Sunday, March 31, 2013

PA removed monument so that Obama would not see it

PA removed monument in shape of map of "Palestine" that encompasses Israel so that Obama would not see it

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Palestinian Media Watchhas documented that the official maps of the Palestinian Authority erase the entire State of Israel and replace it with "Palestine." These maps appear in the offices of PA officials, in schools and on monuments, just to name a few examples. Before his first election, US President Obama criticized such maps that anticipate a world without Israel, calling them a threat to Israel's security:

"I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security... Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence." (emphasis added)

[AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008]

After the UN vote in November 2012, the PA built a monument in a central square in Bethlehem called "The State Monument," which shows the "State of Palestine." However, the model of "Palestine" also includes all of Israel, thereby erasing it completely. The monument celebrates the UN vote on statehood as well as the first PLO/Fatah terror attack against Israel in 1965, which is seen as the beginning of the Palestinian "revolution" and Fatah's anniversary date. The words on the map-shaped monument are:

"Birth certificate of the State of Palestine - Nov. 29, 2012,
The outbreak of the glorious revolution - Jan. 1, 1965"

It turned out that the monument was on President Obama's route in Bethlehem, so in order to prevent him from seeing it, the PA had the monument removed before he arrived, the official PA daily reported. This, however, outraged the local Palestinians who witnessed its removal:

"In the city, there are those who not only welcome the visit of the American President, but are willing to go even further... Residents were surprised to find that a model of the map of Palestine engraved with details about the Nakba ("Catastrophe" i.e., Israel's creation) and an olive tree were removed from the Al-Karkafa Square, to be replaced by a model of what was described as a peace dove. This enraged many people who gathered there."

PMW has documented that the PA hides its ideology, activities and goals from the US and European donors, in order to get political support and funding. The temporary removal of the map-shaped monument, so Obama would not see it, is consistent with this deception policy. (See PMW's book Deception for extensive documentation.)

In response to the popular anger that the PA daily had reported, the PA then tried to deceive its own people as to the reason for the removal of the monument. Two days after the first story appeared, the paper reported on a press conference held by the Bethlehem District Governor with the Mayor of Bethlehem, at which they claimed that the monument was removed in order to be "redone" and expanded. The fact that it was immediately before Obama's visit was coincidental, according to the PA. In the words of the District Governor: "Everyone knows that Americans do not dictate any Palestinian decisions."

The following are the two articles that appeared in the PA daily. The first describes the PA's deception of Obama and the second describes the PA's deception of its own people:

"Obama's upcoming visit to Bethlehem weighs heavily on the City of the Nativity. Every day, reporters asked residents their opinion about the visit. Most of them expressed opposition to US policy regarding the Palestinian issue...

Activists laid a large picture of Obama on the ground at the intersection of Bab Al-Dir, not far from the Church of the Nativity. Cars drove over the picture and then it was burned.

It seems that in the city, there are those who not only welcome the visit of the American President, but are willing to go even further... Residents were surprised to find that a model of the map of Palestine engraved with details about the Nakba ("the catastrophe," the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) and an olive tree were removed from the Al-Karkafa Square, to be replaced by a model of what was described as a peace dove. This enraged many people who gathered there."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2013]

"Bethlehem District Governor, Minister Abd Al-Fattah Hamail, and Mayor Vera Baboun, held a press conference yesterday [March 20] to clarify details of what happened to the State Monument and why it was removed... Hamail said that it has been decided to redo the monument at the Nisan Square, known as "Khaikhoun Square", and place a monument symbolizing the Palestinian people's pursuit of freedom and peace next to the State Monument, according to the proposal submitted by the artist Akram Nastas. He also noted that the map engraved on the monument is the map of Palestine, which represents national symbolism and is implanted in the hearts of all Palestinians. He added that it is forbidden to infringe on the patriotism of even one Palestinian, whether he is a senior official or not. Hamail denied that Americans had any connection to the subject (i.e., the removal of the map), and said: "Everyone knows that Americans do not dictate any Palestinian decisions, as the Americans fought until the last minute against the decision to appeal to the UN, and President Mahmoud Abbas rejected this intervention and achieved the UN resolution regarding the [Palestinian] state. This monument illustrates this policy, and no one can remove it, no matter what happens."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 21, 2013]

Monday, March 18, 2013

UK Parliament scrutinizes Palestinian hate incitement

UK Parliament scrutinizes Palestinian hate incitement, terror glorification and British funding of PA in debate examining PMW findings

MP Ellman: "The matters... are truly shocking and put a question mark over the status of the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace"

MP Henderson: "No peace agreement will be able to guarantee...peace if a generation of Palestinians is growing up indoctrinated to hate Israel, Jews and the West"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Parliament recently held a long debate examining "hate incitement against Israel and the West by the Palestinian Authority." The debate was initiated by MP Gordon Henderson. Henderson and other MPs cited Palestinian Media Watch documentation of PA hate promotion and terror glorification, which they had seen in recent meetings with PMW Director Itamar Marcus as well as in PMW bulletins and reports.

MP Gordon Henderson on the severity of the Palestinian culture of hate:

"It is clear that a culture of hate has wormed its way into the very fibre of Palestinian society. Incitement to hate is pervasive in Palestinian school textbooks, on television programmes and at cultural and sporting events. Palestinians have been consistently and unremittingly taught to hate Jews, Israel and the West... Incitement takes many forms. It ranges from the denial of Israel's right to exist to the abhorrent glorification of violence and infamous Palestinian terrorists." [British Parliament debate, Feb. 26, 2013. All quotes below are from this debate.]

Documentation cited by MP Henderson:

"During the Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations in September 2011, the PA's official TV channel broadcast a map that depicted all of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories wrapped in the Palestinian flag with a key through it. Therefore, at a time when President Abbas was telling the UN that he sought two states living side by side, residents on the west bank were being shown a map carrying an unmistakeable message of Palestinian sovereignty over the whole area."

(See PMW bulletin, Oct. 6, 2011)

"Last summer, a PA TV broadcast showed a painting depicting Israel as an ogre with a Star of David skull cap that impales and eats Palestinian children in Gaza."
(See PMW bulletin, July 23, 2012)

"Just this month, PA TV broadcast a music video honouring a number of convicted terrorists... One of the terrorists who was honoured in that video was Ibrahim Hamid, who is serving 54 life sentences in Israel for planning a series of suicide bombings that killed 46 Israelis."
(See PMW bulletin, Feb. 5, 2013)

"Official Facebook page of Fatah in Lebanon recently posted a photo of a mother dressing her young son with an explosive suicide belt and encouraging him to blow up the Sons of Zion."
(See PMW bulletin, Oct. 29, 2012)

Other MPs from various parties likewise cited examples and agreed reiterated the significance of PMW's findings.

MP Dr. Matthew Offord (Con):
"Fatah's Facebook page routinely publishes pictures and slogans venerating arms and violence against Israel. In some pictures, young children are even shown carrying rifles."
(See PMW bulletin, Jan. 7, 2013)

MP Louise Ellman (Lab) said the findings raise the question of the PA as a partner for peace:
"I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this important debate. The matters that he brings to the attention of the House are truly shocking and put a question mark over the status of the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace."

MP Henderson raised the problem of the of the UK funding PA salaries to prisoners, a topic being debated now in Norwegian Parliament as well:

MP Gordon Henderson:
"Consistent with the Palestinian Authority's policy of glorifying terrorists, the PA financially rewards terrorism by paying a monthly salary to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons convicted of terror offences... I was shocked to learn that those payments are part funded by the British taxpayer. Indeed, the payments come from the PA's general budget, into which the UK contributes more than £30 million each year. I am unaware of any known safeguards in place preventing the use of UK aid to that end. Previous attempts by my parliamentary colleagues from all parts of the House to raise that issue have been met with apparent denial and a declaration that the payments are simply "social welfare payments to the families of prisoners" ...However, since these payments are not explicitly given to those in need, it seems logical to assume that they are given as a form of reward for prisoners' terror acts."
(See PMW reports)

MP Guto Bebb (Con) cited proof that the payments were not social welfare, but in fact salaries for prisoners:
"... in December 2012, a Palestinian Authority statement, which was released through its official news service... which is made in the name of the Palestinian Minister responsible for prisoners' affairs, Issa Karake, announced that those payments were salaries and not social assistance. It went further by stating that any talk of social assistance was incorrect rumour. How can my hon. Friend square that issue with the denials made by our own Government?"
(See PMW bulletin, Feb. 14, 2013)

MP Henderson cited what he saw as a positive remark by Prime Minister David Cameron:
"I am reassured that this is an issue that the Government are starting to regard with increased seriousness. Indeed, the Prime Minister made his position clear at a United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner late last year, when he said: "Britain will never support anyone who sponsors a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism."

(PMW notes that contrary to PM Cameron's policy, Britain does in fact support those who glorify terror. All the examples of terror glorification cited by the MPs in the debate were sponsored by the PA. Moreover, the PA leadership consistently glorifies terror. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad sponsored a summer camp honoring Dalal Mughrabi, whose bus hijacking killed 37 civilians. Abbas supported naming a square after Mughrabi and personally sponsored a computer center named after her. These are just a few examples of many. PMW recently prepared a report for the Foreign Affairs Committee of Dutch Parliament with 40 pages of examples of PA-sponsored terror glorification. All of these events and programs glorifying terrorists are funded by the PA general budget that Britain supports. Contrary to PM Cameron's assertion that "Britain will never support" anyone who glorifies terror, it is supporting the PA, which glorifies terror almost daily. In addition to naming sporting events and places after terrorists, PA TV currently broadcasts four different weekly TV programs that are dedicated to honoring and glorifying Palestinian prisoners who are imprisoned for terrorism and security offenses. As long as Britain is supporting the PA, it is supporting those who glorify terror.)

The British government responds

Responding in the name of the British government was Alistair Burt, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Burt acknowledged the problem, referring to documentation he saw in a recent meeting with PMW Director Itamar Marcus, but argued that hate incitement is a symptom and not the problem:

"I had a briefing on some of the material some weeks ago, through Palestinian Media Watch. There are some tough examples. I think that I was expected to be shocked, but I was not. Hon. Members should not mistake me. Some material was shocking and offensive. It has no place in any political or historical discourse in which any credible democratic authority has a part. But my deep and genuine worry is that this incitement is not simply a cause of separation between peoples and hatred; I am afraid that it is a symptom of it."

Burt also seemed to imply a symmetry between PA and Israeli incitement although he did don't cite any examples of Israeli incitement to back this up:

"I welcome this opportunity to reiterate the Government's position on incitement. We oppose, in all circumstances, the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. We deplore incitement on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

"We do not hesitate to raise instances of incitement with both the Palestinian Authority and Israel whenever we feel that it is appropriate to do so."

Burt cited a video he had been shown by PMW director Itamar Marcus in their meeting, of a younggirl singing about martyrdom at a performance broadcast on PA TV. However, following Burt's policy of blaming both sides equally, he did not blame the official PA schools who may have taught the girl the song, nor did he blame official PA TV for broadcasting the song, nor did he blame the producers of the event for including it in the program. Furthermore, he did not mention that PM Salam Fayyad and the Secretary General of the Presidential Office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, were in the audience applauding the singers. Instead, he blamed both sides equally:

Burt: "My overwhelming feeling in looking at some issues, particularly in relation to children, was sadness that those on both sides of the divide who wish to emphasize difference and separateness are steadily winning that battle. One example, which my hon. Friend may be aware of, is a little girl of about seven years of age reciting with pride a poem about a suicide bomber, or so-called martyr. If we see a child reciting a poem about such a thing, instead of what ought to be filling her mind, how do we react? Anger towards her is clearly not appropriate. Whoever's fault it is, it is not hers. I felt sadness for her, but anger that those who possess the ability to take down some of the barriers between Palestinians and Israelis simply do not do so, but continue actions that perpetuate the hatred." (emphasis added)

Burt also praised the PA leadership for what he called "their genuine commitment to non-violence":

"On the PA's leadership, it is important to stress that we consider that the track record of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad shows their genuine commitment to non-violence and a negotiated two-state solution."

MP Andrew Percy rejected Burt's praise of the PA leadership, noting the PA may be telling UK leaders one thing and "saying something slightly different in Arabic":

"I am a little alarmed at that statement by the Minister, because there are many examples - example after example, indeed - of senior Palestinian officials at the very top levels attending sporting competitions named in honour of people who have murdered innocent Israelis, or of their attending ceremonies to rename squares and streets after people who have murdered innocent Israelis. So while they may say one thing to the West, they may be saying something slightly different in Arabic."

Alistair Burt responded by ignoring the facts cited by Percy and repeated UK policy:

"The Prime Minister was clear in his denunciation of those who set up sporting tournaments or who support activities named in memory of the so-called martyrs and the suicide bombers. Of course, that is the clear position of the UK Government."

(PMW notes that MP Percy was correct to state that PA leaders are involved in the terror glorification that Britain condemns. Burt's statement that Britain's policy is to "denounce those who set up sporting tournaments or who support activities named in memory of the so-called martyrs and the suicide bombers" is likewise not being implemented. Praising Fayyad and Abbas from the floor of UK Parliament for "their genuine commitment to non-violence," and not "denouncing" the fact that they are honoring terrorists, is contrary to stated UK policy.)

Finally, in spite of all the documentation, Burt tried to minimize the severity of the problem:

"I do not fully share the bleakness of the rhetoric with which my hon. Friend began his remarks, particularly his comment that Palestinians have been consistently and unremittingly taught to hate Jews, Israel and the west."

Possibly anticipating Burt's comment or having heard it before, MP Gordon Henderson in his earlier remarks criticized those who fail to acknowledge the significance of the PA hate incitement. He also warned that the PA hate incitement will undermine any future peace agreement:

"It is shameful that such incitement to hatred has been denied by too many people... I contend that incitement is a form of abuse of Palestinian children. We must remember that those children are the next generation of peacemakers and state-builders. Simply put, no peace agreement will be able to guarantee peace in the medium to long term if a generation of Palestinians is growing up indoctrinated to hate Israel, Jews and the West." (emphasis added)

Click to see PDF of full debatein British Parliament, Feb. 26, 2013.

Click to see how PMW sparked debate in Norway, the responses of Norwegian MPs, and how as a result a parliamentary committee investigated if Norway is funding Palestinian terrorists in prison.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Of course Hamas killed the baby

by Alan M. Dershowitz

March 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

The recent disclosure that Omar Misharawi, the baby son of BBC reporter Jihad Misharawi, was actually killed by an errant Hamas rocket rather than by an Israeli missile, should have absolutely no moral implications. Of course the baby was killed by Hamas. He would have been killed by Hamas even if the missile that ended his life had been fired by Israel. Hamas is totally and wholly responsible for this death, as it is responsible for every civilian death in Gaza and in Israel. It is Hamas that always begins the battle by firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Generally Israel does not respond. When it does, its rockets occasionally kill Palestinian civilians. That's because Hamas wants Palestinians civilians, especially babies, to be killed by Israelis rockets. They want Palestinian babies to be killed precisely so that they can display the kind of photographs that were shown around the world: a grieving father holding his dead baby, presumably killed by an Israeli rocket. For years, I have called this Hamas' "dead baby strategy." The recent United Nations finding simply confirms the reality of this cynical strategy.

The errant rocket that killed Omar Misharawi was fired by Hamas terrorists from a densely populated civilian area adjacent to the home of the BBC reporter Jihad Misharawi. Hamas selects such locations for firing its rockets precisely so that Israel will respond by firing into civilian areas and killing Palestinian civilians. They regard such dead civilians as "shahids", or martyrs for the cause. It is better for Hamas' publicity campaign if the rocket that kills the Palestinian baby was fired by the Israeli Defense Forces, but even if the rocket was fired by Hamas terrorists, Hamas will claim, as they do regarding this death, that the lethal rocket was fired by Israel. Often the evidence is inconclusive, though the forensic evidence in this case points clearly to a Hamas rocket.

The important point is that it doesn't really matter who actually fired the rocket that killed the baby. The baby was killed by Hamas as part of a calculated strategy designed to point the emotional finger of moral blame at the IDF for doing what every democracy would do: namely, defend its civilians from rocket attacks by targeting those who are firing the rockets, even if they are firing them from civilian areas. As President Obama said when he visited Sderot shortly before becoming President:

The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if…somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.

Babies like Omar Misharawi will continue to die in Gaza and in Israel so long as the world media continues to serve as facilitators of Hamas' dead baby strategy. Every time a picture of a dead Palestinian baby being held by his grieving parents appears on television or on the front pages of newspapers around the world, Hamas wins. And when Hamas wins, they continue with their deadly strategy. The media, therefore, is complicit in the death of Omar Misharawi as it is in the deaths of other civilians who are victims of Hamas' dead baby strategy. Pictures of dead babies in the arms of their grieving fathers are irresistible to the media. That won't change. What should change is the caption. Every time a dead Palestinian baby is shown, the caption should explain the strategy that led to his or her death: namely that Hamas deliberately fires its rockets from areas in which babies live and into which Israel must fire if it is to stop its own babies from being killed.

It may sound heartless to claim that Hamas wants its own babies to be killed as part of its strategy of demonizing Israel. But there is no escaping the reality and truth of this phenomenon. Indeed it has been admitted by Hamas leaders such as Fathi Hammad:

For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death like you desire life."

Of course these Hamas leaders don't desire their own death. They build shelters for themselves and for the terrorists who fire the rockets at Israeli civilians. As soon as these rockets are fired from crowded civilian areas, the terrorist scurry into below-ground shelters, leaving babies, women and other civilians in the path of Israeli rockets that target the rocket launchers. This isn't martyrdom by the leaders and terrorists. It is cowardice. That too is part of the dead baby strategy: make martyrs of babies, while the leaders and terrorists hide in shelters. In Israel, it is precisely the opposite; shelters are for civilians; soldiers put themselves in harm's way. That's why the following illustration sums it all up: