PA President Mahmoud Abbas Accepts ADL Proposal to Tackle Issues of Incitement and Intolerance
Jerusalem, July 12, 2005…A delegation of leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) met today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his office in Ramallah. The ADL group was headed by Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
President Abbas acknowledged to the ADL group that old efforts to decrease the level of incitement within the Palestinian population did not succeed and he stated his willingness to work in coordination with his Israeli and American government counterparts to establish committees within the PA to deal with this issue. The League offered to help establish or bring together NGO's from the PA, Israel and the United States to deal with issues of incitement utilizing our expertise in the areas of diversity training and the development of materials that work to increase respect and reduce intolerance. President Abbas accepted ADL's proposal with the provision that both governmental and non-governmental efforts were required to tackle the deep negative prejudices and stereotypes on the part of both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The ADL delegation asked President Abbas if he was satisfied with the security situation within the PA and his answer was a firm no. He said he needed more time to deal with the security situation in general and that he is deeply involved in post disengagement security planning. ADL spoke of its unease at the President's negotiations and contacts with Hamas and other terrorist groups. This issue, the delegation said, speaks to the essence of his ability to bring to fruition one authority and one law. President Abbas said he feels he must engage and exhaust all avenues of dialogue with these groups and include them in the political process in order to avert civil war at this time.
The League leaders shared their deep concern that the murders of three American officials who were killed in Gaza remain at large. President Abbas expressed his frustration and hope that they will apprehend the murderers in due course.
ADL offered to facilitate an appearance of President Abbas with Israeli business leaders to help advance his vision of economic cooperation between the two peoples. The President responded positively saying it's an important initiative but reminded the delegation that the challenge of countering incitement was his first priority.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.