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Itamar Marcus Interviewed on Arutz 10

Efrat Reinten: “Thank you for coming back to us, and now we want to take a look at our Palestinian neighbors…”

Kobi Oz: “It’s really been a while since we looked at our Palestinian neighbors.”

Efrat Reinten: “We’re interested in them. Really, we can’t say we’re not.”

Kobi Oz: “Yes, it’s really important to look out the window, and see what’s happening in the house nearby.”

Efrat Reinten: “I want to see, if I turn on Palestinian television, what’s going on there? Do you know?”

Kobi Oz: “Of course.”

Efrat Reinten: “I’m sure that it’s not you and I sitting there, in our current form.”

Kobi Oz: “Od Lahit, with Dor and Ben Ze’ev. This is what they’re watching.”

Efrat Reinten: “Od lahit… In any case, the changes in the Palestinian broadcasts after the coming to power of Arafat and the coming to power of Abu Mazen revived the hope that the Palestinian media will moderate the anti-Israeli propaganda it broadcasts incessantly. But, it turns out that this is not what is happening. Sitting with us is Itamar Marcus, the head of the institute Palestinian Media Watch, which follows the Palestinian Authority broadcasts, and also, just as important, the Palestinian educational system, if not more important. A little word on the institute, what is it?”

Itamar Marcus: “We were founded about 10 years ago to see what is happening in the Palestinian and Arab inner world. And we follow, since then, after all the Palestinian journalism, everything that goes on in there, even the sports sections, caricatures, crossword puzzles, to understand the Palestinian inner world.”

Efrat Reinten: “And can it be said that there was a significant change throughout these 10 years?”

Itamar Marcus: “There are changes… In the first years from ’96 to 2000, there was a lot of incitement of hatred. The summer of 2000, it changed from incitement of hatred to incitement to murder… Now we’re back mostly to incitement of hatred…[overtalk] When I say it’s incitement to hatred, it means that every day there is that [incitement], while encouragement of murder and violence there is every two to three weeks. So that there isn’t a qualitative change. There is a change in the quantity but not the quality.”

Efrat Reinten: “About three weeks ago, I know that you presented to the American Senate and Hillary Clinton, you presented a report you put together about the Palestinian textbooks. You studied it really in depth, you dealt with hate incitement among other things, and we have a drawing from one of the books [picture shown]… what is the bottom line?”

Itamar Marcus: “First we see here the image of a boy Shahid [martyr], a little boy that died. It appears in a textbook for grade 8 in the Palestinian Authority, along with a song called the ‘Shahid Song’ that encourages children to run. For example there are the following lyrics: ‘I see my death and I run towards it.’ That is, there is a song and it appears in many places in the Palestinian textbooks, they say to the boy ‘your role in life is to be a Shahid.’

Efrat Reinten: “The fact of peace, conversation, Israel, does it appear in their textbooks?”

Itamar Marcus: “Israel appears in the textbooks as the one that stole Palestine. I want to read to you how the establishment of the State of Israel is defined. This is a new books that was released three months ago. This is what it says: ‘Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine, and established the State of Israel.’ So the significant problem here is that, in the textbook, they don’t point out the problem between us and the Palestinians as the problem of Judea and Samaria and Gaza. The problem is the existence of Israel. The establishment of the land of Israel – this is the catastrophe that is unprecedented in history.”

Efrat Reinten: “So it could be the influence of Hamas now, no?”

Marcus: “The books are still written by professors from Fatah.”

Kobi Oz: “You presented your findings to the Senate to Hillary Clinton and also in Israel you presented. Who listened more?”

Marcus: “The truth is that everybody listened. The whole world is worried about the education of children. They understand that peace is impossible without educating children to peace. And Hillary Clinton, for example, said in the press conference with me, said the words, the Palestinians are ‘poisoning’ their children with hate. She said it’s not education, it’s indoctrination. Michael Melchior from the education committee here said similar things. He also used the expression of poison. He said that when you educate children that the conflict with Israel is a religious existential conflict and not a territorial conflict, you can’t say, you can’t reach peace.”

Efrat: “So we said we want to take a look at the television, too. And you brought with you a film that was broadcasted…”

Marcus: “In the Hamas television, Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV.”

Efrat: “OK, and there are how many channels?”

Marcus: “There are two satellite channels.”

Kobi: [Joking] “That is Hot and Yes?”

Marcus: “Exactly. There is satellite television that was created about 12 years ago that is still under the Fatah authority, under Mahmoud Abbas, that is the Palestinian Television. And there is a new satellite television, Al-Aqsa, that Hamas established about three months ago.”

Efrat: “And we’re going to see something from the Hamas broadcasts?”

Marcus: “Yes.”

[Reem clip shown]

Efrat: “What did we see?”

Marcus: “We saw a girl playing the role of the daughter of Reem Riyashi. Reem Riyahsi is a female suicide bomber who killed four Israelis in the Erez roadblock. And this girl sees how her mother organized the bomb. And she says: ‘What are you holding in your arms? Why is it not me?’ And at the end she says: ‘Now I know that you held something more precious than me.’ At the end of the film, what we didn’t see, she says: ‘I will follow in your footsteps.’ And at the end she goes to her room and takes out an explosive device, a four year old girl, and vows to follow in her footsteps.”

Kobi: “It’s disturbing, but just for the sake of balance, do you remember the song ‘Where are these girls with the ponytail?’ [sings the song]”

Marcus: “There is a difference between looking at someone for doing a brave deed and encouraging children aged four, five and six. And there are dozens such films also in the Palestinian television of Fatah. For example, there’s a film of a farewell letter. A child writes a farewell letter. Not a four year old but a 13 or 14 year old. And he goes out with the premeditated intention of dying. And when he is dying, he falls on the floor, he throws a stone and falls, the words of his letter, sung by a singer: ‘How sweet is Shahada [martyrdom], when I hug you [my land]’ And he dies and ‘how sweet is Shahada,’ and this is in the television of Fatah, and we saw it over 1000 times…”

Efrat: “Do they do this too? We look at their broadcasts, they look at ours, or do we not interest them?”

Marcus: “They publish whatever fits them. They always quote Gidon Levy in their papers. They take every Israeli that criticizes Israel, every sign of weakness we see in Israel, and they blow it out of proportion.”

Efrat: “We will finish with this hard and painful point. I want to hear such things. Thank you.”

Marcus: “Thank you.”

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