Israel Resource Review 6th Febuary, 2001


Official PA radio news
- P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio: Saunday Afternoon February 4th Until Tuesday Morning February 6th

Israel Election Preview on V.O.P.

On Monday night and Tuesday morning, V.O.P. ushered in the Israeli elections-with a sharp escalation of anti-Sharon rhetoric and emphasis on a military escalation in the Gaza Strip alongside the Egyptian border.

V.O.P. led its Monday night Midnight news round-up and its Tuesday morning news shows with lead item about the closing of Palestinian air-space by Israel as well as intensification of the Israeli siege on Palestinian towns and cities.

"Not even one worker is being allowed into the Green Line," V.O.P. intoned Tuesday morning."

V.O.P. acknowledged that the Israeli actions followed the killing an an Israeli soldier along the Egyptian border in Rafah, but they made no mention of Israeli reports that a Palestinian fighter killed while infiltrating from Egypt who was carrying over 30 pounds of explosives on his body, nor that the Israelis are claiming that the Palestinian Arab refugee community of Rafah (half of which is in Egyptian territory and half on the pre-67 Palestinian/Israeli side) has become a nexus for smuggling anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is making no bones of its distaste for and foreboding of Ariel Sharon, though stopping short of a formal call to vote for Ehud Barak.

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Information, Yasser Abd-Rabbo, was the featured 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning interview, and said that Sharon represented the "extremist right wing" in Israel and its "fascist" approach to the use of power.

In its news summaries, V.O.P. said "Israeli voters are choosing between the head of the Labor party, Ehud Barak, and the extremist right-winger, the leader of the Likud party, Ariel Sharon."

V.O.P. portrayed Barak as indecisive and a sure loser, while the V.O.P. depicted Sharon as a fascistic mass murderer.

There was no mention in the headlines of the option of boycotting the elections or casting a blank ballot.

The tone of programming is reflected by anchorman Samir Interr's Monday morning political profile summation of Sharon:

"Ariel Sharon has a history spattered with blood and massacres . . ."

Sunday Afternoon Round-up Headlines, February 4

  • "The funeral of Ahmad Abu-Kirsh in Gaza;
  • Another martyr whose identity is still unknown awaits burial
    [Note: In the bulletin detail section, V.O.P. explained that the unidentified "youth" was trying to infiltrate from Egypt, and later, Israeli Radio reported that the "youth" was carrying over thirty pounds of explosives on his body, and in the evening, the Islamic Jihad said the "youth" was one of its members who would be avenged];
  • Occupation authorities continue their animalistic earth-moving operations in east Gaza, damaging houses and residences;
  • The Fatah Central Committee continues its meetings headed by President Yasser Arafat today;
  • We will hear from Parliamentary Minister Nabil 'Amr and Meretz Knesset Husni Jbara on the expected results of the Israeli elections;
  • Legal authorities warn about kidnappings of children and their imprisonment with Jewish kindergartens (meaning: nursery school or kindergarten teachers who are Jewish);
  • A meeting of the Palestinian-Israeli water committee took place last Thursday in the presence of American representatives aimed at putting an end to Israeli attacks."

Additional Bulletin Headlines

  • "Five Arab countries and Iraq have concluded new free-trade agreements similar to the agreements signed by Baghdad with Egypt and Syria. Inside the Iraqi Parliament it was announced that Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan had signed free-trade agreements with Iraq;
  • Russia again announced its refusal to the American missile plan."

Quotes from Interview with Sahir Habash
, member Fatah Central Committee
Sunday Afternoon February 4, 2:15 p.m.
Interview on Panorama News Magazine Show

Asked off-mike why the Fatah Central Committee was meeting:
"In the name of God, the compassionate and the merciful, it's been about five months since we had a session (of the Central Committee) and there have been a series of events that had to be discussed and that made it unavoidable-most importantly the negotiations, the speech of Brother Abu Amar (i.e. Arafat) recently in Davos, and the difficult situation of our people, the Intifada and the internal situation, other matters in the Palestinian house and the expectations which we will have to confront-that is Sharon in Israel and other matters in the American side and the Israeli side. That is the basis for the timetable, to get ready for the future."

Question: "How does the Fatah movement see the Intifada in the shadow of the Israeli election?"

Answer: "There is no doubt that the Israeli elections…that there is a direct and an indirect connection to the future….In general, the Fatah movement has a great responsibility to confront the eventualities with the importance of unity between all the National and Islamic forces to express the Intifada which continued in the shadow of the negotiations. And this situation with the Intifada has to continue. The Intifada was choice for struggle and for resistance for as long as occupation continues on the ground…This Intifada has to continue its pressure on Israeli public opinion until we push the Israelis into a decision based on international legitimacy for the sake of the Palestinian people."

Summary and Analysis, Monday February 5

V.O.P. presented did a serious profile/hatchet job on Likud candidate Ariel Sharon (describing him as a mass murderer) at the start of its Monday morning news round-up, even as it continued to stress in its analysis that he was the hands-down winner according to the opinion polls.

Between the lines, V.O.P. is also signaling that the Fatah movement is getting prepared both politically AND MILITARILY for the eventuality of a Sharon electoral victory (see Fatah member Habash quotations below).

Beginning Sunday afternoon, V.O.P. went into unusually intense Israeli election coverage (compared to 1999 and 1996). It reported that both Western and Eastern rabbis (Ashkenazi and Sephardi) had given their complete support to Sharon, and it noted that Israeli soldiers had begun voting early Sunday and would continue voting through the Tuesday night civilian election deadline of 10 PM.

Morning Round-up Headlines, Tuesday February 6th

  • "Masses of our people in Gaza will accompany the exalted martyr Abdel-Rahim Kahlud who fell in the Israeli escalation of aggression against the rights of our people (NOTE: this is a reference to the Islamic Jihad man shot while carrying explosives across the Egyptian border, although V.O.P. did not identify his political affiliation);
  • Tens of our citizens wounded in attacks on their houses in the Shuhada crossing in Gaza;
  • Israeli voters head to the ballot boxes tomorrow to choose a new prime minister for them, and the polls show a big advantage to Ariel Sharon, the extremist right-winger;
  • Palestinian voters inside the Green Line are (caught) between two options-one worse than the other:
  • Ariel Sharon has a history spattered with blood and massacres…;
  • And Barak indecisive on the threshold of peace at a time of war against the Palestinian people who until this final minute is giving orders to occupation troops to kill and destroy houses;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen we will review the history of Ariel Sharon by examining testimonies of some of the massacres he carried out and at the same time look at the impressions in government left by Barak and arbitrary actions he took against the rights of the Palestinian people;
  • We will look at the elections and what follows them;
  • We will look at the meeting of the Fatah movement which decided to remain in permanent session."

Quote of the Day

"The Intifada represented a choice for the struggle and for resistance for as long as occupation continues on the ground."
          Fatah Central Committee Member, Sahir Habash, describing the strategic choices facing the Fatah movement after the expected assumed Sharon election victory

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Peace Education Now? A Concern to Both Candidates for Prime Minister
Is It of Any Concern to the Donor Nations to the Palestinian Authority?
David Bedein, Media Research Analyst
Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency

Peace Education Now?

While the world media descended on Israel to cover the hard fought Israel prime ministerial election campaign between dovish Labor incumbent Ehud Barak and hawkish Likud challenger Ariel Sharon, the international press has downplayed the issue that united both Barak and Sharon, both of whom have stressed throughout the campaign that neither one of them will sign any peace agreement unless and until the PLO's Palestinian Authority engages in peace education, as required by all agreements signed between Israel and the PA.

Those agreements between Israel and the PA mandate both parties to prepare their respective populations of children for a new era of reconciliation and mutual recognition.

While the Israeli school curriculum has been drastically adjusted over the past seven years to pioneer a peace education curriculum, the Palestinian Authority has rejected any parallel peace curriculum for the school system under its control.

Ironically, neither Barak nor Sharon do not exclusively blame the PLO for its curriculum of incitement against the Jews.

That is because Israel's leaders point a finger at the nations who fund the curriculum that explicitly encourages a new generation of Palestinian children to make war on the state and people of Israel.

Palestinian education has been funded since 1994, by a consortium of nations led by Italy, Holland, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Canada, all of whom also participate in the funding provided for humanitarian concerns of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which provides health, education and welfare services for the refugee population who make up half of the population now under the civil control of the PA.

Our news agency interviewed an official of the UNRWA curriculum department, under the condition that we not use his name. I asked him if UNRWA would accept any changes suggested by Israel . Until 1993, Israel had overseen the publication of UNRWA textbooks and removed passages that encouraged Arab children to hatred and war against Zionism and the state of Israel. Yet in the words of that same UNRWA official, "Since 1994, Israel has not been allowed to 'interfere' in the publication of any school book or any aspect of the Palestinian school curriculum since the inception of the Palestinian Authority in 1994".

Meanwhile, UNWRA schools use precisely the same school books as the P.A., the nascent Palestinian Authority.

These texts graphically encourage martyrdom. For example, "Martyred Jihad fighters are the most honored people after the prophets" . . . (for 10th Grade); "I shall take my soul into my hand and hurl it into the abyss of death, . . . I see my death and am marching speedily towards it" (for 5th Grade); and the poem "My Homeland" to be "learned by heart" by 5 and 6 year olds, which includes the following ". . . We draw our water from death, . . . Our symbol is the 'sword' and the 'pen', but not 'words'". For 8th Grade, "Oh, Palestine, the youth will redeem your land, Oh, Palestine, with our bare breasts we will defend you. Therefore either life or death!" In these contexts repetitive questions to the students in the texts ask "What is the way to liberate Jerusalem?"

The content of these school books, has been known to the donor nations of the PA for the past few years, thanks to exhaustive reports published by The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace ( whose website is located at:, yet there has not yet been any reaction from the donor nations

In March, 2000, I asked the representative for Canada to the Palestinian Authority about changes in PA education. He indicated that he "hoped" that the new set of textbooks that would be published in the Fall of 2000 for the UNRWA camps and the PA schools would be different.

These much heralded new textbooks created by the Palestinian Authority which were supposed to disclaim any such incitement were launched for the 1st and 6th Grades in September, 2000.

The consuls from Italy, Belgium, Holland, Ireland and Canada, all confirmed to our news agency, on the record, that these new textbooks from the PA were supposed to be vetted by these donor nations.

However, in August, 2000, the PA department of education informed us that they would not share the new books with the donor nations.

And the donor nations to the PA filed no protest whatsoever.

At the Dutch Representative Office located in El Bireh in the Palestinian Authority, now the scene of many recent gun-battles, we met with a recently appointed Palestinian education official. He presented himself as a resident of the UNRWA Dehaisha refugee camp, who had been working for the past ten years with the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education and now was employed by the Netherlands government to handle matters of education for the Dutch government. He made it clear that it was Dutch policy not allow any "interference" in the educational curriculum development of a nation that receives aid from the Dutch government. He therefore explained that the Dutch would not welcome any Israeli involvement in the new PA curriculum.

In light of the PA curriculum issue, our news agency sent a query to the Commissioner for External Relations of the European Union, Mr. Christopher Patten, to inquire about the position of the EU regarding the new textbooks of the PA,

We specificially asked if Patten would favor a change in the PA curriculum, since the EU itself was also providing grants to the PA educational system.

Patten's office responded swiftly, in the negative.

The reason given from Patten's office: The EU is "not in itself competent" to monitor the Palestinian curricula, "nor is it responsible for development programs of E.U. Member States".

Yet according to contracts between the donor nations and the PA, a monitoring committee of the PA schools was supposed to meet at least twice a year. These meetings did take place, yet they dealt only with logistical matters and not with what was being taught in the PA classroom.

The new PA curriculum, introduced in September, 2000, was supposed to introduce a new era.

With the written permission of the PA minister of education, we purchased these new school books at the beginning of the school year.

We handed these books over to the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace for evaluation.

The CMIP provided a review of these books, in early January, 2001 at a conference sponsored by the Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace and on its website,

The CMIP showed that the new books of the PA gave no evidence whatsoever that any education for peace and reconciliation existed anywhere in any of the new texts of the Palestinian Authority.

Instead, the message of the new PA textbooks negates the existence of Israel, teaching Palestinian Arab children that a " State of Palestine" is to replace Israel, while Azzadin-al-Khassam, the martyr and hero of the violent "Hamas" movement appears together with his photograph as a great and honored figure of Palestinian history in the new PA civics book for the sixth grade.

In January, 2001, representatives from the donor nations to the PA approved further aid to the PA school system, rejecting any condition that incitement be dropped from the official curriculum of the Palestinian Authority school system.

While it would seem logical that aid to the Palestinian Authority in the context of a peace process should be contingent on dropping all incitement, it would seem that logic and foreign aid policies do not always coincide.

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