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Media remain hindrance to peace

Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus’ recent visit to Washington, D.C., should serve as a splash of icy water in the face for those suffering from “irrational exuberance” toward the new Palestinian leadership and the Mideast peace process.
As we reported last week, Marcus, whose group monitors the Palestinian media, sees the same culture of death and rejection of Israel, which characterized the newspapers and Palestinian Authority-controlled television while Yasser Arafat ruled, continuing during the reign of Mahmoud Abbas.
P.A. media continue to call terrorist acts “resistance” and refer to terrorists as “shahids” – martyrs – and too many Palestinian political and religious officials continue to talk about diplomacy as a stage on the road to the eventual destruction of the Jewish state.
And the same incitement to violence – with one notable exception – continues to plague the Palestinian media.
That positive exception has been the removal from P.A.-controlled television of music videos encouraging Palestinian children to become suicide bombers. And Abbas has persisted in his opposition to violence against Israelis.
While that is progress, it is insufficient movement to warrant the giddy pronouncements emanating from many European capitals, some sectors of the U.S. government, and Israeli and American peace groups.
The danger is that, as during the Oslo process, the world in its zeal for progress in reaching peace, will turn a blind eye as the Palestinian media continue to instill hatred of Jews and Israelis in its readers and viewers.
But there can be no peace if the other side is portrayed as illegitimate and evil.
Without question, the Israeli government sometimes has taken actions that have not promoted peace. One wonders whether increased settlement activity is wise at this time, and maps depicting a Greater Israel serve no good either.
Nor do we support a bill being debated in the Knesset, which, if approved, would commemorate the life’s work of Rehavam Ze’evi, the tourism minister in the Sharon government who was murdered by terrorists three and a half years ago. Ze’evi, who favored the transfer of Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, is not the role model that Israel needs in its relations with the Arab world.
Nevertheless, since 1993, the Israeli education system and media have acted to inculcate the idea among its people that the Palestinians have human and national rights. Instead of reciprocating, P.A. textbooks continue to ignore the existence of the Jewish state, and its media persist in vilifying Jews and Israelis.
That is not the road to peace, but to continuing violence. And Washington should resolutely support Israel in demanding a change.