Testimony of Palestinian incitement to American Senate
Outline of Testimony of Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, to
the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services and Education, chaired by Senator Arlen Specter.
October 30, 2003.
Mr. Chairman, Senators, there is significant evidence documenting Palestinian
Authority [PA] incitement of its children to hatred, violence and Death for Allah
– the Shahada.
This incitement is advanced by the PA through the entire
social-educational structure, including sporting events and summer camps, the
media including music videos for children and schoolbooks. Jews and Judaism
are presented as inherently evil, Israel existence as a state is de-legitimized and
denied, and fighting Jews and Judaism is presented as justified and heroic.
The PA Ministries of Education and Sport have turned the most abhorrent
murderers of Jews into role models and heroes for Palestinian youth. A soccer
tournament for 11-year-old boys was named for Abd Al-Baset Odeh – the
terrorist who murdered 30 in the Passover Seder suicide bombing. [Sports
section, Al Hayat Al Jadida Jan 21, 2003].
This past summer, during the period of the US sponsored Road Map, numerous
summer camps were named for suicide bombers, including a camp for
teenagers named after a teenage suicide bomber, a 17 year old girl, Ayyat Al
Akhras. Another camp for girls was named after Wafa Idris, the first woman
suicide bomber. Many schools, cultural events, educational programs, and
trophies, are named after terrorist murderers and suicide bombers.
There can be no greater incitement to hatred and violence than the recurring
portrayal of Palestinian terrorists as role models for children. As recently as
September this year PA Chairman Arafat and 13 PA Leaders jointly sponsored a
soccer tournament honoring arch terrorists. The PA leaders included Saeb
Erikat; Jibril Rajoub; the Minister of Sport – Abdul Fatach Hamal; the Mufti of
the PA Ikrama Sabri; and 10 other senior PA officials.
Each of the 24 soccer teams was named for a terrorist or other Shahids
[“Martyrs”] including some of the most infamous murderers like Yechya Ayash,
the first Hamas bomb engineer, who initiated the suicide bombings, and Dalal
Mughrabi, a terrorist woman who hijacked a bus killing 36 including American
Gail Ruben in 1978; [Al Ayyam, Sept. 21, 2003] At the completion of this
tournament Saeb Erikat distributed the trophies.
While Music videos around the world are used to entertain children, in the PA
they are used to indoctrinate children to hatred, violence, and Shahada.
Regularly broadcast PA music videos have actors depicting Israelis carrying out
execution-style murders of old men, woman and children, or blowing up
mothers with their babies.
In one music video broadcast continuously in 2003, actors portray a
woman being murdered in cold blood in front of her daughter. In another,
broadcast tens of times in 2003, the image of young girl on a swing turns into
a flaming inferno, and a football blows up after being kicked by a child.
Children are taught through these videos not only to hate and to be violent, but
are openly encouraged to aspire to death through Shahada [Martyrdom]. Clips
designed to offset a child’s natural fear of death portraying child Shahada as
both heroic and tranquil, have appeared on PA TV thousands of times over
three years. [2000-2003]
One clip for children ends with the words: “Ask for Death – the Life will
be Given to you”. In another, a child writes a farewell letter and goes off to die.
Children who have achieved death through suicide missions have been turned
into PA heroes and role models by the PA leaders.
The hatred, anti Semitism and Shahada encouragement appear in the PA
schoolbooks as well. The poem The Shahid [The Martyr] in a new PA
schoolbook includes the phrase: “I see my death, but I hasten my steps toward
it” [Our Beautiful Language, grade 7, p. 97] The PA argument that some of the
books are copies of Jordanian books is not relevant, as a child being taught that
Jews are evil is not going to be less influenced because of the identity of the
Furthermore, even the new PA-produced schoolbooks teach hatred,
de-legitimize Israel, and include anti-Semitic themes. This education will
perpetuate the conflict into the next generation.
It is important to note that the PA is making use of foreign funding to promote
this hatred among its children. Summer camps named for suicide bombers this
summer were funded by UNICEF. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 22, 2003, Al-Ayyam
July 18, 2003, Al-Quds, July 23, 2003].
Renovation of a school named for Dalal Maghrabi, a terrorist who
participated in the murder of 36 including an American, was funded by USAID
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida July 30 2002]. And whereas the PA announced two days
later that they had changed the name, in order to receive the USAID funding,
PA press reports indicated that the name was still being used. [Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida, August 16, 2002]
Clearly, children are being incited to hatred, violence and Shahada, not merely
by fringe elements in the PA, but by the entire mainstream of PA leadership and
society. This incitement to hatred and violence penetrates the minds of the PA
children and, after terrorism itself, is the single greatest long-term obstacle to
Under the Oslo accords and subsequently under the Wye accords, the PA
obligated itself to cease this incitement, but has ignored its own laws. In the
interest of achieving a lasting peace, pressure must be brought on the PA,
through all available means, including temporary political isolation and the
temporary freezing of financial support, in order to impress upon the
Palestinians the importance of peace education.
The following concrete steps should be taken by the PA immediately:
1. Music videos promoting hatred, violence, and Shahada must never again be
broadcast on PA TV.
2. The practice of naming schools, cultural events, educational programs, sport
events and trophies after terrorists and suicide bombers must cease.
Educational institutions and cultural frameworks currently named for terrorists
must be changed.
3. PA children must be taught that Israel is a legitimate country with a right to
4. There is no greater incitement against Israels legitimacy as a state, than to
mark the word Palestine – or occupied Palestine – in place of Israel on all maps
in the PA. These maps must be removed from Palestinian schools, schoolbooks
and TV broadcasting and be replaced by maps that show Israel by name in
Arabic. This will be the most important act of recognition of Israel by the PA,
more important than the signing of the Oslo Accords. To continue the current
practice, makes the statements of recognition of Israel at Oslo irrelevant and
sends a clear message to the population that is was not said with integrity.
5. The hatred and anti Semitism in the PA schoolbooks must be removed. The
PA argument that many of the books are copies of Jordanian books is not
relevant to the issues at hand, which is, the educational damage being done to
the children. A child being taught that Jews are evil is not going to be less
influenced because of the identity of the publisher. In addition, even the new
PA produced schoolbooks educate to hatred, de-legitimize Israel, and include
anti Semitic themes. The PA schoolbooks must be reprinted without the hatred
before the start of the next school year.
If these steps are not taken all efforts towards peace in the political realm will
ultimately be futile.