Saperstein: “…Palestinian leaders must be held accountable for such hateful words and actions, which only serve as roadblocks on the path to peace.”
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WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2010 – In response to recent incidents of Palestinian incitement against Israel, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
In the last few weeks, local Hamas leadership chose to name a Ramallah street in honor of Yihyeh Ayyash, who was responsible for several suicide bombings in Israel in the 1990s. Further, remarks made by Fatah official Khatem Abd el-Kader in response to the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem called upon Palestinians to “converge on al Aksa to save it" from "Israeli attempts to destroy the mosque and replace it with the [Jewish] temple.” Such rhetoric questioning the legitimacy of Jewish ties to Jerusalem are provocative, hateful, and simply false.
These recent incidents of Palestinian incitement against Israel are reprehensible and counterproductive if the Palestinian leadership wants to make progress on the increasingly difficult path toward peace.
We welcome the U.S. State Department call, issued yesterday, on the Palestinian leadership to curb incitement against Israel and to cease the glorification of terrorists. We agree that Palestinian leaders must be held accountable for their hateful words and actions, which only serve as roadblocks on the path to peace.
At a time when there are new and serious efforts to relaunch the diplomatic negotiations that are essential to moving toward a two-state solution and a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians, the glorification of terrorists makes progress much more difficult. We once again call upon the Palestinian Authority to fulfill prior obligations to curb violence and incitement as a sign of their commitment to restart the peace process.
Just as we hope for a lasting peace speedily in our time, no doubt Palestinian mothers and fathers, too, yearn for an end to violence. We urge them to work with their leaders to end incitement and help bring about a peaceful future for Palestinian children and Israeli children alike.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.