14:00 p.m. Statement by Abbas on PBC Radio

Voice of Palestine radio opened its afternoon newsreel show Sunday with a “statement from the office of the president” of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that condemned last night’s shooting murder of two Israelis as being against Palestinian interests, saying such actions would give Israel excuses not to withdraw from Gaza.

The somewhat bland statement came more than 14 hours after the attack.

As has become typical of such seemingly pro-forma statements from the PA, Dr. Abbas himself did not appear personally or speak personally about the shooting incident, nor did he call it an act of terror [irhaab in Arabic], as the PA called the Saturday attacks in Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt.

Abbas and the PA also did not condemn the Islamic Jihad organization which has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 56-year-old Dov Kol, a public relations consultant, and 51-year-old Rahel Kol, his wife, from Jerusalem.

Underlining the pro-forma nature of the “condemnation” of the attack on the Israelis was the fact that immediately after the statement from Abbas’s office, V.O.P. radio announcers again profiled the terrorists as “heroic martyrs,” giving thumbnail biographic sketches of their lives.

“Such operations, coming at the moment of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza do not serve our national interest,” the statement said.

5 p.m., July 24th:

Abbas’s own TV station ignores Abbas’s condemnation, continues to treat terrorist gunmen as heroes

Mahmoud Abbas’s own Palestinian state television today ignored Abbas’s pro-forma condemnation of the murder of two Israelis, and it continued to treat the two Palestinian terrorists as heroes.

PBC television described the two dead attackers as heroes, calling them “pure,” “citizens,” “men of sacrifice,” and “heroic martyrs” at the start of its 3 p.m. afternoon news round-up show Sunday afternoon.

“Dr. Muawiyya Hasseinein of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza said that the Occupation forces opened fire on the two of them in the Kissufim Settlement Corridor and several bullets pierced their two pure bodies,” declared the PBC anchorman as Palestinian television ran pictures of one of the attackers shrouded in white hospital sheets.

Earlier in the day, Voice of Palestine radio issued a pro-forma statement from Abbas criticizing the attack, saying such actions would give Israel excuses not to withdraw from Gaza.

“Such operations, coming at the moment of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza do not serve our national interest,” the statement said.

As has become typical of such seemingly pro-forma statements from the PA, Dr. Abbas himself did not appear personally or speak personally about the shooting incident, nor did he call it an act of terror [irhaab in Arabic], as the PA called the Saturday attacks in Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt.

Abbas and the PA also did not condemn the Islamic Jihad organization which has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 56-year-old Dov Kol, a public relations consultant, and 51-year-old Rahel Kol, his wife, from Jerusalem.

Underlining the pro-forma nature of the “condemnation” of the attack on the Israelis was the fact that immediately after the statement from Abbas’s office, V.O.P. radio announcers again profiled the terrorists as “heroic martyrs,” giving thumbnail biographic sketches of their lives.

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

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