Israel Resource Review 4th March, 2001


Official Palestinian Radio News: The Voice of Palestine (V.O.P.) March 4th
Preparing for the Feast of Sacrifices and Reacting to Netanya Attack

The Voice of Palestine has been gearing up to the Feast of Sacrifice Monday. There were live interviews from the pilgrimage site in Arabia, and there has been a general increase in the Islamic tone of some of the broadcasts as well as the strong return of songs about martyrdom. Just minutes before its 10 a.m. coverage of the Netanya market bombing V.O.P. ran two such songs (about 40 minutes after the bombing).

The coverage of the attack was detailed and spare at the same time: numbers of dead and wounded were given, but incident was described as an explosion, not an attack, and it was neither condemned nor lauded.

At 12-noon, V.O.P. opened with reports of a statement by the PA rejecting any Israeli attempts to pin the blame for the Netanya incident on the PA. The report quoted Yasser Arafat's personal spokesman Nabil Abu-Irdeineh as saying that Israel had only itself to blame for continuing confrontations.

(This line of analysis was almost identical to reported comments elsewhere of HAMAS official Mahmoud Rantisi, though in later reports, Abu-Irdeineh's comments were softened a bit.)

A little later in the noon broadcast, V.O.P. announced that Civilian Affairs Minister Jamil Tarifi said there was no point in conducting negotiations with the new Israeli government at this time. (This details with comments by PA Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo on Friday that there were no real contacts between the PA and Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon.)

Throughout the morning, V.O.P. featured comments by PA Legislative Speaker Ahmad Qreia said the statements by Israeli chief of staff Shaul Mofaz were replete with danger and had to be discussed by the upcoming Arab summit "because their danger was not confined to the borders of Palestine or Lebanon or Syria which are exposed to Israeli aggression, but constitute a danger to the region as a whole." Qreia called on the Arab summit to send a clear message to the Israeli government (Note: by that time there will be a new Israeli government) that it was "playing a dangerous game."

Qreia, who seemed to be pushing the new militant pan-Arab line of the PA, also criticized the new Bush Administration for taking its time in developing a Middle East policy.

During the morning reports, the V.O.P. Ramallah correspondent, Rashid Hilal, regularly referred to the settlers of Psagot as "mujrimu Psagot"-"The criminals of Psagot"-another example of the PA and V.O.P. basically putting a bounty on the settlers' heads by declaring them outlaws. The morning anchorman, Samir Interr introduced almost all the local reports by referring to the "crimes" of the Israelis.

Netanya Bombing Reaction

News of the Sunday morning bombing in Netanya was first broadcast on V.O.P. as the opening item at its regular 10 a.m. hourly news bulletin, a little less than an hour after the bombing.

The report was detailed and un-sensational: there was neither celebration nor condemnation of the explosion, which was not called attack but was also not called a traffic accident.

"Two Israelis were killed and 35 were wounded-two of them critically-in an explosion that took place in the middle of Netanya. Israeli press sources said the explosion took place near the main bus station in Netanya near the Netanya market."

The report went on to note that Israeli forces were searching the area and that Israeli army units had been mobilized along the Green Line anyway in advance of the Muslim feast of sacrifice. V.O.P. also noted that Israel was using helicopters and "new electronic equipment" to try and stop infiltration and terror [note: it appears that a V.O.P. news editor was dropping a subtle hint here that all this Israeli hi-tech would not defeat determined Palestinian low-tech].

Sunday Morning Round-up Headlines

  • "It is the eve of the blessed Feast of the Sacrifice.and the Israeli occupation forces continue with their massacres, Ai'dah Iftah, 43 years old, tried to bring the joy of the Feast (where fighting was intense) to her children who were dressed up for the festival, but her attempt failed, and she was assassinated, her children taken from her. (Note: this is the lyric account of the death of the 43-year-old mother in El-Bireh).. The spectacle continues and has not stopped since the beginning of Israeli occupation crimes, and in Nablus, the occupation assassinated two more citizens in Hiwara and Karyut. And the Israeli Occupation Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz threatens an increase in escalation and crimes up to the occupation of the liberated Palestinian cities.;
  • More than a million pilgrims (haj) will make the circuit around Mount Arafat of the pillars of Islam;
  • Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, the mufti, congratulates the Arab and Islamic populations on the Feast, and he warns of the chain of Israeli massacres carried out against the rights of our people;
  • Father Attalah Hana in the name of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem congratulates calls on the Free World to save the Palestinians from the chain of massacres which do not distinguish between young and old, man or woman, Muslim or Christian;
  • Occupation measures continue even during the Feast, including the closure of all crossing points and the locking-down of all movments;
  • Civilian Affairs Minister Jamil Tarifi says he does not expect a change in the measures."

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

  • "Three martyrs joined the family of Intifada martyrs last night. And the martyrs are Aida Fathiyya , 43 years old, from El-Bireh, the martyr Maher Shafiq Mahmoud Ode, 20, from Hiwara, and the martyr Ahmad Hasan Alan of Karyut;
  • In one of its one-sided actions, the occupation forces encircled the village of Jalameh in the Jenin district and stripped it tens dunams to build a crossing point;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat says Israel is using all kinds of fatal and destructive measures to confront our unarmed people, and Shaul Mofaz would think twice about using nuclear weapons. And this Mofaz has never spoken about the rights of our people. And from another point of view, His Excellency President Yasser Arafat said negotiations with Israel could only resume from the point at which they left off with the Labor Party government;
  • European representative Miguel Moratinos said he had taken a letter from to Syrian president Bashar Assad from Israeli prime minister-elect Ariel Sharon. Moratinos made his statement after being received in Damascus yesterday by Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara, and Shara said Syria is open to an initiative leading to Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan occupied since 1967."

2 p.m. Afternoon Headlines
Lead-in to Panorama Show
, from anchorman Jamil Miari

"The Afternoon News of the day begins with an explosion, the second in four days (Note: actually the fourth in four days) in which three people were killed and 50 others wounded in front of a bus in the middle of the City of Netanya. Israeli sources say an Arab was carrying a bomb and about to board a bus when a policeman suspected him and he blew it up according to Israeli sources.Israel rushed to place the blame for the explosion on President Arafat and the national authority, the explosion which raised the number of Israeli dead since the beginning of the Intifada to 65, according to Israeli figures. And Israeli Knesset Member Gideon Ezra called on Israel to invade territory of the National Authority.And the Palestinian Authority rejected Israeli accusations and threats, calling them a delusion divorced from reality."

(In unusual format change, the anchorman went straight to Gaza for a report rather than going to bulletin headlines.)

Adil Za'anoun, reporting from Gaza:

"The National Authority rejected Israeli attempt to place responsibility on it for the exploion event in Netanya today. And nabil Abu-Irdeineh, the advisor of President Arafat, said in a statement to us: 'The National Authority rejects (Israeli efforts) placing responsibility for the explosion in Netanya.' In addition, Abu-Irdeineh stressed that the economic and military siege of Palestinian territory and the threats by Israeli officials are the cause for real confrontations..And Abu-Irdeineh asserted the need for Israel to cease its escalation and polluting the atmosphere with threats that hurt peace and stability. And he demanded strict observance of registered agreements and the end of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the lifting of the siege."

In its afternoon and evening broadcasts, V.O.P. tried to "spin" the Netanya bombing into an Israeli lynch story, as well as pinning the blame for the Netanya attack itself on Israel.

In its 6 p.m. broadcast, the Voice of Palestine returned to the hard-line statement released by Arafat spokesman Nabil Abu Irdeineh at 12-noon, which was softened in subsequent broadcasts.

"The National Authority rejected Israeli accusations of responsibility for the explosion in Netanya, and it termed the Israeli accusations 'a delusion divorced from reality.' And the president's advisor (i.e. Yasser Arafat's personal spokesman) Nabil Abu Irdeineh 'what occurred is the result of the policy of violence and siege and an example of what results from Israel's actions.'"

V.O.P. also detailed the attack by a "knife wielding Jewish extremist" on three Arabs in Jerusalem, wounding them slightly, and the critical wounding of an Arab man near the bomb site in Netanya.

"The explosion in Netanya resulted in four death, one of them the man who carried the explosive charge, and 60 were wounded, six of them critically, according to Israeli reports.which News of the Sunday morning bombing in Netanya was first broadcast on V.O.P. as the opening item at its regular 10 a.m. hourly news bulletin, a little less than an hour after the bombing.

Important Note: Throughout the day, there was not a hint of condemnation or even disapproval-by the Palestinian Authority for the Netanya bombing.

In fact, in several of the broadcasts there was more than a smug suggestion that all of Israel's police reinforcements and high-tech measures had failed to stop the attack.

In addition, several PA officials were quoted as saying the Intifada would continue until all Palestinian demands are met.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Bombing . . for the Right of Return to Netanya
by David Bedein

At the end of November, I lectured at a retirement home in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, to discuss the PLO demand that all Arabs who have wallowed in UN refugee camps for the past fifty years to have the "right of return" to villages that they left in 1948.

I showed them the map of a "future Palestinian State" which the PLO Orient House headquarters provides in Jerusalem, which marks the 531 Arab villages that are slated for return, all of which had been overrun in 1948.

One of those villages was Um Khalid, which, according to the PLO, had been illegally absorbed by Netanya.

The PLO therefore defines Netanya as one of Israel's "illegal settlements", under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention, enacted in 1949, which forbids a conquering nation from moving its citizens into a conquered area.

The implications: the PLO will justify any attack on any such settlement that it views as "illegal".

In January, 1995, following Hamas terror bombs that killed 21 people at a bus stop at the Beit Lid/Netanya junction, PLO's secretary general Marwan Barguti calmly told MBC Saudi television why the PLO would justify an attack on Netanya: "This is an area that we have yet to liberate" We still have that video on our shelf.

Meanwhile, the formalized December, 1995 PLO -Hamas accord, signed in Cairo by both Palestinian factions, allowed the Hamas to carry out operations outside of areas not yet under direct PLO control in areas within Israel proper that had not yet been liberated.

These ideas of the "right of return" play out on the ground in many ways that have escaped public attention:

Over the past 7 years, the PLO developed a computer terminal with a base at its Orient House which helps Arab refugees locate their homes from before 1948, to enable their imminent right of return to places like Um Khalid.

Throughout summer 2000, UMRWA Arab refugee camps sponsored tours for Arab refugee children, their parents and their grandparents to visitvillages that they had left in 1948. They used Israeli Arab buses to circumvent checkpoints.

The above presentation made retirees at the Netanya nursing home very nervous.

They could not believe what they were hearing, that their city was considered to be a target.

They became quite emotional, and some of the retirees actually screamed that "all the Palestinians want is the west bank and Gaza".

It was clear that the message that the PLO demanded the "right of return" to Netanya was a hard one for these senior citizens to swallow.

Yet there was one man who made it easy to listen: An Arab male nurse present asked to say something at the end of the lecture.

He approached the podium He stared at the map and and turned to speak to the retirees "This is what want. The 'right of return'. That would bring peace", said the nurse. I asked him if that meant that Israel would have to withdraw from Um Khalid.

The nurse, in a soft voice,said "yes".

I then said to the nurse that this would mean that half of the Jews would have to leave their homes in Netanya. The nurse said, "well, that is the price of peace"

The retirees were stunned. The message had been delivered.

The Arab nurse at the Netanya nursing home conveyed the same data that I had just communicated, with greater credibility.

Since the time of that talk in Netanya, Arabs have detonated two fatal bombs in the center of that city.

Our agency, which monitors and translates the newscasts on the Voice of Palestine radio news program , the official Arabic Palestinian Authority news station, has discerned no Palestinian condemnation of these attacks in Netanya.

From the PLO point of view, these bombings occur because Um Khalid has not yet been liberated from Netanya.

In the words of Arafat's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rodeinah, speaking on Voice of Palestine radio following the Netanya bombing on March 4, 2001, "What occurred is an example of what results from Israel's policies."

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on