Today, Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Ahmad Qreia called for coordination with Israel concerning the withdrawal from Gaza. Qreia’s remarks, broadcast on PBC television, followed a meeting between him and British Foreign Minister Jack Straw.
The Palestinian newspapers featured coverage and front page photographs of Straw meeting PA President/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas after which Abbas criticized the Israeli air strike last night that killed two Hamas gunmen in the Abbasan neighborhood of Khan Younis in Gaza. Hamas units have been shooting rockets at Israel, killing three civilians and wounding eight in more than a dozen attacks in two days. PBC television described the Hamas gunmen as members of the military wing of Hamas, but said they were traveling in a “civilian vehicle.” It did not say they were armed and preparing to fire rockets at Israel.
“This will destroy the tahdiyya,” said Abbas referring the effect of Israel’s retaliation on the much-discussed “cooling off period” declared by Abbas that has largely been ignored by the Islamic terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which Abbas has invited to join his government.
In a “stake-out” interview in Gaza on PBC television, Dr. Abbas said he had confidence that the various Palestinian organizations. “I will be meeting with Hamas and the other organizations, and I have confidence that we will carry out our daily and future interests.”
In another interview, PA Interior Minister Nasser Youssef said the rules regarding who would carry arms in the street would be implemented by consensus between the various Palestinian groups.
Hamas official Hassan Youssef said Hamas was talking to PA leader Abbas about a new agreed time for conducting the delayed national legislative elections.
From Palestinian newspapers:
Al-Quds (lead item): Focusing on the Abbas-Straw meeting, this paper led with Abbas’s request that Britain get more involved in the peace process, adding Qreia’s demand that Israel must make a 100% withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank.
On the lower part of the front page, Abbas was reported calling for keeping the “cooling-off period” as a Palestinian national interest.
Also on the front page, Al-Quds reported that four American soldiers “met their ruin” in Iraq. [Note: The terminology “met their ruin” or “met their fate” is generally reserved for Israeli soldiers, Israeli settlers, and American soldiers in Iraq–MW]
Al-Ayyam: Similar coverage and front page picture of Straw with another top of page picture of destroyed car in Gaza carrying Hamas gunmen.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda: This Fatah-oriented paper stressed that both Abbas and Qreia were insisting on a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, an apparent reference to Dahlan’s comments this week insisting on control of airport and port facilities as well as overland connection.
This newspaper ran a cartoon showing George Bush dressed up as Muslim (complete with beard, the sibha prayer beads and a long jalaba gown, preaching to hooded Muslims that American soldiers were their friends.
[see www.alhayat-j.com/char.php?cid=100 ]
Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.