Israel Resource Review 12th Febuary, 2001


Official PA radio news -- 12th February, 2001

Summary and Analysis

V.O.P. justified the murder of the Israeli driver Tzahi Sasson last night near the Jerusalem-Bethlehem by-pass tunnel, when it announced at the opening of its 8 a.m. morning news that the dead man was "a settler from Rosh Tzurim which was built on land (taken) from Hebron." The broadcast also used the term "met his fate" for the death of the man who took a road whose use is specifically protected by several of Palestinian-Israeli agreements commonly known as "the Oslo Accords."

The Voice of Palestine and other state-run Palestinian media also did not condemn the murder or broadcast any calls for restraint-though this is also required by the Oslo Accords.

Similarly, neither V.O.P. nor the Palestinian Authority in any of its other manifestations found it necessary to report-let alone to condemn or to try to restrain-the actions of the gunmen who re-opened fire on the Israeli neighborhood of Giloh last night.

At the same time, Yasser Arafat's spokesman Nabil Abu Irdeineh "condemned" (that was the term used in Arabic-"yudeenu") the way Israeli politicians have been speaking about Mr. Arafat. Abu-Irdeineh condemned particularly the comment by Meir Dagan (a retired general and counter-terrorism expect who advises Sharon) that Arafat should be arrested by Israel if it obtained concrete proof of his direct involvement in attacks on Israelis.

Abu-Irdeineh and PA Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo reaffirmed that the PA would not negotiate with Israel except from the point at which talks left off with the defeated Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Abd-Rabbo likened the American and Israeli statements that the Taba and Clinton ideas were not biding to "game-playing" by children. The minister accompanying Yasser Arafat to talks in Egypt basically called Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon as well as George Bush and Bill Clinton "immature" or "un-serious" while extolling the virtues of the Palestinian Leadership which always sticks to its agreements and understandings (See interview below).

American Note

For the second day in a row, V.O.P. has been sprinkling its news programs with items of Iraqi casualties due to American and British actions. Yesterday, V.O.P. reported that two Iraqi children were killed when an old bomb left over from the 1991 Gulf War exploded.


Several Israeli reports this morning and last night repeat the view that the escalating acts of violence-particularly the first fatal tunnel sniping and the Giloh shelling-are "rogue operations," which Arafat opposes. But the escalating rhetoric at V.O.P.-including undisguised support for the Fatah Tanzeem gunmen and calls for judging Israel for "war crimes"-seems to dovetail with (if not actually to encourage) the escalating violence.

What is the reason for the violence and the rhetoric?

Some believe it is a way to "stir up the pot" and to insure increased pan-Arab and European involvement, but it may also be connected with the current visits of investigating commissions from the UN.--MW

Monday Morning Round-up Headlines

  • "Israeli forces continue their reinforced military and economic siege on Palestinian lands, extending their repressive actions against citizens;
  • In Bethlehem, shelling on residences and one person wounded after one Israeli meets his fate;
  • At this moment there is a shelling of the neighborhood in Ramallah that includes the Palestinian Broadcasting and radio;
  • The international commission on human rights investigate the Israeli violations and crimes against the rights of our Palestinian people, and members of the commission heard from Palestinian officials about the savage attacks, violations and crimes;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat is in Cairo as part of the framework of the cooperative Arab effort to attain peace in the region based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the realization (lit: making real) of Palestinian national rights including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty and with Jerusalem as its capital;
  • The deliberations and dynamics of the Arab conference in Amman show their results, among them deep analysis and understandings on positions.;
  • Lifting of the closure of Palestinian airspace following meetings with the Israeli side yesterday, to be implemented (fully) tomorrow in connection with the Haj (the pilgrimage to Mecca);
  • Israel announces its opposition to a boycott of its products and its Finance Minister demands the National Authority lift warnings against trading with Israel, but the Authority (i.e. the Palestinian Authority) says the boycott is a decision of the masses;
  • In Israeli matters we will look at the new balance after the loss of Labor in the prime ministerial election, and at Sharon's efforts to form a unity government with the Laborites."

Usage Note

In the last three weeks, particularly in the last 10 days, official Palestinian media have begun to use the term "Kamil al-siyada" that means "completeness of sovereignty" or "fullness of sovereignty" when expressing Palestinian demands for statehood and control over Jerusalem. It appears that the usage is a direct attempt to respond to trial balloons floated by Ehud Barak and other Israeli officials for partial sovereignty or partial control or demilitarization.

Monday Morning 7 a.m. News Bulletin Headlines

  • "There are artillery shellings at this moment in the neighborhoods around the Palestinian Broadcasting and Television in El-Bireh;
  • Many of the residential neighborhoods in Bethlehem, El-Bireh, and Ramallah were subjected to fire last night, especially Bethlehem were 10 people were injured and one house was totally destroyed;
  • Israeli journalistic sources say the settler who was killed last night was from the settlement of Rosh Tzurim, one of the settlements of Gush Etzion built on land of citizens from the Hebron prefecture; (NOTE: the Gush Etzion settlements were built before the 1948 war on land that was purchased, and they were overrun during the war, with many of the settlers then slaughtered by local Arabs, while some settlers were taken prisoner and later traded back to Israel by the Arab Legion under Abdel-Qader al-Husseini)
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat is holding talks in Egypt with President Husni Mubarak;
  • The National Authority warns the Israeli army against pursuing additional racist attacks against the inhabitants of the Muasy neighborhood of Khan Yunis;
  • The International commission of Human Rights (of the United Nations) begins its investigation of Occupation violations of human rights.;
  • The opening of Gaza International Airport from tomorrow between eight in the morning until five in the evening as part of the transfer of pilgrims to the sacred shrine;
  • Sultan Qabus of Oman transfers a sum of millions of dollars to help workers of our people;
  • Seven Iraqi civilians injured and several buildings damaged in attacks by American and British planes on southern Iraq;
  • The regional development minister in the Barak Government, Shimon Peres, says that the chances of forming a national unity government are about 50 percent."

Quote of the Day

"The member of the commission heard from Palestinian officials a detailed report on the attacks, crimes and violations. Dr. Ali Sha'ath, an official of the Ministry of International Development, announced that the economic losses since September 28 last year amounted to more three billion dollars.He said Israeli forces used various military means against the Palestinian people in an attempt to increase to kill the greatest number of innocent children and youths as possible as well as assassinating officials-a direct violation of the fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians."
        From morning report read by Khalid Dabas, discussing Palestinian testimony to the international commission investigating human rights violations -- 7:15 a.m.

Quotes from Interview with Yasser Abd-Rabbo, Minister of Information

"This is visit (to Egypt for talks with Mubarak) follows the Israeli election to review the results and to have consultations during this period. We and Egypt from the first day after the elections, we decided that we would not interfere in the choice made by the Israeli people although there are negative indications. Our position is clear. We are obligated to the agreements, ready to continue the peace process, but absolutely only from where the process reached, beginning at Camp David and ending at Taba, based on the source authority of the peace process-resolutions 242, 338 and resolution 194. We will not enter, and we do not accept and we never accepted partial or stop-gap agreements.We expect to carry out the (Taba) agreements, and we expect the same thing from the other side.

A final agreement requires a comprehensive agreement.that means first Jerusalem and the refugees and of course land and settlements which is the central matter. And all other things on which the final agreement is based."

Question: "What do you say about what Barak said about Taba and the Clinton proposals?"

Answer: "Barak knows, Sharon knows and everyone knows that the process is not a game. When a government goes back on what it says, that is NOT SERIOUS

Important Note: "not serious" both in the common usage of Arabic and Hebrew in this context has a strongly pejorative connotation meaning "immature" or "inappropriate".

We are returning to the point at which we arrived, and all this talk does not impress us or affect us.This is a campaign designed before the American Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell is set to come to the region, at the gates of the forming of a new Israeli government. They all want - Mr. Barak and all of them-they want to form a national unity government with Sharon on the basis of Sharon's program, and therefore they have to retreat from their past obligations and past positions. That's their problem.

We believe that everything we discussed with Israeli governments is an important matter. It is something we have to work out together with responsibility. One cannot say something today and then return tomorrow and pull it back and retreat. That's a shame."

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