The Palestinian Authority creates a counter-narrative that erases Israel

Having failed to prevent Jerusalem Day celebrations, the PA reverts to open anti-Semitism and rewriting history.

The Jerusalem Day flag march arrives at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. Photo by Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
The Jerusalem Day flag march arrives at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, June 15, 2021. Photo by Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is the director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; a senior legal analyst for Human Rights Voices; and a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum.

As Palestinian Media Watch exposed, in the lead up to Israel’s May 29 Jerusalem Day celebrations to mark 55 years since the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem and its liberation from Jordanian occupation (1948-1967), the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) tried desperately to incite wide-scale violence. Having failed in this goal, the P.A. then did its utmost to create an alternate narrative.

Part of this narrative, expressed in the P.A.’s official daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, rested on openly anti-Semitic hate speech referring to the over 70,000 Israelis who participated in the Jerusalem Day Flag March as “inferior … settlers,” “monkeys” and “fools”:

Thousands of Israelis, and especially the inferior among themthe settlersparticipated in the Israeli [Jerusalem Day] Flag March. But the general impression received by everyone is that this march was foolish and unsuccessful on all levels. …

No one reacted to the lies to which the settlers clung, and Jerusalem remained wrapped in holy garb that was not harmed despite the wild behavior of the monkeys and their leaping about. …

You are not an orphan, Palestine, as the people … that initiated the stone rebellion … is not like those fools who set out on the Flag March, and who do not know what fate awaits them.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 1, 2022]

According to the P.A. narrative, “settler herds went wild to execute the blood dance march” and “polluted the air” of Jerusalem before leaving the city “like panicked mice fleeing from the guardians of the city”:

Last Sunday [May 29, 2022] was one of the lauded days of Jerusalem, a day of freedom, peace and implementing national sovereignty. This is despite the fact that the entire Israeli colonialist state and its leadership—with its political, military and security echelon and its settler herdswent wild to execute the blood dance march, which is covered with the flag of the false narrative and the illegal presence of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

While thousands of settlers “polluted” the air of the holy city [of Jerusalem] with flags of the occupation, a small video drone decorated the city’s skies with a Palestinian flag, until it was brought down by the occupation police.

[Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

The Zionists waved flags of their defeat by force of the gunpowder and army, but they left the occupied city like panicked mice fleeing from the guardians of the city and its Holy Basin.

 [Official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

Shamefully, the P.A.’s use of anti-Semitic terminology to describe Jews is nothing new. Palestinian Media Watch has documented scores of incidents in which the PA has used anti-Semitic terminology and tropes, including repeated references to Jews as “pigs and monkeys.”

The second part of the P.A. narrative followed the consistent messaging that not only Jerusalem, but rather all of Israel is “occupied.”

Speaking about the Flag March, P.A. Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh dubbed the event a “settlers march” and added:

Jerusalem has been the State of Palestine’s capital throughout the years, and it will remain [so] forever. Its face, heart and tongue are Arab, and the attempts to change its features and impose an imaginary sovereignty on it will not last against the facts of religion, history and sanctity, as it contains the first direction of Muslim prayer, the site where Prophet [Muhammad] traveled, the site of his Ascent to Heaven and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 30, 2022]

Clearly, Shtayyeh has forgotten that no independent “State of Palestine” has ever existed, and that his imaginary state never held sovereignty over Jerusalem or any other place. He has also erased from his mind the fact that Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem for over 150 years. In fact, the British Census for Palestine, conducted in 1922, found that of Jerusalem’s 62,578 residents, 33,971 were Jews, 14,699 were Christians and only 13,413 were Muslims (“Mohammedans”). In other words, by 1922, Jews were not just a simple majority in Jerusalem, but rather an outright majority, numbering more than all others combined:

The headline the P.A. chose for the commentary of Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official P.A. daily, also indicated the P.A. mindset: “The flag march of ‘the Israeli ISIS members’—a blessing in disguise.”

In the commentary itself, Matar attempted to compare and contrast the Israeli flag-waving with Palestinians waving the “Palestinian flag” and argued that the “Palestinian flag” flying over “the historical and natural land of Palestine” contradicts Israeli claims of sovereignty over “East Jerusalem in particular and Palestine in general.” Critically, Matar added that Palestine covers all of Israel, spreading from the Galilee in the north of Israel to the Negev in the south of Israel and from Jericho in the east to Jaffa in the west:

The heads of the [Israeli] occupation system well understand that the Palestinian flag flown anywhere on the historical and natural land of Palestine opposes their reality, which was created by force of occupation, organized state terror and unlimited colonialist support from colonialist states that established [the Jewish state] and are interested in having them continue to provide their services as agents. [They understand] that the Palestinian flag contradicts their claims of sovereignty over East Jerusalem in particular and Palestine in generalfrom the Galilee to the Negev, from Jericho to the shores of Jaffa.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch is Director of Legal Strategies at Palestinian Media Watch.

This article was originally published by Palestinian Media Watch.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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