Friday, February 12, 2010

PalArab press and politics personified

Mahmoud Abbas did everything he could to stop Israel's Channel 10 broadcast of various sex and financial scandals in his quasi-government, including writing a letter to Binyamin Netanyahu threatening to resign if the show was broadcast. He is also threatening a lawsuit against the channel.

He asked Hamas not to rebroadcast the show on their TV station, and Hamas agreed. Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader praised Hamas for their "wise decision of personal responsibility," saying that censoring these programs "is in the best interest of the Palestinian people, and reflects the high sense of responsibility."

But Islamic Jihad is not trying to reconcile with Fatah, and their Palestine Today website just published what amounts to a transcript of the Channel 10 broadcast.

With one notable exception: the whistleblower, Fathi Shabaneh, also said that Hamas was corrupt as well, and Islamic Jihad didn't bother to publish that little detail, so as not to upset their Hamas hosts.

In this way, Hamas allows Fatah to be embarrassed but doesn't do it directly, and Islamic Jihad plays its role as the "extremist" group who doesn't follow the rules - but also doesn't embarrass Hamas.

All this goes to show that while there is more freedom of the Palestinian Arab press than in the past, the media is just another propaganda tool.