|Israel Resource Review
||14th Febuary, 2001
Official PA radio news - . P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio: February 14th
Official P.A. Reaction to Bus Killings
Quote of the Day
"And I believe that in a civilized world Sharon would be brought before an
international tribunal for crimes against humanity. If he were Milosovic or
Pinochet or even Heidar who was elected and chosen as a deputy minister, as
a partner in a government and not as the prime minister in Austria, but only
as a partner. Sharon's history is a death sentence for respect for human
rights especially for Palestinians and Arabs."
PA Minister Hanan Ashrawi in morning interview, 8:30 a.m. on V.O.P.,
approximately at time of bus massacre
Evening Summary and Analysis
V.O.P. opened its evening news with Yasser Arafat's call for an
international presence to protect Palestinians against Israeli aggression
and its "dangerous escalation." Through the 8PM evening news, the Voice
of Palestine was still treating the bus massacre as an accident.
"Referring to the event in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, President Arafat
said it was 'an ordinary event and not terrorism, and the driver was
arrested and his crime will be investigated,'" V.O.P. quoted Arafat as saying
(during a press conference in Turkey) in its 8PM round-up.
V.O.P. also quoted Arafat as saying the Palestinians clung to a full and
comprehensive peace and the rejection of violence, based on the peace
process linked to UN resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of territory
There was no condemnation of the bus attack, but there was continuous
condemnation of Israeli "state terror." (Despite an Israel Television
report of a PA official issuing a disapproval of the bus attack, nothing of
this kind was broadcast on Voice of Palestine or PA state television.)
PA presidential secretary Taib Abdel-Rahim was quoted throughout the day
during bulletins, warning Israel that its actions were going to lead "to an
At Seven PM Wednesday evening, V.O.P. reported that in a split-session of
the Palestinian Legislature (Ramallah/Gaza), legislators condemned Israel
for its policy of "state terrorism."
Bus Massacre and Escalation
First news on V.O.P. of the bus massacre at the Holon Junction came at
8:57 a.m. from senior V.O.P. commentator Youssef al-Kazaz, who was at the
tail-end of his Mishwar al-Sabah ("Morning Dialogue") show.
Al-Kazaz said seven Israeli soldiers were killed and ten others (not
necessarily soldiers from the way it was phrased) when hit by a bus.
During the 9:00 a.m. news bulletin, the same basic details
were repeated along with the fact that the man driving the bus was a
Palestinian from Gaza who regularly drove buses for the Israeli Egged Bus
Company. There was no intimation that the man had deliberately carried out
an attack, and there was scant information about him as well, only that he
was wounded, too. The bus incident was sandwiched between news of a new
martyr (see below) and funeral arrangements for Mas'oud Ayyad, the Force
17/Hezbollah commander who was killed by Israeli missiles yesterday.
During the 10:00 news show, V.O.P. said the bus driver had been driving for
the Egged Company for five years (a detail taken apparently from the Voice
of Israel). The bus massacre was not treated as an "attack" or "operation"
by the news writers at V.O.P., but with language suggestive of a bus accident.
(At both nine and ten, V.O.P. opened its news with the "assassination" of
'Ayid Khalid Abu-Harb which was condemned at length by Yasser Abd-Rabbo and
other PA officials. No one at V.O.P. drew any connections between the bus
attack and Israeli "assassinations/liquidations" over the last week .)
At the time of the attack, PA minister Hanan Ashrawi was describing
Israeli "war crimes" in an interview from Washington. During the interview
(8:20-8:32 a.m.), Ashrawi mapped out the PA's press strategy in the United
States: to depict Israeli leaders in general as war criminals who need to be
brought to justice, particularly Ariel Sharon whom Ashrawi likened to August
Pinochet, Slobodan Milosevic and Jorg Heidar.
In its 12-noon news round-up V.O.P. led with the headline that the
Palestinian Authority rejects any responsibility for the bus incident.
It reported that PA officials-particularly parliamentary affairs
minister Nabil Amr -- said Israel officials had only themselves to blame for
the escalation of violence. Later in the day, this comment was echoed in an
on-air interview by Yasser Arafat himself.
V.O.P. identified the bus driver as Ala Khalil Abu Alba, the father of five
children. V.O.P. said this identification was based on Israeli police sources.
V.O.P. said the driver was seriously wounded in an Israeli operation involving
helicopters. V.O.P. said its Gaza correspondent said the driver "had no
connection to any political organization," and that he lives in the Sheikh
Radwan neighborhood of Gaza.
Wednesday Morning February 14, Summary and Analysis
V.O.P. opened its morning news with the martyring of several citizens, and at
9:00 a.m. it led its news with the assassination of another citizen.
Throughout broadcasts today and yesterday, Israel is being depicted as a
cold-blooded murderer-not only of Fatah commanders but also of innocent
children. (Israel has denied involvement with several of the deaths,
including the death of a 14-year-old boy)
Quotes from Interview with Hanan Ashrawi, February 14, 8:20-8:32 a.m.
"There is strong worry (about Sharon) and we have to study all the
possibilities about what kinds of irresponsible plots Sharon could put
forward, or maybe (Note: these next few words were said with a kind of
snort as if to deprecate the possibility of their being at all true) whether
he might have changed.
We, as Palestinians, we have made it clear that we cannot accept a person
like Sharon as a partner for peace because we realize who Sharon is. We
know his past history and his hands which are covered with blood and with a
chain of massacres and crimes he committed…We as Palestinians cannot except
that Sharon has undergone a change, that he has broken with the past, that
he is a new person…And I believe that in a civilized world Sharon would be
brought before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity. If he
were Milosovic or Pinochet or (note: interviewer Khalid al-Qasem tried to
cut Ashrawi off but she just kept going) or even Heidar who was elected and
chosen as a deputy minister as a partner in a government and not as the
prime minister in Austria, but only as a partner. Sharon's history is a
death sentence for respect for human rights especially for Palestinians and
Wednesday Morning Round-up Headlines
(note: announcer Khaled al-Qasem has begun, today and yesterday, to dedicate
the headlines to "confronting Israel" as he leads into the morning headlines)
- "The Occupation kills an officer in Presidential Security (force) and
murders a child in cold blood;
- The national Authority condemns the crime, and Fatah threatens
reaction as Barak congratulates the army;
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat confers in Amman with the
Jordanian monarch King Abdullah on the peace process and Israeli aggression
against our people;
- Palestinian and Arab diplomatic dynamism to confront the Israeli policy;
- Reports and eye witnesses and doctors about the Israeli use of poison
gas which is internationally prohibited;
- The United Nations estimates that the Palestinian siege imposed by
Israel at a cost of one billion dollars;
- Occupation forces lock-down the airspace over Gaza in an escalation
only one day before the departure of pilgrims on the Haj (pilgrimage to
Mecca, that is one of five essential commandments or "pillars" of Islam);
- The former Israeli government, its sun setting in the outward
appearances of being caught between a policy of siege and assassination;
- Palestinian refugees caught between bullets and poverty."
7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.
- "Eight citizens suffer various injuries in confrontations at the
northern approach to El-Bireh yesterday, and Occupation authorities arrest
the child Taher Harubi, after his being wounded, and take him to an unknown
- Medical sources in Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis say Israeli
occupation forces decided to use poison gas during their artillery shelling
of Khan Yunis,… and Dr Riyad Za'anoun, the health minister has sent a letter
(for assistance) to Egyptian and Jordanian authorities about the unknown
poison gas used against citizens;
- Occupation forces close Gaza International Airport… before the
departure of pilgrims on the Haj…;
- The National Authority condemns the crime of assasination of the
officer Mas'oud Ayyad of the Presidential Force, Force 17, in Jabalya
yesterday morning, President Yasser Arafat's advisor Nabil Abu-Irdeineh
blamed the Israeli government for the operation and for irresponsible
conduct that poisons the atmosphere;
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat conducted talks in Amman with
Jordanian monarch King Abdullah…;
- The American State Department considers that the situation in
Palestinian territory has deteriorated seriously following the assassination
of the martyr Ayyad yesterday;
- The European Union condemns the assassination policy of Israel against
our Palestinian people…;
- Representatives of the Likud Party and the Labor Party cite great
progress in talks yesterday for forming a government…."
2 p.m. Afternoon Headlines
- "The martyring of the youth Ayyid Khalid Abu Harb, First Mate in the
Palestinian Navy in east Tulkarm;
- The National Authority refuses attempts to place blame on it for
running-over operation in Tel Aviv today in which nine soldiers were killed
and nineteen others wounded
- The identity of the bus driver, who worked for the Egged Bus Company
for five years, is Ala Abu Alba, father of five children, from Gaza;
- Masses of our people in Gaza escort the exalted martyr Masoud Ayyad
who was killed by an Israeli warplane (note: yes, they said warplane this
time, not helicopter) yesterday;
- Israeli forces place an air blockade on Gaza International Airport;
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat, who held talks this morning
with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah is now meeting Jordanian prime minister
Ali Abu Ghaghib."
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Official Fatah Website Editorial: A Storm in a Broken Cup
Even during the most dangerous wars in 1967, in 1973 and during the Zionist
invasion of Lebanon in 1982, nobody held his breath as the whole area is
doing now while waiting for Sharon to come. This state of horror and fear is
based on the idea that something wrong may happen to the peace process.
The Oslo Accord was a historical risk and it failed in different aspects.
However, our steadfastness has increased due to our adherence to
international legality and to what the intifada has already achieved. What
also strengthens our steadfastness is the national unity that combines all
the forces that comprise the Palestinian civil society in addition to the
PNA executive, legislative and judicial authorities.
The Palestinian people, therefore, will not waste their time on wishful
thinking. To us, it does not matter whether Sharon or Barak will win the
elections. They are two faces for the same dirty coin. And we have to
prepare ourselves for the worst.
Sharon's election campaign reminds us of that of Netanyahu who not only
refused the Oslo Accord but he also accused the Labor party of being
traitors who transferred "the land of Israel" to those Palestinians who
according to him have no national rights. The storm that engulfed his
campaign then took him to power, and Shimon Peres sank in the blood of his
victims in Lebanon.
Nowadays, we witness another storm that is highly likely to take Sharon to
power after the atrocities that Barak has done. His follies were much more
serious than those of Peres who bombarded Qana killing hundreds of
civilians. He and the high-ranking officials in his army in addition to the
gangs of settlers attack the Palestinian people as part of a state-organized
terror campaign. Also, he destroyed the few signs of coexistence that
remained between the Palestinians living in Israel and the Israelis, when
his policemen killed thirteen Arab demonstrators. He also exerted all kinds
of economic pressures and closed down all crossing points in and out of the
The tragic living conditions that we are living as a result of Barak's
policies make us believe that the intifada should remain regardless of the
results of the Israeli elections. The consensus that formed the basis of the
intifada will also remain since it embodies our legal rights: the liberation
of al-Aqsa and Jerusalem, the establishment of our independent state, and
the return of refugees.
If Barak turns out to be the winner, then nothing will change. His victory
will help resume the vicious circle that started because of Barak's
intransigence in dealing with our national rights. As to Sharon, it is not
necessary to mention the atrocities he committed against our people. One
thing should be stressed here: regardless of who is the winner, any future
Israeli government will not last for long due to the composition of the
current Israeli Knesset.
In short, the upcoming Israeli elections make it necessary to prepare our
selves for the worst prospects. A short-term plan has to be devised taking
into account the following levels:
First: The Palestinian Level
Our adherence to the basic principles that are embodied in international
resolutions is the first requirement that we need for our action plan. A
clear and solid political position will enhance our trust in ourselves, the
Muslim world and the international community. Our commitment to a
comprehensive peace remains an important guarantee in our battle against the
arrogant Zionists who continue to violate the international resolutions.
The clarity of the political position requires the strengthening of the
organizational and administrative structure of all forces participating in
the struggle. These forces consists of:
The PNA executive, legislative and judicial authorities.
The PNA shoulders the responsibility of maintaining a high degree of
readiness while it is engaged in the negotiations with Israel. This will
enhance the negotiating position and guarantee the continuation of the
In this regard, the role that the Ministry of Health has played during the
intifada offers a good example to other ministries, with each ministry
contributing in accordance with its capabilities and the nature of services
The ministry of Education has also played a wonderful role in organizing the
educational and teaching process without any serious interruptions. The
ministry helped maintain the level of stability that is essential for a
civil society to carry out its activities.
Other ministries such as the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of
Finance have also played a role. However, their future plans have to take
into account the nature of tasks to be carried out as part of our continuous
Emphasis should be placed on the vital role of the security apparatus in
maintaining a high level of security for the Palestinian society. The
security apparatus has also played a role in the battle against
collaborators who helped Israel in its military as well as psychological
warfare against us.
As to the judicial authorities, they can help in the fight against
corruption and any attempts that may be made to distort the Palestinian
National and Islamic Forces
These forces make up the hard core necessary for implementing the action
plan to be devised. The unified statements expressing the political position
that were issued by all forces participating in the intifada reflect the
high degree of national unity we have. This will strengthen the position of
the Palestinian negotiating team.
Enhancing national unity requires a higher level of co-ordination between
the institutions of the PNA and the national and Islamic forces. Such
coordination will help avoid any contradictions that may emerge as a result
of political differences. Priority should be given to our national rights.
Public Organizations and Federations and NGOs
A third force in the confrontation against the Israeli occupation is the non
-government organizations. These institutions comprise the Palestinian civil
society whose participation in the intifada is essential. It is these
institutions that give the intifada its public nature and guarantee its
These three basic forces that constitute our society need to have a high
degree of coordination because of the complementary nature of the tasks they
carry out as their contribution to the intifada. The unity they should
experience in their work is the only guarantee for avoiding any risks that
may destroy any achievements we have made since the Oslo Accord.
Secondly: The Arab and Islamic Level
The Arab and Islamic support for our national project is necessary for
avoiding the dangers of the Oslo Accord. The intifada succeeded in unifying
the Arab and Islamic front against the colonial Zionist danger. It made
possible the holding of two important conferences: the Arab summit
conference and the Islamic conference. However, Arab and Muslim countries
have not yet played the role we expect of them. U.S. and Israeli threats in
addition to the absence of a true Arab consensus as a result of the Gulf
war, explain the failure of an active role by these countries.
The moral and material support that Iraq has offered for the Intifada
represents a good example to other Arab countries.
Palestinian national and Islamic forces reaffirm their earlier position that
Arab and Islamic countries should shoulder their responsibilities towards
our cause. These countries should realize that the upcoming confrontation
with the new Israeli government will be much more forceful.
Third: The International Level
The disappearance of Denis Ross and the Zionist administration of Clinton
will hopefully put an end to the U.S. monopoly over the peace process. The
latest statements by Mr. Kofi Anan and the interest he has shown in the
Palestinian Israeli negotiations, indicate that the U.N. can play a much
more effective role instead of the marginal one it has so far played.
The determination of such a role depends on us. We should continue to adhere
to all international resolutions relevant to our issue: 181, 242, 338 and
194. As to international sponsorship, Russia, Europe, the Security Council
countries and some Arab countries should be involved.
A more effective role by the U.N. and a wider international involvement in
sponsoring the peace process will protect our rights and the peace process
These expectations of what needs to be done requires a great deal of
preparations without paying attention to Israeli propaganda that will
eventually fade away.
Revolution Until Victory.
Special Thanks to "imra" at
www.imra.org.il for calling our attention
to this site.
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