Corona-themed anti-Israel propaganda (PMW) PMW
Corona-themed anti-Israel propaganda

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The Palestinian Authority is churning out the coronavirus-themed anti-Israel propaganda, while benefiting from extensive assistance from Israel to battle the deadly virus.

By Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch

For weeks, Palestinian Authority (PA) media has been immersed in the coronavirus story, including the demonization of Israel, without mentioning Israel’s efforts to helping the PA.

Finally on Tuesday, the PA Government Spokesman informed Palestinians of the cooperation between Israel and the PA in fighting the virus.

Despite Israel’s cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in fighting the coronavirus

Just two days ago, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published the a cartoon showing an Israeli tank with spikes protruding from its turret shaped like the peplomers on the coronavirus viral envelope. The tank’s main gun, which is also in the shape of a peplomer, is pointed at a Palestinian holding a baby and walking away from the tank.

An editorial in the paper compared Israel to “all of nature’s viruses,” but “more dangerous.”

“Just as we will overcome the coronavirus, we will certainly overcome the occupation’s viruses that are more dangerous than all of nature’s viruses,” read the editorial in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on March 11, 2020.

Two weeks ago, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced on his Facebook pae that the PA was dealing with both “the coronavirus and the occupation virus

Shtayyeh said, “On behalf of my brothers in the [PA] government, I call on all of the organizations to prioritize the good of the homeland and prioritize dialogue over a strike, because in practice we are at a critical and difficult stage that is not connected only to disease and the coronavirus or the occupation virus.”

No Cure for Blind Hatred?

Similarly, the governor of Ramallah compared life with Israel to life with corona, stating that as Palestinians managed to live through the intifadas – the PA’s terror campaigns – so it will “live through the coronavirus.”

In Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Fatah even accused Israel of “helping the coronavirus” and showing “indifference regarding the spread of the virus among the Palestinians” when Israel arrested some young Palestinians on suspicion of illegal activity, including graffiti.

Fatah claimed the Palestinians were “disinfecting public institutions.”

Until yesterday, the PA leadership and its controlled media had not said a word about Israel’s help to the PA fighting the corona crisis. Among other things, COGAT – the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories – has published information about corona and guidelines on prevention and protection from the virus in Arabic, which is available to the entire Palestinian population. Israel has also provided the PA with 20 tons of disinfectant material and coronavirus testing kits. Israel has also arranged joint training sessions for Israeli and Palestinian medical personnel.

Finally last night, PA Government Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem announced that Israel and the PA will establish a joint situation room.

Last month though, the same PA government spokesman compared defeating the coronoavirus to defeating what he called the “Trump virus.”

A host on official PA TV accused Israel of demonization of the PA, alleging that Israel has stated that it got the coronavirus from Bethlehem in the PA. Israel has said no such thing but took measures supported by the PA when it became apparent that there was a serious outbreak of Corona in Bethlehem. In addition to twisting the facts, the PA TV host in turn demonized Israel, accusing Israel of “exporting” corona to the PA.

Palestinian Media Watch also exposed a sermon broadcast by official PA TV in which the preacher taught that the Coronavirus is “one of Almighty Allah’s soldiers.”

Another PA reaction to the Corona crisis has been to demand that Israel release all terrorists from Israeli prisons, with Shtayyeh claiming he would get the International Red Cross involved.

Meanwhile the PA has also proclaimed itself a master of combating Corona. Both an editorial and an op-ed in the official PA daily claimed the PA is so good at dealing with the crisis that it has been suggested in Israel that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu learn from the PA in Ramallah how to fight the virus.

“We will note what has been conveyed in the Israeli media outlets – praise for the functioning of the besieged Palestinian [PA] government, which is suffering from a financial crisis and despite this has succeeded in taking effective steps to deal with the [Corona]virus, while the Tel Aviv government with all its economic and medical capabilities has not succeeded in dealing with the epidemic, to the point that one of the Israelis has demanded that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his government go to Ramallah and learn from the Palestinian government how to manage crises,” an op-ed claimed in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.

PMW is not aware of any Israelis having made such a statement.