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Suddenly, Palestinian media speak a different language (abridged)

It was another inflammatory broadcast on Palestinian public television.
“We are waging this cruel war with the brothers of monkeys and pigs, the Jews and the sons of Zion,” Sheik Ibrahim Mahdi, a preacher, said on his weekly program months ago. “The Jews will fight you and you will subjugate them until the Jew will stand behind the tree and rock, and the tree and rock will say: ‘Oh Muslim, observant of God, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’”
For most of the past four years, since the second Palestinian uprising began in September 2000, Palestinian airwaves have welcomed such talk. Video clips of young men maimed in fighting with Israelis were repeatedly shown, accompanied by wailing mothers and patriotic music. News broadcasters routinely called Israeli troops “the savage occupation forces.”
But something significant has shifted in recent weeks, since the death of Yasser Arafat, say those who monitor the broadcasts. Suddenly there is talk of reconciliation. Israeli troops are called by more neutral terms. Scenes of destruction have fallen away. And the regular Friday sermons have become considerably more moderate.

On the Palestinian side, there has been a decrease in “the extreme incitement to genocide, to kill all the Jews,” said Itamar Marcus, the head of Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli monitoring group.
But he said the problem was far from solved. Mr Marcus said some of the most egregious Palestinian material had been directed at children.
Two months ago, a children’s show featured a talking yellow bird that responded to questions from youngsters in the audience.
A little girl asked what the bird would do if someone cut down the olive trees in front of her house. The bird replied: “I’ll call the whole world and make a riot. I’ll bring AK-47s and the whole world and commit a massacre in front of the house.”

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