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Hijacking History's Horror By: Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch | Friday, August 20, 2004


In a vulgar distortion of history, the PA media often compare the Palestinian situation to the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust. The PA's latest propaganda film about "refugees" draws on a well-known image from Holocaust history -- dead Jews hanging over barbed wire -- and restages it with false images of Palestinians hanging from barbed wire [see pictures above].

These shocking visual images are combined with numerous messages of political indoctrination, geared particularly towards youth. First and foremost is the denial of Israel's right to exist. The essence of the program is that all of Israel is occupied "Palestine," stolen from the "refugees," and that the  "refugees" have never forgotten and will "return." A young child talks of his "return," saying that although he is the fourth generation, he has not forgotten his roots in the land, and will return by his "blood." The recurring theme is, "We will surely return."

This program has been broadcast four times in recent months.
[PATV four times, May-August 2004]

Background: History of the "refugee" issue as a political tool

During Israel's War of Independence, hundreds of thousands of Arabs left for neighboring Arab countries. Most left after encouragement from Arab leaders, who thought it would help the war effort.

Click here to see documentation of this from PMW video archives.]

Most of the Arabs ended up in UN refugee camps.  To this day, the hosting Arab countries have used various laws, including those prohibiting land and business ownership, to prevent the original refugees and their descendants from becoming permanent citizens. These laws, and the desire to use the issue of "refugee suffering" as a political tool against Israel, have in fact caused the continued suffering for the camp residents and their descendants.
Palestinian Authority (PA) propaganda accuses Israel of expelling all the "refugees," and blames Israel for their continued suffering. Instead of calling for solutions to the problems in the countries in which these people were born and reside, the PA demands that Israel absorb the remaining original refugees and millions of their descendants.

Excerpts from the new film on PATV:

Click here to see 2 minutes of the broadcast.

The following are text excerpts from the program:

"On this planet there is a land called Palestine [image on screen of map of Israel]. From this land a nation was uprooted, named the nation of Palestine, which gave the earth its green color and built houses from its clay, and created the homeland and the memory. But the force of oppression [pictures of Israeli leaders Dayan and Sharon] was still dividing the world by its whim and setting it aflame whenever it chose. Thus, it was the cursed promise, the Balfour promise, which promised a homeland with a nation to others without a homeland. The occupation and the expulsion occurred, yet a fate unknown, until a time unknown. This is the story of the refugees....."

The poet, Iz A-Din Manasra:
"The state of Israel was founded on the basis of massacre and expulsion; in other words, the transfer. Since the year of '48 and later in '67 --  now they weave plans for the transfer. This Israeli mentality is based on the principle of massacre and expulsion."
Abla Abu-Abla, Director of refugee studies, Jordan:
"Many of the Palestinian families still keep the keys to their homes. This is the key to our home in Jaffa, this is the key to our home in Haifa, this is the key to our home in Acre. Ask any boy you wish, which city are you from? Whoever you wish, ask any boy in any city --  he will answer you, Acre, Haifa -- in other words, he belongs temporarily to the place where he lives, the place in which he is a refugee, but he belongs in his inner knowledge, in his source and roots to the place he was expelled from."

"There is no escaping the fact that one day we shall return"

Ahmad Yussuf:
"The right of return is a right that is not negotiable, in addition to it being a collective and personal right. No one is allowed to surrender it, no matter if he is in a political leadership position nor if he is a member of our Palestinian nation." 

"If you expel us, or imprison us with borders, one day we will surely return. [Image of UN resolution 194, the 'right' of return, being shot down by soldier]. One day we will surely return. If you imprison us with borders, one day we will surely return. We shall never forget. One day we will surely return. One day we will surely return. The youth do not know Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, the Galilee, the [Galilee] Triangle, and the Negev. They believe that the Palestinian is born with the right of return together with mother's milk."

"Once I read a book, written by an Israeli. He wrote: 'The first generation [of refugees] is dying, the second is dying, the third is weakening, the fourth is forgetting.' I want to tell him, I am a fourth generation, and I have not forgotten. I have a dream to reach Dier Yassin [West Jerusalem]. Though it is my dream, I can achieve it with my blood, only to return to Dier Yassin. One day we will surely return."

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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