SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS
VOP newscast and features focused today and last night on the continuing economic deprivation and physical plight of the Palestinian people, giving a day-by-day account not only of martyrs but of loss to gross domestic product. VOP quoted UN Terry Larsen as saying that the economic gains of seven years had been erased in two months, while Palestinian poverty was rampant. Larsen said 32 percent were now under the poverty line, while VOP featured a Palestinian economist, Dr. Muhammad Shtei’ah, who said the figure was probably closer to 45 percent.
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was quoted at length about the economic strains on Palstinian society, noting that 380,000 Palestinians had lost their source of livelihood due to Israeli closures. He said the PA had only received thirty million dollars of aid from Saudi Arabia-only a small part of the aid promised at the recent Arab summit.
At the same time the VOP has not neglected its aim of focusing world attention on Palestinian travails and Israeli aggression. This point, too, was also at the heart of an unusual recitation of an interview (conducted not by VOP but by a Gulf newspaper) with Mahmoud Abbas in which he stressed the twin goals of achieving an international protection force as well as immediate operation of an investigation into the start of hostilities.
Key PA officials (today Ahmad Qureia, earlier Yasser Abd Rabbo) have been quoted on VOP as contending that Israeli claims of ongoing negotiations are nothing more than tactics in the Israeli election campaign.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT THEME THAT HAS SURFACED PERIODICALLY IS THAT THE WORLD BETTER HURRY UP AND FORCE ISRAEL TO MEET PALESTINIAN DEMANDS BECAUSE IF THESE DEMANDS ARE NOT MET, THEN THE WHOLE REGION WILL BE PLUNGED INTO INSTABILITY. AHMAD QUREIA TODAY MADE THIS THREAT IN VERY EXPLICIT TERMS ((SEE INTERVIEW BELOW)).
Quotes from Interview with Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), PLO Executive Committee Secretary:
“About the cause of the Palestinian Intifada, Abu Mazen said: ‘In spite of the pollution by Sharon of the holy Jerusalem shrine (i.e. Dome of the Rock) being the direct cause of the Intifada, the indirect cause was the condition of frustration in which the Palestinian people have been living during a failing peace process for two years. The purpose of the intifada was to make Israeli recognize its sins in the execution of fits military aggression against our people.” ((Interview from Al-Bayan of United Arab Emirates, quoted directly in unusual full-length feature on VOP morning news round-up, 7:45 am, Dec. 6))
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qureia (Abu Ala), Speaker of PA Legislature:
“The position of the Palestinian Authority is that Israel has no choice but to implement the laws of the peace process as set forth in international legitimacy, meaning land for peace. There is no escaping bring an international protection force for the Palestinian people to prevent Israel from continuing to kill our people. And it is important to witness that the settlers are the fundamental source of the aggression, an aggressive, right-wing, extremist militia carrying out operations for killing and violence against the Palestinian people. We will cling to resistance to the Occupation-which is a legitimate right for us. This resistance has many forms but we feel the appropriate form at this stage is the present continuing intifada but there are many forms of resistance. We will not stop. The Palestinian cause is the cause of the Arabs, and if Israel does not realize these facts then it will face disaster and so will the region.”
WEDNESDAY DEC 6-MORNING HEADLINES: (taken from 7:30 and 8:00 am headlines) *–“Every day of Israeli aggression is another five million dollars; *–The UN General Assembly reasserts that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination; *–Mr. Mahmoud Abbas-Abu Mazen-says that world capitals are working harder for an international protection force for the Palestinian people; *–Two more martyrs brought to rest in Ramallah and Al-Bireh including the child Ramzi ‘Adil Bayatnah; *–Occupation forces shell several neighborhoods in Al-Bireh; *–Former head of the Israeli Shabak, Ami Ayalon, opposes the policy of closures against our steadfast people; *–Barak and Sharon hold nighttime meeting.”
There is still no mention on VOP of any attacks on Jewish targets in Gilo, Pesagot or any other locations. The Israeli fire on Palestinian targets, then, is always pictured as an unprovoked attack with only “evil” “criminal” intentions.
For example, local correspondent Rashid Hilal, from Ramallah and Al-Bireh, opening the morning news:
“Occupation forces opened their criminal actions with a heavy artillery shelling of the city Al-Bireh last night. The neighborhood of Jamal Abdul-Nasser saw the martyring of Ramzi ‘Adil Bayatnah who was struck by fire when an Occupation dum-dum bullet entered his eye.”
Note: In yesterday’s news, VOP brought a gory description of the martyring of Awad Silmi, 27, whose body was found “ripped to pieces” near a Gaza cement factory. VOP did not mention that Silmi was a senior HAMAS bomb maker and that his death was apparently caused when a bomb he was preparing blew up in his hands.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Our estimate is that as of today our losses are one billion one hundred million dollars.” (Palestinian economist Muhammad Shtei’ah)
AFTERNOON HEADLINES-2pm Dec. 6
*–“Two martyrs are brought to burial in. and Bethlehem; *–President Yasser Arafat in Cairo for talks; *–The Palestinian Authority denies any secret talks with Israeli side; *–Evil Israeli attacks continue against our people; *–Israeli press starts evil incitement against Palestinian people, directed by Israeli government and military authorities.”