Summary and Analysis

Reports on VOP once gain turned a bit more pessimistic Saturday.Openning Paragraph

VOP featured comments by Saeb Erikat that Yasser Arafat had demanded of President Bill Clinton, during their Washington talks, to push Israel to stop its attacks on the Palestinians, especially the policy of assassinations and economic closures.

Erikat, the PA Home Rule Minister and a senior negotiator, also said that the Palestinian people clung to its legitimate rights first of which were the right of return and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital.

Erikat said he did not believe an agreement was possible, and he cited a variety of assruances and guarantees that the PA demanded of Israel.

In its Saturday night broadcast, VOP said it was expected President Clinton would announce a decision within the next two days on how to continue with the peace process.

VOP featured the greetings of Saddam Hussein to the Palestinian people-comments he made during an anniversary of the founding of the Iraqi army. VOP noted that it was Hussein’s third public appearance in a week, following reports from the Iraqi opposition that Hussein was seriously ill.

Both on Saturday and Friday, VOP gave strong coverage to opinion polls in Israel which show Barak trailing badly.

SATURDAY
Morning Headlines-JANUARY 6: (7:00 AM/8:00 AM)

*”The martyring of Arid Sabr al Jabali, 19 years old, in Hebron, from occupation forces’ artillery shelling, and in Gaza, the martyring Muhammad Abu Hassirer, 35 years old… 70 people were wounded;

  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat holds talks in Muscat…, and his advisor Nabil Abu-Irdeinhe says the talks center on the difficulties in the negotiations (with Israel/United States), and Home Minister Saeb Erikat says it is too early say whether the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations will continue;
  • Dr. Nabil Sha’ath, Economic Development Minister, stresses that the talks continue on the basis of the Arab summit decision and international legitimacy;
  • The high committees of Fatah throughout the homeland stand by President Yasser Arafat in resisting American and Israeli pressure to accept their proposals;
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami says that a Palestinian capital can be set up in East Jerusalem;
  • Israeli negotiator Gilead Sher suggests sovereignty to the Haram being turned over to a third party, neither Palestinian nor Israeli;
  • Syria says ordinary citizens will be allowed to travel to Iraq after a long period in which such travel was not allowed.”

SATURDAY
Evening Headlines-9:00 pm:

  • Confrontations following two martyrings in the homeland;
  • Shelling on neighborhoods in the cities and security forces’ installations;
  • His Excellency the president participates in the Orthodox Christmas celebrations;
  • His Excellency holds talks in Muscat and Oman and signals readiness to continue in negotiations with American Administration;
  • Saddam Hussein salutes the steadfastness of our people in facing vicious Israeli attacks.”

Quotes from Saturday Morning Interview with Saeb Erikat:

“It is understood that there is Palestinian commitment to the peace process based on international legitimacy, resolutions 242, 338 and 194. President Arafat stressed these foundations (in talks with Clinton)….We are for a continuation of the peace process, but a return to the peace process cannot come without reliance on international legitimacy-that means a return based on #242, #338 and #194, the return of Israel to borders of June 4, 1967, including holy Jerusalem, and a solution of the refugee problem based on resolution #194. We expect now for the American Administration to respond in a complete way with a response (also) to these matters from Israel, and its (Israel’s) readiness to execute resolutions of international legitimacy. And what are the obligations of Israel to execute these international commitments and what are the international assurances for the execution of these matters according to international legitimacy. My belief is that it is very difficult to get to agreement in these matters.

These are fateful matters: Jerusalem, the borders, the refugees, the prisoners,… and these matters require details. They require complete clarity. These matters require detailed maps. And general talk without detail, only about principles, that’s completely unacceptable to us.”

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