August 2012 Archives

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Father Roy writes: Peers, if another big war breaks out in the Holy Land, American voters and taxpayers will have no trouble figuring out who’s responsible.  See:  U.S. Still Believes Iran NOT On Verge of Nuclear WeaponI’m copying Mark Regev on this post.  The highlights in the article pasted below are mine.   Peace, Roy  

Decision To Attack Iran is Almost Final

PM believes Iran’s regime is aiming to ‘destroy the Jewish people,’ does not think Obama will resort to force.Nuclear drive ‘further ahead’ than previously thought. In a year, Israeli action could have only ‘negligible effect’

By Times of Israel staff

August 11, 2012 “Times of Israel” –Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have “almost finally” decided on an Israeli strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities this fall, and a final decision will be taken “soon,” Israel’s main TV news broadcast reported on Friday evening.

Channel 2 News, the country’s leading news program, devoted much of its Friday night broadcast to the issue, detailing the pros and cons that, it said, have taken Netanyahu and Barak to the brink of approving an Israeli military attack despite opposition from the Obama administration and from many Israeli security chiefs.

Critically, the station’s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal said, Israel does not believe that the US will take military action as Iran closes in on the bomb.

The US, the TV report said, has not provided Israel with details of an attack plan. President Obama has not promised to attack Iran if all else fails. Conditions cited by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for an American attack do not calm Israeli concerns. And Obama has a record of seeking UN and Arab League approval before action. All these factors, in Jerusalem’s mind, underline the growing conviction of Netanyahu and Barak that Israel will have to tackle Iran alone, the TV report said.

Israel’s leaders have also noted that president George W. Bush vowed repeatedly that North Korea would not be allowed to attain a nuclear weapons capability — a vow that proved empty.

Obama does not want to intervene militarily before the presidential elections in November, and it is doubtful that he would act afterwards, runs the Israeli assessment, the TV report said. Obama may believe that the US can live with a nuclear Iran, but Israel cannot, the report quoted those in “Netanyahu’s circle” as saying.

As for presidential challenger Mitt Romney, he takes a more forceful position, but would probably not have the domestic support necessary to act in the first year of his presidency, if elected, and after that it would be too late.

The US can live with Iran as a “breakout state” — on the edge of attaining a bomb, the report said the prime minister’s circle believes. But “for Israel, a breakout state is a nuclear state.”

Netanyahu, for his part, “is convinced that thwarting Iran amounts to thwarting a plan to destroy the Jewish people,” Channel 2′s Segal said. The prime minister considers Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be acting rationally in order to achieve “fanatical” goals.

Segal said that, when considering the imperative to attack, Netanyahu and Barak reason that “we may have reached the moment of truth” after which it would be too late to stop Iran, and that “the price of an attack is far lower than the price of inaction.” It will be “a matter of a few months” before it is too late, Segal said — before, that is, Iran would be immune from damage by an Israeli strike.

The TV report cited intelligence information suggesting that Iran “is much further ahead” than previously thought in its uranium enrichment and in other aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

Segal said Israel’s capacity to impact the Iranian program was dwindling, and the “window of opportunity” was closing. “Four years ago,” he said, an Israeli strike could have set back the Iranian program “by two to four years.” A year from now, an Israeli strike “would have a negligible impact.”

Netanyahu was reported to have said in private conversations that “if no one attacks, Iran will get the bomb” — underlining that he does not believe sanctions will thwart Tehran.

The extensive TV report detailed what it said was the Israeli leadership duo’s thinking on the military, diplomatic and economic consequences of an Israeli strike, and the consequences of Iran getting the bomb.

Militarily, an Israeli strike would prompt missile attacks on Israel, attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah from the south and the north, and upheaval on the Arab street, in the leadership’s assessment. The assessment is that Syria’s President Bashar Assad would not get involved, since this would finish him off, the report said. But if Iran got the bomb, the missile threat would be escalated, Hamas and Hezbollah further empowered, and there would be a danger of any crisis escalating into a nuclear crisis.

Diplomatically, an Israeli strike would prompt a confrontation with the US, global protests, international isolation for Israel, delegitimization, and a situation in which Israel was seen as the aggressor. But if Iran got the bomb, Israel would be defeated and humiliated diplomatically, and would become a liability to the US, the TV report said Israel’s two key leaders believe.

Economically, an Israeli strike would deepen the economic slowdown and lead to a suspension of foreign investment. An Iranian bomb would end foreign investment in Israel, however, and prompt an exodus of Israel’s best brains.

Netanyahu and Barak were said to believe that an Israeli military strike, though opposed by Washington, would not shatter ties with the US. Survey figures that have impacted their thinking suggest significant US support for an American and for an Israeli strike on Iran, the TV report said.

Israel would not be planning to draw the US into a war with Iran by striking at Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report said. And Israel does not believer an attack would prompt regional war.

The TV report made much of a recent speech by Netanyahu, at the scene of Sunday’s terror attack thwarted by Israel at the Gaza-Egypt-Israel border. Visiting the area on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel “must and can” only rely on itself to safeguard its security.

“It becomes clear time after time that when it comes to the safety of Israeli citizens, Israel must and can rely only on itself. No one can fulfill this role except the IDF and different Israel security forces of Israel, and we will continue to conduct ourselves in this way,” Netanyahu said.

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Peers,Have you noticed how interesting a good short story can be?  Details can be especially interesting.  Here’s a short story in progress that we can follow.  A Palestinian man … accepted an invitation from a group of Jews … and all hell broke loose.  The story would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

Thanks to the Christian Science Monitor for the commentary pasted below.  Peers, let’s look on the bright side.  An International Debate is in the process of precipitating,  both in Cyberspace and on the ground.  And under our very noses.  I suggest that we pray that we deal with these matters with understanding.  There’s a postscript.

Peace,

Roy+

P.S.   Peers, a heated debate need not be bitter.  If we all start listening to one another with good will in our hearts … and … at the same time … if we all will respond honestly and without hesitation … (here comes the heard part) … we’ll all learn something.  Please read on.  Read what Hanan Ashwari had to say about the latest tempest in Israel’s tea pot.

Palestinian comments on Holocaust underscore internal divides

A Palestinian official prompted a heated debate when he visited Auschwitz last month. Many Palestinians believe that recognition of the Holocaust detracts from their own suffering.

By Ben Lynfield, Correspondent / August 11, 2012

A rare gesture of empathy for victims of the Holocaust has underscored how divided Palestinians are over recognizing what Jews consider the darkest chapter in their history – and also how far apart Israelis and Palestinians remain, not only when it comes to the present conflict, but also the past.

Ziyad Bandak, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas‘s adviser on Christian affairs, visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland last month, laying a wreath in memory of the more than 1 million people, most of them Jews, who were killed there during the Holocaust. Mr. Bandak, who was invited by a Polish group working for tolerance, was flayed in public statements by the Islamic militant group Hamas movement for harming the Palestinian cause and marketing a ”false Zionist alleged tragedy.”

But Bandak is being backed up by moderate Palestinian leaders in the West Bank for what they say is a ”human” act.

In the past, there was a sense among Palestinians that recognition of the Holocaust would detract from their own cause and suffering – an opinion accentuated by the feeling that their own struggles, including displacement by Israel‘s establishment in 1948 and the ongoing military occupation, have gone unrecognized by Israel and the international community.

With his adviser’s visit to Auschwitz, Mr. Abbas has come full circle on the issue. In 1984, he published a book based on his doctoral thesis alleging that the Holocaust was exaggerated and that Zionists created ”the myth” that 6 million Jews were murdered. But when he became Palestinian Authority prime minister in 2003, Abbas wrote that the Holocaust was an unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation and humanity. He said that he wrote the book when the Palestinians were at war with Israel and would not have made such remarks today.

“There is a competition over victimhood and suffering,” says Hanan Ashrawi, the Ramallah-based spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. ”Many people feel ‘Why should we recognize their suffering if they are still inflicting pain on us? We are not responsible for what happened to them. We are the victims and yet we are being blamed.’ The feeling is ‘Let them stop victimizing us now because their suffering in Europe is not something we’re responsible for – but what’s happening to us, the Israeli occupation is responsible for.”’

But Ms. Ashrawi herself says she supports Bandak’s act, calling it a “human” gesture.

“You can never discount suffering and empathy with the suffering of the other, regardless of whether he is Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or atheist. The Holocaust is a horrible chapter in human history. It should never be repeated, and should never happen to anybody, and an expression of empathy and recognition of the horror is only human,” she says.

Qais Abdul-Karim, a Palestinian legislator from the left-wing Badil party, termed the wreath laying ”a normal thing to do.”

“I do not believe it will divert attention from the rights and agony of the Palestinian people. We do not deny the Holocaust or agree to any position that will try to minimize or justify the cruelty and barbarism embodied in the Holocaust,” he says.

Bandak himself was traveling abroad and unavailable for comment

(The complete article can be read at CSM’s website.  R)
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Father Roy writes: Shimon Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada The UCC has scheduled the crucial vote for today. See my highlights in the article pasted below   Peace, Roy 

Click here: Boycott of Israeli settlements would shatter United Church’s credibility – The Globe and Mail

Boycott of Israeli settlements would shatter United Church’s credibility

The Globe and Mail

On Tuesday, the United Church of Canada (UCC) will vote on the Report of the Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which includes a church-wide boycott of goods from Israeli settlements. That report, sadly, has failed to grasp what’s really at stake in this decision. A boycott of Israel launched in any form would put the United Church outside the genuine peace movement and the Canadian consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As hurtful as this would be to the Jewish community, it pales in comparison to the long-term damage it would cause to the reputation of one of Canada’s foremost voices in civil society: the United Church itself.

Granted, the church has removed a disturbing statement from the original report that the deepest meaning of the Holocaust was the denial of human dignity (and posits a moral equivalence with the challenges faced by Palestinians). Yet the report still calls on the UCC to “acknowledge with deep regret” its past policy of asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. What this move would achieve is anyone’s guess. But the notion that the Palestinians can continue to deny Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state (as it was explicitly affirmed by the UN’s 1947 partition resolution) only relieves the Palestinian leadership of the duty to reconcile with its neighbour – and with reality.

No less disturbing is the report’s thesis that the occupation is “the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence in the region,” that settlements are the chief obstacle to peace, and that Israel alone must be pressed to resolve the conflict. Put aside that the Arab-Israeli conflict began in 1948 (decades before settlements existed) and that the violent repression in Syria and throughout the region has nothing to do with Israel. On the issue of settlements, we have history as our guide.

In 1982, Israel withdrew every last settler from the Sinai after securing a peace agreement with Egypt. Both countries have since benefited from peace. In 2005, Israel withdrew every settler from Gaza as a unilateral gesture without a peace agreement. Civilians in southern Israel have since been targeted by some 10,000 missiles and mortars from Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.

History is clear. Israeli withdrawals must include peace and security guarantees signed by Israel’s neighbours, as per international law under UNSC Resolution 242.

It’s astonishing that Israel’s removal of thousands of settlers from the Sinai and Gaza is not mentioned once in the UCC’s report – despite “settlements” appearing no fewer than 54 times. That “terrorism” is mentioned once and “Hamas” and “Hezbollah” receive no mention at all speaks volumes to the report’s lack of balance. Indeed, it reflects a minimization of key obstacles to peace (including anti-Jewish incitement, continuing terrorism, and yes, Hamas – the archetype of Arab rejection of the Jewish state).

Peace will come only through negotiations and painful concessions by both Israelis and Palestinians. This is the consensus among most Canadians and across the political spectrum (the NDP, under both Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair, firmly rejected boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts). No doubt this reflects the majority of UCC members, who would hope to play a constructive role in supporting the legitimate aspirations of both sides. Should a small minority of boycott advocates succeed, the greatest resulting injury would not be to the relationship between the UCC and the Jewish community, but rather between the UCC and its own congregants.

The framework for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict described above is also upheld by the mainstream peace movement, which is engaged in a myriad of projects to bring both sides together. To contribute to this movement, one need not refrain from criticizing particular Israeli policies (as Israeli peace activists can attest). One must simply commit to advancing peace through balance, mutual obligations and reconciliation – rather than coercion and the singling out of one side for blame.

Unfortunately, were the UCC to launch a church-wide boycott, it would alienate one of Canada’s most prominent churches from this important cause. In so doing, the church would not only be turning away from Canada’s Jewish community, but ultimately from the UCC’s own tradition as a leading voice in civil society for fairness, moderation and peace.

Shimon Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada.

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Father Roy writes: Shimon Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada The UCC has scheduled the crucial vote for today. See my highlights in the article pasted below   Peace, Roy 

Boycott of Israeli settlements would shatter United Church’s credibility

The Globe and Mail

On Tuesday, the United Church of Canada (UCC) will vote on the Report of the Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which includes a church-wide boycott of goods from Israeli settlements. That report, sadly, has failed to grasp what’s really at stake in this decision. A boycott of Israel launched in any form would put the United Church outside the genuine peace movement and the Canadian consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As hurtful as this would be to the Jewish community, it pales in comparison to the long-term damage it would cause to the reputation of one of Canada’s foremost voices in civil society: the United Church itself.

Granted, the church has removed a disturbing statement from the original report that the deepest meaning of the Holocaust was the denial of human dignity (and posits a moral equivalence with the challenges faced by Palestinians). Yet the report still calls on the UCC to “acknowledge with deep regret” its past policy of asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. What this move would achieve is anyone’s guess. But the notion that the Palestinians can continue to deny Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state (as it was explicitly affirmed by the UN’s 1947 partition resolution) only relieves the Palestinian leadership of the duty to reconcile with its neighbour – and with reality.

No less disturbing is the report’s thesis that the occupation is “the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence in the region,” that settlements are the chief obstacle to peace, and that Israel alone must be pressed to resolve the conflict. Put aside that the Arab-Israeli conflict began in 1948 (decades before settlements existed) and that the violent repression in Syria and throughout the region has nothing to do with Israel. On the issue of settlements, we have history as our guide.

In 1982, Israel withdrew every last settler from the Sinai after securing a peace agreement with Egypt. Both countries have since benefited from peace. In 2005, Israel withdrew every settler from Gaza as a unilateral gesture without a peace agreement. Civilians in southern Israel have since been targeted by some 10,000 missiles and mortars from Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.

History is clear. Israeli withdrawals must include peace and security guarantees signed by Israel’s neighbours, as per international law under UNSC Resolution 242.

It’s astonishing that Israel’s removal of thousands of settlers from the Sinai and Gaza is not mentioned once in the UCC’s report – despite “settlements” appearing no fewer than 54 times. That “terrorism” is mentioned once and “Hamas” and “Hezbollah” receive no mention at all speaks volumes to the report’s lack of balance. Indeed, it reflects a minimization of key obstacles to peace (including anti-Jewish incitement, continuing terrorism, and yes, Hamas – the archetype of Arab rejection of the Jewish state).

Peace will come only through negotiations and painful concessions by both Israelis and Palestinians. This is the consensus among most Canadians and across the political spectrum (the NDP, under both Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair, firmly rejected boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts). No doubt this reflects the majority of UCC members, who would hope to play a constructive role in supporting the legitimate aspirations of both sides. Should a small minority of boycott advocates succeed, the greatest resulting injury would not be to the relationship between the UCC and the Jewish community, but rather between the UCC and its own congregants.

The framework for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict described above is also upheld by the mainstream peace movement, which is engaged in a myriad of projects to bring both sides together. To contribute to this movement, one need not refrain from criticizing particular Israeli policies (as Israeli peace activists can attest). One must simply commit to advancing peace through balance, mutual obligations and reconciliation – rather than coercion and the singling out of one side for blame.

Unfortunately, were the UCC to launch a church-wide boycott, it would alienate one of Canada’s most prominent churches from this important cause. In so doing, the church would not only be turning away from Canada’s Jewish community, but ultimately from the UCC’s own tradition as a leading voice in civil society for fairness, moderation and peace.

Shimon Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada.

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Father Roy writes: Peers, let us open our eyes.  And become wide awake and alert.  Let’s carefully (full of care) notice the skillful way that Israel uses the media to obfuscate the issues in the Holy Land.  In the news report pasted below, Israel is blaming the Palestinians for doing exactly what Israel is doing.  Bibi is blaming the PA Leadership for "obfuscating" Israel’s efforts to make peace.  Benjamin Netanyahu is wise in the ways of publicity.  He has mastered the perfidious art of "spin", which some folks call "the Devil’s Art".  Bibi is constantly surrounded by advisors and ready responders who know where the cameras are. 

Anybody with eyesight can see that Israel’s decades old occupation is the cause of the fighting.  Have you noticed?  There has been a paradigm shift in the Zeitgeist.  Folks around the world are growing quite weary of Israel’s Negotiating Strategies.  Bibi’s propaganda is obsolete, for there have been too many false flag operations in the past.  Bibi’s hasbara is wearing thin, and it’s becoming somewhat boring.  Bibi’s interpretation and implementation of Zionism is an underlying cause of the alleged world-wide rise of anti-Semitism.  Peers, we don’t want another resurgence of anti-Semitism. !!!.  Some folks are reading and/or re-reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion  and asking:  "Where’s the forgery?"  Some folks are suggesting that the Protocols reflect reality by analogy, i.e., reality expressed in satire.  Henry Ford did some writing about The International Jew  and look what happened to him.  Should these matters be kept secret?  If matters such as these are not brought to light … (consciousness) … they will forever fester and do eventual damage to us all.   Some folks have concluded that Israel needs a change of government.  …. The highlights in the article pasted below are mine.

Peace, Roy+

Israel claims Palestinian leadership demonizes Jews, justifies violence, denies Israel’s right to exist

Under the PA, all forms of resistance remain legitimate, Strategic Affairs Ministry charges in new report on incitement 

Israel on Sunday returned fire in a raging propaganda war with the Palestinians, accusing the Palestinian Authority of obfuscating peace efforts, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement, glorification of violence and terrorism, and indoctrinating youth with hateful messages.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry distributed a report to Israeli journalists that accuses the PA of perpetuating the conflict “through incitement to hate, promotion of an ethos of violence and struggle, and non-development of a culture of peace.” The document lists various examples ostensibly proving that the PA demonizes Israel and the Jewish people and negates the principle of peace.

“The incitement done by the Palestinian Authority is in my mind the main obstacle to peace,” the ministry’s director-general, Yossi Kuperwasser, told The Times of Israel. “As the long as the psychological infrastructure of the Palestinian people is based on denying Israel’s right to exist in any form — let alone as the nation-state of the Jewish people — it is difficult to see how peace can be made between these two peoples.” He said the psychological infrastructure adopted by the Palestinian leadership was “not developing any culture of peace, continues to call for violence and justifies violence, and dehumanizes and demonizes the Jews.”

Although the ministry had been gathering information for this report since October 2009, its publication now comes as a counter to similar efforts by the Palestinians, who started publishing regular reports about what they call Israeli incitement against Palestinians a few months ago.

“The Palestinians in no way see themselves as bound by agreements with Israel which require all outstanding issues to be resolved through negotiations only,” the Israeli report charges. “All forms of resistance remain legitimate… The encouragement of an atmosphere supportive of violence, the demonization of Israelis and Jews, and the non-creation of a culture of peace result in an ethos that perpetuates the struggle by glorifying values antithetical to peace.”

‘Jews, Satans, and Zionist sons of bitches’

Examples of alleged incitement and statements standing in the way of reconciliation include the broadcasting on PLO television of a song asserting that “Jaffa, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, the Galilee and the Golan are ours”; an award given to controversial US journalist Helen Thomas — who made headlines for telling Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine” — by a senior PLO member in April; and visits by senior PA officials at the homes of former terrorists.

Numerous examples are given of text books that praise resistance against the “occupiers” and promote the idea of a “return” to all of historical Palestine, as well as of programs on the PA’s television station showing children singing songs glorifying armed resistance against Israel.

The report, titled “Index of Incitement,” quotes Palestinian Olympic committee chairman Jibril Rajoub referring to “Jews, Satans, and Zionist sons of bitches,” and cites PA President Mahmoud Abbas condemning “attacks by settlers which find expression in the uprooting of trees, burning of mosques, training dogs to attack us and sending wild pigs to destroy our lands.”

The report cites several examples that ostensibly show that Palestinian anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish agitation and glorification of terrorism is aimed particularly at children. A 2010 fifth grade textbook, for instance, contains a poem entitled “We are Returning.”

“Under the banner of glory, Jihad and struggle / With blood and willingness to risk life … / To Jihad on the hilltop,” the poem reads.

The cover page of the report features a cartoon showing a man in Hasidic dress who has just ripped a bloody “heart” out of the chest of a Palestinian man lying on an operation table. The “heart” is shaped like the state of Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank.

“The index sheds light and helps us prepare ourselves and avoid the mistake of not understanding who we are dealing with, who cooperates with and initiates this awful incitement,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said about the report. “The Palestinian leadership is bequeathing this incitement to the coming generations and is preventing them from holding a dialogue of peace, the result of which is that it itself is incapable of adopting a dialogue of peace.”

Netanyahu said “the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the national state of the Jewish People’s right to exist” was at the root of the conflict. “We must bring this to the attention of the governments of the world, especially ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly.”

It is widely expected that Abbas is going to ask the UN to grant Palestine the status of a non-member state, a step Israel and the US are trying to prevent.

“When the Palestinians speak to foreign audiences, they speak quite differently than they what they say to their own audience. That’s not new, but it’s disturbing,” Kuperwasser told The Times of Israel. “Our strategy is to bring it to the attention of the Palestinians and the international community that we notice this difference exists.”

As reported by The Times of Israel, the PA’s Government Media Center in May launched a monthly series of reports highlighting alleged Israeli incitement against Palestinians. ‘We are in a totally different place that the Palestinians and any attempt to put us in the same category is really ridiculous’

The most recent report includes several examples of ostensibly hateful statements, which are, according to the Palestinians, “provocative and counterproductive to peace.” The cases, most of them retrieved from articles in the Israeli press, include an Army Radio talk-show host saying “Islam today is the most terrible disease raging around the world;” Interior Minister Eli Yishai reportedly saying that “this country belongs to us, to the white man;” and the reported announcement by an Upper Nazareth local politician that he would pay $10,000 to any Arab willing to leave the city.

“The Palestinian report [on Israeli incitement] doesn’t seem grave because what they cite is mostly people from the fringes of Israeli society who say all kinds of things,” said Kuperwasser, a former deputy chief of the IDF’s intelligence unit. “Here and there you can find something that is not in line with the messages the system in Israel is sending. We are in a totally different place than the Palestinians and any attempt to put us in the same category is really ridiculous.”

The Palestinian report on “Israeli incitement” states that the PA advocates the creation of an “objective joint committee, involving the international community, to define and monitor incitement, so that this issue can be treated with proper seriousness.”

At a briefing for Israeli journalists on Sunday in the Prime Minister’s Office, Kuperwasser said Israel agreed in principle to the idea of a joint committee, but did not pin great hopes on it, “because a committee is not going to change the problem of [Palestinian] incitement… What’s needed is a genuine decision by the Palestinians to change the picture.”