Summary and Analysis
VOP ended its holiday schedule following the month of Ramadan and the Festival of the Feast (‘Eid al-Fitr), but it entered into the day of the 36th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah Movement, with calls for increased “struggle” and “escalation” and “rage” against Israel. (Note: although Fatah was actually founded in the late 1950’s, the movement marks today as the anniversary of its first military action: the attack on the Israeli National Water carrier in 1965.) “Thirty six- years ago, the Fatah movement fired its first shots and began its operations with blood, and it continues to pave its way in blood (opening sentence in anniversary report by Nizar al-Ghul 7:50 am).”
VOP focused on PA condemnation of Israel’s “assassination policy,” warning of the consequences of a policy of “state terrorism,” following the killing of Dr. Thabet Thabet (whom the Palestinian Authority called a leader in the Fatah movement and not a “PA health official,” as erroneously reported in The New York Times). The PA Information Ministry called for Israelis leaders to be treated as war criminals.
Several PA spokesmen noted that there was a difference between killing PA military men and killing PA political leaders and hinting that this was new dangerous territory in which Israeli leaders themselves might not be immune from attack. According to Palestinian count -by Dr. Hader Shukeirat of PA Law Committee– there have now been 12 “assassinations.” Shukeirat, in a long morning interview said Israel should be brought up on war crimes charges to the new International War Crimes Tribunal (to whose charter Israel tentatively subscribed yesterday, along with the United States).
VOP referred to the murder of Binyamin and Talia Kahane yesterday as “an armed attack” but did not offer any details as to which organization or units might be responsible or had broadcast claims of responsibility.
VOP reported that PA President Yasser Arafat said he was willing to go to the White House next week to “develop what was concealed” within the American proposals put forward by President Bill Clinton.
Meanwhile, his cabinet secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman made light of Barak’s threats to execute a unilateral implementation of Clinton’s proposals, and he and Tawfik Tirawi also called for increased Palestinian organization and self-defense against Israeli “state terrorism.” (see interviews below)
Quotes of the Day
“The Fatah Movement declares that all options are open to our people for the sake of its freedom, self-determination and the establishment of its independent state, and the (artillery) shelling and the continuing barbaric Israeli aggression will not frighten us or prevent from progressing in our just national quest.” (From Fatah Movement statement, read during morning headlines)
“These American ideas do not serve the Palestinian people but rather safeguard the occupation and the settlements..We will not accept any settlers no matter what the pressure and no matter what America says.” (PA Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, prime-time morning interview)
Morning Headlines 7:00/8:00 a.m.
- “Five citizens, including a 14-year-old child, martyred yesterday evening in shooting and artillery attacks by settlers and occupation forces in a variety of towns and villages (full listing of those martyred, their ages, where martyred, where they lived);
- Masses will accompany the funeral in Tulkarm today of the martyr Dr. Thabet Thabet, the secretary of the Fatah movement in Tulkarm who was killed by Israeli special forces yesterday. And the National Authority warned Israel of the dangerous consequences of these assassination operations and the continuation of the policy of state terrorism;
- The Fatah movement declares the continuation of the Intifada until the liberation of Palestine and the realization of the rest of our legitimate rights;
- Formal casting of blame and condemnation on Israel for escalating the Occupation and strengthening the siege.;
- Extremist settlers and racist Jewish elements from the racist Right commit evil acts against Palestinian citizens under the gaze of Israeli soldiers and policemen, especially in Jerusalem;
- His Excellency President Yasser Arafat holds discussions in Cairo today with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak, and His Excellency states his readiness to discuss American ideas;
- PA Cabinet Secretary Ahmad Abdul-Rahman says the Authority is preparing a formal request to the UN Security Council for an international protection force;
- General Tawfik Tirawi, director of General Intelligence Forces in the West Bank, announced the arrest of groups of workers in Bethlehem.for helping proved information to Israel that led to assassination of (Palestinian) commanders. And General Tirawi called on our citizens to exercise great caution and to cooperate with the intelligence and security forces;
- Occupation authorities arrested the youth Ali Khadr al-Ghul from inside Makassid Hospital, and our correspondent says the youth was in treatment in the hospital because his hand had been injured during an explosion at Ras al’Umud. And the occupation forces took him an unknown location for interrogation ((Note: Israeli Police Commander Mickey Ha-Levi, on Israeli Radio, said the youth’s hand was hurt when a bomb he was throwing apparently exploded prematurely));
- National and Islamic Forces called on citizens to join prominent marches and protests today to mark the Palestinian Revolution.and to protest Israel’s assassination policy and continued siege. And in a statement, the forces urged the organization of the marches for Wednesday to show our refusal to American proposals in their present form.;
- The special emissary of His Holiness Pope John Paul II reaches the homeland today, carrying a message from His Holiness to His Excellency President Yasser Arafat.”
Interview with Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, PA Cabinet Secretary
Q: “This escalation of a chain of crimes, culminating in the assassination of Dr. Thabet Thabet.This escalation, how can we respond to it?”
A: “Barak, who waxes eloquent about peace, has given the settlers a most dangerous role as well as the special units of ‘arabists’ from the Shin-Bet and the Mossad and units from the Israeli army in order to escalate the military blow against the Palestinian people, against all Palestinians, because this (Palestinian) people has refused the initiative presented by the United States which is in its essence an Israeli initiative.
Barak believes that by pressure and bloodshed will bring the Palestinian people before him to terms of acceptance.
These American ideas do not serve the Palestinian people but rather safeguard the occupation and the settlements..
It is incumbent to organize all the national forces in the cities and villages and camps and neighborhoods and all regions in order to resist and confront the gangs of settlers sent by Mofaz and Barak and others among the Israeli extremists. We have no choice but to organize the Palestinian masses, organize the political entities to supervise what happens in our villages, to supervise what happens in our streets. This is the way to strike (back) at the settlers, and the ‘arabists’ units who now penetrate into our lands.”
Q: “Israeli Prime Minister Barak is threatening implementing unilateral separation if the other side-the Palestinians-refuses the American ideas. What’s your reaction?”
A: “That’s just complacent talk what Barak says. What is one side going to do to separate, set up electrified fences, set up by-pass roads, make permanent the settlements in our land, make permanent the control of the Jordan River, and make permanent the existence of settlements and occupation in Jerusalem and so forth…I say there is only one way for peace and that is or Israel to withdraw from the occupied lands, first of all Jerusalem. These are the lands that were occupied in ’67 and on which must be established a Palestinian state. If Israel withdraws, the door to peace opens. If they try unilateral separation-meaning the deepening of the economic closure, then there will be no stopping an intifida the likes of which they have not seen…
There will be no settlers no matter what pressure from Israel and no matter what pressure from the United States. There is only one way. Israel has only one way: it has to withdraw from the occupied lands and first of all from holy Jerusalem.”
Quotes from Interview with Gen. Tawfiq Tirawi, PA General Intelligence Forces
“These crimes (i.e. assassinations by Israel) are an attempt to change to a level of assassination by those in the government of Israel. It’s an operation of pressure upon the Palestinian Leadership until it is ready to accept what is offered and until it is ready to retreat from Palestinian principles. Really this language Israel is using is an attempt to change level of the dialogue (between Israel and the Palestinians). Dialogue can be by words or by bullets and fire. Now the dialogue is changing to the level of assassinations: a level that did not exist before. This is transition to state terrorism in an official and announced manner with the knowledge of the military and political leadership in Israel.They believe they can terrorize our people, extinguishing its intifada, but not just against our innocent citizens, but also against the pillars of our Authority, assassinating senior Palestinian officers.”
Q: “Do you have information about political assassinations?”..
A: “Our whole society is subject to assassination. The child who was killed yesterday. That wasn’t assassination? That was assassination. Every Palestinian in the homeland-from Gaza to Jenin is subject daily to assassination. The five martyrs yesterday: they aren’t victims of assassination? Only the means are different (i.e. the way they died). The Zionist Enemy by this way or that is trying to inflict maximum losses on our Palestinian people in order to.undermine our steadfastness. We must first of all be steadfast in order to get our lands and to establish our independent Palestinian state.”
Holiday Interview with Sahir Habash, Member Fatah Central Committee
(January 1, 2001, 8:05 a.m.-8:20 am)
Q: “Thirty six years since the founding of Fatah and the unleashing of the Palestinian Revolution. What do you say?”
A: “In the name of God, the compassionate and merciful, after thirty-six years of the quest, we can really say that the revolution continues.. We had three principles: the principle of independence.realization of independence or our people and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital. And the second principle is basic, our principles.no possibility of retreat from any of them under any solution whatsoever, and the struggle goes on, no matter what stage we were at-the stage of armed struggle, the stage of intifada, the stage of negotiations, stage of negotiations without intifada, stage of negotiations with intifada and so forth. The struggle operation goes on for our people.
This long march has cost thousands and tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded (gives list of Palestinian and other Arab nationalists no longer among the living).We live under difficult national conditions, but our linkage to our firm principles is strong. We believe in our ultimate victory.” (He then quickly reviewed the development of Palestinian thought from the refugee problem as a humanitarian issue through the ’67 and ’73 wars, the Arab summit of 1974 and the acceptance of the PLO at the UN.)
“We went to the United Nations and became firmly rooted in the United Nations as a people struggling for its freedom and its self determination. The circumstances were hard, from East and from West. We had to face big conspiracies run by the Zionist Enemy whose ally was imperialist America. We continued in our struggle despite all the conspiracies, all the attempts against us. The Battle of Beirut, our steadfastness, where we were firm. The Battle of Karameh. The Battle of Steadfast Beirut. From where we were released into the homeland. The organization of the Tanzim and the Shabiba (Fatah organziations) and the explosion of the Intifada in ’87. This itiada which shattered the occupation and which led to the historic step in 1988 of the Palestine Liberation Organization declaring independence-not just representing an organization but as a state, the state of Palestine in the United Nations. The struggle continued. The Intifada continued. There were successes and retreats, progress and regression, ups and downs resulting in that the Zionist Enemy could not but be intimidated into the peace process, the peace of the brave which we grasped..We continue.
We are now in the heart of the battle, the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem, the right of return.”