From Sunday May 8 through Tuesday May 10, the Palestinian Authority (PA) media emphasized the “threat of an attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque” and the threat of “the polluting of the holy Jerusalem shrine” (Arabic: Al-Haram Al-Qudsi Al-Sharif) by Jewish extremists.
Palestinian media reports today (May 10) testify to the fact that the Jewish threat did not materialize but there were clashes between Arab demonstrators and Israeli police.
“The mobilization of citizens protects al-Aqsa, thwarting attempted attacks by Jewish groups” declared the newspaper Al-Ayyam, run by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party.
The same newspaper cross-leads on the other side of its front page with a photo of a demonstrator confronting an Israeli policeman mounted on a horse outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Palestinian television and radio reported Tuesday that 17 Arabs and six Israeli policeman were wounded in clashes at the Temple Mount. On the previous day, Monday May 9, Palestinian television from Gaza opened its broadcasts with continuous warnings that the Islamic shrines in Jerusalem were in danger of attack and pollution. Anchorman Muhammad Yassin (PBC 7 a.m.) reported the threat for nearly four minutes while PBC television aired canned footage of “Jewish extremists” from several weeks ago (including clashes with Israeli police while closing a highway in Tel Aviv), without informing viewers where the material was filmed and that the material was archival. The clear impression was that the film editors at PBC wanted to create the impression of imminent physical attacks in Jerusalem.
From Palestinian Newspapers and Broadcasting:
Tuesday afternoon May 10 (1 p.m.-2 p.m.) V.O.P. radio ran a series of interviews with Islamic personalities to highlight the threat to Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and to deny that there was a Jewish connection to “Holy Sanctuary,” the term commonly used in the Palestinian media to describe the Temple Mount area. The Islamic celebrities included Mufti Sheikh Ikrema Sabry and Sheikh Ibrahim Nimr Darwish, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (or as “the head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line” as V.O.P. continually identified him).
Several of the guests and the V.O.P. anchorman reiterated that there was never any Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
“Most of the research shows that there was no never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem,” declared Sheikh Darwish. (V.O.P. 1:52 p.m.)
Elsewhere in the program and during V.O.P. and PBC coverage, the Jewish temple in Jerusalem is constantly called “al-heikal al-maz’oum: “the alleged temple” or “the so-called temple.”
Jerusalem daily Al-Quds also featured the clashes near the Temple Mount at the top of its front page, showing a picture of tear gas exploding near demonstrators, 18 of whom were wounded according to the paper. A similar picture and coverage are featured in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda.
Meanwhile, Al-Quds reported also an 86-percent participation rate of registered Palestinian voters in last week’s local elections. On the bottom half of the page, the Jerusalem daily reported that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon had delayed the withdrawal from Gaza until August 15, while also headlining the comments by Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom that Israel would not withdraw if HAMAS won the Palestinian national elections in July. These comments were also reported on repeatedly on V.O.P. radio and PBC tv (May 10 various times).
In their cartoons, the Palestinian papers cover the Jerusalem issue and the issue of prisoners.
Al-Quds cartoon Tuesday May 10 shows handcuffed Palestinian woman demonstrator joining 400 Palstinian prisoners who, according to Palestinian Authority, were supposed to be released without condition by Israel according to agreements reached at the February summit in Sharm al-Sheikh.
[Al-Quds print and adobe edition, May 10, 2005
Al-Quds internet cartoon shows gigantic Israeli footprints stepping on Palestinian worshipper at Temple Mount. The caption reads: “Defense of Jerusalem.”
Palestinian Television: Morning broadcasts concentrated on the trip to South America of PA-PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Afternoon broadcasts mentioned the trip but then concentrated on the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugee rights. PLO Executive Committee Member Zakaria Agha was featured for five minutes stressing that the issue of the right of refugees “to return to their homes” was the heart of the Palestinian cause and that no peace was possible without fulfilling this requirement. (The PLO Executive is the 13-15-man body that is the highest governing institution in the PLO.)
“Dr. Zakaria Agha Member of the PLO Executive and the Chairman of the Department of Refugee Affairs asserted that the subject of the refugees and their right to return to their homes from which they were thrown out in 1948… is the heart of the Palestinian cause,” asserted the narrator.
Agha’s comments came during a Gaza press conference to mark the 57th anniversary of what the Palestinians call “Al-Nakba”: the Catastrophe, the founding of Israel and the beginning of the Palestinian refugee problem.
“This is a matter of prime importance to the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian leadership, and it is the heart of the Palestinian cause.”
Saying that he was sending a message on behalf of the entire Palestinian people, he stressed a literal interpretation of the right of return by Palestinians to their homes in 1948 as being consistent with UN resolutions.
“There can be no peace in this area and no peace agreement without the right of return,” he concluded. (PBC 3:18-3:23 p.m.)
Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]