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.