It’s a cliché in pro-Israel circles that the Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to curb anti-Israel, anti-Semitic incitement, but a story by the always-excellent Janine Zacharia in today’s Washington Post tells a more nuanced story.
The PA, Janine reports, is taking "extreme steps" to curb extreme rhetoric by imams in West Bank mosques – and is feeling a bit of a backlash from civil libertarians who say it amounts to quashing free speech and religious rights.
The PA isn’t doing this out of warm fuzzies for Israel – but to fight Hamas inroads in the West Bank. And, according to Janine, it seems to be working.
“The Palestinian policy drew little notice when it was launched last year,” she reports. “But it has been enforced with particular vigor in recent months and, analysts say, has been a factor in Hamas’s declining strength in the West Bank.”
The Obama administration has “been careful not to overtly praise the latest effort,” she writes. “While seen as helpful to U.S. goals, the crackdown also reveals an authoritarian streak in a Palestinian leadership routinely hailed by American officials for its governance.”
Definitely worth a read.