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GI interview of Sameh Khader, International PR Director for Palestinian TV

By: Elad Dunayevsky, Geneva Initiative

Elad Dunayevsky, Geneva Initiative Israel interviews Sameh Khader, International Public Relations Director for Palestinian TV, and former Chief of Staff to PLO Executive Yasser Abed Rabbo

Question: What changes have taken place in Palestinian TV?
Khader: The Palestinian TV was bombarded by Israel during the second Intifada and that was the most significant challenge for the Palestinian Broadcasting Authority. Also, the transmission was weak, the content of the broadcasting was of bad quality, and we needed to improve the quality of work coming from the staff.
Now, Palestinian TV is about to move into a new big building. We are designing training programs for the staff, which will enable us to implement structural and content changes.
Regarding programs – we didn't want the Palestinian TV to be like the official TVs in all the Arab countries. Modern media is from the people and to the people. We have started to involve the Palestinian community in the production of TV programs. The result is that the TV is respecting the wide public and the minorities, officials and NGOs, Authority and opposition. We are in the process of transforming Palestinian formal speech which is based on the emotional traditional style to one that is more realistic and consistent with the modern media.
The image of the hero has to be widened, so that it will not only be the prisoner, the Shahid, or one who carries a gun. It will be the Shahid, the prisoner, the clever student, social workers, or a group of people who carry out an interesting project. The hero is simply anyone doing his job successfully.
Question: Do you have plans to conduct and broadcast interviews with Israeli leaders?
Khader: We already have programs where Israeli prominent figures are interviewed, one of which is called "Across the Green Line". In this program some Israeli people speak about their visions regarding the conflict and its resolution.
Question: Do you think that there is a chance for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas in the next one to three months?
Khader: I do not think Hamas is interested in reconciliation. They are wasting time and blaming everyone except themselves. They need to Palestinianize their mind and spirit and think of their own people and the national project.
Question: What about the chances of agreeing over the Egyptian Reconciliation Paper?
Khader: Hamas has been consulted on each item of the Egyptian paper. Still they do not sign it. They will not sign it. 
Question: With no progress in the negotiations with Israel, do you think there is a risk to the existing Fatah structure?
Khader: Fatah will exist. It is a very public movement with wide support. You dispute with them once but you never dispute over them. Fatah is made from the Palestinian people and acts for them. They have wide support not only from their members, but also independent figures support Fatah in one way or another. In many respects, Israel has done considerable harm to Fatah. The PLO led by Fatah decided to make peace with Israel. They were leaders in resistance and they are leaders of peace. I admire the Fatah diversity.
Question: Do you think that PM Salam Fayyad will succeed in his plan to declare independence before the end of 2011?
Khader: Yes. People are fed up with words and fake promises. We feel the Fayyad government’s devotion to the national project. He is doing good things on the ground and people like it. He is a hard working Prime Minister. The increasing support in Fayyad and Abbas isn't elusive. People see what is happening on the ground, so I think that the plan will succeed.
Question: What can you say about accusations of incitement?
Khader: Regarding incitement – there is no incitement at all in the Palestinian TV in comparison to Israeli media. What do you expect us to do when a person is killed? How would you tell the public that he was killed without saying who killed him?
We are fully committed to the President’s political plan, which has been declared many times. We are fully committed to the condemnation of violence and support for peaceful civil actions.