Just like his predecessor, John Kerry, who blamed Palestinian terror strikes on Palestinian “frustration” over the “massive increase” in West Bank settlements of Jewish families, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s annual report not only came to the same conclusion but added that Palestinians rarely incite terror attacks.
“Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the [Palestinian Authority] of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it,” read the “Country Reports on Terrorism,” which was submitted to Congress on Wednesday.
“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive,” the report stated.
After reading the report, Rep. Peter Roskam (R. Ill.), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, was outraged, calling it an “inaccurate and harmful” characterization of Israel.
He has since sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling on the administration to immediately amend it to portray Palestinian terror attacks as the primary reason the peace process has stalled.
“The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism,” Roskam wrote. “This report wrongly insinuates Israeli security measures on the Temple Mount and a stalled peace process as key forces behind terrorism. Most egregiously, it portrays the PA (Palestinian Authority) as innocent peacemakers far removed from being the source of terrorist activity.”
Roskam went on to say that not only does the Palestinian Authority tolerate terrorist attacks against Israelis, “it also incites, rewards, and memorializes those who carry out these horrific attacks.”
“Regional organizations monitoring the situation routinely cite the Palestinian Authority and its senior officials as calling for violence against Israel and glorifying past terror acts,” according to a report in The Washington Free Beacon, which notes that “Palestinian television programs also promote violence against Israel and Jews, with some aimed at children promoting hatred of the Jewish state.”
One issue which has become a sticking point in peace talks with Israel is the fact that the Palestinian government is known to use aid from U.S. taxpayers to pay salaries to one-time terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel. Congress is currently considering legislation that would cut all aid to the PA until it stops the practice of paying terrorists.
During several months in late 2015, Palestinian terrorists carried out 181 stabbing attacks on Israelis, 159 shootings, and 60 vehicular ramming attacks, which killed more than 50 Israelis and injured nearly 1,000.
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