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In classic antisemitic libel, PA official daily accuses Israel of poisoning water

Ephraim D. Tepler  |
  • Official PA columnist on PA TV: Israel “is liable to spread viruses; it is liable to poison the water.”
  • Ramallah District Governor: “Our prisoners are executed in a systematic and planned manner by this extremist Zionist system…This is medical assassination against our prisoners.”

Antisemitism is fundamental to Palestinian Authority ideology and takes many forms. As reported by PMW, the PA chose to preach in all its mosques a mere two weeks after the October 7 atrocities in which Palestinians murdered Jewsin their homes, in their towns, and at the Nova music festival hiding behind rocks and treesthat it is Muslim destiny to kill Jews hiding behind rocks and trees. That was an example of PA religious Antisemitism.

The PA has now taken its people back to medieval-style Antisemitism by accusing Israel of poisoning the water.

“Israel and also the US have many types of weapons that [Israel] could use…It [Israel] is liable to spread viruses; it is liable to poison the water; it is liable to do everything of this nature, perhaps things that we are not even thinking about. Even trees that are growing naturally, crops such as spinach and mallow, they will spray them with toxic substances.”

[Official PA TV, columnist Omar Hilmi al-Ghoul of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, March 6, 2024]

Poisoning water and spreading disease are libels that were commonly hurled at Jews in the Middle Ages, especially when they were accused of being the source of Bubonic plague. Believing Jews to be the source of disease created rage among the European populations and led to repeated massacres of Jews.

This libel accusing Israel of poisoning the water is likewise intended to create outrage among Palestinians, who will feel justified in attacking and killing Israelis. It is particularly odious coming at a time when Israel is allowing hundreds of trucks filled with humanitarian aid into Gaza every day, while no humanitarian aid is reaching the Israeli hostages.

PA libels about Jews and Israel are a major part of its national discourse, intended to create loathing of Israelis and justify terror. For example, one ongoing PA libel is that Israel abuses Palestinian prisoners through medical neglect, medical experiments, and intentional infection. This likewise was recently disseminated by a senior PA official, after a Palestinian prisoner died of cancer:

“This is a sight to which we do not want to grow accustomed, we do not want it to repeat itself, and may this not be the ongoing situation in which our prisoners are executed in a systematic and planned manner by this extremist Zionist system. This is not medical neglect. This is medical assassination against our prisoners.”

[Official PA TV, Ramallah and El-Bireh District Governor Laila Ghannam, March 1, 2024]

Official PA reporter Benazir Eichmann further propagated the abuse-of-prisoner libel. The fact that 22-year-old Fatah member Asef Al-Rifa’i contracted cancer before his imprisonment and received chemotherapy in Israeli hospitals while incarcerated did not stop her from accusing Israel of responsibility for his death. Eichmann claimed that Al-Rifa’i was a victim of neglect:

“The latest case was the ascent [to Heaven] of Asef Al-Rifa’i, 22, from Kafr Ein next to Ramallah, a victim of the crime of medical neglect and prevention of treatment.”

[Official PA TV, March 1, 2024]

All of these prisoner libels are false. The International Red Cross, which visits all Palestinian terrorist prisoners regularly, has never made the claim that prisoners have improper conditions or do not receive medical treatment. The prisoners themselves have not made any such claims either—not even during hunger strikes, such as the one in 2011. At the time, they requested additional benefits, such as access to satellite TV channels and allowing prisoners who are relatives to be closer to each other. There was no need for them to request better medical care.

Moreover, PMW has documented prisoners talking about how they "lack nothing" in the prisons, and that "the worst thing about Israeli prison" is that they are occasionally transported in a vehicle with no seat padding.

Whether PA Antisemitism focuses on its religious component of Jews being the enemy of Allah or the Middle Ages approach, which presented Jews as the source of death, the objective is the same—to give Palestinians the justification for killing Jews.

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