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August 16, 2001


Arab editorials in recent weeks blamed the escalating cycle of Palestinian terrorism and IDF retaliation on Israeli Prime Mini


Arab editorials in recent weeks blamed the escalating cycle of Palestinian terrorism and IDF retaliation on Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.  Observers cited "Sharon’s war against Palestinian civilians living under the occupation" as the underlying cause of the spiraling violence.  While acknowledging that "innocent victims are bound to fall on both sides," writers agreed that "the Israelis are responsible for choosing this course."  Notably, commentary on the recent Jerusalem and Haifa suicide bombings was more explicit in its support for this terror tactic than editorials on the June Disco bombing in Tel Aviv had been.  A Jordanian editor penned one of the more straightforward opinion pieces on the subject, declaring, "It is time to start seeing the suicide legitimate reactions by a people who have none of the advanced weapons that the Israeli army has."  Many writers saw Washington's refusal to intervene in the conflict as "giving Israel the upper hand" and providing "support for Israel's daily killings of Palestinians."  Following this train of logic, many writers claimed that the "U.S. is specifically responsible for the current dangerous deterioration in the region," with two authors flatly stating that "the U.S. is responsible for the suicide bombing."  Illustrative materials follow:              


U.S. ENABLES 'SHARON'S CRIMINAL ACTS':  The Arab media depicted Israeli Prime Minister Sharon as executing a plan to "destroy any chance for negotiations."  Cairo's pro-government Al-Ahram asserted that "Sharon abandoned the Oslo agreement by assassinating intifada activists, striking Palestinian Authority quarters, and re-occupying the Orient House and Abu Dis."  Vice President Cheney's remarks on the IDF's "assassination" of Hamas members in Nablus was seen as evidence of Washington doing "nothing to stop Sharon or exerting any effort to stop the aggression...against the Palestinian people."  In the West Bank, independent, moderate Al-Quds declared: "Cheney’s remarks encourage Israeli repression."  Independent, Pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam predicted that President Bush "will be able to force a negotiated compromise on President Arafat" at a time suitable to Sharon.      


U.S. 'RESPONSIBLE' FOR SUICIDE BOMBINGS:  Visceral Arab opposition to Israeli political and military policies was not coupled with calls for war.  No Arab paper hinted at the possibility of another Arab-Israeli war.  Instead, numerous Arab writers rationalized the recent spate of terror bombings as "a just punishment and revenge for the Palestinians killed in cold blood by the Israelis.”  A Kuwaiti paper expressed satisfaction that "Israel is facing a new Palestinian generation that uses suicide operations to counter Israeli missiles and tanks."  Citing U.S. inability or unwillingness to rein in Sharon, some few writers blamed the U.S. for the Palestinians' having to resort to terror attacks.  The West Bank's semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida declared: “President Bush and Vice President Cheney, share responsibility for the Jerusalem blast with Sharon."   

EDITOR:  Stephen Thibeault


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey is based on 61 reports from 10 countries, August 2-16.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 


WEST BANK:  “Israeli Timing”


Hani Habeib opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (8/15):  “At the ‘right time,’ President Bush will call the Palestinian and the Israeli parties to convene in Washington.  As we well know, the right time is the time that suits Sharon and the right time for President Bush is the time when he thinks that he will be able to force on President Arafat a negotiated compromise in accordance to Sharon’s plan.  Sharon and Bush think that this time is coming soon.”


“Israeli Incursions And American Efforts”


Ahmed Majdalani opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (8/15):  “It is clear that the current tour of Satterfield is not acceptable to Israel for timing and context considerations.  Sharon’s government did not like the public criticism of the American administration for its nonsensical actions of occupying the Orient House and closing Palestinian civil institutions in Jerusalem....  Israel, through its incursion into Jenin, has complicated the situation in the region and hindered American efforts.  However, it is still not clear whether Satterfield has the authority to present new ideas and solutions for the current situation or just to reiterate the American symphony of calling on the parties to stop violence and holding them responsible for it, while, at the same time, shouldering more responsibility on the Palestinian side.”


"Time To Look Beyond U.S. Role”


Independent, moderate Al-Quds editorialized (8/13):  “It is clear now that the situation in the region is deteriorating at a fast pace and is headed for full escalation amid the continuation of the cycle of violence and bloodshed and the insistence of the Israeli government on destroying any efforts that aim to end the current cycle of violence.  It is also clear that by occupying the Orient House and closing several other Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem and Abu Dis, the Israeli government aims at destroying the peace process. The United States, which has been the sole sponsor of the peace process from the very beginning, could have saved the situation from further deterioration had it exerted pressure to influence Israel to abide by the agreements and commitments....  So in light of this U.S. failure to honor its commitment and exercise its role as an honest broker in the peace process, and in light of its lack of desire to assume its responsibilities as the only superpower in the world, it is about time for us to demand that the international community, including the UN and the Security Council, assume their responsibilities towards preventing the Palestinian tragedy and ending Israel’s blatant violations of international legitimacy.”


"Countering Sharon’s Moves"


Hasan Al-Kashef of semi-official Al-Hayat al-Jadida opined (8/12):  “We have to be prepared for Sharon's next move....  Sharon has destroyed any chance for negotiations and, instead, has opened all doors of aggression against the Palestinian people.  There is no doubt that his military plan has political goals, and cannot be rationalized outside of this context.  His goal is to exclude the file of Jerusalem from any future negotiations.… Thus, we are left with only one option:  Resisting Sharon’s next steps against our land, people, and national institutions.  This option is imposed on us, and therefore, we need to be united so as to counter Sharon’s three fundamental supporting pillars:  A U.S. bias, an official Arab helplessness and the marginalization of international legitimacy.”


"U.S. Shares Responsibility For Jerusalem Blast"


Hassan Al-Kashif opined in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (8/10): “President George Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, share with Sharon the responsibility for the Jerusalem blast.  The American administration has done nothing to stop Sharon or to exert any effort to stop the aggression and blockade against the Palestinian people.  Furthermore, this Republican administration never had the true intention to keep any agreement, be it regional, international or even American agreement, and instead, continued to encourage, support and protect Israel.  President Bush bears the responsible for such an operation because he despises the Palestinian people, and thus couldn’t care less of our daily death toll.  He has never done anything to stop the collective punishment that Sharon has inflicted on more than three million Palestinians.”


"Israel Is To Blame"


Independent, moderate Al-Quds editorialized (8/10):  “The unbreakable cycle of Israeli aggression, including the assassination of Palestinian activists and the shelling of the Palestinian territories using tanks and helicopters, has resulted in a Palestinian reaction to revenge the Israeli murders.  This cycle of violence was started by the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa mosque, which was followed by major Palestinian protests.… Since then, the Israeli government has been preparing the Israeli public for a long-term war for what it called ‘the war of existence’ facing the Palestinians violence.”


"Cheney’s Remarks Encourage Israeli Repression"


Independent, moderate Al-Quds editorialized (8/7):  “The unusual remarks of American Vice President Dick Cheney, in which he has in effect justified the Israeli assassinations of Palestinian activists, reflect a new prevailing atmosphere in the White House, favoring Israeli practices....  The United States is following a policy of silence regarding the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and is in conformity with the Israeli policy, which calls for putting off anything that has to do with these rights.  This American policy, which refuses to confront Israel with the facts and demand an end to its occupation and settlements, will only escalate violence and encourage Israel to commit more acts of repression.  It will also prolong the conflict and deprive the United States from whatever is left of its credibility as the sponsor of the peace process.”


"U.S. Condemnation Aims At Containing Arab Anger"


Independent, moderate Al-Quds editorialized (8/4):  “The American official condemnation of the assassination of the Hamas members in Nablus was torn away by the statements made later by Cheney and Kurtzer.  The United States tried, through its condemnation, to contain the Arab anger, which started to emerge in some Arab capitals due to the American blunt biased position towards Israel and the American silence following the killing of Palestinians using American weapons.   This U.S. position can only be interpreted as being biased towards Israel, which confronts the ambitions of the Palestinians for freedom and independence.”


“U.S. Responsible


Talal Okal opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (8/6): “By insisting on carrying on its policy of assassination, Sharon’s government is disregarding international and Arab opposition.  This Israeli policy has been publicly encouraged and protected by the United States.  And although officials in the State Department condemned the assassination of eight Palestinians in Nablus, considering it a provocation action, Vice President Dick Cheney has washed out that condemnation when he tried to justify the Israeli assassinations.  This can only mean that the United States is responsible for the continuation of the Israeli aggression.  It seems that as long as the conflict is contained within the historical borders of Palestine (does not spill over the rest of the region) the American policy is based on allowing Sharon to defeat the Palestinians and destroy all their means of resistance in order to force them to the negotiating table and to make more compromises and concessions.”


EGYPT:  "Sharon, Orient House And Political Bankruptcy"


Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie wrote in pro-government Al Ahram (8/16):  "A few days before the Israeli occupation of the Orient House, Sharon said Israel found significant historical proof of Jewish monuments in Golan.  The Orient House occupation and this statement...mean that Sharon's failure to end the intifada in a 100 days has forced him to resort to the occupation of symbolic sites to try to end the intifada psychologically.  The Orient House is not only a symbol of resistance to the British and Israeli occupations, but it is also a symbol of the steadfastness of Arab identity in East Jerusalem....  The entire world condemned Sharon, and the intifada morale has not been broken.  The world has become aware that Jerusalem is Arab, and that it should return to its owners despite Sharon's myths and imagination."


"The Rules Of The Game Have Changed"


Reda Helal noted in pro-government Al Ahram (8/16):  "Under the cover of a hesitant U.S. position, Sharon abandoned the Oslo agreement by assassinating intifada activists, striking the Palestinian Authority quarters, and re-occupying the Orient House and Abu Dis.  Since Israel is changing the rules of the game, this will of course stipulate a change of the rules by which Arabs abide as well.  Palestinians will withdraw their recognition of Israel, Arabs will boycott Israel, Egypt and Jordan will decrease their diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv, and Arabs will consider using economic pressure against the United States.  Arabs do not want war, which is a correct choice.  However, they will be defeated even without a war if they do not realize that the rules of the game have changed and that they should act."


"Long Road For The Palestinians" 


Hazem Abdel Rahman wrote in pro-government Al Ahram (8/15):  "Most likely, the United States is waiting to see how the dispute will end, and then it will determine the terms for peace.  Finally, is it appropriate to raise a commotion about the U.S. bias toward Israel, then turn to Washington for mediation and negotiations for a settlement?  If we believe Washington is completely biased toward Israel, is it not our duty to look for a more just alternative?"


"Middle East A Victim Of American Passivity"


Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar observed in pro-government Al Akhbar (8/15):  "President Bush, who has disappointed the Arabs and the world by not playing an effective role in the Middle East, and who has exhibited utter passivity, asked the parties to stop the so-called 'terrorism.'...  Undoubtedly, Bush's statements [urging an end to violence] cannot calm the situation, rather they further increase desperation among Palestinians.  There is no hope of halting the Israeli Nazi aggression.  How we wish the U.S. administration would realize the truth and respond to the advice and extraordinary efforts Egypt is exerting to contain the volatile situation."




Columnist Mahmoud Abdel Moneim Mourad said in pro-government Al Akhbar (8/13):  “President Bush and the White House thought that the Palestinian 'intifada' was simply a child’s game....  His Zionist colleagues in  Congress and in the American media thought that Sharon could eliminate the  Palestinian intifada.'...  Finally, Bush and his colleagues realized that it is not a child’s game...and Bush was disappointed....  Bush will have more surprises in the future.  His father will not be able to teach him how to improve the Middle East dilemma....  If Bush Jr. were as perceptive and wise as he should be, he would realize that the era of a sole hegemonic, global superpower has ended, and that policies espousing repression, violence

and arrogance are no longer acceptable anywhere in the world....  Bush and his agent, Sharon, should realize that the current situation is much more than a child’s game.  In a few days time they will learn what has not yet been understood during the long years of neo-imperialism and American hegemony.”


"Israel, No Pride, No Hope"


Columnist Reda Helal pointed out in pro-government Al-Ahram (8/9):  “After the Western press exaggerated its claims that Israel is an oasis of democracy based on a Western model, it is now decrying  Israel’s cruelty and its untruthful and murderous actions.  Who would have  believed that the New York Times would devote its front page to decry Israel’s false allegations--that Arafat is responsible for the failure of  peace....  Israeli writer Ezrael Shamir expressed Israel’s existential crisis, saying: ‘Our criminal behavior surpassed Russia’s crimes in Chechnya and  Afghanistan, U.S. crimes in Vietnam, Serbia’s crimes in Bosnia....  The Jewish state is the only place in the world which has legal murder squads and which allows assassination policies to take form.… Our Nazism is no less harmful than the racism of the German Nazis which we loathed.’  Fifty-three years after its foundation, Israel has no pride, hope, or security.”


"Arabs And U.S.:  Dancing To The Devil’s Drums"


Columnist Morsi Attallah held in pro-government Al Ahram (8/9):  "U.S. policy in the Middle East is a mystery to those who thought that American vital interests in the region would force Washington eventually to adopt an impartial position in the  Arab-Israeli dispute....  I believe the Arab world should move away from nanve political ideologies in which policy is based on ethical and idealistic principles and is in accordance with international laws.  Unfortunately, up until now the Arab world has failed to realize its true strengths and  capabilities....  The uniqueness of the American-Israeli relationship, which exists at the expense of Arab interests, is not due not to excellent planning on their part but to the lack of Arab solidarity....  Arabs alone have the mechanism to alter the American-Israeli equation in the Middle East.  Arabs should not delude themselves into believing that moralistic revival in the United States would automatically pressure the U.S. administration to favor Arabs.  Those who are waiting for the formation of an Arab-American lobby to counteract the Zionist-American lobby are harboring illusions.  This is not a call for antagonism towards the United States, but only a warning to both Arabs and Americans of the dangers of continuing to dance to the devil’s tunes.”


JORDAN:  “Waiting For The Worst Scenario”


Raja Talab wrote on the op-ed page of semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (8/14):  “The occupation of the Orient House, according to some sources, was in the works since Faisal Husseini’s death.  Sharon is very close to achieving his program.  He has reintroduced the Jerusalem issue on the basis that Israel regains full sovereignty over East Jerusalem, nullifying the Oslo accord altogether.  It is not far-fetched to think that Sharon’s next step would be Al-Aqsa mosque and the Islamic and Christian shrines....  Some might argue that this is a red line that Sharon would dare to cross.  Yet, whoever is making that argument must remember that any Israeli prime minister might think twice about overtaking Al-Aqsa mosque if he could lose any of the following: the Israeli people or relations with the United States.  In this case, Sharon still enjoys 70 percent of his people’s votes, people who support his policy despite the Palestinian suicide bombings.  And the relationship with the United States has not been affected whatsoever by what Sharon is doing.  So why would he hesitate?”


"Suicide Operations”


Chief Editor Taher Udwan declared on the back page of independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (8/14):  "Continuing the current confrontations is not going to be in Israel’s interest at the end of the day.  The intifada has proven that it is not just a method of protest used by the Palestinian people against the occupation’s measures and actions.  Rather the intifada has become a tool of struggling and fighting for the liberation of the land and for regaining legitimate rights....  The intifada is not a passing event.  It is time to start seeing the suicide operations in the heart of Israel as legitimate reactions by a people who have none of the advanced weapons that the Israeli army has and who do not have the traditional weapons that were available to all the other liberation movements in the world....  The suicide operations are war measure for a people who lack the tools of war equal to those owned by their enemy, a people who have only their souls, their bodies and their bones.”


“Jumping Forward”


Mohammad Kawash asserted on the back page of independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (8/12):  “No sane person in this world believes that occupying the Orient House will diminish the fire of the intifada or stop the resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.  What happened is considered a flagrant violation of Palestinian rights and of the Arabism of Jerusalem.  What happened is considered a serious precedent for violating agreements signed between the Palestinians and the Israelis that have considered Jerusalem an issue to be resolved in the final status negotiations.”


"Not Only Disappointment But Total Helplessness"


Daily columnist Bater Mohammad Ali Wardam maintained on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Al-Dustour (8/8):  “The Palestinians are now looking for a way out of Israel’s upsurge of violence.  They have realized that the Arabs are not interested, not even in holding another Arab summit meeting.  They have realized that they alone are paying the price and that the Arabs want them to continue fighting until the last standing Palestinian.  This applies not only to Arab governments, but also to opposition parties that are using the intifada as a pretext for their own domestic opposition.  Thank God that the Palestinian Authority has finally realized that the Arabs are hopeless.  Once the Israeli aggression comes to an end, the Palestinians must reconsider their situation and, when they do, come to a conclusion about their fate.  They do not have to send even a fax to the Arab countries to inform them of the outcome, since they were left alone to face the Israeli brutality.”


"Washington’s Policy In The Region"


Daily columnist Riham Farra insisted in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab Al-Yawm (8/8):  “By suspending its decision to deal an extensive strike against Iraq, Washington backtracked from a very serious mistake that it was about to commit.  Such a strike would have quickened the pace towards the explosion that the moderates are trying to avoid in this region, where the status quo has already deteriorated, the people are enraged and the governments, if not angry about Tel Aviv’s actions, are frightfully worried about the reaction of their citizens.…  Experts at the U.S. State Department have warned the White House and the Pentagon of the consequences of a military strike against Iraq that would expose the U.S. double standards and would fail to weaken Baghdad.  Listening to this voice of reason for the time being does not mean that this region is out of danger.”


"With The Same Breath"


Leading daily columnist Tariq Masarwah wrote in semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (8/5):  “They are mocking us.  The secretary of state condemns the policy of selective killing of Palestinians, and the vice president says that he understands the reasons that compel the Sharon government to this selective killing.  The United States knows that it does not deal with Arabs except in the context of the Arab response, that never goes beyond expressions of condemnation.  Washington’s relations with every Arab capital are not threatened by the behavior of Israel, or by the U.S. support for it.  Bilateral relations with Arabs remain good unless and until an Arab capital decides to be Arab, or to base its behavior toward the United States on Arab interests.”


"The U.S. Plays With Fire In The Region"


Daily columnist Bater Mohammad Ali Wardam wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (8/5):  “The statement of Secretary Powell criticizing Israel’s assassination of Palestinians stood out, amid the babble expressing support--starting with Vice President Cheney’s justification of these criminal assassinations, all the way to the disgusting circus of Congress members submitting draft laws to ban assistance to the PNA.  We do not expect anything from Israelis except more crimes and killings, but it is the American position that provides the necessary cover for Israel.  Arabs, on the official level, are not able to confront the United States, even with the oil weapon, but Arab and Islamic individuals and organizations will threaten U.S. interests and the security of its friendly states.  It will be impossible for the friends of the United States to protect its interests unless it adopts a balanced policy that protects the Palestinians’ simplest human rights, the right to life.”


LEBANON:  "Burns, Then Satterfield Warn Against Direct Hizballah Role In The Intifada"


An editorial by Ibrahim Al-Amin in Arab nationalist As-Safir held (8/13):  "The United States had been asking about Hizballah's role in supporting the intifada.  Sources disclose that, in addition to the continuous American demand to deploy the Lebanese Army in the south, the Americans have started to arrange their words in the following order:  They automatically denounce anything that might be labeled violence; they describe the military operations in Sheb'a as Syrian and Lebanese escalation; and they call for halting these operations and deploying the army....  In addition to the above, special envoy Burns...has indicated that Hizballah is not supporting Palestinians from afar, but is getting directly involved in the intifada operations....  Former Ambassador Satterfield also repeated these words, indicating that 'the real danger is linked to Hizballah's practical and direct role in the Palestinian intifada.'...  American officials talked about information that Hizballah is sending logistical support to fighters in Palestine....  An official Lebanese source says that these comments from the United States could be paving the way for an Israeli operation against Lebanon."


SYRIA:  "Lists"


Yahia Aridi, Director of Syrian TV channel 2, commented in the Syria Times (8/16):  "At the peak of Hitler's inhuman Nazi practices, he did not have a list of those he wanted to assassinate.  Sharon does have lists.  You can say whatever you like about Hitler, but when it comes to Sharon you simply cannot.  You would be called anti-Semitic....  These death lists constitute a precedent in state terrorism."


"Required Arab Action"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen said (8/16):  "[By conspiring] with Sharon [on] positions that are contradictory to the peace process, the Madrid conference terms of reference and the Land for Peace formula...the United States is specifically responsible for the current dangerous deterioration in the region....  It is unreasonable that the United States seeks peace, as it claims, and finds justifications for Sharon's criminal acts at the same time.  If U.S. officials were really concerned about peace, they would have rushed in the beginning to curb Sharon's aggressiveness....  The United States has to choose at the end between international law and the law of the jungle; between international law and Israeli mutiny; between human rights and values and those who seek to turn back humanity's gains."


"Israeli Occupation At Its Final Hours"


Pro-government Al Akhbar editorialized (8/16):  "Israel believes it is above existing laws and regulations.  The world has run out of patience with Israel.  There are voices inside Israel asking for peace and security, now that they have been deceived by Sharon's lies and falsehoods in the media.  This illustrates that Sharon's policy has gone bankrupt."




Government-owned Tishreen editorialized (8/15): "Israel doesn't give a damn about Arab and international condemnation, as long the United States overlooks its brutal acts and find justifications for them...  The United States has no intention of playing an effective, objective and honest role....  The UN is paralyzed due to its subordination to Washington....  The only alternative for Arabs is to reckon with themselves....  Statements of denunciation are no longer useful; they raise the anger of Arab masses who find in them an expression of Arab impotency.  Arab solidarity that doesn't exceed talk is no longer acceptable to Arabs....  The element of decisiveness is not in Washington and the decision-making capitals; it is in the Arab world when all loyal Arabs rush to face Israeli invaders in defense of their rights, treating those who support the Zionist scheme as enemies.  Only then things can change in favor of Arab rights."


"Arab Move"


Sayyah al-Sukhni commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (8/15):  "Since Washington has ignored its commitments and continued watching Sharon's crimes and massacres, the Arab Ministerial committee scheduled in Cairo should set a joint plan to address Washington.  The Arab countries that have good relations with the United States should convince Washington that its interests and friendships in the region will be greatly affected unless it uses its means of pressure to force Sharon to curb his terrorist and bloody practices, to commit himself to signed agreements and return the Palestinian establishments, especially Orient House."


"Dangers Of Israeli Escalation"


Mohamed Khair Jamali commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (8/14):  "After Israel's occupation of Orient House and demolition of the PA positions in Abu-Dis, the U.S. administration was forced to break its silence to warn against the implications of Israeli escalation.  In a phone call with Sharon, Secretary Colin Powell said that the dangerous Israeli escalation in the wake of the Jerusalem bombing is a dangerous political escalation that will not contribute to the protection of Israel....  It is important that the U.S. administration has categorized what is taking place in the Palestinian territories as Israeli escalation and warned against it.  What is more important is that such categorization should mark the beginning of an unbiased and honest American position that would not hesitate to hold Israel responsible for killing the peace process and jeopardizing stability in the region."


"A New Maneuver"


Saleh Saleh wrote in government-owned Al-Baath (8/14):  "It is obvious that Sharon's authorizing Peres to discuss a cease-fire with Palestinians is either maneuvering to kill time while finalizing his criminal scheme against Palestinians, or shows that he has become fully convinced of the failure of his method of using brute force.  Therefore, he decided to exhaust the Palestinians with talks, by planting sedition among them without giving them anything concrete.  He decided to go back endlessly to the cycle of deception, deferment and manipulation of words....  From previous experience, we should expect the worst from Sharon: more massacres and more crazy and destructive surprises."


"Israel Pushes Region Towards Explosion"


Government-owned Al-Ba'th said (8/13):  "Does Annan's call for Israel to evacuate Orient House mean that the UN has become aware of its role vis-a-vis the open aggression against the Palestinian people?  Do news reports on U.S. President Bush's frustration and his secretary of state's worry mean that the United States is about to reconsider its policy on the Mideast?...  There are no indications of a possible positive change.  The UN is incapable of assuming its responsibilities with its current status.  Neither is the U.S. administration willing to play a neutral and honest role, nor is the Sharon government willing to give up its policy of tyranny and  bloodshed.  Therefore the region is everyday approaching the verge of collapse.  Israel alone will be responsible for an explosion unless a countdown for Sharon starts in Israel.  That is what should take place."


"The Orient House And The Israeli Message"


Elias Khouri, a commentator in government-owned Al-Baath, wrote (8/12):  "By occupying Orient House, Israel has pushed confrontation with the Palestinian people to the maximum level, leaving no room for any international effort to control the situation and to prevent Sharon from carrying out his scheme.  Targeting Orient House, with its symbolic Palestinian and Arab importance, is an obvious Israeli message to the effect that Israeli aggression against Arabs and Palestinians will continue endlessly.  Therefore, all solutions and proposed settlements, including the peace process, have virtually died.   This will make the Arab-Israeli struggle return to its real path as a struggle for existence.  It is an open and comprehensive fight that accepts no compromises nor allows for either peaceful or non-peaceful settlements....  What complicates the situation is that international opinion is still incapable of freeing itself from the American view of the Middle East crisis and the Arab-Israeli fight.  This blocks any progress towards curbing Israeli aggression and securing Arab rights and interests."


"Historic Mistake"


Riad Zein, a commentator in government-owned Syria Times, said (8/12):  "Nuclear weapons possessed by the superpowers, especially the United States, are sufficient to destroy the earth....  Nevertheless, the United States persists in building the missile defense shield in outer space...which aims to impose its hegemony on the whole world and to make it run in the orbit of its hegemonistic interests....  Yuri Lepidev, a Russian nuclear security expert, made clear that the American nuclear program is the second historic mistake after the nuclear bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki....  Is the unilateral master of today's world actually threatened, or is its awkward and deceiving logic totally unacceptable?"


"Awaiting International Isolation"


Qasem Yaghi, chief editor of government-owned Al-Thawra, commented (8/9):  "The total rejection of Sharon's criminal actions was demonstrated in Turkey by the extensive demonstrations and the media campaign that denounced Sharon's brutal policy against the Palestinians....  Sharon came to Turkey to challenge Turks in their home.  Such a challenge was obvious in the joint press conference.  Sharon rejected the Turkish prime minister's call for resuming talks with Palestinians and reviving the peace process before the full suspension of the so-called acts of violence in the Palestinian territories.  This made Ecevit describe Sharon's request as unrealistic....  This proves to the world community that Tel Aviv leaders are not deterred by heavy criticism....  They deserve international isolation for the bloody massacres they perpetrate against Palestinians."


"An Ordinary Visit"


Government-owned Al-Baath maintained (8/8): "Syrian-Turkish relations witnessed some tension in the past due to the concentrated Israeli infiltration of military cooperation with Turkey, to the point of conducting joint maneuvers that jeopardize security in the region.  But due to the rational and objective stand of the Turkish leadership, Israel's infiltration started to recede....  Observers do not expect that Sharon's visit to Turkey will be welcomed at the expense of Turkish-Arab and Islamic relations....  Sharon's visit to Turkey, which was preceded by a huge popular rejection, should not yield any results that would disturb relations between Turkey and the other Arab and Islamic countries."


"Justifications And Illusions"


Ali Qasem, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote (8/7):  "Cheney's justification of Israel's brutal assassinations of Palestinian activists can be described as an irresponsible political stand that reflects the huge American bias toward Israel.  Therefore the United States is directly responsible for the consequences of such a statement, which encourages Israel to persist in its aggression."


"Why All This Rancor For Arabs?"


Government-owned Al-Baath held (8/6):  "Dick Cheney's defense of Israel's policy of assassination of Palestinians expresses the official U.S. stand.  It is the truth.  Why should some of us endeavor to beautify the American face, which is quite known to Arabs?...  It is really a weird and strange stand.  The United States claims that it defends human rights everywhere, while in fact it gets directly involved with crimes against all humanity when it authorizes Israeli aggression.  One who listens to Cheney would ask: Why all this rancor against Arabs?  Don't Americans enjoy Arab wealth while most Arabs remain deprived?...  The problem is not only in Israel's aggressiveness, but in the U.S. official anti-Arab address.  Such U.S. hostility is unjustified."


BAHRAIN:  "Arab Governments Ignore Popular Will On Palestine"


Sayed Zahrah commented in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij (8/15):  "An Arab-American professor conducted a public opinion survey on how important the Palestinian issue is to the Arab citizens [in] Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.  In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon 85 percent said the Palestinian issue is the most important issue.  In Egypt, the percentage was even greater....  It is important that such a stand by the Arab people provide the Arab governments with a strong justification for any action they might decide to take.  For example, the Arab governments can lean on (these results) to break relations with Israel, reinstate the boycott and take a firm stand toward the United States.  But the problem is that Arab governments do not want to take a firm stand and do not pay attention at all to the position of their peoples."


"Arab Regimes Risk Losing Legitimacy"


Abdul Malik Salman wrote in semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij (8/14):  "Israel's violation of holy places in Jerusalem will lead to the rise of (extremist) Islamic organizations in the Arab world and give credibility to their calls for Jihad.  It will also make Israel pay a costly price through the increase in suicide attacks, and perhaps even push Hizbullah to enter the battle.  In addition, Arab regimes will be in a very critical situation and may lose their political legitimacy in the face of the increasing advances of Islamic tendencies which raise the attractive slogan of 'defending the holy places in Jerusalem.'  Therefore, igniting the battle of Jerusalem might change the face of the geopolitical map of this region."


"American Gave The Occupation Force The Green Light"


Semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij ran this comment (8/10) by Sayed Zahrah:  “Didn’t America give Israel clear approval to kill innocent Palestinians?  Didn’t it announce that the use of American weapons to kill Palestinians is legitimate?  America gave an occupation force the right to kill innocent civilians; therefore, it is appropriate to give a similar right to those who are fighting the occupation and trying to protect themselves and their families.  America should not cry over the Israelis who were killed in the suicide bombing in Jerusalem.  What happened in Jerusalem was a just punishment and revenge for the Palestinians killed in cold blood by the Israelis and the farms and houses destroyed by the Israeli army.”   


"F-16s Strike Iraq And Palestine"


Semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij had this comment by Sayed Zahrah (8/12):  “F-16 fighters were striking Ramallah, destroying Palestinian Authority positions, at about the same time  F-16 fighters were striking Southern Iraq and destroying Iraqi positions and institutions.  In Ramallah it happened with a blunt American authorization and in Southern Iraq it happened with American self-authorization.  Both in Ramallah and in Southern Iraq, the F-16s ended that imaginary separation, which some think exists, between Israel and America.  The F-16s proved that the enemy which we face is in Washington and Tel Aviv.”


KUWAIT:  “The Intifada: The Last War Or A Prologue To Wars?”


Shafeeq Al-Ghabra, Director of the Kuwait Information Office in Washington, wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/15):  “The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has reached a point of no return.  It will either result in Palestine’s eternal occupation or the freedom of independence.  The battle being waged today may be the last but most violent battle fought before Palestinians regain their rights.  Yet it may also signal a new Arab-Israeli conflict that lives on for generations to come....  Arab support for the Palestinians is the only means for guaranteeing a change in the American position and an Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.  Supporting the Palestinian struggle is the sole means of preventing a new Arab defeat.”


"This Is The Path”


Faisal Al-Zamel wrote in independent Al-Anba (8/15):  “Israel is facing a new Palestinian generation that uses suicide operations to counter Israeli missiles and tanks.  Withdrawal is Israel’s only alternative.  When fifty thousand Israeli lives are lost, Jews will blame their leaders for not withdrawing in time as they did in Southern Lebanon....  Meanwhile, the battle ground is set and the Palestinians know the weapon they should choose.”


“Who Protects Palestinians?”


Adel Al-Qassar wrote in independent Al-Qabas (8/14):  “Palestinian suicide operations executed by the heroes of the intifada are an expression of Palestinian anger and suppression.  They are the least that can be done in the face of daily Israeli massacres.  These operations are a clear message to the world that there shall be no peace unless the usurped rights of the Palestinians are returned.  Recent reckless Israeli actions, such as eliminating Palestinian political leaders and occupying Orient House, are but a mere prologue to a comprehensive regional war aimed at eradicating the Palestinians and usurping Muslim holy sacraments.”


“The Fall of Orient House…Long Live The Intifada”


Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Rashidi declared in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/14):  “We were extremely pleased to see Arafat and his cronies thrown out of Orient House by their beloved Israeli friends.  Orient House, the conspiracy den, was never a symbol for our victory as much as it was a symbol for humiliation and capitulation.  Israeli occupation of Orient House is therefore a new success for the intifada.  It is also further proof to the Arabs that peace with Israel is a mere hoax.  Returning our usurped rights cannot be accomplished except  through Jihad.”


“Jerusalem, An Eye For An Eye”


Ali Al-Mousa stated in independent Al-Anba (8/13):  “Sharon’s election affirms that the majority of Jews do not want peace.  They believe that force is the sole means for subjugating the Palestinians.  Excessive force on the part of the Israelis has created a strong negative reaction in the region.  The Jerusalem suicide operation is an expression of a popular determination not to surrender.  Violence is not a game and innocent victims are bound to fall on both sides, yet the Israelis are responsible for choosing this course....  It is time for international intervention before Sharon turns the region into a bloodbath.”


“Arab And Muslim Leaders”


Yacoub Yousef Al-Hejji observed in independent Al-Watan (8/13):  “We are deeply disappointed by our Arab and Muslim leaders.  Despite their speeches and their summits, they have not taken any action in response to the war waged by the Israelis in Palestine.  This shameful Arab silence is aimed at pleasing President Bush.  Displeasing President Bush will in turn upset Sharon and the Zionists and therefore deprive President Bush of a chance at re-election.”


“The Difference Between Heroism And Terrorism”


Nabeel Al-Fadl wrote in independent Al-Watan (8/11):  “Why are we not wailing for the death of six innocent Israeli children (who died in the Jerusalem explosion) like we did for Mohammed Al-Durrah?  Their murderer stood by watching them smile as he detonated himself.  This was a cowardly act.  On the other hand, we salute the Palestinian who used his machine gun to shoot at the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s headquarters.  This was a heroic act that targeted the Israeli war machine.  Blasting a restaurant packed with civilians and children, however, is a form of cheap terrorism.  It is shameful that some people are taking pride in such an action.  This explosion and its victims will only reflect a negative image of Arabs and Palestinians.”


"President Bush And The Palestinians"


Yacoub Yousef Al-Hejji asserted in independent Al-Qabas (8/9):  “President Bush and his entourage are giving much consideration to the upcoming American elections.  They see no harm in sacrificing Palestine, its people, and any relations America may have with the Arabs or Muslims in return for Jewish votes.  Sharon has and continues to use this weakness to the extreme.  There has never been a weaker President in the American administration than Bush Jr.  Apache helicopters are massacring Palestinians in the streets and the American media is totally biased towards Israel.  Even American Vice-President Dick Cheney, the man we thought was a defender of truth and virtue, has also shown indifference towards Arabs and Muslims.  He is satisfied with Sharon’s war against Palestinian civilians living under the occupation.  We are deeply disappointed by the American president and his entourage.”  


"Continuing Confrontations And Differences In American Policy"


Shafeeq Al-Ghabra, Director of the Kuwait Information Office, wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/8):  "The Americans are beginning to realize that confronting Saddam’s regime cannot be accomplished in light of the intifada and the on-going violence.  They are also beginning to realize that the Palestinian front needs to calm before a new American policy on Iraq can be formed.  Continuing the struggle without seeking a solution means a continuation of violence, chaos and military operations.  This struggle will exhaust the Arab countries morally, politically and militarily and result in (Arab) spite against American interests.  It is in America’s interest to let go of its hesitation and to prevent further deterioration of the situation by freezing settlements and moving towards serious negotiations.”


"Those Who Live Long"


Fouad Al-Hashem wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/8):  “The Israeli war waged using Apache fighters did not injure the leaders of the Palestinian Authority.  They are enjoying long lives simply because Israel feels that keeping them alive serves its interests.  The Palestinian people should slay these traitors who did not raise a finger to avenge the death of their fellow Palestinians.  Only then can Palestinians dedicate themselves to fighting their Zionist enemy.  Only then will they fight one enemy, instead of two.”


"What Is He (Arafat) Doing In Damascus?"


Abdul-Amir Al-Turki wrote in independent Al-Seyassa (8/7):  “Sharon’s actions are not acknowledged by the international community, neither are they part of America’s program for creating a Middle East peace that would serve American interests.  Sharon, therefore, represents the extreme end of Israel’s objectives.…  Sharon is using force to compel Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to accept the existence of the Hebrew state and to accept living there as second class citizens.  Are there Palestinian parties in agreement with Sharon’s plan?  Does Arafat accept this plan in return for maintaining his position a chairman of an autonomous Palestinian Authority that is completely subjugated to the will of the Hebrew state?”


“Suicide Operations Are The Answer”


Salah Al-Fadli wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/7):  “Suicide operations undertaken by the heroes of the intifada have instilled a constant state of fear in the heart of Israeli society.  The American administration’s attempts to 'calm' this fear, despite its former position as a mere bystander, prove the strong impact made by these operations....  Suicide operations are an effective weapon that should be used by the Palestinians to confront Zionist barbarism.”


QATAR:  "American Coma"


Semi-independent Al-Raya asserted (8/14):  "By not being involved in the peace process the Bush administration is trying to look different from the Clinton administration.  From the beginning, the Americans have fought to exclude Russia and Europe from the peace process.  They wanted to be the solo player in the region.  Suddenly they decided to quit after Sharon got elected.  The Americans have lost their sight of the problem.  They are in a coma."


"Animals Of Israel"


Khalid Darwish wrote in semi-independent Al-Watan (8/14):  "Jedon Ezra, Israeli Deputy of the Interior Ministry, called the Palestinians 'animals.'  No Ezra, you Israelis are the animals, and Sharon is the biggest animal because he gave the green light to animals like you to kill the Palestinians and occupy more land.  These actions are being carried out with the blessing of the United States."


"America, Pizza And Suicide Bombings"


Mazen Hamad, columnist for semi-independent Al-Watan, judged (8/11):  "The United States of America is responsible for the last suicide bombing in a pizza joint in Tel Aviv.  The Americans insist on staying away from the Middle East crisis.  Bush said that when both parties put an end to the violence, the United States will step in. This means that the United States is giving Israel the upper hand.  We interpret the American position as support for Israel's daily killings of the Palestinians." 


"Time To Say Good-Bye To Arafat"


Ebtesam Al-Saad, columnist for semi-independent Al-Watan, argued (8/5):  "Since the Oslo agreement...three U.S. presidents and five Israeli prime ministers have been in office.  Eight new faces in the American and the Israeli administrations while the Palestinian faces remain the same.  If you conclude that this is an invitation for Arafat to step aside and save what remains of the Palestinian political legacy, then so be it....  The Palestinian question needs new blood and new faces that are not bound by humiliating agreements.  We need new leadership that can see beyond its personal interests.  It's time to say good-bye to Arafat."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Mere Condemnation Is Not Enough"


In the view of conservative Al-Nidwa (8/2):  "Washington has acknowledged that the Israeli attacks on Nablus were an extreme escalation and provocation, and it has made efforts (to restore) calm all the more difficult.... Despite the U.S. president's call for halting the cycle of violence, Washington remains biased towards the interests of Israel....  Breaking the cycle of violence requires reining in the aggressor....  Condemnation alone will not deter Israel's policy of eliminating the Palestinian Authority....  The first step (must be)...the deployment of an international monitoring force agreed upon by all powers.  But even in this matter, America's partiality has helped to promote the latest Israeli violence, which claimed the lives of 10 victims in one blow."


TUNISIA:  "America Is Responsible"


Co-editor-in-chief Fatma Karray declared in independent Ash-Shourouq (8/10):  "If it were not for the United States giving the green light to Israel, no Israeli military escalation against the Palestinian people would have taken place....  If it were not for the United States, no Israeli would ever have dared to profane our holy sites in Jerusalem....   If it were not for the U.S. support for Israel, Israel would never have dominated the Arabs by its military technology.  What happened in West Jerusalem is an inevitable consequence of the provocative American policy towards Arabs....  The recent suicide operation in Jerusalem is not only a reply to Israeli mass eradication of the Palestinians, but it is also a reply to U.S. injustice towards the Palestinian people...  This operation is a natural reply to Vice President Dick Cheney's declaration, which humiliates people who are struggling to reach their independence."


"Powell's Mistakes"


Journalist Jameleddine El Hajji commented in independent, French-language Le Quotidien (8/7):  "Never before has the situation in the Middle East known such a dramatic escalation of violence as in recent days.  Even Egypt and Jordan, which have 'strategic' peace agreements with Israel, have issued multiple warnings to Washington about this situation.  These various warnings addressed to the American Godfather have been perceived by public opinion as more a cry for help than anything else....  Now, Mr. Richard Cheney says he understands the assassination of PA resistance leaders to be not at all surprising.  Not surprising also is the declaration of Mr. Powell, in which he judges it to be still 'premature' to send international observers.  Indeed, neither Mr. Cheney nor Mr. Powell is sure of anything.  Except for one thing, which is that Congress fulfills more than 80 percent of the wishes of the American Jewish minority....  For the time being, the American executive branch attempts to calm the wrath of the legislators by new supplies of weapons to Israel, while waiting to define new diplomatic and media directions for the next phase of 'Pax Americana'."



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