WASHINGTON (JTA) – B’nai B’rith International faulted the Trump administration for adopting the “Palestinian narrative” in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on terrorism.
In the report released last week, the State Department listed as “continued drivers of violence” 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.”
“It is astonishing that State is parroting the false Palestinian narrative,” B’nai B’rith said in its statement Thursday. “If it were not released by the State Department, it would be easy to mistake the inflammatory and accusatory language as coming directly from the Palestinians.”
While such an assessment would be uncontroversial coming from a think tank or even Israeli security officials, it is unusual in a State Department statement, particularly under U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been outspoken in condemning Palestinian incitement.
B’nai B’rith noted that Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have repeatedly blamed terrorism on Palestinian incitement and payments by the Palestinian Authority to Palestinians who have carried attacks out on Israelis.
“Israel is not driving the violence committed by the Palestinians,” the statement said. “It’s Palestinian leadership – Fatah and Hamas – that incites violence against Israelis on a daily basis.”
The State Department report said that Palestinian leaders had addressed incitement.
“The PA has taken significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence,” it said. “While some PA leaders have made provocative and inflammatory comments, the PA has made progress in reducing official rhetoric that could be considered incitement to violence.”
The report otherwise described Israel as a “committed counterterrorism partner” and detailed the threats that Israel continues to face, particularly from Iran-backed groups.
“Israeli security officials and politicians remained concerned about the terrorist threat posed to Israel from Hezbollah and Iran, highlighting that Iran, primarily through the efforts of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, continued to fund and supply Hezbollah,” the Lebanon-based militia, the report said. “Israeli experts believed that Iran has transferred to Hezbollah advanced weapons systems such as anti-aircraft and anti-ship cruise missile systems, and was continuing to transfer long-range rockets into Lebanon.”