Israel Resource Review 28th November, 2000


Official Palestinian Authority
Voice of Palestine Radio

Late November 27th and Early November 28th

Summary and Analysis

Beginning in the afternoon and through the evening, PA officials hinted broadly at their repudiation of "partial" or "gradual" solutions that have been floated in the Israeli press. A more detailed repudiation appeared on November 28 in the morning broadcasts (see below).

Gradually, there is a sense that the economic deprivation is becoming more of a matter of concern for the PA and is also being treated more in interviews and news stories on Voice of Palestine (VOP).

In its news summaries, VOP highlighted the criminal intent of Israeli occupiers in the deaths of five martyrs.

There was limited interest in the coming parliamentary vote in Israel that might bring early elections.

There was strong Islamic programming, featuring prayers and the chanting of Quranic passages, as well as an interview-sermon from the Jerusalem Mufti, Sheikh Ikrem al-Sabry.

Afternoon Headlines, 2 p.m. (Editor's notes in brackets)

  • "The execution of five martyrs in cold blood by occupation forces near Qalqilya and prevent(ed) them from receiving medical help from the ed Cross;
  • Gaza holds funerals for two martyrs;
  • The masses heed call to go to mosques and to continue the Intifada;
  • Announcement of the death in a Saudi hospital of Walid Hassan Abdulah, who was shot in the stomach by the occupiers with dum-dum bullet;
  • Seven others brought to rest today (full listing of names and ages).

Quotes from Interview with Mufti, Sheikh al-Sabry, 2 p.m., November 27:

"This month, this month of fasting, this blessed Ramadan is a month of patience. Patience is the key to paradise. We call on our steadfast and disciplined people to be patient and steadfast for Ramadan teaches us many lessons. One of the benefits of Ramadan is victory (note: the Arabic word intissar also has a strong connotation of revenge). Ramadan is known as the month of victories (read "revenge"). The Battle of Badr (the prophet Muhammad's first great victory) and the conquest of Mecca were the first victories, and they occurred in Ramadan. Also the October War (the 1973 war) was in Ramadan. We call on our people for patience despite the military siege and economic blockade, we call on our people not to give in and not to surrender and not to accept the capitulatory and deficient solutions. Our existence here is a matter of faith, by a decision of the master of the universe. Our existence here is not predicated on Balfour (Declaration) or linked to decisions by the United Nations or the Security Council.We will continue our blessed intifada until the end of the occupation, God-willing."

Radio Analysis and Excerpts -- November 28, 2000

Summary and Analysis

VOP led its news broadcasts with the deaths and funeral times of the latest martyrs, but because of the dearth of fatalities, as late as l0 a.m. Tuesday, for its lead item it was actually forced to recycle an old item from early Monday afternoon about the death of a man in a Saudi hospital.

VOP again reiterated yesterday's theme that Israel was committing cold-blooded murder, and it re-visited the Qalqilya battles in detail.

Local correspondent reports led with Na'im Sweilim from Qalqilya describing the intensification of the Israeli blockade of the town.

The featured morning interview guests were Ahmad Qureia (Abu Ala), the speaker of the Palestinian Authority legislature, Feisal Husseini, the Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem affairs (and member of the PLO Executive Committee), and Salim Za'anun (Abu Adib), the speaker of the Palestine National Council.

Quotes of the Day

"They are interested in escalation, and they are not interested in finding any solution." (Feisal Husseini, in morning interview, commenting on Barak Government policies)

"Israel is unable to protect the holy places and access to them. Israel is responsible for all that has happened and for all all that is happening, and it is responsible for preventing worshipers from getting to holy sites. The only solution for the problem is for the complete Israeli withdrawal from Jerusalem, especially the holy places." (all quotes from Feisal Husseini in morning interview)

Morning Headlines, 8 a.m., November 28

  • "Two more martyrs brought to burial;
  • Occupation guns and artillery fire on several targets, especially Beit Jallah and Salfit and Khan Yunis;
  • The Palestinian Authority rejects Israel's suggestion to delay final solution in return for phased settlement;
  • President Arafat's spokesman Nabil Abu- Rudeina says that the time for transitional agreements is passed and now is the time for a final solution;
  • Three-way summit today in Aqaba: Palestinian-Egyptian and Jordanian;
  • Parliamentary Minister Nabil 'Amr says that not one of our citizens has left the country since the beginning of the Intifada: a goal of the occupation. And Minister 'Amr warns of Israeli efforts to undermine the steadfastness of the people and the Palestinian Authority;
  • George Mitchell of the international investigation says his commission will soon visit the Middle East;
  • Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson calls for the dispatch of international observers."

Quotes from Interview with PA Speaker Ahmad Qureia

"There are many efforts (to resume talks with Israel) as you know, including international efforts from the United Nations, from Europe, from Russia, and there are also Arab efforts from the fraternal state of Egypt and Jordan. They all speak of dealing first with putting a stop to the massacre of the Palestinian people. Second, returning the peace process to the realm of possibility and ending aggression against the Palestinian people.

As you know, for the sake of this there is a Security Council resolution 322 that calls for an international investigation. and calls for international protection for the Palestinian people.

And there are certain steps that the Israeli government cannot avoid such as an end to settlement, executing agreements, releasing women prisoners and the detainees from Israeli prisons, transforming zone B into Zone A as agreed in the talks. It is not acceptable that these zones remain, A, B, and C.

It is impossible to return to the situation that existed on September 28. There are too many basic and important matters and the United States which was a witness to the Wye River accords and Sharm al-Sheikh has not obligated Israel to keep even one item of all the agreements. Things have changed from the 28th, and things have to be done, and the first thing is the matter of things that Israel has to execute, and the second thing is settlement."

Question: What do you think of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's talk of a transitional agreement?

Answer: "I think that he was not ready (lit: "ripe") until now and his government was not ready (lit: “ripe”) for a permanent solution according to international legitimacy which includes the right of return for the refugees and a withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 borders, and he is trying to fight it using elongated stages. It will be a continuation of the conflict and the resistance."

(Ed. Note: Ahmad Qureia was not asked about the Knesset's having passed a motion yeserday repudiating the Palestinian right of return by a vote of 90-9. Nor was there any mention of the vote on VOP.)

(Note: there was also no mention of Palestinian shooting into the Israeli community of Gilo.)

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Bonus for Arafat:
Recall of Egypt's Ambassador
Smadar Peri
Security Affairs Analyst, Yediot Aharonot

One must listen carefully to what Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said yesterday when he explained the decision to recall Ambassador Mohammed Bassyouni. This is an “Egyptian decision” by direct instruction of President Mubarak, and there is no point in trying to intervene in an “Egyptian decision,” nor will pressure to change it help, neither from the Israelis nor from the Americans. Indeed Mubarak has already received approval from the American Congress for increased financial aid to Egypt, the ultimate “sign of recognition” for his staunch remaining on the side of peace.

The next sentence by Amr Moussa, who chooses every word very carefully, is no less important: We are recalling our ambassador in response to Israel’s excessive use of force against the Palestinians, but no hasty conclusion should be drawn from this that we are preparing for war or withdrawing from the peace process.

Israel knows that Bassyouni will not return. The ambassador’s bureau on Basel Street in Tel Aviv will be closed for months to come. But Moussa spoke out to calm the worried voices among us, in regard, for example, to Egypt’s military arming. We, emphasized Moussa, are not making the sounds of war. War is no longer in our lexicon.

In the absence of an ambassador, the direct telephone lines between Cairo and Gaza as well as to Ramallah will be in operation. Barak is invited to call Mubarak, though the process will be more complicated and slower than in the past. If Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami calls his Egyptian colleague, he will also receive a response.

More than 20 years following the peace agreement, Egypt does not yet know how to read Israel. And the same is true the other way around. The only one who managed to get to know Israel well was Bassyouni, a graduate of Egyptian intelligence, who worked around the clock here. But it is Mubarak who makes the decisions, not him.

Four Israel prime ministers began their term of office with a working visit to Mubarak: Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu and Barak. Despite this, not one of them was able to totally grasp the “role of Egypt.” Mubarak is the undisputed leader of the Arab world, surrounded by leaders of the next generation, who are weak and preoccupied with problems of survival. Israel has tried to get around Mubarak or decrease his role, while he gave every leader a chance, but kicked up a fuss when he found out that they were operating behind his back or hiding political moves from him.

But it is possible that the recall of Bassyouni, who was the link between the heads of the Israeli government and the presidential palace in Egypt, will open direct channels between Cairo and Jerusalem. Arafat received a “bonus” from Mubarak, and now it will be easier for Mubarak to get him back to the peace process.

This analysis ran in Yediot Aharonot on November 22, 2000

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