|Israel Resource Review
||19th December, 2000
Official Palestinian Authority Radio: "Voice of Palestine" Dec.19 - Nabil Sha'ath claims Haifa and Acco
Analysis of Nabil Sha'ath's remarks
Nabil Sha'ath's remarks (below) are a strikingly bold and candid
exposition of the Palestinian negotiating position, but even more so, they are a window on the mood of the Palestinian leadership.
Sha'ath's remarks dovetail with remarks made over the last few weeks by
Arafat himself and other senior Palestinian officials:
- Ahmad Qreia (Abu Ala), speaker of PA legislature;
- Nabil 'Amr, Parliamentary Affairs Minister;
- Saeb Erikat, senior negotiator and Minister for Local Rule
- Yasser Abd-Rabbo, Minister of Information, leader of delegation to
Washington; and, to a lesser extent, perhaps, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) secretary of PLO Executive.
The essence of the position is that the PA demands and expects the right
of return for Palestinian refugees along with
- Palestinian sovereignty over the entire Old City of Jerusalem,
- total Israeli withdrawal and
removal of all settlements from West Bank and Gaza, and
- immediate establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
It expects these demands to be met because it (the PA) is in control of
events, and these events have both regional and global ramifications.
Sha'ath, 'Amr, Abd-Rabbo and Qreia-as well as Arafat himself-have basically been saying that they have embarrassed and defeated the Israeli army, that they have controlled the political success or failure of both Barak and Netanyahu.
They have also acknowledged that the explosion of the Al-Aqsa Intifada,
now often called the Istiqlal Intifada [i.e. "independence intifada"] had
little to do with Ariel Sharon's visit to sacred territory, but rather a
carefully articulated strategy to achieve Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian independence.
Summary and Analysis
The news and feature broadcasts of VOP Tuesday morning had four focal
- the refugees and their future status, especially vis a vis current
talks with Israel and yesterday's statement by Lebanese prime minister
refusing to re-settle refugees there;
- continuing "war crimes" of Israel, including an especially long
feature/profile of Israeli General Meir Dagan (the counter-terror expert) as the prototypical war criminal;
- praising and recording the names, ages and addresses of martyrs and
wounded, particularly security force commanders;
- and the continuing economic stress in territory controlled by the
Palestinian National Authority (PA).
VOP returned to stress the right of return in a morning interview with
Dr, Nabil Sha'ath, the PA Minister of Economic Development,
who made it
clear that even Haifa and Acre were on the Palestinian list of demands
VOP also gave a thumb-nail review of the Palestinian delegation's trip
to Washington for talks with the Clinton Administration (the parallel visit
of the Israeli delegations was given short shrift).
In addition, Israeli Arab MK Azmi Beshara (a political scientist)
analyzed what he said were the improved chances of Ehud Barak versus Ariel
Sharon as opposed to versus Binyamin Netanyahu.
- "Martyr's death for General al-Sabawi, deputy head of local
defense, and funeral for Haroun Abu-Hassan, leading Fatah commander.;
- Israeli special forces attack Kufr Dik at dawn near Salfit;
- Occupation forces escalate their aggression, shelling populated
neighborhoods in Dir al-Balah, Al-Bireh and Burqa in the Nablus prefecture;
- Shelling and siege as Palestinian delegation heads to Washington to
further the popular Intifada on the diplomatic front, armed with the blood
of the martyrs and clinging to the principles of Palestinian
nationalism-the right of return, the right of self-determination, building a Palestinian state with holy Jerusalem its capital.;
- Dr. Saeb Erikat, Local Rule Minister, denies Palestinian side has
accepted ideas from the United States or the Israeli side;
- Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu withdraws his
candidacy for prime minister."
Morning Commentary Eulogy, senior commentator, Youssef al-Kazzaz
(with bag-pipe music)
"General Abdul-Maqi al-Sabawwi, in the protection of God, a Palestinian
martyr, fell as he was struck, a fatality of the criminal Israeli occupation in Gaza..Abdul-Maqi was a crescent in the Fatah sky, a member of FATAH since January 2, 1965. Abdul-Maq was the (first) head of the Fatah Shabiba (Fatah youth organization),one of the founders of the Palestinian revolution, well loved for his expertise in the military academy, in the People's Republic of China, in Russia, in Hungary and in Yugoslavia."
Quotes from Interview with Nabil Sha'ath, PA Economic Development Minister
Question: "Dr. Nabil (no last name used), first of all, what are the bases
(plural of basis, used in Arabic) of the Palestinian position in
Answer: "The Palestinian delegation has clear instructions. Our goals are
clear: the intifada goes on. We have changed the rules of the game, created
a new situation, by our heroism and our sacrifices for the sake of the
homeland. And everyone understands that.
Our goals are clear: to return our lands taken in '67, first of all Holy
Jerusalem, Palestinian sovereignty in all its quarters and sites, and the
right of return for the refugees in an independent Palestinian state. These
are the rights which are clearly worthy (of being reclaimed) [word unclear], the new chain of circumstances (produced by) the Intifada. One has to see, in practice, whether this has altered Israeli perceptions and readiness to proceed on these bases (Note: in Arabic Sha'ath employed word that means the plural of basis)."
Question: "Are the Israelis demanding, as they did at the beginning, first of all
that the Intifada be ended? Because after a month, Barak changed the
demand to 'lessening' the Intifada to enable negotiations. Now, what is the
Israeli line in Washington? "
Answer: "There have not been any conditions. Our Intifada continues, and our
political work continues. The assumption is that we're heading to
independence-whether by readiness (to accept) the rights-that is--by fact
or by negotiations. (i.e. colloquial translation: "by hook or by crook")."
Question: "Dr. Nabil Sha'ath, Palestinian principles include the right of return
for the refugees, but Israeli sources say that these principles will be
exchanged for Jerusalem. How do you react to that?"
Answer: "Can one set of rights be exchanged for another set of rights?"
Answer: " That is to say, for example: Could one, if he wanted, exchange parts
of the (West) Bank for Haifa and Acre (Acco) when, in spite of the fact
that, in the end and in the beginning they were (all) truly Palestinian
Answer: "That is to say a person cannot exchange his rights for his
example, the right of return of the refugees for Jerusalem. And how would
it be possible, for example, to exchange the lands of Tulkarm and Qalqilya
for Jerusalem. These are truly the kinds of ideas which drove us crazy
with the Israeli occupation. That's like the idea they had at first of
bypassing the Palestine Liberation Organization and offering local rule
being through the heads of villages and towns. At another time, they (the
Israelis) said 'if you want an independent state, you have to give up half
of the (West) Bank.' And at another time-in Camp David-they said 'if you
want something in Jerusalem, then you have to give up sovereignty in the
Holy Shrine ((Arabic: Haram al-Sharif, i.e. Temple Mount).' That's all
We-truly-the Israelis have to understand the worthiness of a real peace
is contingent on what Israel did in Egypt and Jordan and Lebanon-even
without negotiations (i.e. total withdrawal), and in addition to the matter
of the borders is the matter of the refugees, which cannot be exchanged for
Question: "Do you think the Israelis have changed their position with the new
elections and the pressure of the Intifada?"
Answer: "That's exactly what we're trying to discover."
Quote of the Day from Nabil 'Amr, Parliamentary Affairs Minister
"This army (the Israeli army), which was one of the world's best armies,
has become the laughingstock of world opinion.
It has used all the means of destruction provided by the United States
of America to kill Palestinian children."
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia (Abu Ala), Speaker Palestinian
Legislature: ((8 am morning news round-up-Dec 11))
"First I would say that what is happening in Israel is a sign of the
realization of the desires of the Palestinian people, the goal of the
Palestinian people to exercise its legitimate rights: the (right of)
return, self determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state with
Jerusalem its capital. These are the reasons Netanyahu was defeated,
because he did not realize this, and these are also the causes for the
speeding up of the fall of Barak..
They were not willing to concretize the legitimate rights of the
Palestinian people and the desire of the Palestinian people to cling to
these rights. That is why we see in Israel an unusual political
entanglement: a prime minister who cannot stay in power longer than a year
and a half, resigns, and for more than half a year is operating without a
majority in parliament. And on the other hand, the opposition is divided and
broken. Its internal formations change constantly.based on ideologies and
histories that have no foundation.
Anyone who does not realize .(the need) to recognize the just demands of
the Palestinian people, based on international legitimacy-which is the same
international legitimacy that established Israel ((i.e. the U.N.))-then this
situation will only lengthen the entanglement inside Israel..
I do not see any alternative-coming from inside Israel-- but for a strong
call to the Palestinian people to exercise (its rights), its heroism, its
sacrifices, its mighty intifada which will show Israel and the whole world
its strong desires which will not be denied..
We're not afraid of blows. A day does not go by when we don't absorb some
blow-even a light blow-from the occupation of 1967 and of course from 1948.
But our way is the way of banners (i.e. flags), sacrifices and redemption.
(Note: here Qreia used the term "fidaya" which is the root of "Fedayeen" or
"men of sacrifice and redemption"-a term used by Palestinian fighters
especially in the 1950's and 1960's.))
We are in the final hours of the realization of our victory and our
independence, God Willing. We will be steadfast. We will be steadfast..
We will continue in our way, focusing on our goals. We will continue
with our intifada. Our refusal of any occupation is clear. On the
contrary, it only gets stronger. We will continue on our path.."
Question: "Some. say that the only chance for Barak is in the hands of the
Palestinian people..What do you say?"
Answer: "..His chances for success are in his hands, not in those of the
Palestinian leadership. Because if he wants an agreement.. He has to face
the Israeli people on all the subjects, with complete courage and with
complete candor and say that here are the rights of the Palestinian people
which must be granted if we are to live in security and peace.
These rights are represented by the Return, for the Palestinian
refugees, self-determination, and an independent Palestinian state with
Jerusalem its capital, and the complete withdrawal from every square
centimeter of Palestinian land."
(note: he said "al-awda", only "The Return", not "the right of return"-and
this suggests strongly that Qreia and the Palestinian leadership are not
talking about even a symbolic recognition or token)
Quotes from Interview with Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), PLO Executive
"About the cause of the Palestinian Intifada, Abu Mazen said: 'In spite
of the pollution by Sharon of the holy Jerusalem shrine (i.e. Dome of the
Rock) being the direct cause of the Intifada, the indirect cause was the
condition of frustration in which the Palestinian people have been living
during a failing peace process for two years. The purpose of the intifada
was to make Israeli recognize its sins in the execution of its military
aggression against our people." ((Interview from Al-Bayan of United Arab
Emirates, quoted directly in unusual full-length feature on VOP morning
news round-up, 7:45 am, Dec. 6))
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qureia (Abu Ala), Speaker of PA
"The position of the Palestinian Authority is that Israel has no choice
but to implement the laws of the peace process as set forth in
international legitimacy, meaning land for peace..There is no escaping bring an international protection force for the Palestinian people to prevent Israel from continuing to kill our people.And it is important to witness that the settlers are the fundamental source of the aggression, an
aggressive, right-wing, extremist militia carrying out operations for
killing and violence against the Palestinian people..We will cling to
resistance to the Occupation-which is a legitimate right for us. This
resistance has many forms but we feel the appropriate form at this stage is
the present continuing intifada but there are many forms of resistance. We
will not stop..The Palestinian cause is the cause of the Arabs, and if
Israel does not realize these facts then it will face disaster and so will
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