a day of escalating the intifada” and “a comprehensive battle of confrontation throughout the occupied land.” Additionally, the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces [aligned with the PLO] also called for “a day of popular rage.” The Fatah Commission of Information and Culture posted on its Facebook page an image of a rioter with a slingshot with the slogan “the intifada continues.”
Hamas, of Course, continues to incite violence. A daughter of Hamas’ Ministry of Internal Affairs’ spokesman stated “If we die, we’ll die as Martyrs for the sake of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. And if we live, we’ll live in dignity and glory… We’ll return to Palestine… We’ll return to Ashkelon, Haifa, Jaffa, Safed, and Beit Shean (i.e., all Israeli cities) – to all of Palestine, and we will pray at Al-Aqsa.”
Incitement of Violence By Continuing “Pay-to-Slay” Compensation of Terrorists and their Families
The PA is also further inciting violence against Israel by continuing to support funding terrorists and their families upon release from prison, in a “pay-to-slay” scheme that incites further violence against Israelis. The most egregious recent violation of this was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas authorizing the Ramallah District Governor to pay over $42,000 to build a house for the family of a terrorist that murdered two Israelis. Additionally, the head of the PA-funded PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs admitted to paying terrorists through the Palestinian Authority’s post office. The PA-funded PLO Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution has corroborated that funds to terrorists and their families are being paid via the post office. One Palestinian, who is a mother to six terrorists, complained as reported on official PA TV about how difficult it was to get payments from the post office.
Despite the cease-fire, Palestinian groups show continued efforts to undermine peace in the region by inciting violence against Israel. Durable peace between Israelis and Palestinians will only be able to be achieved if Palestinian leadership ceases such incitement.