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PMW report presented to US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Herb Keinon  |
'PA cozying up to America's enemies'
President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority is snugly in bed with the United States' worst enemies, according to a report presented in Washington on Tuesday by Palestinian Media Watch.

"There is ample evidence that the contacts between the Palestinian Authority and the enemies of the United States have the characteristics of relations between allies who share a common ideological bond," said the report, presented at a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by PMW's director Itamar Marcus and associate director Barbara Crook, days before Abbas goes to Washington for a meeting with US President George W. Bush.

Marcus was invited to the committee by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Elliot Engel (D-NY).

"Hatred of the United States and disdain for its role of world leadership are the essence of this bond," the report reads. "If a Palestinian state were to be established before a qualitative shift in ideology, it is inevitable that the proposed state would join the alliance of enemies of the US and would strengthen those countries in undermining American goals for world peace."

Based on dozens of citations in the Palestinian media going back to 2005, predominantly articles and editorials in the PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the report concludes that Abbas's PA is "allied with many states who see themselves as enemies of the US and whom the US sees as threatening US security and world peace.

Significantly, the affinity that is felt for such geographically distant non-Muslim countries - such as North Korea, Cuba, and Chavez's Venezuela - is precisely because these states publicly challenge and express loathing for the US."

The US was depicted by Fatah leaders, their controlled media and the PA education system with "disdain and loathing," the report contends, bringing numerous examples showing PA adoration and support for Saddam Hussein and the insurgency in Iraq, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Hizbullah.

The following are just a few examples:

• A report in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on January 4, 2007, stated: "Public figures and the [armed] factions in Yabad [west of Jenin] decided to name one of the schools in the municipality and its most important street after Saddam to immortalize his memory and to emphasize the values of Arabness and jihad, which he represented."

• An article in the same paper on September 21, 2006, said, "The director of the General Assembly of Palestine's Workers, Hidar Ibrahim... demanded that the international community... put pressure on America to pull out his forces from Iraq and to cease its extortion against Syria, Sudan and Iran."

• On September 10, 2007, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that Abbas praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-il "in honor of the day of the establishment of the republic. The president expressed in his letter his deep pride for the historic and strong relations that exist between Palestine and Democratic Korea."

Ros-Lehtinen said at the briefing that while Congress wanted to see peace, stability, and security prevail in the Middle East, "that goal remains elusive when Fatah continues to publish maps displaying a so-called State of Palestine that covers not only the West Bank and Gaza, but all of the land that constitutes the present State of Israel."

"My friends, how one nation depicts another people will often define the relations between them," she said.

Ros-Lehtinen said that "given the PA's repeated failure - in both word and deed - to verifiably halt all incendiary rhetoric emanating from its institutions, and to officially and publicly denounce such hate speech, the administration should stop unconditionally funding that body."

In Ramallah, a senior aid to Abbas dismissed the Palestinian Media Watch report as "nonsense," saying it was intended to incite the US against the PA leadership on the eve of Abbas's visit to Washington.

"The PA remains fully committed to the option of peace and the two-state solution," the aide told The Jerusalem Post. "Our relations with the US remain strong and we believe the Americans can continue to play a major role in the peace process."

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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