PA-Run Media Reportedly Causing Riot Mood in Palestinians

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - The wave of violence that has swept the West Bank and Gaza Strip for more than two weeks was all part of a well-planned "dual strategy" and is being promoted in the Palestinian Authority-run media with the purpose of gaining a political advantage, an independent media research organization charged on Monday.

"Violence with a purpose, with a political purpose," Middle East Media Research Institute Director Yigal Carmon told reporters was the best way to sum up his report of the situation.

Carmon, who believes the seven-year-old Israeli-PA peace process met its final demise at the US-sponsored Camp David summit in July, said that it was this "dead end" which prompted PA Chairman Yasser Arafat to adopt the second violent part of what he called a "dual strategy."

According to Carmon, the PA's dual strategy entailed advancing through negotiations as far as the PA could and then using violence to reach its goals, which he defined as an Independent Palestinian State and the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

As far back as 1996, PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Sha'ath clearly stated this policy.

"We decided to liberate our homeland step after step. It is now impossible for the peace process to halt," Sha'ath said in a public forum in Nablus four years ago. "For if it does, all of the acts of violence will return to Israel...We honor the peace treaties and non-violence, so long as the agreements are fulfilled step-by-step."

However, Sha'ath went on to say, the moment Israel says 'enough' and refuses to discuss Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, dismantling settlements or borders, "will return to violence. But this time it will be with 30,000 armed Palestinian soldiers and in a land with elements of freedom."

For Israelis, Carmon said, their understanding was that negotiations were an alternative to violence and not a vehicle to be used along with violence.

That the Palestinians had no intention of abandoning that strategy became clear, he said, when Barak called for an "end of the conflict" during the Camp David summit.

Although Barak accepted a US proposal to share sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, talks ended abruptly without an agreement when Arafat refused to budge on his demand that he be given full sovereignty over the site, holy to both Muslims and Jews.

According to an editorial on the PA website in August, the demand to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was both a "strange demand" and an "unreasonable claim."

Director General of the PA Information Ministry, Hassan Al-Keshef, wrote in the Al-Ayyam newspaper recently that, "The only way to impose our conditions is inevitably through our blood."

In his regular column, Al-Keshef wrote, "Had it not been for this blood, the world would have never been interested in us...therefore the continuation of the popular confrontation is an urgent political need...the power of the Intifadah [uprising] is our only weapon."

According to Carmon, the immediate PA goal is to "create a situation of chaos" in which mighty Israel defeats the Palestinians, bringing about international intervention in the situation.

Long-term, the Palestinians want to establish an independent Palestinian state and establish the right of return for millions of Palestinians to the sovereign borders of Israel, Carmon said, reiterating stated goals of the Palestinians.

In order to keep the violence going to achieve this goal, Carmon said, the PA-run media is "causing the mood of the Palestinians" to be more violent.

Carmon offered no forecast as to the possibility of the success of Monday's summit in Egypt, where President Clinton and regional and world leaders met with Barak and Arafat in an attempt to calm the violence and bring about a return to the negotiating table.