American and European taxpayers are now being asked to fund a new TV station that will broadcast from Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians that is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
The new satellite station is intended to serve as a mouthpiece for Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
At a recent meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah, they decided to establish their own TV station to “counter” Hamas propaganda. Hamas has at least two TV stations that operate out of the Gaza Strip. This is in addition to a number of radio stations, and media Web sites.
The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which is completely dependant on American and European financial aid, has already approached a number of countries to seek their support for setting up the TV station.
Fatah says that the station is badly needed in light of what appears to be a rise in Hamas’s popularity among the Palestinians. It hopes that the new station will help Fatah regain the confidence of the Palestinians in the continued (and bloody) power struggle with Hamas.
But Fatah already has a TV station and it’s called Palestine TV. The faction also has its own radio station (Voice of Palestine), three daily newspapers and several radio stations in different parts of the West Bank. Fatah, in addition, has at least 13 Web sites that provide its leaders and spokesmen with a platform to launch daily attacks on Hamas and other rivals.
So Abbas and his Fatah companions want to tell the Palestinians through the new TV station how bad Hamas is. They want to tell the Palestinians that Hamas is a “dark and bloody militia that seized power over the Gaza Strip through violence.” They want to send out the message that Hamas is acting as an agent of the Iranians, whose primary goal is to undermine all “moderate” Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East.
Moreover, Fatah wants to tell the Palestinians (and whoever wants to listen) that Hamas is largely responsible for their miseries and for the fact that the Gaza Strip has been turned into an Islamic “emirate” and a center for jihadists and suicide bombers.
In which case, the question that pops up is: So why are Abbas and his Fatah lieutenants chasing Hamas and literally begging the Islamist movement to agree to the formation of a “unity government” with them? If the purpose of the new TV station is to discredit Hamas and portray it as a bloodthirsty terrorist movement, so why are Fatah representatives sitting with their Hamas counterparts in Cairo, where they are talking about joining forces and distributing ministerial portfolios?
For the past three years, Fatah’s media outlets have done almost everything to try and discredit Hamas in the eyes of the Palestinian public, but so far with little success. Hamas members and leaders have been accused by Fatah of rape, embezzlement, murder, kidnappings and various other crimes.
Yet there is another problem with the Fatah-controlled media and it’s related this time to Israel.
While targeting Hamas, the Fatah newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have also been inciting against their peace partner, Israel, and against the US and Europe - the same parties that are financing Fatah and supplying it with weapons. Ironically, it is this type of incitement that drives more Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas.
Why? Because if you are telling your people day and night how bad and evil Israel is, your people will then say that this means that Hamas is right - you can’t make peace with Israel or any Jew. And if you are telling your people (through your media) that the Israelis are war criminals and colonialists and land thieves and cowards and vampires and children killers and are basically responsible for all the miseries of the Palestinians, what will the people think of Mahmoud Abbas when they see him meeting with any Israeli? They will certainly spit in his face and ask him, “Why are you talking to these Jews? You yourself have told us how bad and evil they are.”
The last thing the international community needs to do is to fund yet another Palestinian media outlet that promotes hatred, violence and anti-Western sentiments. The new Fatah TV station is not going to be much different than the other Fatah-run media organizations. If anything, it will help raise another regeneration of Palestinians on hatred and glorification of suicide bombers.