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Wednesday, June 2, 2004
PMW: PA engineers civilian casualties

Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin
June 2, 2004
PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH
phone: 972- 2- 625-4140 fax: 972-2- 624-2803
visit our website, click here: http://www.pmw.org.il
for further information, contact PMW Director, Itamar Marcus
material may be quoted, citing PMW as the source
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Introduction
The following OpEd in today's Jerusalem Post documents the way in which the
Palestinian Authority (PA) systematically encourages its civilians to put
themselves on the front lines in military zones for its own political
purposes.

Jerusalem Post Op-Ed, June 2, 2004:
Engineering civilian casualties
Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook

It could have been an invitation to a social event, calling for "all
citizens - women, children and the elderly" to participate. But the venue
was anything but hospitable. The event was dangerous and the consequences
deadly.

Two days before four Palestinian civilians were killed and others injured
during the recent fighting in Rafah, the Palestinian Authority called on
women, children and the elderly to stand in front of the IDF bulldozers
that were searching for weapons tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.

The area was infested with terrorists, and was the location of heavy
fighting between the IDF and armed Palestinians. Instead of urging
civilians to stay out of harm's way, the PA intentionally sent them to the
front lines of an active war zone.

In the words of the official Palestinian Authority daily, the call was to
create "an impassable barrier for the occupation bulldozers" and to
"prevent their progress to the Rafah neighborhoods." The principal of a
school in Rafah "called for all the citizens, women, children and elderly
to participate" according to the May 17, Al Ayyam newspaper.

The call was answered. Thousands of civilians marched into the heart of
the battle zone. Tragically, this is not the first time the PA has urged
civilians into combat zones. It is part of a consistent and disturbing
pattern. Since the outbreak of violence in October 2000, the PA has been
pushing civilians, especially children, to leave the safety of their homes
and join the fighting.

Children have been enticed into battle through manipulative music videos,
broadcast for hours every day on official PA television, depicting
youngsters in combat as heroes.

One such video, broadcast repeatedly by the PA, shows young boys and
girls in army uniform taking part in a frenzied war dance, along with other
scenes of children participating in the violence at the battlefront. The
song accompanying the visuals is a musical call to arms for the children:

"Oh, young ones: Shake the earth, raise the stones.

"You will not be saved, O Zionist, From the volcano of my county's stones.

"You are the target of my eyes, I will even willingly fall as a shahid
[martyr for Allah].
"Allahu akbar! Oh, young ones!"

Children are directed by Palestinian television to go to the front and
"willingly fall" as martyrs. In this glorification of war for children,
even a toddler who can barely sit up is filmed breaking stones for the
older children.

ANOTHER VIDEO, aired repeatedly from 2000 through 2002, instructs very
young children to attack soldiers with stones and tells them about their
supposed strength and invincibility.

"Don't be afraid," a 10-year-old sings to a five-year-old. "The stone in
their hand turns into a rifle."

Every adult knows that stones can't be a match for rifles. But the
Palestinian leadership mesmerizes its children through music and dance,
while inculcating the fanciful notion that "the stone in their hand turns
into a rifle," and that they should therefore be out fighting IDF rifles
with their stones.

As they have done repeatedly in the past, the United Nations and world
media have rushed to condemn Israel for the deaths of civilians during
Operation Rainbow. But very few observers have looked beyond these
lamentable deaths to ask the crucial questions: Why are PA leaders sending
civilians, especially children, to the front lines and encouraging them to
seek death?

What kind of political leaders send their five-year-olds, their "women,
children and elderly," to the front lines of a war zone?

Yasser Arafat supplied the answer on Palestinian television several years
back. Asked what message he would like to send to Palestinian children,
Arafat answered: "This child, who is grasping the stone, facing the tank,
is it not the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a
shahid? We are proud of them" (PATV January 15, 2002).

The PA chairman's explanation that dead children are the greatest message
to the world finally puts PA policy into perspective. Palestinian leaders
know that civilian corpses make powerful images and increase global
anti-Israel sentiments. Dead Palestinian children make the Palestinians
look like victims and create a smoke screen for the PA's terrorism war
against Israeli civilians.

Photos of dead Palestinian children are manipulated to balance photos of
dead Israeli civilians killed in pizza shops and on buses, murdered by
Palestinian terrorists.

Simply put, dead Palestinian children create the illusion of moral
symmetry. The saddest part of this twisted value system is how well it is
succeeding. Palestinian civilians continue to flock to the front lines.
And, tragically, the media have fallen for the Arafat trap, enabling the PA
to continue its terror war while the world laments the "cycle of violence."

Arafat's propaganda campaign, built on the corpses of these civilian
pawns, continues to fool even the best-intentioned observers who focus only
on who inadvertently hit the wrong target, not on who deliberately put the
target there in the first place.

Marcus is founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. Crook is PMW's
North American representative.

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