Israel Resource Review 2nd March, 2001


Seven Years of Arming the PLO
An Assessment
Ariel Kahane

The State of Israel has armed its enemies.

After six years it is still difficult to digest this. It is hard to believe that by its own hand,Israel built up a hostile military force and let it entrench itself in the heart of the country.

"How do we expect them to keep order if they don't get arms?"
"How will they fight against Hamas? With sticks?"
These were the rhetorical questions Shimon Peres asked in the Knesset debates in the euphoric early days of Oslo.

Such was the Israeli justification for the transfer of 11,544 weapons to the "retired" terrorists who would in due course once again do battle against Israel.

To be sure, Rabin, Peres, and their partners were not the originators of the idea of building a Palestinian force in the Land of Israel.

In the first Camp David agreement, Menachem Begin agreed to the establishment of "a strong local police force" whose purpose would be to maintain public order in the proposed Palestinian "autonomy."

Later, under the May, 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreements which were part of the Oslo peace process, the term "Palestinian police" was coined. This was a military force disguised as a civil guard. It was also decided that this "police force" would be responsible for public order, prevent hostile actions, and be the only armed force in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

To carry out these undertakings, the "thinkers" of Oslo I gave the Palestinian police 7,000 submachine guns of different types, 120 machine guns of 0.3 and 0.5 inch caliber, a number of boats (for the Palestinian coast guard) and 45 armored vehicles. These, it was stressed, would move on wheels, not on chains. The kinds of weapons and quantities of ammunition the Palestinians would be permitted were not specified. In the course of time, the PA exploited this lack of clarity. It was also specified that 9,000 men would serve in the Palestinian police force. That left 2,000 policemen who would presumably be unarmed-or perhaps armed with billy clubs, a highly improbable scenario.

In the weeks preceding the summer of 1994, when the Palestinian forces took positions in Gaza and Jericho, Israel examined carefully every single one of the weapons which were intended for the new police force. Rifles were marked; numbers were etched into them; and in the laboratories of the army, the ballistic signatures were registered. The weapons were supposed to become personal weapons; the number on a weapon would be attached to an individual in the Palestinian police force just as is done with weapons in the Israel Defense Force, so that in case of a prohibited use of a weapon, Israel could quickly identify its owner.

The careful marking was done in accordance with instructions by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an effort to calm the Israeli public.

The citizens of the state did not easily buy into the idea of resting their security on Arafat's men.

The slogan, "Don't give them rifles," and the arguments of the opposition that Palestinian policemen were nothing but terrorists in disguise, made an impression on the average Israeli who is usually apathetic, if not asleep. Therefore Rabin instructed the security services to undertake this effort to convince the public that its safety was being guarded.

However, the measures that were taken were merely for appearance sake. From recent accounts by senior officers who were involved in the process of arming the Palestinians, it emerges that the army knew perfectly well that the day after the policeman received his meticulously-identified rifle, nothing would prevent him from exchanging his weapon with someone else. Even in the Israel Defense Forces, no one thought seriously it would be possible to track down such exchanges. Thus it was clear from the beginning that all the cross-referencing between the number on the weapon and the owner were useful-in the best case-tor only a very short time.

The ballistic signatures were an even greater fiction. The reasons are clear to any beginner. To identify a weapon from which a shot was fired, one has to find the cartridges expelled during the firing. But a Palestinian policeman who goes out to ambush someone from Area A (under control of the Palestinian Authority), or from a vehicle that then drives off to the sovereign Palestinian area, knows the forces of the Israeli Department for Criminal Investigation will not follow him to look for cartridges. Even the most advanced methods used to identify a weapon on the basis of the bullets fired from it are useful in only a small minority of cases.

Usually, investigators cannot find the bullet, or even if they do, if it was squashed as it is in most cases, they cannot make use of it. To these difficulties, add a third one. Half of the weapons given to the Palestinians were M16s. Because of their great speed and small size, the bullets of M-16s easily disappear, are shattered, or squashed. In other words, the ballistic signatures were of no practical use.

One must assume this defect was brought to the knowledge of the politicians who had decided to arm the Palestinians with these rifles but they decided "Never mind; it will be O.K." Colonel Gal Hirsch, commander of the Binyamin brigade, recently roared with laughter when he was asked about ballistic examination of the Palestinian bullets which were fired at Israeli forces in the recent turmoil. He explained that one cannot carry out this kind of examination for thousands of bullets. On the other hand the Kalachnikov used to shoot at the bus on French Hill in Jerusalem was identified with absolute certainty: it appears on the official list of weapons with which Israel armed the forces of the Palestinian Authority.

Three months after the Palestinian Authority entered Gaza in 1994, the PA police force turned its arms on the Israel Defense Forces for the first time.

The battle took place at the Erez crossing, lasted for some hours, and resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier. The Israeli government explained that the Palestinian police had not yet become accustomed to the new rules and the Israeli public promptly forgot this serious event, Indeed, the Palestinian police never adjusted to the rules which Israel assigned them, despite which Israel steadily increased the weapons in their hands.

The Palestinians have increased their weaponry through two major channels: direct supply by Israel and smuggling. The Palestinians issued requests, five or six times a year, for more ammunition stores. All these requests-every single one of them-received a positive response. As of 1996, the Palestinians had stockpiled a million and a half rifle bullets, out of which one million were 7.26 millimeter caliber (for Kalachnikovs) and 400,000 were 9 millimeter caliber appropriate for pistols and Uzi submachine guns and 100,000 bullets of 5.26 millimeter for the M-16 and the Galil assault rifles. Like the rifles, the bullets were not directly supplied from the stores of the Israel Defense Forces but were acquired by the Palestinians by purchase abroad and were acquired with Israeli consent and supervision.

Only after two and a half years, with the change to a Likud-fed government, was this flood stopped by the officer in charge, who observed: "The quantities are completely irrational and the principle on my watch is 'The less they have, the healthier it is."'

As for the PA's second method of arming itself, the information system of the Israel Defense Forces followed endless smuggling of weapons into the autonomy area.

They got in by land, sea, and air. As a result, the Palestinian police was strengthened militar- fly, and was transformed from a police force to a regular guerrilla army. Israeli military intelligence officers saw this and commented on it but none pounded the table . . .

The Israeli underworld served as another source of weapons for the Palestinians. Israeli criminals sold their Arab partners significant numbers of Uzi and Galil submachine guns. This is probably the reason why these weapons are found so abundantly on the shoulders of Palestinian warriors. Other types of prohibited weapons were the Karl Gustav and the M-1, which is a sharpshooter's gun.

How many weapons have the Palestinians assembled in the past seven years? The Israeli army knows how many MIGs Syria has, but research for this article has shown that military intelligence has not the faintest idea how many Kalachnikovs are in the hands of Yasser Arafat. 'Tens of thousands more than were agreed upon" said an IDF spokesman, "How many tens of thousands?" "I don't know. Maybe thirty thousand. Maybe more." The main indication for these enormous numbers of weapons is that in the "autonomous areas" one can obtain weapons of all kinds for ridiculously low prices. The fact the prices are so low means the market is flooded.

What is clear to all is that the Palestinians have increased the variety of their weapons. Recently Barnachano, the official army publication, reported that the PA has tanks and anti-aircraft missiles which are a serious danger to Israel's helicopters. The PA also has anti-tank weapons and mines, hand grenades, and explosives of different types.

In the fall of 1995, at the height of the smuggling era, the Palestinians obtained still more help from an unexpected source-Israel. The Israeli leadership knew well from intelligence reports that the Palestinians were arming themselves from their own resources. In spite of this Israel gave them a gift-8,000 new weapons. And there was an additional Israeli gift-a tripling of the size of the Palestinian "police" to 30,000 men, all of this to accompany the signing of Oslo 11. According to this agreement, 4,000 new "policemen" would be allowed in the cities of Judea and Samaria armed with Kalachnikovs and M-16s (duly marked by Israel of course). Four thousand additional policemen received Beretta pistols and to this were added 120 machine guns. Even so, it reached the point where there were 15,000 more policemen than officially permitted weapons in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

There was no escaping the conclusion that Rabin, Peres & Co. were aware of the fact this large force was not going to carry out its undertakings with nightsticks.

One of the IDF army officers who was opposed to what was going on at the time, but is not yet completely free to speak, said that the government's closing of its eyes to the extent of Palestinian armament is symptomatic of the Oslo process.

The Oslo process meant the avoidance of problems rather than confronting them.

The political leadership tried to blur the fact that there were basic breaches of agreements and that while Israel wanted peace, the Palestinians wanted to continue the struggle. The politicians ignored the facts; they ignored the military analyses; they ignored the uselessness of the ballistic markings; they ignored the smuggling. In short, they avoided all obstacles so that the process could go on. This writer asked the army officer who must still remain anonymous: "All right, we know about the politicians. This was their agenda and they could not admit their mistakes, but why was the army quiet?" He said: "Some in the army wanted to be partners in this historical process and closed their eyes to avoid recognizing the military meaning of what was going on."

What this officer could not say explicitly has been said by Likud Knesset member Uzi Landau: "it is not a matter simply of closing one's eyes. This was intentional deception and intentional ignoring of information. There was an uninterrupted process of arms smuggling from Egypt through Gaza and from Jordan. The leadership clique swept everything under the rug. The army did not take seriously the information it had collected itself, and anyone who spoke up and warned was treated as a spinner of fantasies. All the revelations-the supposedly new ones that appear in the government White Paper [published on this website]- are in fact old news.

For the last year and a half, the IDF had information making it clear the Palestinians were preparing themselves for a time of conflict. It is a very worrisome question why the army did not strongly oppose the government's obfuscation."

For over two and a half years, Landau saw from up close how the army failed to speak up strongly but instead followed the program fed to it by the Prime Minister. During Landau's service as chairman of the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee, the committee was briefed by intelligence officers that the Palestinian coast guard had acquired the character of a small navy and that the Palestinian police had established a commando unit undergoing rigorous training. Intelligence officers as well as attentive settlers related that during the night, in the wadis, the Palestinians were conducting regular firing exercises. But reports are one thing-action something else.

The Netanyahu government, elected in 1996, not only did nothing to stop Palestinian armament, but graciously turned over to the Palestinians 200 Ingram submachine guns as part of the withdrawal agreement from Hebron.

Incidentally, after their distribution, the Ingrams disappeared from Hebron, apparently to go into a Palestinian emergency storage depot. To Netanyahu's credit, two years later he pulled himself together enough to demand in the Wye conference that the illegal weapons be collected. Clinton proposed establishing a mechanism administered by the CIA to supervise the process.

The Palestinians agreed to Clinton's proposal. They only had a small condition. In return they demanded that the CIA train their forces in the most up-to-date methods of combat etc. Netanyahu did not oppose this. In practice, as usual, only the paragraphs benefiting the Palestinians were carried out. They received the ClAtraining and kept the weapons.

The CIA training and support, whose precise nature remains secret, continued until the last possible moment.

The last truckload of American supplies crossed the Karni crossing point for Gaza on the third day of the breakout of the current uprising.

Under Barak, further Israeli support was given, to build up Palestinian forces.

Only eight months ago, just one month before the earlier "Naqba" riots by the Palestinians, Barak approved turning over to them 300 additional Kalachnikovs.

A senior IDF officer defended this decision before the Foreign and Security Affairs Committee of the Knesset. Thus the Palestinian forces have reached the point where they are now. They possess enormous reserves of ammunition.

In September of 2000, on the Jewish New Year, they began to direct precise fire on the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and the inhabitants of the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The eyes that were glued shut for seven years have opened in horrified amazement.

This article ran in the December, 2000 issue of Nekudah, a monthly magazine

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Official PA radio news - P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio: Tuesday February 27th & Wednesday February 28th
Anti-Zionist Hasidim Dominate the V.O.P. Airwaves

Summary and Analysis

The Palestinian Authority is charging Israel with "unprecedented escalations," even as its broadcast arm, V.O.P., appears to be readying the Palestinian population for a still-worse escalation, perhaps even Israeli invasion.

In one of the tragic-comic interludes of Palestinian radio, the Voice of Palestine turned over its microphones and headlines for several hours Tuesday and Wednesday to the anti-Zionist Hasidic advertisers in The New York Times.

Palestinian National Congress speaker Salim Za'anoun (who recently raised hackles with Arafat by asking for more power sharing) returned to the headlines and news items again Wednesday, holding a limited session of the PNC.

Why is Arafat allowing the appearance (in public and in the state-run media) of Za'anoun, always viewed as a hard-liner and someone who has recently reiterated that the PNC never actually repealed the Palestinian Covenant? Possible Answer: Arafat supports the hard line, but, as is often the case, would prefer that someone else get the blame if the hard line elicits a harsh American and/or Israeli response. Another possible answer: Arafat is actually acceding-at least in appearance-to the power-sharing demands of some of his critics, and he is allowing a more public face to younger generation (home-grown) leaders such as Marwan Barghouti. But if experience is any guide, Arafat will let out the leash for a while, and then pull it back in when he thinks Za'anoun, Barghouti and others have over-stepped the line.

V.O.P. largely downplayed the three sniping attacks on four Israeli civilians at the northern approaches to Jerusalem on Tuesday evening February 27. The events were treated as an after-word to various Israeli attacks and search procedures, some of which were prompted by the sniping attacks.

Tuesday Evening Headlines, February 27

  • "Israeli occupation forces are currently bombarding inhabited residences in Mount Tawil (jabal Tawil) in El-Bireh, and sources tell us that occupation forces in the colony of Psagot, built on the land of (Palestinian) citizens opened heavy automatic weapons fire on residential neighborhoods in Mount Tawil;
  • In addition, Israeli occupation forces are currently shelling the northern approaches and inhabited neighborhoods of El-Bireh using heavy automatic fire concentrated from the colony of Beit El;
  • The youngster Muhammad Mahmoud Hilis, 13 years old from Gaza, was very seriously wounded by israeli fire concentrated from the Mintar Crossing in eastern Gaza. And our correspondent says that the youth, who was taken to Shifa Hospital, was hit by an explosive bullet in the head (Note: this would be an illegal "dum-dum"-like bullet);
  • And in a new confrontations, five citizens in Kalandia Camp were wounded by live bullets and suffocation, after protests to mark the martyring of Hussan al-Disi who was felled by occupation bullets yesterday;
  • Occupation authorities have imposed a curfew on the town of Rafat near Ramallah, and occupation soldiers have invaded some of the citizens' houses, bringing armored personnel carriers into the center of the town…and opening fire in the vicinity of the Palestine Broadcasting Service;
  • Occupation forces have stopped for search about 20 cars on the approach to Bani Zeideh;
  • This afternoon, three settlers were wounded when their car was subjected to fire near the colony of Giv'at Ze'ev, which was built on land of citizens from south of Betunia. And Israeli sources say the wounded are one man and two women, all in serious condition;
  • At this moment in Amman his excellency President yaser Arafat is conducting talks with the Jordanian monarch King Abdullah, and talks are revolving around recent political developments and the visit of American Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as civilian matters and the continuation of Israeli military aggression. In addition, the are discussing the upcoming Arab summit on March 27. And Jordan is the first stop on an international swing for President Arafat that will take him to Egypt and to Libya;
  • Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Hilal al-Khatib said today that talks between King Abdullah and Egyptian President Husni Mubarak dealt with preparations for the summit…;
  • The Central Rabbinical organization of Jews of the United States condemned Israel's destructive polices against the Arab peoples, especially the Palestinian people. And the statement which was published in the New York Times said 'the existence of Zionism and Israel was an affront to the will of God who stripped the Jews of the control of the dejected Temple and the Holy Land, and decreed upon them "exile" and revulsion among the peoples of the world.And the Central Rabbinical Organization concluded that Zionism is against the Torah and the will of God'"

Note: despite the relatively short nature of the bulletin, V.O.P. went on to quote the anti-Israeli advertisement at length and with great relish concerning the guilt of Israel in committing many massacres and other great transgressions. One may ask why did V.O.P. bother with this item, reaching into the New York Times for an advertisement? Answer: this is a wonderful opportunity for the V.O.P. to tell its listeners what it really thinks about Israel and Zionism without facing the risk of violating the Oslo accords, which prohibit such comments, by simply quoting a Jewish group.

The translator does not know which rabbinical organization took out this advertisement in the NYT, but it sounds like Satmer Hassidim or Neturei Karta, rather than a major American Jewish group. Nevertheless, V.O.P. and the PA can almost never resist grabbing a criticism of Israel out of the mouths of Jews-sometimes distorting and exaggerating the criticism-to build a case against Jewish control of Jerusalem. V.O.P. did something similar in October when it distorted the findings of a Tel Aviv University professor of archeology, claiming his findings showed there had never been a Temple of Solomon where the Islamic shrines currently stand]

  • United Nations settlement authorities say the Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands are illegitimate and illegal…The comments came in its 18th annual gathering in Kenya; (Here, too, the provenance of this item is not clear, or for that matter which UN body is being quoted)
  • Minister of the (Israeli) Labor Party are meeting to determine the portfolios in the Sharon Government.And Yossi Beilin of the Labor Party said that Sharon has committed some of the worst political transactions."

    9:00 p.m. Evening News, Tuesday February 27

    • "Israeli occupation forces escalate their aggression in the Ramallah district, bombarding residential neighborhoods with artillery and automatic fire;
    • Several citizens wounded by occupation bullet fire;
    • Three settlers and two soldiers from occupation army in shooting incidents near Rafat south west of Ramallah;
    • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat pursues talks in Amman that will also take him to Egypt and Libya;
    • Central Rabbis of Jews in the United States and Canada condemn the policies of Israel against Arab peoples, especially our Palestinian people;
    • Sources in the Likud Party say it intends to bring in an additional 17 Knesset members from the extreme Right;
    • The Israeli police are investigating moral charges againt Member of Knesset Ayyoub Kara, acused of molesting a woman in his office;
    • Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Hilal al-Khatib says the Arab summit will concentrate on issues relating to the peace process;
    • Iraq and the United Nations agree to hold a third session (of talks) in New York in three weeks."

    Wednesday Morning Headlines. 7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.

    • "The martyring of Na'im Ahmad Baddabin, 50 years old after a tank attacked his house in el-Bireh;
    • Occupation bombardments and automatic fire on our citizens in various parts of the homeland, wounding 15, three of them classified as serious;
    • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat holds talks in Cairo today with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak…discussing current political developments and to prepare for the coming Arab summit;
    • Members of the Palestinian National Congress in Gaza held a session yesterday headed by Salim Za'anoun, the speaker of the Congress, discussing the political developments in the shadow of continuing Israeli aggression, the continuing siege and political developments in Israel;
    • The Ministry of Health denies reports in the Israeli media that 15 new ambulances were allowed to enter (PA territory) as part of easing up in the health sphere;
    • The Central Rabbis of the United States and Canada condemn Israel for attacks on the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians [NOTE: this item began as an advertisement in the NYTimes by some extremist fringe Hasidic group, but it became a major V.O.P. headline for more than 12 hours straight. >

    Wednesday February 28th Morning News Round-Up

    • "Haphazard Occupation bombardment of residential neighborhoods in El-Bireh and other areas, leading to the martyring of citizen Na'im Ahmad Baddadin, 50 years old, and the clinical death of the child Muhammad Mahmoud Ishil in Gaza;
    • A dangerous Israeli escalation of its military and occupation measures involving widespread attacks and incursions in the village of Rafat near Ramallah [Note: V.O.P. does not mention that this was location of sniping attacks on Israelis the day before];
    • Palestinian refusal to resume security contacts (with Israel) at this time under the present political and security climate and unless it is done with American participation;
    • General Amin al-Hindi, director of General Intelligence will discuss this subject with us…;
    • The siege and the Israeli aggression are turning lies of citizens nto an endless nightmare full of economic worry, and the authorities are demanding international assistance for thousands on the edge of poverty and the inability to live;
    • Israeli Labor Party heads to government with the Likud…"

    Quote of the Day

    "The greatest danger to the Palestinians is colonization and settlers, and they are nothing but a gang, and (note: as in gang of robbers, or band as in band of robbers) even as Israel talks about civilians… these settlers are nothing more than an armed militia."
          PA Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, Wednesday February 28 7:30 a.m. See also comments from February 27 on PA consigning "outlaw" or "bounty" status to settlers.

    Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Abd-alRahman, PA Cabinet Secretary, 7:25 a.m.

    Question: Direct artillery bombardment of houses. What do yousay about this escalation and arbitrary use of force ?"

    Answer: "Israeli forces, under direct orders from Barak and Sharon, have for about the last ten days have carried out an unprecedented escalation on Palestinian territory. In response to rocks, we receive bullets and poison gas, and in response to demonstrations, we get explosive bullets. And from any point that they feel confrontation with youths, they open up with direct artillery shelling. So it is now, whether in Beit Jallah or El-Bireh or in Khan Yunis or in Rafah and also in Hebron. It is an escalation whose only goal is to send a message to the Palestinian people, and to the Palestinian Intifada, that Israel has no answer to the Intifada, for the Palestinian people and its demand to liberate its land, except for power, military power, more killing, more law of destruction of Palestinians and their land.

    This is a danger for which Israel must take full blame-before our people and the international community. That is why voices have been raised throughout the world against this wanton use of military force by Israel and the assassinations and so forth along with other Israeli crimes. As well the American State Department published a report and condemnation of this wanton use of force and the policy of assassinations. And Human Rights report in New York also commented on the deliberate blind use of force against Palestinian houses."

    Question: "The Settlement Council in the West Bank speaks of liquidating President Yasser Arafat. What do you say to that and how do maneuver… in response to such threats?"

    Answer: "These threats are the best indication that the greatest danger to the Palestinians is colonization and settlers, and they are nothing but a gang, and (note: as in gang of robbers, or band as in band of robbers) even as Israel talks about civilians, these settlers are nothing more than an armed militia serving the army, and the army serves them. What does the army do in Palestinian lands except serving the settlers, closing roads for the Palestinians and opening roads for the settlers. They enable the settlers to cut down the trees and seize control of the land. This settlement existence has reached a level where it directs Israeli policy and demands from Sharon the liquidation of President Yasser Arafat. These dangerous words published by the settlers and the settlement council are like a big placard showing the voices of the international community that the settlers have no place in Palestinian territory. They have to leave this land for the Palestinian people and return to their homes inside Israel."

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    Official PA radio news - P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio, March 1-2
    V.O.P. Reacts to Mofaz

    Summary & Analysis

    In its Thursday and Friday broadcasts, V.O.P. has been almost mono-maniacally fixated on Israeli comments portending possible military action inside PA territory. Various PA ministers have-following the lead of Presidential Secretary Ta'ib Abd-al-Rahim several days ago and again Thursday, warning that any Israeli invasion "will not be a picnic."

    This "not-be-a-picnic" has become a mantra along with personal insults hurled at Israeli army generals Shaul Mofaz (chief of staff) and Moshe "Boogy" Ya'alon (deputy COS) as well as continuing slurs against Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak.

    A large portion of the 90 minutes of the Thursday morning News Round-Up was devoted to this subject in one form or another.

    In addition, V.O.P. broadcast an undisguised SOS for financial and political support on the eve of what it says will be the height of its historic battle for freedom.

    There was limited and tangential V.O.P. coverage of the bomb-explosion-aboard-the-taxi story on Thursday evening or Friday, and there was no condemnation of the incident. (Note: a mysterious explosion in the "liberated" side of Hebron a week ago was also virtually ignored. Israeli officials believe that both incidents involved abortive terror attacks or preparations for car bombs.)

    As the "Feast of the Sacrifice" approaches, V.O.P. featured an address from Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry detailing the religious laws and timetable associated with the Feast. The sheikh also called on celebrants of the Feast not to forget their needy brothers.

    In the Friday mosque speech broadcast on V.O.P. from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the United States was attacked bitterly for supporting Israel and for attacking the Palestinians and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The speaker, Youssef Abu-Sneina, is known for his vitriolic addresses, and that he was chosen to speak and to be broadcast on PA radio during the week of the Colin Powell visit says almost as much as the very content of his remarks.

    Thursday Morning Round-up Headlines-March 1

    • "Twenty wounded from Occupation forces' shooting, including a four-year old, and the Israeli aggression and siege continues against our people;
    • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat meets in Cairo with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak, and will hold talks in Libya today with Libyan leader Mu'amar Qadhafi;
    • The (Palestinian) National Authority regards the Mofaz accusations (about the PA being a terrorist entity) a prelude to full-scale aggression;
    • The prayers for the Feast of the Sacrifice on Monday at 6:35;
    • Financial maneuvers with the European sponsors to bring aid to our Palestinian people in the shadow of the Israeli siege and aggression;
    • Demonstrations against Israeli use of internationally forbidden gases."

    Thursday Morning Headlines, 7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.

    • "His Excellency President Yasser Arafat is discussing the latest developments in the peace process, in the Libyan capital with Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, in addition to discussing the Arab situation before the holding of the Arab summit in Amman at the end of next month;
    • Presidential Secretary Ta'ib Abd-al-Rahim rejects the accusations of the Israeli Occupation army chief of staff that the Palestinian National Authority was turning into a terrorist entity. Abd-al-Rahim said these pronouncements were a step towards building support for attempts to realize self-fulfilling prophecies (in Arabic: law of desires) by (Israeli chief of staff Shaul) Mofaz himself against the (Palestinian) National Authority, Palestinian officials and the Palestinian people. The Presidential Secretary placed the blame on Israel for any results of any military operation taken against liberated territories (i.e. territory ceded to the PA by Israel) or the Palestinian Leadership, because the results would be destructive and uncontainable.;
    • The National Authority sends an urgent appeal to Arab leaders and kings and heads of Arab states to stand firm with the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in its historic battle for freedom and independence;
    • On the other hand, the National Authority said it was ready for military and security officials to search for weapons that Mofaz, the Israeli chief of staff, says that the National Authority possesses;
    • Israeli occupation forces invade Beit Auwa last night in the liberated part of the Hebron district, and bombarded with heavy artillery and automatic weapons the Mughraaqa area (in Gaza) near the settlement of Netzarim, damaging several houses.;
    • Egyptian President Husni Mubarak had a telephone conversation with defeated Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak the dangers of the absence of any peace process in the Middle East;
    • The South African parliament agrees to the government demand to send a fact-finding commission to Palestinian territories to uncover Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people;
    • Three parliamentary members of the Israeli Center Party announce their departure from the party.;
    • The summit of the Organization of African Unity begins in Libya today led by Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi."

    Quotes from Commentary by Samir Interr, senior V.O.P. anchorman

    "A responsible information source asserts the following:

    'General Shaul Mofaz, Israeli army chief of staff, held a press conference yesterday evening in which he announced that Israel could not withstand the mental pressure .and that the Israeli army would soon begin a complete attack ('udwan: also means "aggression") on Palestinian territory and on National Authority personnel. Mofaz said that Palestinian Authority officials, first of all those in security apparatus, have been smuggling military equipment including anti-aircraft missiles.bringing them in by sea and via tunnels between Egyptian (controlled) Rafah and Palestinian (controlled) Rafah, and that Egypt has refused to act in this matter.

    As for these Israeli threats, we say the following:

    The recent statements by Israeli officials or by Israeli settlers who declared their desire for the assassination of President Yasser Arafat have been set forth with one purpose-preparing the way for a general Israeli attack targeting the institutions of the Palestinian National Authority, and first of all its heads and security apparatus.

    We read on the record and in between the lines the written statement issued by General Mofaz to the communications media and the various press and television outlets as an internal Israeli media campaign against the Palestinian National Authority. We also read (i.e. we see) an agreement between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and elected prime minister Ariel Sharon and the leadership of the Israeli army to execute a complete and frantic military escalation. And Mofaz's press conference is a prelude to this dangerous military escalation..

    (Note: the statement by the "responsible source" then detailed the various Israeli measures that would make smuggling weapons into PA territory impossible-without, of course, mentioning that Israel has been charging PA officials with VIP "immunity" of using their vehicles, including Arafat's own helicopter, for smuggling weapons.)

    We also read these aggressive statements as a sign that the Israeli leadership has been preparing for sometime to launch a fatal strike against the peace process..

    (The statement then said that the Palestinian people would use every weapon in their possession-from rocks upward-to fight Israeli aggression, but it called on the world community to protect the Palestinians from the coming Israeli aggression, adding that it was ready to receive international inspectors to investigate and search for the weapons described by Mofaz.)

    As for Mofaz's comment on the National Authority becoming a terrorist entity (i.e. the PA), it (the comment) is not worthy of reply.'"

    (Note: the statement was then followed immediately by an interview with the man who probably wrote the statement -- PA Information Minister Yasser Abed-Rabbo.)

    Quotes from Yasser Abed-Rabbo, PA Minister of Information, at 7:40 a.m.

    Question: What do you say about the report on Mofaz's statement, about the charges of terrorism and smuggling missiles and other weapons?"

    Answer: "This is part of the campaign that the (Israeli) army leadership has started since the eruption of the legitimate Palestinian intifada. This campaign wants to justify the evil style and measures taken by the Israeli army and the settlers against the Palestinian people. And on the other had it wants to lay the blame for the escalation, confrontation and violence on the Palestinian people and its leadership. We see this campaign as coming at a time when the international community has increased its condemnation of Israel's repressive style and measures and collective punishment, especially the racist approach taken by the Israeli Occupation against the Palestinian people..

    (Note: the following remarks actually came in answer to a second question about a South African delegation proposing investigation of Israel for war crimes.)

    In the worst days of the racism in South Africa, no one witnessed anything approaching what is now doing to the Palestinian people. They did not see the bombardment of cities and collective punishment and the disruption of economic life. They did not witness a policy of assassination embraced officially by the government of Israel."

    Thursday Evening Headlines, March 1, 7 p.m.
    (two hours after explosion on Wadi Ara Road)

    • "Israeli occupation forces extended and continued their aggression and siege against our innocent citizens.;
    • Israeli occupation authorities impose curfew on Rafat in Ramallah district.;
    • In Qalqilya, one citizen was injured during demonstration this evening.;
    • The Fatah movement in the West Bank asserts that the intrepid Intifada is the legitimate son of the Palestinian people and its national leadership, and it will continue until the disappearance of the Occupation and the complete realization of Palestinian independence under the leadership of the President, the Leader, Abu Amar.;
    • The National Authority warned the Israeli government against any planned military operations against territory under Palestinian Authority sovereignty.Presidential Secretary Ta'ib Abd-al-Rahim said the results of such an operation would be destructive and impossible to confine. And for his part, Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abd-al-Rahman condemned the statement of deputy Israeli chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon, the deputy of Mofaz and said that any attempt by the Israeli army to occupy Palestinian territory would not be a picnic and would lead to the Israelis paying a high price;
    • Yaalon told The Washington Post that Israel was studying the possibility of occupying parts of the National Authority.;
    • The Israeli police says it is investigating an explosion in Tel Aviv (yesterday) and its connection to an explosion that took place in Wadi Ara this afternoon that led to the death of one Israeli and the wounding of nine others. The Police say the wounded man holding the bomb was trying to transport it in a taxi when it exploded and that he is responsible for placing a bomb near a Tel Aviv restaurant.And as is customary, Israel accused the national Authority of responsibility in this explosion which occurred inside Israel..;
    • A spokesman for Israeli prime minister-elect Sharon said he would present his government to the Knesset next Wednesday."

    Friday Morning Headlines, March 2, 7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.

    • " Occupation forces bombard inhabited neighborhoods in el-Bireh and Rafat township in the district, using heavy weapons;
    • Confrontations in Qalqilya and Bir Nidam, where the youth Ra'id Tamimi was shot in the face;
    • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat stresses that the Israeli side will not succeed in imposing borders on us or the region. President Arafat made his comments at a summit of the Organization of African Unity in Libya. And His Excellency said that there would be no stability and no security unless Israel keeps all agreements.;
    • The Fatah movement declares that the intrepid Intifada is the legitimate child of our people and its national leadership, and it will continue until the disappearance (note-zawal: also extinction or total removal) of the Occupation and the achievement of complete independence and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state under the leadership of The President, The Leader, Abu Amar;
    • The Israeli police say they are investigating a Jewish woman of Russian extraction in connection with a romantic liaison with the man who carried out the explosive incident in Wadi Ara inside the Green Line, leading to the death of one person and the wounding of nine others;
    • The permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nation, Dr. Nasser Al-Kudwa, urges Security Council to dispatch of international observers as soon as possible .;
    • The new American administration says it intends to announce that new sanctions against Iraq should have an effect on the Iraqi government and not on the Iraqi people;
    • The (Israeli) Labor Party today chooses its candidates for the (Sharon) Government."

    Quotes from Interview with Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, Mufti, Friday, 8:30 a.m.

    [The Mufti was asked about Israeli plots against al-Aqsa and assertions by Israel that the Muslims were doing something wrong in their digs that would lead to the destruction of important archeological material.]

    "In the name of God the compassionate and merciful. We say first that Al Aqsa belongs only to the Muslims, and the Jews have no connection to it. All these protests from the Israelis show that they have designs on the blessed al Aqsa. The house of al-Aqsa is our house. We are the guardians of its protection and its preservation. All these statements by them that they have holy archeological artifacts in Al-Aqsa are simply delusional..There is no connection to Solomon's temple (Heikal Suleiman). And there is no connection Jewish artifacts. This site goes back to the Omayyad era and after it to the Ayyubi period and the Mamluke period, and it has no connection to Hebrew history. And all comments that these artifacts have a connection what is called Solomon's Temple are untrue. Until now, Israeli experts have admitted that they have found no trace that has any connection to Solomon's Temple. And until this time, they do not know where Solomon's Temple was located."

    Interviewer: "That's true."

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