Palestinian Authority police actively involved in terrorism, says head of media watchdog

February 7, 2024

In PEACE TALK,  journalists Jonathan Sacerdoti and Moataz Khalil interviewed Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, who was in London last week for a briefing for parliamentarians hosted by Lord Bow, Chairman of UK-Israel Future Projects, organized together with Europe Israel Press Association. 

Itamar Marcus:

Palestinian Media Watch was founded in 1996, A few years after the signing of the Oslo Accords. We wanted to know what was happening in the Palestinian world amongst themselves. We started reading their newspapers, we studied, immediately, their schoolbooks. We started following their television, especially children’s programmes. We wanted to know what the messages were, the internal messages, we knew they were telling the international community in English that they wanted that peace with Israel, we wanted to see the Arabic language message as well.

And what we found is that there were two different worlds. To their own people, Israel  had no right to exist. The Jews were the enemies of Allah, destined for destruction. This was consistent and children were being taught that the goal in life is to be a martyr. And this was right from the beginning. We saw this literally in kindergarten, like programming on Palestinian TV. This has been so successful that all of these years, I mean, we have followed as this evolved and followed up. I mean, the last year alone I can’t tell you how many young kids how many children under 17, who were on terrorist attacks, many of them writing farewell letters, where we understood by the letters that their goal was not even to kill, but their goal was to be killed. There was a video that Fatah put on their Facebook page two years ago, which I think summarised the tragedy of Fatah and PA education to children. It showed a poem recite by a young girl who described how a little boy’s mother gave a rifle to a young boy as a present. And then the boy says why are you giving me a rifle and the mother says because you’re not destined for happiness, you’re destined for martyrdom. Our weapon is Islam and you my son, and you my child are the ammunition. And this Fatah put on their Facebook page, and this girl is with all this passion, and then we saw this year the results. We have children writing letters. A 14 year old boy wrote a letter he said, parents when you get this letter don’t cry over me, be joyous over my blood, make sounds of joy, my mother, my father don’t cry, I asked for martyrdom and Allah granted it to me. What was incredible this 14 year old boy who wrote this letter, when his funeral was shown on TV, on official Palestinian Authority TV, as you saw him being carried to the streets in the open coffin, there was no coffin, you see his face there on the stretcher, the Palestinian Authority played a song, and the song had the words “oh Mother, give me roses. This is the most beautiful time”. A 14 year old’s death. So this was the education we at Palestinain Media Watch had been warning about for years. And the result is that this year, we had dozens and dozens and dozens of teenage kids going out to join terror attacks with the goal of being the next one to be the great, honored martyr because they’re so convinced that this is a wonderful thing to do.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

And this isn’t in Gaza? This is the West Bank?

Itamar Marcus

This is in the West Bank. I’m describing the West Bank. Everything I said to you is in the West Bank. As far as I see following Palestinian Authority education over the years, it was it was these messages by the Palestinian Authority that created Hamas. Children were brought up on these messages all these years. When they reach 16, 17, 18, Hamas is doing it: “The PA is talking about it. The PA is teaching it. This is what I’ve learned, of course I’m going to join Hamas and go out and do a terror attack.”

Itamar Marcus

What we see from the new report that we’ve just released is that it’s not just Hamad that has been involved in terror. It’s not only Fatah that’s been involved in torror. It’s the Palestinian Authority police that have been actively involved in terror. The lead item that we put in our report was just from two weeks ago, January 17, five terrorists who are on the way to a terror attack, were killed by Israel. The lead one Abu Jallal[?], I think was his name, the al-Aqsa martyrs’ brigade published a poster with the five pictures and they put next to his name, “Captain in the Palestinian Authority security services intelligence”. And then they also put “commander in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade” . And then Israel announced right after he was killed, that he was one of the leaders of organising terror in all of the West Bank. So you’ve got a captain in the Palestinian Authority police. Now, in addition to that example, in our report, we documented a poster that Fatah published where they called it the heroes, the heroes of the Palestinian… the the martyrs of the Palestinian Authority police. And we checked out the names of every single one, and 23 of them were terrorists,

Moataz Khalil

Some say that you criticise Fatah and attack Fatah always. Do you see this as a Fatah problem only? Because it’s not only Fatah, it is also in Hamas and also in Jihad.

Itamar Marcus

Absolutely, what you’re saying is that the problem is connected to their interpretation of Islam. And let me just explain how clear that is. Two weeks after October 7, when it became time for the Friday service, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Religion, on Thursday, always publishes talking points. And two weeks after October 7, they told Palestinians that in all the mosques it should be taught the Hadith, the hour of resurrection won’t come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. But so significantly, Jews will hide behind rocks and trees and Muslims are going to kill the Jews hiding behind rocks  and trees. And that’s what happened two weeks before, they were either hiding behind rocks and trees and they were killed. And that’s what this hadith said.

Moataz Khalil

They taught me this in kindergarten when I was a child in Egypt.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

This brings me back something that I’ve said for ages, which is when people say things we need to believe them. And they so so for many years, if I’ve read people that – I’m not a Quranic scholar – but I’ve read people that very phrase because we’re all familiar with it, because it’s about killing us. And they will say ah, it’s rhetoric, it’s extreme, but as you said, they just did it.

Itamar Marcus

They did it, and what the PA was telling them is ‘what happened on October 7, don’t think it was just Palestinian nationalism. It was fulfillment of Islam’. That was why they published this two weeks later. They were telling them don’t think of that as nationalism, that is Islam.

Moataz Khalil

By the way Jabil Rajoub says that in his interview with Palestinian TV. He says that it’s a victory for us, not just for Hamas.

Itamar Marcus

Jabril Rajoub said many things about this, Jabil Rajoub the top Palestinian leader, said it was an epic event. It was heroic. This is Jabil Rajoub, who is a top Palestinian leader.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

I think that what’s happened during this war in the wider world, especially in the media and in in Western politics is a sudden realisation that maybe they’ve been wrong. And maybe the things they thought were extreme on the Israeli side are not extreme. And it’s a very slow realisation, probably too slow. So we’re discussing now a lot whether UNRWA is part of the problem. Of course people like you have known it’s part of the problem for a long time. Are we yet at the stage where they’re going to listen to your message that the Palestinian Authority and that Fattah a part of the problem?

Itamar Marcus

Well, the first thing I’m so pleased about is that the Israeli government seems to have accepted that message. For the first time they’ve said loud and clear that they’re not going to allow the Gaza Strip to be run by the by the Palestinian Authority. Like I said, the Palestinian authority inadvertently created the power of Hamas. If you put them back in we’ll have another Hamas in 10 years because of the education, the messages, it’s the worldview. It’s the worldview of seeing Jews as people who can be killed. Let me just give you an example that’s significant for Britain. Last year in April, three British citizens were killed in Israel in a drive by shooting. Lucy Dee and her two children, Mia and Rena. A month later the Israeli army tracked down the terrorists who did it, the two terrorists and an accomplice, and three of them were killed. That they that they were killed, Mohammad Shtayyeh put on his Facebook page the pictures of three of the terrorists and what did he but on top of it? “Honour and glory to our heroic, our eternal martyrs”. Honor. This is what the Prime Minister says about a murder, the Palestinian Authority Prime Ministers, says about the murder of three British citizens.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

Never mind Jews, at least the Brits can care that they will Brits.

Itamar Marcus

And women! Abbas is no better. Abbas is no better. Earlier last year, two terrorists, Kareem Yunus and his cousin, they had together murdered an Israeli 40 years ago. And they were released from prison early because of a deal. They were supposed to have life sentences. Shimon Peres made it 40 years. They got released from prison. The day they were released from prison, who calls them up? Mahmud Abbas called them up, makes sure that it’s filmed. And then they put it on the Facebook page, where he says to them, “you are the heroes of the Palestinian people. You are the icons of the Palestinian people. You are the models for the palsies.” So you’ve got Mahmoud Abbas saying that two murders are icons and models for Palestinians. You’ve got Mohammad Shtayyeh saying that the murders of three British women are heroes and are martyrs. By the way way, when you say that they’re Shaheeds, this is critical when you talk about Islam, you’re saying that Allah is putting his stamp of approval on that murder. That’s what it says. Because you cannot be a Shaheed, it’s not a secular concept of martyrdom. It’s a religious concept. It means you died for Allah. It means that what you did, Allah has chosen as something positive. The fact that the Palestinian Authority has called every single suicide bomber since the year 2000, and every person who was killed in a terror attack against Israel, Shaheeds, means they are saying that Allah puts his stamp of approval on every single killing of every single Israeli. And that’s what has to be understood. You cannot claim that the PA is moderate when they’re telling the people that Allah wants all these Jews killed.

Moataz Khalil

I think that you are one of the few in the world telling people to take care of antisemitism. Yo attack even antisemitism in the USA and Europe. I read some tweets of yours about the antisemitism in some countries. So as a father, and as a professor, how do you see the antisemitism here? For example, in London, on Saturdays, it has become Londonistan.

Itamar Marcus

I think what we’re seeing is the most successful export of the Palestinian Authority is antisemitism. Because the antisemites going through the streets of Britain on the streets of New York and the streets of Europe, they’re all copying the words of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority has said Israel is a colonialist implant with no right to exist. And they’re saying those same words. Literally, it’s the same words that we have been warning about for years, has been adopted as the narrative and it’s not just in the streets, it’s tragically been adopted in academia, as well, around the world, and that’s why it’s so worrisome, because we’re not talking about fringe. We’re talking about people who are mainstream. We’re talking about people who have positions of power and influence. We saw it through the three heads of universities who were in the United States who aren’t willing to say that calling for genocide of Jews is hate speech.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

So how was that become the most successful export? How on earth have we got to that position?

Itamar Marcus

It’s it’s because the Palestinians have successfully presented themselves as as victims of Israel’s existence. And the Internet. We would go around to the world, come to the British Parliament, American Congress, and say listen, they’re telling people that Israel has no right to exist. Oh, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, it’ll go away. As long as you have peace. But it doesn’t go away. One of the Palestinians who we work with, and there are Palestinians who we work with, I was meeting with members of European Parliament in, in Israel. And I made my presentation and he spoke about his life and how he grew up hating Israelis, fearing Israelis, because he was convinced every Israeli wanted to kill him. And then an Israeli approach him. And then finally he had his wow moment, and he said, Oh, my God, he realised that the Israelis who he was meeting cared more about him than the Palestinian Authority, which had poisoned him into thinking… So one of the members of parliament asked him, well maybe it’ll get better with the Palestinian Authority if you have a state. And his answer to them was, no, no, please don’t do that to us. Don’t make these leaders, son’t give them a state because I could never live in that state. I can never live in that state. I’d have to leave. We need something else completely. What do we need? They said, we need something connected to Israel, because they’re the ones who care about us. This is a Palestinian, still now a resident at a refugee camp.

Moataz Khalil

I read some of you articles and you did some amazing work. Every word you write, you have a picture, every word you write you have a tweet. Are you afriad of the Palestinians?

Itamar Marcus

Jibril Rajoub on TV, we exposed a lot of his terror. We put in a complaint a FIFA and FIFA suspended him for a year because of us. And he went on TV. And he had to explain why. So he said, I’m telling you that this organisation, Palestinian Media Watch, they chased me everywhere I go. And we were, we were putting in complaints. We tried to keep them out of Britain, we sens complaints in. And we did it with MPs, we were working then with Joan Ryan, she gave in a complaint to the government for them to not allow him into the country. We did it and everywhere he was trying to go. And then finally FIFA kicked them out for a year. So he said, there’s this organisation, Palestinian Media Watch, they chase me everywhere, and their director is Goebbels of the 21st century.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

When it comes to the UNRWA debate, I think that everyone knew it already in the West, they just pretended not to. And now Israel’s forced their hand. Isn’t it the case also with the Palestinian Authority that everybody knows what you’re saying is true, partly because of your fine work. So why is it that, for example, I keep hearing this phrase, that Gaza must be ruled by a “rejuvenated Palestinian Authority”. It sounds like they can go for a spa day, and suddenly they’re going to be suitable and not advocating terrorism. Why are they in denial?

Itamar Marcus

First of all, one of the the tragic things about this “rejuvenated PA”, I’ve read that they need a new prime minister, a new minister of finance a new structure and more transparency. And I’m saying, you’re missing the whole point, they have to stop paying salaries to terrorists stop rewarding terrorists. In other words, it’s not just structure, its the essence that’s the problem. And the Western leaders who are talking about a new structure don’t understand what they’re talking about.

Jonathan Sacerdoti

Why isn’t your voice for example, on the BBC, why aren’t we hearing it more?,

Itamar Marcus:

I’ve been on the BBC years ago, I mean, the truth is, I would be very happy. And I should probably make more of an effort to get onto the BBC more often now. Because, again, and the Western channels. I’ve been interviewed, since the war started, between one and five times a day, sometimes on different channels around the world. So there is tremendous interest right now. And because like you said, people are realising that what we’ve been saying is really, really happening. You know, this is tragic events for everyone. It was tragic for Israel and tragic for the Palestinians in Gaza. I’m hoping that out of this tragedy, maybe, maybe something positive can be built. If Gaza has Israeli security control, they rebuild it without one refugee camp, put everybody in a home and say you are free from being a prisoner of refugees, you are a free person now, build better jobs, build them housing, and have the Abraham Accord  countries together with UK, US, EU create the entire social educational framework for the first 10 years, maybe that can be a model for even for the West Bank. Because if everything was flattened, we are starting from scratch, and when you start from scratch, you can do it right. If you do it as I described.

https://ejpress.org/palestinian-authority-police-actively-involved-in-terrorism-says-head-of-media-watchdog/

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