In the aftermath of the bombs that blew up in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehudah open air market today in Jerusalem, our news agency, which covers the peace process and the fledgling Palestine Authority, listened intently to the official Palestine Authority radio news network in the four hours that followed the blasts. PBC radio news, the official voice of the Palestine Authority, which operates out of Yassir Arafat’s office in Gaza, reported the news of the bombs…as a “military operation”, even though the bombs had killed or wounded one hundred and fifty shoppers and shopkeepers – Jews and Arabs, old and young alike, in the one place that you are bound to find every kind of person in Jerusalem.

On each newscast that followed the attack, PBC radio repeated the theme – an “operation” has been carried out, not a terror attack. And Arafat, who had been quoted widely on the Israeli and foreign newsreels that he had condemned the attack, would not allow himself to be quoted in Arabic as condemning the “operation”. Meeting the Arab media in Jericho, as he descended from his helicopter, Arafat was tightlipped, saying nothing to his people that would discourage anything but praise for the attack. Meanwhile, PBC played victory music, military marches, and joyous music. And then PBC TV came on the air, televising a play which showed Arabs shooting at Israelis. No subliminal message there.

Our agency has monitored the Arabic language PBC radio and TV for since their inception at the genesis of the Oslo peace process four years ago.

The PBC, funded under grants from the US AID foreign assistance program, has conveyed a consistent message: The war with Israel must proceed, and all means to that end remain justified. At one point, in September 1995, I was asked to bring PBC videos of Arafat’s televised speeches for a special showing at the US House International Relations Committee. Congresspeople were surprised to learn that Arafat had yet to make a single statement in Arabic at any time that called for peace with Israel and that clearly condemned terror attacks.

Last November, I had the opportunity to have a personal session with Yassir Arafat in Bethlehem. Arafat was in in a pleasant mood, as he spoke of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Arafat went out of his way during our talk to attack those who would conduct terror activity, calling them enemies of peace. Yet one month before meeting Arafat, our Palestinian TV crew had filmed Arafat at a Bethlehem area Arab refugee camp, when he called for “Jihad” – holy war – and the continuation of the armed struggle against Israel. So I asked Arafat when he would repeat the calls for peace in Arabic to his own people that he so eloquently says in English. Arafat responded by saying that he “always” speaks of peace in Arabic. Many Israelis are waiting for such proclamations of peace in Arabic from the lips of Arafat, let alone condemnation of terror bombs in a crowded marketplace.

Especially today.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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