President Sarkozy and other intermediaries should focus on the insidious role of incitement in the tragic violence that plagues the Middle East.
In his moving appeal on December 30, for an end to the tragic events in Gaza, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was among very
few opinion makers to recognize and focus on the most critical, but sorely neglected, aspect of the conflict. Very cogently
he appealed to both sides to "curb their inflammatory rhetoric."
It is indeed unfortunate that so few recognize that while not only adults, but even children from their earliest years, continue to be indoctrinated to hate, any brokered cessation of rocket firing by Hamas and of retaliation by Israel cannot last.
For example, a report by Palestinian Media Watch disclosed that the new textbooks issued by the PA Ministry of Education in 2006 continue to reject Israel's right to exist. Palestinian terror against Israel is defined as acts of glorious heroism and fighting Israel is taught as a religious battle for Islam worthy of a great reward from Allah. They teach and idealize Jihad – war for Islam – and Shahada – death for Allah – as basic Islamic principles to which to aspire.
Unless President Sarkozy and other intermediaries insist on curbing this type of incitement, any truce can be nothing more than suppression of a symptom, while the underlying cause continues to fester.
Typical of the incitement that is the most formidable barrier to peaceful co-existence is the following extract from an address by Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008.
"Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe." (Translated by MEMRI)
In a paper titled "Islam's Mandatory War Against Jews and Israel", Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, describes how Islamic holy leaders teach that Jews are the eternal enemies of Allah and that the killing of Jews is Allah's will.
Religious leaders in PA mosques continuously emphasize that the killing of a Jew is a religious obligation, that all agreements with Israel are temporary in nature and that the ultimate destruction of Israel is a certainty.
The International Herald Tribune of April 1, 2008 reported that typically, in the At Al Omari mosque, the imam refers to Jews as the brothers of apes and pigs and that the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, regularly praises suicide bombing and holy war. Its videos praise the rocket-launching teams that aim at Israeli civilians and the programs are designed to indoctrinate the young to its brand of radical Islam.
Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University, is quoted as saying, "everyone has to listen to the imam whether you believe him or not." Radwan Abu Ayyash, deputy minister of culture in Ramallah, is quoted as saying that he finds a lot of what Al Aksa broadcasts "disgusting and unprofessional . . . But what is not fine is to build up children with a culture of hatred, of closed minds, a culture of sickness. I don't think they always know what they are creating."
The article concludes that no matter what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree, there is concern that the attitudes being instilled will make a sustainable peace extremely difficult.
Also typical is a sermon broadcast on Palestinian Television from Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halabia, Rector of Advanced Studies at the Islamic University. He said, "The Jews are all liars . . . They are terrorists. Therefore it is necessary to slaughter them and murder them, according to the words of Allah . . . it is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you encounter them, kill them. Kill the Jews and those among the Americans that are like them . . ."
The most discouraging aspect is that Hamas leaves absolutely no room for peaceful negotiation as confirmed in article 13 of its covenant, which unambiguously states, "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
While Hamas' immediate goal is the violent destruction of Israel, this is only a first step towards the ultimate goal of Islamic fundamentalists to impose Islamic rule on all infidels world-wide by means of Jihad, a religious war against all infidels. Their Jihad is not directed only against Jews, but against all infidels, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and all other non-Muslims alike.
The Hamas-PLO rift should not have surprised anyone who has read the Hamas Covenant, which clearly states that Hamas regards even the PLO as insufficiently dedicated to Islam. Article 27 of the Hamas covenant spells it out. "The day the PLO adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire will burn the enemies."
The imaginative irrationality of Hamas is illustrated by its obsessive phobia about freemasons, rotary clubs, Lions and similar organizations which are mentioned in no less than three of the articles of the covenant as Zionist organizations under various names and shapes. "The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated."
May we hope that in their worthy endeavors to prevent more bloodshed, President Sarkozy and other intermediaries will focus on the insidious role of incitement in the tragic violence that plagues our planet.