Israel Resource Review 15th May, 2005


Palestinian Issue Sacred an Issue of Home, Nation, Land and Refugees
(WAFA-PLO News Agency)

(With thanks to IMRA for Calling our attention to this release.)

GAZA, May, 15, 2005, President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed today that the Palestinian Issue is sacred and it is the Issue of Home, Nation, Land and Refugees.

In a recorded televised speech, in commemoration the57th anniversary of Nakba, Abbas said that May 15, 1948, is yearly the day of Nakba that our people and generations will never forget, since it is unmatched in the contemporary history.

Our people will not accept this historical injustice, simply because of the ongoing of our people's steadfastness in the face of conspiracies of resettling (of refugees), wiping out their identity and wiping off the Middle East Map, our homeland and issue would not fail.

The President warned against the dangers of remaining Palestinian refugees homeless out side their homes, having no hope and future, stressing on reaching an agreed and fair solution to the Refugees Issue in accordance with UN resolution 194 of 1949.

"PLO is still clinging to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People and our people in refugees camps reject today, as in the past, all forms of resettling," the President said.

He reiterated that peace, security and stability in the Middle East is doomed to a just solution to our fair issue based on international legitimacy resolutions that confirmed the right of our people to establish an independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital.

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We will never forget the 'nakba'
Khaled Abu Toameh
Arab Affairs Correspondent, The Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday described the decision to create a Jewish state in 1948 as a crime and called for a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.

Abbas's remarks came as Palestinians marked the 57th anniversary of the nakba (catastrophe) by staging rallies and demonstrations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip to demand the right of return for all refugees to their original homes inside Israel.

At midday, the siren was sounded as an expression of mourning over the establishment of Israel and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Traffic stopped and people stood straight and silent. In some areas, gunmen opened fire into air as a sign of mourning.

"Our people will never forget and the generations will never forget," Abbas, who is on a trip to Japan, said in a speech aired on Palestine TV. "On that day, a crime was committed against a people, who were uprooted from their land and whose existence was destroyed and who were forced to flee to all areas of the world."

In his speech, Abbas called on the host countries to ensure basic civil rights for the refugees, demanding they are granted the right to work and travel freely.

Abbas, however, stopped short of demanding that all the refugees be permitted to return to their homes. Instead, he called for "a just and agreed solution" for refugees and a state for Palestinians.

"Peace, security and stability in the Middle East hinges on finding a just solution for a just cause based on international legitimacy, the right of our people to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and to find a just and agreed solution to the issue of refugees in line with [UN General Assembly] Resolution 194," he added.

In another nakba speech, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said "our wound is still bleeding 57 years later."

"Jerusalem is under occupation, facing great danger, Jewish settlements are expanding daily, the separation wall is strangling our land and peace [hopes] are faltering," he told the Palestinian Legislative Council, which held a special session on the 57th anniversary of Nakba Day.

"We will never give up the legitimate right of having a fair solution to the issue of the refugees based on UN resolutions. We will never surrender our legitimate right to end the Israeli occupation and aggression, stop settlement expansion and the construction of the separation wall."

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans to advocate the right of return. Many of the demonstrators carried cartoon keys symbolizing the right of return.

Hamas leaders issued a statement referring to Israel as a "cancer" and promising to continue fighting "until the liberation of the last inch of our land and the last refugee heads back to his home."

On the eve of Nakba Day, the PA released a survey that showed that the total number of Palestinians had reached 10 million, including 3.7 million in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 1.1 million in Israel. The figure also includes Palestinians living abroad. According to the survey, more than half of the Palestinians are refugees.

This piece ran in the May 15th issue of the Jerusalem Post

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Official Palestinian Lionizes Terrorist as 'Martyr,' Condemns Soldiers for Not Respecting His Body
Dr. Michael Widlanski

The Palestinian Authority (PA) media today lionized a Palestinian youth who tried to stab an Israeli soldier at a West Bank roadblock, calling the knife-wielder a "heroic martyr."

At the same time, the Voice of Palestine radio, which is controlled directly by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, condemned Israel for not treating the body of the dead Arab terrorist with greater respect, downplaying his attempt to kill the soldiers.

"The youth Omar Mutih Ashrawi, 22 years old, from "Alaj, north of Tulkarm, was heroically martyred this morning when he was struck by bullets of the Occupation forces concentrated near Tulkarm," declared V.O.P. radio as its lead item (10 a.m.).

"Our correspondent Mu'ein Shadid reports that the body of the martyr continued lying on the ground, as the Occupation forces prevented ambulances from reaching it [the body]," asserted Baha Shami, the V.O.P. radio anchorwoman.

"According to Israeli military sources, the youth tried to attack one of the soldiers with a knife before the soldier fired at him," she added.

Tulkarm has been a tension point in recent weeks after Palestinian leader Abbas had promised Israeli leaders to take control of the area and to disarm wanted terrorists, but Israeli army field commanders have repeatedly said this has not happened.

Indeed, Abbas and his top lieutenants inside the PA and the PLO-Interior Minister Nasser Youssef, Deputy Prime Minister Nabil Sha'ath-have repeatedly told the Palestinian press that he will not try aggressively to "seize weapons" from HAMAS, Islamic Jihad or Fatah members who continue acts of "resistance" aimed at Israel.

Both the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds ran lead front-page articles Saturday (May 14) in which Abbas declared that he was not going to set off "harb ahaliyya"-civil war-by confronting groups that continue attacks.

Elements of the Israeli government and media have attempted not to criticize Abbas harshly or directly in public, going so far as to give him credit for disarming "militant elements" based on his promises or interviews with them.

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz ran a lead story Friday (May 13), written by its veteran commentator Ze'ev Schiff, that claimed that Abbas had already pacified Tulkarm, and the head of Israeli military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) claimed much the same thing the week before in an Israeli radio interview.

General Ze'evi complimented Palestinian leader Abbas extensively and said that he had switched many of the top level PA personnel who had been loyal to Yasser Arafat, the dead PLO leader, but even a cursory examination of Palestinian public events and media shows that Ze'evi's account was not correct.

Sources inside the Israeli intelligence community and military commanders (from the rank of captain through general) have told this reporter that Israeli officials have steered away from criticizing Abbas so as not to be blamed for his lack of success.

"When he falls, why should we get the blame for tripping him up," said one man.

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 teaches political communication and comparative politics at the Rothberg School of Hebrew University. His doctorate, "Palestinian Broadcast Media In the Palestinian State-Building Process: Patterns of Influence and Control," was based on eight years of research involving more than 7,000 hours of monitoring Palestinian radio in Arabic as well as television and newspaper surveys. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times,The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.

He has also served as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.

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