Key House panel unanimously votes to condemn Palestinian incitement

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously called on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel.

The non-binding resolution passed Thursday after a hearing on Palestinian incitement says “the Palestinian Authority has not fully lived up to its prior agreements with Israel to end incitement and should do more to prepare the Palestinian people for peace with Israel.”

It “urges President (Mahmoud) Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials to discontinue all official incitement and exert influence to discourage anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian civil society.”

The hearing was convened by committee chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.

“This wave of violence isn’t some random flare-up,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the committee, at the hearing, “It’s the product of years and years of anti-Israel propaganda and indoctrination — some of which has been actively promoted by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions.”

With tensions rising in Israel, and a spate of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis, each side has accused the other’s leaders of spurring incitement.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is maintaining a list on its website of U.S. lawmakers condemning Palestinian incitement.

One lawmaker speaking during the hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., excoriated Palestinian incitement but also lamented Israeli incitement, particularly related to the Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary, the Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews. Israelis and Palestinians have accused one another in recent weeks of attempting to change the site’s delicate status quo, stocking the tensions.

“Back in the days of the Roman Empire, those zealots who claimed to be the most pro-Israel did enormous harm,” said Sherman, known for his closeness to the pro-Israel community, in remarks first noted by Americans for Peace Now in its weekly legislative roundup.

“So now we see a few fringe Israeli leaders who want to disturb the status quo on the Temple Mount,” he said. “They, too, are harmful. They provide a pretext for those who incite terrorism in Israel and those who seek delegitimization abroad.”

Separately, the State Department cut its economic aid to the Palestinian Authority from $370 million to $290 million annually, al-Monitor reported.

What’s behind the cut is not clear, but the Middle East news website noted approbation from lawmakers, including Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, who this week wrote Abbas with Her Democratic counterpart, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., warning her that such a cut might be in the offing if the incitement is not ended.

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