Yesterday in the House of Lords, Lord Polak CBE asked the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty’s Government has made to the Palestinian Authority (PA) “following the broadcast of programmes on official PA television encouraging violence against Israeli citizens”.
Baroness Anelay told CFI’s Honorary President that the Foreign Office “regularly [raises] incitement with the Palestinian Authority”, most recently in February when the Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP, visited the region.
She said: “The UK’s consul-general to Jerusalem last discussed incitement with President Abbas on 17th March, including our concerns about television broadcasts”.
The Minister told Lord Polak: “We encourage the revival of a tripartite committee on incitement to address precisely these issues”.
Lord Polak thanked the Minister for her answer and stated that since September 2015, “34 Israelis have been killed in terror attacks and there have been 206 stabbings, 83 shootings and 42 car rammings”.
He asked: “Is the Minister aware that only three weeks ago—on 1st March—on a programme on the official PA TV called ‘Children’s Talk’, a young girl recited a poem which included the line: ‘To war, that will smash the oppressor and destroy the Zionist soul?’”
Lord Polak continued: “Can the Minister be certain that this sort of appalling incitement is not supported directly or indirectly by the British taxpayer? On the day after the atrocities and shocking acts in Brussels, where another 34 innocent lives were snuffed out, will the Minister join me in condemning incitement and terror, wherever it occurs?”
Baroness Anelay joined Lord Polak “in condemning incitement and terrorism wherever it occurs”. She noted that the House of Lords had one minute’s silence as a mark of respect “in memory of the appalling events with the murder of those in Brussels”.
She underlined: “I know the Prime Minister has said that we will do all we can to help there. I also note that both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed their opposition to the terrorism that had taken place in Brussels”.
The Minister said that the UK Government supports projects in Israel and the Palestinian Territories that support peace, including the NGO Kids Creating Peace, which “brings together young Israelis and Palestinians to learn why peace works”.
The full exchange can be found here.