Israel Resource Review 28th January, 2001


Official PA radio news
P.B.C. VOP (Voice of Palestine) Radio: January 28th, 2001

Summary and Analysis

On the morning after the conclusion of the Taba talks, VOP took a slightly more upbeat approach than it had on Saturday night immediately following the talks, asserting that the two sides had never been so close to agreement. (Note: the night before this was reported as Ben-Ami's analysis, and even today, Sunday, it was again reported as Ben-Ami's analysis-"never been so close to agreement etc"-in the news bulletin headlines throughout the day. The inconsistency suggests a certain discomfiture with the "closeness.")

There was an unusually long set of headlines for the morning news round-up, but it was noticeable that the Palestinian Leadership was stressing in several ways that it had not made concessions on the rights of refugees.

It is apparent that the PA does not want to hurt Barak's chances in the elections with public pronouncements:

  • There was NO coverage of Muhammad Dahlan's comment to the Israeli press that the talks were kharta-barta -- rubbish;
  • VOP anchormen like Samir Interr and Khalid Sukar continuously refer to Sharon as "the extremist Sharon" or "the extremist leader Sharon" including in the morning news round-up the day after Taba.

However, at the same time the PA is trying not to hurt Barak, it is desperately aware that its own refugee constituency is very nervous and militant. Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo used his morning interview to pour cold water on optimistic views of the Taba talks, stressing instead the great gaps that remain as well as the fact that the Barak Government basically did too little too late.

VOP re-broadcast Ahmad Qreia's own statement (very poor quality, almost un-broadcast-able) at the Taba press conference, and part of it is included at the bottom of the morning headlines.

Important Note: The Voice of Palestine, unlike Israel's Kol Yisrael Radio and unlike Israel television's Channel One and Channel Two, and unlike CNN and other stations, did not broadcast the Taba press conference live-probably because the PA did NOT want to build up the event in the eyes of its public.

Sunday Morning Round-up Headlines

  • "The marathon session of talks in Taba ends last night with the publication of a joint statement describing that the two sides had not ever before been so close to reaching agreement;
  • Our delegation to the marathon Taba talks will brief his excellency President Yasser Arafat this morning on the results of the negotiations;
  • The communique published by the two sides at the end of the negotiations indicated that time pressure prevented (mutual) understandings on the main matters despite the substantive progress on all the questions that were discussed;
  • Both sides feel the gaps can be narrowed when there is a return to talks after the Israeli elections;
  • Mr. Ahmad Qureia, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislature and the head of the Palestinian delegation to the talks, says that this session was the most important held by the two parties;
  • Qureia adds that the discussion was deep concerning Jerusalem, land, the refugees and borders and where the analysis was comprehensive .and the gaps difficult;
  • And Qureia asserted the right of the refugees to return to their homes;
  • Dr. Nabil Sha'ath, minister of international economic development and cooperation, will talk to us in detail on the talks regarding the refugees."

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

  • " The Taba marathon talks ended last night in a joint statement by Ahmad Qreia and Shlomo Ben-Ami. And Qreia said the two sides spent six days in serious and deep conversations, asserting that there were deep negotiation clashes on Jerusalem, land, borders and refugees;
  • And the head of the Israeli delegation Shlomo Ben-Ami said that the two sides were never so close to agreement as they were during the last session in Taba;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat will receive meet the members of the delegation to Taba this morning and will discuss the developments during the Taba talks;
  • Eight citizens were wounded in a variety of incidents with Israeli occupation forces yesterday evening at various locations in the homeland;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat stresses that our people is striving for a just and comprehensive peace based on international legitimacy, on international laws, and on international declarations of human rights.;
  • 5,000 Arabs demonstrated inside the Green Line in Nazareth yesterday in support of a boycott of the Israeli prime ministerial elections;
  • The thwarting of an attempt to hijack a Gulf Airlines flight yesterday evening;
  • World nations initiating aid programs for India following earthquake that has left 15,000 dead and 33,000 wounded by last count."

Quotes from Qreia Statement in Taba

"It is our belief that this was the most important session of the talks on final status. I also want to express my thanks to the European Union and Mr. Moratinos.

We spent six days in serious activity.discussing the issues, and they are land, borders, the case ( also: matter or question) of Jerusalem, the case of refugees and the case of security."

Quotes from Interview with Yasser abd-Rabbo, member of PA delegation to Taba, and minister of information and culture

Question: "From reading the closing statement, one sees that the two sides are closer than ever before. Is that really the situation?"

Answer: "That's one element of the situation. But it's not that simple. There are many questions which require answers from the Israeli side. Yes, one could say there was development on some questions and stances and there was readiness for drawing closer on some questions, but I would not want to say that the questions are approaching solution. And from another point of view, one must assert that there was NO firm (Israeli) policy of progress to a solution during six months or during the last year.

When the playing and zig-zagging with positions ends, then we will realize progress."

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on