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Has the Palestinian Authority entered the peace process with Israel at all?

Peter Skaarup  |
Following a presentation by Nan Jacques Zilberdik from Palestinian Media Watch to the Members of Parliament of the Danish People’s Party in November 2010, Peter Skaarup, MP and Vice-President of the party, wrote the following article in Jyllandsposten, one of the three biggest Danish dailies:

Time and again we are told that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank just wants peace with Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state covering the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

However, the question remains whether reality is really so simple. There are certainly several signs that this is not the case.

The Palestinian Authority has a central authority that approves the textbooks used in the Authority. When you look in those textbooks, Palestine already appears as an independent country. That in itself is not a problem - the problem is that the Palestine drawn on the maps [as documented by PMW] encompasses not only the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but all of Israel. As a result, Israel does not exist on the map at all.

On the Palestinian Authority's official TV channel the same tunes are heard. In the summer of 2010, the channel broadcast a program on Palestine where the country was described as including all of Israel as well as Gaza and the West Bank. On August 11, 2010, PA TV featured a broadcast that promised a prize of $100 to people in the street who were able to name five cities in Palestine. Several respondents named cities such as Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, which are all cities in Israel - and these people still won the $100.

The Palestinian Authority’s [official] websites [also] display maps of Palestine. These maps include not only the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but also all of Israel. On October 26, 2010, the Authority President Abbas was photographed for the [official PA] newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida holding up a stone sculpture depicting a map of Palestine that also included all of Israel. In a crossword puzzle in the same newspaper from February 2009, the answer to the clue ‘a modern city in occupied Palestine’ was Tel Aviv.

The question is whether the Palestinian Authority has entered the peace process with Israel at all, given the fact that the Palestinians' own propaganda machine, their own TV station and their own newspaper are telling [the Palestinian] citizens that cities such as Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jaffa [all Israeli territory] are Palestinian?