Israel Resource Review 14th July, 1998


Transcript of the Israel Radio News Correspondent Discussing One-sided Israeli News Coverage of Hebron, in Favor of Arabs

On July 6, 1998, on the popular morning talk show HaKol Diburim ("It's all Talk") hosted by Shelly Yechemovitch, who does not hide her very leftist positions, the following conversation took place with journalist Guy Kotev, who covers Hebron for Kol Yisrael radio.

Yechemovitch: We have just received a phone call from Moshe ben Zimra of Hebron who says that the Jewish Community of Hebron had nothing to do with the recent violence.

Kotev: That is correct.

Yechemovitch: He added that the community condemns all violence but says that unfortunately Hebron's Jews are violently attacked daily by Arab thugs who ambush them and hurl huge rocks at them on the roads. Is this true?

Kotev: Yes, it is true. There are many many acts by Palestinians against the settlers. Any Palestinian you ask in the alleys of Hebron will tell you that the settlers don't belong here and that 'we will continue to act and are presently acting to prevent the setters from continuing to live in Hebron. We want them to leave.' And these words and thoughts are translated into deeds. Palestinian youth throw rocks and riot in the alleys, throw rocks and bottles at houses in the Jewish community and at security forces. And of course they damage settler vehicles on the roads and when they are parked at night and do just about anything they are able to in order to cause the settlers problems and to prevent them from living normal lives in Hebron. This is true.

The settler's complaints also relate to us, the media. They say that when rocks are thrown at them and when they are attacked and when their cars are attacked, we, the journalists, don't report it. And here, when three kids riding on horses in Hebron, causing a little confusion and the resulting damage is seemingly minimal, the whole episode opens the hourly news on Kol Yisrael radio. This is true. Our understanding relates a little differently when a Palestinian damages Israeli property in Hebron. We relate to this differently because this is the way it seems, and it is very difficult to explain but this seems to be more newsworthy. The settler's complaint is true.

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Intelligence Sources:
Hamas Members Who Planned Attacks are Serving in the Palestinian Security Forces
by Nadav Shragai

A recently compiled intelligence report submitted to the government lists 21 prominent Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists as currently serving in the Palestinian security forces.

Six of the terrorists played central roles in the suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Ashkelon, and Tel Aviv during February-March 1996, in which some 60 people were killed. Another three of the terrorists appearing on the list served in the past as aides to the wanted terrorist Mohammed Dief. The list also includes four terrorists convicted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and sentenced to terms of two to 12 years in jail. Instead of serving their sentences, the four were enlisted by the Palestinian security forces.

Israel has already submitted extradition requests to the PA for five of the men on the list. However, the PA refuses to extradite them, just as it turned down 31 other extradition requests.

The six terrorists involved in planning suicide attacks who are now serving in the Palestinian security forces are:

  • Adnan al-Gol - senior operations officer in the Hamas, who underwent military training in Syria and Jordan. He prepared the Dizengoff Center bomb, escaped custody in June 1996, surrendered himself to the PA and joined the Palestinian security forces in December 1997. In March 1998 he was detained on suspected links to a grenade factory but returned to serve in the PA forces.

  • Kamal Khalifa - helped plan attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, and was later drafted into the Preventive Security Service.

  • Yasser Yusef Mustafa Khasin - who took part in the attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, today serves in the "Special Office," a small bureau without defined areas of responsibility which is subordinate to the PA's Preventive Security Service.

  • Bassam Issa - among other things, he trained the unit from eastern Jerusalem that helped Hassan Salameh carry out the February-March 1996 attacks. He was drafted to serve in the Preventive Security Service.

  • Mahmad Sanwar - involved in preparing suicide attacks at the beginning of 1996, after which he was drafted into the Preventive Security Service.

  • Sufian Abu Jadian - took part in the murder of Ilan Sudry and was enlisted by the PA's Military Intelligence.

Abd al-Fatah Sitri, Salaam Abu Maarouf and Abd al-Khader Amar served as deputies of Muhammad Dief and were drafted to serve in the Preventive Security Service. Yusuf Malhi and Osama Abu Taha, involved in lethal attacks against Israelis and both sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Palestinian Authority, were released and now serve in the "Special Office".

The five terrorists whose extradition has been requested by Israel are: Atef Hamadan, Yusuf Malhi, Raid Bashiti (who took part in the murder of two Israeli workmen at a construction site in Ramle), Bassam Issa and Imad Abbas.

Intelligence Report: Palestinian Authority Has Some 400 Weapons Obtained in Violation of the Agreement With Israel (article by Nadav Shragai, Ha'aretz, July 7, 1998)

An intelligence report presented to the government in the past few days contains a long list of security violations of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Among other things, the document states that "there is an ongoing and deliberate effort by officials of the PA's security forces to smuggle weapons in to areas under its control with the aim of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of weapons at their disposal, including attempts to obtain anti-tank missiles."

The report also states that despite the Palestinian Authority's obligation under the Interim Agreement to confiscate illegal arms and license weapons in the hands of civilians in coordination with Israel, nothing has been done in this regard. "There are cases in which the Palestinian Authority has issued licenses unilaterally, and it is known that the Palestinian police continues to hold onto Israeli weapons despite requests to return them to the Israeli Army_ the Palestinian security forces have several hundred weapons of different types whose delivery to Palestinian-controlled areas was not coordinated with Israel nor approved by it as the agreement requires. According to our information, this is true of some 400 weapons, the source of which is smuggling from abroad, purchase from criminal elements within Israel or collection from opposition sources."

The intelligence report also states that the size of the Palestinian police continues to exceed the agreed-upon limit. "Thus far, Israel has approved some 18,600 Palestinian policemen, but thousands more are operating in the field - apparently double the number approved by Israel."

The report notes that armed bodyguards of Palestinians with VIP passes have entered Israel without the requisite Israeli gun license, in part because of lax Israeli enforcement. The Palestinian Authority, the report says, continues to arrest and interrogate holders of Israeli identity cards. "There are numerous such instances every month, and at times the detention is for long periods. There are cases of detention for up to two months, and in exceptional cases, for even longer. Detainees report being subjected to physical violence and humiliating treatment. In general, the Palestinian police do not hurry to answer Israeli requests to free detainees, as the accord requires."

The report states that "the PA has refrained from initiating or taking comprehensive action against the terrorist infrastructure. They have failed to respond to Israel's repeated requests to initiate thorough action against the infrastructure of the Islamic opposition organizations and they have refused to exert the necessary efforts to locate senior terrorists. The PA has closed Hamas institutions only for appearances' sake. Thus, for example, there are currently 16 Hamas institutions which have been formally "closed" since September 1997, but there is evidence that regular activity takes place in at least some of them."

"Around the time of Ramadan, (January-February 1998), there was a growing tendency in the PA to release prisoners. The PA also released Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who were involved in attacks against Israelis. After complaints by Israel and the United States, this trend slowed somewhat."

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Reciprocity: Just a Word.
What About the Promise of Justice?

Esther Wachsman
Jerusalem, Israel

To many Israelis, "reciprocity" is at best another cliched slogan, or, at worst, an excuse not to continue as part of the peace process. To us, the bereaved parents, reciprocity means the arrest and hand-over of the murderers of Israelis who have escaped to the safe havens of the Palestine Authority.

In an article published this week in HaAretz, Aryeh Bachrach, the father of Ohad, of blessed memory, who was killed by terrorists on Wadi Kelt, near Jerusalem, stated that President Ezer Weizman had "misled" him and other bereaved families. Bachrach quoted President Weizman as having promised to raise the issue of the hand-over of terrorists with President Mubarak of Egypt, and Bachrach accused Weizman of not having done so. Bachrach goes on to say that these murderers have been subsequently drafted into the ranks of the Palestine Authority security services, with the capability to carry out further attacks, as was the case with one of the murderers of teenager David Boim, who was gunned down at a bus stop in May, 1996. In September, 1997, the same man who shot David Boim also blew himself up on Jerusalem's Ben Yehudah Street pedestrian mall, killing himself and five Israelis. If Israel had demanded the arrest and the hand-over of that killer, perhaps the tragic bloodshed could have been prevented.

Bachrach expressed the hope that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu would not give in on the demand for reciprocity to hand over murderers of Israeli citizens, as proscribed in the Oslo accords.

I too identify with Aryeh Bachrach in his wish, and I too am have received grandiose promises which were broken.

The first person who "misled" me, in the words of Mr. Bacjrach, was the President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton.

In March, 1996, my husband Yehudah and I met with President Clinton more than a year after the murder of my son Nachshon at his Mount Herzl graveside, following the conference on terror that took place in Sharm El Sheikh. Clinton arrived at the grave together with US ambassador to Israel, Mr. Martin Indyk, and with Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Indyk is now the under-secretary of state under Albright.

On the drizzling day, President Clinton placed two stones that he had brought with him from the White House on Nachshon's grave, and assured is that the arrest and hand-over of Muhammad Deif, who masterminded our son's kidnapping and murder, was a top "American priority".

Clinton went on to tell my husband and myself that the very continuation of the peace process was contingent on Deif being apprehended and arrested. Peres nodded his head in agreement, and we were moved by their determination and we believed him.

Only three months later, however, my husband met with a senior security official in the Palestine Authority, who reported that Deif was indeed free in Gaza and that he could arrest him at any time and that Arafat would not allow it. I then flew to Washington, where I was brought to a meeting with Anthony Lake, then the national security advisor to President Clinton. Lake promised to look into the matter.

Mr. Lake called me a week later to my home in Jerusalem, and told me that the senior security official had denied that the conversation with my husband Yehudah had ever taken place, and that Deif was not in Gaza.

This was after the translator of the meeting was subsequently arrested and tortured by Palestine Authority security officials.

Yet we have since received further confirmation that Deif still wanders freely in Gaza, and that his subordinates are serving in high positions in the Palestine Authority security services.

Yet the same American president who made such a solemn promise to us at our son's grave is now pressuring Israel to proceed with a preace process without asking Arafat to arrest or to hand over the murderer of our son and the killers of others who have been given welcome asylum by the Palestine Authority.

Meanwhile, our prime minister is portrayed as the one who breaks promises.

Most recently, I received a letter from a number of Senators and Congressmen who wrote to me that they had raised the issue with Secretary Albright and that she claimed not to be familiar with the case at all. I immediately contacted Under Secretary Martin Indyk, who was present when the president made his prome, and we got no satisfactory anwswer from Indyk, except to hear that the US condemns terrorism and that its interest was to apprehend known terrorists.

So I was also "misled" by the very highest of leaders, and my conclusion is that it is very easy to make promises in moments of emotional vulernability, when faced with bereaved parents at the fresh grave of their murdered son, yet fulfilling those promises remains another issue altogether.

President Clinton and then-prime minister Shimon Peres broke their promises to me, and Mr. Barach should not be surprised that President Weizman broke his promise to him. The name of the game is politics.

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Eritrea, US Press

The following are selections from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, "Al-Ahram" of Al-Ahram Weekly, 25th June - 1st July, 1998

Small Arms for Big Wars
by Gamal Nkruma

{"Heading:] America may have suffered a diplomatic setback in its attempt to bring peace to the Horn, but its arms manufacturers are unlikely to complain

The United States, ostensibly to contain Sudan, has over the past two years supplied $7-million-worth of arms and ammunition to Eritrea and Ethiopia. These two countries are now using American military equipment to fight each other. America's most senior officials appear at a loss for words when it comes to deciphering the political quagmire they have helped create. "The war, quite frankly, is madness," said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington last Friday. But couldn't America's foreign policy be described in similar terms?

. . . The $7-million-worth of American military equipment . . . consisted in the main of small arms. Their proliferation in the Horn of Africa is what makes the region so volatile, where they kill and maim an estimated 6,500 people a week. A bold international code of conduct on their export should be enforced -- but probably won't be.

. . . The American-led international efforts to end the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia faltered because of its rather patchy grasp of the political priorities of the countries of the region. Strategically important sectors of the Ethiopian economy, such as its defence industries, have now opened up to private foreign investment. American arms exporters will not be disappointed by that.

Both Eritrea and Ethiopia have embarked on diplomatic offensives to win the support of their Arab neighbors. A top-level Eritrean delegation . . . stopped over in Cairo during a tour of Maghreb and Gulf countries. Eritrean Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Abdalla Jaber said, "The Arab media exaggerates ties between Eritrea and Israel. They recently reported that 100 Israeli diplomats fled Asmara. There are only five Israeli diplomats in Asmara [and they] left the country last week." Jaber also denied rumours that there were 10 Israeli military bases and projects underway on Dahlak Islands. "Actually two Saudi nationals -- Hani Zaki Al-Yamani and Prince Al-Walid bin Talal -- are the only investors involved in tourism ventures on the Dahlak Islands," Jaber told Al-Ahram Weekly.

In Search of an Honest Press
by Mariz Tadros

[Heading:] A backlash against the press in the US is forming from within, but will it mean anything for the countries of the South ?

It has become customary for . . . media types from the United States to come and give lectures in Egypt about the abominable violations of press freedom in this country.

But there are always exceptions to the rule. At a lecture on press and social responsibility held by the Al-Ahram Regional Press Institute, Professor Emeritus John Merrill turned the tables round and chose to talk about the finer points of press practice in the US.

Merrill is dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia . . . The fact of the matter, declared Merrill, is that unrestrained press freedom has led to more monopolies and less democracy. "I think we can all agree that in the US, we do not know what the truth is anymore, we are getting warped versions of the truth based on our prejudices and biases."

The whole idea behind journalism, pointed out Merrill, was to present the truth to the public. "They don't call it censorship, they call it editing," he grinned. "In theory the government is closer to the people than the press because it is elected, whereas the press is a private, unelected business, which is about making money."

Merrill said that although he had fought relentlessly in defense of a free press, he cannot turn a blind eye to the "excesses of the system in America." Too much freedom, he insisted, can make for biased reporting, for example, in favor of the Israelis and against the Palestinians. The "overindulgence of press freedom in the US" has also been responsible for a multitude of ills, including information imperialism by the major press monopolies.

Public or civic journalism has emerged in the US, explained Merrill as a backlash to existing press practices. It emphasises communitarianism, as opposed to individualism, which they believe characterises the press in America today.

. . . Merrill is quick to point out that while communitarian journalism is spreading fast, especially among new graduates of journalism, it has been repudiated and shunned by newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. He believes the reason behind this is that in many sections of American society, "they associate the collective nature of such newspapers with Marxism."

But when it comes to the crunch, Merrill told the Weekly that communitarian journalism won't ever be able to challenge the grand monopolies. Also, it has a puritanical streak to it, "it has this fundamentalist religious base to it, so it might not get far."

. . . Merrill concludes that although communitarian journalism is a kind of fad that may not last, there is a definite wave in the US calling for greater regulation of the press.

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Egypt's Options, Lutfi El-Kholi

The following are selections from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, "Al-Ahram" of Al-Ahram Weekly, 2nd - 8th July, 1998

Forging News Alliances
by Dina Ezzat

[Heading:] Dina Ezzat explores Egypt's options beyond a defunct peace process

As the deadlock in Middle East peace-making persists and inter-Arab differences re-surface, Egypt is faced with the difficult task of preventing these factors from eroding its role as a regional power broker.

"If Egypt does not make a significant contribution to the peace process and if it fails to deal with inter-Arab divisions, then it is destined for marginalisation in the region," said one official.

. . . Syria wants a significant scaling-down of Arab-Israeli economic cooperation but Jordan feels that this will hurt its own interests," a source said. In fact, the source added, there are serious concerns that Jordan may soon join Israel and Turkey in some sort of military alliance.

But Cairo is not giving up yet. Over the past few weeks, diplomatic sources said, it has stepped up efforts to contain inter-Arab divisions, particularly those between Syrians, Jordanians and Palestinians. Saudi Arabia co-sponsored the Egyptian effort. Sources told Al-Ahram Weekly that the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria have held at least two secret meetings to look at the possibility of organising a limited summit of the Arab states bordering Israel plus Saudi Arabia. Another possibility that was discussed was a tripartite Egyptian-Syrian-Saudi summit.

. . . Egyptian and European officials agree that if no agreement on a West Bank withdrawal is reached by the end of July, when the Israeli Knesset starts its summer recess, The Egyptian-French initiative will have to move ahead more forcefully.

On the other hand, Egyptian efforts to lobby the Israeli opposition have not yielded any significant results. Actually, Egyptian officials are aware that when push comes to shove, the Labour and Likud parties are likely to adopt similar policies on the broad lines of a final settlement.

During a visit to Cairo last month, Labour leader Ehud Barak agreed with the Likud policy of providing Israeli settlers with weapons, describing it as "technical security arrangements". Barak also refused to accept the existence of a full-fledged Palestinian state, at any stage, arguing that a Palestinian state with an army would be a violation of the "red line" of Israeli security.

In fact, Egyptian officials said that Netanyahu's policies are beginning to gather enough local support to carry him through the term and secure him a decent chance of winning a second term in the year 2000.

Lutfi El-Kholi: The Warrior Dove"
Profile by Gamal Nkurmah

[Heading:] Political commentator, columnist, writer, activist, and above all survivor: he's done it all, seen it through and he's still coming back for more

For over four decades, beginning in the early 1940s, El-Kholi has written, criticising the regime, the establishment, or the extremists.

. . . Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, Nasser's confidant and the popular and highly acclaimed former chief editor of Al-Ahram . . . hand-picked El-Kholi for the plum job of editor-in-chief of Al-Tali'a (The Vanguard). The highly esteemed journal was to become something of a repository for independent socialist thinking in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.

. . . El-Kholi, as chief-editor, basked in the limelight until his unceremonious sacking in February 1977 by the late president, Anwar El-Sadat.

. . . El-Kholi himself, however, has not been immune to criticism. He is a key advocate of dialogue between Arab and Israeli intellectuals, and one of the instigators of the International Alliance for Arab-Israeli Peace, established by the so-called Copenhagen Declaration, which was issued in January 1997. By championing the cause of Copenhagen, El-Kholi is going against the grain. With the prevailing international climate and Israel intransigence , few Arab intellectuals want to speak with Israelis -- especially former military men. There has been a concerted effort to discredit El-Kholi in the aftermath of the initiative, but his supporters believe that he has consistently waylaid his adversaries.

Whether or not one sees eye to eye with him on the Copenhagen question, his promotion of dialogue with "enlightened" Israelis should not cloud the fact that the man himself, and the causes he espouses, are much bigger than Copenhagen. As head of the Afro-Asian Writers' Union (AAWU), Lutfi El-Kholi, political commentator, writer-activist, and above all survivor is essentially interested in the cause of the Third World. He is now working to convene an international conference in Cairo in 1999, based on the exploration of the relationship between the West and "the rest of us", as El-Kholi humorously puts it.

The AAWU, however, is a shadow of its former self. Gone are the days of bountiful Soviet backing. The Union no longer enjoys the support of a host of anti-imperialist Third World governments. El-Kholi sees the brighter side of the matter. "It is a miracle that, with all its financial and other problems, it survived . . . ."

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Yediot Aharonot's Ron Ben-Yishai:
Don't Know What Arafat Wants
by Aaron Lerner

Senior "Yediot Aharonot" reporter, Ron Ben-Yishai's article, EXPOSURE: Military Intelligence Estimate - The Chance of War in the Coming Year Greater Than In The Past was the feature article in the Friday, 10th July supplement and highlighted in the newspaper's advertising campaign.

Ben-Yishai reports that Arafat is preparing to attack Israel via three forces:

  1. Local Fatah activists under the command of Preventive Security chiefs Rajoub and Dahlan, who directed a dry run mobilization last May.
  2. The 36,000 arms bearing "security forces" - some of whom have already planned and practiced attacks against settlements. The Palestinian Authority has special anti-terror forces trained by Austria and other European countries whose role is apparently to attack settlements. Arafat own guard, Force 17, may also take part.
  3. Hamas forces who would, as in the past, be given the "green light" from Arafat.

IMRA interviewed Ben-Yishai, in Hebrew, on July 10:

IMRA: In your article today you write that "The GSS and military intelligence are convinced that Arafat will prevent violence as long as he sees a chance to advance towards a Palestinian state within more or less the 1967 borders." What does "more or less" mean? Beilin-Mazen with the large settlement blocs intact?

Ben-Yishai: "More or less" really isn't defined. I don't know. It is open to negotiations. He didn't give me a map.

IMRA: So there is no sense if there will be an explosion if he doesn't also get those areas.

Ben-Yishai: As long as he sees that he is advancing towards his goal it is OK. And when he is stopped it won't be OK.

IMRA: But it isn't clear what his goal is.

Ben-Yishai: It isn't clear what he is willing to compromise on.

IMRA: So it can be that the demands of the Third Way or Ehud Barak are beyond what is acceptable.

Ben-Yishai: It isn't known. It is negotiations. It is a bazaar.

IMRA: There aren't estimates on this.

Ben-Yishai: No.

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645

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