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Projecting incitement upon the oppressed

January 23, 2014 at 12:50 am

The Israeli minister for Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz declared in a report that Palestinians thrive upon incitement embedded within educational institutions. “Incitement is a serious obstacle to peace … The Palestinian Authority is aware of the inciting messages in its official institutions.”

The report allegedly gives examples of incitement from various mediums, including curriculum and media, while declaring that “incitement is a widespread phenomenon that is an inseparable part of the Palestinian culture”. The generalising statement fails to take into account several ramifications – by obliterating the narrative of the Israeli occupation, the definition of Palestinian is generalised into the Orientalist stereotype depicting violence coveted by Israel and its Western allies, while failing to expound upon issues such as what constitutes Palestinian culture, the various experiences of Palestinians under the occupation, the identity of Palestinians in relation to their history prior to the occupation and the way identity evolved under oppression, bringing a conglomeration of different experiences united within a prevalent commitment to the right of return.

Instead, Steinitz provides a cacophony of complaints entrenched within the Zionist common complaint of anti-Semitism, finding fault with Palestinian determination to reclaim all of their territory including what constitutes the state of Israel and declaring the Palestinian curriculum as opposed to the concept of peace with Israel. The Palestinian Authority has been singled out for criticism regarding the allegedly prevailing trend of incitement in Palestinian society, despite the security agreements with the occupying power which has distanced Palestinian official representation from the people. “If Israelis are ever to believe that peace with Palestinians has a chance, the first step Mr Abbas must take is to swiftly terminate the campaign to delegitimize the Jewish people and its state,” declared Steinitz. The comment disregards the fact that, so far, any initial manifestation of peace has been characterised by further claims upon Palestinians, exacerbating the inequality which characterises the Zionist occupation.

It is not entirely precise to project the blame of delegitimization upon Palestinians. Israel is delegitimizing itself through its own violations of international law and the continuous efforts to manipulate its belligerent occupation. Israel’s legitimacy is borrowed from its allies and the United Nations – bodies which have upheld a commitment to systematic human rights violations through endorsing the creation of the state of Israel at the expense of a displaced population, despite an alleged commitment to prevent oppression.

According to the Zionist ideology, Palestinians are expected to endorse Israel’s definition of what constitutes identity, land and nationhood – a reminder that Israel still seeks Palestinian annihilation through acquiescence and a relinquishing of the right to land by abandoning resistance. However, Zionism is incapable of presenting an analogy of violence which does not correspond to the Holocaust. Israel insists upon depicting the dismantling of the occupation as a form of violence against the Jewish population, yet offers no other sustainable alternative which prohibits transgression of Palestinians’ rights. The occupation of Palestine should be identified as the embodiment of incitement, sustained by a perpetual adherence to Zionist intentions of displacement characterised by Israel’s reluctance to declare its borders.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.