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Arabic Media Roundup – 10 November 2002

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics: There are 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 4.6 million Palestinians in the Diaspora.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has just published its 2001 report. According to the report, whose main points were published in the 10 November edition of the Palestinian daily, Al Hayyat Al-Jadida, the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza has climbed to approximately 3.5 million; 2.3 million in the West Bank and 1.3 million in the Gaza Strip. There are also one million Israeli Arabs. There are 4.6 million Palestinians living in the Diaspora, of which 2.6 million live in Jordan, 411,000 in Syria and 391,000 in Lebanon.

Nationalist and Islamic Groups call for the International Community to Isolate the Sharon Government

The Palestinian daily, Al Hayyat Al-Jadida: Nationalist and Islamic Groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have just published an urgent public statement to foreign ministers in the Arab world, ahead of their summit in Cairo. They called on ministers to take decisions which would oblige all the Arab states to halt all contacts with the Sharon government and to isolate it from the international community. They also called for consensus on a plan for greater coordination in parallel with the U.N. Security Council and Council of Ministers “whose aim would be to bring international forces to guarantee security for our people, to force Israel to halt its attacks and to bring Israeli War Criminals before an international court.”

The official policy statement of the Nationalist and Islamic groups calls on the Arab and Muslim masses, its civilians and soldiers, to organize demonstrations in all the Muslim world against Israeli attacks in Palestine and American attacks on Iraq. The public statement also called for strengthening the boycott against American goods.

On a local level, the statement called on the Palestinian people to strengthen their solidarity as a counter to the Sharon-Mofaz-Netanyahu government (Mofaz and Netanyahu have just been announced Defense and Foreign Ministers, respectively) and to strengthen the Intifada and popular resistance. This is to come about by organizing all the popular movements, acting in proportion to conditions in areas under Israeli control, and also by means of organizing the Palestinian Diaspora against attacks, sieges, settlements and the occupation.

Fatah and Hamas Faluji: Chances of Stopping Suicide Attacks Slim

The Palestinian daily, Al Hayyat Al Jadida, has reported that Fatah, led by Yassir Arafat, and the terror organization, Hamas, have opened the national dialogue committee in Egypt. The Committee will be run by Egypt, although Egypt will not take an active role in the discussions. The General Secretary of Fatah in Gaza, Ahmad Hals, said that the Committee is being set up at a time when Israeli society is veering more to the right and when there is a reduction in the likelihood of achieving peace in the region. Hals said that national unity is far from a harmful concept in the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation. He added that “we have to agree on the parameters of our resistance, attacks and timing. This will definitely contribute to a healthier atmosphere which will lead to real national unity.”

The Assistant General Secretary of the Arab league, responsible for Palestinian affairs, Mouhamamd Sabih, said that the meetings will deal with “suicide attacks within Israel proper (not including the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and relations between Fatah and Hamas.” A source close to the Fatah delegation, said that the Fatah representatives “will seek assurances from Hamas, in no uncertain terms, to stop suicide attacks inside Israel as well as stopping firing ‘Al Qassam’ missiles towards Israel” (see the Media Line article from 7 November, ‘Despite Relative Quiet, Hamas is still Blowing up Tanks’).

Despite this, ‘Imad Al-Faluji, a member of the Palestinian Parliament and a former senior official in Hamas, cast doubt on the possibility of reaching an agreement, especially in regard to suicide attacks. He believes, “that it is true that the meeting of itself is important but we have to recognize, despite the fact the issue of suicide bombings will be raised in the meeting in a serious fashion, in my opinion there is no way to settle this issue. This is especially the case because Hamas has its own considerations and its own agenda.”

Moroccan newspaper warns against the Coming Together of the Three Zionist Murderers

“The coming together of the three murderers, Sharon, Netanyahu and Mofaz, is a dangerous coalition, which will open a new chapter in the bloody struggle”, according to the Moroccan newspaper, Al-Sahra, in an article recently published. The newspaper added that the goal of the threesome is to achieve wide-scale criminal goals aimed against the land of Palestine and its holy sites, with the support of the American government and headed by President Bush.

The article went on to say that, “we are in a situation of dangerous policies of confiscation, which are causing an exacerbation of the situation, connected to the future plans of the U.S.A. which will enable it to assist in Zionist oppression…attacking Iraq is to the benefit of the Zionist entity and will lay out a red carpet which will enable it not only to expand further in the West Bank and Gaza but also over into Syria, the Hejaz and Egypt. The guillotine is already ready and the banner is already written. Its catch phrase is ‘War on terror and against weapons of mass destruction.’ The threesome of Sharon, Netanyahu and Mofaz are ready to pounce on their prey.”