Palestinian Authority Television Calls For Destruction of Israel,
CNS News June 14, 2001
By Julie Stahl
A week after a Palestinian suicide bomber
killed himself and 20 Israelis at a Tel Aviv disco and days
after Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat called for
a ceasefire, the official PA television broadcast a sermon calling
for suicide bombings and the destruction of Israel, the United
States, and Britain.
But U.S. and Israeli officials expressed
no surprise on Thursday, saying these kinds of incitements were
"These things happen frequently,"
said U.S. Embassy spokesman Larry Schwartz. "There are
enemies of peace in the region. It's not surprising that they
are also enemies of the United States."
However, such threats are "immaterial,"
he added, because the relationship between Israel and the U.S.
is strong and they "stand together" in the region.
He did not comment on the fact that the sermon was broadcast
on the PA's official TV.
"This is the usual phenomenon of
incitement that we're talking about," said Israeli Foreign
Ministry deputy spokeswoman Amira Oron.
Such incitement is not unique to Islamic
religious leaders in the PA but is also spread through the media
and children's schoolbooks, Oron said. It is also common throughout
the Middle East, she added.
There was no immediate comment from the
British Embassy in Tel Aviv.
'Army of Allah'
Sheik Ibrahim Madhi's sermon was carried
live from the Sheik Ijlin Mosque in Gaza last Friday. A translation
was made available this week by the Middle East Media Research
Institute, an independent media analysis organization.
Madhi told Palestinians Allah could have
delivered them instantaneously but was testing them through
the things they were suffering. In the meantime, they needed
to make preparations for the destruction of Israel, the U.S.
and Great Britain.
"We must prepare the ground for
the army of Allah that is coming according to the [divine] predetermination.
We must prepare a foothold for them," Madhi said.
"Allah willing, this unjust state
... Israel, will be erased; this unjust state the United States
will be erased; this unjust state Britain will be erased - they
who caused this people's nakba ," he said.
The nakba ("catastrophe")
to which Madhi referred was what the Palestinians call the 1948
creation of the State of Israel. One viewpoint held in the region
is that the West - particularly the U.S. and Britain - planted
a Jewish "colony" in the midst of the Arab Middle
East with the aim to conquer it.
Madhi hurled "shame and remorse"
on anyone who refrained from raids against the enemy, who didn't
raise his children on jihad (holy war), or who hated
his Muslim brother "while loving one of the infidels."
He bestowed blessings on those who fought
against the enemy and he praised acts of "martyrdom."
"Blessings to whoever waged jihad
for the sake of Allah; blessings to whoever raided for the sake
of Allah; blessings to whoever put a belt of explosives on his
body or on his sons' and plunged into the midst of the Jews,
crying ' Allahu Akbar' [Allah is greater]."
Madhi also prayed that the roof of the Israeli parliament would
collapse on Jewish lawmakers just as the floor of the Jerusalem
banquet hall collapsed under Jewish wedding guests nearly three
Israel suffered its worst civil disaster ever when the third
floor of the hall collapsed in May, leaving 23 dead and more
than 300 injured.
Oron said that this kind of incitement has been going on for
years and was not merely a response to the election of Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon, who is vilified in the Arab world.
It was rampant during the terms of the late Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin - who initiated the peace process with the PLO
- and that of Ehud Barak - who offered more than any of his
predecessors to the PA in exchange for peace.
Nobody could argue that it had anything to do with whether
Israel has a right or left-wing government, she added.
Israel has complained that the PA has fueled street violence
and the desire of Palestinians to fight by using its official
media and newspapers to incite the public to perpetrate attacks
The U.S.-sponsored Mitchell commission - accepted by both Israel
and the PA unconditionally - recommended that all incitement
in the media be stopped as part of the first stage of halting