Palestinians Call For Confrontation With U.S. Interests

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

Jerusalem ( - An official Palestinian television station declared Tuesday as a "Day of Confrontations With U.S. Interests," but a high-ranking Palestinian Authority official later denied that the declaration represents official PA policy.

According to the Palestinian Media Watch, an independent media monitoring organization, the announcement read on the PA station was put out by the "National and the Islamic Forces," the steering committee of the Palestinian intifada (uprising). It was included in the station's weekly schedule of confrontations.

The steering committee, which includes officials of the PA as well as leaders of other Palestinian groups opposed to any negotiations with Israel, directs the "spontaneous" demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the last two months of confrontation with Israel, more than 240 people have been killed, almost 90 percent of them Palestinian.

The announcement was made on Monday after a roadside bomb ripped through an Israeli school bus, but before Israel retaliated by shelling the headquarters of Palestinian security services and broadcasting facilities.

"The Voice of the Intifada is heard over all others," the announcer read from the pre-printed leaflet, which had been distributed two days earlier. The leaflet called for "a day of Confrontations and Mass Marches" for Tuesday, November 21, directed against the United States

According to the announcer, the day would be dedicated to "exposing the extreme American identification with the occupation;" demanding "the shattering of the American monopoly and hegemony;" calling upon Palestinian, Arab and Moslem masses "to boycott American products and denounce its policies in the region;" and calling upon the Arab world "to enter into confrontation with American interests using all possible means."

It was unclear what confrontation the announcement was recommending or what employing "all possible means" meant. But one analyst suggested that it would, at the very least, include throwing stones.

Marwan Kanafani, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's spokesman, denied that the announcement represented an official PA policy.

"You hear all kinds of suggestions and ideas from both sides," Kanafani said on Tuesday in a telephone interview.

"This is not a government policy. They are some ideas spelled out by people in desperation and anger," Kanafani added.

Itamar Marcus, Director of PMW, said this was the first time he knew of that there was a direct call for confrontation against U.S. interests.

The steering committee is given the forum of official PA television to convey its agenda, Marcus said. "They specifically wanted this message [to be conveyed]."

The PA wouldn't announce to the Americans that it had these plans, Marcus added, but it is "indicative of the tone" taken toward the U.S. in the Palestinian media, he said.

Kanafani noted, that there is a rising anti-American sentiment in the streets because of position of the United States during the last two months of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The PA has accused Washington of taking Israel's side in the confrontation and demanded an internationalization of the peace process, which it believes would tip the balance of world opinion in its favor. Israel has rejected the idea of involving more players in the discussions on a permanent agreement.

Kanafani said that the PA leadership is upset with the U.S. because it has supported Israel politically and militarily, rejected the involvement of other nations in talks, and rejected the PA demand for international forces to be deployed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The U.S. officials were not interested in reacting to the calls for confrontation with the U.S. in the Palestinian media.

"We've seen those reports, but declined comment," said Larry Schwartz, U.S. Embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv.