Summary and Analysis

In its Sunday morning broadcasts, the VOP news coverage was fairly evenly divided between three subjects:

  • Continuing talks on final status issues, despite Palestinian views that nothing substantive is being accomplished;
  • Continuing coverage of and protest about Israel’s “aggression against the Palestinian people,” particularly Israel’s “assassination policy” and its refusal to remove all military and economic obstacles;
  • Detailed coverage and defense of yesterday’s two executions of Palestinian “traitors” and the planned executions today of two more men convicted of “cooperating with Israel.”

VOP featured Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry saying that Islam mandated the execution of traitors, and VOP narrators actually poked fun at “those who call themselves human rights activists,” such as Bassam Eid, for criticizing the death sentences.

Col. Tawfik Tirawi described the intelligence activities of those condemned to death: turning information over to Israel about key Fatah and Hamas activists later killed by Israeli forces. Tirawi (who has himself been accused by Israeli officers of planning terrorist acts) defended the trials and death sentences, saying, “Everything, the trial is over in a legal manner. There were judges. There were defense lawyers. Everything was according to the complete processes of law.”

In a morning interview, Yasser Abd-Rabbo said Israel was trying to insert the American initiative as a replacement text for UN resolutions-something that was unacceptable to the Palestinians. Similar sentiments were aired in an interview with nabil Abu-Irdeineh, Arafat’s spokesman and advisor.

Quotes of the Day

1.”The head of general intelligence in the West Bank, Col. Tawfik Tirawi, calls on all those who have deviated to the Devil’s path (Arabic: tariq al-Shaitan) to return to goodness and to turn themselves in to the security forces and to describe in details their crimes before it’s too late.” (Sunday morning news round-up headlines, 7:03 am, January 14)

2.”Pursuant to criminal law 113/111, sub paragraph 16 we decide the following: one, death for the criminal Muhammad al-Khatib [ten seconds of loud applause in background and cries of joy from crowd, described as being about 250 people in Bethlehem Court], death for the criminal Hussam al-Din Musa [five seconds of loud applause including shots of Allahu Akbar-God is Great].” (Judge Fathi Abu-Shuri, head of State Security Court, in report by Sayyid Ayyad, Bethlehem, morning report, 7:30 am)

3. “I think this is a victory for the Palestinian people, and a strenthening of the steadfastness and the protection for those who are struggling as fighters for the Palestinians….Really this is a blow for the supreme Palestinian interest and for stability of the homeland and the stable security of the Palestinian state… Their only chance to save themselves is to turn themselves in. There will be no mercy for any spy or any agent who spills Palestinian blood (who gets caught without turning himself in) (Kamil Hmeid, Fatah secretary in Bethlehem, interviewed about death sentences in Bethlehem court, 7:50 am)

4. “I say to those who have sold themselves to Israel, or to the Devil, they will not find anyone who will pray for them just as those who were who were rightly sentenced to death, and they will not find any place to be buried, because even their families refused to pray for them….Therefore they should step forward and turn themselves in to the security services.” (Col Tawfik Tirawi, head of General Intellegence for the West Bank in the Palestinian Authority, 7:58 am)

Sunday Morning Headlines 7 a.m.

  • “The Palestinian-Israeli meeting with the participation of his excellency President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres ends without any concrete results;
  • A continuation of meetings in coming days;
  • The Palestinian side asserts that the American ideas form a new basis (or source authority) for the peace process, and the Palestinian side clings to the basis of international legitimacy (i.e. UN resolutions) on whose authority the peace process was launched;
  • The Palestinian side declares at the talks that began yesterday THE COMPLETE PALESTINIAN REFUSAL for a new basis…demanding assurances for execution (of the agreement) on the ground;
  • The arbitrary (also tyrannical) Israeli measures, aggression and siege and the evil assassinations lingered in the (discussion) meeting as President Arafat demanded their immediate cessation and an investigation of the crimes;
  • The state security court hands down death sentences for two agents in Bethlehem and lie imprisonment for another two, and (other) death sentences are carried out yesterday in Nablus and Gaza;
  • Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, the Jerusalem Mufti and the Palestinian sage, says that he who does not firmly against traitors undermines the legitimacy of God’s law;
  • The head of general intelligence in the West Bank, Gen. Tawfik Tirawi, calls on all those who have deviated to the Devil’s path (Arabic: tariq al-Shaitan) to return to goodness and to turn themselves in to the security forces and to describe in details their crimes before it’s too late;
  • Finance Minister Muhamad Zu’di Nashashibi describes the difficulties resulting from the failure of the Arab countries to fulfill their obligations quickly to turn financial sums over to the Palestinian National Authority in the face of tyrannical Israeli measures.”

8 a.m. Sunday Morning Headlines

  • ” His Excellency President Yasser Arafat receives Regional Development Minister Shimon Peres in Gaza last night along with the Israeli delegation headed by Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami;
  • Nabil Abu-Irdeineh says the meeting dealt with final status issues and the need to reach agreement on these issues;
  • State Security court hands down yesterday death sentences by firing squad to the two agents Muhammad al-Khatib and Hussam al-Din Musa for high treason. In addition it sentenced Hanna Mansour Hanna Salameh and Muhammad Awadallah to life imprisonment for treason and assaults against the Fatah Movement. And Mr. Freih Abu-Medein, the Justice Minister, called on all agents to turn themselves in security officials;
  • Dr. Nabil Sha’ath, Minister of Economic Development, reviews with the Norwegian foreign minister the most recent developments taking place in Palestinian lands;
  • Advisor on National Security to the American President, Sandy Berger, says much work is needed to achieve agreement before President Clinton leaves office on the 20th of this month;
  • One youth wounded by occupation forces at southern approaches to Qalqilya;
  • Israeli occupation forces arrest Engineer Jamil Nurawri, head of engineering for Palestinian Broadcasting
  • His Holiness Pope John Paul II calls for executing the principles of international legitimacy in the Palestinian lands….”

10 a.m. Sunday Morning Headlines
(repetition of top headlines from 7/8 am) and…

  • “Minister of Information Yasser Abd-Rabbo says the Palestinian side will NOT accept another declaration of principles…demands a full and complete settlement based on international legitimacy.”

Quotes from Interview with PA Information Minister, Yasser Abd Rabbo

“We will not accept that these new (American) thoughts or initaitives become the new basis for the peace process. The source authority for the process remain what it was. We accept clear differences, but there was no progress achieved.

The discussion was a serious one, perhaps, but there was nothing that was executed or carried out in terms of progress at the meeting. It was agreed that discussions would continue in the coming days to continue discussions on these subjects.” (Abd Rabbo was asked about Israeli attempts to take the talks from the basis of UN resolutions to a basis of the American ideas, and he said…)

“There’s no doubt from what was said that that’s the new intention.hey said they wanted to reach an agreement. We said we wanted to reach an agreement, but such an agreement cannot be a declaration of general principles because such a declaration would not help the peace process at all. It would just a collection of headlines and slogans. What’s needed is a comprehensive and detailed agreement which deals with all matters, which deals with the costs of implementations and international guarantees on the obligations for implementation so that there will not be any evasion for implementation…as there was in the past. That’s the basic thing, and we believe that the Israeli side understood that a declaration of principles or general remarks…is not something that can be realized, and the Palestinian side cannot accept it. What is needed is a serious agreement, really an agreement whose implementation can begin the following day and not an agreement whose negotiation or the negotiation of whose central points begins the following day.”

“I want to say there’s no escaping (our need) to express our readiness to continue with the peace process, unless we’re convinced that there’s progress or not (because), it is impossible to close the door to negotiations and the peace process because of the comprehension of the world, of public opinion, of public opinion in Israel for our positions. (We have no choice but) We have to continue on our part, in our policy, and there is nothing that has been found that can prevent us from attempting negotiations until there are no results.”

Asked about security considerations, Abd-Rabbo said

“I don’t like talk about implementing security. We have just and clear demands such as lifting the encirclement and the closure and the violations being practiced against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. We have indicated that, and the evil actions such as the evil transfer of (the body) and the mutilation of exalted martyr in Hebron in front of world television cameras. All these actions show that these sort of actions must stop…for the sake of the peace process, if we really want a peace process.”

Quotes from report by Nizar al-Ghul, concerning executions:

“In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful…(reads verse from Quran regarding treatment of those who have evil spirits, then continues)…Indeed these agents cast evil on themselves and on those around them, and this week was a week characterized by settling accounts with those who made blood cheap, as witness what happened to the agent Bani-Odeh before the sentence of God and the people was carried out, who stood head bowed, falling quickly and quietly in the street as the bullets of holiness and justice brought him to the ground.”

(Report went on the describe trial verdict of Bethlehem court where two more death sentences were handed down-as per report by Sayyid Ayyad. Note: lead-in to Al-Ghul’s report was anchorman again reading parts of yesterday’s interview with Freih Abu-Medein, Justice Minister, calling for all enemy agents to turn themselves in]

Islamic Defense of Death Penalty

“When someone sinks to treason and serving as an agent, then Islamic law permits him to be condemned to death. We are in favor of executing anyone who sinks to serving as an agent against the Muslim collective.” (Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, Jerusalem Mufti, 7:53 am)

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