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 for peace.

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 explosion."

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 Arabs."

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."

Morning Headlines 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 location;
  • 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 occupied territories.

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 intifada.

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 it offers.

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 struggle.

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 society.

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 continuity.

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 as well.

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 for calling our attention to this site.

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