מכתב שקיבלתי בדואל, ובו מסופר איך השתלטו חיילי צה"ל בברוטליות על תחנת טלוויזיה חינוכית פלסטינית, שלדברי מנהלה דאוד כותאב, טיפחה רוח של פיוס וליברליזם מערבי בקרב הפלסטינים.
I am so angry at what is happening to what I have worked on so long that I
wrote this article. If anyone wants to try and place it in a newspaper,
magazine, mailing list or any other publication please feel free to do so.
A Palestinian refuses to accept Israeli attempt to destroy Hope
By Daoud Kuttab
I still remember the day early in March 1997 when I was handed a piece of
paper issued by the Palestinian Authority allowing us at Al Quds
University's Institute of Modern Media to establish a local television
station in Ramallah. With lots of energy and almost no resources we began
the process of setting up Al Quds Educational Television. We wanted an
independent TV station that was neither a governmental mouth-piece nor a
commercial station that lives by game shows and shampoo
It wasn't easy but we were largely successful until this week.
Five years after launching our first broadcast using a 40 Watt transmitter
and screening a gold fish in a glass bowl swimming to the sounds of
Beethoven, our dreams have been shattered. Our station, which has grown in
size, viewrship and program, has been arbitrarily closed, our equipment has
been destroyed and Israeli soldiers are using our offices, studios and
equipment as their bowling ally. No order was issued for this closure, we
didn't violate any law. The destruction was simply an act of unprovoked and
From early on the going was tough, but our existence until this week was
never in doubt. We tried to stay independent as the best means we believed
will help us in the pursuit of serving our people. We received little help
in our mission. The major international donors wanted to help the state-run
television as a means to boost the Palestinian Authority. With help from
Palestinian foundations like the Welfare Association and international
organizations like the Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation we
were able to create a Palestinian TV station that combined PBS and
C-Span-type of public service programming.
Early on, senior leaders in the Palestinian Authority were not happy with
us. When we started broadcasting live sessions of the elected Palestinian
Legislative Council, Palestine TV started jamming us. When we aired a
session that dealt with corruption in the Palestinian Authority I was
arrested and held in a Palestinian jail for seven days. My release as a
result of local and international pressure helped secure our station's
continuity and progress.
Since then and despite some programming critical of the Palestinian
Authority, we were left alone. On our screens we have dealt with issues
ranging from children's rights to the problems of early marriage among young
Palestinian women. From issues about physical and sexual abuse of children
to programs dealing with our societies lack of respect for individuals with
disabilities. We tackled issues dealing with the environment, public health
and family planning. Freedom of expression and presenting multiple opinions
on social economic and political issues were our motto.
During this time, and despite many pressures, we were excited about our
efforts. We felt that we were not only building up a TV station but
contributing in the building of our society. Throughout this period we felt
firmly that we were laying the blocks for a cohesive progressive society
that will be the foundation of an independent state.
As part of the vision of the president of Al Quds University, Professor Sari
Nuseibeh, we embarked on a brave television co production to produce a
Palestinian-Israeli version of Sesame Street. The program was produced with
the aim of teaching both our children mutual respect and tolerance. We even
used the same image of the fish from our first broadcast to teach children
the Arabic word for fish samak. Although the program was aired on our and
other local Palestinian television stations, the harsh realities on the
ground made our job much more difficult. The Netanyahu Administration had
dashed all previous hoped for peace and it was clear that the situation had
not changed enough to allow our children to consider paying serious
attention to the television program's curriculum goals of tolerance and
It wasn't only the children who were disappointed with the lack of progress
in the effort to end the Israeli occupation. We were all unhappy with the
continued Israeli hesitation in delivering on our right to freedom from
checkpoints and travel permits not to mention the continued illegal
Yet we kept hoping. For so long we kept on hoping, refusing to give-in to
despair. As late as last week and despite the Israeli humiliations to our
president and our people we kept the vision alive.
When the latest Israeli incursion occurred we tried our best to keep our
cool despite the next to impossible mission of running an educational
television station in such times. Tanks were rolling around our city, our
staff were under curfew and we were cut off from each other except for
telephone contacts. The fact that our station was on the edge of town
sparred us in the early days of the incursion. e kept running our station
with a mix of public service messages (phone numbers of medical care etc.)
plus public service programming. A series of 13 Public Service Messages that
we produced with UNICEF with the aim of helping parents and children deal
with the trauma of violence were repeatedly broadcast.
But this Israeli honeymoon didn't last. At 6:30 on April 2, 2002, Israeli
soldiers came to the four story Medical Professions College Building where
located and began destroying our dream. Every office in this educational
facility was broken into, equipment was destroyed and office space was
settled into by the invading soldiers. Our two remaining staff members
manning the broadcast were arrested and held for four hours in the cold
before being released. Moments before their arrest they turned off the
transmitter in fear that the Israeli soldiers would repeat what they did at
a local commercial station a few days earlier. When the Israelis occupied
the building housing Watan TV, they kicked away its staff and after a while
the soldiers started to broadcast pornographic material.
While being held, the two remaining staff in the building and the
University's guard heard and noticed the destruction of our building. They
saw television cameras and invaluable video archives thrown from the fourth
floor where our equipment and studio are located. Neighbors saw at least
five Israel tanks rolling in and parking in the parking lot where professors
and television staff used to park. The entire building's offices were lit
till late hours of the night and when a number of our viewers called to find
out what was happening Israeli soldiers answered our phones as if this was
their private homes.
I am fortunate that my family and our staff have not been physically hurt.
When compared to the fate of others we must be grateful.
But what happened hurt when seen in the context of what one has been working
for all his life. The attempt to destroy our dream, both personally in
building a useful educational TV station, or collectively in building a
viable state, will not be shattered by such reprehensive actions.
It will not be easy to pick up the pieces after one experiences such
brutality and lack of respect by individuals who no doubt bring shame to the
nation and religion that they belong to.
I have no doubt that we will rebuild our television station and re ignite
the hope that we had five years ago. At the same time I am confident that
our people with the support of the international community will rise from
the pain and build the foundation of a viable state that can live in peace
with its neighbors.
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem. He is the director
of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University which owns and runs
Al Quds Educational Television. In May 2001, Mr. Kuttab received the
International Press Institute's award as one of fifty press freedom heroes
in the last fifty years.
דאוד כותאב היקר,
אם תיאורך אמיתי ואמין, הרי שצר לי על שאירע בתחנתך.
כבכל מלחמה יש גם בזו *רוע הכרחי*. אין לי ספק שיש צורך להלחם בטרוריסטים. הם מוצאים מסתור בקרב אוכלוסיה אזרחית, ויש נפגעים מקרבה. אני מאמין שרוב חיילי צה"ל אינם פוגעים במכוון באזרחים, אך זה קורה. אתמול נהרגה ילדה פלסטינית בת 13 שנמצאה בשטח בו התנהל קרב. זה איום ונורא, אך לדעתי עדיין בגדר הרוע ההכרחי. איך ניתן למנוע דבר כזה בסערת הקרב ובתנאיו? (בהנחה שאין ברירה אלא להלחם בטרוריסטים).
אולם גם יש *רוע מיותר* והמקרה שאתה מספר עליו הוא סיפור של רוע מיותר, של חוסר אבחנה ושל הרס לשמו. אם אכן הטלוויזיה שלך היא כפי שאתה מתארה, מחנכת לפייסנות ונאורות, הרי מה שנעשה לכם הוא עוול מיותר, שניתן היה להימנע ממנו. צער מיותר לך וצער מיותר גם לנו.
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