Israel Resource Review 24th July, 2005


Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation Praises Terror Attack Where an Israeli Couple Was Murdered
Dr. Michael Widlanski

JERUSALEM-July 24-- Voice of Palestine radio and Palestinian state television applauded Sunday morning the murder of two Israeli civilians in Gaza Saturday, calling it an act of "resistance" [muqawwima] and "holy martyrdom" [istish-haad], and hinting that the murderers were carrying out their civic duty.

The Palestinian media outlets repeatedly referred to the dead Israelis as "settlers" (even though they were not settlers) while calling the Palestinian gunmen "resisters" [muqawwimin-a positive term in Palestinian Arabic] and "citizens" [muwattinin].

"The holy martyrdom of two citizens in a clash at the Kisufim Junction," announced Khaled Sukkar, the V.O.P. news bulletin reader at the top of the Sunday morning news.

The remarks by the broadcast media stringently controlled by Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority came only hours after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice urged Israel to "strengthen" the regime of Dr. Abbas who, Dr. Rice said, was working hard to stop acts of terror.

But the shooting murder of the two Israelis, killed as they were driving out of Gaza, was not described by Abbas's media as "terror," and it was actually repeatedly called "an armed operation" and "a resistance operation."

"Israeli military sources report at least two martyrs and three settlers dead and seven wounded in an operation at Kisufim," declared Nizar Al-Ghul, the senior V.O.P. radio anchorman, but he and other V.O.P. reporters said the exact numbers were not yet clear.

"Our Palestinian sources say that there were three resisters who participated in the attack on a group of Jewish settlers and an army checkpoint," observed V.O.P.'s Gaza reporter, Adil Zaanoun.

US Secretary Rice reportedly also criticized the Israelis for blaming Abbas for attacks that were mostly carried out by the Hamas, apparently unaware that Israel intercepted on Friday another Palestinian would-be human bomber just across the Gaza fence inside Israel-an 18-year-old member of Abbas's Fatah organization.

Within the last three months there has been a dramatic increase in terror attacks in and around Gaza, as well as suicide bomb attempts from there and the northern West Bank-both areas from which Israel is scheduled to make withdrawals next month.

At least 45 percent of the attacks and aborted attacks were from Abbas's Fatah.

At the same time, there is a marked increase in the use of young human bombers-aged 11-17 years -who might slip through checkpoints or over and under fences and walls.

In the youth wing of Israel's prison system there are more than 130 youthful Palestinian terrorists between the ages of 13 and 17, most of them from the Fatah organization and 21 of them captured in the last three months.

Muhammad Dahlan, PA Civilian Affairs Minister and Abbas's point-man in Gaza, said last week that "the Palestinian resistance" was what had forced the Israeli withdrawals.

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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