Summary and Analysis

VOP continues to lead its news shows with details of martyrs’ deaths, funeral times and graphic descriptions of those wounded. The second area of concentration is the diplomatic front: efforts By Yasser Arafat, Saeb Erikat and Nabil Sha’ath to get approval for an international protection force and for a war crimes tribunal-in addition to an US-headed fact-finding mission.

The PA leadership is emphasizing that Yasser Arafat is not only demanding a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to homes from before 1948, under UN resolution 194.

The Israeli helicopter liquidation of a senior Fatah operative-Hussein Abbayat– was roundly condemned by VOP, quoting statements from the Palestinian Leadership. [cNote: The PA leadership had no trouble using the vehement term yudeenoo [harshly condemn] in this case, while it could not find anything similar when it “disapproved” of the car bombing in Mahane Yehuda last week-or scarcely mention the murder two days ago of an Israeli woman at the edge of the Gaza airport.] VOP also prominently broadcast Fatah threats for “revenge” against Israel and especially “war criminal” Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli army chief of staff.

VOP stressed that the Fatah operative’s vehicle was sayyara madaniyya [civilian vehicle] and that Israel’s actions were terrorist and against the rules of war. Until the Israeli attack there was still a confident tone to Palestinian statements (see Abdul-Rahman below) that the PA was controlling events and was making fulfillment of its complete demands (including right of return) a condition for peaceful relations and regional stability.

Interview with PA Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman

[Note: Elements of the interview were re-broadcast for 12 hours and used as headlines throughout the day.]

Question: Six more martyrs yesterday (a seventh died of wounds suffered earlier) an shelling on houses and hospitals as Israeli aggression continues. What does Israel want from this policy?

Answer: It is clear to everyone in the world that Israel has chosen the Military solution instead of continuing with diplomatic means to a peaceful solution. Israel is trying to overcome the Palestinian people with armed forces. This will have no positive benefit. The continuation of warlike aggression has opened up the eyes of the world to the reality that is Israel.

If Israel were really a peace-loving state then it would withdraw from Palestinian and Arab lands, and it would not interfere with Palestinian self-determination and would not build settlements and would not maintain forces. This is occupation. This is an evil war of aggression against the Palestinian people. That is why we need an international protection force.

Question: People are asking where is peace now? [This may be intended as a pun. In the Arabic i.e. Peace Now, the Israeli peace movement.]

Answer: This is a battle campaign which was forced on us, on our people. We were serious in our efforts for peace based on Israel withdrawing from our territory and on respecting all our rights over our land and over our holy places. This is a war forced on us, and in the final analysis, there will be peace, but there will not be peace unless it is based on the realization of a Palestinian state with Holy Jerusalem as its capital and the complete [emphasis in the original quote by Abdul-Rahman] withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers who have formed gangs of killers preying on peaceful Palestinian citizens. This is a war forced on us, and there is no place for any Israeli force on even one meter of our Palestinian land. And there is no place for settlers on this land. We will continue to defend ourselves. We will remain steadfast against this aggression until every grain of our Palestinian land is returned-as well as all our holy places the first of them being Holy Jerusalem.

Question: Ehud Barak has told the world leaders that it is a question of Security for Israelis.

Answer: We have heard and grown accustomed to all these threats. Whether it Is 24 hours or 48 hours which Barak shoots off periodically from one day to the next. And the next day he goes to world leaders to try to place blame on the Palestinian leadership. The whole world sees all these tanks, these artillery and these missiles, the soldiers, the settlers and their crimes. Israel is exposed to the world, and all its words-which Barak throws at all the world leaders: that he recognizes a Palestinian state and that the Palestinians refuse a cease-fire and are using violence– are just empty talk.

The world knows the truth. The Barak Government is and Israel are the ones who refuse peace and wish to fill us up with their occupation and their settlements. And they hold responsibility for their criminality for which there is no alternative but for them to be judged for their responsibility before an international tribunal for war criminals.

Detail and Headlines

7 a.m. morning headlines

  • Seven martyrs today join the pious stars of the Intifada, and tens wounded as Israeli tanks and artillery shell buildings and hospitals;
  • President Arafat is in Washington today for talks with President Clinton;
  • UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson is holding a meeting with war criminal Ariel Sharon and Occupation Mayor Ehud Olmert in an investigation of Israeli crimes;
  • Finnish Parliament Speaker (name unclear) cancels trip to area in protest over continued Israeli closures;
  • Saudi Arabia will participate in Islamic summit…;
  • Israeli Occupation forces declare area of Mosque of Bilal Bin Rabah [Rachel’s Tomb] in Bethlehem a closed military zone;

4 p.m. afternoon

  • “Bethlehem prefecture is beset by a strong emergency after the assassination operation against the martyr Hussein ‘Abayat and three other martyrs;
  • Four year-old baby Mahmoud Shuraab is martyred in Khan Yunis;
  • Occupation forces today clamp military closure on area of Mosque of Bilal, preventing worshipers from approaching area;

Song of the Day: Jerusalem Operetta
(partial verses)

Our land, our land, our land
Is ours is ours is ours
Jerusalem is ours
Sabra Shatilla and the martyrs of Jerusalem
A thousand woes, a thousand woes

Coverage (from 4 p.m. news round-up)

Announcer: “In Jerusalem, the Mukassid Hospital announced the martyring of Aziza Danon who died of the aggressive missile attack in Beit Sahur, and a report from Muhammad Abd-Rabbo.

Good Afternoon.

Abd-Rabbo: Good afternoon.

Announcer: The martyr Aziza Danon reached hospital in what condition?

Abd-Rabbo: Well, yes. Her appearance terrified anyone who saw it. I was one of the few who saw her, her body, before her martyrdom (i.e. moments before death). More than sixty pieces of shrapnel penetrated the body of the martyred citizen Aziza Danon including most of her stomach and stretching also from her head to both of her legs.

According to relatives of the citizen who were with her in the hospital, she was struck while inside the house of her sister and was struck by missile fire which also struck other citizens’ houses.”

9 p.m. Evening News

  • The Palestinian Leadership strongly condemns (yudeenoo) the loathsome assassination operation carried out by an Israeli helicopter and causing the martyring of three in Beit Sahur;
  • Jordan condemns the assassination operation against Abayyat while Israel brags about it;
  • President Arafat continues talks in the White House with President Bill Clinton;
  • The Human Rights Commission begins it visit to Palestine tomorrow;

Quote of the Day

“The Palestinian Leadership today strongly condemns the loathsome assassination carried out by Israeli occupation helicopters against the commander, the struggler, the leader in the Fatah national movement, Hussein Abayyat who was martyred along with two citizens today. And cabinet secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rhman in a press statement deemed the action a dangerous step and an act of international terrorism practiced by the Israeli army against our people and its strugglers. And he said there Would be dangerous consequences to this escalation. He said the action would not dissuade our people form their steadfastness against the occupation. From its standpoint, Israel bragged about its operation that left three martyrs and four wounded. Deputy Israeli War Minister Ephraim Sneh in a CNN interview said Israel was the world’s champion at street fighting”.
(from 9 p.m. news round-up)

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