Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports that two Arab newspapers in the Palestinian Authority are accusing Israelis of unleashing bands of rats against Jerusalem's Arab population.

PMW, which monitors media in the Palestinian Authority for anti-Israel items, reports on what it calls "yet another wild accusation about Israel" in the PA press.  "Two PA newspapers - one directly controlled by the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas - are accusing Israel of releasing rats with  supernatural qualities to chase away the Arab residents of Jerusalem," write PMW's Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook.

 According to the PA papers, the Israeli-Jerusalem rat is:

1. Immune to rat poison

2. Aggressive and larger than usual

3. Unafraid of cats and able to scare them away

4. Highly fertile, with females giving birth to 140 young rats a year, four times the normal average

5. Highly selective, as Jewish residents of Jerusalem apparently are not affected by these rats.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, an official PA organ controlled by the office of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, reported on July 18:

"[Israeli] settlers have been bringing chests filled with rats and releasing them in the Old City's [Arab] neighborhoods; they breed and have become a major curse... the [Arab] residents' efforts to counter this infestation have failed, especially since cats run away from these rats because of their size and ferocity... All of the conventional efforts to kill them have not succeeded, because they seem to be immune to poison and they breed in the sewers. It is known that this female rat gives birth seven times a year, each time giving birth to 20 babies, which compels Jerusalem's [Arabs] today to face the dangers of settlement and the infestation of rats..."

This followed a report by another paper, Al-Ayyam, the day before:

"Large numbers of [Israeli] settlers have been bringing huge cages full of rats and releasing them onto the streets and alleys of the Old City... in order to turn the [Arab] residents' life into a living hell, forcing then to leave..."

"Creating libels against Israel," PMW reports, "is a pivotal aspect of the Palestinian Authority's incitement to hatred against Israel and Jews." The organization reported earlier this month that the PA media were accusing Israel of conducting Nazi-like experiments on Palestinan prisoners.