PA still addicted to blaming Israel for drug “epidemic” among Palestinian youth
PA TV: Israel protects drug dealers who distribute drugs to Palestinians
On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Head of the PA Anti-Narcotic Department Abdallah Ilawie blamed Israel for the “rise in the use of drugs” among Palestinians. The PA official claimed Israel deliberately uses drugs as a “tool” against Palestinian youth. The host on official PA TV interviewing him seconded this, stating that Israel “is aiding and contributing to the spread of this [drug] epidemic among the Palestinian public”:
Head of the PA Anti-Narcotic Department Abdallah Ilawie: “There is a demand and rise in the use of drugs as a result of factors, some of which are social and some of which are financial. We are a state that is being subjected to occupation. This is one of the tools-”
Official PA TV host: “Right.”
Abdallah Ilawie: “-that the occupation is using to divert the [Palestinians’] compass, and especially among the youth.” …
Host: “This is a great challenge, especially on everything concerning the occupier who is aiding and contributing to the spread of this [drug] epidemic among the Palestinian public.”
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, June 27, 2022]
This is not the first time the PA is blaming Israel for Palestinian drug problems. In fact, as numerous Palestinian Media Watch reports document, the PA seems positively “addicted” to blaming Israel whenever its drug problem is mentioned. Even PA Chairman Abbas has repeated this allegation, claiming Israel brings "cannabis and drugs" to Palestinians because they "don't want us to have a future":
Abbas: “The occupation plants corruption among us… If we don't have it, it brings us corrupt people and corrupters. Therefore, we see substances like cannabis and drugs etc., and also spoiled goods which are always accepted in our land, from them, because they want to fight our existence… They don't want us to have a future.”
[Official PA TV, Dec. 10, 2019]
A PA minister and two university leaders have claimed Israel lets drugs “infiltrate” the PA, claiming Israel “inflicts the scourge of drugs” on Palestinian society and is using drugs to wage “a war” against young Palestinians.
Likewise PA TV has claimed that Israel deliberately ignores and even protects drug dealers who distribute to Palestinians while arresting those supplying to Israelis:
Official PA TV host: “The occupation or the occupation's protection of the drug dealers and distributors, especially in the neglected areas, Area C (i.e., areas of the West Bank under full Israeli administration)… The drug distributors are protected by the occupation. However, this protection only occurs on one condition: That the drugs be distributed only to Palestinian citizens. If a Palestinian drug distributor thought to offer his goods to Israelis or occupiers, he will be arrested and imprisoned… This issue is certainly very dangerous, because this dealer, the distributor, receives protection from the occupier who is leading us to ruin and creating generations of drug addicts among us.”
[Official PA TV, In the Homeland, Feb. 19 - 20, 2020]
One of the PA daily’s regular columnists, Muwaffaq Matar, who is also a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, has similarly accused Israel of “spreading drugs… to destroy the soul and mind” of Palestinians:
“We will denounce anyone who libels, speaks badly of, and casts doubt on the patriotism of the [Palestinian] people of the land and considers them a partner in the crime of spreading drugs at the hands of the Israeli colonialist racist occupation’s security forces, drugs whose goal is to destroy the soul and mind of the citizen victim.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 21, 2021]
Others also repeat the PA narrative that Israel spreads drugs to “destroy this generation”:
Map Department Director of the Arab Research Association Khalil Al-Tafakji: “When we jump to the future [the Israeli side] will begin to destroy this generation from the foundation, and spreading drugs is part of this policy...”
[Official PA TV, We Remain, Oct. 3, 2020]
Abdallah Ilawie was interviewed in connection with International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The slides shown during the first part of the interview encourage drug addicts to seek help and state that deterrent penalties have been issued against dealing and growing drugs.