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​Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, many Israeli political leaders have doggedly held to the position that the Palestinian Authority (PA)/PLO and its leading faction Fatah – all headed by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) –  remain Israel’s best and perhaps only partner for reaching a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians. They excuse contrary evidence – including the launching and condoning of deadly waves of terrorism, the continuous diplomatic offensive and the promotion of violence and rejectionism in the Palestinian media and school system – as mere symptoms  of the lack of agreement between the parties and argue that these irredentist actions would end as soon as a final status agreement is signed and the “Occupation” ended. An opposing view contends that continued Palestinian rejectionism, incitement and delegitimization poison any chance for reconciliation between the two peoples for generations into the future and insist these come to an end before any further concessions are made towards further Palestinian independence and statehood.
A recent report entitled “The Palestinian Authority and Hamas: Promoting Terror in Tandem” lends support to the second approach and points to a growing trend: incitement led by Hamas to terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria – alongside the PA and Fatah’s institutional embrace of terrorism.
Here are some examples:

  • Following the most recent wave of terrorism in Judea and Samaria, Fatah praised and applauded the terrorists who carried out attacks, including those in Barkan and Ofra. The Palestinian Authority ignored the fact that the victims were innocent civilians, accusing Israel of “killing civilians” in retaliation, although the only ones killed were the murderers themselves.
  • Palestinian representative to the UN Riad Mansour, in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council and the President of the UN General Assembly, wrote that “in recent days, a number of residents have been punished and murdered by the Israeli occupation forces. This is part of military operations aimed at avenging Palestinians following the killing of three Israeli soldiers. In just 24 hours, the occupation forces executed four Palestinian residents: Ashraf Nalwah, Salah al-Barghouthi (the terrorist who participated in the attack in Ofra), Hamdan al-A’aracha (carried out a vehicular terrorist attack) and Majed Matir (carried out a stabbing in Jerusalem)” – (parentheses added – A.S.)
  • A statement issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted: “The death of the three Palestinian residents, the martyrs, by the hand of occupation forces last night and this morning is proof that their soldiers have become machines of war and execution above the law, receiving their orders from the political echelon in Israel”.
  • At the same time, the Fatah movement in the West Bank called on the Palestinian public, in an official announcement issued in light of the events, to escalate the clashes on Friday, Dec. 14, in all areas as an act of “loyalty to the martyrs”.
  • Messages of support for and glorification of terrorists are widespread on Fatah’s official social media accounts.
  • Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen held a meeting in his office in Ramallah with the mother and brother of Arab-Israeli prisoner and member of the Fatah Central Committee, Karim Yunis, who has been imprisoned in Israel since before the Oslo Accords for the abduction and murder of Avraham Bromberg in 1980 and who faces life imprisonment. Abbas told the prisoner’s family: “The issue of prisoners is at the top of the agenda among Palestinian leadership, which invests every possible effort, together with institutions and the international community, to bring about their release from Israeli prisons.”
  • On Nov. 13, Joad Jamil Hoshea, from Yata (south of Hebron) was released after serving 16 years in prison for belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, and carrying out attacks against Israelis. The released prisoner received a particularly festive reception, which was covered by state-owned Palestinian television, and he was also visited by various elements from the Palestinian leadership and from the Ministry of Education.
  • On Nov. 29, the minors Shadi Farah and Ahmed al-Za’tari, both 15, were released from detention. They were arrested in December 2015 on suspicion of planning a stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Immediately after their release, the children became ‘national heroes’ and received praise and appreciation from the Palestinian leadership and all the media outlets of the establishment.

Any renewed effort to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – whether directly or with the assistance of foreign bridging efforts – will have to tackle the effects of 25 years of intense incitement and embrace of terrorism since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and its various components as a first requisite step to reconciliation.  The launch of the administration’s peace plan might have been postponed due to the recently-announced early Israeli elections, but when it is picked up again, identification with murderers and terrorists will have to be the first things dropped by the PA if it is to stand any chance of success.


Alan Schneider is the director of B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, which serves as the hub of B’nai B’rith International activities in Israel. The World Center is the key link between Israel and B’nai B’rith members and supporters around the world. To view some of his additional content, click here.