September 15, 2001
Throughout the Arab world – and especially in Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian
Authority – thousands of people took to the streets this week and lustily
cheered the work of the suicide bombers who destroyed the World Trade
Center and part of the Pentagon.
Even as thousands of Americans lay buried in the rubble of the Twin
Towers, hordes of Palestinians in Nablus and Bethlehem and Jericho handed out
sweets, a traditional sign of celebration, and danced in the streets.
Arafat insists it never happened.
How could he say that?
Because he has every reason to believe that much of the news footage
of those celebrations will never see the light of day.
And how does he know that?
Because his thugs and security “police” kidnapped an Associated Press
photographer who shot the most incriminating film and threatened his life if it
And lest anyone claim that these strong-arm threats came from “rogue”
elements, the AP officials were specifically warned by Arafat’s own cabinet
secretary, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, that the Palestinian Authority “cannot
guarantee the life” of the cameraman if the footage ever aired.
Indeed, an AP still photographer at the scene decided not to take pictures after
being warned by Palestinian security forces not to do so.
To its credit, the AP and other foreign journalists in Jerusalem forcefully
protested this intimidation – a tactic the PLO has used for decades throughout
the Middle East.
This led to the cameraman’s release.
But, as of this writing, key footage of 3,000 cheering Palestinians in Nablus still
Arafat and his aides insist that any celebrating was isolated and done by “a few
children” – because that’s the only footage that’s been released.
Americans need to see these scenes witnessed by dozens of journalists to put
the lie to Arafat’s denial.
Indeed, Palestinian newspapers – whose any deviation from the Arafat line is
met with swift closure, and sometimes worse – hailed the Trade Center
terrorists as “the most honorable among us.”
It’s hardly surprising that Palestinians are cheering on the terrorists. For Arafat
has never convincingly sent a signal that he has repudiated terror.
His followers – by letting the Osama bin Ladens know that they enjoy popular
support – are keeping terrorism alive. And no death threats from Yasser Arafat’s
hoodlums will permanently keep that message from being heard in this country.
Palestinians withhold pictures of Hamas rally
Reuters, September 16, 2001
JERUSALEM, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Palestinian authorities have seized
photographs and video tapes taken by Western news agencies at a
rally by the militant Islamic group Hamas in the Gaza strip.
Officials on Saturday did not respond to protests by the agencies or
return the photographs and television footage, which were taken at a
rally on Friday held by about 2,000 Hamas reporters at the Nusairat
The Palestinian Authority said police had confiscated the pictures,
including photographs taken by Reuters, because Hamas had not
received permission for the rally.
Some reporters said they had seen a person after the rally carrying
a portrait of Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden, the prime
suspect in terror attacks on the United States on Tuesday.
The confiscations followed anger by Palestinian officials over
celebrations by some Palestinians about the attacks, which attracted
negative publicity abroad. The officials said the celebrations were
an aberration by a thoughtless few which did not reflect real
The Palestinian Authority has condemned the attacks and militant
Palestinian groups have denied involvement.
The protesters on Friday also urged Palestinian President Yasser
Arafat to spurn talks with Israel and said there could be further
attacks on Israelis as part of the almost one-year-old Palestinian
uprising against Israeli occupation.
The Foreign Press Association in Israel accused the Authority this
week of harassing journalists and failing to stop gunmen suppressing
coverage of Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus celebrating
the attacks on the United States.