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Friday, April 4, 2008

Palestinian Ma'an News: 2 Stories - one in Arabic, one in English

Netherlands and Denmark fund terror glorification, hate language of Palestinian news agency
By Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

A Palestinian news agency that receives financial support from the governments of The Netherlands and Denmark glorifies terrorists, releases news stories using hate language and is a highly politicized, hate-promoting news organization. Paradoxically, Ma'an News claims to be "objective, accurate, balanced" and to "increase Palestinian media credibility," according to its web site.

1- Ma'an Honoring Terrorists and Murderers as Shahids

Ma'an has glorified the recent Palestinian murderer of eight Israeli yeshiva students, the Dimona suicide terrorist, the killers of the two Israeli hikers and the terrorists who attacked a boys' high school with the very highest Islamic status attainable, elevating them to the status of "Shahids" or "Martyrs for Allah." According to the accepted Palestinian interpretation of Islam, there is no higher status that a Muslim can achieve today than that of Shahid. In defining terrorist murderers as "Shahids," Ma'an is by definition sending its readers a straightforward message of honor for the killers, and approval for the many murders. Negative or dishonorable actions could not elevate an individual to Shahid status. (See below for full sources.)


In its English versions of these reports, Ma'an did not honor the terrorists  as "Shahids" or use the similar English term "Martyrs."Note, for example, the difference in Ma'an reporting on the murder of the two hikers:


Ma'an Arabic News

Ma'an English News

"Two of the operatives died as Shahids."  [Dec. 28, 2007]

"Two Israelis, two Palestinians killed by gunfire near Hebron."


The explanation for this and all other discrepancies between Ma'an's English and Arabic reporting is that this politically-charged Arabic terminology, together with the examples of Ma'an's use of hate-language (below), would readily expose Ma'an's lack of professionalism and messages of approval of terror if repeated in English. In addition, it must be assumed that the governments of The Netherlands and Denmark would be outraged to know they are funding terror glorification and hate journalism.


2 - Suicide Bombers: Ma'an uses term of higher honor: Shahada-Seekers


With regard to suicide terrorists Ma'an goes even further. According to Islam, someone who intentionally seeks Shahada - death for Allah - is greater than someone who achieves Shahada while not actively hoping to die. The Arabic term Istishhadi - Shahada- Seeker- is used by terror organizations to define and add a higher status of honor specifically to suicide terrorists .


Ma'an has followed this lead in its Arabic reporting of the Dimona suicide bombing that killed one Israeli woman and critically injured her husband. Note the apolitical report by Ma'an in English, where the suicide bomber is reported to be just that, "a bomber," followed by the Arabic Ma'an reports that use the term of highest honor, "Shahada-Seekers."


Ma'an Arabic News

Ma'an English News


"Ma'an - Senior military figure [Abu Al-Walid] of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Gaza, rejected the suspicion that Israel aroused regarding the identity of the two Shahada-Seekers, who carried out the Dimona action... Pictures of the two Shahada-Seekers etc ..."

 [February 5, 2008]



"Al-Aqsa Brigades dispel doubts about identity of second Dimona bomber...

Speaking to Ma'an on Tuesday, Abu Al-Walid reiterated that the bombers were Luay Al-Ghawani and Mousa Arafat ... Israeli security officials had expressed doubt about the validity of the image of the second bomber."




Note also that under similar pictures of the mothers of the bombers, Ma'an uses the objective caption in English: "Mother of suspected bomber," and the honor caption in Arabic: "Mothers of the Shahada-Seekers".

Ma'an Arabic caption

Ma'an English caption


"Mothers of Shahada-Seekers"


"Mother of suspected bomber"


3- Ma'an denies Israel's right to exist- all Israel is "Occupation"

Ma'an uses very politicized hate language to routinely reject Israel's right to exist, and even to deny Israel's existence. For example, when reporting on Israeli Arab doctors who visited Gaza, Ma'an defined them in Arabic as "Palestinian doctors from inside 'Occupied Palestine'," Ma'an's term for Israel. In this case, Ma'an's English language report on this story followed similar hate language:

"Palestinian doctors from 1948 territories [another Ma'an euphemism for Israel] visit Gaza... A delegation of doctors from Palestinian territories occupied since 1948, from outside of the Green Line, visited the Gaza Strip."  [February 29, 2008]

 In this article to deny Israel's legitimacy on its land, Ma'an went out of its way to use a particularly awkward hate expression. Instead of using the simple, accurate and apolitical wording, "doctors from Israel," Ma'an used 13 cumbersome, politically-charged hate words to describe the doctors' origins:

Ma'an political language

Accurate apolitical language


"doctors from Palestinian territories occupied since 1948, from outside of the Green Line"


"doctors from Israel"



It is also important to note that later in the same article, Ma'an used the term "Israel" as follows: "...crippling siege led by Israel." The difference is striking. When referring to the land or location - Ma'an called Israel "Occupied Palestine."  In referring to the government of Israel or criticizing Israeli policy Ma'an used "Israel." (See other examples below.)


Finally, since Israel's very existence is presented by Ma'an as an "Occupation," the Israeli army in Arabic is referred to with hate language identical to that used by the terrorist organizations: "the occupation forces." Here, as in some of the cases above, Ma'an avoids the hate language in English. One example is a Ma'an report after Israel arrested three suspected terrorists.


Ma'an Arabic News

Ma'an English News


"Occupation forces arrest ..." 

[March 25, 2008]

"Israeli forces raid ..."


See below a list of examples where Ma'an glorifies terrorists and uses hate language.
PMW comment:

Last year PMW documented that Ma'an used this politicized hate language after the suicide terror attack in the Israeli city of Eilat. [See PMW Bulletin]

In Arabic, Ma'an had reported that Eilat was "in the south of occupied Palestine," the mother of the terrorist was said to be from the "occupied city of Jaffa", though Jaffa is part of Tel Aviv, and Ma'an had honored the suicide bomber as a Shahid.

We find it surprising and unfortunate that the governments of The Netherlands and Denmark continue to fund this hate journalism without demanding a change. Hate incitement, including denial of Israel's existence and glorifying terror, is universally accepted as a paramount cause of continued Palestinian terror. These governments, together with governments who have blindly funded Palestinian schoolbooks, bear direct moral responsibility for the continued hatred that is being ingrained into future Palestinian generations, and bear a moral responsibility for the terror and its victims.

The following are additional examples of Ma'an using hate language and honoring terrorists.

Ma'an grants Shahid status to all terrorists in recent terror attacks. The following are in addition to examples above.


1. Jerusalem Yeshiva terror attack - 8 students killed:

Ma'an Arabic News:

"8 dead and two Shahids in the Jerusalem Operation. The operatives were from [village of] Jabal Mukbar..."  [Ma'an, Arabic news, March 6, 2008]


2. Terror attack in High School in Kfar Ezion:

Ma'an Arabic News:

"Ma'an discloses the identity of the two Shahids from the Ezion operation."  [Ma'an, Arabic news, January 24 , 2008]


3. Two hikers ambushed and murdered as they strolled on nature walk

Ma'an Arabic News:

"Two of the operatives died as Shahids, two more were injured and two Israeli soldiers were killed."  [Ma'an, Arabic news, December 28, 2007]


Ma'an English News:

"Two Israelis, two Palestinians killed by gunfire near Hebron."

[Ma'an, English news, December 28, 2007]


4. Suicide Terror attack in Dimona- one woman killed:

Ma'an Arabic News:

"Ma'an - Senior military figure [Abu Al-Walid] of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Gaza, rejected the suspicion that Israel aroused regarding the identity of the two Shahada-Seekers, who carried out the Dimona action... Pictures of the two Shahada-Seekers etc ..."  


Ma'an English News:

"Speaking to Ma'an on Tuesday, Abu Al-Walid reiterated that the bombers were Luay Al-Ghawani and Mousa Arafat"    [ English news, February 5, 2008]


Ma'an news releases promote the hate message that Israel has no right to exist, calling Israel "Occupied Palestine" or "territories occupied after 1948," Israel's government the "Occupation Authority" and its soldiers the "Occupation forces." Note also when Israel is mentioned it is often put within quotation marks- a common linguistic method to express non-recognition.


1."The Occupation authorities [editor: replaces 'Israeli authorities'] have been enforcing severe restrictions since the morning hours on the entrance of residents to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and even on the entrance into the city of Jerusalem within the borders of the occupation municipality [editor: replaces 'Jerusalem']. They have prevented hundreds of the residents of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories occupied since 1948, [editor: replaces 'Israel'] who hold blue "Israeli" identity cards from..."

[Ma'an, Arabic news, February 29, 2008]


2."He said that 72 prisoners have died as Shahids during the al-Aqsa intifada, 58 of them from the West Bank, one from the territories occupied since 1948 [editor: replaces 'Israel'] and 13 from the Gaza Strip..."       [Ma'an, Arabic news, February 29, 2008]


3."In a research paper he published on the issue of the number of prisoners of Palestine which has been occupied since 1948 (The "inside" prisoners) [editor: replaces 'Israeli prisoners'], he emphasized that this number is an important number in the equation of the historical and cultural struggle against the Israeli occupier..."    [Ma'an, Arabic news, March 15, 2008]


Note in this previous example that instead of just writing the single word "Israel," Ma"an used a very long term: Palestine which has been occupied since 1948. However, Ma"an itself felt the need to further explain its own cumbersome usage by adding in parentheses, ("inside" prisoners) meaning 'Israeli Arab prisoners.'  It shows again that Ma"an is willing to burden its readers with linguistic contortions, rather than use simple and accurate language which would indicate recognition of Israel. In this case the language it avoided writing was "Arab prisoners from Israel."


4. "Dr. al-Asta did not compare the outlook... to one who lives in the racist Ghetto in Occupied Palestine..."   [Ma'an, Arabic news, February 24, 2008]


5. "A delegation of doctors from Palestinian territories occupied since 1948... visited the Gaza Strip." [Ma'an, Arabic news, March 17, 2008]


6. Discrepancies between English and Arabic reports:

Ma'an Arabic Report:

"The occupation forces" detained 3 residents in Bethlehem and al-Duha".    [Ma'an, Arabic news, March 25, 2008]

Ma'an English Report:

"Israeli forces raid Bethlehem and seize 3 Palestinians"

[Ma'an, English news, March 25, 2008]

Ma'an Arabic Report:

"The Israeli occupation army seized the town of Kafin afternoon today, Wednesday..."  [Ma'an, Arabic news, March 26, 2008]

Ma'an EnglishReport:

"Israeli forces stormed the town of Kafin in the West Bank Wednesday..."  [Ma'an, English news, March 26, 2008]

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