At the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Anti-Defamation League’s recent survey on anti-Semitism, blaming Palestinian Authority official incitement for the high rate of anti-Semitism in the Gaza strip and PA-controlled areas.
“This is the result of the Palestinian Authority’s unceasing incitement, which distorts the image of the State of Israel and the Jewish People, as we have known in other places in our past,” Netanyahu said.
The ADL’s Global 100 survey, the results of which were released last week, showed a staggering 93 percent of adults in Palestinian territories hold anti-Semitic views. The survey, which was conducted between July 2013 and February of this year, asked participants whether they believed any of a series of 11 anti-Jewish stereotypes. Anyone who accepted at least six of them was deemed to hold anti-Semitic attitudes.
In identifying the causes of Palestinian anti-Semitism, Netanyahu made a veiled comparison between PA representations and Nazi propaganda, saying such tactics have been used “in other places in our past.”
He also pointed to Palestinian “Nakba day” commemorations as one source of ongoing tensions. Palestinians remember May 15 annually as the Nakba, or tragedy, of the creation of the State of Israel.
“Whoever sees the establishment of the State of Israel and its continued existence as a disaster does not want peace,” Netanyahu said.
This year, the PA marked the day with a 66-second siren, for the 66 years of the State of Israel. Palestinian protests later turned violent, resulting in the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers. While PA sources claim they were hit by live ammunition, the IDF insists it used only rubber bullets. An investigation into the incident is underway.
Netanyahu indicated, as well, that Palestinian anti-Semitism is seeing expression in the expanded role the PA is offering Hamas in territories under its control. The two organizations parted ways in a bloody battle when Hamas expelled the Fatah-controlled PA from Gaza in 2007. Now, the two are coming together in an attempt to form a unity government within the next six months.
The move has been met with condemnation from many sources, including the US, which designates Hamas officially as a terrorist entity. The US has warned the PA that a unity government with Hamas would result in an end to US funding.