On June 3, 1998, the US state department removed the PLO from the list of terrorist organizations. There was no response from the Israeli government. Indeed, Israel state radio reported the item only twice, on the early morning hours of June 4, and Israel state TV ignored it completely.
On June 4, a visiting delegation from NIPAC, that is, the Dutch equivalent of AIPAC, reported to the Israeli government that their government was financing the virulent anti-Israeli textbooks in the new schools of the Palestine Authority. These textbooks are now being scrutinized by Palestine Media Review, an agency that studies texts and media in the Palestine Authority. The Israeli government officials conveyed no reply to NIPAC.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government press office revealed that the head of the Palestine Authority preventive security services, Jabril Rajoub, had issued a “green light” for Hamas to resume terror activity in areas not under the control of the Palestine Authority. When I asked the Israeli prime minister’s office if Rajoub’s actions would affect policy, I could not get an answer.
And when I asked Danny Naveh, the cabinet secretary, about PA violations and how they would affect the continuing peace process, Naveh answered only in general terms that “Israel has asked for cessation of violations ” from the PA. Meanwhile, Israel state radio and TV, under the direct ministerial supervision of the Prime Minister’s office, have not been reporting the daily incitement as reported on the official Palestine Broadcasting Corporation TV and radio.
The Israeli state TV and radio have hardly reported the triumphal return to Gaza of Mahmud Abbas, the man who murdered Leon Klinghoffer in 1985. The Israeli state TV and radio gave only muted press reports to Israeli attorney general Elyakim Rubenstein’s decision not to ask for the arrest of Abbas. The Israeli state TV and radio have stopped any follow-up stories concerning the fact that the PA refuses to arrest any of the thirty two identified killers who have been awarded
Meanwhile, on June 7, Israel’s Commercial Channel Two, which operates under a 50% funding from the Israeli ministry of communications, ran a half hour positive profile of Mohammad Dahlan, the no. #2 man in the PA preventive security services. The Israeli TV reporter did not ask Dahlan about the killers who run freely within the area under his direct control. In other words, the Israeli government, through its releases from the Israeli government press office, goes through the motions of condemning Palestine Authority violations of the peace process. These condemnations widely circulate in the US Congress and the United Nations.
However, the Israeli government does not do that in Israel. Instead, the Israeli government is softening up the Israeli public to deal with the Palestine Authority by obfuscating much bad news about the PLO and the Palestine Authority from the Israeli people.
It is instructive to note that the Israeli government press office, also under the direction of the office of the Israeli prime minister, has not held a single press conference or media briefing concerning Palestine Authority violations of the accord. While Netanyahu flew to the US with two women whose loved ones had been murdered by Palestinian Arabs who had taken refuge inside the PA, the Israeli prime minister have never made any such performance in Israel to “bring home” the killer issue to Israeli public opinion.
A New Acceptance of the American Role
At this point in time, the role of the American government as arbiter of the conflict has become more widely accepted and reported. In the American peace plan that was leaked to HaAretz on June 4th would place the American government as the determinant of PA compliance with issues such as the arrest of murderers who have escaped to the areas under PA control.
Not everyone in Israel would agree to define the American perspective as objective.
For example, the American-Israeli Boim family of Jerusalem received no less than three official letters from the US embassy during 1997 that the murderer of their teenage son David had been arrested by the Palestine Authority and that the killer was sitting in a PA jail.
However, the PA did not arrest the killer of David Boim until February 2, 1998, following a direct request on the matter made by President Clinton to Yassir Arafat.
Most recently, the Jerusalem chapter of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel made an unprecedented appeal to Clinton to demand that Arafat arrest and hand over the other ten killers of Americans who have taken refuge inside the Palestine Authority.
Meanwhile, the press spokesman of the American consulate in Jerusalem has refused to answer any questions concerning whether the American government has even brought up the issue of killers being awarded asylum within the area under the control of the Palestine Authority.
Yitzhak Mordecai in Jordan: Reflective of Government Policy
The visit of Israel Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordecai with Jordanian King Hussein and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was accompanied by a series of press statements that emerged from Mordecai’s press aide and from Mordecai himself, all of which indicated that Israel would engage in a unilateral withdrawals from major areas of empty lands in the Judean desert and the Samarian Hills, without any real demand from reciprocity from the Palestine Authority.
Mordecai’s statement that a withdrawal is in the offing remains a statement that reflects the Israeli government attitude to the Palestine Authority and the Oslo process at this time.