First Anti-Incitement Report Published

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
18 January 1999

The Foreign Ministry yesterday (Monday) 18.1.99, announced that the first report of the committee on the prevention of incitement has recently been published and that it has been presented to representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the Steering and Monitoring Committee. The committee’s deliberations have been hosted by the American team and held in a continuous and regular manner, alternatively in Jerusalem and Ramallah or Gaza. Their atmosphere has been business-like. However, it should be noted that continual anti-Israel incitement has been of the utmost seriousness.

The main topics on the committee’s agenda were:

1. The issue of defining incitement — there have been differences of opinion regarding the definition of the term. Israel wanted to focus on expressions of incitement that call for violence and terrorism as reflected in the statements of officials and public personages in the Palestinian Authority, such as muezzins, television broadcasts, educational television shows and the official Palestinian press. The Palestinians also wanted to define incitement also as the expression of political opinions that in their view call indirectly for violence.

2. Examples of incitement material — The Israeli side brought dozens of examples of incitement and Israel is waiting for pertinent answers regarding the handling of this material as a direct function of the need to confine expressions of incitement, by the implementation of the decree issued by the Palestinian Authority on this subject. The examples of incitement brought by the Palestinians have been extensively studied and are not considered as incitement and this conclusion has been accepted by the Palestinians.

3. Planned joint projects — It was agreed to invite senior newspaper editors on both sides for a debate to be presided over by senior American media expert Bernard Kolb with the objective of clarifying the role of the media in the struggle against incitement. In future, additional joint projects in media and communications are planned.

It is expected that the committee will continue to meet beyond the 12 weeks set for it in the Wye River Memorandum.