Summary and Analysis
Throughout Saturday, the Voice of Palestine gave great prominence to the executions of two men convicted of “cooperation” with Israel, as well as the approval of two more death sentences. Note: this is the only use of “cooperation” in the context of Israel that has been heard on VOP (one week ago, the term was also used in the context of 48 sentences handed down by Lebanese courts-also for “cooperating” with Israel).
VOP also quoted at length from Friday and Saturday morning interviews with PA Justice Minister Freih Abu-Medein explaining that the two men were convicted of aiding Israel in killing several Fatah and Hamas (Alan Bani Odeh gave information regarding Ibrahim Beni Odeh, who worked for Hamas) operatives.
In its broadcasts Friday midnight and Saturday morning, VOP published interviews with PA officials-or quotes from them (including who said the differences between the PA and Israel remained far greater than what was described by Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami.
PA Gaza Security chief Muhammad Dahlan said he was waiting to see more changes “on the ground,” and Information Minister Yasser Abd-Rabbo once again delcared that the PA would refuse another declaration of principles.
Quote of the Day
“Anyone we lay our hands on will not merit the mercy of the Palestinian people or the mercy of Palestinian law.” (Justice Minister reih Abu-Medein, Saturday morning interview 7:30 AM, January 13)
Friday Midnight Headlines-January 12/13
- “His Excellency President Arafat tonight confirmed the death sentences to be carried out Saturday morning of two agents working for Israel;
- The occupation authorities are still holding the body of Shakil al-Husseini, 33 years old, in Hebron;,
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat says the National Authority is continuing to study the results of its meeting the day before yesterday with the Israeli side at the Beit Hanoun crossing in Gaza;
- Home Rule Minister Dr. Saeb Erikat said another meeting with the Israeli side would take place Saturday night.”
Saturday Morning Headlines, January 13
- “The martyring of Shakil Hassuna in Hebron (note: his name was reported slightly differently the night before);
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat approves two death sentences by state security courts to be carried out on two agents in Nablus and Gaza;
- The gap between the Palestinian and Israeli sides remains large as talks loom tonight;
- The Palestinian National Authority demands an active European role in the peace process and the end of violence by Israel against our people;
- The head of the Political Department, Farouk Qaddoumi, goes to Iraq for discussions with Iraqi officials about aid Iraq has promised to the Palestinian people;
- A human rights report says Israeli police cold-bloodedly attacked our people inside the Green Line last September;
- A full report in this broadcast on the state of the Israeli elections and a profile of the Likud candidate, Ariel Sharon.”
Quotes from Saturday Interview with Freih Abu Medein
Question: “Death sentences for two agents working for Israeli occupation forces. What is the hour of execution?”
Answer: “Before noon today in Nablus and Gaza at about the same time.”
Question: “Who are the agents?”
Answer: “The first agent is the one responsible for the deaths of our men in Rafah, and he is, unfortunately, a close friend (Note: could also be relative) of one of the martyrs..It is difficult, a difficult treatment..But Israel is carrying out a war, a war of assassinations. Therefore we think we have to take measures, such as the death sentence, in confronting the difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian people..The other traitor also is a cousin of the man killed: Bani-Odeh, his name is Alan Bani Odeh, responsible for the assassination of the martyr Ibrahim Bani-Odeh, one of the elements of the Hamas. The president approved the decision immediately yesterday. We didn’t do this before. It was Ramadan, and you don’t carry out such a sentence in Ramadan.”
Question: “There are many assassinations and many agents in our people. How many more sentences like this can we expect?”
Answer: “There will be sentence this week of the agent responsible for the death of (Hussein) ‘Obayat in Bethlehem. And anyone we lay our hands on will not merit the mercy of the Palestinian people or the mercy of Palestinian law. Palestinian blood is pure blood and may not be spilled by agents. General (Shaul) Mofaz and the army (i.e. Israeli chief of Staff and his army) has all kinds of information and is carrying out war crimes on Palestinian land.”
Question: “So there will be death sentences carried out against two traitors, but my question is can we expect more?”
Answer: “Perhaps there will be ten to 15 more people, but we’re not fond of death sentences. If there are people in the security services, in the police, in the intelligence in the West Bank and the same thing in Gaza, if they turn themselves in to any office of the Ministry of Justice, we will treat the matter quickly and generously.
Saturday Night Headlines – January 13-9 p.m. / 10 p.m.
- “A Palestinian-Israeli Security and Political meeting continues at this hour in Gaza with the participation of President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres;
- Nabil Abu-Irdeineh says the meeting is covering the main elements in the negotiations and the peace process, among them Jerusalem, the refugees, the settlements and borders as well as putting an end to Israeli aggression against our people. And Abu-Irdeineh stressed that any agreement would have to lean on international legitimacy: resolutions 242, 338 and 194 which specializes in the return of the refugees.”