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Friday, April 29, 2005


By Michael Widlanski Friday, 29 April, 2005

The official Palestinian news service charged Thursday that Israel
deliberately killed "an aged woman" with an American-made "radiation"
machine designed to detect bombs and guns.

The item re-appeared today on the front page of Al-Hayat-Al-Jadeeda, a
Palestinian newspaper controlled directly by Mahmoud Abbas's FATAH faction
of the PLO. [See http://www.alhayat-j.com/details.php?opt=2&id=2995&cid=59.]

It was only the latest example of the atrocity story motif, that has
included phony reports of deliberate Israeli murders of Palestinian
children, which has come to typify Palestinian incitement against Israel and
America under the new regime of Dr. Abbas who succeeded Yasser Arafat as
the Palestinian leader.

"An aged woman died late on Wednesday at the Rafah crossing after being
subjected to the Israeli radioactive detection device installed at the Rafah
crossing to screen Palestinian travelers," asserted the official WAFA news
agency controlled by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"Medics at Rafah said that the 55-year-old Fatema Abu Ubeid, of Rafah, died
15 minutes after she was subjected to the radial spy machine [sic] (axtrai)
[sic], which Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) set up for searching the
Palestinian passengers passing through the point," declared the WAFA
bulletin on its English language website. [See

The report also appeared earlier in WAFA's Arabic language site (used by
Palestinian newspapers, radio and television), and it continued to be
displayed on the site today (Friday, April 29, 2005). [See

The strong charges are part of a consistent campaign this week by the
Palestinian media against the use of advanced radio-wave machines at border
checkpoints, following the Palestinian closure of their side of the border
checkpoint in Gaza this week for several hours to protest.

"The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) decided on Tuesday to close
Rafah cross point in a protest against Israeli use of a radiation device
for searching the Palestinian travelers," declared the Palestinian newspaper
Al-Quds in a front page story Wednesday (April 27), echoing the WAFA report
in Arabic.

[See http://pdf.alquds.com/2005/4/27/page1.pdf .]

The device in question, according to Israeli security officials, is
actually the SafeView Millimeter Wave Radar - an American made "advanced
portal using millimeter wave holographic technology to screen passengers for
weapons and explosives."

In addition to pressuring Israel to stop using the advanced
non-radiation detection machine, the Palestinian charges fit the new,
somewhat more sophisticated pattern of propaganda used in the last four
months under the regime of Dr. Abbas.

Unlike the propaganda of the Arafat period, the official Palestinian
media-particularly the official television from Gaza-have largely stopped
directly encouraging young boys to become "martyrs" through the airing of
sexually suggestive or gory film montages and heated music videos and audio

But under Dr. Abbas, the Palestinian media have actually stepped up the
use of incendiary mosque speeches broadcast on Palestinian radio and
television-where both Israel and America are regularly attacked--as well as
increased use of code-words in Arabic such as "resistance operations" to
describe attacks on Israelis.

During the Arafat regime, Arafat himself, his wife and the Palestinian
media frequently accused Israel of using "radioactive weapons" against the
Palestinians such as "Uranium artillery shells" and "uranium bullets," as
well as "poison gas."

Suha Arafat, who inherited some of Arafat's hidden money, accused Israel
of deliberately poisoning Palestinian water supplies, and this theme, too,
has re-surfaced periodically--in Palestinian newspapers and Palestinian
radio--since Abbas succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman in December and as PA
chairman in January.

Dr. Abbas, who studied at the KGB-run Patrice Lumumba University in
Moscow in the 1980's, has been credited by both Western and Israeli media
with having tamed the incitement in the Palestinian press, but since his
election in January he has generally avoided condemning violence against
Israeli targets.

After several Palestinian rockets fell in Israel this week, Dr. Abbas
called the attacks a "deviation" from the "Palestinian consensus" and
"contrary to Palestinian interests," but he did not condemn the attack or
the attackers, despite reports to the contrary in the Western and Israeli

[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael
Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]
Dr. Michael Widlanski teaches political communication and comparative
politics at the Rothberg School of Hebrew University. His doctorate,
"Palestinian Broadcast Media In the Palestinian State-Building Process:
Patterns of Influence and Control," was based on eight years of research
involving more than 7,000 hours of monitoring Palestinian radio in Arabic as
well as television and newspaper surveys. Widlanski was the NYTimes campus
correspondent at Columbia University, 1974-1976, a reporter-researcher in
the NYTimes Jerusalem bureau, 1980-82, Middle East Correspondent for The Cox
Newspapers/Atlanta Constitution/Boston Globe, 1982-89.

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