The Palestinian Authority and its president may tell the world they are partners for peace, but to their citizens they are sowing such hatred of Jews and Israel that peace is unattainable, according to the founder and director of an Israeli watchdog organization that monitors the Palestinian media.
Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch said the PA is poisoning the minds of its population through videos, cartoons, and even crossword puzzles.
“We know what they’re saying in English to the media and negotiators, but we wanted to know what they were saying in Arabic, particularly what they’re saying to kids, because that will affect generations to come,” said Marcus.
The American-born Marcus, who founded his organization in 1996, spoke Nov. 12 at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick in a program cosponsored by StandWithUs, a pro-Israel education and advocacy organization.
Itamar noted that a senior PA official denounced a “bridge-building” soccer tournament held Sept. 1 along the Gaza border between Palestinian and Israeli children. “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity,” Jibril Rajoub said on the PA’s Facebook page.
Marcus said during recent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians over the Temple Mount, Palestinian TV ran a promo 19 times between Oct. 17 and 19 calling for violence in Jerusalem to prevent Jews “in any way whatsoever” from going to the Temple Mount.
Another Fatah Facebook post showed three mice strung up on a fishing rod with Stars of David on their heads. Marcus said the illustration represented the three Israeli teenage boys kidnapped and killed in June.
A Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll found that 57 percent approved of the kidnapping while 54 percent supported killing the teens.
“Where does this come from?” Marcus asked. “The Palestinian Authority created an environment where killing Jews is seen as positive. When they hear and read that Israel poisoned their water and was doing medical experiments on Palestinian prisoners, that is why we get 54 percent who think killing Jews is a defense.”
(Marcus spoke a week before two Palestinian residents of Jerusalem killed five Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue.)
When Palestinian TV refers to Israeli cities such as Ashkelon, Safed, and Haifa as “Palestine,” “they are clearly creating a culture” where Israel has no place, said Marcus, and recognition of the Jewish state is a principal component of the peace process.
Marcus claimed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is the “driving force” behind much of the incitement, because he is jostling to maintain a leadership position in any potential Fatah-Hamas unity government,
“The gap between Hamas and Fatah is disappearing, but it’s not Hamas moving closer to Fatah, but rather Fatah moving closer to Hamas,” said Marcus.