Summary and Analysis
VOP largely avoided reporting on the car bomb in Netanya last night (around seven p.m.), NOT putting the item in the headlines and slipping in the news as a tag-on at the end of a report on the 11 p.m. news. Despite reports in Israel Radio, there was no on-air condemnation of the event by the Palestinian Authority nor any of its officials, nor any VOP report of any such condemnation during the late-night news.
Similarly, during the 7am news Tuesday morning January 2, there was no condemnation nor criticism of the car bomb attack. The attack itself was reported as the tail-end of the item about the closure of Gaza Airport.
Important Note: Yasser Arafat’s personal advisor and spokesman Nabil Abu-Irdeineh as well as Information Minister Yasser Abd Rabbo both appeared on VOP Tuesday morning, and neither condemned nor criticized the car bombing. In fact, Abd-Rabbo was interviewed a second time for the same broadcast (this time by Gaza correspondent ‘adil Za’anun) as he was about to board plane to washington with Arafat, and he ofered no condemnation nor criticism of car bombing.
Indeed, during the 8 am news summary (read by Maha Awad), the suspected perpetrator of the car bombing was called a “martyr” (see headlines below).
Quote of the Day
“Our people are a people of heroes and will continue their struggle and their confrontation with Israeli escalation until the Palestinian flag is unfurled over the mosques and churches of holy Jerusalem.” (Yasser Arafat in statement at headquarters yesterday on return from Cairo, reported this morning by VOP)
Morning Headlines Jan. 2, 2001(7:00 and 8:00 a.m.):
- “President Yasser Arafat heads to Washington for a visit to President Bill Clinton;
- Palestinian declaration that participation in the summit (with Clinton) does not connote Palestinian acceptance of American ideas;
- Masses of our people mark the 36th anniversary of the unleashing of our heroic Palestinian Revolution, saluting the newest stars among our martyrs,.pledging to continue our blessed Intifada until the elimination of the Israeli occupation;
- Presidential Secretary Taib Abdel-Rahim denies reports in the media that the Palestinian Authority has agreed to American ideas;
- Occupation authorities close airport following car bomb in Netanya.Israeli sources speculate that the executor of the attack was martyred; (Note: Israel reports one man in very serious condition, but no deaths as of 8 a.m.)
- Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein opposes agreement with Palestinians during election period;
- Israeli Knesset passes law refusing right of return for Palestinian refugees.”
Song of the Day
“I will redeem thee
with my spirit and with my blood
(broadcast as lead-in to Midnight news round-up, Monday/Tuesday-January1/2, several hours after car bombing in Netanya)
Midnight Headlines — January 1/2, 2001
- “His Excellency President Yasser Arafat heads to Washington at dawn this morning to meet President Bill Clinton and to get clarifications on the American ideas on the peace process;
- President Secretary Taib Abdel-Rahim denies media reports of Palestinian agreement with American ideas;
- Presidential Advisor (Arafat’s) Nabil Abu-Irdeineh stressed the strength of the Palestinian stance opposing Clinton’s ideas;
- Israeli occupation authorities closed down the Gaza International airport in response to the explosion in the city of Netanya, as three explosions took place in a car-bomb in Netanya, wounding 37 people, one of them seriously, and Israeli sources said he (the seriously wounded) was the man who executed the attack.
- The extremist Rabbi Meir Lau (note: the chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel) called for freezing political negotiations with the Palestinians in response to the explosive operation (Arabic: “amaliyyat tafjir”; this is a a value-neutral way to describe the attack without calling it a suicide operation or terrorist act);
- A citizen was wounded when his vehicle was subjected to fire near the town of Hizmeh;
- Occupation forces opened their wicked fire on the populated neighborhood of Dahiya in Nablus, and in Salfit and in Nabi Salih.” (There were other reports of individual casualties in Bethlehem, Hebron and Kufr Haris, as well as retrospectives on the day’s funerals and recaps of earlier reports through the day.)
Quotes from Interview with Yasser Abd Rabbo, PA Information Minister
“President Abu Amar (Arafat) in a second letter several days ago to President Clinton said he was ready to come to Washington to meet with President Clinton for the sake of discussing for the clarifications he desires regarding the American initiative.. There are many things that need clarification beffore we give our final word on the American initiative..”
Quotes from Interview with Nabil Abu-Irdeineh
“The contacts between President Arafat and President Clinton continue. There was a long phone conversation last night concerning the American ideas and especially the demand from the Palestinian side for clarifications on those ideas..The two presidents-Arafat and Clinton-want to discuss the ideas in detail..Our consultations with the Arab states continue as do our consultations with the Europeans.”
Question: “Is there any way out of the situation?”
Answer: “The efforts continue.. This will be a fateful week, whether positive or negative. We don’t know how things will turn out.”