PMW has recently posted a remarkable piece of Palestinian self-criticism. Since I often tout self-criticism, and as often complain that Palestinians rarely if ever engage in the practice, I want to highlight this remarkable case, and congratulate the courageous and perceptive author, Dr. Nadir Sa’id, Director of Development Studies at Bir Zeit University.
Some Imams incite to
kill women, beat children: PA Academic
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook – March 15, 2007
In an open challenge to Palestinian leadership, Dr. Nadir Sa’id of Bir Zeit University condemned the violence in Palestinian society and placed the blame on the political and religious leaders. He blamed both Fatah and Hamas, including the Prime Minister and others ministers, for hundreds of killings. He condemned some Imams who preach the killing of women and beating of children. He criticized these actions, as well as the hate incitement that has created a Palestinian society permeated with violence. Children have learned that the use of violence achieves power and influence.
This self-criticism is rare in the PA media. If it continues, this is a positive development.
Click here to see Dr. Sa’id’s condemnation of Palestinian leadership
Dr. Nadir Sa’id, director of Development Studies at Bir Zeit University:
“The last months in particular proved without a doubt the existence of political crime [in Palestinian society], and it is related to the attempt to achieve a high level of power, control and influence … The political struggle for rule. One of the primary and clear forms, which draws attention, having powerful and clear influence, and which caused hundreds of deaths, is clearly the crimes committed in the struggle for influence in the [Palestinian] Authority. But there are other types, including the attempt to threaten opposition, threaten those who disagree…
What is important regarding political crime, and especially in the Palestinian situation, is that there is a kind of conspiracy not to punish the criminals. This is the big problem. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the recent struggle between Fatah and Hamas. First: Who will punish those who facilitated these violent environmental conditions? Who will punish those who gave the orders? Who will punish those who committed [the crimes]? Who will punish the people who remained silent and did not hesitate to justify this type of violence?
What we see now, and this is the basic problem in the culture regarding the culture of violence, is that what has happened, he who killed here and there, is now appointed as a minister in the [Palestinian] National Authority. That is, it is a clear message.
The message to Palestinian children is that if you use violence and succeed in benefiting from it in the political struggle, you can achieve influence and you can achieve rule. In my opinion, the next government, and in particular between the two parties competing in its establishment, is, in my opinion, a crime against Palestinian society, especially when the prime minister and many of the ministers and security apparatuses are the ones who eased and facilitated – in addition to the Imams of the mosques, and the preachers and others – who eased and facilitated the killing of hundreds of Palestinians.
Who will punish those who caused, directly and indirectly, the killing of these children, these women, these men who have no guilt in this struggle? This is, in my opinion, a political crime of the highest level.”
There is no denying that crime, in general, needs environmental conditions, and especially environmental conditions of violence and environmental conditions of incitement speech. What happened in Palestine in the last years is speech incitement of the highest degree. Violence speech of the highest degree in mosques, and occasionally in the media, from many politicians… If we examine the sermons in mosques, we find many of them, not all – on the contrary! There are a number of Imams who promote social peace – but there are Imams who incite to killing: killing of women, beating children, killing the “other”, rejection of the “other’s” opinion. A whole generation was raised on the denial of the “other” and erasing him completely, and to the possibility of killing him without any restraint or problem.”
[PA TV, March 6, 2007]
And who, outside of the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that prevails in the PA territories has refused to discuss this?
1) Journalists from the MSM like Steve Erlanger who don’t find the space to discuss it in an article on the devastating impact of the conflict on this “lost” generation of Palestinian youth, who admit that it’s a worthy subject, but who manage to find other things to write about that indict Israel.
2) Pro-Palestinian advocates — including the hyper-critical Jews — who carry on about how it’s Israel who refuses to acknowledge the “other” and deny the Palestinians what they themselves want.
3) Politically correct politicians who insist on ignoring all of the evidence that Palestinian and Arab leaders sacrifice the Palestinian people to their vendetta against Israel.
4) Post-colonial Academics who refuse to deal with these issues, who ignore the dynamics of honor-shame culture because to focus on such matters would, as Edward Said insists, be “racist.”