The Palestinian president’s party is under fire for incendiary posts on its Facebook page that include drawings of Jews being murdered and praise for terrorists who killed dozens of Israelis, including children, among other inflammatory posts.
Even the mainstream media, normally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, has criticized the Facebook page, called The Palestinian National Liberation Movement ‘Fatah’/The Official Page. Fatah is the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
But Munir al-Jaghoub, editor of the Facebook page, claims that the posts are meant to be “symbolism” and said they never incite violence — two points which many say are outright lies.
Even high-ranking Fatah leaders have distanced themselves from the posts and have demanded some be removed.
In an interview with the Times of Israel, Jaghoub explained specific posts that have drawn fire. For instance, a cartoon depicting a knife, with a Palestinian flag on its handle, dripping in blood stabbing a religious Jew in the back near the Temple Mount with the caption: “Be careful, you crazies. Here is Jerusalem.” The cartoon was posted at the start of a wave of violence that began in the fall of 2015.
“That photo is symbolic,” Jaghoub defended. “It is showing the Palestinian flag stabbing settlements. The goal of the photo is not to encourage stabbings, but rather to express our rejection of settlements, which the settler in it represents.” Hmmm. Of course, the knife with the flag of Palestine on it, in the shoulder of an orthodox Jew would suggest it is not “symbolic” and is indeed encouraging terror.
The head of Palestinian Media Watch, an organization that monitors Arabic language Palestinian media agrees with me.
“Even if I theoretically take him at his word — which I don’t — that the post is a metaphor, I don’t think we can assume young Palestinians will see it that way,” said Itamar Marcus. “What he said is a total distortion of reality. The posts on this page have consistently incited young Palestinians to violently attack and kill Jews.”
The page has more than 155,000 followers. Most of its posts are noncontroversial, but the ones that are fly in the face of the Palestinian government’s official (debatable) position of non-violence.
Jaghoub defended another post from August 2016 which boldly states that “the Fatah movement has killed 11,000 Israelis.” The statement was designed to prove to Palestinians that Fatah is tougher on Israel than Hamas and to sway that year’s elections in their direction.
“That is only a statistic and nothing else,” he said of the post. Of course, if Israel posted something about celebrating the number of Palestinian deaths, we would be criticized harshly—and rightly so. We do not rejoice over death in Israel. But here, the PLO celebrates the murder of innocent women and children, and there is hardly a peep from the UN or the media.
The Times of Israel asked why he would even post such a “statistic” since Fatah purportedly supports peaceful protest of Israel’s military rule. Jaghoub responded, “We are still proud of our history.”
One post featured a gun and Fatah flag on a pile of skulls with Stars of David. The post was removed and Mahmoud al-Aloul, Fatah’s vice chairman, told CNN, “the image and the text do not reflect the opinions of Fatah.”
Jaghoub accused Israel of stalking the page with an “electronic army” that reports the posts.