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:
[AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008]
"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]