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Haaretz: Washington Institute for Near East Policy confirms PMW findings on incitement

Where one man’s incitement is another man’s fact

Netanyahu and Israeli experts on Palestinian media charge that incitement against Israel is a major problem. But many Palestinians say don’t blame the messenger: the news simply reflects the grim reality on the ground.

by Ilene Prusher 
When an Israeli police chief named Baruch Mizrahi was shot on the eve of Passover on his way to a seder near Hebron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement blaming the Palestinian Authority for its incitement.

“The Palestinian Authority continues to constantly broadcast – in its official media – programs that incite against the existence of the State of Israel,” the statement read. “Last night this incitement was translated into the murder of a father who was traveling with his family to celebrate the first night of Passover. The incitement of the Palestinian Authority continues in that it has yet to see fit to condemn this abominable and reprehensible act."...

Incitement, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder. Israeli groups watching the issue, such as Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), say incitement against Israel is prevalent. But Palestinians say their media simply reflect the grim reality for Palestinians living under occupation...

Palestinian Media Watch daily posts something new about what it considers to be incitement. This video, for example, was played on official PA television two days before Abbas’ Holocaust comment. In it, a young girl reads a poem which includes the lines: “To war that will smash the oppression and destroy the Zionist's soul.” Earlier this week, PMW posted an update on Tawfiq Tirawi, a Fatah Central Committee member, calling for Israel’s destruction.

David Pollock, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has been studying the issue for several years and published a major study on incitement last September called “Beyond Words: Causes, Consequences, and Cures for Palestinian Authority Hate Speech.” He says little has changed since then.

“Unfortunately the reality is that the incitement is worse in the official PA media than elsewhere,” Pollock says in a telephone interview. “The official daily paper, al Hayat al Jadida, compared to al Quds [an independent paper], is more inflammatory towards Israel. But even worse, the official PA television channel tends to be more inflammatory than whatever independent television programming there is. Similarly when it comes to official websites and statements, when we talk about official websites, the worst is Fatah – it’s not the PA but it’s the ruling party. If you look at their Facebook pages, their Twitter accounts, they quite regularly post material that is defamatory, abusive, glorification of terrorists if not direct instigation of violence.”