The official Palestinian broadcast media repeatedly beamed today comments by PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas in which he condemned Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom as “undemocratic” because he warned that Israel would be foolish to withdraw from Gaza if the Hamas terror group won elections there.
“I heard the statement by the Israeli foreign minister where he says “we will not carry out withdrawal in Gaza and the West Bank if Hamas wins the elections,” asserted Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“I think that is an undemocratic statement, a statement by someone who does not believe in democracy,” declared Dr. Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat as head of both the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA) following elections in which only received front page treatment and prime time coverage in the Palestinian media.
Dr. Abbas studied history and other subjects at Damascus University and at the Patrice Lumumba University run by the Soviet KGB in Moscow, where he completed a doctorate in the early 1980’s about secret ties between the Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian media for the second consecutive day published several quotations from Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister Nabil Sha’ath in which he criticized Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom for “interference in internal Palestinian affairs.”
During the same news cycle, Voice of Palestine (V.O.P.) radio this morning (May 12 8:15 a.m.) broadcast lengthy news items about planned anti-Israeli demonstrations by Israeli Arabs and Israeli Druze to mark May 15-the fifty-seventh anniversary of Israeli independence, which Palestinians often call “al-nakba”: the catastrophe.
Nizar al-Ghul, the V.O.P. anchorman repeatedly broadcast the locations and times of the planned demonstrations in what was clearly an attempt to mobilize anti-Israeli demonstrations among Israel’s own citizens.
This is not the first time the official Palestinian media have used this mobilization technique this week.
From Thursday last week through Monday this week, the PA broadcast media programs, which are easily heard inside Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, calling for “the defense of Islamic holy places” against “Israeli attacks” and “invasion by Jewish extremists.”
At least six Israeli policemen, including the Jerusalem police commander, as well as 15 Arab demonstrators, were injured in subsequent riotous demonstrations Monday, although there was no Jewish or Israeli invasion of the Islamic shrines, nor any official Israeli protests about Palestinian interference in Israeli internal affairs.
Indeed, the head of Israeli military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, speaking on Israeli radio last week, complimented PLO leader Abbas for his peaceful intentions and for his desire to disarm Islamic terror groups-something that Abbas has pledged-in recent statements and interviews in Arabic–that he will not do.
“Hamas appreciates the stand of the Palestinian leadership in refusing the Israeli demand to seize weapons of the resistance,” declared a page-one headline in the Jerusalem Arabic daily Al-Quds today (May 12).
“Resistance operations” is what HAMAS Islamic Jihad, and often the Palestinian Authority itself call Palestinian terror attacks, referring to suicide bombers as “heroic martyrs.”
“The Palestinian Authority will not use force to seize the weapons of the Resistance, especially because there is an internal Palestinian agreement” declared Tewfiq Abu-Khousa, a spokesman for the Palestinian Interior Ministry, speaking on Palestinian television (PBC 3:12 p.m.).
Palestinian leader Abbas was one of the moving forces behind yesterday’s statement from the Latino-Arab summit conference supporting the legitimacy of “resistance to occupation.”
Last week Israeli Sgt. Dan Telesnikov was killed near Tulkarm, a West Bank town where Abbas had assumed responsibility and where he had promised to disarm the Islamic Jihad terror group that carried out a human bomb attack in Tel Aviv on February 25.
The Israeli soldier was killed trying to arrest the armed Islamic Jihad commander, Shafiq ‘Awni Abdul-Ghani, who was planning another suicide bomber attack, and who had been allowed to escape a Palestinian jail after being captured on information supplied by Israel.
Abdul-Ghani and another armed Jihad terrorist, were killed in the firefight with Israeli soldiers May 2, and PLO Chairman Abbas called it an act of Israeli aggression.
PA Interior Minister Nasser Youssef met with Islamic Jihad officials in Gaza and also publicly condemned Israel. His remarks were carried on Palestinian radio and television, both of which treated the Jihad commander as a state hero.
Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]
Dr. Michael Widlanski served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem. He is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.