VOP also did not broadcast or report any apology by PA Information
Minister Yasser Abd Rabbo, who had referred to Ehud Barak and other Israeli
officials as war criminals worthy of judgment by a war crimes tribunal. VOP
continues to broadcast similar comments by its own broadcasters and
reporters regularly-and even more incendiary messages in the Friday mosque
addresses which are beamed live at the Palestinian audience.
VOP once again put its emphasis on martyrs and wounded, this time
highlighting in Thursday night and Friday reports the Israeli use of gas,
which, VOP said, led to the death of one man and the near-suffocation of
three children in Jenin.
VOP covered Yasser Araat's report to the Arab summit foreign minister to
the effect that Israel was using illegal heavy weapons on civilian targetrs,
including uraniaum-tipped artillery shells and bullets
The United Nations environment director says an investigation may be
opened into the use of uranium-enriched weapons by the allies in Iraq
in 1991.during their aggression in Iraq ."
1 PM AFTERNOON news round-up and HEADLINES
- "Masses of our people escort the funeral of the exalted martyr
Muhammad Said Hanoun Ghanem at this hour in Jenin;
- After mosque prayers, crowded mass marches across the homeland in
support of the right of the refugees to return to their homes;
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat stresses that what the Israeli
occupation army has done (to lift closures) to remove part of the siege is
- Minister Yasser Abd-Rabbo says that the National Authority CANNOT
accept a declaration of principles;
- The two sides-Palestinian and Israeli meet last night and say that a
great deal separates them from agreement, but agree to meet again."
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Official PA radio news
- the P.B.C. VOP (Voice of Palestine) Radio: January 13th
Summary and Analysis
Throughout Saturday, the Voice of Palestine gave great prominence to the
executions of two men convicted of "cooperation" with Israel, as well as the
approval of two more death sentences. Note: this is the only use of
"cooperation" in the context of Israel that has been heard on VOP (one week
ago, the term was also used in the context of 48 sentences handed down by
Lebanese courts-also for "cooperating" with Israel).
VOP also quoted at length from Friday and Saturday morning interviews
with PA Justice Minister Freih Abu-Medein explaining that the two men were
convicted of aiding Israel in killing several Fatah and Hamas (Alan Bani
Odeh gave information regarding Ibrahim Beni Odeh, who worked for Hamas)
In its broadcasts Friday midnight and Saturday morning, VOP published
interviews with PA officials-or quotes from them (including who said the
differences between the PA and Israel remained far greater
than what was described by Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.
PA Gaza Security chief Muhammad Dahlan said he was waiting to see more
changes "on the ground," and Information Minister Yasser Abd-Rabbo once
again delcared that the PA would refuse another declaration of principles.
Quote of the Day
"Anyone we lay our hands on will not merit the mercy of the Palestinian
people or the mercy of Palestinian law." (Justice Minister reih Abu-Medein,
Saturday morning interview 7:30 AM, January 13)
Friday Midnight Headlines-January 12/13
- "His Excellency President Arafat tonight confirmed the death
sentences to be carried out Saturday morning of two agents working for
- The occupation authorities are still holding the body of Shakil
al-Husseini, 33 years old, in Hebron;,
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat says the National Authority is
continuing to study the results of its meeting the day before yesterday with
the Israeli side at the Beit Hanoun crossing in Gaza;
- Home Rule Minister Dr. Saeb Erikat said another meeting with the
Israeli side would take place Saturday night."
Saturday Morning Headlines, January 13
- "The martyring of Shakil Hassuna in Hebron (note: his name was
reported slightly differently the night before);
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat approves two death sentences by
state security courts to be carried out on two agents in Nablus and Gaza;
- The gap between the Palestinian and Israeli sides remains large as
talks loom tonight;
- The Palestinian National Authority demands an active European role in the peace process and the end of violence by Israel against our people;
- The head of the Political Department, Farouk Qaddoumi, goes to Iraq
for discussions with Iraqi officials about aid Iraq has promised to the
- A human rights report says Israeli police cold-bloodedly attacked our
people inside the Green Line last September;
- A full report in this broadcast on the state of the Israeli elections
and a profile of the Likud candidate, Ariel Sharon."
Quotes from Saturday Interview with Freih Abu Medein
Question: "Death sentences for two agents working for Israeli occupation forces.
What is the hour of execution?"
Answer: "Before noon today in Nablus and Gaza at about the same time."
Question: "Who are the agents?"
Answer: "The first agent is the one responsible for the deaths of our men in
Rafah, and he is, unfortunately, a close friend (Note: could also be
relative) of one of the martyrs..It is difficult, a difficult treatment..But
Israel is carrying out a war, a war of assassinations. Therefore we think we
have to take measures, such as the death sentence, in confronting the
difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian people..The other traitor
also is a cousin of the man killed: Bani-Odeh, his name is Alan Bani Odeh,
responsible for the assassination of the martyr Ibrahim Bani-Odeh, one of
the elements of the Hamas. The president approved the decision immediately
yesterday. We didn't do this before. It was Ramadan, and you don't carry out
such a sentence in Ramadan."
Question: "There are many assassinations and many agents in our people. How many
more sentences like this can we expect?"
Answer: "There will be sentence this week of the agent responsible for the death
of (Hussein) 'Obayat in Bethlehem. And anyone we lay our hands on will not
merit the mercy of the Palestinian people or the mercy of Palestinian law.
Palestinian blood is pure blood and may not be spilled by agents. General
(Shaul) Mofaz and the army (i.e. Israeli chief of Staff and his army) has
all kinds of information and is carrying out war crimes on Palestinian land."
Question: "So there will be death sentences carried out against two traitors, but
my question is can we expect more?"
Answer: "Perhaps there will be ten to 15 more people, but we're not fond of death
sentences. If there are people in the security services, in the police, in
the intelligence in the West Bank and the same thing in Gaza, if they turn
themselves in to any office of the Ministry of Justice, we will treat the
matter quickly and generously.
Saturday Night Headlines - January 13-9 p.m. / 10 p.m.
- "A Palestinian-Israeli Security and Political meeting continues at this
hour in Gaza with the participation of President Yasser Arafat and Israeli
Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres;
- Nabil Abu-Irdeineh says the meeting is covering the main elements in
the negotiations and the peace process, among them Jerusalem, the refugees,
the settlements and borders as well as putting an end to Israeli aggression
against our people. And Abu-Irdeineh stressed that any agreement would have
to lean on international legitimacy: resolutions 242, 338 and 194 which
specializes in the return of the refugees."
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Official PA radio news -
The P.B.C. VOP (Voice of Palestine) Radio: January 14th
Summary and Analysis
In its Sunday morning broadcasts, the VOP news coverage was fairly evenly
divided between three subjects:
- Continuing talks on final status issues, despite Palestinian views
that nothing substantive is being accomplished;
- Continuing coverage of and protest about Israel's "aggression against
the Palestinian people," particularly Israel's "assassination policy" and
its refusal to remove all military and economic obstacles;
- Detailed coverage and defense of yesterday's two executions of
Palestinian "traitors" and the planned executions today of two more men
convicted of "cooperating with Israel."
VOP featured Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry saying that Islam mandated the
execution of traitors, and VOP narrators actually poked fun at "those who
call themselves human rights activists," such as Bassam Eid, for
criticizing the death sentences.
Col. Tawfik Tirawi described the intelligence activities of those
condemned to death: turning information over to Israel about key Fatah and
Hamas activists later killed by Israeli forces. Tirawi (who has himself
been accused by Israeli officers of planning terrorist acts) defended the
trials and death sentences, saying, "Everything, the trial is over in a
legal manner. There were judges. There were defense lawyers. Everything
was according to the complete processes of law."
In a morning interview, Yasser Abd-Rabbo said Israel was trying to insert
the American initiative as a replacement text for UN resolutions-something
that was unacceptable to the Palestinians. Similar sentiments were aired in
an interview with nabil Abu-Irdeineh, Arafat's spokesman and advisor.
Quotes of the Day
1."The head of general intelligence in the West Bank, Col. Tawfik
Tirawi, calls on all those who have deviated to the Devil's path (Arabic:
tariq al-Shaitan) to return to goodness and to turn themselves in to the
security forces and to describe in details their crimes before it's too late." (Sunday morning news round-up headlines, 7:03 am, January 14)
2."Pursuant to criminal law 113/111, sub paragraph 16 we decide the
following: one, death for the criminal Muhammad al-Khatib [ten seconds of
loud applause in background and cries of joy from crowd, described as being
about 250 people in Bethlehem Court], death for the criminal Hussam al-Din
Musa [five seconds of loud applause including shots of Allahu Akbar-God is
Great]." (Judge Fathi Abu-Shuri, head of State Security Court, in report by Sayyid Ayyad, Bethlehem, morning report, 7:30 am)
3. "I think this is a victory for the Palestinian people, and a strenthening
of the steadfastness and the protection for those who are struggling as
fighters for the Palestinians ….Really this is a blow for the supreme
Palestinian interest and for stability of the homeland and the stable
security of the Palestinian state… Their only chance to save themselves is to turn themselves in. There will be no mercy for any spy or any agent who spills Palestinian blood (who gets caught without turning himself in) (Kamil Hmeid, Fatah secretary in Bethlehem, interviewed about death sentences in Bethlehem court, 7:50 am)
4. "I say to those who have sold themselves to Israel, or to the Devil, they
will not find anyone who will pray for them just as those who were who were
rightly sentenced to death, and they will not find any place to be buried,
because even their families refused to pray for them….Therefore they should
step forward and turn themselves in to the security services." (Col Tawfik
Tirawi, head of General Intellegence for the West Bank in the Palestinian
Authority, 7:58 am)
Sunday Morning Headlines 7 a.m.
- "The Palestinian-Israeli meeting with the participation of his
excellency President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Regional Development Minister
Shimon Peres ends without any concrete results;
- A continuation of meetings in coming days;
- The Palestinian side asserts that the American ideas form a new basis
(or source authority) for the peace process, and the Palestinian side clings
to the basis of international legitimacy (i.e. UN resolutions) on whose
authority the peace process was launched;
- The Palestinian side declares at the talks that began yesterday THE
COMPLETE PALESTINIAN REFUSAL for a new basis…demanding assurances for
execution (of the agreement) on the ground;
- The arbitrary (also tyrannical) Israeli measures, aggression and siege
and the evil assassinations lingered in the (discussion) meeting as
President Arafat demanded their immediate cessation and an investigation of
- The state security court hands down death sentences for two agents
in Bethlehem and lie imprisonment for another two, and (other) death
sentences are carried out yesterday in Nablus and Gaza;
- Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, the Jerusalem Mufti and the Palestinian sage,
says that he who does not firmly against traitors undermines the legitimacy
of God's law;
- The head of general intelligence in the West Bank, Gen. Tawfik
Tirawi, calls on all those who have deviated to the Devil's path (Arabic:
tariq al-Shaitan) to return to goodness and to turn themselves in to the
security forces and to describe in details their crimes before it's too late;
- Finance Minister Muhamad Zu'di Nashashibi describes the difficulties
resulting from the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their
obligations quickly to turn financial sums over to the Palestinian National
Authority in the face of tyrannical Israeli measures."
8 a.m. Sunday Morning Headlines
- " His Excellency President Yasser Arafat receives Regional Development
Minister Shimon Peres in Gaza last night along with the Israeli delegation
headed by Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami;
- Nabil Abu-Irdeineh says the meeting dealt with final status issues and
the need to reach agreement on these issues;
- State Security court hands down yesterday death sentences by firing
squad to the two agents Muhammad al-Khatib and Hussam al-Din Musa for high
treason. In addition it sentenced Hanna Mansour Hanna Salameh and Muhammad
Awadallah to life imprisonment for treason and assaults against the Fatah
Movement. And Mr. Freih Abu-Medein, the Justice Minister, called on all
agents to turn themselves in security officials;
- Dr. Nabil Sha'ath, Minister of Economic Development, reviews with
the Norwegian foreign minister the most recent developments taking place in
- Advisor on National Security to the American President, Sandy
Berger, says much work is needed to achieve agreement before President
Clinton leaves office on the 20th of this month;
- One youth wounded by occupation forces at southern approaches to Qalqilya;
- Israeli occupation forces arrest Engineer Jamil Nurawri, head of
engineering for Palestinian Broadcasting
- His Holiness Pope John Paul II calls for executing the principles of
international legitimacy in the Palestinian lands…."
10 a.m. Sunday Morning Headlines
(repetition of top headlines from 7/8 am) and . . .
- "Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo says the Palestinian side
will NOT accept another declaration of principles…demands a full and
complete settlement based on international legitimacy."
Quotes from Interview with PA Information Minister, Yasser Abd Rabbo
"We will not accept that these new (American) thoughts or initaitives
become the new basis for the peace process. The source authority for the
process remain what it was. We accept clear differences, but there was no
The discussion was a serious one, perhaps, but there was nothing that was
executed or carried out in terms of progress at the meeting. It was agreed
that discussions would continue in the coming days to continue discussions
on these subjects."
(Abd Rabbo was asked about Israeli attempts to take the talks from the
basis of UN resolutions to a basis of the American ideas, and he said…)
"There's no doubt from what was said that that's the new intention.hey
said they wanted to reach an agreement. We said we wanted to reach an
agreement, but such an agreement cannot be a declaration of general
principles because such a declaration would not help the peace process at
all. It would just a collection of headlines and slogans. What's needed is a
comprehensive and detailed agreement which deals with all matters, which
deals with the costs of implementations and international guarantees on the
obligations for implementation so that there will not be any evasion for
implementation…as there was in the past. That's the basic thing, and we
believe that the Israeli side understood that a declaration of principles or
general remarks …is not something that can be realized, and the Palestinian
side cannot accept it. What is needed is a serious agreement, really an
agreement whose implementation can begin the following day and not an
agreement whose negotiation or the negotiation of whose central points
begins the following day."
"I want to say there's no escaping (our need) to express our readiness to
continue with the peace process, unless we're convinced that there's
progress or not (because), it is impossible to close the door to
negotiations and the peace process because of the comprehension of the
world, of public opinion, of public opinion in Israel for our positions.
(We have no choice but) We have to continue on our part, in our policy, and
there is nothing that has been found that can prevent us from attempting
negotiations until there are no results."
Asked about security considerations, Abd-Rabbo said
"I don't like talk about implementing security. We have just and clear
demands such as lifting the encirclement and the closure and the violations
being practiced against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. We have
indicated that, and the evil actions such as the evil transfer of (the
body) and the mutilation of exalted martyr in Hebron in front of world
television cameras. All these actions show that these sort of actions must
stop…for the sake of the peace process, if we really want a peace process."
Quotes from report by Nizar al-Ghul, concerning executions:
"In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful…(reads verse from
Quran regarding treatment of those who have evil spirits, then
continues)…Indeed these agents cast evil on themselves and on those around
them, and this week was a week characterized by settling accounts with
those who made blood cheap, as witness what happened to the agent Bani-Odeh
before the sentence of God and the people was carried out, who stood head
bowed, falling quickly and quietly in the street as the bullets of holiness
and justice brought him to the ground."
(Report went on the describe trial verdict of Bethlehem court where two
more death sentences were handed down-as per report by Sayyid Ayyad. Note:
lead-in to Al-Ghul's report was anchorman again reading parts of
yesterday's interview with Freih Abu-Medein, Justice Minister, calling for
all enemy agents to turn themselves in]
Islamic Defense of Death Penalty
"When someone sinks to treason and serving as an agent, then Islamic law
permits him to be condemned to death. We are in favor of executing anyone
who sinks to serving as an agent against the Muslim collective."
(Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, Jerusalem Mufti, 7:53 am)
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Understanding Arafat as a Media Strategist
There are many ways to describe Yasser Arafat, but whether one tends to
call him a "politician," "statesman" or "terrorist," any fair estimation of
Arafat would have to call him an "Egyptian intellectual."
Arafat studied in Egypt (some say he was born in Egypt), and to this day
his Arabic is inflected with Egyptian intonation and phrases. More
importantly, during his formative years-the 1950's and early 1960's-he
watched admiringly as Egyptian President Gamal Abdul-Nasser projected power
across the Middle East (from Morocco to Iran) through powerful propaganda
broadcasts on broadband radio.
Today, Arafat is using his broadcast media as he builds his own state of
Palestine in his own image.
When Israel signed Israeli-Palestinian "Declaration of Principles" in
September 1993 (as well as later sub-treaties under the "Oslo Accords"), it
agreed to turn over radio and television frequencies to Arafat's control as
part of three processes: Peace, state-building and mutual cooperation.
In the seven years since, Arafat has NOT used his broadcast outlets in
the peace process or in the process of building mutual cooperation. Indeed,
the term "cooperation" or "ta'awun" in Arabic is NEVER USED IN THE CONTEXT
However, Arafat unstintingly employs the broadcast media in the
state-building process, largely to preserve his own leadership but also to
advance Palestinian goals, particularly in the current Palestinian-Israeli
war that Palestinians have called by two names: the Al-Aqsa Intifada or the
Arafat and his top ministers make no attempt to hide from their own
people that the "Intifada" is really a war with strategic goals, and what
are their strategic goals?
- Removal of all settlements, all soldiers and all things Israeli
- Establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital
- "Return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes in 1948"
"We salute you, O fighters for Jerusalem with zeal and steadfastness,
spilling your pure blood in your blessed struggle for victory and
Arabness….It is now three weeks into our blessed Intifada against the failed
attempts of the Enemy….Today we as Palestinians to remain coiled for use by
our struggle and our Leadership and our Palestinian National Authority which
has defended and which will to defend the freedom of our land and the
freedom of mankind…to mold the blood of our martyrs and our wounded into
national unity…to follow the leadership of our leader, the brother, Abu Amar
(nickname for Yasser Arafat) on the path to sacred Jerusalem."
(From "Mishwar al-Sabah" [The Morning Dialogue], 8:30 am, Friday, Oct27
Another theme is that even though the Palestinians instigated the Intifada
(and they admit it) Israel is the aggressor. Therefore, any military
measures Israel takes are by definition aggression, and any military actions
taken against Israel CANNOT be terrorism. That is why anyone who dies
fighting Israel-even if he blows up a bomb in Netanya (which was NOT
conquered in 1967)-is called a "martyr" or "shahid" in Arabic.
For the last three months, Palestinian radio and television broadcasts
open with salutes to the "exalted martyrs" of that day's fighting who are
called "stars of the Intifada."
Another favorite theme on the Palestinian broadcast media is that Israeli
claims to Jerusalem are a forgery.
"There never was Heikal Suleiman (Solomon's Temple) in Jerusalem.(From
broadcasts of November 13-14). And the Palestinians and the Canaanites were both
in Jerusalem many years before the Jews."
Arafat's media strategy is an integral-if not THE central-element in his
war-making strategy, according to senior Palestinian officials such as
cabinet secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman and PBC broadcast chief Radwan Abu-Ayyash.
"We have to use all means-from broadcasting to newspapers to foreign
correspondents to the internet-to use all these means to defeat Israel."
(Interview with Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, 7:30 am, November 12)
Another ironic insight into Arafat's strategic view is that Arafat and
the Palestinian Authority have contempt for the Israeli peace movement.
That is why Yasser Arafat in his address to the Islamic Summit in
October frequently used the term "Jihad" or holy war while explicitly making
fun of "Peace Now" when he said "There will be no peace now and no peace
that sanctifies Israeli occupation."
Arafat and his top ministers might easily come out of the pages of George
Orwell's "1984": "peace" becomes "war." The rocks, gasoline bombs, suicide
bombers, Palestinian policemen-turned-snipers are all part of what the
Palestinian broadcast media call "al-intifada al-silmiyya"-the "peaceful
intifada." Or as General Tawfiq Tirawi, the head Paelstinian military
intelligence, said in a New Year's Interview:
"Dialogue can be by words or by bullets and fire."
Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen)he secretary of the PLO Executive
was quoted at 2:10pm on September 25 saying, "The peaceful intifada of the
Palestinian people will continue until the Palestinian people have secured
their rights completely."
One of these "rights" is "hawq al-'awda": the right of return-meaning
the return to pre-1967 Israel of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian
refugees and their descendants. Many intellectuals in Israel fooled
themselves into thinking that Arafat had retreated from this demand and that
he "didn't really mean it" when he kept talking about this issue on the
If more Israeli and Western "intellectuals" paid attention to what the
"Egyptian intellectual," Yasser Arafat, broadcasts to his people, they would
have been less surprised by his recent actions. They would also have a
better idea of what Arafat means when he uses the word "peace."
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