WASHINGTON (JTA) — Congressional staffers were briefed on incitement from a group critical of the Palestinian leadership.
Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, led the Capitol Hill presentation sponsored Wednesday by The Israel Project in light of attempts in May to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Marcus said that judging from newspapers, TV clips, textbooks and other media, the Palestinian Authority is continuing to teach its children to deny Israel’s existence.
“Denying Israel’s history is the basis for denying Israel’s right to exist,” he said.
Marcus cited cartoons depicting Palestinian factions coming together against Israel and government-sponsored TV programming and crossword puzzles that referred to Israeli cities such as Jaffa and Ashkelon as Palestinian cities.
PA spokesmen have said PMW and similar groups skew their reports, noting that such reports typically do not acknowledge recent crackdowns on imams and teachers who incite that have led to hundreds of firings.
Marcus said incitement continued after indirect talks began in May, and blamed it for polls showing that 91.7 percent of Palestinians aged 18 to 24 believe that Israel does not have the right to exist.
“This will undermine any peace agreement in the future, a whole generation denying Israel’s right to exist,” Marcus said. “Even if we succeed in signing a peace agreement, how will it survive the next generation?”
Polls also have shown that support for recognizing Israel spikes sharply if respondents include such recognition as part of a final status agreement that encompasses concessions to the Palestinians.
In response to a question, Marcus said that the PA has taken programming condemning and denying Israel off the air, but only after it was exposed by PMW.
Palestinian Media Watch is an Israeli NGO dedicated to discovering what the Palestinian media says in Arabic.