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PA Celebrates Child Killer By: Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch | Saturday, September 18, 2004


Societies measure their heroes in different ways. Some societies honor athletes or performers. Others celebrate caregivers and humanitarian workers. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have consistently chosen to honor murderers as their national icons.

During the recent PA prisoners' hunger strike,  Palestinian TV repeatedly singled out one such murderer - Samir Quntar - and turned him into a Palestinian hero.

In 1979, Quntar crossed into northern Israel from Lebanon, and took Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter, Einat, as hostages, to bring them to Lebanon. When the Israeli army arrived, Quntar murdered Danny and Einat. Danny's other daughter also died in the attack. Quntar was captured, and received multiple life sentences totalling 542 years in prison.

PATV and PA leaders see Quntar as a hero, and the hunger strike was used as an opportunity to promote Quntar. His picture was repeatedly shown on TV and he was proclaimed the "model warrior," "brave," and a "leader" and "head" of the prisoners.

PA Minister of Prisoners, Hisham Abdul Razeq, defined Quntar as the leader of the prisoners:
"The torch of freedom [that] was lifted by our heroic prisoners and headed by the great warrior Samir Quntar...and our thanks to you."
[PATV, Aug. 15, 2004]

PA TV extolled him:
"Quntar is a model of a brilliant warrior - who believes in his goals, knows his way, and perseveres in achieving those goals...."
[PATV, Aug. 18, 2004]

Quntar's picture was broadcast repeatedly on PA TV.

Prominent PA TV broadcaster Muhammad Albaz:
"Here before us is the picture of the great Lebanese  Palestinian warrior Samir Quntar. A thousand blessings to the warrior Samir Quntar [the audience claps] and to his family in Lebanon and to this hero who was sentenced to 576 year [in prison] and this is the evil and this is Israeli democracy."
[PATV, Aug. 25, 2004]

Another TV broadcaster referred to him as a leader:
"The leader Samir Quntar, our wish for him is that he will soon be released."
[PATV, Aug. 18, 2004]

A broadcast describing Quntar's life defines his murder as "brave:"
"He was sentenced to 542 years in prison for committing the brave Nahariya action in Palestine."
[PATV, Aug. 18, 2004]

Note also that, consistent with PA teaching, the northern Israel city of Nahariya is defined as "Palestine."

Quntar was singled out again by the PA Minister of Prisoners and Released [prisoners], Hisham Abdul Razeq, at the end of the hunger strike:

"Blessings to all our Arab prisoners who are in the Israeli prisons, starting with the leader of these prisoners, the warrior Samir Quntar, continuing with all our prisoners who are in the Israeli prisons..."
[PATV, Sep. 2, 2004]

Because of this campaign by the PA, Quntar is now a Palestinian hero, and demonstrators supporting the hunger strike singled out Quntar as a model to be followed:
"We bless the family members of Samir Quntar, we are with you. He is your son but he is also our son, the son of Palestine. We ask of Allah, that there will be 100 more Samir Quntars, 1,000 more Samir Quntars, 1,000,000 more Samir Quntars, that do and act for the Palestinian issue."
[PATV, Aug. 18, 2004]

This promotion of Quntar as a hero reinforces the message to the PA population that the murder of Israeli civilians is not merely acceptable, but even admirable and heroic.

Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. He was appointed by the Israeli government to be the Israeli representative (communication specialist) to the Trilateral (Israeli-American-Palestinian) Anti-Incitement Committee established under the Wye Accords. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Marcus served as research director of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, writing reports on PA, Syrian, and Jordanian schoolbooks. He holds a BA in political science from City College of New York and an MA in Hebrew culture from New York University. Barbara Crook is associate director and North American representative of Palestinian Media Watch. She teaches at the School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She holds an Honors BA in English literature from Queen's University, an MA in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and is a Southam Fellow at the University of Toronto.


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