Palestinian Authority (PA) official news daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida accused Palestinian Media Watch of "distorting" the truth about Palestinian incitement in the media last week – reaching back to an article the watchdog penned some 17 years ago to do so.
"The Palestinian media monitoring by Israel distorts Palestinian statements and articles, takes them out of context, and markets them mainly to the American government as Palestinian incitement," the author, editor Hafez Barghouti, began. "One day [years ago], President Mahmoud Abbas summoned me to his office when he was still secretary of the [PLO] Executive Committee, and told me that Israel is using the [issue of] incitement against us, and every time we sit with [then US Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright and [American diplomat] Dennis Ross to discuss an important issue, they tell us that [the official PA daily] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has published this and that, and that so-and-so wrote this and that."
"I said: There is an Israeli department for monitoring Palestinian media and statements that distorts articles, takes them out of context, and spreads them among the Americans as though they [the articles] are inciting and Antisemitic," the author continues. "They went as far as taking advantage of a misprint in a crossword puzzle and considering it incitement, as there was a question about a Holocaust and heroism monument, 'Yad Vashem' (i.e., The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust), and the typesetter made a mistake and wrote 'the lie' (the words are similar in Arabic: "heroism" -"butula," "lie" – "batel," -Ed.)."
"This 'grave' incident reached news agencies and radio stations, and Yasser Arafat summoned me to explain the circumstances of this great uproar," the author continues. "I explained to him the truth of the matter, and after an investigation it turned out that it was an unintentional misprint, as the original word was 'heroism." Nevertheless, Abbas told us to pay attention as there is no need for all this unjustified uproar against us. The Israelis bring up the issue of incitement daily, which they carry it out verbally and in practice, and market it throughout the world."
Palestinian Media Watch has, in fact, caught official PA media furthering Holocaust denial on countless occasions; the current PA chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, authored a doctoral dissertation on the subject.
PMW noted Wednesday that the "typo" in the crossword was indeed an intentional play on words, designed to deflect criticism in the event the sentiment was detected.
"At that time, PA Holocaust denial was taught to children and adults by educators and in the official PA media and the fact that it appeared in a crossword puzzle was consistent with PA messaging," it added.