Sesame Street, Arab Style

Imagine this: On this past Tuesday, March 31, the morning that Yassir Arafat made a surprise visit at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the museum which has become a symbol of the one and a half Jewish children who were slaughterer by the Nazis, the PBC TV program modelled after "Sesame Street," with children (some as young as 4 years old, most about 8 or 9) seated in a semi-circle around a group leader, dressed in costumes and party clothes, with cartoon characters decorate the walls. From among the group a little boy stands up and, with the nursery school teacher holding the mike he says that "I will grow up to kill every Jew that I meet" On an earlier program, a young girl stands up, raises her fist and cries: "When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I will turn into a suicide warrior in battledress! In battledress!"

In both cases, The leader of the official Palestinian "Sesame Street"cheers:

"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!"

On yet another segment, a beautiful, dark haired young girl who looks to be about 6 years old sings the following words, barely a blinking of her eyes: "Each and every part of your soil I have drenched with all my blood. And we shall march as warriors of Jihad. Oh, my exalted martyr, you are my example. Oh, my companion, you are beside me. Oh, my sister, sing constantly about my life as a suicidewarrior, how we remain steadfast. Oh, my country, you are my soul. Oh, my dawn, you are my heartbeat."

Samplings of the official PBC children's workskop were aired at the March 11 hearing held at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee special session that was convened to deal with some of the issues of the middle east peace process.

The clips were prepared by the Jerusalem-based "peace for generations" monitoring group and presented to the Senate by Dr. Daniel Pipes, editor of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Quarterly.

PBC head Radwan Abu Ayash was asked in a videotaped interview as to when he will have programs that promote peace on PBC TV.

Ayash responded matter of factly that he is not allowed to feature stories that "promote peace with the Israelis".

David S. Bedein, MSW
Media Research Analyst
Executive Director
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel
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Friday, April 3, 1998




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