Israel TV interview with Itamar Marcus (PMW-PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH) 07/13/03)
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The following is the transcript of the interview with PMW director
Itamar Marcus on Israel TV IBA news, Thursday evening, July 10, 2003:
Here to discuss the Palestinian media is Palestinian Media Watch
director Itamar Marcus...
This morning the PA ordered Palestinian media to stop incitement.
Just how serious is this order?
Palestinian society and the Palestinian media are completely
controlled. Now, if that statement was made just for public
consumption then it won´t have any effect, but if that statement was
made seriously and the Palestinian Authority is interested in
changing the media it could be changed overnight.
Do you believe the PA is really interested in changing the media?
This has yet to be proven. Over the last few weeks, since Aqaba and
since the “Road map” we have seen a change in the quantity of
incitement to hatred and violence on Palestinian television, but we
have not yet seen a change in the quality. That is, the message has
not yet changed, and this is what I think is most significant. Until
we get a change in the message, until they teach that Israel is
acceptable then we are not going anywhere. Let me give you one
example. On the very same day this week that the Israeli media and
international leaders were praising the Palestinians for erasing
graffiti from some of the walls in the Palestinian Authority, there
was the school graduation ceremony which was broadcast on PA
television. The high school students were singing and dancing, and I
want you to hear, I am going to read the words of the song that the
high school children, were dancing to:
“With words and with a rifle we will sing. From Jerusalem to Gaza,
Ramallah, Al Bira, Haifa, Jaffa, and Ramla. There is no alternative
even if they promise us the Garden of Eden. The sound of the
submachine gun is heard. We will live and die only that our homeland
should return to us. I am a Palestinian. My weapon is the stone and
Was this sung by the students?
This was played in the background at the school ceremony, parents
were there, education officials were there. And it was on
But was on a let´s say smaller, more individual level - a school
graduation, whatever. What about the media as a whole?
This was broadcast on Palestinian television.
And how do you stop that? I mean how can it be enforced? How can
the PA say ´´OK, we´ve ordered to stop incitement. This is how we are
going to enforce it”.
The way it must be enforced, is anyone who teaches Palestinian
children that in the future, that Haifa, Acco, and Jaffa are going to
be given to them through a submachine gun should be put in jail for
violating the anti-incitement laws that the Palestinians themselves
have passed. As long as the PA Ministry of Education encourages
children to continue seeing the future with Haifa and Acco as
Palestinian, through the sword, then lowering the number of minutes
of this material on television is not going to make a difference.
How do you project how the change is going to come about? Will it be
in schoolbooks? Will it be through generations? How do you see the
When there will be a sincere desire from the Palestinian leadership
to change the message to their people, the schoolbooks could be
rewritten overnight. It could put Israel on the map, in every single
map in the Palestinian schools, and they could teach their children
recognition. Right now there is an active teaching of non-
recognition. An active teaching of hatred. That could be stopped.
If there were a desire it could be stopped immediately.
Are all of those feasible solutions? Reprint schoolbooks, start
monitoring TV texts, monitoring radio broadcasts?
It is not only feasible it is absolutely necessary. Our goal here is
not to look for technical improvements of the Palestinians to give
them a good grade. Our goal is peace, and unless we insist and
demand peace education the "road map" or any future peace agreement
won´t bring peace.
Itamar Marcus thank you for the insight this evening.
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