I. Introduction

When four U.S. soldiers were killed by an Iraqi suicide bomber, the Palestinian Authority decided it was time to act. The PA renamed the center of the Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin after the killer of the American soldiers. The camp square is now called Ali Al Na’amani. The celebration was followed by rallies in which scores of Palestinian gunmen and officers fired into the air in a recreation of the Iraqi battle against the United States.

The Palestinian Authority and its media have been swept into the swirl of support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Palestinian newspapers, radio and television — all of them controlled and censored by the PA — have made Iraq the model of the Palestinian struggle. The PA has linked its fate to that of the rapidly-fading Saddam regime. Newspapers contain daily announcements of support by the PA.

Here’s the way the PA announced the dedication of the Jenin square to the memory of the Iraqi suicide bomber: “The officials, the institutions and the National Islamic Forces in the Jenin Refugee Camp decided to continue the blood donor campaign for Iraq and decided to name the center of the refugee camp ‘Ali Al Na’amani’ in memory of the martyr who was the first suicide bomber in Iraq.” [1]

The Palestinian media have helped turn the Iraqi-U.S. confrontation into a struggle for Islam. The media have portrayed the United States as seeking to destroy the religion of nearly 1 billion Muslims and uprooting their heritage. It is a theme that is stressed repeatedly by Muslim clerics financed by the PA and quoted by the Palestinian media.

Take Sheik Mohammed Abu Hunud. Abu Hunud seeks to cow Muslim leaders into supporting Saddam by saying they are sacrilegious and calls on Palestinians to join in a holy war against the United States.

“Allah, purify the Islamic soil from the treason and defilement by Britain and the United States. Allah, make their possessions a booty for the Muslims, Allah, annihilate them and their weapons, Allah, make their children orphans and their women widows.”

“To my brothers in Iraq, to the president of Iraq, to the Iraqi leadership, to the Iraqi people, the Iraqi clans, the glorious women of Iraq, we say: ‘Strike, my brother. Let them realize that Iraq’s soil is a land of fire and that they will drown in its waters.” [2]

PA radio, called the Voice of Palestine, provides a half-hour sermon of Islamic hatred against the United States for Palestinians throughout the region. These sermons are written and read by Sheik Yusef Abu Sneineh from the Al Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“Our enemies should be confronted by men having faith in God,” Abu Sneineh said. “History will record the defeatism of the Islamic leaders, who are sitting back with folded arms following up TV reports on the ugly massacres committed by the U.S. and British invasion forces. This is a disgrace. God, help our Muslim people in Iraq be victorious over the infidels. God, destroy the enemies of the Muslims, for they are within your power. God destroy them all.”

The support for Saddam in PA broadcasts and newspapers has laid the groundwork for massive rallies sponsored by agents of Saddam as well as such groups as PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — all of them beneficiaries of Saddam’s largesse. Tens of thousands of people — many of whom benefited from the $25,000 Saddam pays to each family of a Palestinian suicide bomber — have participated in pro-Saddam rallies in virtually every Arab-populated city in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At these rallies, T-shirts bearing Saddam’s picture are sold like hot cakes. Other popular items are dolls of Saddam and the Iraqi flag.

But nowhere is the support for Saddam as graphic as in the political cartoons in Palestinian dailies. Saddam and his regime are seen as both victors and victims, glorious knights and the pitifully defeated. The cartoons fill many pages of all of the Palestinian dailies.

Two of the three Palestinian dailies are directly owned by the PA. They are Al Ayyam, edited by Akram Haniyeh and Al Hayat Al Jedida, edited by Hafez Barghouti. The largest newspaper in the PA areas is Al Quds.

The cartoons are divided into six chapters, each of them representing another facet of Palestinian media treatment of the U.S. war against Iraq. The United States is portrayed as a world threat as well as a threat against Arabs and Islam. President Bush is seen as representing a nation of cowboys who think the rest of the world is the Wild West. Unnamed Arab leaders are seen as foolish, corrupt and bumbling. The cartoons see the fate of the Palestinians as linked to that of Iraq.

And finally, the Palestinian cartoons simply abandon all political rhetoric and portray Iraq as the great Arab knight who defends the Muslim nation against the blasphemous crusaders. The Palestinian newspapers utter the hope that Saddam will destroy the British and U.S. invaders in a move that will renew the Arab struggle against Israel.


  1. Al Quds, April 2, 2003
  2. March 28, Friday sermon broadcast on Palestinian television
  3. Voice of Palestine radio, March 28.

Section II: The Cartoons

Chapter 1: U.S. As World Threat

The Palestinian media seek to portray the United States as more than a threat to Iraq. Cartoons in the PA-controlled dailies argue that Washington is a threat to the world. The Bush administration bullies the United Nations, ignores Western public opinion against the war in Iraq and is prepared to kill anybody who doesn’t agree with the White House. Those who have tried to stop the United States have been decimated. The meek are simply trampled upon by President Bush and other U.S. leaders who see the world as ripe for their exploitation.

U.S. soldiers sits on a globe that calls ‘No to War.’
Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

U.S. squeezes out the oil from the Arab world
Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003.

U.S. doomsday plans for Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

Bush to his generals: After Saddam, we’ll get rid of the rest of our enemies.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 1, 2003

Bush and war rhetoric.
Almanar, March. 24, 2003

UN cracks in confrontation with U.S.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 21, 2003

The U.S. as grim reaper.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 22, 2003

Iraq remembers U.S. use of nuclear bombs against Japan in WWII.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 22, 2003

U.S. kicks ‘Arab respect’ as it executes Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 18, 2003

Chapter 2: U.S. As Threat to Arabs, Islam

The Palestinian media see a religious element in the Iraqi-U.S. confrontation. PA newspapers regard the United States as intent on destroying Islam. Iraq is simply the first and most powerful target of Washington. The PA press views Saddam as an embodiment of Islam and the United States as the grim reaper prepares to destroy a peaceful religion. Cartoons in the Palestinian newspapers appeal to God, or Allah, to protect the Muslims from Washington. They view the U.S.-led war against Iraq as the beginning of the end of more than 1,300 years of Islamic heritage.

Islam as a U.S. target
Al Hayat Al Jedida, Feb. 27, 2003

Despite rhetoric, Arabs facilitate U.S. advance on Baghdad
Almanar, March 17, 2003

The crumbling of Arab legitimacy.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 21, 2003

U.S. bombs begin to fall on Baghdad.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 21, 2003

Arabs on U.S. wanted poster.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 21, 2003

Iraq is resigned to U.S. slaughter.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 22, 2003

Iraq is dismembered and thrown back to pre-Islamic period.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 22, 2003

The Arab face of the U.S. war machine against Iraq.
Al Quds, March 30, 2003

U.S. drops food and books on democracy as it bombs Iraq.
Al Quds, March 29, 2003
Arabs are complacent while the rest of the world opposes war in Iraq.
Al Quds, March 18, 2003
Chapter 3: U.S. As Cowboys
The Palestinian press portrays the United States and its leaders as riding roughshod over all else. Americans have no subtlety, no finesse and often shoot themselves in the foot. The most prominent cowboy is President Bush, who is often seen in Palestinian cartoons wearing a ten-gallon hat and spurs. Bush is seen as a foolish bumbler who rambles about his power. He sees Iraq as being the first in line for America’s wrath. Bush is quoted as telling his advisers that next up for U.S. attack is France, Russia and anybody else who objected to the war against Iraq.

U.S. begins war against the first member of ‘axis of evil.’
Al Ayyam, March 21, 2003
U.S. prepares to call Arabs for support: ‘Remember, respect, remember.’
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 23, 2003

Arabs can’t compete with U.S. propaganda campaign.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 23, 2003
Bush as democrat ignores world opposition to war against Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 23, 2003

U.S. plays cowboy on the back of the world.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 22, 2003

Bush the cowboy prepares to bomb Iraqi children.
Al Ayyam, March 29, 2003

Mocking Arab League decisions on Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 26, 2003

Basra drives off coalition forces.
Al Quds, March 28, 2003

Bringing the Iraqi opposition member out of the freezer for the media.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 28, 2003

Chapter 4: The Bumbling Arabs

The Arab leaders receive an unsympathetic treatment in the Palestinian press. Not one Arab leader is ever identified for fear of retaliation by Middle East governments. But Arab leaders are seen as collaborators of the U.S.-led war against Iraq. Unlike the Western democracies, Arab leaders don’t allow for any questioning of U.S. policy. The Palestinian press believes the war in Iraq has undermined any sense of Arab legitimacy.

Iraqi rifle against U.S. war machine.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 26, 2003

U.S. troops heading for the quagmire in Iraq.
Al Quds, March 24, 2003

Sisters under arms: Iraq and Palestine.
Al Quds, March 21, 2003

Arabs fiddle as Iraq burns.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 19, 2003

Chapter 5: Iraq and Palestine

The Palestinian Authority and its media have linked the struggle against Israel to Iraq’s confrontation with the United States. As the PA media see it, Israel and the United States are in cahoots against the Arabs and the Muslims. Bush has his role — destroying Iraq. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is busy with decimating the Palestinians. Bush and Sharon coordinate their war plans and help each other. The Palestinian view often goes even further and sees the crafty Sharon as controlling the powerful but foolish Bush.

The new government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Al Ayyam, Feb. 28, 2003

Arab media compare wars in Iraq and Palestine.
Al Quds, Feb 27, 2003
Sharon: to Bush: ‘Should I kill them?’
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 1, 2003

Sharon as the one who controls Bush and the world.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 1, 2003

Israel and Arabs take protective measures while Palestinians can only demonstrate
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 24, 2003

Bush and Sharon discuss their military campaigns.
Al Quds, March 29, 2003

Bush and Sharon synchronize their watches for war.
Al Quds, March 20, 2003

Hopes for a Palestinian state die with war against Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 28, 2003

The U.S. as destroyer of the Arab world.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 28, 2003

Chapter 6: Palestinian Solidarity with Iraq

The Palestinian support for Iraq often exceeds the sphere of political discussion and becomes obsequious. PA media simply beam messages meant to rally Palestinians around Saddam and his regime. Cartoons in the Palestinian press portray Saddam as either the victor or the vanquished. Saddam is rarely seen as representing Iraq. Instead, Iraq is represented by the simple farmer, whose rusty carbine shoots down U.S. attack helicopters and drive off enemy troops. Sometimes, Iraq is seen as the calm bystander who watches the gung-ho U.S. troops die though numerous friendly fire incidents. The Palestinian cartoons express the hope that Iraq will destroy the British and U.S. invaders in a victory that will inspire all Arabs and Muslims.

Iraqi dominance over coalition forces.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 23, 2003

Iraq eaten by the hyenas of the world.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 23, 2003

Message to Iraq: ‘Don’t be sad. Allah is with us.’
Almanar, March 31, 2003

Iraq shatters Bush’s ‘shock and awe’ strategy
Almanar, March 31, 2003.

Bush demands more speed of Arabs who carry him to Iraq.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 20, 2003

The Iraqi people respond to coalition demand for surrender.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 24, 2003

Iraqi gunners pound U.S. air force.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 26, 2003

Iraq watches as U.S. forces are killed by friendly fire.
Al Ayyam, March 30, 2003

Bush’s ardor for war is cooled by casualties.
Al Hayat Al Jedida, March 28, 2003

U.S. prepares for casualties in Baghdad.
Al Ayyam, March 24, 2003

The U.S. as angel of death.
Al Quds, March 22, 2003