January 8, 1998


On March 11, 1997, Nabil Ramlawi, the PLO representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, charged that the Israeli government had infected 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus. To this day, no UN action has been taken to challenge this modern version of anti-Semitic blood libels that were once rampant in medieval Europe.

Since that time there is increasing evidence of anti-Semitism emerging as an integral part of the rhetoric of Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, and they encourage its use in the Palestinian media. It should be emphasized that this vile propaganda is spread through mainstream Palestinian newspapers, public radio and public television that operate under the license of the Palestinian Authority and with its backing.

Moreover, newspapers like "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida" or "Al-Ayyam" have their main editorial offices in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. They only began operations after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, in 1994. These major Palestinian media are, furthermore, managed by individuals who have had leading positions in the PLO or Fatah organization, such as Nabil Amru, Akram Haniyyah, or Radwan Abu-Ayyash. For example, Nabil Amru, the publisher of "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", previously served as the PLO representative in Moscow and as media advisor to Chairman Yasser Arafat; today, Mr. Amru is also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Six recurrent themes are discernible in the examples that follow:

1. Classic anti-Semitic stereotypes

"We are fighting and struggling with an enemy who is Shylock. We must know that he is Shylock." - Othman Abu Gharbiya, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Advisor on National Political Guidance, in an interview with the official PA radio station, The Voice of Palestine, March 15, 1997.

"The [Palestinian] Authority cannot do a thing, except protect its people and itself from an enemy which bares its Jewish fangs from the four comers of the earth..." - from an article in the official PA newspaper "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", August 6, 1997.

2. Comparisons of Israel with Nazis

"Since its establishment, the racist Zionist entity has been implementing various forms of terrorism on a daily basis which are a repetition of the Nazi terror There is no difference between Hitler and Ben-Gurion, and if there was a difference at all, it was one of quantity and not one of substance." - from an article in the official PA newspaper "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", September 3, 1997.

"Israeli practices in many aspects are equal with, if not more brutal than, those practiced by occupying Nazi soldiers dealing with French-Dutch citizens during the Second World War." PA Information Ministry press release, December 10, 1997.

3. Denial of the Holocaust

"It is well-known that every year the Jews exaggerate what the Nazis did to them. They claim there were 6 million killed, but precise scientific research demonstrates that there were no more than 400,000... They have profited materially, spiritually, politically and economically from the talk about the Nazi killings. This investment is favorable to them and they view it as a profitable activity so they inflate the number of victims all the time." from a cultural affairs program broadcast cm the official PA television station, August 25, 1997.

"Imagine ... the Jews are saying, 'The Nazis burned us in gas chambers.' That is a false tale, but at times I felt that we were those who were being burned up within the walls..." Abir Al-Wahidi, female Fatah terrorist released in February 1997, in an the official PA television, February 13, 1997.

4. Libelous Accusations

"Abd Al-Fatah Hamid, the Head of the Control and Inspection Department in the PA Ministry of Supplies, said that a committee will work ... against spoiled goods and food supplies, which are one of Israel's means in its war against Palestinian society." from an article in the Palestinian daily, "Al-Ayyam", October 29, 1997.

"They brought Russian Jewish girls with AIDS to spread the disease among Palestinian youth." Abdel-Razek Al-Majida, Commander of the Palestinian General Security Service in Gaza, quoted by the official PA newspaper "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", May 15, 1997.

5. Delegitimizing Israel and the Jewish people

"There is no people or land named Israel ... these Zionists are not fit to establish a nation or to have their own language or even their own religion." Interview with Safi Naz Kassam, "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", September 1, 1997.

"... there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish traces/remains in the old city of Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity. PA Information Ministry, December 10, 1997.

"The Jewish-Muslim conflict is eternal. It is founded on the Torah, the Talmud, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The entire world is tormented by the Jews. The fate of the Palestinian people is to struggle against the Jews on behalf of the world," a review of research" "The History of the Conflict between Muslims and Jews", by Ahmad Khalil Akil Al-Awadah. "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", September 1, 1997.

"The 'Al-Buraq' Wall (the Western Wall) is a part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jews have no relation to it, whether or not a decision to expropriate it was made." PA Mufti Ikrama Sabri in the Palestinian daily "Al-Ayyam", November 22, 1997.

6. Equating Zionism-with racism

"When the UN General Assembly defined Zionism as a form of racism, it expressed this as a fact a fact which is backed up by Israeli operations which the human conscience can not bear. Zionism remains ... another face of racism, despite all the pressures the US has put in order to change the UN decision or to cancel it..." PA Under- Secretary for Culture Yihya Yakhlaf, "Al-Ayyam", August 7, 1997

"Zionist racism reaches its peak with this Talmudic offensive, which team the pages of the Koran, and which offends the Master of Prophets, Muhammad, Allah's blessing be with him, and the Blessed Virgin, mother of Christ, may they rest in peace." Hasan Al-Kashef, Director-General of the PA Information Ministry, quoted in the official PA newspaper, "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida", July 7, 1997.

This is only a partial list.

As the previous quotations demonstrate, repeated reference is made to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and Palestinian Authority newspapers publish stories about Jewish "plots" and Jewish "fangs". Jews are often depicted as power-hungry and lusting after money, with occasional references to Shakespeare's Shylock and The Merchant of Venice, as examples of Jewish greed. Palestinian officials have continued to accuse Israel of injecting Palestinians with the AIDS virus, conducting medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners and selling spoiled food to Palestinians, Palestinian media and Palestinian officials have engaged in Holocaust denial and accused Jews of inflating the number of victims in order to profit from it.

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords and the Hebron Protocol, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is obligated to refrain from incitement against Israel and to take measures to prevent others from engaging in it. The Interim Agreement (Oslo 2) of September 28, 1995 (Article XXII) states that Israel and the PA "shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other and, without derogating from the principle of freedom of expression, shall take legal measures to prevent such incitement by any organizations, groups or individuals within their jurisdiction."

Recognizing that the language of incitement was continuing to be used by leading officials in the Palestinian Authority during 1996, the Israeli government insisted upon a reaffirmation of this commitment when it completed negotiations over Israel's redeployment in Hebron. In the Note for the Record, which accompanied the Hebron Protocol of January 15, 1997, the Palestinians reaffirmed their commitment regarding "Preventing incitement and hostile propaganda, as specified in Article XXII of the Interim Agreement." It was hoped that this re-commitment would lead to a change in the tone of Palestinian statements during 1997, but these statements only seemed to worsen.

As a democracy, Israel understands, the value of freedom of the press as well as freedom of expression. But when an Israeli extremist, from the periphery of Israeli society, put up sacrilegious posters that were deeply offensive to Islam a Jerusalem district court just recently showed no reluctance to firmly act and convict that same individual of violating Israeli law. The Palestinian Authority has demonstrated its willingness to take action against those with whom it disagrees on far less serious matters than racism and incitement such as Daoud Kuttab of a Palestinian film production company, Othman Halaq of the pro-Jordanian "Al-Nahar" newspaper, and Maher al-Alami editor of "Al-Quds" Palestinian security services acted against each of these individuals. In the case of Palestinian anti-Semitism, the Palestinian Authority's inaction can only be interpreted as a clear expression of approval.

In many cases, there is widespread ignorance about these trends in the Palestinian Authority. In other cases, this development is greeted with apathy. The silence of the international community in the face of this anti-Semitic hate campaign is intolerable. As a nation which has witnessed how incitement and racism can serve as precursors for physical destruction, Israel condemns this renewed anti-Semitism in the strongest of terms and finds it to represent a major impediment to peace and reconciliation to which Israel remains committed.

I should be grateful if you would have the text of this letter circulated as a document of the General Assembly under agenda item 110 entitled "Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination."

Ambassador Dore Gold
Permanent Representative

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