Israel Resource Review 20th Febuary, 2001


Official PA radio news
P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio: February 18th

Summary and Analysis, Sunday February 18

Moving into its Sunday coverage, The Voice of Palestine re-affirmed and extended reportage on three matters likely to affect regional picture in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf:

  • Improved Palestinian relations with Syria and Iraq;
  • Heightened tension, escalating rhetoric and operational activities against Israel, even before Ariel Sharon takes office;
  • Escalating rhetoric against Western--particularly American-policies and institutions.

V.O.P. has reported, based on the comments of Farouk Qaddoumi (PLO Political Department director) that Yasser Arafat will soon visit Damascus amid an improvement in Syrian-Palestinian relations.

In a morning interview, Ahmad Qreia said that the PA and the Barak Government had agreed on many border questions, transferring all of the Jordan Valley and eastern Jerusalem to Palestinian control.

Sunday Morning Round-up Headlines

  • "We will review today the violent Israeli escalation on towns and the Israeli artillery shelling on neighborhoods and cities in Hebron and Jenin that led to the martyring of a number of citizens;
  • And masses of citizens from our people escorted (in funerals) six exalted martyrs who fell before Occupation bullets and the evil shelling on inhabited neighborhoods;
  • Politically, the new government headed by Ariel Sharon is expected to reach agreement soon between Labor and Likud based on the feigning of ignorance towards the progress made by the previous government in the talks at Camp David and afterwards in the marathon Taba negotiations;
  • The political agreement between Labor and Likud casts concern on the Palestinian side.;
  • A close look at the situation of Palestinian (women) prisoners, whose status has gotten worse, including the frequency of visits in the last five months;
  • Palestinian-Syrian relations have developed to the extent that a visit to Damascus by His Excellency President Yasser Arafat is close, and we will hear details from Farouk al-Qaddoumi-Abu Lutf-head of the policy department in the (Palestine) Liberation Organization."

Sunday Morning Headlines, 7 a.m., February 18

  • "Seventeen citizens were wounded in Israeli shelling and shooting on inhabited neighborhoods in Hebron and Jenin;
  • The national and Islamic forces call on our citizens to participate in marches of rage on Tuesday, as a 'Day of Rage' against the occupation policy, against the (use of) poison gas and nerve gas, and against American-British aggression against Iraq;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat last night received a letter from German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder (sp?) delivered by his emissary Mr. Steiner;
  • French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine warns of the loss of hope of Palestinians about reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel;
  • Norway calls for the continuation of Palestinian-Israeli talks on the basis of the Oslo Agreement of 1993;
  • Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announces the formation of 21 divisions in the Jerusalem Army whose (planned???) formation had been announced on the 27th of last month;
  • Representative of Israeli prime minister-elect Ariel Sharon met last night to discuss recent developments.and extreme right-wing parliament member Avigdor Lieberman calls for attacking Beirut."

Quote of the Day

"This brought about a great deal of growing closer between us and our brothers in Syria. It is clear that after the election of Sharon and after the indiscriminate violence employed by Israel used to threaten the Palestinian people there was no choice but to deepen mutual understandings between us and our brothers (in Syria)." (Farouk al-Qaddoumi, describing the warming of relations between Syria and the PLO during recent Arab summit talks. Sunday, February 18 7:40 a.m.)

Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia (Abu Ala), PA Speaker Legislature, Sunday February 18, 7:20 a.m.

[Note from Monitor: There were a number of breaks and sound-quality changes in this interview that indicate it may have been edited or spliced at some points, though the content and style are quite probably in keeping with the intent of Speaker Qreia. Still, readers should be aware of the facts.]

Question: "It appears that a new government is being formed in Israel.and it says it is not bound by the understandings of Camp David or Taba. What do you say about that?"

Answer: "It does not bind this government (i.e. the Sharon government), but no one will find a partner (for talks) with this government which rests on this principle (of non-binding nature of Camp David etc). It will have to get by without a partner, without peace, and without security..The talks have to begin where they left off at the last session of the talks. This is the (true) foundations and the principle.

It is unfortunate that the Labor party government led by Barak is the one that negotiated for 18 months and it is now the one that has recanted everything .This approach, this style cannot be accepted, absolutely. It is a regression, a regression from the principle of peace. And it raises the question whether this new alliance (Note: presumably Labor and Likud) is an alliance for war or an alliance for peace.If it is based on the program of Sharon, then it cannot be anything but an alliance that conspires against the Palestinian people, an alliance that leads to a confrontation and an increase in escalating the intifada and the Palestinian resistance in its various forms."

Question: "What about the question of Jerusalem?"

Answer: "The subject of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, eastern Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state. The subject of Jerusalem, its being turned over.this subject was sealed. Many subjects were sealed."

Question: "The Israeli withdrawal and the Ghor (Jordan) Valley. Was this subject sealed?"

Answer: Yes. The subject of borders was sealed completely with Jordan. The borders of '67 from Beit Shean to the Dead Sea was sealed. That is the border of the Palestinian state.

The borders of the Ghor were sealed completely and finally. The region of Hebron was sealed finally. The area of Jenin was sealed completely."

Question: "It is said that Dr. Yossi Beilin put something new on the table relating to the refugees?"

Answer: "No, no, no, that's not true. He didn't table anything new. The question of the refugees is the Right of Return. The Right of Return was not accepted. We have not pulled back from the Right of Return. The Right of Return is holy to Palestinian refugee and a general right to the Palestinian people. They did not accept this right."

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Official PA radio news: P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio, February 20th
Poison Gas Allegation

Summary and Analysis

V.O.P. and its correspondents detailed what they said were vicious and internationally illegal Israeli attacks on civilians Sunday night and Monday-attacks involving, they said, the use of poison gas and nerve gas.

The Gaza correspondent of V.O.P., 'Adil Za'anoun, said more than 50 Palestinians were wounded in heavy Israeli shelling and "gassing" Sunday night.

Monday Morning Round-up Headlines, February 19

  • "Israeli Occupation authorities escalate their dastardly artillery bombardments, especially on Khan Yunis camp, and tens are wounded by the evil shelling;
  • Serious Israeli shelling in the Bethlehem area, especially Beit Jallah, damaging a number of houses;
  • Israeli occupation authorities escalate their arbitrary measures and blockade of necessities to Palestinian lands;
  • Israeli judges confront violence and terrorism in the discussion of the release of the terrorist Yoram Shkolnik who was convicted of killing a Palestinian citizen, whose hands were tied, seven years ago (NOTE: there is no mention here that the "Palestinian citizen" was himself a terrorist);
  • Pilgrims begin leaving West Bank today on blessed Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca, mandated by Islamic tradition and law);
  • Palestinian delegation heads to the American capital of Washington today and is expected to meet with American Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday."

Morning Headlines, 7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m.

  • "Tens of citizens wounded in artillery bombardments in the West Bank and Gaza, and among those injured, there are those suffering from suffocation and poisoning from gas, a nerve gas that is prohibited internationally;
  • Israeli Occupation authorities tighten their siege on the Sabatiyya and Burqa areas after an explosion in the area last night;
  • Mr. Yasser Abd-Rabbo, the Minister of Culture and Information, asserts that the National Authority is approaching the United Nations to investigate Israeli efforts aimed at undermining the institutions of the (Palestinian National) Authority and the siege and destruction of the Palestinian economy;
  • Dr. Ali Sha'ath director general of the ministry of cooperation and planning (Note: Nabil Sha'ath is the minister) estimates the various economic damages due to the assorted sieges and blockades as three billion dollars since the start of the Intifada;
  • The Israeli army announced yesterday that there would be a joint American-Israeli exercise today in the Negev of new weapons, specifically of missiles against strategic missiles (NOTE: THIS is apparent reference to Patriot missiles, whose testing was not announced by the Israeli army but discovered by Israeli reporters);
  • Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz excoriates [Translator's note: nadada in Arabic is a cross between very strongly criticized and reviled, and so "excoriated" was chosen over "condemned"] the American-British bombardment, calling the American explanations laughable;
  • 8,000 prisoners in Brazil began a rebellion yesterday in Kamadeero Prison in Sao Paulo, and 250 people were taken as hostages."

Quote of the Day

"First reports from intelligence sources are that the gas was poisonous and forbidden internationally."
        Adil Za'anoun, Gaza correspondent of V.O.P. in opening report Monday, February 19, 7:06 a.m.

Quotes from Interview with Hassan Abd-al-Rahman, PLO representative in Washington, 7:30

"There are a number of meetings set up between us (and the Americans), chiefly with Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday and other officials. And there will be others meetings with officials in the National Security Council and the State Department.

Question: "What is the background to the meetings?"

Answer: "As you know, the the American Secretary of State Mr. Powell is about to visit the region, and he will met President Arafat in Ramallah or Bethlehem. And this will be the first high-level meeting between us and the new American Administration. That is the basis for the meetings over the next two days in Washington… to discuss the situation in the occupied Palestinian lands and the future of the peace process as well bilateral Palestinian-American relations."

Question: "There have already been relations haven't there? Such as the ties between Jibril Rajoub and (CIA director) George Tenet?"

Answer: "Yes, of course, there have been ties and relations for more than five and six years…"

Question: "Do the Americans understand the need for dynamism (in the peace process)?"

Answer: "First we have to say that this is the first foreign visit of the American secretary of state. Of all the regions of the world, it's the region of the Middle East….That is a sign that the United States cannot (unclear word due to very bad transmission, probably said "ignore" from context) the region….The importance of the Middle East to the United States has not changed.

There are dangers in the Palestinian lands. There is a need for some kind of American role But this Administration says that because of changes in the process, it (the Administration) cannot complete it (this is an apparent reference to Clinton proposals and partial understandings of Camp David II and Taba) but there will be efforts to continue the peace process. However, this administration will take less day-to-day interest…but that does not mean the United States is quitting the region. Or that the United States is less a friend. The style is changing."

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Official PA radio news - P.B.C. V.O.P. (Voice of Palestine) Radio, February 2Oth
PA Commentary on the Bush Administration

In his morning commentary, senior V.O.P. commentator Youssef al-Kazaz exhorted the new Republican administration to take an active role in the peace process and for President George W. Bush "to be his father's son."

The increased criticism and condemnation of the Bush Administration for attacking Saddam and supporting Israel are still evident, but they have been muted a bit because of the meetings in Washington, apparently, and the upcoming visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In a Tuesday morning interview, the PLO representative in Washington tries to downplay Palestinian expectations from the Bush Administration, but noting favorably that Powell's first international trip is to the Middle East.

Elsewhere, V.O.P. is still opening its news programs with war reports from the field replete with detailed coverage (sometimes even hysterical coverage, from Salim Abu-Salih in Hebron, for example) of dead Palestinian martyrs and evil Israeli soldiers cold-bloodedly murdering children with poison gas.

In the background (but featured more prominently than during the first four months of the "Independence Intifada" is Yasser Arafat, busily conferring with world leaders in an attempt to end Israeli aggression while implementing the Palestinian people's just goals.

Tuesday Morning Round-up Headlines

  • "Occupation authorities continue their evil policies of aggression with a new loathsome assassination of Mahmoud Suleiman al-Madani in Nablus, and the National Authority condemns the continuation of the Occupation Authorities' policy of assassinations and arbitrary measures;
  • Violent shellings target several areas-El Bireh, Bethlehem and Beit jallah as well as various parts of Hebron;
  • In the Leadership's meeting yesterday his excellency President Yasser Arafat reviewed the latest events and developments."
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