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Palestinian Incitement Lessens but Hatred Continues, Group Says (abridged)

Jerusalem ( - The Palestinian media has scaled back its incitement to violence against Israel, but the hatred continues, an Israeli monitoring group said.
Palestinian presidential candidate and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) ordered the Palestinian media to stop its incitement against Israel, the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently challenged Abbas to prove that the PA was ready for peace by stopping what he called “the poisonous incitement on television and in the education system, demonizing Israel, Israelis and Jews.”
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, an independent Israeli watchdog group, said that while incitement to violence has stopped, the Palestinian media continues “pumping people up” with a message of hatred, he said.
The situation now is similar to the level of incitement that was present in the Palestinian media from 1996 to 2000, which led to more than four years of Palestinian terrorism and violence, he added.
An example of “ideological” incitement is a program on Palestinian refugees, which aired on Sunday, Marcus said.
Palestinians insist that up to 6 million Palestinian refugees and their descendents have the “right of return” to cities and lands that are now part of Israel.
In 1948, several hundred thousand Palestinians fled their homes during Israel’s War of Independence, after the fledgling state was attacked by the combined forces of surrounding Arab nations.
Those refugees were housed in camps in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank (under Jordanian rule) and Gaza Strip (under Egyptian rule) and have remained there ever since.
Palestinians have refused to budge on the issue of return, but Israeli leaders from every part of the political spectrum agree that allowing millions of Palestinians to take up residence in Israel would be tantamount to the Jewish state committing suicide. Israel has a population of about six million.
Israel believes that a solution for the refugees should be found in the countries where they have resided for the last half century – or in a future Palestinian state.
“Refugees,” a movie shown for the sixth time on Palestinian television on Sunday, depicts the map of “Palestine” as stretching from the Israeli city of Metulla on Israel’s northern border to the Israeli city of Eilat by the Red Sea.
The repeated message is that Israel has no right to exist because it took all its land from the Palestinians. The program’s refrain is, “There is no escaping the fact that one day we shall return.”
A history program broadcast a week earlier featured a historian telling viewers that this land was a prophetic land and the Palestinians were those who were to inherit it. “We are the people of this land,” he said.
The historian also said, “The Jews remind us of parasitic worms that live in the sea, eat a snail and afterwards move to live in its shell. No one else is allowed to live in the shell.”
“There is no message of co-existence with Israel,” Marcus said.