By David Bedein, August 21, 2003.
Mainstream media outlets are reporting that Abu Mazen condemns the August
19th bus Arab terror massacre, conveying the impression that the PA
condemns the massacre.
However, most significantly, the Arabic language official Palestinian Authority
Radio, Palestinian Authority TV and Palestinian Authority newspapers did not
carry any real condemnation from Abu Mazen or any other official from the
Palestinian Authority yesterday.
Dr. Michael Widlanski, who recently completed his Ph.D. on the subject of the
Palestinian Authority media, and who was formerly a reporter for the Israel
bureau of The New York Times and the bureau chief of The Atlanta
Constitution, listened to and recorded the radio newscasts of the PA radio
station on the day following the bus massacre.
The PA radio anchor led newscasts throughout the day by saying that “The
Israelis are describing yesterday’s operation as a terrorist attack.” He then went
on with other news of the day.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, the director of IMRA news agency, www.imra.org.il, asked
Dr. Widlanski to comment on the reaction of the PA to the bus bombing
yesterday in Jerusalem. The following are his observations: “If the Palestinian
Authority, or as they term themselves, the Palestinian leadership, had any
intention to convey a message of real condemnation of these attacks, they
would call them attacks.”
The bombing of the bus yesterday is universally termed in the Palestinian press
“amaliyya al Quds” – “the Jerusalem operation,” rather than as an “attack” or a
“terroristic attack.” By the way, the “peace process” is also termed the “peace
operation” by the Palestinian media.
The “condemnation” broadcast by Voice of Palestine radio never condemned
the perpetrators. Interestingly, the reports all act as if the identity of the
attacker is not known.
It should also be noted that the reports did not begin with the news of the
attack and its “condemnation”. They opened with comments about the
“horrible” things that the Israelis were doing (i.e. the “racist fence”). And
yesterday morning the top story was the Israelis “invading” the Temple Mount.
Voice of Palestine also ran very cheerful music after the bus attack – as they did
after the recent Rosh Ha’ayin/Ariel attacks. It was unusually light music – as
they would play on a holiday.
Meanwhile, Al Quds, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, also
ran an interesting editorial cartoon – two colored star bursts going off before
cameras labeled Baghdad and Jerusalem.”
The time has come for the press to learn from the mistakes of the Oslo process.
For almost a decade, the media has tended to mislead the public by
ignoring the Arabic language broadcasts and telecasts of the official Palestinian
Authority media, whose radio news content is directly controlled by Arafat and
What a totalitarian entity communicates for foreign consumption means very
little. What matters is what that entity communicates to its own people in its
own language. And what the PA is communicating bodes a dangerous future
for innocent Israelis.