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Senate Hearing: Palestinian Education & the Future of Peace in the Middle East

US Senator Arlen Specter, US Senator Hillary Clinton, Palestinian Media ‎Watch director Itamar Marcus and others discuss the prospects for Israeli-‎Palestinian peace and the issue of Palestinian education and indoctrination ‎to violence and hatred in Palestinian society. ‎

US Sen. Arlen Specter: “A few days ago, I had an opportunity to see some ‎videos of young Palestinians talking about suicide bombings as an entry to ‎Heaven and as and entry to Paradise. I found these videos to be absolutely ‎shocking.”

‎[Video excerpts shown at hearing:]
Video clip: “How sweet is Shahada [death for Allah] when I embrace you my ‎land.”
Eleven year old girl: “Shahada is a very, very beautiful thing. Everyone ‎yearns for Shahada. What could be better than going to Paradise?”
Interviewer: “What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people or ‎Shahada?”
Eleven year old girl: “Shahada.”

Sen. Arlen Specter: “This hearing has been scheduled as promptly as we ‎could, because of our views that these films ought to be known by the ‎people of the United States. We’re going to start with Mr. Itamar Marcus, who ‎is the director of Palestinian Media Watch.”

Itamar Marcus: “Not only do the Palestinians use TV as we have seen, the ‎Palestinians use the full range of social structures, and cultural structures ‎within Palestinian society, in order to promote these values. So for example, ‎this summer, there was a whole summer camp infrastructure, that was ‎focused as well on the suicide terrorists. The Palestinian Authority has been ‎giving active promotion to suicide bombings. When teenage children ‎participate in the summer camp named after Ayyat Al-Akhras, a 17-year-old ‎girl who was a suicide bomber, there is no greater promotion and no greater ‎role modeling. This is not true that these children are frustrated. Eleven year ‎olds are talking about ‘we don’t care about this life, we only care about the ‎afterlife.’ Just four days after the first suicide Iraqi terrorist killed four US ‎Marines, the PA renamed a square in Jenin after that suicide terrorist. ‎Turning the terrorists into heroes is directed not just at Israelis but at ‎Americans as well.”

Sen. Arlen Specter: “The characterization at the end about child abusers is a ‎vast understatement. They’re civilization abusers. The children are their ‎means to destroy civilization.”

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton: “With the testimony and the documentary evidence ‎concerning the glorification of suicide killers and the incitement of young ‎people to aspire to that position, will the Palestinian Authority direct the PA ‎TV to remove any reference to martyrdom, Shahada and the glorification of ‎suicide bombers from the television?”

Hassan Abdel Rahman: “I understand that you want to focus on this issue, ‎but I personally, honestly, cannot separate this from the wider context.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton: “On this issue, I do not understand why the Palestinian ‎Authority cannot separate out… I’m talking about the affirmative support that ‎the Palestinian Authority is giving in rhetoric and in propaganda and through ‎the media to this phenomenon of suicide bombings. It seems to me that there ‎is a very big difference from people arming themselves and having young ‎people strap bombs on themselves, going for it, killing themselves, killing ‎other innocent people and then being glorified.”

David Satterfield: “The video clips that we’ve just seen do indeed cultivate a ‎climate of alienation, hostility, incitement, what has been termed a culture of ‎death.”

James Kunder: “To see this kind of perversion of media targeted at children, ‎knowing the powerful impact the media has on children, it’s an abomination ‎to see this thing first hand. Frankly, sir, your hearing here today will cause us ‎to look at all these issues more sharply in the future.”‎
‎[C-SPAN 2, Oct. 30, 2003]‎

Click on the following links to view the full PA TV clips shown in the Senate ‎Hearing:‎‎‎