Duplicity: The PA Strategy to Destroy Israel
On September 28, 2000, Israeli leader Ariel Sharon inspected the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.1 Subsequently, a Palestinian uprising, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, erupted. The Palestinian Authority (PA)—the acknowledged leadership of the Palestinian people—accused Sharon of incitement and blamed him for the violence. However, an international committee headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell determined that “the Sharon visit did not cause the ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada.’”2 In fact, the evidence shows quite the contrary: The PA had planned for some time to use an intifada as part of its political strategy.3
Accusing Israel of causing the intifada while its leaders instigated it themselves is just one example of the Palestinian Authority’s overriding strategy—duplicity. Its goal, as declared in the Palestinian National Charter,4 is nothing less than the total destruction of the State of Israel.
Promises: It Agrees to Terms, Then Reneges
(1) The PA has pledged itself to the process of peace, while enlisting in war.
In a 1995 agreement, PA President Yasser Arafat concurred that no other armed forces would operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip “except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces.”5 Yet Arafat’s political party, Fatah, has its own security militia, the Tanzim, which has been responsible for organizing and conducting armed conflict with Israeli forces.6
The same agreement specified the total number of Palestinian Police allowed7—30,000—and the types of weapons they were permitted to carry—mostly small arms.8 However, the PA openly reported it has close to 40,000 policemen, excluding the Tanzim and other militia.9 And it is known the Palestinian Police possess such illegal armaments as grenades, antitank missiles, antiaircraft missiles, mortars, mines, and high explosives10 smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Egypt via underground tunnels.11
According to the same agreement, the Palestinian Police were to protect Jewish holy sites located in Palestinian-controlled areas.12 Yet shortly after the commencement of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Palestinian Police did little to stop the destruction of Joseph’s Tomb in the town of Nablus13 or that of the Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho.14
Yasser Arafat later affirmed, “We are for a just, full and comprehensive peace in our region and on all Arab tracks.”15 Yet, from the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada to when he made that assertion, there were a total of 5,289 violent Palestinian attacks against Jewish targets in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (not counting rock throwing)—an average of 22 per day.16
Violence has long been a key component of Palestinian methodology. The Palestinian National Charter refers to an “armed” struggle or revolution nine times. Specifically, article nine pronounces, “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not a tactic.”17
Arafat may have renounced terrorism in a 1993 letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,18 and he may have received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994; but his pledge to peace hardly seems sincere.
(2) The PA has pledged itself to democratic principles,19 while behaving as a corrupt, despotic regime.
The European Union (EU) is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, having committed more than $800 million in grants and loans over a 10-year-period.20 In its own evaluations and audits, the EU determined that “accounting for the domestic revenues and expenditures of the PA lacks transparency and completeness”; and there are known “cases of financial waste and mismanagement.”21
Extortion,22 financial fraud, and car thefts23 are commonplace under the PA leadership. Palestinian dissenters24 are sometimes beaten and intimidated.25 Instead of freedom of speech, the EU reported the presence of “censorship and direct reprisals.” The report concluded that power is centralized in the executive authority (meaning Yasser Arafat); “arrests and searches are frequently conducted without warrant”; and “torture is widely practised [sic] in the prisons.”26 Palestinians who collaborate with Israelis or sell them land are frequently murdered.27
In one address, Arafat declared, “I would like to affirm here that no one in this homeland is above the law.”28 Despite that claim, sociologist Kenneth Leiter suggests, “Arafat is obstructing this [democratic] process in favor of his own autocracy.”29
(3) The PA has pledged to rectify the Palestinian National Charter but always defers action on the matter.
Arafat promised Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin, “Those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid.”30 It was also promised, and reiterated in later agreements,31 that the Palestinian National Council would take action to amend the charter. In 1996 the Council overwhelmingly voted to “amend the articles in the National charter” and “to draft a new charter.”32 To date, however, no new charter has been approved. The old charter, which calls for violence and the destruction of Israel, still defines the core identity of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.33
In the book Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Westerners (Intercultural Press), Margaret K. Nydell observes, “In the Arab culture, an oral promise has its own value as a response. If an action does not follow, the other person [the one making the promise] cannot be held entirely responsible for a ‘failure.’”34
It seems the Palestinian Authority often makes use of such a philosophy regarding its unkept promises to Israel.
Propaganda: It Plays the Victim While Being the Villain
The PA misinforms the news media in order to appear as freedom-loving, oppressed underdogs while at the same time perpetuating its conflict with Israel.
(1) The PA disseminates conflicting and exaggerated figures of Palestinian injuries.
On May 26, 2001, Arafat announced that more than 28,000 Palestinians were wounded from “Israeli aggression” during the intifada.35 However, over the same period, the PA’s own Ministry of Health recorded 14,731 wounded, a difference of more than 13,000.36
(2) The PA distorts facts.
When 12-year-old Mohammed Al-Durreh tragically was killed and his father injured in crossfire between Israeli and Palestinian security forces, the PA quickly accused the Israelis of intentional, cold-blooded murder37 even though no one yet knew whether Israeli or Palestinian bullets had killed the boy.38 When Palestinian media dispersed a Reuters photograph showing a terrified, Palestinian child who had wet his pants while being arrested by Israeli soldiers, they withheld another Reuters photograph, taken just minutes earlier, of the same boy throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.39
When three Palestinian women accidentally were killed by an Israeli tank shell, the PA reported they had been “murdered by the Israeli occupation army.”40 They did not report, however, that the Palestinians previously had initiated a gun battle that lasted more than an hour, during which the tank shell was fired.41
In its attempt to garner international support, the PA usually fails to explain why an event took place. It says only that it did and that Palestinian people were hurt. Nor does the PA distinguish between motive and effect (e.g., equating accidental deaths with deliberate homicide) or between forms of activity (e.g., equating Israeli settlement with acts of violence).42 Such deliberate distortion effectively gives the impression that Israeli forces purposefully target innocent civilians.43 Nothing could be further from the truth.
(3) The PA spreads blatant lies.
Arafat accused Israel of using “depleted uranium, poison gases and radioactive material” against Palestinians,44 a charge levied with no proof and one the Israeli government strongly denied.45
(4) The PA shamelessly abuses its own children for propaganda fodder.
Television news media portray the stone-throwing children of the Palestinians as “Davids” and Israel’s army as “Goliath.” What the news media usually do not show, however, are the Palestinian Police who are firing from behind and in the midst of the children, using them as cover.46 The PA is fully aware it is endangering the children; yet it values the political points scored when the world sees another injured child or another funeral.
We could ask, Why are the children there in the first place? The answer is that parents,47 teachers,48 government officials,49 and other adult role models often encourage the children to enter the fray, praising them if injured, bestowing martyrdom if killed.50 Palestinian children also watch a Sesame Street-like children’s club where puppets lead them in songs that speak of becoming suicide bombers.51 Palestinian textbooks instruct children to sacrifice their lives for the national resistance movement.52 Palestinian children are sent to summer camps where they are trained for armed conflict.53 As NBC News reported, television commercials beckon children to “drop their toys, pick up rocks, and do battle with Israel.”54 There is even a commercial of Mohammed Al-Durreh, shown in paradise, “urging other children to ‘follow him.’”55
Despite the fact the PA agreed to abstain from incitement,56 Palestinian children are stoked with fear and hatred. They are told it is Israeli policy to “hunt down children and kill them.”57 In school they “ask Allah to destroy the Jews.”58 The PA’s highest-ranking cleric preaches that “the Muslim loves death and martyrdom.”59
One well-known PA member, Hanan Ashrawi, wrote a feigned letter from Ariel Sharon to the Palestinian people. “YOU are my target,” it said. “You will be made to suffer; and you shall pay for the original crime of being a Palestinian. . . . We [Israelis] . . . should be free to inflict any type of pain and brutality on you, and it should be your lot to lie down and die quietly.”60 With such inducement to hate, it is no wonder Palestinian polls show 76 percent of adults61 and 90 percent of youth62 support suicide bombings.
Not all Palestinian parents want their children to grow up to become martyrs. One Palestinian women’s group sent a letter of protest to Arafat, demanding that his police “stop sending innocent children to their death.”63 Most parents, however, do not object for fear of reprisals and being labeled as traitors.64
Since a principle of the Palestinian Vision for Health Development is to “support national programs aimed at improving the status of the Palestinian women and children,”65 teaching them not to hate would seem a natural place to start. Keeping them out of harm’s way would seem a natural second.
Margaret K. Nydell observed, “An Arab will rarely admit to an error openly if it will cause him to lose face. To Arabs, honor is more important than facts.”66
If that is true, then the aspiration for honor may shed light on why the PA is so duplicitous and manufactures such blatant propaganda.
Yasser Arafat and the PA say they want peace, but they make war. They say they keep their word, but they break their signed agreements. They say they believe in democracy, but they practice despotism. They say they are victims of Israeli oppression, but they instigate most of it themselves.
They exemplify the personage of Psalm 55:21: “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” But God is not mocked. “For whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).