|Israel Resource Review
||1st Febuary, 2001
Official PA radio news
P.B.C. VOP (Voice of Palestine) Radio: January 31.
Summary and Analysis
VOP and the Palestinian Authority dramatically changed their hands-off
approach to Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon within the last 24 hours, jumping
into the Israeli election campaign.
The marked shift was evident in several major course maneuvers:
- moving away from focusing attention on a growing rift between Yasser
Arafat and Barak, following Arafat's Davos speech condemning Israel, to
downplaying or even ignoring the Arafat-Barak differences;
- highlighting the "extreme" nature of Ariel Sharon and some of his
backers such as the "extreme" Avigdor Lieberman [NOTE: some of the Israeli
Labor Party's Arabic language television campaign advertisements on January
29/30 were almost identical to texts previously heard on VOP];
- announcing the likelihood of a Barak-Arafat summit, after talking
about no contacts until after the elections;
- And suddenly eliminating, as of Tuesday afternoon, all talk about
Barak's media "campaign" against the PA.
VOP also pulled back from calling Barak the "resigning prime
minister" which has the connotation of "the lame duck prime minister".
Perhaps the biggest about-face came from none other than the
smooth-talking Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo, who only yesterday
caustically criticized Barak but who today -2PM Panorama talk show
interview-spoke of the "sick mind" of Ariel Sharon.
[Note: It is considered very, very abusive and disrespectful in the Arab
world to make insulting personal remarks -- especially if they have a
connection to the person's body, especially the head or face -- about a
Remember: Until now, PA President Yasser Arafat has been scrupulously
careful NOT to attack Sharon, even though VOP announcers have often referred
to him as "the extremist Ariel Sharon." VOP reporters and analysts have
taken a respectful distance in reporting that Israeli Arabs-or Palestinian
Israelis or Arabs inside the Green Line-have largely decided to abstain from
Today that attitude also changed: VOP interviewers badgered Israeli
MK Azmi Beshara, repeatedly asking him whether Israeli Palestinians might
not switch away from their boycott and come out to vote for Barak.
(Beshara indicated the stay-away protest or blank ballot would still go
ahead, but one can expect a lot of pressure in the coming days.)
In Short, both VOP and the PA now seem to be joining the campaign
against Ariel Sharon, even though an 8:18 am studio-read VOP (Pravda-like)
analysis Wednesday morning laid out the near certainty of a Barak loss to
Sharon, hinting that Barak may have to be replaced by Peres, if Sharon is to
The PA analysis was sophisticated and unemotional, stressing the
- Sharon's election is imminent, but he will not be able to form a broad
- Sharon's narrow parliamentary base -- only 19 Likud seats out of 120-will
make serious negotiations with the PA very unlikely;
- and the high likelihood that Israel will again go to elections within
six months, thus signaling a period of deep instability in Israel.
In a morning interview, PA Information Minister Yasser Abd-Rabbo denied
categorically a report in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv that the PA and Israel
had agreed to put of discussions on Jerusalem for five years. (Note: A
similar report-asserting also a settlement of the refugee issue-- was
offered 24 hours later by Emanuel Rozen, Wednesday night on Israel's Ch. 2,
and it will be interesting to see if the PA bothers to deny this report as
In a later Abd-Rabbo morning interview (there were three Abd-Rabbo
interviews today), the PA minister said it was likely there would be a
Barak-Arafat meeting in Egypt on the Sunday before the Tuesday elections.
Elsewhere, VOP continued to shepherd the Iraqi normalization process,
featuring a long studio-read analysis by senior announcer Khaled Sukar
detailing Iraq's return to the fold, i.e. the Arab world's renewed embrace
of Saddam Hussein.
Wednesday, 7 a.m. -- Morning Round-up Headlines
- "Efforts by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and European officials
pushing hard for a continuing Palestinian-Israeli summit, but a site and a
time for the summit are not yet decided;
- It is likely to be in a European capital, but time pressure is a problem;
- The extremist and rightist Likud candidate for the prime ministry
Ariel Sharon is vainly contriving to (reconstruct) his past vis a vis the
Palestinian Leadership and to convince by putting on new clothes (to
distract from) the ugly truth;
- Supporters of Sharon tell the e-mail edition of Yediot Aharonot that
there is NO danger of acceptance of the plans of the extremist Avigdor
Lieberman who threatened striking against the Aswan High Dam in Egypt and at
- The Israeli government refuses to meet the Palestinian side about
transferring sums to the Palestinian side andregarding the financial
difficulties of the (Palestinian) National Authority, and Muhammd Zuhdi
Nashashibi (PA finance official) condemns this Israeli step…"
7 a.m. / 8 a.m. Morning Headlines
- "The youth Sayyid Abdul-hamid, 15 years old, was struck in his chest
by gunfire and critically wounded by Occupation soldiers concentrated in the
Mintar crossing (Gaza);
- Palestinian security sources say Israelis reporting a shelling of the
settlement of Netzarim built on the land of citizens from Gaza, and an
Israeli shelling on the houses of Sheikh Ijleen in south Gaza;
- Citizens' houses in Marda and Salfit were subjected to fire by
- Occupation soldiers search and close village of Jab'a, preventing
citizens from entering or leaving (Note: this is area of shooting death
night before last);
- A large force of the Israeli Occupation Army invaded Kafr Haris near
Salfit last night, arresting several citizens, including the head of the
- The office of the Israeli prime minister confirms that there are
contacts with a view to holding Palestinian-Israeli summit between Presient
Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak;
- Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo indicates there is NO
Palestinian refusal to holding a summit before the elections in Israel;
- Military sources in the Israeli army confirm its use of ammunition
with depleted uranium against targets at sea over a year ago…
- Minister of Economic Development Dr. Nabil Sha'ath pursing talks in
- The (Palestinian) National Authority demands that the two funds (for
Al Aqsa and Intifada support and relief) give advance payments for the next
- The Arab summit in Tunis calls on giving financial support to the
Intifada and demanded that Israel respect the rights of the sons of our people;
- Egyptian Foreign Ministry announces that Foreign Minister Amr Moussa
has been selected to head the fourth session of the Arab Summit's oversight
commission regarding aid to the Intifada;
- Moscow announces plans to build four new nuclear reactors by the year
Quotes from Interview with Zakaria Agha, member PLO Executive, regarding
Israeli military escalations in Gaza, 7:20 a.m.
Question: "Is there an escalation of Israeli aggression?"
Answer: "Yes, that's the cause. The Israeli government is trying to continue,
attempting to escalate. There is no difficulty in its doing so. Military
attacks, shelling on houses, shooting at citizens, destruction and sabotage
of property. This aggression is continuing. This criminal operation against
the Palestinian people."
Question: "In this matter it is apparent that the actions are parallel to the
Israeli elections. Are you trying to confront these actions in different ways?"
Answer: "Of course. As everyone knows, it was expected, the escalation is geared
to the elections. The competition among the candidates hurts the Palestinian
(Note: This interview offered this morning is clearly out-of-sync with the
new help-Barak party line, but it illustrates that there is a lag-factor
even at VOP.)
Quotes from Interview with Minister of Information Yasser Abd Rabbo,
Wednesday morning, 7:30 a.m.
Off-mike question: Are there contacts for a new Arafat-Barak summit, and
is either side refusing to talk as before?
Answer: "There is absolutely no palestinian refusal to holding a such a
meeting. On the contrary, there is readiness to hold such a meeting in an
appropriate place, despite the fact that the Israeli elections are in a few
days. But we are ready up until the last instant to make all efforts and
journeys for the sake of revealing any opportunity for progress in the
There are thoughts of holding it in Europe or holding it in Egypt….If
things work out, we will welcome it….It could be something positive and it
would encourage all backers of peace inside Israel. And it would give them
the confidence that there is an action to further the peace process."
Quotes From Second abd-Rabbo Interview, 7:40 a.m.
Question: "There is an interview published by the newspaper Yediot Aharonot on
the internet in which the extremist Likud candidate Ariel Sharon says that
President Yasser Arafat wanted to topple the Hashemite regime in Jordan and
set up a Palestinian state…whose borders would go from Iraq in the east to
Petah Tiqva and Beersheb'a….What do you make of all this?"
Answer: "That is the talk of a deranged man (Arabic: mash'our). Any man who could
say that, who could, once again, say sorts of things. He's a man who is
hostile to the peace process. All such proposals are sorts of things that
come from a sick mind….We also knew these things, these sayings of his, when
he was in the Netanyahu Government." (This interview also opened the 2 p.m.
Panorma afternoon magazine show)
Wednesday Afternoon Headlines, 4 p.m.
- The martyring of a citizen without provocation in Gaza in a crime
committed by Occupation troops;
- Occupation troops extend their agresson against our citizens and
their possessions at various points in the homeland;
- President Yasser Arafat expresses his regret at the deaths of tens
of thousands of citizens in the earthquake in western India;
- The (Palestinian) National Authority tests whether the political
statements of Sharon are aimed at (hurting) Palestinian-Jordanian relations;
- Palestinian reaction to the terms of the Islamic Bank's transferring
funds to the National Authority;
- Libya demands immediate removal of sanctions against her following
the verdict in the Lockerbie trial."
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Official PA radio news:
PA Virtual Endorsement of Ehud Barak
Summary and Analysis
The Voice of Palestine stepped up the Palestinian Authority's support of
Ehud Barak, only five days before Israeli elections, featuring reports on
efforts by Sweden (temporary head of EU) to set up summit between Barak and
PA officials such as Development Minister Nabil Sha'ath, Arafat's
spokesman Nabil Abu-Irdeineh and Presidential Secretary Taib Abd-al-Rahim
were interviewed and/or quoted as supporting the summit idea and/or
condemning "extremist Likud candidate Ariel Sharon" for plotting against the
friendly relations between Jordan and the PA. Their remarks were re-cycled
throughout the bulletin headlines through the morning.
But in a rare funny live-radio backfire (especially rare on Palestinian
radio), VOP attempts to get a strong anti-Sharon condemnation blew up in the
PA's face as the Jordanian Information Minister when asked about fears of
Sharon, said: "We have no fear in this matter," and the VOP announcer, Karim
Khalid, quickly terminated the interview (see below for interview).
In addition, despite PA support for Barak, PA officials strenuously
denied various Israeli reports (Ma'ariv Tuesday morning, Channel Two
Wednesday night) about Palestinian-Israeli deals at Taba or imminent
framework agreements in a pre-election Arafat-Barak meeting. From the strong
Palestinian denials-which are consistent and from different officials over a
period of several days-it appears that the source for the Israeli stories is
likely a senior Israeli official with strong stakes in the upcoming Israeli
At 12-noon, VOP gave more prominent coverage to Barak's decision not to
withdraw from candidacy for re-election.
Morning Round-up Headlines
- "We will cover the top developments in the Independence Intifada and
the military aggression of the Israeli Occupation and its sieges against the
sons of our people;
- Two new martyrs and strong military pressure at the Rafah checkpoint
and at the airport;
- The (Palestinian) Leadership in its weekly meeting last night asserts
that the future portends an end to the Occupation and colonization (Arabic:
Christian: also settlement);
- Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation Dr. Nabil Sha'ath
TOTALLY DENIES possibility of finding final solution at summit;
- Jordanian Minister of Information Talib al-Rifai characterizes
Sharon's comments in the newspaper regarding Palestinian-Jordanian border
(Note: headline does not say how or what he characterized);
- Today the first of Shubat (February) is the Day of the Arab Woman;
- Arab voters inside the Green Line: (torn) between blank ballots and
boycotting the elections."
Morning Headlines, 7 a.m./ 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.
- "The martyring of the citizen Ismail Ahmad Tubani, 50 years old,
from the Mughazi Camp who was hit by bullet fire in the heart at the hand of
Occupation soldiers who fired, without provocation, at his car as it stopped
by the "Shuhada Checkpoint" (literally "martyrs' checkpoint", and translator
does not know official name for location) in southern Gaza;
- Two citizens wounded by Israeli tank fire last night at the Mintar
- Occupation soldiers invade Kafr Haris near the town of Salfit, casting
off bombs to terrorize the citizens last night;
- Confrontations in Silwan between families and the Occupation
soldiers, despite a curfew that was declared on the town, resulting in 10
- Telephone conversation between President Arafat and the Prime Minister
of Sweden, currently serving as head of European Union, and the conversation
centered on the most recent developments in continuing Israeli aggression
and the recent Taba negotiations and the opportunity for holding a
Palestinian-Israeli summit in Stockholm before the Israeli elections;
- A spokesman for the Swedish prime minister said
no decision has yet been reached on the holding of a new summit
regarding the Middle East
between President Yasser Arafat and the Israeli prime minister;
- The (Palestinian) Leadership renews its rejection of any agreement
that does not guarantee the solution of the problem of the refugees and
their return to their homes from which they were evicted in 1948, and their
habituation with their dependents;
- And the Leadership asserts in a statement published at the end of its
meeting last night in Gaza headed by President Yasser Arafat asserted the
role played by the obligation of Israel to the source authority of the
peace process and the decisions of international legitimacy (i.e. UN
resolutions). as the basis for any readiness for any talks with Israel .and
the guaranteeing of the interests of our people in reaching the goal of
freedom and independence;
- Presidential Secretary Taib Abd-al-Rahim stresses the statement of the
Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abdul-Ghaib last night about the aggressive and
provocative statements of Ariel Sharon which reflected his Occupation vision
and racism and Sharon's attempt to sow discord among Arab fraternity and
- The two sides-Palestinian and Israeli-agree on a memorandum on the
extension of the timetable of the assignment of the international force in
- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says that he is capable of winning
the competition for prime minister's post;
- Israeli helicopters strafe villages in southeastern Lebanon;
- Ireland asserts time limit for role in force in southern Lebanon.;
- Finally, President George Bush says America will press Libya to
recognize its responsibility for the Lockerbie attack and for compensation
Quote of the Day
"There is no appointed time nor place. . The Israeli side did not
present anything new at the Taba session, and he remained where he was
before Taba. and we do not want a meeting just for the sake of a meeting."
(Saeb Erikat, following last night's PLO Executive meeting, on question
whether a time and place have been set for Arafat-Barak summit, and on
results of previous meetings at Taba--Thursday morning news interview, 7:25
Quotes from field interview with PLO Executive member, Zakariah al-Agha
"The Palestinian side is ready for negotiations aimed at reaching
agreement, but the difficulty is on the Israeli side which is not ready for
this matter. There are international efforts at holding a meeting between
President Yasser Arafat and the Israeli prime minister during the coming
days, but no final time has been set for this meeting."
Question: "With the continuing Israeli aggression, do you think such a meeting
can take place?"
Answer: "I do NOT think so because such a meeting will be merely a meeting
for the protocol, but I do NOT expect any dramatic developments from such a
meeting, especially, as you said, while Israeli aggression continues as part
of the election campaign against the Palestinian people[taken as
"actuality" from within report by Gaza correspondent 'Adil Za'anoun in Gaza,
covering meeting of PLO Executive, 7:15 a.m.)
Quotations from interview with Saeb Erikat, 7:30a.m.
Question: "Are there conditions for a meeting?"
Answer: "Obviously what is demanded is that the peace process continue on the
basis of Madrid. Madrid, that is 242, 338, resolution 194 and an Israeli
withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders including Jerusalem, and the
question of refugees according to 194. The Israeli side did not present
anything new at the Taba session, and he remained at where he was before
Taba. and we do not want a meeting just for the sake of a meeting."
Quotations from Talib al-Rifai, Jordanian Minister of Information:
Question: Ariel Sharon told Yediot Aharonot
that Jordan wants Israel to hold on
to the Ghur (Jordan) Valley and the Jordan River?"
Answer: "That does NOT deserve a reply. It's a journalistic statement and it
has absolutely no meaning. (Pressed a bit by interviewer to extend his
answer.) . . . It's just an attempt to sow discord between the two fraternal
Question: "Is there a fear in Jordan about the advancement of Sharon to the
government and to power in Israel?"
Answer: "We will work together with Sharon as we would work with someone
else. Jordan knows how to deal with all eventualities in its regard. We have
no fear in this matter." ( 7:40 a.m.)
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Tibi Israeli MK and former advisor to
Arafat, who appears much more often on Israeli media than VOP
"If someone wants to cast a blank ballot (white paper) that's okay, and
if someone wants to boycott, that's okay. But we strongly reject, strongly
reject any attempt to vote for Ariel Sharon. It'll be one percent maybe two
percent in the Arab community.But any vote is legitimate.And in the final
analysis we all have to realize that if Ariel Sharon wins-and that looks
like the result-the world will not be destroyed as some have tried to
portray it. No, there won't be a war. But there is no doubt that will be
extremist rightwing. It is incumbent on the Arab world, on the Palestinian
Leadership, and on all of us to get ready for this eventuality, and to be
ready to confront it."
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