The PLO's recognition of the State of Israel (and its right to exist) was a foundation-stone of the Oslo Accords, and officially paved the way for negotiation towards a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But it now seems that, even on this fundamental point, the PLO and its offspring, the Palestinian Authority, are baulking.
The PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH has released a report focusing on the messages transmitted in the Palestinian print and broadcast media which call into question the PLO's recognition of the State of Israel.
This violation goes far beyond mere criticism of Israeli policy, but rather demonstrates an objection to the actual existence of Israel.
PMW director Itamar Marcus, who edited the report, writes: "In speeches at the United Nations and in official statements, the terms 'the Zionist Entity', 'the Zionist Enemy' or 'the Tel Aviv Government' were used as a substitute for mentioning Israel by name.
"Today these terms are all in use in the Palestinian media, along with the name Israel that appears often in quotation marks 'Israel'. For instance: '...with the passage of 50 years since the creation in Palestine of the land plundering entity. (AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDA, 7.30.98)'
"In addition, the Palestinian Authority defines the cities of Israel as Palestinian cities. For example: '...In every place in Palestine: Tiberias, Ramla, Sebastia, Nablus, Lod, Jaffa and Beit Guvrin. (AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDA, 7.6.98)'".
Palestinian Media Watch - Itamar Marcus, Director 59 King George St. Jerusalem 972-2-6254140
Included in this report are representative samples from the Palestinian media: "Al-Hayat al-Jadida" (Palestinian Authority Daily), "Al-Kuds"(the newspaper most widely read within the PA zones), and the Palestinian Television. The original Arabic sources and other samples can be obtained through our office.
INTRODUCTION: Repeated messages of non-recognition of the State of Israel are transmitted in the Palestinian media. These messages are not brought as criticism of policy, but rather as objection to the actual existence of the State. The messages are divided into 3 categories: complete rejection of the establishment of the State, non-reconciliation with the Israeli authorities even within the borders of 1948, and anticipation of the elimination of the State of Israel.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL: The establishment of the State of Israel is depicted as "the establishment of a foreign entity" in Palestine (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.21.98), as a "crime", as "theft", and as a "conquering". The year of 1948 is defined as a year of "the disaster" and 1967 is defined as "the return of the illness" or as "the completion of the conquering" (Ya'kub Karish, Member of the Legislative Committee, Palestinian Television, 7.3.98). In this vein, the office in Arafat's bureau, which deals with the contact with Israeli Arabs, is called: "The Committee for Contact with the Inhabitants of Conquered Palestine" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.30.98).
PRESENT SITUATION: The cities of Israel within the Green Line are called "colonies" and "settlements" terms that indicate rejection of recognition. Other cities of Israel are referred to as "The conquered Palestinian cities". The State of Israel is called by names that express non-recognition such as: "the Zionist Entity", "the Zionist Enemy", "the Tel Aviv Government", "the conquering", and "Israel" in quotations.
Statements such as: "… and we remind Netanyahu and the whole world that Jaffa and Haifa are ours." from the Palestinian Authorities Summer Camp Commander, are routine statements broadcast on Palestinian television. (Palestinian Television, 8.12.98).
VISUAL SYMBOLS: Visual symbols are an important element in the expression of non-recognition of Israel, the most prominent one of them being the "Map of Palestine" which includes all territories of the State of Israel. The map is shown on Palestinian television several time a day - at the beginning and end of the news broadcast, as well as in the offices of the Palestinian Authority, the schools, cultural programs, etc.
THE ANTICIPATION: The result of this non-recognition of the State of Israel is the anticipation of its "elimination" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida 7.2.98), the realisation of which is postponed temporarily due to Israel's strength.(See Part 3).
"What is happening since the occupation, the completion of the occupation of the Palestinian lands in 1967 ..." (Ya'kub Karish, Member of the Legislative Committee, Ministers Committee for Jerusalem Affairs, Palestinian Television, 7.3.98)
"A symbolic tent is set up and on it are written the names of most of the Palestinian refugee camps around the tent are paper signs with the names of the villages and cities of Palestine destroyed by the occupation in 1948 for example: Acre, Jaffa, Ramle, Kfar Sava and others. In front of the tent, little boys and girls below the age of 6 sing: for Palestine and for their right of return to the cities and village of their fathers and grandfathers that were expelled from their lands by theft and oppression, under the artillery of the "Hagana", and the ugliness of the massacres that the conquerors carried out against our people." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida,8.31.98)
"President of the State of Palestine, The Lod charity fund of the Ram'Allah Region is honoured to invite you to join the memorial assembly 50 years of occupation of the city of Lod. Monday 13/7/98 at 5:30 in Draan Hall - Um Alshrayt." (Notice in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and Al-Kuds 7.11.98)
Announcer: "Where are you from?" Participant: "From Beer Sheva." Announcer: "Beer Sheva is one of the Palestinian cities currently occupied." (TV clip about the summer camps, Palestinian Television, 7.11.98)
"In the Palestinian nation, whose destiny was to be the main victim of the Zionist Colonialist Project." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.9.98)
"Do you know what happened in 1948? They took everything. This is still my land. The name of my land is Palestine." (From of TV clip for children aired daily on Palestinian Television)
"The enemy entity [Israel] stands on a long series of lies and deception. The establishment of a state after a period of exile of close to 4,000 years is another lie rejected in the historical facts." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida,7.30.98)
"These words also touched upon the crime of the era which was committed against our people in 1948 by the Zionist movement and its supporters." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 8.25.98)
A. Lack of mention of Israel by name ("The Entity", "The Enemy" etc.)
Rejection of the existence of Israel is also transmitted by the use of terminology, which expresses non-recognition. In the past, Arab states avoided mentioning Israel's name as an expression of their non-recognition.
In speeches at the United Nations and in official statements, the terms "the Zionist Entity", "the Zionist Enemy" or "the Tel Aviv Government" were used as a substitute for mentioning Israel by name. Today these terms are all in use in the Palestinian media, along with the name Israel that appears often in quotation marks - "Israel".
"...with the passage of 50 years since the creation in Palestine of the land plundering entity." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.30.98)
"...After the establishment of the Israeli entity in the year 1948."(Al-Hayat al-Jadida 7.18.98)
"The role of the Palestinian youth who observe the preparations of the Zionist Enemy. Indeed the relations with the natural other are not the same as the relations with the Zionist Enemy other. The submission to the constraints of this confused reality are beneficial to the Zionist Enemy." (The position statement of Fatah, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.2.98).
"Netanyahu is the first enemy of peace. Since this extremist rose to power in the Zionist Entity …" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida,7.12.98)
"The rulers of Tel Aviv are still planning to make Jerusalem more Jewish." (The Secretary of the Fatah Superior Committee, Marwan Albaouthi, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 8.9.98).
"Ahmad Kareeya, Head of the Legislative Committee, said that the Palestinian side is not bound to the agreements, which were signed with Tel Aviv if Netanyahu continues this haughty and stubborn policy." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 6.23.98)
"The crimes, acts of aggression, and organised terror of the Hebrew State carried out daily on the part of the settlers and the abominable Nazi conquerors that work within a framework of a Zionist plan." (a notice signed by "the National Committee - State of Palestine)
"Since the establishment of 'Israel' in the heart of the Arab homeland and until now." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida,7.30.98)
All of the cities quoted in this section from the PA press are Israeli cities.
"The Sons of Jaffa Charity Association in Nablus is organising the convention 'Jaffa Bride of the Sea' under the auspices of the President Yasser Arafat (Al-Kuds, 7.9.98) Invites its distinguished customers to spend the best of their moments in the most beautiful cities of Palestine: Jerusalem - Beit She'an - Banias - Tiberias - Jerusalem." (Notice: Al-Kuds, July 28, 1998)
"In every place in Palestine, Tiberias, Ramla, Sebastia, Nablus, Lod, Jaffa and Beit Guvrin." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.6.98)
"… its remnants still exist nearby the Palestinian city of Safed…" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.18.98)
"A number of Samaritans, up to six hundred people, some of whom are living on Mount Gerizim in Nablus and some in the city of Holon near Jaffa, on the Palestinian shore." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.11.98)
"We mention [to] Netanyahu and to the whole world that Jaffa and Haifa are ours." (PA summer camp Commander, Palestinian Television, 8.12.98)
"The village [near Haifa] was built on a hill of stone and sand on the Palestinian shore." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.18.98)
One of the glaring expressions of non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty is the calling of Israeli cities and towns, even within the borders of 1948, "settlements" and "colonies". The following listing is indicative of this message.
"The Israeli colonies - Ramat Hashofet and Ein Ha'emek were established in 1941 and 1944." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 6.29.98)
"Ben Gurion, when he was Prime Minister, visited in the Jewish settlement in the Negev called Sde Boker" (Al-Kuds, 7.8.98)
"The colony Ein Ayala was established in 1949. The colony Ofer was established in 1950." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.11.98)
"On the lands of the village 5 Jewish colonies were established: Agur, Tsafririm, Li-on, Giv Yeshayahu and Tirosh." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 8.9.98)
"When the settlers living in the neighbourhood of East Acre were seen." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.14.98)
Many statements attest to the anticipation, and the confidence in the elimination of the State of Israel. Many times Israel is compared to the Crusaders - who despite the length of their rule were conquered and eliminated. There are many mentions of Saladin, who expelled the Crusaders, as a symbol of a future military leader who will expel Israel.
"Sheik Patah Allah Alslouwady spoke about the role of the Muslim court until the elimination of the Jewish State. In a political convention that was organised by the Consecration Office in the presence of the President [Arafat] …" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.2.98)
Ramadan Albata, Vice Governor of Jenin: "We understand that the agreement is the beginning of building the dream and the state and the end of the existing Zionist project." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 8.3.98)
Altiv Abed Elrahim, General Secretary of the Presidency at the Palestinian Authority: "And we say explicitly without any doubt that we are going on the path, and that what was taken we must return in entirety, part after part, and that our possibilities are open both by means of negotiation and also by means of resistance and we all believe that this homeland is ours and that of the following generations, and be it a long or short time, the conquerors will leave by force or by will." (Al-Kuds, 7.24.98)
"The existence of this entity [Israel] and its continuation are both big lies, which will, by necessity, be swept away by justice and right." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 15 6.30.98).
"We will not be expelled, we will return, return, return to Jerusalem, to Haifa, to Acre, to all the areas - to all our lands." (Children's summer camp parade, Palestinian Television, 7.27.98)
"The Crusaders lived in our land 242 years until the liberation of their last stronghold, and Israel is like a tree that grew on land that is not its own, the more it is fertilised, the less it will take roots, and when they stop fertilising it, it will wilt and die." (Abdalla al-Hourani, Advisor to Arafat and Minister of Refugees Affairs, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.15.98)
" Saladin calls me from the depths and all my Arabness calls me to the liberation." (Girl in summer camp, Palestinian Television, 8.4.98)
The report says that three elements are prominent in these messages: a total rejection of the creation of the state, a rejection of the Israeli government even within the 1948 borders, and an expectation that the state of Israel will eventually be liquidated.
In the broadcasts, Israeli cities are referred to as "colonies," "settlements," or "cities of occupied Palestine." The state itself is referred to as "the Zionist entity," "the Tel Aviv government," "the occupation," and "'Israel'".
Question by Al-Hayat al-Jadida reporter: "What shall we say to he who
still holds the keys to his house in Safed, Acre, Jaffa and Haifa?"
Arafat's advisor Abdallah Al-Hourani: "I say to his that he should bequeath them to his sons or grandchildren because our day of return will come - either us, our sons or grandchildren."
Summer camp commander: "Palestine and all its cities and villages is our property and we are hers." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.12.98)
A member of the Legislative Council and Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Refugee's Rights, Husam Hadar: "...our dream, which is expressed temporarily in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and then the continuation of the political plan. Presently, we cannot realize the plan of the right of return to return to Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Safed in ten or fifty years. Under the present balance of power no one can speak about returning to the destroyed villages in Askelon or Jaffa, for example. The right of return stays with us and when the balance of power changes we will be able to return." (Palestinian Television, 7.17.98)
PMW director Itamar Marcus, who edited the report, writes:
In speeches at the United Nations and in official statements, the terms "the Zionist Entity", "the Zionist Enemy" or "the Tel Aviv Government" were used as a substitute for mentioning Israel by name. Today these terms are all in use in the Palestinian media, along with the name Israel that appears often in quotation marks - "Israel". For instance: "...with the passage of 50 years since the creation in Palestine of the land plundering entity .(Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.30.98)" In addition, the Palestinian Authority defines the cities of Israel as Palestinian cities. For example: "...In every place in Palestine: Tiberias, Ramla, Sebastia, Nablus, Lod, Jaffa and Beit Guvrin.(Al-Hayat al-Jadida, 7.6.98)"