What They're Saying About Us
Elliott Abrams, former senior White House official
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Former senior White House official Elliott Abrams ‎
uses PMW documentation in Congress
to prove PA “teaching of hate” ‎

In July 2015, PMW director Itamar Marcus met with Elliott Abrams. Since then, Abrams has been receiving ‎regular PMW updates. The following are segments of a speech he gave to the House Foreign Affairs ‎Committee, in which he criticized the US government for not “combatting incitement.” Segments marked in ‎bold indicate PMW documentation.‎


Prepared statement by Elliott Abrams
Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
Council on Foreign Relations

Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
‎1st Session, 114th Congress, Oct. 22, 2015‎
‎ ‎
Hearing on “Words Have Consequences: Palestinian Authority Incitement to Violence”‎

Elliott Abrams:‎

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: ‎

The subject of this hearing could not be more important, as we know from the terrorist attacks in Israel in the ‎last few weeks. ‎
‎ ‎
What leads a young person, a teenager, to stab or attempt to stab to death someone he has never met? ‎Stabbing is the most intimate of attacks—not setting a bomb for people you will never see, not shooting at a ‎distance, but reaching out to someone inches away from you and taking that person’s blood. The answer, I ‎believe, is the teaching of hate.‎

‎“Incitement” is the term we usually use, but hatred is what we mean. “Incitement” means teaching ‎
generations of Palestinians to hate Jews by demonizing and dehumanizing them; teaching hate and terror by ‎honoring terrorists; and teaching hate by telling lies about what is happening at the Temple Mount or Haram ‎al-Sharif and other Muslim religious sites… ‎

Those lies are being repeated in Palestinian media and worse yet by the top Palestinian leadership. ‎Palestinian Authority President and PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas early on during the crisis that “Al-‎Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They have no right to desecrate them with ‎their filthy feet.” [PMW report, “Abbas: We won't allow Jews' ‘filthy feet,’" Sept. 17, 2015] …‎

Telling that lie has the predictable effect of spurring violence. Moreover, once the violence began Palestinian ‎leaders began giving verbal support to it. Abbas himself said “Each drop of blood that was spilled in ‎Jerusalem is pure blood as long as it’s for the sake of Allah. Every Shahid (martyr) will be in heaven ‎and every wounded person will be rewarded, by Allah’s will.” [Ibid] ‎
‎ ‎
And as you know, he then accused Israel of the cold blooded murder—“summary execution of our children ‎in cold blood,” he said—of a Palestinian teenager —who was first of all a terrorist who was stabbed two Israelis and secondly is not dead, but is being treated in an Israeli hospital. So instead of calming tensions ‎what we get from Abbas is lie after lie to stoke the tension. I am aware that Palestinian police have worked ‎to stop the violence on many occasions, as I am aware that Abbas has denounced the arson at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. This suggests to me that Abbas is against any outbreak of uncontrollable violence in the ‎West Bank, which he rules, but content to see violence spread in Jerusalem and all of Israel. ‎
‎ ‎
The background to the current wave of violence is the pattern of glorification of terrorists. Here is ‎perhaps the best, meaning the worst, example, from Palestinian Media Watch:‎

Dalal Mughrabi led the most deadly terror attack in Israel's history. 37 civilians, 12 of them ‎children, were killed in her 1978 bus hijacking. The Palestinian Authority has turned this ‎terrorist into a celebrated hero and role model, as schools, summer camps, and sports ‎tournaments are all named after her. Her attack was celebrated by a Fatah spokesman as "the ‎most glorified sacrifice action in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle." [Al- Ayyam, ‎July 13, 2008] Palestinian newspapers also frequently glorify Mughrabi, as in the Al-Ayyam ‎article which described Mughrabi as writing "the most glorious page of heroism in the ‎history of the Palestinian struggle. [Aug. 2, 2009] The PA celebrated the 31st anniversary of ‎the killings with an hour-long TV special, which opened with the narrator glorifying the ‎attack. Advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, ‎Sabri Saidam said on the day of the naming of a square in her name: "Every one of us has ‎tried in his own way to express his pride in this Martyr [Mughrabi]." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, ‎March 14, 2011] ‎
‎ ‎
There are many other examples one could cite, but let me just give one more from the current wave of ‎terrorism. Muhannad Halabi, who was 19, killed 2 Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett, and ‎injured Bennett's wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on ‎Oct. 3, 2015. Following the attack, he was shot and killed by Israeli security forces. The Palestinian Bar ‎Association decided one week later on Oct. 10, 2015 to award Halabi, whom they called a “heroic ‎Martyr,” an honorary law degree and to dedicate its swearing-in ceremony for the next class of ‎lawyers after him… [PMW report, “Fatah brought soil from Al-Aqsa to grave of killer of two,” Oct. 14, 2015]‎

But let’s return to the U.S. Government. After Tuesday October 13, when three Israelis were killed, the State ‎Department spokesman said “We mourn any loss of innocent life, Israeli or Palestinian. We continue to ‎stress the importance of condemning violence and combating incitement.” ‎
‎ ‎
He’s right about combating incitement. The problem is, we’re not doing it.‎

This is a bipartisan error: administrations of both parties have, over the decades, decried and ‎condemned incitement but we’ve never made it a central issue. There has always been some other ‎pressing matter that took precedence: we wanted to get the Palestinians to back a UN resolution or oppose ‎one, to come to the negotiating table, to have a smooth visit, or to hire or fire some official, so the immediate ‎always came before the matter of deeper long-term importance: incitement, which means teaching ‎hatred. ‎
‎ ‎
And to be fair to all those administrations, including when I served in the Executive Branch, it is difficult to ‎know exactly what to do. When there are calls to stop the funding of the PA, it is usually the government of ‎Israel that winces. It does not want to see all governmental functions in the West Bank fall back into its lap ‎because the PA collapses. ‎
‎ ‎
So what can be done? Let me suggest three steps. First, close the PLO office in Washington and do not ‎permit the opening of a PA office until the incitement stops. Second, if we cannot usefully stop all PA ‎funding, let’s try to stop the illegal personal funding, the corruption, that is rife there. We can demand ‎investigations, or undertake them; you could make it a condition of spending appropriated funds. It is widely ‎understood in the region that since the departure of Salam Fayyad as prime minister almost two and a half ‎years ago corruption has increased steadily. Third, we should keep track of who is doing the incitement, by ‎name, and be sure they are barred from getting visas at least for a period of time. ‎

These steps are not panaceas, but they are better than what we usually do—which is very little or nothing. ‎

But we have seen in the last few weeks that teaching hatred and glorifying terror eventually results in acts of ‎terror that reflect hatred. ‎

Thank you for inviting me here today. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.‎