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PMW in the Media
Palestinian kids 'taught to hate'
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Itamar Marcus cannot speak, read or write Arabic, yet he heads an organisation which has for the past five years monitored the Palestinian media - written and electronic.
And what his Palestinian Media Watch, where he employs ex-army-intelligence translators, has found does not make comfortable reading for anyone interested in Middle East peace and understanding.
US-born Mr Marcus, 47, who now lives in Efrat on the West Bank, was in London this week to expose what he maintains is the deep-seated hatred with which Palestinians are being indoctrinated.
“Children are being manipulated for martyrdom,” he told the JC. “Official PA TV shows repeated footage of summer camps for kids. And there is no football, no basketball; there are just military-style exercises on how to fight the Israelis. They are training for jihad” - Arabic for “holy war.”
These clips, he said, showed children chanting about “wanting to be a part of a suicide squad. They are shouting the language of martyrdom.”
Mr Marcus said the PA is “quite open about the propaganda. The Holocaust is described as a myth created by Jews to garner world sympathy, and Oslo, they say, is temporary, because of the balance of power. Israel is a temporary entity created by European colonialists in order to rid themselves of the Jews, and today’s Jews have no hold on the land, because they aren’t even the descended from the original Jews.”
And when the PA refers to settlers, said Mr Marcus, it doesn’t just mean those in the territories. “It means those who live in Netanya, Ra’anana and Haifa.”
Children are at the forefront of this propaganda, he added.
The PA has been using the enduring image of Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by Israeli troops in Gaza at the beginning of the intifada as he sheltered in his father’s arms.
Mr Marcus said: “He is seen is paradise, playing with a kite, running in open fields and having a ride on a big wheel. The message at the end of the clip, which has been played countless times on PA TV, is ‘I am waving not to say goodbye, but to call you to follow.’”
There is also a message for the parents, to let their kids go and fight the Israelis.
Mr Marcus, who describes himself as centrist in Israeli politics, sees his job as alerting the public as to what is going on only a few hundreds yards away. “Israelis believed that were talking about a serious compromise with people who, too, wanted a serious compromise. But we found that Israel was listening and denying and listening and ignoring.”
He is deeply sceptical about the future. “The current Palestinian leadership is still living back in 1965, and it is educating its children that armed struggle is the only way forward,” he said.
“We need to deal with a leadership which wants peace, and it will only want peace through education.
“I know what to do in stages five through to 10, but I just don’t know how we are going to get through to stage five.”


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