Summary and Analysis

The Voice of Palestine generally downplayed the bus bombing yesterday in Hadera, preferring to use items about Palestinian martyrs for the lead for its news shows and summaries.

Morning Commentary — Youssef al-Kazzaz

“First of all, the Occupation Prime Minister Ehud Barak takes full responsibility for opening fire on the car containing the martyrs Jamal Abdel-Razik, Awni Ismail Dheir, Sami Nasser Abu-Leben and Na’il Shidah al-Lidawi on the open road in front of the settlement of Moraj (sic: Morag) near Rafah, where the crime, where the massacre took place.

And Ehud Barak takes direct responsibility for this massacre.”

As for the coverage of the bombing yesterday (first report at 7 p.m., 90 minutes after attack, led the news), there was no Palestinian condemnation of the attack. The bus bombing-which involved the killing of two and the wounding of more than 40-was immediately dropped from the number-one spot in the headline line-up to number five or six in all subsequent broadcasts.

Instead VOP led its shows with news of shooting incidents in al-Bireh (not reporting that Palestinian orces had opened fire on settlement of Pesagot) and deaths of martyrs.

Palestinian commentary shows about the “massacre” referred to the deaths of four armed Tanzim operatives who tried to crash an Israeli army checkpoint in Gaza. Their deaths were portrayed as the deaths of innocent travelers on an open road.

VOP broadcasts now regularly refer to Israeli leaders as war criminals, and refer to Israel’s government as “the war government.” But PA officials speaking on VOP also make snide references to Israeli “peace camp,” poking fun of “Peace Now” and also making fun of “a Jewish peace.”

Interview with Freih Abu Medein, Palestinian Authority Justice Minister (7:30 a.m., November 23)

Question: How do you read the Israeli crimes and you are the minister of justice? Is justice with Israel? (i.e. “Is Israel in the right”?)

Answer: For 50 years we have been seeking justice. The fact is all these shellings and shootings they are a death sentence for the (peace) process. And not just the shellings. This was a death sentence carried out on the road against the four brothers who were martyred near Rafah (note: armed Tanzim members killed near Israeli settlement of Morag). So this is not just a shelling but a death sentence carried out against the (peace) process.

This Israeli thrashing about, well, I’ll tell you, the Palestinian people are able to push forward tens of martyrs, but the question is not so much how we see it but how the world sees it — the Arab, the Muslim and others — how they read the message, how they see this historic peace between us and Israel. What occupies their attention most is the war. And we know that Israel has a Western orientation-built by England, France and subsequently built by the United States of America.

Fundamentally Western thinking is how to protect Israel. from international condemnation especially in the (UN) Security Council, from the whole world for the war crimes that are piling up. Our demand for international protection is a just demand. And then the United States gets up and overcomes with its veto, with the threat of its veto. We need international observers. This great crime and travesty. We are being pushed around every day in Hebron where there was the Hebron massacre, where Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians and wounded tens. Just ask your correspondent what goes on in Hebron.

These are all war crimes. What’s going on today is something we warned about, and President Arafat warned about it. We had information. The destruction of the markets and what General Mofaz is doing. We knew four months ahead of time.

We, the Palestinian people, we have bravery, we have right and we have might. And what we’re seeing now gradually is the imposition of ‘a Jewish peace’ (Arabic: salaam yahudi) and not a Palestinian-Israeli peace. Israel or the Jews, and I do not want to characterize (unclear mumbling).The matter of the Jewish element (origin) today is overcoming the Jewish spirit who wants peace. It is a dialogue of fire (i.e. shooting) or a dialogue of shelling or of killing or of destroying Palestinian infrastructure. They are taking our trees because someone fired from them on the settlements. The picture of the Palestinian mother, sister, wife one sees at a funerals of the martyrs is the tears in their eyes over the trees. They are crying for their trees and not for their martyrs. That is the surprising picture. It is not a question of justice. It is a question of steadfastness. It has become a question of steadfastness.

We have to face the issue of settlements. That is the heart of peace. That is the issue of land and water. There is no future for the Palestinian people without land and water.

Question: And what of the Israeli reaction with shelling and violence?

Answer: Palestinian blood does not concern Israel. Israel wants to live by one means alone and that is the means of power, with the sword in its hand. That is the choice it has made. If you saw the shelling of Gaza, you saw the finest American technology at work. This reveals, and I warn them, reveals to the Palestinian people that the alternatives are not traditional but with non-traditional technologies. And these technologies do not just belong to Israel but also to Muslims and Arabs who also possess them, and we Palestinians will possess them for use for victory and peace. And a bomb can go in any direction. And they (Israel) will not have any future. That is the Israeli ghetto that we have succeeded to start to close because of the Arab nation that stretches to Mauritania. That is our big success in getting the withdrawal of the Egyptian ambassador and the non-sending of the Jordanian ambassador. Really we have to close Israel inside a ghetto. She (Israel) does not feel like part of the region but wants to control the region. It wants to be a chosen bridge from Europe to the East, benefiting from the choices of the East while being a foreign body (in the region).

It isn’t a question of justice in the Palestinian cause but a question of balance of power, which is lacking today, and finding what is acceptable in international legitimacy. But the United States is calling the shots. And it is The United States is the real enemy, the first and the most direct with its capital, its weapons in blood and protection. I don’t want to say more than that.”