UK Foreign Office admits to ignoring Palestinian Authority terror incitement
Britain is tying itself in knots over Palestinian terrorism, as a shameful and shocking admission from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office shows all too clearly
Since the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, the governments of the West have concentrated on delivering the objective of two states for two peoples: a secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel beside a viable Palestinian state.
In many ways progress has been made. The foundations for a Palestinian state have been laid and we have witnessed West Bank growth reach unprecedented levels. However, ideological progress has been limited, as incidents of official incitement and hate education have continued to poison the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis. With this in mind, the question of Palestinian rejectionism and its most potent expression in the form of incitement against Israel, especially where that concerns the glorification of terrorism, is clearly of paramount concern.
So prepare to be shocked, and follow this carefully.
It has just been revealed that Matthew Offord MP asked Alistair Burt, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, the following formal question: “... what recent representations his Department has received on the honouring by the Palestinian Authority of Palestinian citizens that have participated in terrorist acts?"
This is the (extraordinary) response:
"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not received any recent representation on this issue. Our officials in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have not had any discussions with the Palestinian Authority on this issue. As we do not have any direct contact with Hamas, we cannot make any representations about events taking place in the Gaza Strip. (Our Italics)
“The Government deplore all incitement to violence. We have strongly supported the Palestinian Authority's programme of reform of its institutions of state, including the security sector. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made considerable progress in this regard, meaning a more effective government and an improved security situation, with the Palestinian Authority meeting its core commitments under the Quartet Roadmap." (Our italics)
Let us start by dealing with the blatant contradiction between the two sentences we have highlighted in italics. The first is an admission that British officials in Israel have done precisely nothing to protest against the PA‘s incitement to terrorism which it conducts by routinely honouring terrorists.
The second statement highlighted in italics is therefore disproved by the first. By its own admission the British government does not “deplore all incitement to violence“ since it has failed (refused?) to deplore incitement by the Palestinian authority despite many opportunities to do so.
At best this should be a disciplinary offence for our senior diplomats in Israel. If they’re not making active representations to the Palestinians to stop inciting terrorism what on Earth are they doing? Do they think they’re out there on an anti-Israeli jolly in the sun, while they just turn a blind eye to Palestinian wrongdoing?
Sadly, we have little confidence that the British Foreign Office would do the morally correct thing where the Middle East is concerned. That said, we didn’t think it had descended this far. This refusal to even accept there is a problem amounts to an acceptance of what is happening on the ground – and this is a form of tacit endorsement of incitement. If the FCO are not making active representations to the Palestinians to stop inciting terrorism. Again, what on Earth are they doing?
Britain has failed to pull its weight in this area. As a significant donor to the Palestinian Authority, we have an unquestionable responsibility to expose and help mitigate this issue. We should be making demands in return for the millions in aid that we provide to the PA. Instead, we’re helping them continue their denial that this stuff even exists.
But it does exist. Followers of Middle Eastern politics will be familiar with the problem of incitement. It’s one of the main stumbling blocks to peace. If even the so called “moderates“ glorify mass murderers of civilians, hopes of encouraging the Israelis and the rest of the world to trust them to run a state of their own are slim to none.It is not exactly a secret that in the wake of last year’s bombing of a Jerusalem bus stop, none other than PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the “terror operation in the harshest terms”. On the same day however, he also spoke of his “honour and admiration” for female terrorists in a radio address to Palestinians.
Among those Fayyad named was Iman Ghazawi, responsible for a similar act of placing a bomb at the central bus station in Tel Aviv in 2001, thus indicating his support for an action that he had condemned, only hours before.
In July of last year, a PA-endorsed summer camp for a Fatah youth organisation placed participants in a group named after Dalal Mughrabi, who, in 1978, led the most lethal terror attack against civilians in the history of the State of Israel. Thirty-seven civilians, including more than a dozen children, were killed by this terrorist and yet she is used by the PA to highlight to their young people support for the continued use of terror.
The PA’s continued desire to sanction the naming of a town square in Al-Bireh after Mughrabi confirms that this sort of activity is not an isolated incident but part and parcel of official policy.
Conversely, the Foreign Office doesn’t seem to have any problem holding Israel to account – which is also the right thing to do when Israeli policies stand in the way of lasting peace in the region.
Answering a question posed by the Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who recently shrieked on about ‘Jewish influence’, the Foreign Secretary said “The Israeli Government are in no doubt about opinion in this country and the opinion of this Government about that. Settlements on occupied land are illegal. We are very clear about that and have condemned recent decisions to accelerate settlement building, and I condemn them again today.”
We are perplexed as to how the Foreign Office can turn a blind eye to one issue whilst continuing to robustly condemn another, especially since the Al-Jazeera leaked 'Palestine Papers' showed that the settlements issue was not as high up on the agenda for the PA as they so often claim.
Britain should be a force for good in the region but our refusal to acknowledge this issue will effectively takes us out of the game. The Palestinians will take British silence on the matter as a green light to continue this practice. Put bluntly, and seen in that light, Britain is actually facilitating the glorification of terrorists and thus incitement to commit terrorism.
For Britain to be complicit in this is at best criminally negligent. At worst, it is an abuse of the next generation of Palestinians.
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