Israel Resource Review 8th June, 2005


Official PA media:
Israel Desecrates the Quran
Dr. Michael Widlanski

JERUSALEM--June 8, 2005-- Voice of Palestine radio offered great air time Wednesday morning to charges that Israeli jailers in the Megiddo Prison had deliberately desecrated three copies of the Quran, Islam's scripture, by throwing the book on the floor during a search of Palestinian prisoners' cells.

"Prisoners in Megiddo Prison began a three-day strike today to protest the desecration of the Holy Quran in the prison yesterday by Israeli security forces and police," declared V.O.P. radio.

The new charges of Quran desecration come at a time that Israel has been charged with planning to desecrate Islamic holy sites, according to the Palestinian broadcast and print media directly controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The PA media and its mosque speakers often draw a direct parallel between "the American Occupation Army in Iraq" and "the Israeli Occupation Army," strongly suggesting that both are enemies of Islam, while the Palestinian media and text books make fun of the idea that there was ever a Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

"Members of the police began hurling the copies of the Quran in front of the eyes of the prisoners," Palestinian prisoners said, according to V.O.P. radio.

The truthfulness of the story, Palestinian state radio said, was vouched for by Israeli Arab MK Muhammad Baraka.

[Note-Israeli Arab MKs and the Israeli Islamic Movement had a major role in the outbreak of the current Palestinian-Israeli War of 2000-2005 (in which several thousand people have died) as well as the Temple Mount riots in 1996 (in which about 50 people died) after charges that Israel had desecrated the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The theme of Quran desecration has been an important motif in the Palestinian media in the last three weeks, since Newsweek Magazine charged American prison authorities with having desecrated the Quran in an American-run prison in Cuba. About 20 people died in riots following the Newsweek charges, that were later withdrawn -MW]

Earlier, V.O.P. radio opened its morning broadcasts with a re-run yesterday's news that PA Prime Minister Ahmad Qreia (nicknamed Abu 'Ala) had strongly condemned the Israeli policy of assassinations as carried out in Qabatya yesterday(V.O.P. radio, 8 a.m.-Jerusalem Time).

Prime Minister Qreia called for international intervention to stop Israeli war crimes, specifying intervention by the "Quartet"-the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Once again V.O.P. identified the dead men as Murawah Kmeil and Nasser Abdel-Rahim Zakarna, and it pronounced them martyrs.

"This is a serious and direct danger to the tahdiyya," V.O.P. radio quoted Qreia, referring to the so-called Palestinian "cooling-off period" of not attacking Israelis.

In its fifth news item, V.O.P. reported that the PA Interior Ministry had published a statement calling for all Palestinian groups to observe the tahdiyya for the sake of Palestinian national interests and national unity.

In its sixth item, V.O.P. morning news hinted at the four rocket attacks on Sderot inside Israel yesterday when, citing "Israeli military sources," it mentioned that an Arab worker, identified as Salah Mraneh, was killed when another rocket landed on an Israeli "colony" in Gaza. V.O.P. also told its listeners that a rocket killed another man-a Chinese worker. It did not tell its listeners that two Palestinian Arab workers had died in the attack, but it reported that the attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad. There was no condemnation or criticism of this action.

Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.

[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times

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Water Commission Official:
"Evacuation Liable to Fatally Damage Water"
Ben Caspit
Correspondent, Maariv

"The implementation of the disengagement plan in northern Samaria will make it possible for the Palestinians-on the assumption that there is no coordination and agreement with Israel-to pump 50 million cubic meters of water a year for households and agriculture. This will fatally damage the Israeli water system in the Gilboa, Harod and Beit Shean region," says Dr. Yosef Draizin, director of the planning department in the Water Commission, in an official document that he wrote and gave to Water Commissioner Shimon Tal.

The document, which Dr. Draizin wrote in July 2004, states "all this time the sides have held ongoing contacts on water and sewage, they have coordinated and acted in agreement, in accordance with the chapter on water written in agreements. The practical implementation of disengagement is liable to be reflected in unilateral Palestinian actions, and they may allow themselves to take actions that until now they refrained from doing either willingly or because of Israeli control on the ground."

Dr. Draizin states, "the Palestinian water plans are far-reaching insofar as utilizing natural water resources, mainly the mountain river basins. They consider this, along with the Jordan River sources, as having the potential of up to 700 million cubic meters a year as a right given them along with control on the ground." Analyzing the "fatal" damage to the Israeli water system, Draizin writes, "this damage will be seen, directly, in a shortage of 50 million cubic meters a year, along with a significant rise in the salinity of a good many of the wells and springs in the valleys." Draizin also wrote, "it is important to note that not coming up with alternatives for the water in the region will cause the collapse of the system and the residential/agricultural/tourist/economic fabric. The ramifications of unilateral disengagement, or our consent to conceding our rights to water from the mountain aquifer in all of Judea and Samaria, are even more far reaching."

Draizin analyzes the various significances to the water system: "The significance on the national level is that it will lose a central and high quality source. We estimate that losing the mountain aquifer can be offset, beyond the direct quantity, by desalinating 50 to 300 million cubic meters. relying so massively on artificial sources constitutes a very significant strategic risk, when it comes to water. We estimate that under present conditions, it will be necessary to desalinate up to 500 million cubic meters to meet Israel's needs up until 2020." [.]

The document is based on the assumption that Israel will lose security control of the area that it evacuates in northern Samaria, something that is denied by the Prime Minister's Bureau. The Prime Minister's Bureau commented that this warning is not relevant because according to the disengagement plan, Israel will retain security control of the area evacuated in northern Samaria. Water Commissioner Shimon Tal told Ma'ariv yesterday: "Indeed, every cubic meter of water pumped from the Judea and Samaria mountain ridge is at Israel's expense, either in water or in the salinity of the underground water table. Our position was presented to all the officials." When he was asked if Israel were not, in fact, about to lose control, he said: "Yes, and if we keep control of the area, then seemingly there will not be a problem."

This piece ran in Maariv on June 8th, 2005

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