Summary and Analysis

VOP led its headlines with the daylight murder yesterday of Hisham Maki in Gaza, but Maki was not characterized today as a “martyr”-which would have been obligatory had he been killed by Israelis or Israeli agents or even had he killed himself in any kind of anti-israeli context. [Note: in some radio broadcasts yesterday and in a few newspapers this morning, Maki gets “martyr” status, but the “company line” is clearly that he was not a martyr, and only a time-lag factor allowed “martyr” to be appended to his name.] The strange locution-“the exalted departed”, juthman al-rahoum, instead of the more typical “the exalted martyr” juthman al-shahid, is an indication that PA officials do NOT believe that the gangland-style murder was connected to the Palestinian national struggle. In fact, Maki was known to have many debts-apparently some of them to some PA leaders themselves, including Yasser Arafat.

There is a clear escalation of internal Palestinian violence, including inside Jerusalem.

A morning interview with Fatah Secretary Marwan Barghouti indicated that the Palestinians are suffering from a decline in basic services and are trying hard to raise cash to improve their infrastructure-especially electricity and water. This may just be another call to citizens to pay their bills, but it could also be readying themselves for an Israeli escalation that may include the cut-off of electricity and water. In addition Barghouti spoke of the Palestinian campaign “to clean the markets of Israeli products”-a boycott of Israeli goods. Barghouti said this was important in order for the Palestinians to develop their own manufacturing capabilities. In a sense, Barghouti was also enunciating a Palestinian riposte to Ehud Barak’s ideas of a unilateral separation from the Palestinians.

The Israeli election campaign continues to be a source of interest to the Voice of Palestine, with VOP using Israeli Arab Knesset members as commentators on the issue. This morning MK Muhammad Baraka said: “Barak has no chance of winning without the Arab vote.”

Regarding the state of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, VOP referred to yesterday’s interview with Saeb Erikat (see below, January 17 additions) and through a skeptical interview with Nabil Amr, PA Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who said the talks had really gone nowhere. Amr also voiced the fear that Colin Powell’s comments about the Bush Administration’s devotion to Israel’s security might mean increased American vetoes in the United Nations Security Council in defense of Israel.

VOP featured yesterday afternoon an interview with Hussein Shaheen, one of the leaders of the Jerusalem Fatah-Shabiba organization to which several “agents” surrendered themselves yesterday. VOP also featured (also in the 2pm Panorama show) one of several “agents” who had turned himself in.

In its programs yesterday and today VOP continues to highlight Iraq on the tenth anniversary of the Gulf War with a Monday morning feature on the suffering of the people of Baghdad as well as afternoon coverage of a Nablus march of solidarity with Iraq (see enlargements and additions section for yesterday).

Morning Round-up Headlines 7 a.m.

  • “Assassination of the director of the Radio/Television manager Hisham Maki and the night-time shelling in Gaza and Tulkarm;
  • Continuation of aggression by settlers against our citizens;
  • The Palestinian-Israeli talks recess and begin again today. “

Morning Headlines – 7 a.m. / 8 a.m. / 9 a.m. News Bulletin Headlines

  • “His excellency President Yasser Arafat will discuss in Cairo today with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak the latest developments in the Palestinian lands and the peace process against the background of continued Israeli attacks on our people;
  • A Palestinian-Israeli negotiating session will be held today that was supposed to have been held yesterday;
  • Dr. Saeb Erikat the Home Rule Minister asserts that Israel is stretching its measured political-military negotiation to assure its policy of assassinations and siege;
  • Israeli occupation forces shell through the night the Western neighborhoods in Tulkarm with heavy weapons and tank fire.;
  • Israeli forces close the road from Dir al-Balah and Khan Yunis that was open yesterday;
  • Masses of our citizens will escort the exalted departed Hisham Maki, general director of Palestinian Broadcasting and Television as well as the Freedom Fighters channels who was slain by the hands of treacherous traitors yesterday afternoon;
  • The Journalists association in Jericho and the Jordan Valley condemns the attack on the director general of Palestinian broadcasting and television;
  • Israeli reports of increasing differences between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres about how to conduct talks;
  • Iraqi Vice President Taher Yassin al-Ramadan denies that the subject of re-settling Palestinian refugees in Iraq has been put out on the table in exchange for a resumption of ties with Washington;
  • Conflicting reports on the killing of Congolese president Lauren Kabila.”

Quotes from Thursday Morning interview with West Bank Fatah secretary Marwan Barghouti, 7:10-7:20 a.m.

Question: “You held an open meeting in Ramallah yesterday under the heading the cut-off of Palestinian services and the future.”

Answer: “What we talked about in the recent meeting was the cut-off of services with chambers of commerce yesterday with the electrical company and the water authorities etc.the most important thing, the necessary thing is acclimating to the new conditions of the Intifada in all institutions. To have contingency plans for this matter.

The second matter is to prepare connections to strengthen voltage lines to Palestinian citizens for special circumstances. The third thing is for Palestinian citizens to settle their debts and their obligations.”

January 17 – Additions and Enlargements

Afternoon Headlines – 2 p.m. — Panorama

  • Masses of our citizens escort the martyr Walid Khalil who was assassinated near the settlement of Netzarim yesterday;
  • “Several citizens arrested by occupation forces in Shuweifat and Hebron
  • It was just announced that an unidentiied man was found killed in al-Bireh;
  • The Fatah Shabiba (youth) organization in occupied Jerusalem announced that three agents surrendered themselves to the Shabiba organization.and it was announced that they will be turned over to the security forces;
  • The Nablus charitable organizations announced today a march in solidarity with the Iraqi people to mark the tenth anniversary of the military siege placed on them.characterizing the siege as a crime against humanity;
  • Speaker Ahmad Qreia is currently meeting Israeli foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.;
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa met with Ben-Ami in Cairo this morning;
  • Reports in Israel of differences between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres on the negotiations;
  • The most recent report is that the President of the Congo, Lauren Kabil was wounded but is still alive.”

Quotes from Interview with Saeb Erikat, Home Minister, head of negotiating committee, January 17. 2:25 p.m.

Question: “Was the political security meeting sufficient?”

Answer: “The political-security meeting had limited results.The Israeli side refuses our demands to lift the siege and end the aggression and the assassinations and to release people arrested. The Israeli side is negotiating with itself, only bringing up before us matters it wants to carry out. It makes decisions unilaterally for siege and assassinations. That’s impossible. That’s completely against the agreements. The Israeli side carries things out by itself. It’s the side that decides, that carries out and that announces the decision to carry out. There was nothing new in the meeting.”

Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia, PA Legislature Speaker, (enlarged version) 7:07 – 7:15 a.m,. January 17

“Really, it was a general discussion on a variety of matters, concentrating on the matter of land, the question of Jerusalem, at the beginning, and at the end, it was serious. The differences continue and continue. But the talk was serious.”

Question: “Is there something positive about this talk? Will it lead anywhere?”

Answer: “Well, the gap continues. The differences remain. But there was serious talk between the two parties.”

Question: “The gaps remain great, but did you notice from the Israelis the ability to change anything or did they just cling to their stubbornness of the past period, the period of the elections?”

Answer: “Perhaps there are some matters and some talk on which we can build. But to say we’re getting to something final and basic, I CANNOT SAY THAT.”

Question: “There’s some talk about a great ability to reach understanding, with all the reservations of both sides.based on the American framework.?”

Answer: “Absolute Not. There is no talk of that. There are our subjects out on the table. They are: the land and, Jerusalem and the refugees and the borders. These are the four matters we’re talking about. If things go well, we’ll add to it the question of water. And it’s agreed that there is no agreement until we agree on all matters.”

Question: “Is this going to remain a bilateral clash in negotiations or is it possible that arena will be enlarged, that the Americans will enter or that regional parties will come in.?”

Answer: “The talks until now have been bilateral. The gaps are big and I don’t see bridging them in so short a time, because the gap is wide..I believe that any American administration will devote itself to this matter because the region of the middle east is a vital region in American policy and American strategy.”

Question: “Is there something here for the Europeans?”

Answer: “The Europeans are watchful and guarding the peace process and its success, but their role and movements are measured.They get wet but this is not translated into a real and active and powerful role. It’s not the kind of participation we would like to see.”

Quote of the Day

“They took pictures of me and threatened to make a scandal if I didn’t work for them.” (Unidentified ‘Israeli agent’ who surrendered to PA, describing how he was recruited by Israel, interview-with voice distorted-VOP, 2:35 pm, January 17).

Quotes from Interview with Hussein Shaheen, Shabiba official, to whom three Israeli agents surrendered in Jerusalem 2:30 p.m.

“In Jerusalem some agents came in. They came in individually, not in groups. After the announcement that it was for their own good. (In other places) They went to the security forces and the offices, and in Jerusalem they came to the Shabiba. They’re in their twenties, all of them. They’re scared..Some of them became agents because of financial circumstances, and others for other reasons having to do with life in Jerusalem. They’re all from inside the city of Jerusalem.”