Israel Resource Review 3rd November, 1998

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Brinkmanship on a Lame Duck Plantation
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

I spent the good part of a week covering the middle east talks at the Wye Plantation, on the Eastern shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA, in an area that is best known for duck hunting.

Indeed, in October of each year, duck hunters and environmentalists usually face off in acrimonious confrontations.

This year, duck wars gave way to three lame ducks who came to the hunt with Israel - a US president under the threat of impeachment, an Arafat who has suffered a series of neurological sezures, and a King Hussein who is the last stages of a valiant fight against Lymphatic cancer.

The advisors to Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu tell me that he has agreed to a deal with the leaders of the US, Jordan and the nascent Palestine Authority on the assumption that their leaders will not and cannot deliver or fulfill the terms of any such deal.

The rationale of the people around Netanyahu for this new version of Bibi brinkmanship has it that the Israeli Prime Minister has gone the extra mile to provide the Palestine Authority with the dignity that it sought, so that it can run a decent society for its own people.

That is because the consensus of Israeli society in the late 1990's is to make maganimous offers of territory and economic assistance so that Palestinian Arabs will no longer represent a threat to the people or to the state of Israel.

The reciprical demands of the Israeli government seem to most logical and reasonable - that the Palestinians cancel their declaration of war against the state of Israel as embodied in the PLO charter that Arafat has advocated for more than thirty years, and that the Palestine Authority stop providing safe havens for Arabs who will murder Jews and then take asylum inside the territory under Palestinian control.

Netanyahu's advisors simply assume that Arafat and the Palestine Authority will not fulfill these two basic requests.

They assume that Arafat and his Palestine National Council will continue to communicate a language of war in Arabic to their own people, while talking a language of peace to the western media.

They assume that the new Palestinian schools and Palestinian media will continue to inculcate the PLO covenant to a new generation of Palestinian youngsters.

They assume that killers of Jews wil continue to be acclaimed as heroes in the Palestinian community, and they assume that Hamas and other terror groups will continue to operate with a relatively free hand in the areas under the control of the Palestine Authority.

They assume that the Palestine Authority will continue to encourage the three million residents of United Nations refugee camps to assert their right to return to the homes and villages that they left in 1948, even if those villages no longer exist.

Bibi's advisors assume that Netanyahu will be able to display the PA unwillingness and/or inability to reach an agreement with Israel.

Yet what Netanyahu's advisors have not counted on is that the public relations apparatus of the Palestine Authority is well placed, so that . . .

if the Palestine Authority does not convene the Palestine National Council,
if the PA does not change the message in its schools and its media,
if the PA continues to provide safe havens for killers,
if the PA continues to advocate the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to reclaim the rest of Palestine,
if the PA continues to allow terrorists to operate within its midst . . .

The PA knows that it can count on world opinion, international media and, yes, Jewish communities around the world and the Israeli government's opposition to downplay Palestinian violations.

That is because Palestinian Arabs have positioned themselves in the world as the underdog in the middle east conflict.

Tragically, the current Israeli government has no public relations apparatus in place to cope with such a "PR onslaught" in the near future.

That means that the PR offensive for Israel in the world public opinion will rest on private initiative.

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Ex-Weapons Inspector Ritter:
Don't Count on Us Monitoring of Wye
by Danna Harman
The Jerusalem Post
3rd November, 1998

Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq.

Question: I understand you have some concerns regarding the implementation of the Wye accord?

Ritter: Yes, indeed. The accord is to be monitored by the CIA, but the real arbiter will be the State Department, and this is a cause for great worry. The entire effort has been politicized - this is the Clinton administration's own Camp David, and they really cannot afford to let it fail. Therefore they cannot be counted upon to be honest brokers.

Question: In what way do you mean dishonest?

Ritter: Both because the administration wants the accord to work and because they are trying to court the moderate Arab countries, they are more than likely to give the Palestinians slack. For example, if they receive information from the CIA saying the Palestinians are not complying with the agreement, they will simply overlook it. The temptation to gloss over things will be too strong to ignore, because to hold the Palestinians strictly accountable would endanger the whole process.

Question: What has lead you to these conclusions?

Ritter: During my time with UNSCOM, it became very clear to me that Iraq was not being held accountable, and this is an unsettling precedent. The US makes decisions based on politics, not on honesty, and this leads to compromises and concessions. I had a bad experience in Iraq which taught me the US can say one thing, and do another. In addition, I have noted a cooling towards Israel on the part of the State Department, coupled with an unrealistic expectation that Arafat can deliver. It is very important for the US that Arafat not be undermined, and if this means you have to turn a blind eye to an effective crackdown on Hamas, so be it.

Question: Israel has its own ways of monitoring what is going on, and Netanyahu is not one to allow himself to be bamboozled . . .

Ritter: True, but the Israelis will be faced with so much pressure from the US and the international community that it will be near impossible to say "Wait, the US not being a good monitor."

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Update on Iraq:
The US Suddenly Wakes Up?
by Laurie Mylroie
Middle East policy analyst
Editor, Iraq News, Washington

An Israeli reader reported that at the Likud Central Committee meeting on the Wye accord, some members criticized the Gov't for relying on the US to enforce Palestinian compliance with the provisions on fighting terrorism, citing the US failure to support weapons inspections in Iraq. Itzhak Mordechai, the defense minister, responded by saying, "America led the attack against Iraq." The reader suggested that "Mordechai is not the brightest."

Indeed, The Jerusalem Post, Oct 20, reported that David Ivry, a senior adviser to the Israel Defense Minister, warned in an Oct 19 BIPAC [Britain Israeli Public Affairs Center] conference that "While attention and resources [of the West] are focused on economic and social issues, there has been a general decline in budgetary commitments to defense and security issues. . . . Democratic states are attempting to compensate for their reduced deterrence with international treaties. . . . 'Such thinking ignores the failure of the treaties and focuses on what is seen as accomplishments.' . . . Ivry also warned that while the US 'is not reacting like it did in the past,' ballistic missiles are proliferating among non-democratic states, coupled with a race to acquire weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological weapons. 'Ignoring this,' he said, 'could prove costly,' adding that 'we face especially serious consequences' as a result of the failure of the UNSCOM inspections in Iraq."

The Washington Times, Oct 28, in a squib entitled "Saddam's Demise", reported, "Longtime Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein isn't long for this world, says one of this nation's top spies. John Gannon, chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, told a St. Louis audience earlier this month, 'We expect Iraq's Saddam to be gone by 2010.' Mindful that earlier predictions on this score have failed to materialize, Mr. Gannon conceded that his assessment is 'based as much on pure speculation on our past as informed analysis.'"

The Iraqi statement suspending UNSCOM monitoring, issued Sat by the RCC/Ba'th Party leadership, said, "Iraq has decided to stop all forms of cooperation with UNSCOM and its chairman and to stop all its activities inside Iraq, including monitoring, as from today." But a few hours later, it was reported that Iraq would allow UNSCOM cameras and sensors to continue functioning. However, late that evening, Iraq's UN ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon, said that inspectors would have no access to cameras or monitoring installations.

On Sunday, November 1, the BBC reported that Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan confirmed Iraq's position with "three noes." Ramadan said, "There will be no co-operation, no inspections, and no monitoring by the US-Zionist spy commission until Iraq's demands are met." The BBC said "the international community now effectively has no eyes or ears in Iraq."

ABC Evening News, yesterday, characterized the Clinton administration's response, "It's an old script." On Sat, UPI, Oct 31, reported that NSC Adviser Sandy Berger, Sec State Madeleine Albright, CIA Director George Tenet, and other top officials met for two hours over Iraq.

Clinton was in Virginia golfing and Berger briefed him afterwards. NSC spokesman, David Leavy, said, "We are reviewing all options with the president and all options remain on the table . . . This is an affront to the UN and the international community."

Also, on Sat, Sec Def William Cohen and the JCS chairman, who were about to begin a week-long Asian tour, turned around during a refueling stop on Wake Island and returned to Wash DC. On Sun, Cohen joined the national security team in another two hour meeting. AP, Nov 1, in a story entitled "Immediate Action Vs. Iraq Unlikely," reported that "the Clinton administration appeared ready to let the Security Council take the lead, and there seemed little chance of an immediate military response. . . . No additional US forces were being moved to the Persian Gulf region, and US forces had not been placed on alert, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Cooper."

AP also reported that on Sun, November 1,Clinton, out campaigning for Tuesday's elections, gave an interview to American Urban Radio Network, in which he said, "I personally am very pleased that the UN Security Council, including some people I thought had been a little tolerant with [Saddam] in the past, strongly condemned what he did."

Iraq is not much impressed. Asked by Qatar's Al-Jazirah Space Channel, "Does Baghdad not fear that Washington will use this Iraqi stand as a pretext to make a move that will not be in the interest of Iraq?" Nizar Hamdoon replied, "I do not believe there is anything worse than our current situation and than the very negative impact of the continued economic sanctions on the Iraqi people. More than 6,000 children die each month as a result of the sanctions. And this is documented in UNICEF reports. What could be worse?" He was then asked, "It seems, however, that Washington is leaning toward escalation. The National Security Council described the Iraqi decision as very serious. What are the possibilities of the US dealing a military blow to Iraq?" Hamdoon replied, "This kind of statement is not new. We heard it in the past. Making statements is one thing and implementing them is another.

Finally, as the latest stage of the confrontation began, yesterday Iraq opened the biggest int'l trade fair it has held since the Gulf war's end. As Reuters, Nov 1, reported, trade, industry, and economic ministers from Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Jordan, and Syria attended the opening, while firms from Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia participated for the first time. AP reported that France shipped in the latest-model Peugeot sedans.

I. Taha Yassin Ramadan's Three Noes
BBC, Nov 1, 1998

Iraq Says No, No, No; Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan: No Co-operation

Iraq has confirmed that it will not reverse its decision to stop co-operating with the UN disarmament team. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said: "There will be no co-operation, no inspections and no monitoring [of Iraqi sites] by the US-Zionist spy commission until Iraq's demands are met."

He reiterated Iraq's demands for a lifting of the embargo imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"We will not reverse our decision but we will maintain it until the embargo is lifted," Mr Ramadan said.

The BBC's correspondent in Baghdad, Richard Downes says the sanctions, which have strangled the Iraqi economy, are a source of deep anger in Baghdad and it is the country's number one priority to get rid of them. Iraq has also demanded the restructuring of the UN Special Commission for disarmament, and that its chairman, Richard Butler is sacked.

Baghdad has long been accusing Mr Butler of working on behalf of the United States to prolong the embargo.

The sanctions cannot be lifted until the Special Commission (Unscom) certifies that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq insists it has done so, but the commission says Baghdad continues to hide information on weapons, especially those with biological and chemical agents.

The Security Council has unanimously condemned the decision and demanded that it be reversed "immediately and unconditionally".

But on Sunday the Unscom team stayed in its compound. Our correspondent says that the international community now effectively has no eyes or ears in Iraq. Only a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in charge of the nuclear folder in Iraq's disarmament, has been allowed to carry on working.

But it is only being allowed to monitor previously inspected sites. The Iraqis have been refusing to allow either Unscom or the IAEA to carry out spot inspections in the country since early August.

Correspondents say the latest move is an escalation in the continuing dispute over inspections with Iraq believing there is no stomach in the international community for a major confrontation.

II. Nizar Hamdoon, the US Won't Do Anything
Doha Qatar al-Jazirah Space Channel, Television in Arabic

0635 GMT 1 Nov 98

[Telephone interview with Nizar Hamdun, Iraq's permanent representative at the United Nations, in New York "conducted a short while ago" by 'Abd-al-Samad Nasir in the studio; recorded] [FBIS Translated Text] [Nasir] What are the motives behind Iraq's decision to end cooperation with UN inspectors at this time in particular?

[Hamdun] Iraq's decision was not taken in a hasty way. It took us several weeks since the idea of comprehensive revision emerged. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq 'Aziz led a large delegation to New York to hold lengthy talks with the Security Council and the UN secretary general. After realizing that all these attempts failed to give Iraq guarantees that these revisions would be fair and just, Iraq took its recent decision not to deal with the UN Special Commission.

[Nasir] What does Iraq hope to achieve through this decision?

[Hamdun] We hope that the entire world will understand the causes behind this Iraqi decision. The decision was taken after long bitter years of unfair treatment by UNSCOM and the United States with its anti-Iraq policy behind it.

[Nasir] Does Baghdad not fear that Washington will use this Iraqi stand as a pretext to make a move that will not be in the interest of Iraq?

[Hamdun] I do not believe there is anything worse than our current situation and than the very negative impact of the continued economic sanctions on the Iraqi people. More than 6,000 children die each month as a result of the sanctions. And this is documented in UNICEF reports. What could be worse?

[Nasir] It seems, however, that Washington is leaning toward escalation. The National Security Council described the Iraqi decision as very serious. What are the possibilities of dealing a US military blow to Iraq?

[Hamdun] This kind of statement is not new. We heard it in the past. Making statements is one thing and implementing them is another thing. I do not believe that the use of military force against Iraq will benefit the United States. Also, the situation in the region will not allow the United States to go that far.

[Nasir] How do you assess the stands of China, Russia, and France, which supported the Security Council stand? Do you believe that Baghdad has lost some of its allies?

[Hamdun] I do not believe so. These countries are fully aware of the Iraqi concerns. They might have been forced, under certain balances, to agree with the United States on issuing the Security Council resolution. These international parties understand well the situation and the Iraqi stand vis-a-vis UNSCOM.

[Nasir] How do you view the future relationship between Baghdad and the United Nations?

[Hamdun] The relationship between Iraq and the United Nations is one thing and the relationship between Iraq and UNSCOM is something else. I do not believe that the relationship between Iraq and the UNSCOM will be as good as it was over the past seven and a half years. Iraq has reached a point where it cannot continue with the same dealings, which does not give Iraq any hope to lift the sanctions. If there will be no lifting of sanctions why should Iraq bear all these problems and concerns with UNSCOM?

[Nasir] What is Iraq's other alternative then?

[Hamdun] I believe that the economic sanctions themselves will start to erode in terms of their impact. It seems that the United States is not willing to move toward taking any steps that would lead to a partial or complete lifting of the sanctions. This is what the US delegation announced at the Security Council yesterday and this, perhaps, was the straw that broke the camel's back.

[Description of source: Independent Television station financed by the Qatari Government]

III. Iraq Hosts Largest Trade Fair Since Gulf War
AP, 1st November, 1998

Baghdad, Iraq (AP) -- France shipped in the latest-model Peugeot sedans.

The Palestinians brought handmade inlaid boxes from Bethlehem. Iranians came with refrigerators and pharmaceuticals.

They're among 30 countries taking part in the Baghdad International Fair that opened Sunday, billed as the largest in Iraq since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The turnout "shows the increasing desire of companies to establish relations with Iraq," the fair's director, Fawzi Hussein al-Dahur, told the official Iraqi News Agency.

The 10-day fair opened a day after Iraq took a new stand against U.N. weapons inspections, announcing it was halting the work of weapons monitors until the Security Council moves toward lifting 8-year-old trade sanctions against the country.

As the finishing touches were being put on the pavilions Saturday, participants acknowledged they saw only limited trade opportunities while the U.N. sanctions remain in place.

"Iraq is a good potential market for us," said Servet Akkaynak, standing amid asphalt cutters and electrical generators from Turkey. "We had a long history of trade, and we're high on re-establishing ourselves."

One visitor receiving close attention was Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, one of the highest-ranking Iranian officials to come to Iraq since the two countries fought a brutal, eight-year war in the 1980s.

After meeting Saturday with Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, Shariatmadari announced that the two countries would set up joint committees to discuss trade and commercial ventures, INA said. Egypt -- with 58 companies constituting one of the largest delegations -- showed everything from tractors and reapers to children's clothes, fruit juice and corn oil.

"This is a good opportunity for Egyptian companies to make contacts for the future," said Antoun Labib, director of the Egyptian international exhibitions office.

Still, many vendors won't find buyers until the sanctions are lifted.

The sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, ban most business dealings, except under the special, U.N.-approved oil-for-food program.

Saturday's refusal to allow monitors from the United Nations to work -- which strengthened an August ban on spot inspections -- was meant to push for ending the sanctions. But the Security Council termed the action a "flagrant violation" of U.N. resolutions and urged Baghdad to reverse its decision.

At the Peugeot booth, Iraqi dealer Sadir Bazagan said the shiny burgundy, blue and olive green Peugeot 406s on display would be shipped out of Iraq after the show in compliance with the U.N. sanctions. He noted that Iraqi streets are crowded with Peugeots, but that most date to the early and mid-1980s.

"There was a big market here before the Gulf War," he said. "We are all waiting anxiously for the future."

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Senior Palestinian Official:
PNC Will Not Convene to Amend the Covenant
communicated by the Israel Government Press Office

This is the first in a series of periodic updates on issues relating to Palestinian compliance with the October 23, 1998 Wye River Memorandum. This update focuses on the Palestinian obligation to amend the PLO Covenant which calls for Israel's destruction.

The Palestinian Commitment at Wye

The Wye agreement states (Article II, Paragraph C(2)) that the PLO Executive Committee and the Palestinian Central Council will reaffirm Yasser Arafat's January 22, 1998 letter to President Clinton concerning the nullification of problematic articles in the PLO Covenant.

Subsequently, according to the agreement, "PLO Chairman Arafat, the Speaker of the Palestine National Council, and the speaker of the Palestinian Council will invite the members of the PNC, as well as the members of the Central Council, the Council, and the Palestinian Heads of Ministries to a meeting to be addressed by President Clinton to reaffirm their support for the peace process and the aforementioned decisions of the Executive Committee and the Central Council."

The Palestinian Position Since Wye

1) Following is an October 26, 1998 Voice of Israel radio interview with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. The interview was conducted in English.

"Well, once again, I think the PNC met in 1996 and all articles that were inconsistent with the letters exchanged in 1993 between the Government of Israel and the PLO were changed. And later, President Arafat wrote President Clinton a letter on the 22nd of January 1998 specifying the articles that were either nullified or amended.

And it was agreed at the Wye River that the PLO Central Council will meet to ratify the letter of President Arafat to President Clinton. And then it was agreed that the members of the PNC [Palestinian National Council], the members of the Legislative Council, the labor unions, women's organizations and all political systems will attend a meeting at which President Clinton will address all these issues.

The PLO will not convene in terms of officially ratifying the articles that were changed. It is the Palestine Central Council, and the agreement is very specific on this."

2) In an October 26, 1998 interview on official Palestinian Authority television, Saeb Erekat said, "the PNC members, the Legislative Council, the Central Council, women's groups and labor unions will all convene to listen to Clinton, but not to vote [on changing the Covenant]."

3) On October 26, 1998, the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda published the text of the Wye River Memorandum, but the section referring to the PLO Covenant was altered and makes no mention of the PNC changing the Covenant. The newspaper's version reads as follows:

"PLO Chairman Arafat, the Speaker of the Palestine National Council, and the speaker of the Palestinian Central Council will invite the members of the PNC, the members of the Central Council and the members of the Palestinian Government to a meeting at which President Clinton will speak to reaffirm his [Clinton's] support for the peace process."

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Palestinian Comments on the Wye River Memorandum
MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9
27th October, 1998

Palestinian Comments on the Wye River Memorandum

Following is a summary of the comments found in the Palestinian media regarding the treaty signed on Friday between Israel and the PLO. Changing the Palestinian Covenant Unlike the English version of the memorandum, according to which the meeting addressed by Mr. Clinton will "reaffirm the decisions of the Executive Committee and the Central Council regarding the amendment of the Covenant," the Arabic version printed in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida states that it will be President Clinton who will "reaffirm his commitment to the peace process." 1 No Palestinian reaffirmation is mentioned.

This Palestinian version was repeated in a comment made on Palestinian television by the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saib Ereiqat, who said, "members of the Palestinian National Council [PNC], Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC], the Central Council, women's organizations and trade unions will convene to listen to Clinton, not to vote."2

Security Arrangements

The head of the Gaza preventive security apparatus, Muhammad Dahlan, stated categorically that the Palestinians rejected all Israeli terms regarding security. The Palestinian security apparatus will fight only the military, not the political, organizations. Therefore, the political organizations will not be outlawed. When asked whether a formula for fighting terrorism was adopted, he answered that no such formula existed, and that the Palestinians rejected the Israeli demand to act against institutions and against activities in the Mosques. The Palestinians, he continued, also rejected the Israeli demand to participate in the Palestinian plan for action or to see it.3

On the issue of confiscating illegal weapons, Dahlan stated that there is no agreement on lowering the number of weapons in the PA's possession. On the contrary, he claimed that the Palestinians demand more weapons for their security apparatuses, and Israel is still withholding one thousand rifles that belong to the Palestinian people.4

About lowering the number of Palestinian policemen, Dahlan indicated that the Palestinians do not intend to lower their number. He said "we have no problem providing one list of policemen and another list of policemen who do administrative work and are unarmed."5

Dahlan said that CIA involvement will be of a "political nature" and that "the fact that it will act as an arbitrator is serving [Palestinian] interests."6

Ideological Changes

Palestinian leaders addressed the implications of the agreement on both Zionist and Palestinian ideologies. The agreement's supporters, such as Minister of Supplies in the PA, Abd Al `Aziz Shahin stated that the Israeli right-wing government's readiness to give away territory indicates that the Zionist ideology is crumbling and that the PLO will succeed in fulfilling its platform sooner or later.7

Secretary-General of the Presidency, Al Tayyeb Abd al Rahim, said to the Voice of Palestine Radio that the agreement represents the collapse of Israeli ideology and that Clinton's commendation to Arafat for the many years he led the struggle of his people represents "an admission that the years-long struggle of the Palestinians is not regarded as terrorism."8

Col. Muhammad Al-Masri, columnist in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, said that the Israeli side was guided by "Jewish merchant tactics" in discussing every single detail in order "to trap" the Palestinian side. But the agreement "marks the defeat of the Torah ideology" because those right-wing forces in Israel who waved the banners of "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates and the "security" of Israel have now joined the negotiations in order to negotiated Palestinian lands that are considered by the Torah ideology to be the land of Israel.9

While the Palestinian spokesmen point to the changes in Zionist ideology the Palestinian ideological firmness was reasserted. Fatah member of the PLC Fuad `Id said that the agreement is just "one step in the path we have marched for fifty years."10 Secretary-General of the Fatah in the West Bank, Marwan Al Barghuthi, commended Arafat for stating that there will be no concession on Palestinian axioms that include the Right of Return, the Right to Self Determination, and the Establishment of an Independent State on the entirety of the Palestinian land with Jerusalem as its capital.11 Head of the Education Committee of the PLC and member of the Fatah Central Council, Abbas Zaki, said that the Palestinians have talked about an independent state since the ten points plan, [namely, since the "strategy of phases" plan of 1974.]12


In the negotiations Israel demanded that Israeli concessions would be carried out only if the Palestinian Authority complies with its commitments. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated in several interviews that this conditionality was established in the agreement.

Contrary to the Israeli claim that Israeli fulfillment of its part of the agreement is conditional on Palestinian compliance, Palestinians say their compliance is conditional on Israeli compliance and they will only act if Israel fights terrorist acts by Israeli extremists.

Head of the Preventive Security Apparatus in Gaza, Muhammad Dahlan stated in the interview with Al-Ayyam, "I cannot arrest a Palestinian citizen who killed an Israeli and at the same time give the Israeli the right to commit terrorist acts against Palestinians, for a simple reason: my primary security mission is, as we have said since the first day of the Gaza- Jericho agreement, to protect Palestinian security and defend Palestinian citizens."13

Minister of Supplies in the PA, Abd Al `Aziz Shahin, reiterated Arafat's oft stated refrain that the PA will not act like the SLA [the South Lebanese Army, which fights alongside Israel against the Hezbollah].14

Columnist Fuad Abu Hijleh said that the Palestinians also have "lists of wanted Jews who committed terrorist acts and the government of Israel rewarded by releasing them with a bail that is lower than the price of a pack of cigarettes." The CIA's mission, according to Abu Hijleh, is to make sure that Israeli killers and blood spillers are punished in really detering manner. "We call for action based on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."15

The Palestinian Intentions Regarding May 5, 1999

Israeli media interpreted some clauses in the agreement as indicating that the Palestinians will refrain from declaring an independent Palestinian state on May 5, 1999. Arafat, in his White House Speech, as well a day later in Vienna, said only that the Palestinian people have the right to declare an independent state. In the local Palestinian media, however, PA and Fatah leaders continue to state that declaration of an independent state is still being planned for May 5, 1999. Abbas Zaki, head of the Education Committee in the PLC, and member of the Fatah Central Committee, stated categorically that with the end of the interim period in May 1999, a Palestinian declaration of independence cannot be regarded as a "unilateral act" that violates the agreement.16 Secretary of the Fatah in Jenin, Qaddura Musa stated that the struggle must go on until the fulfillment of all of the Palestinian people's national rights in their entirety.17

Marwan Al-Barghuthi stated that the agreement threatens the Palestinian national unity. Nevertheless he called upon the Palestinian public to cooperate with the agreement on the basis of its being the continued liberation of Palestinian land from the hands of the occupiers. "The agreement demonstrates," he said, "the Palestinian national determination to achieve victory and create the state on the Palestinian land in its entirety."18 Quddura said "The Fatah movement has led the Palestinian struggle on the path and should continue the journey."19

1Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, October 26, 1998
2Palestnian Television, October 26, 1998
3Al-Ayyam, October 26, 1998
14Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, October 26, 1998

Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI)
1815 H Street, NW
Suite 404
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077

[MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be cited with proper attribution.]

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A Police Chief Calls Wye Accord a Temporary Truce
Jabali Says PA Will Issue Gun Licenses to Fugitives Wanted by Israel

by Aaron Lerner

Following are remarks made by Palestinian Police Chief Col. Ghazi Jabali which were broadcast on official Palestinian Authority television on October 30, 1998, one week after the signing of the Wye River Memorandum between Israel and the PLO.

On the Wye accord with Israel:

"We wish to build an independent state and to build our nation - even the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, accepted the Khudaibiya agreement, which contained unjust conditions".

Note: The Khudaibiya agreement referred to by Col. Jabali was signed by Muhammad and the Arabian tribe of Koreish. The pact, slated to last for ten years, was broken within two years, when the Islamic forces - having used the peace pact to become stronger - conquered the Koreish tribe.

On issuing gun licenses:

"There is a law for the licensing of weapons. Every respectable person, every respectable politician, every respectable businessman submits a request and we give it to him. The weapons license is for pistols and it is granted to businessmen, dignitaries, politicians, wanted fugitives, people involved in blood feuds".

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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Letter from UNRWA Official
by Ron Wilkinson

David Bedein's article "Why is the Shuafat Refugee Camp Seething?" (Israel Resource Review, October 13) outlines some of the urgent problems facing refugee camp residents, but it unfairly places the blame on the wrong party. The following outlines some of the services the UNWRA provides in Shuafat: Schooling for 1,571 children and a new girls' school being built at a cost of over $1 million donated by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD); medical care at a clinic which has more than 35,000 patient visits a year; environmental sanitation through a sewage and surface water drainage project, including asphalting of streets, at a cost of $1 million, also funded by SFD; and a new community center which houses UNRWA-assisted programs for women, the disabled and youth, a testament to the agency's help to these groups.

There is close coordination between UNRWA and the camp committee on community-based activites and awareness campaigns. This cooperation is leading to the setting up of a children's park with UNRWA's technical assistance and support.

The writer points out the crowded conditions of the camp - which has an area of 203 dunams and a population of over 8,000. With a growing population and no more space for building housing, the refugees themselves are adding storeys to their houses. UNRWA does not build houses. Shuafat is located within the boundaries of the municipality of Jerusalem, so many responsibilities lie in the hands of the municipal government, such as the provision of adequate supplies of clean water, refuse collection and links to the muncipal sewage system. Shuafat does not belong to UNRWA, nor does any other refugee camp. The agency only provides services in camps. UNRWA's mandate is regularly renewed by the UN General Assembly and it has no intention of giving up its responsibilities to provide services in Shuafat camp or in any other Palestine refugee camp.

Ron Wilkinson

Chief, Public Information Office, UNRWA

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U.S. Letters of Assurance to Israel

Embassy of the United States of America
Tel Aviv
October 30, 1998

Mr. Dani Naveh
Cabinet Secretary
Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Dani,

I wanted to confirm our policy on the issues of Reciprocity/Parallelism, Permanent Status Negotiations, and Prisoner Releases. In this regard, the statements issued publicly by the State Department on October 29, 1998, are accurate and represent our policies.

On Reciprocity/Parallelism, the statement said: "resolving the crisis of confidence between Israelis and Palestinians requires each side to fulfill a set of responsibilities based on the concept of reciprocity. I.E., both sides must carry out their respective obligations in accordance with the Wye River Memorandum. These obligations will be implemented or carried out in a parallel phased approach in accordance with the mutually agreed Time Line."

As for Permanent Status Negotiations, the statement said: "the U.S. is highly sensitive to the vital importance of the permanent status issues to Israel's future. We recognize that the security of the State of Israel and the Israeli public is at stake, and the U.S. commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad."

"We appreciate that if the U.S. is invited by both parties to participate in the permanent status talks, which are to be conducted between Israel and the Palestinians on a bilateral basis, we will do so for the purpose of facilitating the negotiations."

"Only Israel can determine its own security needs and decide what solutions will be satisfactory."

"We also understand that any decision to convene or seek to convene a summit to resolve permanent status issues will need the agreement of both parties."

With regard to the issue of prison releases and the question of a "revolving door", the statement said: "we have had discussions with the Palestinians and they have given us a firm commitment that there will be no 'revolving door'."

These public statements by the State Department represent our policies. We will not change them and they will remain our policies in the future.


Edward S. Walker Jr.

U.S. State Department
Washington, D.C.
October 30, 1998

Mr. Dani Naveh
Cabinet Secretary
Government of Israel

Dear Mr. Naveh,

I wanted to provide further clarification of the understanding of the United States regarding one of the issues addressed in the "Wye River Memorandum."

With respect to the Palestinian side's provision of its list of policemen to Israel (II(C)(1)(a)), the U.S. has been assured that it will receive all appropriate information concerning current and former policemen as part of our assistance program. It is also our understanding that it was agreed by the two sides that the total number of Palestinian policemen would not exceed 30,000.


Dennis B. Ross
Special Middle East Coordinator

Embassy of the United States of America
Tel Aviv
October 29, 1998

Mr. Dani Naveh
Cabinet Secretary
Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Dani,

I wanted to confirm our policy on the issue of the 3rd phase of further redeployment. In this regard, the statement issued publicly by the State Department on October 27, 1998, is accurate and represents our policy.

Regarding the third further redeployment, the statement said: "during the discussions leading to this agreement, the U.S. made clear to both parties that it will not adopt any position or express any view about the size or the content of the third phase of Israel's further redeployment, which is an Israeli responsibility to implement rather than negotiate."

"Under the terms of the memorandum, an Israeli-Palestinian committee is being established. Nonetheless we urge the parties not to be distracted from the urgent task of negotiating permanent status arrangements, which are at the heart of the matter and which will determine the future of the area."

"Our own efforts have been and will continue to be dedicated to that vital task."

This public statement by the State Department represents our policy. We will not change it and it will remain our policy in the future.


Edward S. Walker, Jr.

Embassy of the United States of America
Tel Aviv
October 29, 1998

Mr. Dani Naveh
Cabinet Secretary
Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Dani,

I wanted to confirm our policy on the issues of unilateral actions and the Charter of the PLO. In this regard, the statements issued publicly by the State Department on October 27, 1998, are accurate and represent our policies.

With regard to unilateral declarations or other unilateral actions, the statement said: "as regards to the possibility of a unilateral decision of statehood or other unilateral actions by either party outside the negotiating process that prejudge or predetermine the outcome of those negotiations, the U.S. opposes and will oppose any such unilateral actions."

"Indeed, the U.S. has maintained for many years that an acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be found through negotiations, not through unilateral actions. And as we look to the future, that will remain our policy."

"For the present, we are doing all we can to promote permanent status negotiations on an accelerated basis. And we are stressing that those who believe that they can declare unilateral positions or take unilateral acts, when the interim period ends, are courting disaster."

With regard to the PNC, the statement said: "the Wye River Agreement specifies that the members of the PNC (as well as the members of the PLO Central Council, the Palestinian Council and the Heads of Palestinian Ministries) will be invited to a meeting which President Clinton will attend."

"The purpose of this meeting of the PNC and other PLO organizations is to reaffirm Chairman Arafat's January 22 letter to President Clinton nullifying each of the Charter's provisions that are inconsistent with the PLO's commitments to renounce terror, and to recognize and live in peace with Israel."

"This process of reaffirmation will make clear, once and for all, that the provisions of the PLO Charter that call for the destruction of Israel are null and void."

These public statements by the State Department represent our policies. We will not change them and they will remain our policies in the future.


Edward S. Walker, Jr.

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