The Palestinian National Authority (PA) used the “Land Day” Commemoration[1] last week, on March 30th, 2005 to increase the anti-Semitic aroma of its “anti-Judaization” campaign against Israelis and Jews.

Official Palestinian media and top officials of the PA and the PLO, both headed by Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, used the occasion to warn that “Jerusalem is in danger” from “extremist Jews” and “infidels” engaged in high-level Israeli plots, including:

  • Conspiracies to destroy Islamic holy places;
  • Programs to flood Jerusalem with Jews;
  • Plans to buy Arab property secretly and to erase the Arab presence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and “inside the Green Line” (the official term used for real estate inside the 1949 frontiers of Israel).

“Jerusalem is danger, I tell you,” asserted PA Prime Minister Ahmad Qreia, waving his hands energetically, repeatedly and almost frantically during an interview.

The remarks of Qreia (known also as Abu-‘Ala) were shown, at least four times, yesterday as part of a special four-minute film report on PA official television.[2]

The film clip depicted Jerusalem-including the Western side of the city-as a peaceful green oasis that has been assaulted by invasions of “non-believers” and “infidels,” chiefly the Israelis, in 1948 and 1967.

The Israeli “occupations” in 1948 and 1967 inside Jerusalem were depicted as a spreading black stain overwhelming the pastoral green of Arab-Islamic control.[3]

Qreia and other PA and PLO officials stressed that the Palestinian public had to “confront” and to “resist” the dangerous Jewish plots.

“We have to concentrate on the main thing,” stated Yasser Abd-Rabbo, a member of the 13-man PLO Executive Committee, its highest organ.

“The main thing is how to confront the sad fate that awaits Jerusalem,” added Abd-Rabbo, a former “information minister,” explaining that “without Jerusalem, there is no Palestinian state.”

“The main subject today is settlements, Jerusalem and the fence,” stressing that he and the Abbas-Qreia regime was eager to have HAMAS-Jihad support.

“That subject requires joint resistance of all varied Palestinian forces,” proclaimed Abd-Rabbo.[4]

“We agreed to a ceasefire, but that does not mean we will not resist the fence and the settlements with popular and diplomatic means, with peaceful means.[5] We have to defend Jerusalem and confront the settlements and the fence.”

His remarks, during a long interview on Voice of Palestine radio, called for HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, which are joining the PLO, to take part in the “confronting” and the “resistance.”[6]

The remarks by Qreia and Abd-Rabbo were also echoed by PA Negotiations Minister Saeb Ariqat in several radio interviews. But the point man was the PA prime minister.

“Yes, I tell you, Jerusalem is in very real danger, very real. The Israeli government is taking all means to Judaize Jerusalem in a final way.”

“Jerusalem is being exposed to very real dangers, very real dangers. Jerusalem is in danger,” continued Qreia, the second-ranking PA official behind Chairman Abbas (who is also known by his nickname Abu-Mazen).

Prime Minister Qreia and other Palestinian officials have been fuming about the sale to Jews of two hotels just inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. The two hotels were owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.

Since the reported sale, the lives of Greek Orthodox clerics have been threatened, and Palestinian officials such as Qreia, Abd-Rabbo and Ariqat have called the action a “crime” and a “betrayal” of Palestinian interests.

Palestinian media have, for at least ten days, been highlighting the reported sale, calling for pressure on the church. But the campaign against Jewish purchase of property has even included comments about Jewish ownership inside the Galilee.

The “Land Day” campaign of the Palestinian leadership and media also included calls to “resist Judaization” even “inside the Green Line,” meaning not to sell to Jews or to oppose Jewish construction inside Israel.

But the heart of the PLO anti-Judaization drive is still Jerusalem and its holy places-and the strong insinuation that sinister Israeli forces are plotting its destruction.

The feature film montage, in which Qreia appeared, also highlights the fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, which has often been characterized in the PA media as an Israeli-Jewish plot, even though the man who set the fire was a deranged man from Australia who was not Jewish.

Nevertheless, Qreia and the PA’s official mosque speakers, even mentioning plots by “the Jewish government,” have been harping on this theme in recent days.

[1] “Land Day” or “Eternal Land Day” (as the PA has begun to call it) marks the death of several Israeli Arabs in the course of violent demonstrations over land disputes with the Israeli government in 1976.

[2] The film clip was shown on PA television on March 29 several times in addition to the four times on March 30, as part of the regular news broadcasts.

[3] Green is the official color of Islam, known as “Lawn al-Nabi,” the “color of the prophet.”

[4] Abd-Rabbo interview on Sawt Felasteen (Voice of Palestine, 90.7 FM), March 29, 8:15 a.m.

[5] “Peaceful means” and “the peaceful Intifada” are terms that have been regularly used by Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Abd-Rabbo and other Palestinian leaders. The terms connote the use of violent demonstrations and “popular means” but generally frown on demonstrably violent attacks-such as human bomb attacks– on Israeli civilians inside 1949 Israel.

[6] The term resistance in the Palestinian glossary (muqawwama in Arabic) is often used for violent acts, not just demonstrations. Suicide bombings and military attacks are also called “resistance” in the Palestinian media.

© 2005 Michael Widlanski [By permission to IMRA]

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times,The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.