Summary and Analysis
In its Monday afternoon coverage, VOP reported that Yasser Arafat’s spokesman, Nabil Abu-Irdeineh said the PA expected the incoming Bush Administration to respond to Palestinian reservations on the Clinton proposals.

It was clear from the Abu-Irdeineh comments and an interview with Ahmad Qreia (and yesterday’s interview with Muhammad Dahlan) that the PA has already computed the Clinton ideas as something from which Israel cannot retreat, but it is not standing pat or congratulating itself on the achievement of Presidential recognition-in a formal speech-of the need to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Strangely, the PA is not building on a Clinton statement as a jumping off point for talks with Israel but rather for negotiating with the Bush Administration for a new and improved set of American proposals.

Palestinian officials are already hinting to the Palestinian audience, however, that these ideas will not be immediately accepted because are not likely to fulfill completely Palestinian demands which still include total withdrawal from the West Bank, total sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes “from which they were expelled in 1948.”

Earlier,VOP returned Monday to its Intifada-formula coverage: less attention to Arafat and more attention to Israeli atrocities, with an emphasis on Israeli war crimes and plots to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque.

In a somewhat unusual move, VOP devoted part of its morning news round-up to reading a commentary from WAFA (Wikalat al-Anba al-Filistiniyya), the PLO news agency which excoriated Israel’s policy of premeditated murdered combined with indiscriminate mayhem. The commentary said the Israelis appeared to be interested in killing anything that was Palestinian, including trees (echoing remarks yesterday of Muhammad Dahlan, and earlier of other officials).

“As in the past, the Israeli army will apologize or premeditated killing and indiscriminate killing, and as in the past, the Israeli government will apologize, and as in the past, the Israeli masses will apologize to the Palestinian people or all this crazy killing and all this destruction,” the WAFA commentary said. The commentary compared Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis.

Also, Monday afternoon, VOP gave detailed coverage to a press conference by the Jerusalem Mufti, Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry, warning that digging by rabbis was undermining the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as terrorist acts by Jews, including what a VOP narrator called “the provocative march by extremist Jews” on Monday evening around Old Jerusalem.

Quote of the Day

“The Al Aqsa Mosque is for Muslims only. The land on which the mosque is built is Islamic property (Arabic: Waqf). Its upper part and its underside are also Islamic property.” (Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry in 2:15 pm afternoon interview, reading part of Fatwa, or religious edit, concerning the Al Aqsa Mosque)

Morning Headlines 7:00 AM/8:00 AM:

  • American President Bill Clinton will announce what were the results of his efforts between the two sides, the Palestinian and Israeli…;
  • The American president is sending his envoy Dennis Ross to the region in the coming days;
  • An Israeli report speaks of an extremist Jewish group planning to build the third Temple…;
  • Parliamentary deputies in the (Israeli) labor Party speak clearly of the need to replace Ehud Barak as candidate for prime minister with Shimon Peres;
  • The martyring of the youth Abdul-Hamid Kurati, 34 years old,…near the settlement of Netzarim, which was built on lands on citizens’ lands (i.e. land taken from citizens);
  • And yesterday, the martyring of the young woman, Fatima Abu-Jeish, 20 years old from Beit Dajin near Nablus, who was shot through the heart by occupation soldiers who opened fire on a car they had stopped;
  • And in other crimes against the rights of our people committed by occupation forces and the colonists lead to seven major injuries to our citizens in Gaza, Ramallah and Bethlehem;
  • General Musa Arafat, commander of military intelligence, categorically denies any connection to the recent explosive operation in Tel Aviv;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat asserts that the Paelstinian Leadership awaits American explanations concerning the proposal of President Bill Clinton dealing with a Palestinian-Israeli agreement;
  • His Excellency received at the presidential headquarters Lord Michael Levy, the special emissary of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, briefing him on recent developments in the Palestinian lands, especially the continuation of Israeli aggression, as well as the American ideas and opinions and the Palestinian reservations concerning them;
  • His Excellency President Yasser Arafat receives a special message from the Italian prime minister, Guiliano Amatto….
  • The Iraqi leadership said today that the uranium shells used in Yugoslavia are similar to those used in the Gulf War in 1991 by American forces against the Iraqi people;
  • Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Taher Yassin Ramadan will make a visit soon to Cairo to execute an economic cooperation agreement with Egypt.”

(Note: This Israeli report was prepared by the far-Left organization, Keshev)

MONDAY
Afternoon Headlines 2:00 PM/3:00 PM:

  • “Masses of our people accompany two exalted martyrs (to burial) in Ramallah and Nablus;
  • Several of our citizens wounded by occupation forces during a parade in support of the right of return;
  • Curfew in village of Sinjil;
  • The National Authority demands that the coming American Administration respond to its reservations about the proposals of President Clinton.”
  • The Palestinian and Israeli security delegations let Cairo after holding a meeting without results;

Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia, PA Speaker of Legislature:

Question: “The one operative thing one understands from President Clinton’s speech is the dispatch of special envoy Dennis Ross. What do you think can come of this step?”

Answer: “There is nothing new in what President Clinton has set out to do. As for Mr. Dennis Ross he has always failed in his visits….He has always showed preference for the Israeli side, and the expectations from this visit do not differ from his earlier visits.”

Question: “Clinton’s speech talks about a Palestinian state and a capital in east Jerusalem. That’s in east Jerusalem but not all East Jerusalem.”

Answer: “He is still saying that the Jewish neighborhoods will be for Israel, and the Palestinian neighborhoods will be for the Palestinians. That’s the heart of the complications: where are the roads, where do you go out, where do you go in, where do you up and down and where’s the bridge….And where do you put the police? These are complications (whose solutions) no one can see. I cannot see an agreement in the shortest possible would be three or four months, a year, with patience, two years for any final agreement.

A Palestinian state would be first of all a Palestinian state because it’s our decision and not as just one of many items in an agreement. So it is with East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine because it is part of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, and it has to return in its entirety to the Palestinians….”

Question: “It is clear from his commentary on his ideas that the return of the refugees is to the Palestinian state and there’s no talk of a return to the lands from which they were expelled….Can we say that these thoughts are enough for us? Or do we finalize these thoughts with the new Administration?”

Answer: “My opinion for more than a year that we cannot reach an agreement in such a short time. Not in ten days. Not in a month. After Camp David, we immediately knew the Israeli position. And the American position which leaned on the Israeli position….I said it was too soon to reach an agreement with this American Administration, although it was the only intermediary in this (peace) process. But the prejudice (i.e. pro-Israeli tendency or tilting) was clear. At Camp David, the American Administration-and the president– presented us with an initiative which…was the Israeli position that we opposed. I don’t see any change in what was presented in Camp David and the most recent ideas except certain attempts at certain linguistic twists only….

On land they spoke about 95 percent and they spoke about 90 percent, and they said 91 percent before Camp David before they put it down (on the table) at Camp David. They spoke of settlements, of settlement belts….They spoke of Jewish neighborhoods to Israel…As for refugees, their position was perhaps more favorable before Camp David than after Camp David…But when the American president speaks of the right of return to a Palestinian state, that’s not for us (i.e. we don’t accept it). And there’s no chance whatsoever, absolutely, to build a Palestinian agreement on he who wants to return to a Palestinian state. That’s a sovereign Palestinian decision. Law of return. Law of Immigration. That will decide who will enter and who will not enter. The Right of return is Palestinian legitimacy, not for any other party….No one else in the world. Not the United States. Not Israel. There will be no one else participating on the agreement on the subject of the return to the lands of a Palestinian state. We are talking about the return of the refugees to their homes from which they were expelled by force of arms.”

Quotes from Interview with Jerusalem Mufti, Sheikh Ikrema al-Sabry:

The Al Aqsa Mosque is for Muslims only. The land on which the mosque is built is Islamic property (Arabic: Waqf). Its upper part and its underside are also Islamic property.

We sense that there is an ugly attack, a vicious attack, aimed at the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque on the part of Israeli politicians and the rabbis of the Jews. They talk and explain as if the matter is in their hands. As if they own this Al Aqsa. We say they have no right to talk about this matter, because they have no ownership…. Israel is an occupying authority in Jerusalem, and by what right do they talk about Al Aqsa?

We refuse all these statements, all these proposals, the American and the Israeli….In practice, the excavations (under and around Al Aqsa) continue, and we have said in tens of statements our refusal to the excavations surrounding Al Aqsa….And the martyrings in 1996 were because of the excavations. We are against these excavations.”

(Note: 1996 is a reference to the opening of a very old Hasmonean tunnel which had been filled with refuse. The opening touched off rioting and shooting in which at least 15 Israelis and 50 Palestinians were killed.)

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