Summary and Analysis

VOP focused again on the relatively large numbers of martyrs and wounded following Friday prayers-demonstrations-riots, charging Israeli escalations.

VOP continues to pursue a low-key/skeptical line regarding talks with Israel.

“Nabil Abu-Irdeineh, the spokesman of President Yasser Arafat, affirmed that the contacts with Israel do not reach the level of negotiations,” VOP announced Friday afternoon, quoting Abu-Irdeineh as explaining that the contacts were meant to get Israel to stop its continuing aggression against the Palestinian people. It re-broadcast his statement on Saturday as well.

VOP featured both Yasser Abd-Rabbo and Local Rule Minister Saeb Erikat in Saturday morning interviews, also pooh-pooh-ing the idea of serious talks with Israel. Erikat emphasized that there would be no return to serious talks until and unless Israel agreed to return to the ’67 lines and to implement the right of return.

For the third time in a week, the hard-line “foreign minister” Farouk Qaddoumi was featured in the morning news, urging a continuing Intifada as well as a greater European role to counter the pro-Israeli line of the United States.

VOP said that contrary to Israeli announcements that 10,000 Palestinian workers would be allowed into Israel, the promise had not bee kept: only 50 workers were taken to a border crossing and then not allowed into Israel.

The Voice of Palestine noted former Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that he would refute any peace deal negotiated by Prime Minister Barak, who has tendered his resignation. VOP also noted that Barak is trailing both “rightist” Netanyahu and “extremist” Ariel Sharon in the polls.

Friday 4 pm Afternoon Headlines-Dec 15

  • “Six new martyrs today;
  • Israeli occupation tanks attack al-Bireh;
  • The (Palestinian) National Authority affirms that contacts with Israel do not rise to the level of full negotiations;
  • Occupation authorities prevent workers from getting to jobs inside Green Line;
  • Binyamin Netanyahu announces refusal to accept any peace settlement.”

Saturday Morning Headlines-Dec 16

  • “Six martyred and tens wounded-some seriously-in clashes with occupation forces against our people;
  • Occupation forces shell populated areas in al-Bireh, Khan Yunis and Husan;
  • The Leadership in its weekly meeting led by his excellency President Yasser Arafat asserted that Israel was pursuing a mixed political-military strategy…aimed at continuing aggression and settlement…and aimed at going back on its previous agreements;
  • The American Foreign Ministry (i.e. State Department) is studying the possibility of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks in Washington; (rest of headlines similar to Friday afternoon)
  • Iraq fires missiles at American and British fighter planes in its northern air space, forcing them to withdraw;
  • President-elect George Bush, Jr. announces his first appointments today.”

Quote of the Day

“The talks are absolutely not serious.” (Saeb Erikat, Saturday Morning 8:10 am)

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