Israel Resource Review 24th April, 2005


America and Israel Attacked Harshly in Televised Palestinian Mosque Speech
Dr. Michael Widlanski

The Palestinian Authority's official televised mosque speech Friday included a fiery attack on the United States accusing it and Israel of wanting to occupy and dominate the Arab world.

"Our enemies want to occupy Arab and Islamic lands under their leadership", declared Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris, a charismatic mosque speaker employed and paid by the Palestinian Authority directed by Dr. Mahmoud Abbas.

Dr. Abbas, who is expected to visit the United States within a month, had promised both the United States and Israel that he would eliminate incitement against Israel and the United States.

But this has not happened.

Since his selection in January as Palestinian successor to Yasser Arafat, Abbas has let certain kinds of incitement?such as broadcast mosques speeches?go unchecked.

"Our enemy has become strong and fed on us like prey in our lands in the East and in the West because we are weak, and our only strength lies in the Quran" declared Sheikh Mudeiris in his mosque speech in Gaza.

The mosque preacher declared that the un-named enemy,which was clearly meant to be America and Israel, had deliberately tried to cause "civil war" in the Arab world.

Abbas himself told Egyptian journalists last month in Arabic newspaper interviews that any attempts by him to rein-in Palestinian militants would lead to "civil war".

"Our enemies have succeeded in stirring up strife between us and our Arab brothers", asserted Sheikh Mudeiris. His comments seemed an extension of Abbas's retort to American and Israeli complaints about Palestinian incitement and lack of serious action against Palestinians amassing arms and explosives.

Indeed, Abbas's official broadcast media, "The Voice of Palestine" radio and PBC television-- continually poke fun at Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's demand to stop "what he calls terror".

Abbas himself has been very sensitive to the American and Israeli criticism, especially because the Israelis have threatened to intervene if he does not stem mounting Palestinian attacks.

Abbas has, therefore, for short periods, removed or restrained certain elements of incitement from the airwaves or from newspapers which are under strong control of his regime.

This intermittent restraint has included the removal of most martyr films from official Palestinian television, but it has come with the parallel promotion of atrocity stories about Israelis deliberately murdering Palestinian children.

In addition, there has been an increase in the use of certain code-words such as "resistance operations" and "martyrs" that glorify, rather than condemn, certain attacks on Israeli targets.

This comes at a time when PLO Chairman Abbas, who is also head of the PA, is working hard to bring HAMAS and Jihad into the PA before national legislative elections scheduled for July. Since he stepped up his courtship of the Islamic groups HAMAS and Islamic Jihad in February, Abbas has shown himself largely unwilling to restrain the incitement, preferring to treat the Israeli charges as an Israeli strategy to torpedo the "peace process".

In a meeting with Israeli correspondents this week, Abbas accused Israel of "incitement" against him, by spreading reports that he was not trying to fight terror and incitement, two words that the Palestinian media use only to describe Israeli actions: building a protective fence and roadblocks, for example.

Arab attacks on Israelis are never described as "terror" (Arabic: irhaab) in the Palestinian media.

Meanwhile, the PA's own salaried mosque speakers have come to sound almost identical to the material put on the internet by the Islamic terror groups HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, who Abbas has invited into the PA regime.

The charismatic preacher, wearing his customary white robe timed in gold did not mention America and Israel directly, but his use of the term "occupiers" is a customary code-name for both the United States and Israel whose forces are termed "the American Occupation Army" and "the Israeli Occupation Army".

In recent speeches, Sheikh Mudeiris has also repeated charges that Israel is plotting attacks on Islamic holy places, a theme he mentioned tangentially today in a speech dedicated to the birthday of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

Similar comments have been voiced repeatedly by Prime Minister Ahmad Qreia (also known as Abu Ala) and chief PA negotiator Saeb Arikat.

[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.

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EU to Increase Training of Palestinian Authority Security Forces
Special Middle East News Line Report

[The fact that the Palestinian Authority Security Forces remain in a state of war with Israel should be of great concern - DB]

The European Union has increased its support of Palestinian Authority security forces.

The EU has established a coordinating office to support the PA police. Officials said the EU office would operate in Ramallah and coordinate European aid to PA security agencies.

"With this initiative in the field of police support, another key part of the action plan proposed last year and including an array of actions in the fields of security, reforms, elections and the economy, is now coming to fruition," EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana said.

In a statement, Solana said the EU office in Ramallah marked the culmination of a dialogue with the PA. He said the EU was committed to reforming the PA security agencies.

Solana deemed the enhancement of PA police and law enforcement capacity an EU priority. Britain has taken the lead in training and equipping PA forces.

"Today's agreement is an important step to that end," Solana said.

The EU has also agreed to help train PA officers in the Gaza Strip. PA officials said the EU would establish an office in Gaza City to oversee the effort.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the consolidation of security agencies from the current 13 to three bodies. On April 23, the PA reshuffled its security leadership, and two veteran commanders -- PA Military Intelligence Mussa Arafat and General Intelligence commander Amin Hindi -- resigned.

Abbas appointed Gen. Ahmed Abdul Karim to replace Arafat, a nephew of the late Yasser Arafat. Gen. Suleiman Helef was named national security director while Gen. Hosni Rabaya was appointed national police chief. Rabaya replaced outgoing police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Rahim Asfour.

"I am sure that we will succeed in imposing security because this is the demand of our people," Rabaya said. "They want to see the rule of law prevail. With a stable security situation, we can prove to the whole world that we are people who deserve respect and our own state."

Officials said the PA would also retire other officers who have reached the age of 60. They said that starting this week 1,000 officers would be dismissed, the lion's share brought by the late Arafat from Tunisia to the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1994.

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