Summary and Analysis
VOP’s morning news bulletins and news-round-ups focused on “criminal” Israeli military attacks, in particularly those leading to deaths of four members of Palestinian security forces in Gaza. (Note: death toll changed throughout the day)
Wednesday morning’s reports focused on Israeli tank fire on Palestinian security forces that killed and wounded several PA soldiers. PA Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, a featured morning interviewee, said the Israeli action showed the need for an international protection force as well as the warlike intentions of the Barak Government. He hinted broadly that he hoped the investigating commission would pay attention to Israel’s latest actions.
Notable and Newsworthy
In another “prime-time” interview, PA Speaker Ahmad Qreia (for the second time in three days), stressed three important diplomatic points:
- that there were no talks under way with Israel;
- that there would be no settlement with Israel without Israeli recognition of the Palestinian right of return;
- and that the PA was insisting on a total Israeli withdrawal for establishing its independent state.
Once again, Qreia, perhaps the most senior (and some would say the most moderate of the Palestinian interlocutors) was publicly saying that the PA would not make peace with Israel without the right of return.
” There has to be a change in the Israeli mentality, especially the mentality of the Israeli leadership to execute the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, among them: the right of return or the Palestinian refugees, according to Resolution 194, a return to the June 4 1967 lines, and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital-all of Jerusalem.”
Quotes of the Day
- “The Barak Government is a murderous government which has no thoughts about peace.” (Cabinet secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, in morning interview repeated throughout the day in top headlines)
- “The Israeli forces perpetrated out a new massacre this morning in the Khan Yunis Camp near the Israeli settlements of Nevei Dekalim and Gush Katif, both of which were built on land belonging to citizens from Khan Yunis.” (Gaza correspondent ‘Adil Za’anun, morning news)
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, cabinet secretary: “This aggressive Israeli war is not ceasing despite all the contortions by some Israelis about the reaction of world opinion….There’s someone in the Israeli army who is determined to destroy any Palestinian national presence, by striking the Palestinian people, believing or fantasizing that by doing that they will get the Palestinian people… to accept Israeli outposts and settlements…
This crime that was committed this morning is another sign that the Barak Government is a murderous government and a government of aggression…. Therefore, the Palestinian people has no choice but steadfastness and resistance….
This Israeli crime and the previous Israeli crimes are a strong condemnation against the Israeli government and the Israeli army….
Why did this happen and what happened yesterday? Because the settlers want to destroy any Palestinian presence wherever they (i.e. the settlers) are, whether it be a community or trees. Well, we now have two dead and 40 wounded from this Israeli crime. This is a sign to the international commission where Israel’s intentions are in its aggressive policies against the Palestinian people.”
Q: “In addition to the shelling and siege, there is a new Israeli assassination policy-one commander of the Fatah movement yesterday in Bethlehem and another commander of Islamic Jihad. What is demanded of us internally as we face this policy?”
A: “This is organized state terrorism carried out by Israel, especially since we know that the head of this government carried out assassination operations against the Palestinian leadership since 1973….
There is an Israeli decision to kill civilians and to kill those prominent in the Intifada-as seen in one of the decisions taken by Mofaz, the Israeli chief of Staff.”
(Note: Abdul-Rahman mentioned General Shaul Mofaz a day after a Palestinian attempted to kill General Mofaz’s brother, Shalom Mofaz. Is this just an ironic twist of fate or might it suggest that the PA has its own “assassination policy.”)
Wednesday Morning Headlines
- “The occupation continues its criminal attacks against our people, wickedly shelling the Khan Yunis camp, killing two citizensand wounding others (note: toll figures changed later);
- Occupation forces tried to invade Palestinian territory near Khan Yunis but were forced to retreat by a violent resistance by our citizens and national forces;
- Occupation forces assassinate one of the Fatah’s commanders: Youssef Ahmad Abu-Swei of Bethlehem prefecture;
- Masses in Jenin accompany the funeral of the martyr Anwar Ahmad Humran yesterday who was martyred two days ago;
- Israel deliberately escalates its wicked siege and its racist and conceited actions by its soldiers against our citizens at road blocks;
- His Excellency President Araat meets in Moroccan capital of Rabat with the Moroccan King Muhammad VI;
- His Excellency also meets with the American mediator Dennis Ross;
- Speaker Ahmad Qreia says that there must be a complete and total cessation of Israeli hostilities and a complete Israeli withdrawal and a stop of all settlements as prerequisite for ending demonstrations on the land (i.e. in the field)-as well as keeping all agreements-(including or especially) the decision (guaranteeing) rights of the Palestinian refugees for return-in exchange of a return to negotiations. ((Note: if that seems quite a mouthful for headline, it’s still the headline that came out of the mouth of VOP morning narrator Samir Interr))
(Note during the 8 am news round-up, there was coverage of the Likud Conference, with the usual descriptions of “the extremist Ariel Sharon” but without any slurs against Binyamin Netanyahu. There was also short mention of elections in Sudan and the Supreme Court decision in the United States.)
Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia
Q: Are we going to wake up one of these days with surprising news of results from secret talks with Israel?
A: I have told you there are absolutely no talks going on. And I don’t know of any benefit from going to talks unless Israel presents them with what is known in English as ‘pre-negotiation’-that is preceding talks dealing with all the obligations to which it is bound: stopping all the settlements, releasing all the women prisoners and the (male) detainees. They have (also) to carry out the interim agreement (i.e. withdrawal from three villages around Jerusalem), and then we can sit down, if those things are pushed forward-all the things to which they are bound….Not just as pretty words….Why should we open up any channels until we see that??!!
Q: The Israeli media are talking about a meeting with Geilad Sher in two days???
A: I know of no such meeting or any other contact….If Israel really wants a return to talks then it first must carry out all the obligations to which it is bound. All the obligations. It has to pull out all its roadblocks, and it has to stop the economic strangulation…. Without that there will be no public or secret talks.
Q: Is there anything optimistic from the international efforts?
A: The international efforts have to be to help stop the aggression against our people….This aggression is meant to force certain things, certain conditions, on our people. The Palestinian people have responded with their heroic intifada, and there is no power that can overcome us, that can force anything on us
Q: Do you think in the remaining 60 days of Barak, the remaining time of Clinton, that something will happen.
A: I don’t believe so. Neither the period of Clinton nor the period of Barak, till the elections, is sufficient time to fulfill the conditions needed for a just solution. Absolutely not….There has to be a change in the Israeli mentality, especially the mentality of the Israeli leadership to execute the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, among them: the right of return or the Palestinian refugees, according to Resolution 194, a return to the June 4 1967 lines, and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital-all of Jerusalem.
There will be no peace in the region unless these points are realized.”
During his interview, Cabinet Secretary Abdul-Rahman used the term al-‘udu al-Israeli (the Israeli enemy).