Friends of Israel have known for years that regardless what the Palestinian Authority (PA) says in diplomatic circles, in truth it rejects the legitimacy of Israel in the region and encourages violence against Israelis. The evidence is easily accessible: the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) translates material from across the Arab world into English. NGO Monitor tracks nongovernmental organizations and their support for Palestinian violence and intransigence. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) studies Palestinian society through its media and textbooks.
Those are the vibrations, and in the presence of a blunt American president, they appear to be accumulating. President Trump’s White House statement to PA President Mahmoud Abbas laid down an unmistakable American marker:
There cannot be lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence and hate. There’s such hatred. But hopefully there won’t be such hatred for very long. All children of God must be taught to value and respect human life, and condemn all of those who target the innocent.
Abbas responded that Palestinian children are “raised in a culture of peace.” That was demonstrably false and was so demonstrated. By the time the President went to Bethlehem, it appears that he had seen enough to lambaste Abbas for lying to him. The President also, “raised concerns about the payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed acts of terrorism, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue,” according to the White House press secretary.
Another crack in the dam and the water is beginning to rise.
PMW had already documented the Palestinian Authority’s veneration of Dalal Mughrabi -– a female terrorist involved in the Coastal Road massacre in which 37 civilians, 12 of them children, were killed and more than 70 others wounded. PMW notes that in the West Bank, there are three schools and a computer center named after her, and Abbas held a birthday celebration for her. But when the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center: A cultural and social center and youth center in partnership with the Burqa village council and the Women’s [Technical] Affairs Committee,” was found to have Norwegian government and UN money behind it, the bridge began to sway.
The Norwegian government, often hostile to Israel, demanded its money back. Foreign Minister Borge Brende said, “The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable… Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way. We will not accept the use of Norwegian aid funding for such purposes.”
And right behind him was the office of the Secretary General of the UN, proclaiming:
The United Nations disassociated itself from the Center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future. The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances. The UN has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace.
It may be the first time Palestinian behavior was specifically named as an “obstacle to peace,” and, perhaps, the first time the PA was denounced in the UN for terrorism.
And then Denmark. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced a “comprehensive review” of Danish donations to the Palestinian Authority.
We must be sure that Danish aid helps to advance human rights in the Palestinian territories in a positive manner. It is possible that in wake of the examination we will be forced to stop our support of a number of Palestinian organizations. Until this examination is complete we won’t sign any new grants for Palestinian organizations.
Even UNRWA, often Israel’s nemesis in the territories, may have had enough. Last year, a panel of experts determined — not for the first time — that the textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority venerate violence and martyrdom. Such complaints are generally ignored, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has announced:
It is UNRWA policy to review, and where appropriate enrich the official PA textbooks, curricula and other learning materials used in UNRWA schools to ensure compliance with UN values and principles. In addition, since 2000 UNRWA has taught in all our schools our own supplementary “Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance” curriculum aimed at strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and promoting understanding, tolerance and gender equality.”
The PA was not happy and tried to justify teaching that Jews have no connection to the land and that Palestinian children have a right and a duty to destroy it. “Any distortion of the Palestinian curriculum is a flagrant violation of the laws of the host country, and any change to any letter to appease any party is a betrayal of the Palestinian narrative and the right of the Palestinian people under occupation to preserve its identity and struggle.”
As the Palestinians try to preserve a phony narrative, the rest of the world may be moving on. The next sound you hear may well be the bridge. Crashing.
(And so it is. Yesterday, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, was elected vice president of the upcoming session of the U.N. General Assembly. He will chair meetings of the G.A. and take part in setting its agenda and overseeing the rules during sessions.)