The Palestinian ambassador to London has condemned state TV showing children dressed as suicide bombers and cartoon characters which encourage Palestinian children to hate Jews as “wrong” and “demonising”.
Manuel Hassassian, speaking during an LBC Radio debate at the start of Ramadan on Monday, said: “I agree in principle that these incitements are not going to help create conducive conditions for negotiations.”
Hassassian said work had been done on textbooks, with “a tremendous improvement in this level of stereotyping,” and also accused Israelis of doing likewise, saying: “The other side says ‘Death to the Arabs,’ snakes, venom.”
The Palestinian envoy told LBC host Iain Dale that cultural boycotts of Israel helped, but said: “We don’t advocate the boycott of Israel, only products that come from these settlements, because settlements are illegal.”
Elsewhere, Hassassian used the interview to slam the BBC, saying the national broadcaster only contacted him “when there is a suicide bombing,” but over the Gaza war in 2014, he said: “I hardly had interviews.”
Asked why, he said: “There is a very strong Zionist lobby in this country, like BICOM and others, who have great influence on the BBC. If I appear on the BBC and criticise Israel, they are bombarded with letters of protest.”
On the peace process, Hassassian said: “We’ve been negotiating for 22 years,” adding that Jewish settlements had quadrupled during that time.
“We are stuck between the historically inevitable and the politically impossible,” said the envoy, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “the maestro of procrastination.”
Last week, Dale interviewed new Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, who asked whether Hassassian would denounce the anti-Semitic charter of Hamas.
Hassassian said: “Hamas can write what they want. It’s not me who could judge that. I don’t believe in the destruction of Israel. I have embarked on a peace process with Israel. I have recognised the State of Israel. I don’t think Israel should deal with Hamas.”
He added that Israel has been “impeding” Palestinian elections, saying: “They control the West Bank. They control Jerusalem. They control everything.”