Deja Vu, all over again:
This was originally published in 2005 by TeachKidsPeace.org
This was originally published in 2005 by TeachKidsPeace.org
The Palestinian Authority's print and broadcast media launched a broad propaganda attack against Israel and the United States on Friday morning-two days before the May 15 anniversary of the founding of Israel, a date the Palestinians mark as "Al-Nakba": "The Catastrophe."
Coming less than two weeks before Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is set to visit Washington to seek aid and to proclaim his successes in promoting moderation and democracy, the Palestinian propaganda campaign illustrated how, sometimes, it seems that little has changed in the Palestinian media after the death of Yasser Arafat.More:
The campaign seemed to peak Friday but over the last two weeks and today it has included the following:
-- Systematic accusations from Palestinian officials and the Palestinian media that Israel is planning attacks on Islamic holy sites such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount;
-- Charges of Israel using radiation poisoning and new weapons on Palestinian travelers and demonstrators, respectively;
-- Harsh portrayals of Israel and the United States in mosque speeches and the cartoons of newspapers-both controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA); and
-- Glorification of dead or escaped Palestinian terrorists.
"Good morning to Jerusalem and to Palestine two days before the 57th
anniversary of the Catastrophe of 1948 when 31 of our towns and villages
were obliterated and the founding of what is called Israel," declared Rafat
al-Qudra, official Palestinian television's Friday morning host at 9AM
"Good morning to the martyr and to the mother of the martyr," Al-Qudra declared as a film montage displayed the decorated body of Palestinian terrorist who was given a state funeral.
For three hours, viewers saw almost non-stop anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish incitement, including a long interview with an armed terrorist who, in April 2002, had holed up with several dozen members of the Fatah "Martyrs Brigade" and "Tanzeem" militias in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
"O listeners," said the narrator, "after a long siege of 39 days without water and electricity and without food, 39 of our sons inside the Bethelehem church were banished from the West Bank-26 to Gaza and 13 to
Europe. Today we are hosting one of the banished, Brother Mu'ayyad al-Ganazra. Welcome, and tell us about your three years passed."
"For three years we have been banished. and our history is like the history of our people, banished, expelled with the Zionist enemy throwing our people off their land," said Al-Ganazra, the young Fatah militia member, his hands folded on the belly of his black turtleneck.
Al-Ganazra and other Fatah members used nuns and priests as human shields in 2002, but today he accused Israel of human rights violations because it would not allow him and other "mub'adeen"-banished persons-to return from Gaza to the West Bank.
Some of the men were also accused of physically abusing the Christian worshipers kept hostage in the church, but Israeli forces did not storm the church for fear of irreparably damaging one of Christianity's holiest places.
As part of a deal negotiated at the time, Israeli soldiers refrained from arresting or killing the terrorists, in return for their leaving the area-either to Gaza or to Europe.
"Remember, at this time Mr. Yasser Arafat was also under siege, and the Occupation was trying to suppress the Intifada and to suppress the Resistance," the Fatah fighter said using the term "resistance" which many
Palestinians use to describe attacks on Israelis.
After the interview, behind the host, a film showing the full map of Israel-Palestine appeared on background of fire as a video images superimposed on the map showed Arabs carrying children and suitcases being
replaced by religious Jews wearing skullcaps and beards. "So began the occupation of Palestine," intoned a narrator.
A cartoon in today's Al-Ayyam newspaper, which is run by Abbas's Fatah Party, showed an Israeli soldier with a skull - stuffing a rifle into a baby carriage:
Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2005: Cartoon reads: "In memory of 'The Catastrophe,' a 'New Catastrophe.'
On the weekly show, "Good Morning Jerusalem" (Arabic: Sabah al-Kheir Ya al-Quds ) telephone callers consistently berated Jews in general and the "Jewish enemy" as well as the "American-Israeli conspiracy" against the Arabs, while the show's host thanked them.
After the show was over, Palestinian television turned to Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, the white robed cleric who led the broadcast prayers at the Sheikh Zayid Sultan al-Nahayyan Mosque in Gaza.
Sheikh Mudeiris, who is a noted supporter of Osama Bin-Laden Al-Qaeda organization, did not waste time and from the first word of his sermon attacked Jews over the centuries for their "immorality" and "corruption."
In a speech dedicated to "The Catastrophe," Sheikh Mudeiris mixed a traditional Muslim phrase with today's politics.
"Praise be to Allah whom we to praise even for what is hateful, and [praise be to Him] for having made heroes of us to withstand what the Jews have done to us," declared the young rotund, bearded cleric as he clutched his gold-trimmed white robe.
He unleashed scathing charges against "the Jews who the Prophet [Muhammad] warned had killed their prophets, distorted the teachings of their Torah and corrupted their way of life."
Most Jews were treacherous and unreliable, Sheikh Mudeiris said, and the Prophet Muhammad and his follower Abu-Bakr were correct in fighting them and evicting them first from Muhammad's base city of Medina and then from ancient Arabia.
"Israel is a cancer among the Islamic peoples," the sheikh shouted at the crowd kneeling at his feet.
"I don't ask you to read the Quran [for this]. All you have to do is read history. Ask the British what they did with their Jews. They were thrown out for 300 years. Ask the French what they did with their Jews."
The young charismatic cleric also accused the Jews of idolatry, and of "corrupting their morality." In previous speeches in recent weeks, he and other mosque speakers on Palestinian television and radio have said that there is an Israeli-American plot against the Arab states, and called for holy war against both Israel and America.
Such grandiose charges were symbolized in today's cartoon in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, a Fatah newspaper completely controlled and funded by the Abbas regime. ( Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, May 13, 2005)
The cartoon depicts the Jews, holding an Israeli flag, gaining bloody control over the entire Islamic world from Indonesia to Morocco and the Atlantic Ocean.
Sheikh Mudeiris and other mosque speakers who are paid by the Abbas regime have also promoted the idea that the Israeli government and "Jewish extremists" are plotting together to destroy the silver-domed Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden-tipped Dome of the Rock shrine, even though there has been no evidence of this.
The "independent" daily newspaper Al-Quds, which gets sizable subsidies from the Abbas regime, today and yesterday ran headlines making fun of America's fears of terrorism and assassination as well as gloating over America's casualties in Iraq.
Today's cartoon showed America as a bloodied Viking on the turret of a tank in Iraq, while yesterday's cartoon showed a sweating White House with an innocent advertising plane in over-flight.
The intense anti-Israel campaign of the Abbas regime comes at a time when Abbas himself, according to Palestinian public opinion polls and recent elections, has not translated his succession of Arafat into public
Abbas's Fatah Party squeaked out a statistical victory in local elections earlier this month, and it is considering asking to delay the national elections in July.
Members of the Fatah militias as well as HAMAS and Jihad terrorists have openly poked fun at Abbas's statements-usually made in foreign appearances-that he will disarm militia members.
At the same time, however, when speaking in Arabic or in Arab press interviews, Abbas and his top aides have made it clear that they will not "seize weapons" from anyone involved in "resistance," but only from
"We distinguish between the fighter and the killer, between the resister and the criminal," asserted Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Sha'ath in remarks shown on Palestinian television earlier this month.
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