Israel Resource Review 17th November, 1998

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Official PA Newspaper Blames Israel for Jerusalem Bombing
November 8, 1998

Two days after the November 6, 1998 bomb attack at Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda market injured 25 Israelis, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is blaming Israel for the incident and for previous attacks against Israeli civilians. The main headline in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda of November 8, 1998 proclaims:

"Palestinian Sources Believe
Israeli Intelligence is Behind the Bombing."

Following are excerpts from the article:

"the investigations revealed that an Israeli intelligence officer had frequently visited the house of Yusef al-Zughayar, one of the perpetrators of the Jerusalem explosion, after his release from an Israeli prison a few months ago. These sources said that "infiltration" activity by one of the Israeli [intelligence] services was behind the bombing, just as happened with the grenade attack at the Beersheba bus station a few weeks ago, after which it became known that the perpetrator had been drafted by Israeli intelligence.

Palestinian sources told the French press agency that the Palestinian security forces had a number of reports and indications that an outside party was behind the latest action [i.e. the terrorist attack] and the chain of actions which recently took place, all of which had a political objective to embarrass the Palestinian Authority and prevent the implementation of the agreements a previous military action attributed to the Islamic Jihad was the double suicide bombing in early 1997 near the Netzarim and Kfar Darom settlements, after which the PA presented a man named Ibrahim al-Halabi to the media who drafted the two bombers and planned the action. Al-Halabi confirmed that he worked on behalf of Israeli intelligence and that he had organized the action at their request to cause tension between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and to stop the implementation of the agreements signed between them."

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An Interactive Critique of Jerusalem Post Editor Jeff Barak's Interview with Yassir Arafat
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

On Friday, November 13, 1998, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, Mr. Jeff Barak, condcuted an interview with Yassir Arafat. The article was entitled "Arafat's charm offensive". Media Reasearch Analyst and Israel Resource News Agency bureau chief David Bedein presents an interactive critique of Barak's interview.

[Bedein's comments are shown in italics.]

"Arafat's Charm Offensive"
by Jeff Barak

(November 13) - PA Chairman Yasser Arafat took his turn at 'spin' this week, sitting for the first time with a select group of Israeli journalists to give his side of the story.

Why a select group? Was Arafat afraid of tough questions?

Five years after the signing of the Oslo Accords and more than two decades after Anwar Sadat made his dramatic visit to Jerusalem to woo his one-time enemy, it seems Yasser Arafat has finally decided to sell himself to Israelis.

How? By speaking to them in English? The way in which sadat established his credibility was by speaking words of peace to the Arabs, something which Arafat has yet to do.

Colonel Jibril Rajoub, the PA's Preventive Security service chief - whose name usually strikes terror in the hearts of those he summons - picked up the phone this week to personally invite a select group of Israeli journalists to meet the PA chairman in his Ramallah office.

Rajoub is known as the guy who has been ordering summary executions and arrests of Palestinian citizens. Is it an honor to be invited by Rajoub?

Speaking in faultless Hebrew learned in his years in an Israeli jail, Rajoub promised that we would be safer in Ramallah on Wednesday night with his men than we would be in Tel Aviv.

Is this an admission that this is a police state.

Safety and security, in fact, was what Arafat was trying to sell in his first real briefing to Israeli journalists.

Sounding like the Shimon Peres of old, Arafat talked about his vision of a Benelux-style confederation in a New Middle East where there would be open borders and full cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians.

The logical question of a journalist would be: "Have you ever conveyed such a vision to your own people?"

As in his public speeches, the Palestinian leader promised 100 percent effort in combating terror, while noting that no one could guarantee 100% success.

Did Arafat ever promise such a commitment in speeches to his people?

The meeting took place in a comfortably furnished lounge in Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, with well-stuffed sofas and armchairs for the chairman's guests, and a firmer chair for the chairman, whose lips trembled and feet tapped throughout the evening, although he showed no signs of tiredness or any mental fatigue.

Have you ever considered the fact that Arafat may have had some trouble functioning of late?

Armed Palestinian security men, some in uniform, others not, milled around the office. Unlike at the entrance to the Prime Minister's Office, there were no metal detectors or body searches. Cellular phones and pagers, however, had to be left outside the room.

When was the last time that you interviewed someone with armed officers "milling around"? were you not intimidated by the sight of such?

At the very same time as the cabinet was meeting in Jerusalem to ratify the Wye Memorandum - and impose a list of conditions that were to raise Palestinian ire - Arafat, joined by his top aide Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, Rajoub and spokesman Marwan Kanafani, patiently spent 90 minutes answering questions in a mixture of English and Arabic.

"Conditions that were to raise Palestinian ire" means that you somehow understand the PLO refusal to cancel the covenant and to arrest murderers.

He carefully refused every proffered chance to criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu, said Arafat, signed the Wye Memorandum at the White House, and "I am sure he will honor his signature."

What about arafat honoring his signature?

The Palestinian leader also stressed that the "kitchen cabinet" was at Wye with the prime minister, and so there should be no problems pushing the agreement through on the Israeli side.

What about stopping his incitement, etc?

And, unlike previous agreements which were signed by then-secretary of state Warren Christopher, Arafat placed great import on the fact that President Bill Clinton was a co-signatory to the Wye accord.

Shouldn't you then assume that Clinton has turned into an advocate for Arafat?

Arafat denied reports Netanyahu had been rude at Wye, saying "we differed in a respectable way."

and what about Arafat's behaviour?

The word respect cropped up repeatedly in the conversation.

Asked about Ariel Sharon, all Arafat would say at first was that Sharon is Israel's foreign minister. Pressed on Sharon's refusal to shake his hand, Arafat answered: "He said he wasn't going to shake my hand; I respected that."

What about sharon's more substantive criticism of Arafat? or are we only dealing in posturing?

Arafat insisted that the vexed question of the Palestinian Covenant had already been dealt with at the Palestine National Council meeting in 1996 in which, he said, the clauses in the covenant calling for Israel's destruction had been annulled.

Do you take Arafat at his word that the charter had been cancelled in 1996?

"Has the Knesset ever voted twice on an issue?" he asked rhetorically. But, he added, "if it is necessary, we will do it."

Isn't this an insult to the Israeli political system to compare his PNC to the Knesset?

Arafat also said that May 4, 1999, did not necessarily spell the end of the Oslo process.

Probed on what he thought would happen on that date, he said: "May 4 is the end of the five-year period we agreed upon in Oslo. If there are other ideas, I'm ready to listen."

The Palestinian leader also warned that Iranian elements, led by Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei, were spreading incitement within the PA and had threatened his life, and that of other PA leaders.

Why not ask Arafat about the May 1995 decision of the Palestine Authority, as reported on PBC radio, and affirmed by the associated press, to license weapons for the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas?

The most dangerous thing the Iranians ever did, Arafat said, was "putting a gun over the Koran."

And Arafat did not? is this not a consistent theme of Arafat's speeches in Arabic?

Abdel-Rahim, the secretary-general of Arafat's office, said he had begun talks with the Hamas leadership, calling on them to instruct their fugitives to turn themselves in to the PA, and that the Hamas leadership abroad was discussing this.

Can Abdel-Rahim provide any substantiation to his claim?

Arafat pledged to continue the PA crackdown on Palestinian terror and incitement, saying that whoever is involved in such issues "will be dealt with by us the way that we dealt with Sheikh Yassin." The sheikh, Hamas's founder, was put under house arrest following the attempted bombing of a school bus in Gaza last month.

What about reports that Sheikh Yassin's house arrest was lifted, and that Sheikh Yassin's very passport reads 'Special Advisor' to Arafat?

Arafat said an agreement had been reached with the Islamic Jihad, under which they had agreed to stop "military action." Last Friday's suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda seemed to be a puzzle to him, and Arafat did not repeat his suggestion, earlier this week, that the General Security Service was behind the attack.

The 'cessation of military action' was specifically designed to curtail actions that emanate from the palestine authority. and if Arafat did not say this accusation in front of the journalists, then why did he not change his tune in the official Palestine Authority media, which is under the direct control of Arafat?

The only time Arafat talked of cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli undesirables was in the context of car thefts, in which Israelis steal the cars and then hand them over to Palestinians.

Is this not a baseless claim?

The real villains here, according to Arafat, are settlers: "Most of the [stolen] cars come to Gaza via the settlements," he said, without a trace of doubt apparent.

Did anyone of the journalists present not challenge this Arafat claim. silence is agreement.

The prospect of an American strike on Iraq worries the Palestinian leader.

What about the official and consistent support given to Iraq by the PBC?

"I hope and urge that there will not be an attack against Iraq... an attack will affect negatively the Wye environment," he said.

At the 1991 Madrid Conference, he continued, "we talked about peace in the Middle East. Peace in the Middle East will be affected negatively by a US attack."

Indeed, Madrid and not Oslo seems to be the starting point of the peace process as far as Arafat is concerned.

He said that while at Wye the Palestinians again accepted and approved the principle of reciprocity, "let's not forget - in Madrid we agreed to reciprocity: land for peace. [Former prime minister Yitzhak] Shamir went to Madrid on this principle."

When has arafat ever said 'land for peace' to his own people? and which land?

As for the future of the process, the current crisis with Iraq notwithstanding, Arafat pronounced himself an optimist.

"If there is a will, there is a way. Who could have imagined we could have reached the Oslo Agreement? Who could have imagined that we will arrange the Madrid Conference? Who could have imagined that the PNC would cancel the [Palestinian] covenant? But that happened."

Did no one challenge arafat's repeated pronouncement that the PNC had cancelled the PLO covenant?

Talk of early elections in Israel, Arafat said, shouldn't pose a problem for the peace process. He denied giving instructions to Israeli-Arab MKs on how to vote, saying he merely met with them in order to listen.

Then why do Arab MK'S mention that they get directives from Arafat?

Pleading unfamiliarity with Israel's legal framework, Arafat insisted that agreements made between leaders - such as the one between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat - could not be changed later because of changing political circumstances.

It was Begin, Arafat added, who was the first to offer the Palestinians an independent, if limited, form of statehood, referring to the autonomy plan cited in the Camp David Accords.

Once we start the implementation of Wye, Arafat added, the morale of the Palestinian people will improve, lessening any domestic criticism of the peace process.

"There is no doubt that the hesitation in implementing agreements between us and Israel left a very bad impression on all the Palestinian people. For two years we did not do anything."

On hearing from an aide that the cabinet had just announced it had ratified the Wye Memorandum, Arafat broke into a huge smile and flashed a thumbs-up sign to all in the room.

It was only after we left that Arafat learned of the Netanyahu government's conditions for ratification.

This remark about 'conditions' makes it look like Netanyahu invented the wheel. At Netanyahu's press conference on wednesday night, he read from the Wye accords that Arafat had signed. What were these new conditions?

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Do the Prisoners of Zion have to Live a Life of Disgrace?
by Si Frumkin
Union of Councils for Russian Jewry

There was a time when we asked for your help in the struggle against the Soviet government. Now we ask you to help us in our struggle for survival with the authorities of Israel and the Jewish Agency (Sokhnut). Your influence, the influence of Jews in America and Europe with the Sokhnut is decisive - the Sokhnut exists on money donated by you."

From a letter by my friend Volodya Slepak,
who spent 3 years in Siberian exile,
10 years as a refusenik.

Soldiers in the Israeli army get credit against a retirement pension for the time they serve. The bureaucrats in the Soviet Jewry departments got credit for the time they shuffled papers. Soviet Jews who fought all alone, not knowing what tomorrow would bring, who feared a knock on the door, who met with tourists and smuggled out information and received books and Stars of David and vitamins for the prisoners - they get no credit for the time they spent fighting. There are close to a million former Soviet Jews in Israel today. They have talent, education, energy. They have transformed the Israeli economy in the last decade. They have made Israel more viable, more productive, stronger. These Israelis wouldn't be there if it were not for the handful of Soviet Jewish activists who energized Jews in the West and in Israel, who fought and won so that Jews could leave a country that oppressed them.

Israel owes them a lot. But now we find that an unwillingness to pay its debt.

Soviet Jewish activists energized the West. They were the reason for demonstrations, letter writing campaigns, political pressure on Washington - and Tel Aviv - the Jackson Amendment, and eventually, victory.

They paid a price. Some went to the gulags and prisons to serve long sentences. Others were exiled to places where foreigners couldn't go. Still others were refused emigration visas for three, five, ten years, waiting while thousands of others were let out. Their names became household words: Slepak, Nudel, Sharansky, Kazakov, Zalmanson, Levich, Polsky, Dymshits, Penson, Panov, and hundreds more.

In time, the Soviet empire collapsed. In time, the Prisoners of Zion and the refuseniks were let out. In time, most came to Israel to be met as heroes, celebrated, praised, thanked, interviewed. They got a lot of praise and adulation, very little of anything else.

And then an ugly thing happened. According to Israeli law one must work for at least ten years in order to be eligible for the minimum retirement pension. Most of the activists who came to Israel were too old to be able to work for ten years straight before retiring. And so, while the people who kept quiet, those whom the activists went to jail for had come to Israel earlier and earned the right to a retirement pension, those who were refused, imprisoned, exiled - did not.

At this time a former Prisoner of Zion is entitled, after reaching retirement age, to $77 monthly for each year served in a Soviet prison and to $13 for each year in Siberian exile. Prisoners of Zion who have no other income can get $175 monthly in addition to the minimum old age pension. This leaves most of them at poverty level, many others below it.

A grateful nation?

About a year ago, the so-called Zisman Amendment was introduced in the Knesset. It was meant to provide a more reasonable recompense for the heroes of the Soviet Jewry movement. The increases were modest at best, but they were an improvement.

The Zisman Amendment was in turn amended and amended again before it finally came to a vote in October 1998. It is hard to believe but it is true: the final version actually reduces the miserable pittance the activists are receiving now. Oh, they were given an option: they could refuse this subsidy and stay with what they were getting now, it was up to them, they were told.

This law comes into effect on January 1, 2000, but as of January 1, 1999, the current subsidy will be cut in half. The reason? This subsidy comes from the budget of the Jewish Agency, not the governmental budget, and the agency has no money. Sorry!

Let me remind us all. The price of just one F-15 fighter could permit all of the activists to live luxuriously for three decades. The cost of maintaining an army regiment for two years could cover the cost of living for 3,000 activists for a decade. The salary of a Knesset member is about 5 times greater than what they are willing to allocate to someone who spent five years in the gulag.

These activists have done more for Israel than an F-15 fighter or a regiment of soldiers. They have certainly done more than most Knesset members. They deserve better, and yes, I am bitterly disappointed by the cabinet ministers who share the same background - Sharansky and Edelshtein - who were heroes in their day, but who seem to have abandoned their comrades-in-arms. I am also disappointed by the silence and acquiescence of the "Russian" Knesset members. Most of all I am disappointed by the lack of reaction from the great mass of Russian immigrants in Israel. Apparently they have no sense of gratitude or understanding that if it weren't for people like Slepak or Nudel, they too would have been stuck in the former USSR along with all those Russians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, and all those other non-Jews who still can't emigrate.

It is a shame. It is an abomination. It is an embarrassment. I call upon the government of Israel to do what is right. I call upon those in the U.S. and elsewhere who followed the call of the activists when they needed help, to help them now. We cannot abandon those who faced insurmountable odds and won this victory for all of us.

What to do? Get in touch with your congregation, your organization, your friends. Start writing to Natan Sharansky, fax: (+972-2) 624-3738 or mail at Rechov Agron 30, Jerusalem 94190 and Yuli Edelshtein at the Knesset, Jerusalem. Or fax PM Benjamin Netanyahu at (+972-2) 566-4838 and tell him how you feel.

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A Day in Official Palestinian Media
Official Organs of the Palestine Authority Today
12th November, 1998

Today, Faisal Al-Husseini, the Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem affairs attacked Israel's municipal elections in Jerusalem, calling Israel's rule anywhere in Jerusalem as "illegal." In addition the PLO's Fatah branch announced that they would be holding their own elections in Jerusalem next week.

A Palestinian Minister, Nebil Amru, called for the continued talks with the Hamas saying that they must reach an agreement on a division of political roles that can help them reach their common goal.

A conference was held yesterday with many Palestinian dignitaries to honor the "martyrs" who have fallen fighting Israel.

The PA as in the past expressed its solidarity with Iraq in its conflict with the US.

The nearly daily call to unilaterally announce the creation of a Palestinian state in May was in today's papers as well.

The PA expects 4 million refugees to be brought to Palestine as part of the final settlement.

PA television continues to refer to the Israeli government as the "Government of Tel Aviv", a term intended to deny recognition, as it was used by Arab States for many years.

Finally, the PA again stated that they don't recognize Israel's demand that they cancel the PLO covenant.

The Sources:

Faisal Al-Huseini [Minister for Jerusalem Affairs of the Palestinian Authority] said that "regarding we Palestinian Jerusalemites, these elections do not pertain to us at all. Everyone must know that the Arab municipality of Jerusalem is the legal representative of the sons of Jerusalem, despite its being stopped by the Israeli government. He added that the Municipality of Jerusalem is a representative of the occupation, while the Jerusalemites are not part of these elections, due to the fact that the occupying Israeli entity in Jerusalem is an illegal entity, and we do not recognize her".
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

Headline: 'Fatah' will hold its regional convention in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday. A public conference for the regional elections within the Movement for the Palestine National Liberation, Fatah, will be held this coming Sunday at the Alhakwati Theatre in occupied Jerusalem. During the three days of elections for the Fatah movement, 1200 members will elect 15 members for the region and 16 members for the West Bank Convention. Consuls and diplomatic representatives will be present at the convention. Yasser Kra'in, in charge of the Fatah movement in his village of Silwan in occupied Jerusalem, stressed that holding the convention in a public forum in this fashion will accelerate the [establishment of] Palestinian State and that it prepares for the upcoming May 4th festival, when she is to be announced.
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

Nabil Amro, Minister for Parliamentarian Affairs, said that the option of peace dictates that we go with it in the framework of the distribution of political appointments. He emphasized that the dialogue with the Hamas exists and is going in a positive direction, and that participating in it are members of the Legislative Council and leaders from the Palestinian forces. He expressed his hope that a national agreement would be reached that would facilitate our achieving our national goals.

Amro emphasized that the suicide actions such as the last Jerusalem action are not beneficial to our people but rather are damaging to it, and he said that the falling of these people as Shahids is not 'legitimate under any circumstance'. Member of the Legislative Council, Kamal Al-Sharafi, Head of the Overseeing Committee of the Legislative Council, said that it is necessary that all options be open to our people, as long as our land and rights are taken away, and he emphasized that the right to oppose the occupation is anchored within all international norms and constitutions.
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

Headline: Memorial Assembly in Jenin on the Ninth Anniversary of the Fall of the Leader Alouana as Shahid
The Governor Zahir Manazra participated in a memorial assembly as representative of the president Yasser Arafat, and spoke on behalf of him pointing out that it is necessary that the memory of the Martyrs be kept by means of guarding the commitment of struggle for [the fulfillment] of the goals for which they fell [in the assembly] many words were said emphasizing the merits of the Martyrs and reviewed the victim-ridden path of struggle. The speakers asked that the Martyrs serve as the sketchers of the path of struggle for the liberation of the homeland.
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

A Caricature:
Netanyahu is seen grabbing by the neck the poor and helpless man who represents the 'Israeli Organizations for Peace' while Netanyahu himself sits in the palm of the hand of a wicked, Kippa-bearing ugly distorted giant, who represents the 'Organizations of the Extreme Right Wing'.
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

Headline: The Political Direction and its Tasks
Therefore it is necessary to clarify the situation to the forces and to the public and to continue the recruitment and the preparation in order to contest with all possibilities, especially due to the fact that all the possibilities are open to us, in light of the continuing policy of delay and evasion that is being adopted by the Netanyahu government, so there is no avoiding the fact that in difficult conditions such as these, the [management of the] Political Direction continue in her directives to the forces, in order that they not be overcome by frustration and in order that they keep a high morale, high motivation and ongoing preparation. These wars have not lessened the fierce desire and vigorousness to liberate our and homeland from the hands of the occupation, and our people struggle with the occupation with all the available means and battles its cruelty and arrogance all throughout the ages and does not give up or recoil from the oppression and terror and our people still adhere to their struggle to liberate the land and homeland and still serves victim after victim and martyr after martyr for the dear homeland, our people still live and do not disappear, and all forces of exploitation on earth will never be able to wipe it out or its identity which is connected to this holy and pure land.
[Alchayat Aljadeeda, 11/12/98]

Headline: Palestinian Delegation Visits Iraqi Children Receiving Treatment in Greece.
Abed Allah Abed Allan, the Palestine Ambassador to Greece, accompanied by the Head of the Palestinian Diaspora held a visit with the Iraqi children who are receiving treatment in one of the hospitals in charge of the Iraqi Activity received the Palestinian delegation, which took this initiative in its expression of solidarity with the Iraqi people who suffer a siege of exploitation . . .
[Al Kuds, 11/12/98]

Headline: The Declaration of the State and the Problem of Refugees.
Walid Zakot, Member of the Delegation of Refugees of '48 and '67, writes: In accordance with the Declaration of Principles of Oslo and all the agreements that came after that, the transfer stage will end on May 4, 1999. The Palestinian leadership is committed to taking a decisive step by declaring the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital Jerusalem.

Here comes the big question, what is the fate of the refugees according to these two options, especially because the subject of refugees is one of the most complex subjects of the final status talks. We are not talking here about the refugees of '67 who have the right of return before the commencement of the final status talks, according to the Oslo agreements, but rather the discussion here is about the refugees of '48 whose number reaches about 4 million, of which 3 million are outside of the Palestinian homeland.
[Alkuds, 11/12/98]

Official PBC Television

Midday News of the Palestinian Television:

Newscaster: "The Tel Aviv Government renewed its claims regarding the 3rd phase of the redeployment, in order that it not rise above 1%".

From the Program "Flower of the Cities" - On the El Aksa Mosque "Remnants of the sermon podium [in El Aksa Mosque] that Israel burned in 1967, which is the sermon podium Nur Aldin Zanji that Salah-A-Din laid in El Aksa Mosque after he liberated it from the Crusaders."

Nighttime PBC TV News:

Newscaster: "The Tel Aviv Government continues to build settlements in Har Homa, and in this way is violating all the agreements that have been signed. The Palestinian Authority has warned against the results of this decision, and emphasized that it will take all steps against this decision ...

Newscaster: "Nabil Shaath said that this decision violates the Wye Plantation Agreement. The Palestinian Authority does not allow Israel to create new realities on Palestinian land. We oppose reopening the Agreement for discussion after it has already been signed.

Newscaster: "Nabil Abu Radina: warned about the damaging obstacles of the Tel Aviv Government, who began building housing units in Har Homa. The decision is a violation of the Agreement . . .

Regarding the [cancellation of the PLO] National Covenant, Arikat emphasized that the Palestinian Authority is committed to carrying out the Agreement and opposes any kind of additions to what has been signed."

Prepared in conjunction with Palestinian Media Watch, under the direction of Itamar Marcus.

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Ten Days in the Life of the Palestine Authority
Palestinian Authority Activity from 5th - 15th November, 1998 by Steve Rodan, investigative journalist

Palestinians wary of Israeli ratification of Wye

The Palestinian Authority has expressed displeasure with the ratification by the Cabinet of the Wye Plantation agreement. This, despite a meeting by Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho with PA chairman Yasser Arafat in which the Israeli explained the Cabinet ratification. PA officials said the Cabinet's conditions for the implementation of the agreement plants the seeds of another Israeli effort to violate observing the accord. PA minister and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat pointed out that the Israeli Cabinet decision was "too weeks late." "We refuse [these conditions] absolutely," Erekat said. "We hope that the ratification will not be without implementation, because the implementation is the key."

Erekat criticized the news conference by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Nov. 11 and the threats that Israel might not honor the agreement if the PA does not fulfill its pledges. "Actually, this is killing the peace process, and the current efforts to return it on its natural track," he said. "The Wye Memorandum is clear. We will implement it accurately, and we hope that Israel will do the same. We are not interested in these conditions, but by the agreement, which we will not allow its renegotiation."

PA Secretary-General Tayeb Abdul Rahim agreed. "We hope that the Israeli Government will ratify the accord, especially that PA had done its commitments," he said.

Hassan Asfour, PA minister of state, made it clear that the PA will stick to the letter of Wye. "Netanyahu feels that Wye River Memorandum does not satisfy the extremists, terrorists, and the settlers in Israel" he said. "Netanyahu is not looking for the implementation of the accord, but to make a continual troubles with PA, to escape from the implementation of the peace accords between the two sides."

One Israeli plan that the PA will oppose is the construction of new bypass roads. Palestinian Legislative Council member Salah Taamari said the "PA agreed to the redeployment but it hasn't seen the maps yet, and didn't agree to the bypass roads."

Taamari said Israeli construction of new roads will spark a crisis between the PA and the Israeli government "especially those roads that pass through the Palestinian cities and towns."

For his part, PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein said the PA refuses to extradite the 30 Palestinians sought by Israel. He said the PA would not mourn the halt of the peace process should Netanyahu continue what the minister termed unilateral measures.

PLC member Hatem Abdul Qader said "Palestinian dignity does not allow the arrest of the 30 wanted Palestinians. "We at the Palestinian Legislative Council have asked PA to stop the arrests and to release the prisoners until the Israeli side start it's implementation for the accord," he said.

Arafat, PA sources say, is counting on the visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton on Dec. 14 to reap some immediate gains. He expects to capitalize on the Wye agreement to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars from donor nations immediately. He plans on visiting several European countries, including France, Italy and Sweden.

The PA chairman has to move quickly. Thirty foreign ministers representing donor nations will meet in early December to consider the future of aid to the Palestinian Authority. The PA has been working hard to prepare for that meeting and plans to present an investment program. So far, donor nations representatives have been disappointed. They said that donations during the first three years of the five-year program that began in 1994 have produced poor results. As a result, the donor nations have not fulfilled their pledges. In all, PA officials said, the donors have given $1.6 billion of $3.4 billion pledged.

The result has been a crisis in PA services. About 12,000 state-supported teachers in the West Bank and Gaza launched a one day warning strike in protest of their low wages. The strike left more than 500,000 students at home. The strike has alarmed PA officials and Deputy Education Minister Naim Abu al-Humus has pledged that the teachers's demands will be presented to Arafat.

U.S. Stops Funding to PA Radio, PA TV

The teachers are not the only ones affected. Already, the United States has acted to stop funding for the Palestinian Broadcast Corporation. The halt in funding came after the U.S. Congress determined that Palestinian television and radio was used for incitement against Israel and Jews.

PA officials were upset by the decision. PBC head Radwan Abu Ayyash said Washington reacted to tapes and recordings from radio and television sent by Israelis who wanted to stop U.S. funding. He said that U.S. support for the PBC was not significant. It included funding for television cameras, worth about $100,000.

What bothered Abu Ayyash was that the PBC was not consulted about the funding cutoff.

"It is very strange while the Israeli right builds radio stations, such as Arutz-7, which operates without censorship, caused the killing of Yitzhak Rabin, and the soul of peace. This, while the Voice of Palestine, which have not reach the Israeli newspapers in its level of criticism for the government, is accused of incitement."

"When the Israeli right-wing parties stop carrying out their activities which defame their image, we will stop reporting this," Abu Ayyah said. "We are professional."

Abu Ayyah said the PBC has not been informed by the U.S. government. But Washington has signed an agreement with the PA which is "conditioned on a ban of transferring financial support for the PBC."

The PBC head said the U.S. decision will not affect PA radio and television. "It will not affect us materially or morally because there was no tangible support," he said.

Other Western donor nations have not stopped their funding to the PA. A United Nations report states that in 1998 donor nations have improved their contributions. The report said that in the first half of 1997 the donor contributed $120 million while during the same period the donors contributed $216 million.

The UN report expressed concern over some falling indicators. It pointed out that per capita gross domestic product has fallen 3.4 percent in 1998 to $1,380 while the PA's GDP increased by 2.1 percent. The report says business activity has grown modestly. Trade with Israel is stagnating. The area of land officially registered for residential construction projects declined by 8.5 percent.

Palestinian unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip fell to 22.4 percent in the first half of 1998, the United Nations says. UN figures presented to donor nations and PA and Israeli representatives asserted that 86,750, or 15.6 percent of the workforce, are seeking employment. The overall number of unemployed people fell by 13.8 percent to 155,450.

A Stock Exchange Dominated by One Firm

Analysts pointed to the penchant of the PA to stress nationalistic symbols over sound economic policy. One example was brought by Munther Nijem, lecturer at the business administration college at Bir Zeit University, who said on Nov. 9 that the Palestinian stock exchange was premature and that it is dominated by one company. He told a forum at Tel Aviv University that Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications company, and its subsidiary, comprise as much as 65 percent of the total value of the exchange. The index gained 30 percent in the last year but most of the companies on the exchange lost value. He said total market capitalization in the 12 months to June 30 amounted to $660 million and companies on the exchange were valued at more than $700 million.

Nijem said the Palestinian stock exchange reflects the lack of a legal system in the Palestinian Authority. He said rules that mandate disclosure and ban insider trading must be instituted. He said the exchange must become an alternative investment to savings banks. He said the Palestinian economy is operating at only 50 percent of its capacity.

Palestinian unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip fell to 22.4 percent in the first half of 1998, the United Nations says. UN figures presented to donor nations and PA and Israeli representatives asserted that 86,750, or 15.6 percent of the workforce, are seeking employment. The overall number of unemployed people fell by 13.8 percent to 155,450.

Still, poverty appears to be increasing. A report by the PA Planning Ministry asserted that 25 percent of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza earn less than 1,390 shekels and 1,140 shekels, respectively. These two figures are the benchmark for poverty in the PA areas. The report lists the refugee camps as the poorest areas in the territories. Jenin was listed as the poorest city in the West Bank.

The PA acknowledges that services have deteriorated rapidly under its rule. At a recent medical conference, PA officials said the mortality rate at birth is between 30-40 per 100,000 briths and that 50 babies per 1,000 die at birth for those mothers who deliver in Gaza hospitals. About 26 percent of all births in Gaza are performed at home.

The mortality rate is a sharp drop from 1993, the last year when Israel was still in Gaza. At that time, Israeli Civil Administration statistics reported 18.8 deaths per 1,000 births. The rate of mothers dying during birth was 29 per 100,000 births. Again, the statistics are taken only from hospital records and do not reflect deliveries conducted at home.

In 1996, the PA Statistics Department reported that in Gaza 32 babies per 1,000 died during birth and in the West Bank the figure was 25 per 1,000. The non-governmental Palestinian Association for Medical Services reported in 1996 that 50-70 babies per 1,000 died during birth. Between 30-60 mothers died during birth.

PA Now Wants Airport in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority plans to construct an airport in the West Bank. At a news conference in Ramallah on Nov. 8, Brig. Gen. Fayez Zeidan, director of the PA Civilian Aviation Authority, said the PA brought up the matter with Israel but the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refuses to discuss this. "The Israeli side refused to discuss this matter before the opening of a Gaza airport," he said. Zeidan vowed that the PA would observe international law and refuse to allow the airport to be used by planes hijacked by terrorists. He confirmed that Iranian, Iraqi and Libyan planes would not be allowed landing rights. He said such a move would violate the Oslo accords with Israel. Zeidan said Israel tried to use the Nov. 6 suicide bombing attack to delay implementing the Wye accords. "We still do not know when it will open because the Israeli side is using the last attack as a reason to delay the opening of the airport," he said. "It is important to implement the agreement without delay." On Nov. 12, PA and Israeli representatives participated in an exercise to operate the Gaza airport at Dahaniya.

The PA has also received its own international telephone code. It is 970 and was issued by the International Communications Union. PA Communications Minister Imad Falouji said on Nov. 5 that the code is an important element in the preparation for the PA to declare an independent state.

Blaming Israel for Bombings

The Palestinian Authority is blaming Israel from the suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market on Nov. 6. The PA newspaper Al Hayat al-Jedida said on Nov. 8 that Palestinian sources believe Israeli intelligence is behind the bombing. They said Israel also was responsible for the grenade attack in Beersheba in October. "It became known that the perpetrator had been drafted by Israeli intelligence. A number of reports and indications are that an outside party was behind the latest action and the chain of actions that recently took place, all of which had a political objective, were to embarrass the PA and prevent the implementation of the agreements."

But a senior official, PA Secretary-General Tayeb Abdul Rahim said Iran was probably responsible for the attack. "The hardline in the Iranian leadership is interested in turning the Palestinian territories into Afghanistan," he said. Abdul Rahim blamed whom he referred to as "foreigners" for sponsoring the suicide bombing. Iran denied the assertion.

It turns out that the PA newspaper was directed from on high. At a meeting with Labor Knesset member Yossi Beilin on Nov. 9, Arafat said he suspects that elements within Israeli intelligence were behind the Mahane Yehuda bombings. Echoing charges that he leveled against Israel in 1995 and 1996, Arafat said that he believes some in the Israeli security forces want to block the implementation of the Israeli army withdrawal in the West Bank. "Avishai Raviv was also an agent of the Israeli General Security Service and he may even have been involved in the murder of the late Prime Minister Rabin," Arafat said.

PA and Israeli intelligence sources said on Nov. 8 that the two suicide bombers were sent by the local Islamic Jihad in Jenin. The city is controlled by the PA although the terrorists lived in the village of Silat Hartiya in Area B, under Israeli security control. One of the terrorists was imprisoned by the PA but was released on Nov. 1, six days before his suicide bombing. PA security officials said Suleiman Tahayna was arrested in a wave of detentions before Yasser Arafat arrived in the United States last month. At first, the PA arrested 60 Jihad activists. But by Nov. 8, the PA halted the campaign. The arrests were reported in the Jenin area and in Bethlehem. The PA also arrested several members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine after they held a rally against the Wye accords in Gaza.

The PA also closed an Islamic women's organization on Nov. 6. The Hamas-based organization said it would probably appeal to the Palestinian courts.

Israeli and Palestinian sources agree that the PA appears to have adopted the following method to dealing with counterterrorism: provide Israel with some information that will enable the PA to take credit for foiling terrorist attacks. And, should the terrorists succeed, blame Israel. PA sources, confirmed by Israel, assert that the PA has relayed information on several suspected terrorists believed to have planned car bombings in Israel. In one case, the PA sources say, Israeli authorities arrested one Hamas activist.

Israeli officials and PA security sources prevent differing assessments of Hamas power. Take the indictment of four Hamas terrorists for the killing of Jerusalem man David Ktorza. A four-man terrorist cell, identified as ringleader Ibrahim Abasi, 38, Shuabba Abu Snini, 32 both of Silwan, Rajab Dahan, 31, of Ras al-Amud and Mahmoud Idris, 27 of A-Ram. According to the indictment the four joined Hamas in 1995 and moved to its military wing in 1996 and 1997. Police said the gang had scouted locations around the city for lone Jewish pedestrians. As they drove for a victim, they spotted Ktorza on his way to synagogue, about 100 meters from his home. The Hamas suspects jumped out of their car stabbed him in the chest and escaped.

Israeli security forces, led by the General Security Services, have captured several Hamas terrorist cells in recent weeks in the Jerusalem area. Some of the cells were in the advanced stages of preparing terrorist attacks. At least two of the Hamas members have been placed in administrative detention.

The information of plans to plant bombs in Jerusalem led Israeli authorities to step up security around Jerusalem. At a roadblock outside Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood, north of the city, Palestinian young men attacked on Nov. 8 two Israeli border policemen who wanted to check a busload of Palestinians. Several Palestinians were arrested.

Israeli officials are convinced that the PA has not abandoned the terrorist option despite its pledges at Wye Plantation. Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon said Yasser Arafat has not done enough to combat terrorist organizations and their infrastructure. He said Arafat has hardly fought the Islamic Jihad. He told a Cabinet meeting on Nov. 8 "Israel still does not proof that the PA is taking a real stand against terror." He said this is the reason the Jihad has not been eliminated as a terrorist group.

Israeli security sources say the response to the suicide bombing in Jerusalem appeared to be orchestrated. At first, Hamas took credit. Then, Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah Shalah took credit for the bombing and a Jihad leaflet echoed that claim. But Jihad leaders in Gaza denied that their organization was responsible although they said the two terrorists were members.

The belief by Israeli security sources is that Hamas and Jihad arranged for Jihad to take credit for the bombing despite the suspicion that Hamas helped provide the explosives and the detonators. This would then ease PA pressure on Hamas while sending the message that the Islamic organization is capable of daring attacks. Indeed, the suspicion rests on Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, the number one fugitive who has escaped capture by both Israel and the PA. Deif is a close personal friend of PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan.

In an interview with Radio Monte Carlo, Dahlan said "All our battles at the Wye Plantation focused on the Hamas Movement.

We upheld the idea of defending Hamas because it is part of Palestinian society.

However, it seems that Hamas did not respect the battle that the PA fought with the Israel.

Our main differences with the Israelis focused on handing over to Israel Hamas members. But we stuck to our position and managed to achieve all that we sought in this respect. The Israeli Government went back on handing over Hamas members, which was considered an Israeli red line."

Dahlan's knowledge of Hamas is intimate. He said he was confident that Hamas was not trying to harm Arafat, saying the basis for such reports is false and probably stem from Israel. "The goal was clearly an Israel one," he said. "Such acts suggest to the PA that the Israelis seek to use such actions in the areas under the PA control to give Netanyahu justification not to go ahead with implementing the agreement or comply with the agreement reached in Washington."

Asked whether the suicide bomber belongs to Hamas or Fatah, Dahlan is vague. But he does not dismiss what Israeli and Palestinian sources have been saying for the last three years: that Fatah members have participated in terrorist operations against Israel under the guise of being in the Islamic opposition.

"Fatah is a Palestinian organization that advocated the confrontation with Israel for 30 years," he said. "Now Fatah is to some extent the PA's party, as some call it. However, Fatah has a margin of maneuver and political criticism. We consider this to be a positive phenomenon, but Fatah has to date no military action that might embarrass the PA."

PA Shows Patience with Hamas

PA sources acknowledge that they have taken an increasingly mild hand to Hamas. At first, the PA rounded up 400 Islamic activists. Then, the PA offered to hold a dialogue with Hamas. PA Communications Minister Imad Falouji, a longtime Hamas member, said he met with Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin who agreed to a dialogue with the PA.

"I carried this desire for Chairman Arafat and made connections with other Hamas leaders," Falouji said. "Hamas, and the other Palestinian Organizations should understand the sensitivity of the current phase. We still at the beginning of the road, and I hope that we will soon reach tangible results. "We are doing the best of our efforts to start a dialogue between Hamas and PA for the interest of the Palestinian people, especially when we are in a sensitive phase after the signature of Wye Plantation accord, and standing on the door of the final status negotiations."

Falouji said the Hamas last military attack in Gush Katif on Oct. 29 harmed the supreme interests of the Palestinian people "and I think the brothers in Hamas perceive that well. Hamas should specify if it the responsible of the attack or not, and this need for a clear leaflet from the movement."

Abdul Khalik Natshe, Hamas spokesman in Hebron, said he was delighted the initiative of open a dialogue between his group and PA. "We are supporting such dialogue, which preserves Palestinian blood, and the PA should not close the door of the dialogue, and it should hear other opinions."

The PA has responded to a request from Hamas that any serious dialogue must be preceded by a prisoner release. In the response, the PA has begun releasing prisoners. Natshe said this principle is ironclad. "It is out of the question to open a dialogue, while the arrests of Hamas leaders continues," he said. "We are with the redeployment, and the release of all the prisoners, but without condition, because that's our natural right."

The PA attitude toward Hamas differs sharply with the new policy of Jordan. The result is that Hamas is planning to move its political bureau from Amman to Damascus. The Jerusalem-based Al Quds daily reported on Nov. 8 that the organization's decision stemmed from the restrictions placed on Hamas leaders in Jordan. Jordanian authorities have prevented Hamas leaders from holding rallies or news conferences that oppose the Wye accords. Jordanian security officials, the newspaper said, threatened to expel Hamas from the kingdom if the organization disobeyed. Already, several prominent leaders in Jordan have been placed under surveillance. These include Mohammed Nazal, Ibrahim Ghosha, Mussa Abu Marzouk and Khaled Mashal.

Some Palestinians want an all-out battle with Hamas to demonstrate that there is only one law in the PA territories. They say the attack in Gaza was a breach of an understanding between the PA and Hamas not to launch attacks on PA territory. A major advocate of this is PA minister Faisal Husseini, responsible for Jerusalem affairs, who says Hamas has set the agenda for the PA and will succeed in halting the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. Husseini believes this is the goal of the Hamas -- to force Israel to stop a Palestinian state under Arafat.

But Husseini is opposed by others who fear that any real crackdown on Hamas will lead to a civil war. They say this is a bigger danger than lack of progress with Israel. These Palestinians say that Arafat will be hard pressed to make the choice between a real crackdown on Hamas and more territory for his authority. Arafat, they say, hopes the U.S. will convince Israel that pressing Hamas to the wall will torpedo the entire process.

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Official Media of the Palestine Authority, November 15, 1998

Excerpts from Arafat's Speech in Ramallah:

Narrator quoting Arafat: "We are building our state, piece by piece and will continue until our state is established and Holy Jerusalem is its capital. We are only a few steps from Jerusalem. And no one will separate us from even a grain of our land."

Arafat: "The intifada was seven blessed years. Seven blessed years. Intifada of stones. The children of stones. The Generals of stones. When we chose the peace of the brave, we chose it with trust in the Prophet [who agreed] to the treaty of Hudaybia and we have chosen this agreement Yes we will establish the state on May 4 1999 . . . "Our guns are raised. And we will aim them at anyone who prevents us from going to Jerusalem . . .
On the 4th of May we are free to declare our Palestinian State . . . Our new generals are the children of the stones. And they are prepared for any moment."
[Palestinian Authority Television]

Editorial Article of the Palestinian Authority
Newspaper: Alchayat Aljadeeda

"We commemorate today, in the Legislative Council, the tenth anniversary of the declaration of independence, on this blessed day we reiterate and emphasize the details of the struggle, the contending, the patience and the adherence of the Palestinians against the wicked winds and the clouds of conspiracy and the balls of hatred in the lost wars to eliminate us We stand behind the president in one line and accelerate the steps of our national and holy pathway to a state and a place of the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem. We believe that the Palestinian steps on this pathway are secure despite the thorns and obstacles and despite the landmines, the ambush and the traps that the enemy [Israel] is planting in our people's path and despite its steps that drowned in the pathways of freedom sealed with blood. We emphasize, today and every day, our full and just belief in the establishment of an independent state with its capital Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, the capital of the prophets of Allah and the capital of believers the world over. We call for a fight for the implementation of the national and historical plan with all the resources at our disposal, both apparent and hidden." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

Headline: In a Comprehensive Speech on the Tenth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

"The President [Arafat] emphasized once more the intention of the [Palestinian] Authority to declare an independent state on May 4th next year."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

Headline: The Declaration of the State
"The stage was not easy and the pathway to a state still difficult, thorny and ridden with landmines and Israeli conspiracies. But we will get there and wave the state flag in Jerusalem."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

Arafat's Speech
". . . the establishment of an independent state with its capital Jerusalem as well as the focus on the refugee problem which are the focus of the struggle and which are one of the pillars of the Palestinian problem since the disaster [of the establishment of Israel] and until the return, if Allah wills. We believe that the state of Palestine, which we will build stone upon stone, inch after inch, we will take her land, sliver after sliver and its institutions will be established one after the other under the most difficult conditions.
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

Headline: Manifestos of Support for the Iraqi People

The National and Islamic forces in the Gaza Strip called on all Arabs, nations and governments, to carry out their tasks which can place a limit to the suffering of the Iraqi people and to stand beside it, in order to end its tragedy which is the tragedy of all the Arabs. In the manifesto which was published yesterday, they announced their support for the Iraqi stance in her standing up to the American threats and its just demands to lift from it the embargo of oppression.
[Al-Quds, 11/15/98]

"Alba'arouthi [Member of the Legislative Council] declared our people's stand by the brother Iraqi people, and demanded to lift the embargo on the children of Baghdad and the Iraqi people. Dr. Issa Ziada added that the declaration of independence was another historical milestone on our long journey, but the date of the upcoming May 4th will be another historical milestone in the declaration of an independent state, something which obligates us to unite and gather our resources. In commemoration of the [anniversary of] independence, the student youth group of the Ramallah and Elbireh regional schools distributed a manifesto on the fact that there is no other option open to us aside from struggle against the arrogance, of what is called the Government of Israel and due to the lack of implementation of the agreements."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

The Palestinians often attempt to minimize their terrorist activities by trying to create the impression of themselves as being "David" vs. Israel the "Goliath". A caricature today shows an armed, tall Israeli soldier threatening a Palestinian child holding only a sling and taking shelter in the shadow of the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and the soldier turns to the President and says: 'You must protect me from him'. The title of the caricature is 'Israel's Security'.
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, 11/15/98]

"The Bureau of Consecration and Religious Affairs called on all Muslims around the world to support the Palestinian people and to stand by its side in order to guard the holy places and to liberate them and to support the people of Palestine in order that they be able to foil the schemes aimed against them and against their holy places.

A manifesto of the Bureau of Consecrations surveyed the holiness of the Al Aksa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and its connection with the holy mosque in Mecca and its great position among the Muslims, and emphasized that the Muslims will defend Alaksa and the land around it, blessed by Allah, and they will not disregard even one grain of its land, and emphasized the Muslim character of Jerusalem and Palestine.
[Al-Quds, 11/15/98]

Prepared in conjunction with Palestinian Media Watch, under the direction of Itamar Marcus.

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Official Palestine Broadcasting Corporation Radio
16th November, 1998

Nov 16, 7 a.m.

Narrator's Remarks (Youssef Mahmoud):
Today is the day of the Mihraj (celebration off Muhammad's legendary nocturnal journey from the Meccan Mosque to the Furthest Mosque, assumed by later Muslim commentaries to be Jerusalem) when the Prophet Muhammad journeyed from Mecca to Beit al-Maqdas (classical name for Jerusalem) and to the heavens . . . . And we will remark on this anniversary during the next hour, reflecting on Jerusalem, the capital of the indpendent Palestinian state.

His excellency President Arafat tells a meeting of the Fatah leadership and the martyrs' families in Ramallah: The right of return is holy and the situation of the refugees is the heart of Palestinian cause and we have seen the end of what is called the Great Land of Israel/ The Palestinian National Authority in an official text stresses its complete commitment to the obligations taken under the agreements (Note: this is the first oblique attempt to get the rifles out of Arafat's mouth) And it makes clear that peace is its choice, a strategic choice/ Israeli undertaking to release the first group of prisoners and the first part of the re-deployment before next Friday/ The US continues to threaten Iraq despite Iraq's promise of cooperation with the special committee (of inspectors etc)

Palestine joins the rest of the Arab and Islamic world in celebrating the rise of Muhammad/ The Ministry of Relgious Affairs is holding a central celebration at the Al Aqsa Mosque/ The Mufti of Jerusalem Ikrem al-Sabry calls on the Arab and Muslim peoples to liberate occupied Jerusalem and Al Aqsa from Israeli occupation/ President Arfat discussed latest developments in the peace process with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa in a phone conversation last night/ His Excellency received last night at his headquarters the representative of the World Bank/ In an official statement, the Palestinian national Authority made clear that the official position of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (that's the right way to translate PLO, by the way-- MW) and the (Palestinian) Authority is complete commitment to the Wye River Agreement and to keep the obligations under it. And this was the central plank of President Yassir Arafat's speech in Ramallah last night as broacast by the Palestineian Broadcasting Corporation and Palestinian Television. And Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nabil Amr asserted that portions of President

Arafat's speeches were misunderstood and mistranslated:
The Knesset is expected to discuss the redeploynment in the West Bank and to pass it by a large majority. Israel is expected to begin release of prisoners and the first part of the redeployment this week.

Return to Main Narrator:
The Israeli media are distributing an unauthorized version of President Arafat's speech given before the Fatah's Jerusalem branch in Ramallah. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nabil Amr declared the following on this point: 'This portion of the speech was misunderstood and mistranslated. The official position o His Excellency President Arafat is the version that was distributed by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation and the Palestinian Television as well as the Palestinian News Service --WAFA (Wikalat al-Anba al-Ffilistiniyya)--.' Minister Amr said "This position stresses the commitment of the PNA, the PLO and the Palestinian Arab people to the choice of peace as a strategic choice from which there is no turning back. Second, the commitment of the PNA and the PLO to the agreements made with the Israeli side, especially the Wye River Agreement, and the readiness of the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority to meet their obligations under that agreement. Third, the PNA is the only authority opn Palestinian soil, and it will not allow to anyone to interfere with its objectives and the Palestinian dream.' And Parliamentary Minister Nabil Amr asserted that the speech was the central plank of Palestinian oficial policy. And what President Arafat declared in his historic speech on the occasion of independence (a separate speech earlier in Nablus-- MW) that the Palestinian leadership had chosen peace as a strategic choice . . . to try to realize peace for the Palestinian people. (reiterates parts of the Independence anniversary speech where Arafat talks about building the state inch by inch, building stability and mutual understanding among the peoples of the region etc).

(These comments of Amr are reference to the "threat of the rifles" which was shown on Israeli television which apparently embarrassed the PA).

(The Radio then played a crudely edited version of the Arafat speech in Ramallah without the rifles remark).

Dr Saeb Erikat met with Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh in the presence of US mediator Dennis Ross.

Erikat interview (partial):
We discussed the situation in Abu Ghneim and demanded that they stop building and obey the Wye River Agreement . . . (goes on to expect prisoner release and first redeployment and airport opening this week)

8 a.m. --
Headlines (Youssef al-Qazaz):
Palestine joins the Islamic world with central celebrations of Mihraj in Al Aqsa/ Mufti calls for Arab world to liberate Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque/ Arafat and Amr Moussa have telephone discussion/ Nabil Amr says that PA has made strategic decision for peace from which there is no turning back, and that a portion of President Arafat's speech before Fatah's Jerusalem branch was misunderstood and mistranslated.

Palestine joins the Arab and Muslim peoples in celebrating the Mihraj--a sign that occupied Jerusalem is sacred Arab Muslim ground/Mufti Ikrema Al-Sabry calls for continuing struggle to ffree Jerusalem from Israeli occupation, and he warned the Israelis from any interference (with the celebrations)/ Minister of Religious Affairs Youssef Jumaa Salamah calls on Muslims to join Palestinians in resisting Israeli attacks in Jerusalem . . ./ Sheikh Suleiman al-Sharaf's message (at Khalil al-Wazir Center in Gaza yesterday) that Palestinian people is one people under one leadership (message to Hamas)/

9 a.m. --
Palestine joins the celeb/ Central celeb in Aqsa/ Al-Sabri calls for the liberation of Jerusalwm and al-Aqsa from the Israeli occupation/ repeat of Amr's remarks concerning Arafat's remarks.

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MidEast Peace Facilitation Act
Important Background Document

Title IV of Public Law 104-99 or the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, passed by the US Congress on February 12, 1996 stipulates that:

"It is the sense of Congress . . . the PLO . . . must do far more to demonstrate an irrevocable denunciation of terrorism . . . and in particular it must:

  1. submit to the Palestine National Council for formal approval the necessary changes to those articles of the Palestinain National Covenant which call for Israel's destruction
  2. make greater efforts to preempt acts of terror . . .
  3. ---
  4. cease all anti-Israel rhetoric . . .
  5. confiscate all unlicensed weapons . . ."

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