RSS Feeds
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Occupation magazine - Commentary

Home page  back Print  Send To friend

Week 2359 of Occupation
The incitement index incites

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs was first established in 2006 to provide
a consolation prize to Avigdor Lieberman, who wanted the Internal Security
Ministry, but was unfortunately the subject of several investigations by that
ministry at the time. It was phased out in 2008, only to be revived in 2009,
this time to provide a portfolio to Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, number two in the
Likud Party, since the important ministries were reserved for Likud’s coalition
partners. But what does this political artifact of a ministry actually do? It
is supposed to be responsible for coordinating strategic affairs, but it has no
authority over any other ministry.

On August 12 we discovered what Ya’alon’s superfluous ministry has been up to,
when it revealed its Palestinian Authority “incitement index.” The index records
and tabulates public statements by PA officials and their media outlets that do
not conform to the Israeli establishment’s idea of proper political behavior.
This includes not only statements maligning Jews collectively, which exist, but
anything that does not imply a capitulation to Israel’s terms for “peace.”

So any hint that Palestinians are collectively engaged in a struggle for
national rights is termed “incitement.” The examples provided reveal a
Palestinian society that indeed sees itself as engaged in a struggle against the
occupier. It is a society ideologically mobilized to fight for its legitimate
rights. This is what the incitement index calls “the ethos of struggle” that is
encouraged by Palestinian leadership and media. Calling this incitement is to
suggest that Palestinians accept the alternative, the Israeli vision of peace
through division of the remaining 20% of Palestine based on a configuration of
settlements that Israel imposed by force, mostly while “peace negotiations” were
taking place.

The index also takes offense and labels as incitement any reference to the
entire territory that was Mandatory Palestine in 1947 as “Palestine.” Photos of
Mahmoud Abbas next to maps of Palestine thus delineated, the map of said
territory on official PA documents, and as traced by children on television,
these are all said to be instances of incitement and an obstacle to peace. If
you have visited the West Bank, you will also see the same familiar shape of
historic Palestine on dashboards of taxis, on living room walls. It is a graphic
representation of the Palestinian narrative.

But calling this “incitement,” and claiming that it is “the primary obstacle to
peace,” as the index does, requires a badly atrophied sense of irony. Israel
daily uses not only incitement to violence, but real violence, and the threat of
violence, to take Palestinian lands. The former IDF chief of staff who runs the
office that produced this pseudoscientific index has openly supported
accelerated settlement activity. He has declared that Jews should be allowed to
colonize all of “the land of Israel.” Not only are there countless instances of
Israeli government officials and politicians denying the validity of Palestinian
national existence, let alone the right to self-determination, but Israel is
actively implementing their vision.

It could not have helped the cause of this “incitement” awareness campaign, that
a few days after the index was released, Israel’s media had forgotten all about
this document, and were instead preoccupied with the vicious attacks of
Palestinian teenagers in Jerusalem at the hands of Israeli gangs.

The incitement index can be found here:

Lieberman going rogue

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, under Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his deputy,
Danny Ayalon, is a rogue operation. This is despite the fact that the platform
of the Israel Beiteinu party of both Lieberman and Ayalon calls for moving
Israel toward a system of government more like the executive branch of the US
system, with an appointed cabinet that shares a unified policy.

Lieberman is now calling for a diplomatic offensive to delegitimate Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On 19 August, Lieberman sent off a letter to
the four members of the “quartet” who monitor progress in what they still call
the peace process: the US, EU, UN, and Russia. In his letter he complained about
Abbas’s own diplomatic campaign to seek observer status for the state of
Palestine in the UN General Assembly.
Lieberman asked the quartet to require new Palestinian elections, for the
purpose of replacing Abbas. On 23 August, Lieberman, in a radio interview in
Israel, said that Abbas was waging “diplomatic terror” against Israel. Any
exhortation to struggle to realize Palestinian rights is now termed
“incitement,” so any actual practical attempts to engage in that struggle is
defined, at least in Lieberman’s world, as “terror.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that Lieberman’s offensive represents
neither his own position nor that of his government. So the letter is received
internationally as a personal campaign, on the part of a foreign minister whose
international reputation for seriousness and moderation is negligible,
particularly compared to that of Abbas himself. It is not surprising that Russia
has already responded to Lieberman’s letter, reaffirming its support for Abbas
as leader of the Palestinian Authority.


Settler violence

In recent days, settler attacks on Palestinians and their property, have
intensified. Here are four of the latest incidents:

15 August: Settlers destroy 30 olive trees in the al-Hamra valley in the South
Hebron Hills. This makes 97 Palestinian-owned olive trees destroyed in the area
since January. (

16 August: Settlers injured five members of the Hassan family, by throwing
Molotov cocktails at their car, near Bethlehem.

25 August: Settlers cut down 30 olive trees in Yatta and sprayed racist slogans
on water tanks. (

25 August: Settlers uprooted trees and destroyed crops in Jammala and Deir
Ammar, near Ramallah. (

Links to the latest articles in this section

The US and nuclear programs in the Middle East
How can Israel, Palestine return to a two-state solution?
A matter of concrete debate