Summary and Analysis

One has to pay attention to the unusual first item of the morning news-which was also the first item last night: unusual both in tone, style and content.

The reliance of Yasser Arafat on the Egyptian interpretation of the Arab summit and the state of talks with the United States/Israel (see also Thursday night update) shows clearly that Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are closely coordinating their positions (and not Egypt working as an independent facilitator between Israel and the PA, as some have believed).

It indicates, too, that while the Egyptians may be maintaining a continued hard line on the Jerusalem and the refugee issues, they are also coaching Arafat to signal some kind of flexibility and willingness to continue towards agreement: his positive response to a question about hope for achieving an agreement. In other words, be tough substantively while appearing moderate for media consumption.

At the beginning of its Friday morning news( comments by narrator at 7:04), VOP gave unusually favorable coverage to Ariel Sharon’s courting of the Israeli Arab sector, particularly his remarks that he “respected the Palestinian struggle.” Although this was not repeated in subsequent broadcasts, it marks a sea change from the treatment Sharon used to receive at the hands of VOP-i.e. “the extremist Ariel Sharon” or “the leader of the extremist Right.”

The use of martial music or strongly militant patriotic songs has returned to VOP after the end of the Festival of the Feast ending Ramadan, and the harsh anti-Israeli tone is seen in occasional use of the terms “zionist enemy”, “the enemy” and “the Jews” on regular VOP broadcasts, including a Friday morning call-in show with quiz questions for children (Friday, 11:00-11:40 a.m.)

Morning Headlines–7 am/ 8am:

  • “His Excellency President Yasser Arafat says that what was recently expressed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa reflects the opinion of the Arab summit and the Palestinian leadership regarding the American thoughts and opinions (i.e. the American initiative);
  • Musa says that Palestinian interlocutor (i.e. the Palestinian side or Palestinian Authority) alone has the power of decision according to international legitimacy;
  • Gilead Sher, Barak’s bureau chief, estimates that the chances for achieving an agreement in the twilight of the presidency of President Clinton are slim;
  • The military court in Beirut handed down 48 sentences on Lebanese accused of cooperating with Israel;
  • President Clinton sends Congress his decision to continue sanctions against Libya begun in 1986;
  • American investigators will arrive tomorrow Saturday in Yemen to participate in interrogation (examination) of the attack on the American destroyer Cole this Tishreen al-Awal (Islamic month: September ) resulting in the deaths of 17 American sailors.”


  • “His Excellency President Yasser Arafat says he hopes that an agreement will be achieved by the end of the Clinton Presidency; (rest of 9 am headlines-including Musa-related items-were essnetially duplication of 7 am and 8 am news programs);
  • Resigning Prime Minister Ehud Barak reiterated Israel’s complete refusal of the right of return of refugees to it (Israel) and repeated earlier threats that if no agreement is achieved that he would implement unilateral separation on the land.”