12.11.11

Palestinian Authority: Pursuing Peace, or Pushing Propaganda?

The Palestinian Authority claims in English to pursue peace, but a new book says that in the Arabic-language media, their statements tell a different story.

Leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA), including its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, and prime minister, Salam Fayyad, stand accused of systematically deceiving the international community by portraying themselves in English as pursuing peace while in their Arabic-language media they relentlessly propagate hate speech and venerate terror.

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Robert Bernstein, founder of Advancing Human Rights and chairman emeritus of Human Rights Watch, endorsed the charge when they spoke in New York on the release of a 269-page book and CD entitled Deception, published by the research institute Palestinian Media Watch.

Its Israeli authors, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, document hundreds of examples in print, websites, videos, and school texts that they say are not exceptional but wholly representative of the way the PLO has systematically betrayed promises made to President Obama and the peace-seeking Quartet (the United Nations, the U.S., European Union, and Russia) to commit to nonviolence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and end incitements of hatred. 

“It's a terrifying book,” said Wiesel. “The Palestinian Authority is revealed as inciting young children to hate Jews, not only in Israel  but wherever they live. They must be denounced by all students of history.” Bernstein commented: “The book is not advocacy but a factual catalogue of public statements of government-sponsored hate speech that is not only wrong but dangerous. The Western media has entirely missed the story of duplicity because few know Arabic.” 

Palestinian Media Watch has monitored the PA’s Arabic communications since 1996, but Deception is the conclusion of a year-long survey from the renewal of the peace process in May 2010 through April 2011. “The PA,” say the authors, “has intensified its diplomatic campaign, claiming it has fulfilled its commitment and is advancing peace. But the PA leaders’ communications to their own people in speeches at events, and through the media it controls and in children’s magazines contradict the diplomatic stance. The peace process has yet to begin; a peace process may never have been intended.”

Among the examples in Deception are repeated assertions in Palestinian media that Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat; intentionally spreads AIDS, drugs, and prostitution among Palestinians; and has plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The defamations are regurgitated in children’s essays and dramatic performances. One example cited is an essay by a Palestinian teenage girl submitted to PA-funded educational magazine, and published, which presents Hitler as a hero. Hitler tells the girl in a dream, ”I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.”` 

The authors say that for years the PA has either denied that the Holocaust ever happened, distorted it by saying the Jews planned it themselves, or downplayed it by asserting that the number of Jews killed was much less than the “claimed” six millions. In March and April 2011, PA leaders and UNRWA employees expressed strong opposition to a proposed plan to teach Palestinian children about the Holocaust in the curricula of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) schools.

"The PA leaders’ communications to their own people in speeches at events, and through the media it controls and in children’s magazines contradict the diplomatic stance."

The charge that the PA is engaged a campaign of double-speak is sustained by precise translations from daily monitoring of the newspapers and TV the PA controls.

Incitements

News report: In the White House on June 9, 2010, Mr. Abbas told President Obama, “All I can say in front of you, Mr. President, is that we have nothing to do with incitements against Israel, and we’re not doing that.”

  • Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 17, 2010. Israelis are Nazis who do things “worse than gas chambers.”
  • A cleric Dr. Muhammad IbrahIm Madi: We are waging war against the brothers of pigs, the Jews and the sons of Zion.
  • Jabbar Burquan, head of the anti-drug general authority, June 2, 2010: “The plague [of AIDS] is a political problem that is nurtured by Israel.”
  • At the PLO third cultural festival, children performed a dramatization in which they were scripted to say: “Yesterday, the Jews crucified Jesus; today they poisoned the father, the Elder (Arafat).”

Violence

  • The authors illustrate in videos and text many examples of  encouragement to violence by the glorification of terrorists and the presentation of murderers as role models.
  • The Palestinian Prime Minister, who is regarded internationally as a moderate leader, speaks to the international community differently from the way he speaks in Arabic to Palestinians. For NPR and The New York Times he condemned “in the harshest terms” a bombing in Jerusalem that killed one and injured dozens. But the same day he spoke on Palestinian radio to express “honor and admiration” for four women terrorists: two who placed bombs in crowded areas,  one who drove suicide bombers in an attack in Jerusalem that killed three and a fourth who helped a suicide bomber killed two near Tel Aviv.
  • Dalal Mughradi who hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, including many women and children, has a square and summer camp named in her honor.
  • Salah Khalaf, who killed two American diplomats, has a sports stadium in his name; it was built with U.S. funding but the PLO has ignored requests by USAID to change the name.

Recognition of  Israel’s right to exist

News report: In a White House summit with Middle East leaders on September 1, 2011, Abbas pledged, “We want them, Israel, to live as neighbors forever.”  

  • During the 2010 peace talks and in 2011 and since the PA has maintained a rigorous policy on maps and websites of defining all of Israel as “Palestine.”  
  • On PA television, Chairman Abbas displayed a stone model of  the map of “Palestine” that encompassed all of Israel (Al-Hayat Al Jadida October 26, 2010).
  • Palestinian Red Crescent (part of the international Red Cross) shows in a poster how to dispose of garbage, but in this case “the garbage” to be disposed of is Israel and/or Jews (July 23, 2010 PA television).
  • The Fatah movement’s logo continues to show no Israel on its website and at official Fatah events.  The Fatah charter, which has never been canceled, says in Arabic—but not in English—that its goal remains “uprooting the Zionist existence and this struggle will not cease until the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated" (Article 19).

Religious war

News report: The Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, told an American delegation: “The conflict with Israel is not a religious or historical conflict, but rather a political one.”

  • For the Arabic audience, Mr. Al-Habbash said on PA television: “Allah has preordained for us the Ribat (religious conflict) on this blessed land. We are committed to it by Allah’s command. Let no one be mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat is a choice and nothing more. It is a commandment.”
  • The PA daily Al Hayat Al-Jadida: “Judaism is a distorted, corrupted falsified religion ... the  Jews’ “evil nature is drawn from Adam’s first son,” Cain. ... Sheikh Ishaq Feleifel, a PA teacher of religion: “And the conflict between us and the Jews is not a conflict about land and borders, but rather a conflict about faith and existence”  (June 3, 2011). 
  • Bernstein said: "We have to be appalled by the demonization of Israelis and Jews being spread by the so-called moderates of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank—just as we are appalled by hate speech that targets Muslims or Arabs.” It was important to emphasize that not all Muslims and not all Arabs indulge in demonization. "There are courageous Arab and Muslim human-rights defenders. In fact, I do not even think all PA officials endorse hate speech, however for the most part they are silenced as they live in closed societies with tough censorship and penalties. Their voices just don’t come through in the official media and through Mr. Abbas and Mr. Fayyad.”
  • Bernstein called on the U.N. and human-rights organizations to pay for and organize a massive “peace” education for youth and children to counter hate propaganda by the PLO and by the Saudis “whose textbooks everywhere not only refer to Jews as monkeys and pigs but have similar derogatory references about Christians, Shia, gays, and more.”
  • Marcus will distribute copies of Deception to the U.S. Congress and European parliaments which provide funding to the PLO.