The Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is the latest PA official to send one message to its people in Arabic and an entirely different one to the world media in English.
When he heard three Palestinian teens, aged 13, 14 and 16, were caught by Israel on the way to a suicide mission, Erekat quickly created the impression for English-language media he is opposed to such attacks, says Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, or PMW, the Israel-based monitor.
“That’s absolutely unacceptable,” Erekat told the Associated Press. “Our children should have hope and a future and should not be suicide bombers. We want them to be doctors and engineers.”
Erekat and other PA leadership, however, have been a driving force in indoctrinating PA children to aspire to “shahada,” or “martyrdom” for the sake of Allah, PMW says.
Just months ago, Erekat and other top PA leaders, including President Yasser Arafat, sponsored a soccer tournament honoring 24 Islamic “martyrs,” including Yichye Ayash, the first Hamas bomb-belt engineer; Dalal Mughrabi, a woman who hijacked a bus, killing 36 in 1978; Abu Ali Mustafa, the head of the Popular Front terrorist group; Izzadin el-Kassam, the name of the suicide bombers’ wing of Hamas; Raid Carmi, commander of the suicide bomber wing of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; and Hassan Salame of the Black September terror group, involved in the 1972 Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes.
As a sponsor, Saeb Erekat was present at the tournament honoring the terrorists and distributed the trophies, the Palestinian media reported in September.
PMW pointed out coverage of the foiled suicide mission in all three PA dailies – Al Hayat Al Jadida, Al Ayyam and Al Quds – had no comments by Erekat opposing the idea of teenagers as suicide bombers.
Wednesday, Al Ayyam reported, “The Prisoner’s Club called on all the legal institutions to act to stop [Israel's] policy of arresting children and minors … which is a violation of all conventions and international humanitarian agreements.”
The paper said the parents of the three “called for legal and humanitarian organizations to intervene for their release so that they could continue their education.”