Israeli television and radio reported Thursday morning that the Palestinian Authority had strongly condemned the terror attack on sidewalk mall in the Israeli city of Rishon Le-Tziyyon, killing two and wounding more than 40.
But in fact, the Palestinian Authority once again used a familiar combination of tactics to give the impression to the Western world that it had condemned the attack, while signaling a more mild form of disapproval to its citizens.
“The Leadership considers such actions harmful to the Palestinians and their cause, especially at a time when the Israelis are escalating their attacks and aggression, re-occupying our populated places and imposing curfews, isolating our cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, justifying their crimes with the alleged reason of fighting the terror that targets the Israeli civilians.”
That was the only part of the of the Palestinian “condemnation” of the Rishon terror attack that Voice of Palestine radio anchorman Khaled Al-Qassem read to his Palestinian radio audience.
“Six new martyrs in assassination by occupation forces,” declared anchorman Al-Qassem, describing all the Israeli actions as “jara’im”-crimes, in Arabic.
The attack in Rishon was not called a “crime” or “terror,” but only “harmful” during the radio report.
It was also not accidental that the news of the Rishon bombing, with the accompanying tepid rebuke about “harmful actions,” was offered as the seventh item in the morning news line-up.
The morning news was full of harsh Palestinian leadership condemnations, but they all concerned Israeli attacks on Palestinian terrorists and bomb factories in Nablus, which were described as “cowardly assassinations.”
“Israeli tanks assassinated three of the cadres of the Brigades of the martyrs of Al-Aqsa,” declared number-two announcer Muhammad Sanouri.
The Voice of Palestine coverage, which is determined by Yasser Arafat and his appointees, has previously used the tactic of reading only part of a “condemnation statement,” using only the most moderate language for internal Palestinian consumption.
The harsher text-in English, Arabic and Hebrew-sent abroad on the internet by the Palestinian news agency WAFA, is meant for Western and Israeli consumption.
“The Palestinian Leadership furiously condemned the operation in Rishon Letsiyon,” read the headline of the official statement as it appeared on the WAFA website.
The lead paragraph, which was also not read on radio, said, “The Palestinian Leadership strongly condemns the operation in the Israeli City of Rishon Letsiyon targeting Israeli civilians.”