UN Watch Briefing
Latest from the United Nations
August 8, 2019
One week before the "State of Palestine" undergoes its first review by the UN’s anti-racism committee, UN Watch announced its submission of a 32-page shadow report documenting the PA’s failure to address the issue of antisemitism in its report before the world body.
UN Watch's submission provides a resource for UN committee members in their questioning of the Palestinian delegation, and puts on record key facts before a global audience.
According to the United Nations website, UN Watch was one of only four groups in the world to submit a report for the Palestinian session, and the only universal human rights group to do so. Notably, groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International—which lobbied for the Palestinians to be recognized as a state for the purpose of signing human rights treaties, saying this would hold them to account—failed to make any submission for this first review of the Palestinians by the UN anti-racism committee.
In its detailed report, UN Watch reveals that the PA and Hamas routinely violate international commitments to combatting racism, through laws, policies, and statements aimed at denying any Jewish rights in Israel or the Palestinian-controlled territories.
Regrettably, in its own report, the PA shirks its obligations as a party to the anti-racism convention by failing to address the problem of racism in Palestinian law and society, and instead seeking repeatedly to blame Israel. Thus the PA exploits the reporting process of the anti-racism committee as yet another UN vehicle to attack Israel. This is a waste of the committee’s time and resources, as Israel is subject to its own review later this year.
Highlighting the deficiencies in the PA’s report, UN Watch urged the anti-racism committee to focus its review on Palestinian laws and policies, detailing the following discriminatory practices for consideration:
1. Racist Palestinian laws criminalize the sale of land to Israeli Jews
Dozens of Palestinians have been arrested for attempting to sell land to Jews - a crime that is considered treason. In December 2018, an American-Palestinian man was sentenced to life in prison with hard labor for violating the Palestinian law prohibiting land sales to Israelis. Palestinian courts have ruled that the death sentence can be applied in such cases as well.
2. Palestinian laws incentivize the murder of Israeli Jews by providing financial rewards to Palestinian terrorists who kill or attempt to kill Israeli Jews
The payment by the PA of salaries and benefits to Palestinian prisoners serving time in Israeli jails for terror-related offenses is mandated in Palestinian law. Each year, the PA allocates approximately 7% of its budget to terrorist payments. This practice directly legitimizes acts of terrorism against Israelis and is aimed at keeping Jews out of areas controlled and claimed by the PA.
President Mahmoud Abbas recently reiterated the PA’s commitment to these payments, stating “even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners, and their families.”
3. Regular incitement of antisemitic racial hatred by Palestinian officials, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas
While the PA report referenced Palestinian criminal laws concerning propaganda, it conveniently ignored the problem of rampant antisemitic propaganda that incites Palestinian terrorism. In his speeches and social media posts, Abbas has regularly incited terrorism and spewed classical antisemitic tropes. His comments have praised “martyrs” as the “priority” of Palestinian society, proclaimed that Jews “have no right to defile the Al-Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet,” and claimed that European Jews were hated for their connection to usury and the banks rather than for their religion.
Several other PA and Hamas leaders have publicly called Jews “apes and pigs” and promoted other antisemitic libels.
4. Routine demonization of Israel, antisemitism, and incitement to terrorism by Palestinian state-sponsored media
Palestinian media publish stories, political cartoons, op-eds and broadcasts which enhance prejudice and preach hatred and violence against Israelis and Jews. Op-eds and cartoons in state-sponsored newspapers spread libels such as Jews drinking Muslim blood and use classic antisemitic depictions of Jews featuring large noses and imagery surrounding money.
Many programs — often aimed at children — also glorify terrorism by streaming songs and showing other content that encourages martyrdom, along with using hate-mongering language against Israelis and Jews.
5. Palestinian educational resources teach hate, incite children to terrorism
From a young age, Palestinian children are indoctrinated to believe that Israel has no right to exist and that they should aspire to join the violent resistance or jihad against Israelis. The Palestinian educational curriculum denies Jewish rights in Israel, glorifies terrorists, and preaches hatred against Jews and Israelis. Schools and youth facilities and activities are routinely named for murderous terrorists, and Palestinian educators glorify terrorism and martyrdom.
6. Failing to ensure protection for Israelis who enter Palestinian-controlled territories
Israelis who enter Palestinian-controlled territories, even by accident, are at a high risk of being violently attacked or even killed. For more than four years, Hamas has held captive and incommunicado two Israelis who entered Gaza by mistake, both of whom suffer from mental illness.
There are many cases of violent attacks on Israelis who mistakenly entered Palestinian areas. Perpetrators of these attacks are not held accountable.
7. Failing to protect Jewish holy sites and worshippers in Palestinian-controlled areas
The rights of Jews to worship at important religious sites in Palestinian-controlled areas are routinely violated by the desecration of the sites and attacks against Jewish worshippers. Jewish access to the sites is also restricted as their visits must be coordinated and take place under heavy armed guard.
These violations also come in the form of misusing international bodies like UNESCO to deny Jewish historical rights to these holy sites.
8. Persecution by Palestinians against Christians and Samaritans
Christians in the West Bank have seen widespread discrimination and attacks from their Muslim neighbors, a major cause of Christian emigration from these territories. In the traditionally Christian cities of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, and Beit Jala, the Christian population dropped from 86% in 1950 to 12% in 2016.
Samaritans — a much smaller minority community — have also been driven from their traditional homes in the city of Nablus to a separate community on Mount Gerizim, overlooking Nablus. A 2004 law canceled the Samaritan seat in parliament, further removing Samaritans from the Palestinian public sphere.