Popular Palestinian singer misrepresents Israeli cities
Safed, Tiberias, Acre and Haifa as Palestinian:
“The song is about the Palestinian towns and villages”
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Using all the communication structures under their control, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah - both headed by Mahmoud Abbas - depict a "Palestine" that includes all of Israel, the PA areas and the Gaza Strip.
One of the means used by the PA to disseminate this message is official PA TV, which regularly broadcasts songs and music videos presenting Israel as “Palestine.” One such song turned into a big hit when Palestinian singer Muhammad Assaf sang this in 2013 at the Arab Idol song contest, which he later won. Oh Flying Bird misrepresents Israeli towns as being part of “my beautiful country Palestine.” Recently, Assaf was interviewed and had the opportunity to sing the song again on PA TV:
Winner of Arab Idol song contest 2013, Muhammad Assaf: "If you ask about folk songs that have affected me, there are plenty, but the most prominent one is 'Oh flying bird.'"
PA TV host: "Your version became famous."
Muhammad Assaf: "It is a folk song... The young know it by heart as well as the old. The song is about the Palestinian towns and villages. I sang a small part of it. It includes Palestine from the northern end to the southern end...
By Allah, oh traveling [bird], I burn with envy.
My country Palestine is beautiful.
Turn to Safed, and then to Tiberias,
and send regards to the sea of Acre and Haifa.
Don't forget Nazareth, the Arab fortress,
and tell Beit Shean about its people's return."
[Official PA TV, April 13, 2015]
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Palestinian Media Watch has documented that at least 12 different renditions of this song have been broadcast on PA TV, either as music videos, performances by singers or as part of children’s TV programs.
Different versions of this song misrepresent the following places in Israel as "Palestine": Jaffa, Ramle, Safed, Tiberias, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, Beit Shean, Be'er Sheva. The different versions mention the following places in the PA: Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Gaza.