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Jerusalem Post story on PMW report


PA still glorifying terror, inciting hatred, denying Israel's right to exist, watchdog group says

Palestinian Media Watch: Abbas failing to curb incitement, despite pledge at start of proximity talks
(Click to view full report in PDF)

by Jerusalem Post staff

When proximity talks started in May, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the PA would fulfill its commitments, with a special focus on stopping incitement. But the ensuing two months have brought no change in the messages being transmitted from the Palestinian Authority and Fatah to Palestinians, according to a new report by Palestinian Media Watch.

An examination of the Palestinian leaders' statements, official media, children's programs and PA- and Fatah-controlled events shows that the conditions, principles and expectations set by the US and the UN Quartet for accepting the PA as a peace partner continue to be violated, the watchdog group said in the report.

Contrary to the PA's moderate statements to the West, its statements to its people in Arabic continue to delegitimize Israel's existence, deny Israel's right to exist, define the conflict with Israel as a religious war for Allah, promote hatred through demonization, slander and libel, and glorify terror and violence, according to PMW's Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Barbara Crook.

The report, which Marcus said he would be presenting to American officials in Washington on Wednesday, said that the PA continues to teach on PA educational TV that Israeli cities across the entire country, including Jaffa and Haifa, are Palestinian cities; that official PA media deny Israel's right to exist by using terminology to refer to Israel as "the homeland occupied in '48"; and that the conflict with Israel is defined by PA-appointed political and religious leaders not as territorial but as ribat - a religious war for Allah.

It cited instances in which the PA's senior religious leader demonized Jews as the "enemies of God," and a PA TV host remarked: "The Jews are our enemies, right?" It added that the PA continues to honor terrorists, and quoted Abbas as defending "the right to return to the armed conflict," and describing negotiations as "a tactical decision, i.e., a temporary, defensive decision."

Elaborating on PA educational programs that deny Israel's existence, the PMW report quoted from a documentary film that portrays Israeli cities and sites as "Palestinian" and that was rebroadcast on PA TV on June 21: "The Palestinian coast ... spreads along the [Mediterranean] sea, from... Ashkelon in the south, until Haifa, in the Carmel Mountains. Haifa is a well-known Palestinian port.

[Haifa] enjoyed a high status among Arabs and Palestinians especially before it fell to the occupation [Israel] in 1948. To its north, we find Acre. East of Acre, we reach a city with history and importance, the city of Tiberias, near a famous lake, the Sea of Galilee. Jaffa, an ancient coastal city, is the bride of the sea, and Palestine's gateway to the world."

It also quoted from an educational PA TV quiz show on June 25, with students competing from different Palestinian universities, which included questions and answers identifying Israel as "Palestine."

News reports repeatedly deny Israel's existence

In terms of PA news reporting, the report quoted from a June 18 item in the official PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida, which described the Israeli Arab village Um el-Fahm as being located "in the homeland occupied in '48."

It cited several other examples of the same newspaper referring to Israel with numerous euphemisms that deny Israel's legitimacy and existence, such as: "Interior Palestine," "occupied in 1948," and "'48 territories."

Noting that US President Barack Obama has called the use of maps that present a world without Israel a security threat to Israel, the PMW report stated that "all the official PA maps in offices, Web sites, in schoolbooks, and those appearing on official PA TV since the start of the proximity talks, continue the PA policy of defining all of Israel as 'Palestine'."

Turning to the issue of the PA denying Israel's history, it quoted the PA Mufti, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, and several other senior PA figures, denying the Jews' connection to the Western Wall and to Jerusalem in a series of statements.

In instances of what it called "demonization, hate promotion, anti-Semitism and libels," meanwhile, the PMW report charged that, in June, "the PA has continued to falsely accuse Israel of intentionally spreading drugs and AIDS among Palestinians, having killed Yasser Arafat, and planning to destroy the Aksa Mosque. The PA added another accusation this month: that the Jews killed Jesus."

PA exaggerated flotilla confrontation to promote hatred

It added that the PA exaggerated the Gaza flotilla confrontation to promote hatred of Israel.

Stressing that "the right to criticize Israeli actions is legitimate," the report said, however, that the PA "slandered Israel" about it, noting that Abbas himself charged that "it was a decision made in advance, premeditated and with determination to kill."

And it quoted from the PA daily, saying that murder and massacres are typical or innate Israeli behavior: "The Israeli attack on the ships...

more serious than a massacre in its ugliness and its inhumanity...

This is the true nature of Israel."

The PMW report further noted that a PA TV music video, demonizing Israel as "my enemy" and "a snake coiled around the land" reappeared in June. It was first broadcast in 2004, and from October 2007 to the end of 2009 it ran continuously on PA TV.

It quoted the following exchange by PA TV host interviewing the young sister of a Palestinian prisoner on June 21: PA TV host: "[When you visit the prison] do they bother you, the Israeli army, the soldiers there?" Girl: "Yes."

Host: "They're wild animals, right? Aren't they wild animals?" Turning to the subject of the glorification of terror and violence, PMW's report noted that the US has strongly condemned the Palestinian practice of honoring terrorists: State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley, it recalled, in April declared that "Honoring terrorists who have murdered innocent civilians, either by official statements or by the dedication of public places, hurts peace efforts and must end."

Violence against Israel still being glorified

Nonetheless, the report noted that the Palestinian Third Culture and Education Festival held in June in Ramallah "included dancers holding rifles while dancing to a song with lyrics glorifying violence against Israel and praising death as an ideal. The annual festival is sponsored by the PLO National Committee for Education, Science and Culture. This dance performance with rifles was broadcast twice on official Palestinian Authority TV, and was held in the presence of the PA minister of culture and minister of women's affairs.

"'There is no force in the world that can remove the weapon from my hand...' ran some of the lyrics. 'He who offers his blood doesn't care if his blood flows on the ground.'" It noted that the PA in late June opened in Nablus a security course named after Abdallah Daoud that was held in the Abu Iyad [Salah Khalaf] hall.

Daoud was one of the terrorists who stormed the Church of the Nativity in 2002, and continued to fight against Israel for several weeks while using the monks and the religious site as shields, said the report, while Khalaf was head of the Black September terror group.

"Attacks he planned included the murder of two American diplomats, as well as the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972," said the report.

The report also noted that a soccer tournament for youth was named after Khalil Al- Wazir (Abu Jihad), the former deputy to Arafat who planned "many deadly Fatah terror attacks, including the worst in Israeli history, the hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children."

In its conclusion, the PMW report quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs in April that: "We will only work with a Palestinian Authority government that unambiguously and explicitly accepts the Quartet's principles: A commitment to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road Map" - whose Phase I, PMW recalled, requires that "All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.

"Examining the Palestinian Authority leaders' statements, its education of youth, and its controlled media during the first months since the proximity talks," said the report, "it is apparent that the Palestinian Authority has not complied with the conditions set by the secretary of state, nor has it fulfilled its commitment to 'work against incitement of any sort.' "In the first two months since the start of the proximity talks, not only has the PA failed to 'unambiguously and explicitly' accept these conditions, but it has done the opposite. The Palestinian Authority continues to 'unambiguously and explicitly' deny Israel's existence, incite to hatred, and glorify terror and violence," the report claimed.

(Click to view full report in PDF)