Israel Resource Review 14th April, 2003


Palestine Loves Saddam
The Palestinian Press Identifies with Iraq in Cartoons

I. Introduction

When four U.S. soldiers were killed by an Iraqi suicide bomber, the Palestinian Authority decided it was time to act. The PA renamed the center of the Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin after the killer of the American soldiers. The camp square is now called Ali Al Na'amani. The celebration was followed by rallies in which scores of Palestinian gunmen and officers fired into the air in a recreation of the Iraqi battle against the United States.

The Palestinian Authority and its media have been swept into the swirl of support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Palestinian newspapers, radio and television -- all of them controlled and censored by the PA -- have made Iraq the model of the Palestinian struggle. The PA has linked its fate to that of the rapidly-fading Saddam regime. Newspapers contain daily announcements of support by the PA.

Here's the way the PA announced the dedication of the Jenin square to the memory of the Iraqi suicide bomber: "The officials, the institutions and the National Islamic Forces in the Jenin Refugee Camp decided to continue the blood donor campaign for Iraq and decided to name the center of the refugee camp 'Ali Al Na'amani' in memory of the martyr who was the first suicide bomber in Iraq." [1]

The Palestinian media have helped turn the Iraqi-U.S. confrontation into a struggle for Islam. The media have portrayed the United States as seeking to destroy the religion of nearly 1 billion Muslims and uprooting their heritage. It is a theme that is stressed repeatedly by Muslim clerics financed by the PA and quoted by the Palestinian media.

Take Sheik Mohammed Abu Hunud. Abu Hunud seeks to cow Muslim leaders into supporting Saddam by saying they are sacrilegious and calls on Palestinians to join in a holy war against the United States.

"Allah, purify the Islamic soil from the treason and defilement by Britain and the United States. Allah, make their possessions a booty for the Muslims, Allah, annihilate them and their weapons, Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows."

"To my brothers in Iraq, to the president of Iraq, to the Iraqi leadership, to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi clans, the glorious women of Iraq, we say: 'Strike, my brother. Let them realize that Iraq's soil is a land of fire and that they will drown in its waters." [2]

PA radio, called the Voice of Palestine, provides a half-hour sermon of Islamic hatred against the United States for Palestinians throughout the region. These sermons are written and read by Sheik Yusef Abu Sneineh from the Al Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

"Our enemies should be confronted by men having faith in God," Abu Sneineh said. "History will record the defeatism of the Islamic leaders, who are sitting back with folded arms following up TV reports on the ugly massacres committed by the U.S. and British invasion forces. This is a disgrace. God, help our Muslim people in Iraq be victorious over the infidels. God, destroy the enemies of the Muslims, for they are within your power. God destroy them all."

The support for Saddam in PA broadcasts and newspapers has laid the groundwork for massive rallies sponsored by agents of Saddam as well as such groups as PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad -- all of them beneficiaries of Saddam's largesse. Tens of thousands of people -- many of whom benefited from the $25,000 Saddam pays to each family of a Palestinian suicide bomber -- have participated in pro-Saddam rallies in virtually every Arab-populated city in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At these rallies, T-shirts bearing Saddam's picture are sold like hot cakes. Other popular items are dolls of Saddam and the Iraqi flag.

But nowhere is the support for Saddam as graphic as in the political cartoons in Palestinian dailies. Saddam and his regime are seen as both victors and victims, glorious knights and the pitifully defeated. The cartoons fill many pages of all of the Palestinian dailies.

Two of the three Palestinian dailies are directly owned by the PA. They are Al Ayyam, edited by Akram Haniyeh and Al Hayat Al Jedida, edited by Hafez Barghouti. The largest newspaper in the PA areas is Al Quds.

The cartoons are divided into six chapters, each of them representing another facet of Palestinian media treatment of the U.S. war against Iraq. The United States is portrayed as a world threat as well as a threat against Arabs and Islam. President Bush is seen as representing a nation of cowboys who think the rest of the world is the Wild West. Unnamed Arab leaders are seen as foolish, corrupt and bumbling. The cartoons see the fate of the Palestinians as linked to that of Iraq.

And finally, the Palestinian cartoons simply abandon all political rhetoric and portray Iraq as the great Arab knight who defends the Muslim nation against the blasphemous crusaders. The Palestinian newspapers utter the hope that Saddam will destroy the British and U.S. invaders in a move that will renew the Arab struggle against Israel.


  1. Al Quds, April 2, 2003
  2. March 28, Friday sermon broadcast on Palestinian television
  3. Voice of Palestine radio, March 28.

Section II: The Cartoons

Chapter 1: U.S. As World Threat

The Palestinian media seek to portray the United States as more than a threat to Iraq. Cartoons in the PA-controlled dailies argue that Washington is a threat to the world. The Bush administration bullies the United Nations, ignores Western public opinion against the war in Iraq and is prepared to kill anybody who doesn't agree with the White House. Those who have tried to stop the United States have been decimated. The meek are simply trampled upon by President Bush and other U.S. leaders who see the world as ripe for their exploitation.

Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

U.S. soldiers sits on a globe that calls 'No to War.'

Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

U.S. squeezes out the oil from the Arab world.

Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

U.S. doomsday plans for Iraq.

Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 1, 2003

Bush to his generals: After Saddam, we'll get rid of the rest of our enemies.

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