Sir Eric Pickles criticises Foreign Office for lack of response on Palestinian incitement

By October 16 2015, 12:04 Latest News No Comments

Eric Pickles 2In an article published on ConservativeHome, CFI Parliamentary Chairman Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP wrote of his concern about the dangerous rhetoric used by Palestinian officials to incite violence, and the failure of the British Foreign Office to condemn the practice.

Sir Eric criticised the Foreign Office for “turning a blind eye” to Palestinian incitement, stating: “The [Foreign Office] call for both sides to end incitement equates the acts of a handful of extremists on the very fringes of Israeli society to the state-sanctioned incitement of violence rife within Palestinian society. By doing so, the Foreign Office is turning a blind eye to what is a glaring problem for the Palestinians”.

Sir Eric said the Foreign Office’s desire to appear balanced whatever the cost” was at odds with Prime Minister David Cameron who has unequivocally condemned Palestinian incitement in the past.

He called for “clarity in our policy towards Palestinian Authority-sanctioned incitement” and stated that “each incident of incitement must be condemned”, with DfID aid “conditioned on the willingness of the Palestinian Authority to crack down on incitement”.

“Palestinian society has been harmed by a widespread culture of hate. For years, glorification of terror and violence against Jews and Israel has been extensively documented in the official Palestinian Authority-controlled media, as well as in school textbooks. Glorification of notorious Palestinian terrorists, denial of Israel’s right to exist, and even portrayal of children as legitimate combatants, are all too commonplace”, said Sir Eric.

He added: “Rather than condemning the recent violence and call for de-escalation, Palestinian officials have chosen to continue using dangerous its rhetoric, praising terrorists as heroes”.

He referred to Mahmoud Abbas’ address on Palestinian television a couple of days ago in which he accused Israel of “executing” “in cold blood” 13-year-old Ahmed Manasrah. A video on Palestinian social media showed the young Palestinian bleeding and lying on the pavement after he was run over by Israeli police as he tried to escape the scene of a stabbing attack.

Sir Eric clarified the situation, writing that “closed-circuit footage released by Israel Police clearly shows Ahmed with his 15 year-old cousin, both armed with knives, chasing down would-be Jewish victims”. Far from Abbas’ depiction, Ahmed is being treated at an Israeli hospital and is expected to be discharged in the coming days.

Sir Eric accused Abbas of fundamentally distorting the truth, and spreading inflammatory messages of hate.

“Earlier this month, President Abbas took to TV to declare: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem…With the help of Allah, every shaheed (martyr) will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward”. The dramatic escalation in violence cannot be fully understood without knowledge of this”, he wrote.

He also wrote of the examples of incitement from within Israeli society, referring to far Right protestors chanting anti-Arab slogans and attacks carried out by Jewish extremists against Palestinian property. The distinction between the responses to these attacks is crucial, however:  Sir Eric emphasised that Jewish attackers “received strong condemnation from across Israeli citizens and Government… Such are the actions of a democratic country committed to the rule of law”.


The full article may be viewed here.

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