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PA libel: Israel supplies weapons to Palestinians to fight one another and illegal fireworks to cause injuries

Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
  • Fatah official: Shoot Israelis not Palestinians!  

  • Palestinian’s impotent gun against Israelis dreams of Viagra

  • PA Police Spokesman: “There are elements of the occupation that have begun to spread crime… and encourage violence and murder in the Palestinian society… the Israeli occupation… is transferring supplies to the weapon dealers”

  •  PA: Israel supplies Palestinians with fireworks “to destroy the Palestinian society”

As the Palestinian Authority is struggling with increasing internal violence, what better way to deal with it than to blame Israel? As Palestinian Media Watch has documented this is the PA’s modus operandi whenever bad things happen.

Thus, PA Police Spokesman Col. Luay Erziqat blamed Israel for the rise in violence in Palestinian society, claiming Israel “encourage[s] violence and murder in the Palestinian society” and is “supplying” arms to Palestinian weapon dealers:

PA Police Spokesman Col. Luay Erziqat:“There are elements of the occupation (i.e., PA term for Israel) that have begun to raise their voices and have begun to spread crime and to help spread crime… We have found suspicious and funded [internet] pages, we have found ‘mouthpieces’ and elements of the occupation that encourage violence and murder in the Palestinian society. In Area C (i.e., West Bank areas under full Israeli administration according to the Oslo Accords), at the basic level, the Israeli occupation is preventing the [PA] Security Forces from acting there, and is transferring supplies to the weapon dealers. If you look for example at the southern areas like Hebron – there are weapons there, 250, 500 (rifle models –Ed.)… It is clear who is supplying these weapons, and who is transferring the supply to the dealers of these weapons.”

[Official PA TV, Directly With the Police, June 1, 2020]

In the same way, the PA blamed Israel for accidents caused when Palestinians use fireworks for celebratory occasions, for example when they receive the results of the matriculation exams. The PA’s official news agency claimed Israel deliberately supplies fireworks to Palestinians to “destroy the Palestinian society”:

“The main source of the fireworks is the settlements and the occupation, whose goal is to destroy the Palestinian society, and therefore it allows their entry into the Palestinian market, and simultaneously bans their sale in the 1948 territories (i.e., Israel) except through companies that specialize in the field of fireworks… The usage of fireworks in Palestine is one of the serious phenomena… that has contributed to turning parties and joyful occasions into sad events… and this constitutes a danger to the social well-being, and threatens the stability and the social ‘domestic peace.’”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, “Negative Social Phenomena” section, accessed July 16, 2020]

Manager of the PA’s Import Tax Administration Public Relations and Communications, Ibrahim Ayyash, supported this allegation, saying that “most of the explosives and fireworks are smuggled from the settlements… as well as fireworks that are imported from China, and the Israeli authorities turn a blind eye knowing that they are meant for Palestinian markets.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 13, 2020]

After criticizing Palestinians for the rise of “armed incidents” and “killings by shooting”, member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council and former Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Karake called on them to turn the weapons on Israelis instead to preserve the weapons’ “value of self-sacrifice, nationalism, and humanity”:

Posted text: “What are these weapons that are spreading in the hands of the people… This spreading of weapons has become a troubling phenomenon. Barely a week passes without us hearing about an armed incident here and there, and the [PA] police reports about an increase in the cases of killing from the start of this year [2020], including killing by shooting, in addition to the wounding of dozens… We don’t want the weapons to be for highway robbery and lose the value of self-sacrifice, nationalism, and humanity, particularly because we are in the stage of national liberation, and we are still bowing under the occupation’s yoke. These weapons need to frighten the oppressive occupiers and not the people that aspires to be rid of the occupation.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 7, 2020]

Karake’s criticism of Palestinians for shooting at each other and not at Israelis was illustrated by Fatah in this cartoon:

Text on cartoon: “The weapon of anarchy against the heart”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 6, 2020 and Aug. 7, 2020 with Karake’s text]

In the top panel a Palestinian man is firing his assault rifle at a Palestinian family. In the lower part, he is fearfully facing an Israeli soldier and his assault rifle is limply bending towards the ground, dreaming of Viagra.

The following are longer excerpts of the statements cited above:

Text on cartoon: “The weapon of anarchy against the heart”

Posted text: “The city does not know its owners
By: [Former Director of PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs] Issa Karake
What are these weapons that are spreading in the hands of the people, individuals, groups, families, and tribes, and under different names – organizations that are faction-related, and sometimes security-related? Recently this spreading of weapons has become a troubling phenomenon. Barely a week passes without us hearing about an armed incident here and there, and the [PA] police reports report about an increase in the cases of killing from the start of this year [2020], including killing by shooting, in addition to the wounding of dozens…
We don’t want the weapons to be for highway robbery and lose the value of self-sacrifice, nationalism, and humanity, particularly because we are in the stage of national liberation, and we are still bowing under the occupation’s yoke. These weapons need to frighten the oppressive occupiers and not the people that aspires to be rid of the occupation…
Those who have carried the pure weapons are the righteous Martyrs and the prisoners who are sitting in the prisons, they are the ones who have paid the price of the legal resistance against the occupiers and colonialists, and their weapons were the weapons of honor and freedom.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 7, 2020]

PA Police Spokesman Col. Luay Erziqat: “There are elements of the occupation (i.e., PA term for Israel) that have begun to raise their voices and have begun to spread crime and to help spread crime…
The eruption of [internal Palestinian] conflicts has taken place after the decision of His Honor PA President [Mahmoud Abbas] about ending the agreements [with Israel]. We have found suspicious and funded [internet] pages, we have found ‘mouthpieces’ and elements of the occupation that encourage violence and murder in the Palestinian society. In Area C (i.e., West Bank areas under full Israeli administration according to the Oslo Accords), at the basic level, the Israeli occupation is preventing the [PA] Security Forces from acting there, and is transferring supplies to the weapon dealers. If you look for example at the southern areas like Hebron – there are weapons there, 250, 500 (rifle models –Ed.), which are being used in fighting that take place at a distance of mere meters from herds of settlers while the occupation does not intervene and does not allow the [PA] Security Forces to intervene. It is clear who is supplying these weapons, and who is transferring the supply to the dealers of these weapons.”

[Official PA TV, Directly With the Police, June 1, 2020]

Headline: “The shooting of fireworks in Palestine”
“The main source [of the phenomenon of shooting fireworks]: The main source of the fireworks is the settlements and the occupation, whose goal is to destroy the Palestinian society, and therefore it allows their entry into the Palestinian market, and simultaneously bans their sale in the 1948 territories (i.e., Israel) except through companies that specialize in the field of fireworks.
Some of the merchants import the fireworks from China, through smuggling and via Israeli merchants… and they enter the Palestinian territories through winding and fake paths in order not to be discovered…
The usage of fireworks in Palestine is one of the serious phenomena… that has contributed to turning parties and joyful occasions into sad events… and this constitutes a danger to the social well-being, and threatens the stability and the social ‘domestic peace’… Therefore it is necessary to move away from this custom… The civilians have a right to express their joy in legal ways that do not threaten the security of members of the society, and without violating the rights of others…

Events that include the shooting of fireworks:
The residents shoot fireworks at events such as: joyful occasions, weddings, in honor of returning from the Hajj (i.e., Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) and the Umrah (i.e., pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca), upon the successful completion of matriculation exams, upon graduation from university, following the release of prisoners from the occupation’s prison, upon returning from abroad, following recovery from an illness or surgery, upon entering a new home, upon the birth of a baby, at elections, at national events, on the anniversaries of Palestinian organizations and factions, and other events.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, “Negative Social Phenomena” section, accessed July 16, 2020]

Headline: “The fireworks – millions of shekels burn in the air, frighten, and harass”
“The shooting of fireworks is a negative phenomenon in our society, aside from being a violation of Explosives Law No. 13 of 1953 and [PA] Government Decision No. 26 of 2004.
Clause 13 of the [Explosives] Law determines that imprisonment will be imposed on whoever engages in trading fireworks – up to two years of imprisonment and/or a monetary fine of 200 Jordanian dinars.
Despite the efforts of the [PA] Security Forces and the national [PA] Ministry of Finance to stop the phenomenon, the efforts are not achieving significant success because the society doesn’t cooperate with the Security Forces… and the lack of implementation of the relevant decisions and laws.

Millions of [Israeli] shekels in the occupation’s pockets
The money spent on purchasing these fireworks is estimated at millions of shekels, most of which goes to the pockets of Israeli factories in the settlements that produce them, and they are smuggled and reach local [Palestinian] markets, and are sold for hundreds of thousands of shekels… One of the civilians bragged on social media that he spent 20,000 shekels on purchasing fireworks for a modest party that he held to honor his daughter’s success in the exams.

The settlements are the main source
[PA] Import Tax Administration Public Relations and Communications Manager Ibrahim Ayyash… said that most of the explosives and fireworks are smuggled from the settlements, and particularly from the settlement of Barkan… and also from the settlement of Kfar Etzion, as well as fireworks that are imported from China, and the Israeli authorities turn a blind eye knowing that they are meant for Palestinian markets.
Ayyas said that despite the Explosives Law of 1953 and Government Decision No. 26 of 2004, and despite the fact that the [PA] Security Forces and [PA] Ministry of Finance are carrying out their role in fighting the phenomenon of trading explosives, the lack of cooperation by the society and the traders’ ways of action… make it difficult to confiscate these materials, particularly since the trading takes place in Area C (i.e., land under full Israeli administration according to the Oslo Accords)…

[PA] Police Spokesman Luay Erziqat… said that dealing with fireworks and explosives caused the wounding of five people who lost fingers, and he added that the police arrested 10 merchants on the charge of selling and possessing fireworks… [He said:] ‘The police are constantly working on the topic, and particularly before announcements of the matriculation exam results, in addition to producing publications against the phenomenon.’ …
The police spokesman said that all the institutions of society bear responsibility for this, and not just the police and [security] forces, and he said that there is a need to make the punishment for trading and using fireworks and explosives stricter…

Millions of shekels are burned
An economic commentator… estimated the money that the [Palestinian] residents spent on the day of the announcement of the exam results at 10 to 13 million shekels…

The Consumer Protection [Council]: The fireworks are a profit for the Israeli economy and damage for us
The Consumer Protection Association Council in the Ramallah district said that there is a drop in the level of awareness and opposition of some of the consumers… which has been expressed by a waste of money on explosives and fireworks at the time of the announcement of the matriculation exam results, in a manner that had a negative impact on the Palestinian society; by noise; and by disturbing the sick, the children, and the elderly…
The Consumer Protection Association Council noted that most of these fireworks originate from Israeli traders who market them in the Palestinian territories via local smugglers, and this constitutes a waste of money in the shadow of an economic crisis…

What does the civilian say?
Journalist Omar Nazzal said that ‘the harming of the other has become a culture that is not limited just to celebrations of success at the matriculation exams, but rather prevails in all the phenomena of harassing the other on the claim that it is only [for] a day or an hour… Many who have an event, whether it is an engagement party, a release from the occupation’s prison, or success in the matriculation exams, hold these celebrations in a manner that disturbs others.’
An El-Bireh Municipal Council member… said that: ‘The responsibility is on everyone. We have failed in assimilating a civil culture within us.’”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 13, 2020]