Weekend long read

1) The Tower reports on a new study of Palestinian Authority textbooks.

“Palestinian Authority textbooks for the school year of 2016 doubled down on demonizing Israel and praising “martyrdom,” a report released this month by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) concluded. The report assessed the contents of textbooks in the PA school system ranging from the fourth through 12th grades.

“Despite assurances from the PA Education Ministry, these new books are actually more radical than we have previously seen,” said Marcus Sheff, the CEO of IMPACT-se. “There is clear evidence of a strategy of radicalization of young Palestinians, devised and implemented by the ministry, which includes a commitment to an Arab Palestine encompassing the entirety of Israel.

The textbooks glorify terrorists, featuring math questions asking students to calculate how many “martyrs” had died in the first and second intifadas combined. Maps depicting “Palestine” are shown covering all of Israel.””

2) At Mosaic magazine, Daniel Polisar examines Palestinian public opinion polls concerning the two-state solution.

“Last December, while defending the Obama administration’s decision to allow passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the options facing Israelis and Palestinians:

[I]f the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic—it cannot be both—and it won’t ever really be at peace. Moreover, the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one-state solution. Most on both sides understand this basic choice, and that’s why it’s important that polls of Israelis and Palestinians show there is still strong support for the two-state solution—in theory. They just don’t believe that it can happen.

In emphasizing the “strong” popular support on both sides for a two-state solution, Kerry was following in his own footsteps. Whether in public statements or in private meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, he had repeatedly cited polling evidence to advance his case for a two-state solution throughout his four-year tenure at the State Department.”

3) BICOM has a briefing with the former Israeli minister of defence, Moshe Ya’alon, discussing the security challenges facing Israel.

“There is a fundamental problem regarding the dream of Oslo, and that is the promotion of terror still exists in Palestinian refugee camps. If you educate the young generation that Palestine exists from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, and there is no room for concessions, and that “Tel Aviv is the biggest settlement,” then you are not preparing your people for co-existence and reconciliation. The people of Tel Aviv don’t understand that these Palestinians see them as settlers. Young kids are educated to hate us – as Israelis, as Jews, as Zionists. You can see it by watching Palestinian television programmes for children, or reading their textbooks. It is shocking. This was my personal awakening in 1995 while serving as head of the intelligence under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

What should be done regarding this core element of the conflict? We are not going to reach a final settlement in the near future, but we can make progress. Firstly, the donors – the US, UK, EU, Norway – should condition any money that is given to the Palestinians on certain reforms being enacted, and on an end to the financing of terrorists. The prisoners in Israeli jails are getting money from the PA, and of course they must not allow such money to be delivered to the families of the terrorists. Right now, if there is a martyr in your family, you get a pension for the entirety of your life. By ignoring the issues of hate education, the financing of prisoners and martyrs, and the promotion of terror, it will take more time.”

Wishing all our readers celebrating Easter a very happy holiday.


Weekend long read

1) MEMRI has produced a report reviewing “statements by Palestinian officials threatening to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration and urging it to apologize for it, as well as the articles in the Palestinian press on this issue and the popular campaign that has been launched to promote the lawsuit.”

“In comments to the website of the satellite television channel Al-Mayadeen on February 11, 2017, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said that, during a visit to London last year (on October 31-November 1, 2016) he had told his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, that the British government and all its institutions must avoid participating in any events related to the Balfour Declaration and that any celebrations of the declaration’s centenary would have a negative impact on Palestinian-British relations. He also demanded that Britain acknowledge its historic responsibility for the declaration, apologize to the Palestinian people, and issue a new declaration recognizing a Palestinian state.”

2) At the end of last month the JCPA held a conference marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration. Videos of lectures given by speakers at the conference can be found here.

3) The ITIC has produced a profile of frequent BBC interviewee Husam Zomlot in light of his appointment to a new post.

“On March 8, 2017, Mahmoud Abbas appointed Dr. Husam Zomlot as chief of the PLO delegation to the United States, in effect representing Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He will replace Maen Erekat, who has held the post since 2009. Erekat will be appointed to represent the PA in London. Since May 2016 Husam Zomlot has been advisor for strategic affairs to Mahmoud Abbas.”

Related Articles:

Balfour Declaration




Weekend long read

1) At the Times of Israel Dan Efrony – former Military Advocate General of the IDF – writes about “The law of armed conflict: legality vs. legitimacy“.

“Since the 1980s, all of Israel’s armed conflicts have been fought against non-state actors, prominent among them, the terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

These non-state enemies systematically and deliberately violate international humanitarian law, and specifically its basic principles which reflect customary international law that binds any state or non-state actor engaged in an armed conflict.

At the same time, they view the commitment of democracies like Israel to the rule of law as a weakness, which they can exploit to boost their gains in each front of the conflict, and within each level of activity, both tactical and strategic.”

2) Writing at ‘Fathom’, former MK Einat Wilf discusses what’s holding up a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“For most Israelis, the repeated Palestinian failures to say ‘yes’ to clear and distinct opportunities to end the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and to build a peaceful state for themselves in territories evacuated by Israel, reinforced the view that more than the Arab Palestinians wanted a state for themselves, they wanted to deny a state to the Jewish people. Seventy years after the British Foreign Secretary told Parliament on the eve of partition that ‘for the Jews, the essential point of principle is the creation of a sovereign Jewish state’, while ‘for the Arabs, the essential point of principle is to resist to the last the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of the land’, it seems the Arab Palestinians still see no reason to compromise with a project they view as ‘unjust’ and temporary. After all, if the crusader state lasted 88 years (including Jerusalem), then in 2017 – when Israel will mark 69 years – all the Arab Palestinians have to do is wait a mere 19 more years until the second crusader state will disappear.”

3) BICOM has produced a backgrounder to the Six Day War which can be accessed here.

4) At ‘The Long War Journal’ Amir Toumaj profiles the group behind the recently formed ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’.

“The Iranian-controlled Iraqi militia Harakat al Nujaba this week announced the formation of its “Golan Liberation Brigade.” While it is not uncommon for entities to name themselves after areas they aim to “liberate,” the militia’s spokesman has said that the unit could assist the Syrian regime in taking the Golan Heights, a region in the Levant that has been controlled by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

If true, the unit would likely participate in a future offensive to capture territory from Syrian opposition in the part of the Golan Heights still controlled by Syria, before moving on to the much taller order of dislodging the Israelis across the border. This week’s announcement reflects Tehran’s priorities in southern Syria since finally taking the fiercely contested city of Aleppo late last year: crush Syrian opposition, and pose military threat to Israel from the Golan Heights.” 

Weekend long read

1) UN Watch has published another report concerning teachers at UNRWA educational facilities.

“…the director of the independent monitoring group UN Watch will […] present a new report showing 40 alarming new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.”

The full report can be found here.

2) The FDD’s David Weinberg has produced an interesting report on a topic touched on by the BBC in the past which is titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Private Funders of al Qaeda in Syria”.Weekend Read

“It is particularly vital to evaluate Qatar’s record on terror finance in light of the Nusra Front’s July 2016 decision to rebrand itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which purports to have “no relationship with any foreign party.” According to sources cited by Reuters, Qatar led an effort starting in 2015 to bolster the Syrian opposition by persuading Nusra to distance itself from al-Qaeda. Reuters reported that intelligence officials from Qatar and other Gulf states met several times with Nusra’s leader around this period to suggest that his group could receive money, arms, and supplies after stepping away from al-Qaeda. Yet the more JFS legitimates itself by integrating into the broader Syrian opposition, the greater the risk of a permanent al-Qaeda army on Europe’s doorstep.”

The full report can be found here.

3) The Tower draws attention to an interesting article by Ilan Berman published at ‘Foreign Affairs’.

“It might just be the most important terrorism case you’ve never heard of. Last fall, prosecutors in the Peruvian capital of Lima launched formal legal proceedings against a 30-year-old alleged Hezbollah operative named Mohammed Hamdar. The trial, now underway, has major regional—indeed, global—implications for the fight against international terrorism.”

4) At the Jewish Chronicle, Professor Gerald Steinberg discusses the involvement of Human Rights Watch – one of the NGOs most frequently promoted and quoted by the BBC – in a campaign to which the BBC has lent its voice.

“In November 2016, Fifa met to discuss the Palestinian effort to evict Israel from the international football federation, using the excuse that a few lower league teams are located across the 1949 “Green Line”.

Understandably, the delegates to the Fifa conference demurred, preferring not to try to referee one of the most complex and confusing political disputes in the world.

For Human Rights Watch (HRW), this response was irrelevant and this Israel-obsessed organisation continued its attack, this time during a Fifa meeting on January 10 called to consider expanding the number of teams in the World Cup.”

Read the rest of the article here


Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q4 2016 – part two

As noted in part one of this post, between October 1st and December 31st 2016, sixty-nine reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, some of which were cross posted from other sections of the site. 8.7% of those reports covered stories relating to security/terrorism.website

The remaining 91.3% of those articles can be categorised according to a number of categories. (The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which each report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

Three reports related to historical subject matter:

Jerusalem reference found on ancient wine ledger (26/10/16 to 27/10/16) discussed here.

Oldest Ten Commandments carving auctioned for $850,000 in US (17/11/16 to 18/11/16)

Israel unveils Bronze Age ‘Thinker’ figurine (23/11/16 to 24/11/16)

Two reports can be categorised as miscellaneous:

Swimmers attempt to cross Dead Sea (15/11/16 to 16/11/16)

Bethlehem icons created by artists (24/12/16 to 25/12/16) 

Three reports related to the US elections/new US administration:

US election: How Israelis view the presidential contest (26/10/16 to 28/10/16) discussed here.

US election 2016: Middle East awaits Trump policy decisions (9/11/16 to 11/11/16) discussed here

Trump chooses pro-settlement hardliner as Israel envoy (16/12/16 to 18/12/16) discussed here

23 reports related to Israeli diplomatic/international relations and/or political aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict:

US ‘strongly condemns’ Israel over new settlement plan (6/10/16 to 9/10/16) discussed here.

Fifa urged to give red card to Israeli settlement clubs  (13/10/16) discussed here

Israel freezes Unesco ties for ‘denying Jewish holy sites’ (14/10/16 to 16/10/16) discussed here

Unesco passes contentious Jerusalem resolution (18/10/16 to 19/10/16) discussed here

Gas pipeline hope heals rupture in Israel-Turkey ties (19/10/16 to 23/10/16) discussed here

Spain questions Israel over helicopter drone gift to Russia (25/11/16 to 28/11/16)

Turkey drops case against Israeli officers in Gaza flotilla killings (9/12/16 to 10/12/16) discussed here

Egypt delays UN motion on Israel as Trump intervenes (23/12/16)

UN Security Council votes against Israeli settlements (23/12/16 to 29/12/16)

Israel blasts US over UN vote on settlements (23/12/16)

Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end (23/12/16 to 24/12/16) discussed here together with the additional reports on the same topic.

Israel settlements: Netanyahu rejects ‘shameful’ UN vote (24/12/16)

Israel settlements: Netanyahu orders UN ties review (24/12/16 to 25/12/16)

Israeli PM summons US ambassador amid UN vote row (25/12/16 to 28/12/16)

John Kerry warns Israel over peace deal with Palestinians (28/12/16 to 29/12/16)

Netanyahu: John Kerry blamed Israel for lack of peace (28/12/16 to 29/12/16)

John Kerry warns Israel over peace deal with Palestinians (28/12/16) discussed here

Israel-Palestinians: Netanyahu condemns John Kerry speech (29/12/16 to 30/12/16)

Israel and the Palestinians: Can settlement issue be solved? (29/12/16 to 3/1/17) later revised and date stamp changed, discussed here and here.    

Obama and the Middle East – too little, too late?  (29/12/16 to 7/1/17)

Trump and the Middle East: an impossible disengagement? (30/12/16 to 7/1/17)

Downing Street criticises US comments on Israel (30/12/16 to 2/1/17)

Five issues which shaped the Middle East in 2016 (31/12/16 to 8/1/17)

Four reports related to Palestinian affairs:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas undergoes heart tests (6/10/16 to 8/10/16)

Palestinians face uncertainties over Abbas succession (28/10/16 to 3/11/16) discussed here.   

100 Women 2016: The woman defying Gaza’s biking ‘ban’ (26/11/16 to 29/11/16) discussed here

Hamas accuses Israel of killing its Tunisian drone expert (17/12/16 to 19/12/16) discussed here and here

Of the 28 reports on Israel related stories, eight related to the death and funeral of former president Shimon Peres with seven of those having been carried over from September. The reports can be divided into sub categories including:

a) Shimon Peres:

Shimon Peres: Long legacy of Israel’s elder statesman (28/9/16 to 2/10/16) discussed here

Shimon Peres’s death closes a chapter in Israel’s history (28/9/16 to 3/10/16)

Body of Shimon Peres lies in state (29/9/16 to 1/10/16)

Shimon Peres funeral: Leaders hail legacy of former Israeli leader (30/9/16 to 3/10/16) 

Palestinian and Israeli leaders shake hands at Peres funeral (30/9/16 to 7/10/16)

Shimon Peres was a great man of the world, says Israeli PM (30/9/16 to 3/10/16) 

Obama: Abbas at Peres funeral ‘a reminder of unfinished peace’ (30/9/16 to 3/10/16)

Israel to rename Negev nuclear site after Shimon Peres (9/10 16 to 10/10/16)

b) reports relating to legal and/or criminal issues:

Israel fires: Dozen suspects arrested on suspicion of arson (25/11/16 to 28/11/16) discussed here

Israel’s Moshe Katsav to be freed on parole (18/12/16 to 19/12/16)

Israel’s Netanyahu denies wrongdoing ahead of investigation (30/12/16 to2/1/17)

c) society:

Israel in food fight over kosher licensing (10/10/16 to 12/10/16)

Israel’s Arab soldiers who fight for the Jewish state (8/11/16 to 14/11/16) discussed here

Lifting the covers on boudoir in the Holy Land (21/11/16 to 22/11/16)

How Judaism’s definition of death can boost organ donations (11/12/16 to 20/12/16)

d) domestic news/politics:

Scuffles break out at Jerusalem’s Western Wall (2/11/16 to 3/11/16)

Quieten calls to prayer in Israel – Netanyahu (13/11/16 to 14/11/16) discussed here

Israeli bills draw Palestinian warning (14/11/16 to 15/11/16) discussed here.

Israel Chief Rabbi Amar condemned for ‘gay death penalty’ comment (18/11/16 to 21/11/16)

Israel fires: Tens of thousands flee as fires hit Haifa (24/11/16 to 25/11/16) discussed here and here

In pictures: Israel wildfires force evacuations in Haifa (24/11/16 to 25/11/16)

Israeli MPs advance bill to legalise West Bank outposts (6/12/16) discussed here

Netanyahu statue: Golden likeness of PM appears in Tel Aviv (6/12/16 to 7/12/16)

Israeli parliament lifts dress code after protest over short skirt ban (15/12/16 to 18/12/16)

Jewish settlers agree to leave Amona site in occupied West Bank (18/12/16 to 21/12/16)

Israel postpones vote on new Jerusalem settlement homes (28/12/16 to 30/12/16)

e) technology:

How Israel builds its hi-tech start-ups (14/10/16 to 15/10/16)

What if your smartphone is out of touch? (23/11/16 to 27/11/16)

Even discounting the reports related to the death of Shimon Peres, Israeli domestic affairs once again received considerably greater coverage than did Palestinian affairs in the fourth quarter of 2016.


Overall throughout the year of 2016, 20.7% of the BBC News website’s reporting on Israel and the Palestinians related to security issues. Israeli internal affairs were the subject of 33.3% of the BBC’s reporting while just 8.3% of the coverage related to Palestinian internal affairs.


Related Articles:

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part one

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part one 

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q3 2016 – part one

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q3 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q4 2016 – part one