April 10, 2002
IS POWELL ON A 'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE'?
** Israeli conservatives argue that an IDF
withdrawal would undercut deterrence; liberals say pullout would provided
needed PR victory
** Arabs contend that the litmus test for Powell
mission is an Israeli withdrawal
** Arabs struggle with how to channel pervasive
discontent with U.S. policy
** European/Canadian relief at U.S.
"re-engagement" was increasingly overtaken by despair, as Washington's
demands fall on "deaf" ears
** Western condemnation of Sharon heats up,
critics worry over fate of Palestinian civilians
** Europeans warn of damage to Israel's--and
ISRAEL: Predictably, liberal and
conservative analysts differed on the issue of an IDF pullout from the West
Bank. Conservatives stressed the need to
maintain deterrent capability. They
praised the "IDF's moral code of conduct" and called on the nation to
show more resolve. One conservative
columnist allowed, however, that PM Sharon "could demonstrate
flexibility" on IDF withdrawal if PA leader Arafat "condemns terror
and unambiguously pledges to cease the fire." Liberals lamented that Israel is losing
"the diplomatic and media battle in the world," blaming Sharon's
"hard-line" anti-terror tactics.
On another front, two independent Ha'aretz editorials slammed
Sharon's "anachronistic" position on Israeli settlements in
media continued to examine Secretary Powell's tour against the backdrop of
widespread disillusionment with U.S. policy in the region. U.S. appeals for Israel to withdraw from the
West Bank were widely dismissed as a "face-saving" ruse by President
Bush. Powell's "dawdling"
mission was criticized for allowing Sharon to mop up operations in the West
Bank according to his own schedule.
Palestinian dailies and others warned that the IDF's incursions would
only stiffen the resolve of the "Palestinian Masada" and that
Powell's success hinged on an Israeli pullout from the West Bank. Writer after writer asked Powell to meet with
PA leader Arafat but a rare piece in a Saudi daily, arguing that the
Palestinian cause is larger than one personality, asked Arafat to step
down. Nearly everywhere, an underlying
theme was that Arabs should "re-evaluate" relations with Israel and
the U.S. at this juncture. Syrian
dailies led the charge for a reversal of the process of normalizing relations
with Tel Aviv and a re-institution of the Arab boycott against Israel. On U.S.-Arab relations, a Saudi daily refuted
the view that the only way for Arabs to influence U.S. policy is to boycott
U.S. goods and/or impose an oil embargo.
EUROPE/CANADA: Despite staunch support for an urgent U.S.
intervention, forecasts for the Powell mission have grown more pessimistic by
the day. "Rarely has a goodwill
mission so resembled a mission impossible" was a common theme. Commentators noted that no one in the region
appeared eager to comply with Bush's demands--be it for an IDF pullback or Arab
renunciations of suicide bombing.
"What happens if the U.S. says jump and nobody moves?" mused a
Canadian writer. Some frustrated
editorialists blamed intransigent leadership on both sides, concluding that
peace will be elusive "as long as Arafat and Sharon remain in
power." But, with the exception of
a few conservative UK and Canadian outlets that argued for greater Arab
accountability, analysts focused their ire on the Israeli government and
Sharon's "brutal" offensive.
Condemnation was often coupled with increasing alarm about the fate of
Palestinian civilians. Turkish writers,
for example, referred to "massacres" in Palestinian cities, while W.
European editorialists cited unconfirmed death tolls in the hundreds and spoke
of the "denial of basic human rights" in the occupied
a majority of papers judged that the U.S. has acted "belatedly" in
the Middle East, a few optimistic voices had "high hopes" for the
secretary's mission. Countering the
prevailing view in this region as well that Powell had embarked on a
"mission impossible," writers in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and the
Philippines argued that his visit was "likely to lead to a cease-fire and
perhaps a resumption of negotiations."
offered no rays of hope for an end to the carnage. Both Indian and Pakistani dailies held that
the U.S. had no apparent "authority" over Sharon, with many charging
that U.S. "dilly-dallying" had left Sharon free to continue his
operation. A Peshawar paper stated:
"An unprecedented reign of tyranny has been let loose against a whole
population...and a blinkered Bush [is] ready to give the marauding occupying
forces more time to carry out their malicious job." In the eyes of most, Powell has been
dispatched on a belated, and probably doomed, mission to bring peace to the
pro-Palestinian pieces called on Israel to end its occupation. The U.S. and the international community were
asked to apply economic pressure, i.e. boycotts and withholding of financial
aid, in order to persuade Israel not to commit "genocide."
number of leading dailies in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico hailed the
announcement of Powell's trip, calling it a "step forward" for the
Bush administration that might bring about, if not a "peace of the
brave," the "peace of the exhausted." Critics in these countries and elsewhere,
however, charged that the timing of Powell's itinerary had given Sharon another
week to "expand" his "war" against the Palestinians.
Kathleen Brahney, Gail Burke, Katherine Starr
EDITORS' NOTE: This report is based on 181 reports from 67
countries, April 5-10. Editorial
excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
ISRAEL: "Power And
Independent Ha'aretz editorialized
(4/10): "The Government must order
the IDF to bring the operation to an end and bring about an orderly
withdrawal.... The more the Palestinians
come to believe in their power, the sooner they are likely to renew their mass
terror attacks, which will lead to an escalated response. However, the time has come to consider
broader issues--political and international ones--to allow the American
Secretary of State to wield his influence in Arab capitals and to recruit broad
support for an attempt to calm the region.... It is also important to look into
the fundamental error in the attitude of the Sharon government: the lack of a
political force operating in parallel with the military one. That is the basic reason for Israel's failure
in the diplomatic and media battle in the world. As long as Israel under the leadership of
Sharon is viewed as taking a hard-line political stand, the army's battles will
not be sufficient. Israel has shown its power.
It must also show its wisdom."
"Powell Is Taking A Chance"
Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in
pluralist, popular Maariv (4/10): "Sharon would err if he acceded
to the President's request to immediately withdraw on a large scale before the
vital goals over which Israel went to war are achieved. But he could demonstrate flexibility and
prevent a confrontation with Bush if he receives clarifications that Arafat has
indeed acceded to the U.S. president's repeated demands that he condemn terror
and unambiguously pledge to cease the fire....
Powell will have to convince the Palestinians that they should not expect
the United States to pressure Israel....
While...Arafat had agreed to accept the Tenet and Mitchell principles as
a basis for negotiations, Israel now hears that he no longer accepts those
principles. Should the U.S. give in to
the Palestinians and abandon those principles, it would only strengthen the
credo of Arafat, who had advised Saddam on the eve of the Gulf War: 'Don't give
up, be obstinate--the Americans will eventually compromise with you.'"
"The Price Of Our Morality"
Popular, pluralist Maariv editorialized
(4/10): "Israelis can begin thinking today about the war after the
war: The public relations war...in which
Israel can be expected to be placed in the international defendant's seat for
its acts in Operation Protective Wall.
The first shots in this war were fired in the course of the last two
days in which allegations were made about killing and destruction, a failure to
treat wounded people, civilian casualties and other allegations that will be
accompanied by harsh visual documents, when the television screens around the
world become filled with the spectacle of dead bodies lined up, destroyed
houses and crying, distraught relatives.
Before that begins, Israel would do well to say to the world and to
herself on the day after the day that was soaked with the blood of her soldiers
in Jenin, that the casualties she suffered Tuesday were the painful price she
paid for her insistence on fighting morally....
On this day, in which the heart grieves for Israel's dead and Israelis'
heads are bowed before their graves, Israel has the right to be proud of the
IDF's moral code of conduct."
"The Awful Price Of Restraint"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post
editorialized (4/10): "One must take a very elevated view of the
Palestinians to avoid drawing the likeliest conclusion: that Palestinian
fighters are using civilians, churches, mosques, and ambulances--that is,
everything that's holy, or nearly so--to avoid a fight they themselves have
picked. And like a woman who repeatedly
slaps her husband only to cry foul when he raises his fists, they are counting
on Israel's reluctance to bring the full weight of its military might to bear
against them as they continue to draw Israeli blood, one deadly slap at a
time.... Yet when Israel acts--in
self-defense, after six consecutive days of suicide attacks, with a degree of
restraint and openness not exactly common among 'besiegers'--the world
convulses. The sad irony here is that,
were Israel a crueler state, the world might criticize it less."
"Don't Tear The Rope"
Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass
circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/8): "Since the seventies,
Israel has headed the list of U.S. aid recipients.... This money built military
power, security, living standard, and unfortunately also allowed the building
of the settlements.... From time to
time, the United States has paid a price for this alliance.... Along the years, Israeli governments have
learned that they could stand up to confrontations with U.S. governments....
Nevertheless, these confrontations have their limits. In the way Israel expects the United States
to consider its interests, the United States expects Israel to consider its own
interests. The rope can be stretched but
it must not be torn. Especially now when
Israel is so isolated."
"A Lack Of Vision"
Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (4/9):
"In his address to the Knesset yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave
poignant expression to the profound sense of pain experienced by all Israelis
during the wave of terrorism that swept the country during Passover. Many also identified with the revulsion and
condemnation that he expressed toward Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat, as the prime minister on the podium exposed documents showing alleged
direct links between the most senior levels of the P.A. and the worst terrorist
elements. The Prime Minister's evocation
of a 'bureaucracy of murder' was well founded.... [But] when he turned to the
diplomatic horizon, Sharon put his anachronistic political thinking and
vocabulary on show. He 'reached out his hand,'
offered to meet 'moderate' Arab leaders -- 'unconditionally, and
anywhere.' It was as if Sharon wanted to
turn the clocks of history back more than a decade. But then, as now, the real question is not
with whom to talk or where, but about what....
In his offer to meet with Arab leaders, and his welcome--in
principle--for the peace proposal made by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Sharon
showed that to a certain extent he was able to adapt his rhetoric to the
international effort to widen the circle of those involved in discussing an
Israeli-Palestinian agreement. But what
remains clear is that only a concrete Israeli concession on the issue of
settlements, no matter what the negotiating framework, will facilitate any
significant political progress. The prime minister did not sound like someone
who recognizes that most ineluctable truth."
"An Alternative To Sharon's Policies"
Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (4/8):
"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a juncture requiring the
Labor Party to leave the government and take up the leadership of the Israeli
peace camp, which prefers peace over territories.... Until now it has reasoned that its
participation in the Sharon government derived from a desire to moderate the
government's decisions and prevent war; it has failed in that mission. Now it is going to be a partner to a split
between Israel and the United States.
After the extreme right joins the coalition, Labor's weight in the
government will be inherently reduced, if not eliminated entirely, whenever a
vote takes place.... Labor must present
a clear alternative to Sharon's policies, which seek to maintain Israel's grip
on the territories, and must challenge those policies in the Knesset and public
forums. The alternative must present a
vision of a country that wants to live in security inside the 1967 borders, and
retain its character as a Jewish and democratic state."
"U.S. Silence Supports Israel's Mischief"
Independent Al-Quds maintained (4/10):
"The Israeli stalling in its supposedly immediate withdrawal from
Palestinian cities, is supported by American silence. The Israeli forces with their tanks and
warplanes are committing mischief throughout the Palestinian areas with no
justification but to kill more innocent Palestinian civilians. The postponement
of the arrival of Secretary Powell to Palestine is nothing more than a
reflection of this dubious American silence.
By taking advantage of ambiguous American statements, Israel is trying
to prolong its presence in the Palestinian territories. This will undoubtedly lead to the destruction
of the peace process and undermining any effort to achieve a just and peaceful
"Sharon Chooses War Over Peace"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (4/9):
"Whoever listens to Israeli Prime Minister Sharon as he talks about his
intentions and plans for the Palestinian people, will not help but realize that
the man has chosen the path of destruction over peace and stability.... The Israeli forces may be able to occupy
defenseless Palestinian towns and to detain hundreds of thousands of vulnerable
Palestinian civilians...,but these forces will not be able to take away the
deep-rooted Palestinian aspirations for national rights and ambitions. International silence will not last
forever.... Even in the United States,
there will soon be loud American voices calling for changing the mistaken
policies of the current American administration, which contradict the
principles on which America was founded. These voices will also demand that the
administration build its policies based on the American Constitution, which
calls for defending the victims of aggression and helping them to achieve
freedom and self-determination."
"Bush's Speech And Powell's Visit"
Bilal Al-Hasan commented in independent Al-Quds
(4/9): "If we carefully consider in President Bush's speech [on the Middle
East], from a strictly political perspective, ignoring the humiliating remarks
against Arafat and the statements about Palestinian terrorism challenging the
'great democracy of Israel,' the speech actually includes a few good
points. It called for implementing a
cease-fire, completing a withdrawal of Israeli forces, resuming joint political
and security talks, and establishing a Palestinian state based on UN Resolution
242.... However, one has to be wary
because the situation may go in the opposite direction. Secretary Powell mustn't think that he is
coming to the region believing that Sharon has taught the Palestinians a lesson
and that they are now so obedient that they will accept what they have rejected
in the past."
"Palestinians Need U.S. Protection"
Independent Al-Quds opined (4/8):
"Have the United States and, what is known as, the free world gone blind,
unable to see the Israeli army fire their tank shells against innocent
civilians, including children, women and elderly?... Washington had rallied to rescue the Muslims
of Bosnia and Kosovo and considered such help as a virtue and a good
cause. So, why not help the
Palestinians? Aren't they human beings too?
If the United States wants the Palestinians to move toward peace, then
it has to protect them from Israeli aggression, instead of providing Israel
with political cover and a green light to carry out its aggression.... The United States may be Israel's best
friend, but it has no justification, whatsoever, for bringing on the anger of
the Palestinian people, who have never wronged America in any way."
"Freeze All Commercial Contracts With Americans"
Semi-independent Al-Ayam's Sawsan
Al-Shaer (4/2): "The American people should pay attention to the mutual
interests that they share with us, the Arabs, because if they care about Israel
more than they care about their interests in the region, then it is time to say
to America that we cannot continue our partnership. The responsibility lies with our governments
and peoples to end or at least to freeze all commercial contracts with American
companies and factories. Nothing but
interests can be used to effectively pressure the Americans."
"Boycott Is Our Jihad Against American
Semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij's Sayed
Zahra wrote (4/1): "President Bush
has announced war on all the Arabs without exception. Since our leaders cannot take any practical
decisions, I call on the Arab peoples to boycott anything that is related to
America. Boycott is our way of going to
Jihad against the barbaric American terrorism."
"Is He Always Late?"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram's
columnist Salah Eddin Hafez observed (4/10):
"Whatever the aims of Secretary Powell's tour, it is happening very
late for calculated reasons.... The
current U.S. secretary's visit is intentionally based on the diplomacy of
vindication. The aim of this procrastination is to allow the crisis to escalate
to a maximum degree...until the savior arrives or to allow the crisis to ignite
to facilitate negotiation and imposition of a solution.... Powell did not come
late as some may think; but, he came at the time the American policy deemed as
appropriate for commencing the mission of rebuilding the situation after Sharon
had finished.... If the American-Israeli
plot has succeeded so far, it is largely because of our [Arab] failure not only
to manage the crisis but also to understand the basic rules-of-the-game."
"Welcome To Powell"
Opposition Al Wafd's columnist Mohammed
Amin maintained (4/10): "The focus is on the meeting between Arafat and
Powell as if this is the final goal.
Bush, Cheney and Powell were the ones that encouraged Sharon to pursue
aggression because President Bush said that he understood the Israeli motives. What will the Arab countries say to
Powell? They should abandon
demonstrations and, taking the example of Belgium, should sever relations with
Israel and like EU countries pressure Israel by economic ways."
"Powell's Mission Is To Save Bush Not
Opposition Al Wafd's columnist Gamal Abu
El Fetouh stated (4/10): "Why didn't Powell start with Israel and stop the
massacre in Palestine?.... In fact, Bush put himself in a very difficult
situation when he asked Sharon to withdraw and Sharon refused. Bush has very limited options for pressuring
Sharon. If he resorts to the pressure of
American assistance, he will have to confront the Israeli lobby in
Congress. Powell came to the region to
rescue President Bush from embarrassment after Sharon's rejection of
withdrawal. But Prince Abdullah and King
Mohammed of Morocco said the United States is threatening its own interests and
is losing her credibility in the region because of her bias towards
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar's
editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar maintained (4/8): "After his talks with
Blair, Bush phoned Sharon to ask him to withdrawal from the Palestinian
territories. What the media did not
announce is that the American president told the beast Sharon that the [American]
green light for him to finish off the Palestinian Authority is over.... If anything, this farcical dialogue between
Bush and Sharon signifies American collaboration with the killer.... Can Sharon dare turn down a serious demand by
the United States, the benefactor of Israel?.... Given the fact that Powell is
starting his tour by visiting Egypt and Saudi Arabia, instead of heading
directly to the occupied territories...we realize that Washington responded to
Sharon's request to be given an opportunity to kill the maximum number of
Palestinians and destroy their infrastructure.... Where is the UNSC?"
"Powell's Tour And The Israeli Vision"
Daily columnist Sultan Hattab wrote this op-ed
piece in semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (4/10): "The policy of aggression adopted by the
U.S. administration while it supports Israel and portrays its act of aggression
as an act of self-defense makes Iraq’s stand look as if it is moving in
response to the Arab street or as if it is the only regime that is standing
against the U.S. Administration and Israel. Hence, the moderate Arab parties’
mission will be quite tough if the U.S. administration does not quickly change
its stand.... Colin Powell, who is
currently visiting the region, will not get a reception that is any better than
the one Cheney received, when the Arabs rejected a strike against Iraq. Powell should not be carrying papers and
drafts for an Israeli vision. He must
listen to the Arab status quo and realize that selling Israel more time to
continue its aggression is not in the U.S. interest. His visit to Morocco,
Cairo, Amman, and other cities before an Israeli withdrawal and before he sits
with Arafat, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the
Palestinian Authority will make matters worse.
It is now time to stop U.S. and European visits that are coming to
defend Israel and to stand by its side and to exert pressure on Arab capitals
to pressure Arafat.”
"Peace Has Led To A State Of Arab Weakness"
Chief Editor Taher Udwan wrote on the back page
of independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/9): “After a long process during which they have
resorted to peace as an only option, the Arabs now find themselves before a
bitter fact that the road to peace has not led to peace but to a state of
humiliating Arab weakness against an Israeli military power on the loose--one
that has no respect to any agreements--while the U.S. godfather of peace
provides it with sponsorship and support.
Israel seems to have a different definition of peace that contradicts
human and international principles and norms. This is because its government
has a military power available in its hands, thanks only to U.S. military,
technical,and financial support.”
"George Not Abu Akram"
Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh, prominent liberal
lawyer and former editor-in-chief of Arabic-language Al-Watan, wrote in
independent Al-Qabas (4/6): "The American president issued a new
initiative that calls on Israel to stop its attacks against Palestinian
lands...and said that Arafat betrayed the hopes of his people. The Palestinian people did not delegate Bush
to evaluate their elected President....
President Bush also called for putting an end to what he labeled as
suicide bombings, yet he knows very well that Arafat is besieged in two rooms
while awaiting the finalization of interrogating the innocent at Guantanamo and
the arrest of bin Laden.... The American president can issue orders to anyone
around the world except Israel, which has a special status in the United
States. That is why the Bush initiative
is as good as dead in light of the (ensuing) Israeli rejection."
"The Escalation Is Against Lebanon!"
An editorial by Gebran Tueni in moderate,
anti-Syrian An-Nahar held (4/10):
“We say frankly, stop playing with fire in south Lebanon. We say this to Hizballah and its Secretary
General.... We say this to the
Palestinian factions.... We say this to
the Lebanese Authorities, and we say this to the Syrian command in Lebanon and
Damascus.... We say this because the
south and Sheb’a are neither the ownership of Hizballah nor the Palestinian
factions.... Playing with fire is a
crime against Lebanon. The Government
has to listen to those southerners who own land in Kafarshouba and Hasbaya and
other areas.... Allow us to say that
President Lahoud...can indeed ask Hizballah to stop the operations in the south
at this time.”
"Powell’s Mission And The 'Palestinian
The English-language Daily Star opined
(4/10): “Secretary Powell mouthed some refreshing words...stressing
President...Bush’s support for Palestinian independence and declaring that
America was prepared to send observers to the region.... Powell acknowledged, for instance, that it
should not be expected that the suicide bombings, which prompted the Israeli
attack, would not resume. Washington
must do more, however, than tacitly recognize the counterproductive nature of
Sharon’s brutality: It must work quickly
to address the conditions that ignited the intifada in the first
place..... Powell served two tours of
duty...in Vietnam during which...he was decorated several times. Surely that degree of physical bravery
indicates a level of moral courage sufficient to back up his words with action
by convincing his president that the domestic political costs of pressuring
Sharon to make peace are a burden that must be borne. The missing ingredient for a long-sought
peace is a U.S. willingness to help end Palestinian resistance by working to
ensure the realization of legitimate Palestinian aspirations."
"Powell Should Include Arafat ln His Consultations"
A front-page commentary by Fouad Bahja in
government coalition, Arabic-language USFP party Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki
read (4/9): "His Majesty has
renewed to Mr. Powell Morocco's determination to reinforce cooperation and
consultation at all levels of the historical relations between the two
countries. On the same occasion, King Mohammed VI has strongly condemned the siege
imposed on Arafat and his aides and called on Powell to make sure that the U.S.
does its best for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian
territories. Our country is not only a
first phase of Powell's tour to the area but also represents a hope for
stopping Israeli massacres in Palestinian territories. Arab circles hope to convince the U.S.
official of the necessity to include President Arafat in his talks."
"Will Colin Powell Meet With Aicha?"
An inside page commentary by Khalid Alioua in
Government coalition, Arabic-language USFP Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki said
(4/7): "If you don't meet with
Arafat, what could other Arab leaders offer you. Do they have decision-making in Cairo, Amman
and Riyadh? Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah
and Crown Prince Abdullah have nothing to offer you. If Powell's visit aims at exerting more
pressure on Arafat, then U.S. initiative is doomed to failure. Occupation
breeds resistance. Ms. Aicha, who lost
her son Mahmoud, 22 years old, in a martyr operation, stated, I have wept a lot
over my son, but now I see that he died for a cause and I have other sons for
the same cause."
"Outcome…Premises And Conclusions"
An Omani Intellectual, Abdullah Al Ghailani,
wrote in semi-independent Al-Watan (4/8): “The Arab people are supposed to give up hope
in an impartial American intervention except in only one case, i.e., the
American vital interests correlate with the American practical stand. Unless
this condition is fulfilled, the American stand that supports Israeli
aggression infinitely will never change. It seems that the Arab political
leadership is--voluntarily or involuntarily--unable to adjust this equation.
Accordingly, this leadership awakes showing the diplomacy of begging and
kneeling at the threshold of the White House. Each wave of Jewish aggression is
associated with increase in dissatisfaction against the Arab weakness. This now
forms trends that strongly call for making essential changes in the mechanisms
of struggle against the Jews.... Finally,
we would do nothing but kneel for these people and their growing will ingness
to sacrifice and martyrdom. This is the
wisdom of Allah that the spirit of sacrifice would never fade.”
"Lack Of Sincerity By The U.S."
The semi-independent, English-langauge Gulf
Times held (4/9): "The U.S. government has been left looking confused,
hypocritical and weak as Secretary of State Colin Powell dawdles through
Africa, Europe, and Arabia on his way to Israel, urging Arab leaders to rein in
Arafat and issuing requests for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian
cities. The White House is genuinely
concerned about what is going on in the Occupied Territories, but its concern
appears to be not the persecution of the Palestinians but the effect that
Israel's aggression is having on U.S. foreign policy interests, most notably
the 'get Saddam' campaign. If there was
ever any doubt about that, it was dispelled on Sunday night when Secretary
Powell responded to Ariel Sharon's refusal to halt military operations against
the Palestinians by saying: 'I'm pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is
expediting his operations.' The message
that sends to Sharon is that he can be as brutal as he likes to the
Palestinians as long as he completes his plans quickly. President Bush responded to Sharon's utter
disregard for U.S. appeals by announcing that he expected a withdrawal
"now" and that "now means now" ... just as it did yesterday
and the day before. But the President's
insistence did not extend to threatening to suspend payment of the massive sums
U.S. taxpayers donate to Israel each year."
"The Cowboys And The New Nazis In
Columnist Mohammed Al-Malki wrote in
semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Raya (4/7): "The American
government has proven that it was involved in the planning of this massacre of
Palestinians. It was planned during
Cheney's visit to the region. When
Cheney was delivered a big 'No' on attacking Iraq, he became angry and gave the
green light to Sharon to start the second phase on the U.S. war against terror.
It was pre-planned and agreed upon by the cowboys in Washington and the new
Nazis in Tel Aviv."
"Arafat Must Give Up Authority"
Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan had this
op-ed by Ali Said Al-Ghamdi (4/10):
"It would be quite difficult to ask Chairman Arafat to give up
authority, but such a step will be necessary in the shadow of the current
tragic circumstances. This is not
defeatism so much as it is a truth that cannot be doubted. It is enough for Chairman Arafat that he
carried the burden of his people's stand for more than four decades. He fought until he achieved Oslo, and will
remain an historical symbol of the creation of a new Palestinian state. His giving up of authority will not diminish
the great history he has made. On the
contrary, he will remain in his people's hearts forever. Can he decide to leave 'the Peace of Brave'
as bravely as he entered it? To
conclude, the Palestinian issue is not a one-man issue, and it would not be
rational to block the solution of this issue because of Arafat's
"Oil Embargo.... Between Reason And
London-based, pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat
commented (4/10): "To play with
petroleum is harmful, for two reasons.
First, crude oil is not so important as it was in the past.... This is
because most of the great industrial countries are using natural gas and atomic
energy to generate electricity.
Therefore, this (an oil embargo) would not be a big problem. Second, most international opinion is on the
side of the Palestinians.... The world outside the Middle East will not
understand this collective punishment.... Certainly, Israel will be happy if
OPEC embargos oil; it will seize the opportunity to accuse OPEC of terrorism as
it manipulates the market against the West.
The leaders of OPEC have taken the right and the wise decision. Banning oil would be harmful both politically
London-based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat's Riyadh
bureau chief opined (4/10):
"Demonstrations in the Arab world are not an indication of
democracy and freedom of speech.... But the Arab governments can permit them,
in order to defuse the riots (usually) associated with them, to educate people
in how to demonstrate in a civilized way, and use them as a means of expression
and release (of frustrations) and also as a way of advancing political
issues. Certainly, Palestine will not be
liberated by demonstrations and marches, but to welcome Powell with large
demonstrations perhaps would make him realize that the words he hears from
politicians behind closed doors are also an expression of the street's
"Powell's Difficult Test"
Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan held
(4/10): "Powell is aware that he faces a difficult if not impossible task,
especially given the present Arab disappointment following the U.S.'s
unacceptable and uncharacteristic bias in favor of Israeli interests.... How
will Powell break the ice? The Arab's
shaky trust in U.S. foreign policy means Washington's promises have lost the
effect they once had. Arabs have become all too familiar with the
Administration's sweet promises every time it needs them, only to discover that
what actually takes place on the ground is the opposite. Therefore, Powell must come up with a more
effective way of regaining Arab trust.
Powell faces a difficult task--either he succeeds in implementing a
cease-fire and in reining in Israel, or he returns empty-handed, allowing the
complex situation to deteriorate into the foreseeable disaster. This would make his handling of the current
crisis a waste of time."
Jeddah-based, moderate Saudi Gazette held
(4/10): "Ariel Sharon, under enormous international pressure, has once
again hoodwinked the world by staging the troops withdrawal drama.... Yet, only
a credulous President George W. Bush would declare that the Israeli withdrawal
was a beginning. If anything, it was the
beginning of ethnic cleansing -- the holocaust of this century. Ironically, on Tuesday Israel 'commemorated'
holocaust at the hands of the Nazis by equally mercilessly massacring more than
2,800 (sic) innocent Palestinian civilians, a large number of them being
children and infants, during 11 days since March 29. Still, world leaders like Bush argue that
Israelis, not the Palestinians, are waging a war against terrorism....American
and Israeli officials do not accept statements by Palestinian officials as
reflective of the correct situation.... US Secretary of State Colin Powell is
wasting his time outside the scene of the catastrophe, as if he does not know
the opinion of Arab leaders and people. The absence of any urgency on the part
of the U.S. compels the Arabs to think that Powell is giving Sharon time to
finish off his dirty job quickly."
"Meanings Of Powell's Shuttle Trip"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen
asserted (4/10): "The U.S. president stated bluntly that he means what he
says with regard to an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities.
But nothing has materialized on the ground. Rather, Sharon's government
expanded the cycle of bloodshed, has occupied more Palestinian towns,
intensified the siege on other towns, and escalated the genocide without any
American response.... What is taking
place in the Palestinian territories indicates clearly that the U.S. has great
moral responsibility for the Palestinian blood that is being shed around the
clock. The same applies to European
countries, especially Britain which blindly follows American policy. These
countries deafen the world with noise about democracy and human rights, but do
not even make a move about what is taking place (in the Occupied Territories)
and are content to watch from a distance!"
Government-owned Al-Ba'th said (4/10):
"Betting on an effective American position vis-à-vis the Middle East
problem and the Arab-Zionist conflict will not succeed in the current
circumstances with the military imbalance in favor of Israel. The world cannot
make any serious move if Arabs do not take the initiative and shoulder their
"Activating Boycott As A Weapon"
Government-owned Tishreen editorialized
(4/9): "If the international
community shoulders responsibility for the escalation in Zionist crimes, then
the Arabs' responsibility is greater and graver. Those Arab countries who still have
relations, communications, and commercial ties with Israel have not severed
these relations or closed down the enemy's (Israel's) offices; those pools of
(Palestinian) blood have not moved their consciences.... Who should boycott Israel? Europe, who contributed in the establishment
of this racist entity,...or the Arabs whom Zionists have not only butchered and
displaced by the millions--Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese--but also
occupied their lands by force?"
Editor-in-Chief M'Hamed Ben Youssef wrote in
independent French-language weekly Tunis Hebdo (4/8): "The fact that Zinni has been charged by
the White House to meet the Palestinian leader, in his small location
surrounded by the tanks, proves that the axis, Tel Aviv-Washington, has not
found an alternative to Arafat. Hence, it is a first pocketed dividend and a
promising sign to the continuation of the resistance. If Powell, while visiting
the Middle East will do so--meeting Arafat--we would then talk for good, about
Arafat's victory. But we have not yet reached
this phase! Most important is the fact
that in most of the capitals, Arafat remains unavoidable. No Palestinian official from his entourage
has shown a will to replace him. He
remains the master of the situation....
The U.S. Department of State and the different American intelligence services
are in a process to consider and reconsider all the world's reactions, in
particular the ones coming from the Arab-Muslim countries...in order to come to
a 'useful' conclusion that throws more light on the White House's eventual
choices of the project of 'Toppling the Iraqi Regime'. It is a gigantic aggression still under
consideration. It is more a matter of
evaluating the risks of such a military adventure."
"The Battle Of Peace"
According to an editorial in the conservative Times
(4/10): "Nothing could be more
perilous for Israel than such open defiance of an American ultimatum, three
times reiterated.... When red lights
flash in Washington, it is not an option to feign blindness. Sharon is under notice that Washington has no
faith in his strategy of all-out retaliation and will tolerate the damage done
to the broader spectrum of America's Middle East policies no longer.... But piling pressure on Israel, via America,
is not enough: The restoration of
sufficient confidence to make negotiations possible is a two-way street. Arab support, financial as well as
rhetorical, has to end for groups...whose goal is Israel's violent
destruction.... Israel is losing the war
on public opinion.... Arab leaders have
read [Powell] the Riot Act about America's 'double standards' with respect to
terrorism; but they must cease themselves to apply them if this deadly and
destructive confrontation is to end....
For Palestinians...the choice now lies between two wars: against an
embattled Israel, or against the enemies of peace within."
"Time To Get Serious"
The liberal Guardian opined (4/9): "Ignoring U.S., European and regional
demands to desist, Israel continues to pursue a campaign of terror across the
Palestinian territories. Some sensitive
souls might prefer to describe Sharon's actions as a defensive security sweep,
as a targeted military operation, or more fashionably, as a legitimate
contribution to the wider 'war against terrorism.' But when civilians are killed or wounded in
their hundreds, when a generation of children is traumatised, when the feeble
structures of nascent Palestinian statehood are systematically destroyed, when
a whole people is corralled, penned in, humiliated and denied basic human
rights, when even the holiest of religious shrines is transformed into a
battlefield, when hatred and revenge, individual and collective, replaces
reason and decency as the fount of government policy, and when hope is daily
blindfolded, placed before a wall and coldly executed, what other word is there
for this than terror? That Israel has
been provoked, repeatedly and egregiously, is plain. That its own civilians have suffered,
terribly and horrifically, is evident. That it has a right of self-defence,
that it has a right to be angry, that for nearly two years the wounds of its
long-held, well-founded sense of victimhood have reopened and festered is not
in dispute. Yet it is Sharon's peculiar
genius, in dire national circumstances otherwise fully deserving of sympathy,
constantly to transform Israel from righteous victim into unlawful
aggressor. Sharon never loses an
opportunity to lurch into importunity; he always goes too far. Now, like a terrorist set to catch a
terrorist, he has finally completed that desperate, dismal circle. Judging by recent opinion polls inside
Israel, such destructive, almost anarchic behaviour at the top is highly
contagious lower down--and must perforce be quickly isolated. That is the main challenge that
awaits...Colin Powell, when he arrives in Jerusalem.... Powell, chief envoy of a nation solemnly
dedicated to eradicating terror wherever it lurks, must tell Sharon himself to
eschew the paths of terrorism and return to his senses--or stand aside."
The independent Financial Times published
this lead editorial (4/8): "While
the U.S. re-engagement is a hopeful sign, Israelis and Palestinians have been
left on their own for so long that any attempt to contain the conflict now
faces daunting challenges.... Any hope
of restoring calm surely requires the U.S. to be speaking to both sides. The problem is that Mr. Sharon insists--on
the basis of documents whose authenticity it is impossible to verify--that the
Palestinian Authority has sponsored attacks against Israels and must therefore
be dismantled. Closing down the PA
might, indeed, be in Mr. Sharon's interest: He has in any case shown no
inclination to contemplate a political solution to the crisis. But it is not in the interest of the
U.S. Even the State Department believes
that the alternative to the PA is a far more radical leadership. A security arrangement cannot be Mr. Powell's
only goal this week. For a truce to hold
it must be accompanied by the launch of political negotiations that lead
ultimately to the creation of an independent Palestinian state."
"The Law Of Silence”
Gerard Dupuy held in left-of-center Liberation
(4/10): “Sharon does not seem to be
taking the U.S. requests...seriously.…
The law of silence imposed by Sharon and excluding all journalists and
eyewitnesses from the military areas does not facilitate the counting of
Palestinian casualties.… This law of
silence bars us from knowing exactly what is the fate of the civilian
population, opening the door to the most extreme rumors… including rumors of
massacres.... What has been observed by
NGOs, such as hampering medical assistance goes against the Geneva
Convention.... Sharon’s blind confidence
in his military superiority as well as the arrival of bellicose ministers in
his cabinet does not bode well for the operation underway. It is easy to understand therefore why
Secretary Powell is taking his time on his way to Jerusalem. Rarely has a goodwill mission so resembled a
Alexandra Ackoun opined in right-of-center Le Parisien
(4/9): "Are Sharon's words at the
Knesset really a challenge? America's
policy, which has been deliberately kept vague, would indicate that Washington
might have made a deal with the Israeli government giving it enough time to do
as it wishes.... Letting Sharon go to
the end of his plans would in fact be a continuation of Bush's policy: Since September 11, [his] one and only
concern is fighting terrorism. And he
has never made light of his feelings for Arafat."
"State Of Emergency"
Bruno Frappat held in Catholic La Croix
(4/9): "In order to break the circle of violence in the Middle East, the
only third party that can have any effect is the proverbial international
community.... It is no longer enough to
beg the U.S. to come out of its lethargy: proof of its inability to act or of
its duplicity has already been widely confirmed."
Jacques Amalric asserted in left-of-center Liberation
(4/9): "Sharon's obstinacy is
nothing new.... But clearly George W.
Bush has underestimated it... President Bush thought it was enough to speak up
for action to follow... But Bush junior has been challenged and forced to
harshly reiterate what he had intimated last Thursday... Now, the Powell mission
is at stake... as well as the credibility of the president of the U.S., who has
been preaching in the desert. This is a
rather bleak opening session for America's diplomacy, needing as it does to
offer a certain amount of satisfaction to its Arab allies in the region."
"Secretary Powell's Slow-Motion
Pascal Riche judged in left-of-center Liberation
(4/9): "Nothing of what has happened in the past few days can be
considered a source of optimism, starting with Sharon's snub to his American
ally yesterday.... Powell knows that he
will arrive in Israel after the battle, like the cavalry, and that his
credibility will have already suffered before he even sets foot in
"President Bush's Awakening"
Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial opined
(4/6): "Psychoanalysts and
political experts will some day explain how President Bush was able, in the
space of a week, to support Israel's operation in the occupied
territories...and later ask for that same operation to stop urgently.... The realists will make the following
commentary: Washington has given Sharon a two-week green light which he will
use to the last. The truth is probably
somewhat more complex. Bush has finally
understood Sharon's true intentions: not 'just eradicating terrorism' but the
complete destruction of the Palestinian Authority.... Sharon is acting out of personal animosity
towards Arafat... Sharon does not want a Palestinian state.... Sharon may have intended today to trick the
Bush administration with his operation in the occupied territories and his
fight against terrorism. But skepticism
has begun to grip Washington.... Bush
has justly criticized Arafat's moral and political inability to denounce the
monstrosity of civilian attacks. But he
was also forced to accept the idea that the only Palestinian interlocutor is
Arafat. Bush's awakening comes somewhat
late. It has come about thanks to the
correct interpretation of Sharon's true motivation and because of growing
anti-American feelings in the Arab world.
Bush is going to have to do what Bill Clinton did: force a political
negotiation on peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Short of that, the risks are
Gerold Buechner wrote in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (4/10): "In part,
Foreign Minister Fischer's plan is supposed to encourage the U.S. to continue
to stay involved in the Middle East after recently having rediscovered it. Combining the strengths and contacts of the
U.S., the EU, Russia, and the UN would be an important foundation for
successful mediation. It is true that
Israelis and Palestinians will not overcome the crisis without outside
help. Another thing is clear as well: If
Sharon and Arafat and their peoples do not want co-existence, even the most
determined outside efforts are going to be in vain. The Middle East conflict must be solved in
the Middle East, not in Washington or Berlin."
Dietrich Alexander observed in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (4/9): "While
Powell is taking his time getting to Israel, Sharon is speeding things
up.... Ignoring UN and U.S. demands for
an immediate withdrawal, the Israeli premier is expanding the scope of his
military offensive--with tacit U.S. approval, this much seems clear.... The United States is engaged in highly risky
double-diplomacy, and nothing less than its last bit of credibility in the Arab
camp is at stake. Bush is demanding
immediate withdrawal in order to live up to the expectations of the
international community, while simultaneously giving free rein to Sharon,
albeit with a time limit attached."
Rouven Schellenberger noted in an editorial in
left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/9):
"The Europeans' latest mediation efforts in the Middle East have
looked quite clumsy.... Nevertheless,
the Europeans have not learned their lesson.
On the contrary--European foreign policy is gambling away its
credibility with more and more initiatives.
Over the weekend, several EU foreign ministers called for sanctions
against Israel, and on Monday EU Commission President Prodi called for a crisis
meeting between Europeans and Israelis.
Neither initiative is likely to succeed.... These latest EU efforts...threaten to further
reduce the Europeans' influence in the Middle East. In the future, the EU should not stop issuing
warnings, but it should bring its political weight into play only together with
the United States, Russia, and the UN.
The Europeans alone have no influence in the Middle East."
"Too Much Time For Sharon"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(4/8): "Washington continues to act
tentatively.... Powell...will presumably
not arrive before Thursday. And it
remains open, according to Washington, whether he will meet with Arafat at
all. In light of all this, Sharon is not
unjustified in deducing that his army must step up its activities, but that he
can take his time with ordering a withdrawal.
Any additional day left to Sharon is reducing the value of President
Bush's initiative and the political influence of his mediator."
"Rigged Game In The Middle East"
Business Financial Times Deutschland of
Hamburg maintained (4/8): "Despite
his determined rhetoric, President Bush has been granting Sharon time to act
from the beginning. Israel should
'begin' with the withdrawal as 'quickly as possible,' Bush said. It was left to Sharon to decide what is possible
and how to begin.... Thus, playing for
time is the chosen compromise. Israel
can continue with Washington's blessing, but it needs to hurry up."
"The Real Enemies Of Peace"
Ugo Tramballi asserted in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore
(4/10): "There are many enemies in the Middle East of whom Powell should
beware. But only two of them are really
in a position to try to make his mission fail, since the success of Powell's
visit would mark the beginning of the end of their long political
careers--Sharon and Arafat.... What the
Americans will ask from the Israeli Prime Minister and from the Palestinian
leader is the only viable road to resume peace negotiations, but it is also
something impossible for them.... The
Americans know that their efforts will be difficult, perhaps hopeless, as long
as Sharon and Arafat remain in power."
"Politics Overwhelmed By War"
Marcella Emiliani commented in Rome's centrist Il
Messaggero (4/10): "Since President Bush decided to intervene in the
Middle East crisis, he has done all he possibly can to underline the urgency of
finding a road that will lead to a cease-fire and to peace.... Israel's
'Defense Shield' has spoiled U.S.-Israel and Israel-Vatican relations, has
pushed Europe to threaten sanctions against Tel Aviv, has reunited the Arab
world, has revived the Lebanese war front, has restored international credit
towards Arafat, and has re-created a role even for Saddam Hussein."
A front-page commentary by Gian Enrico Rusconi
in centrist, influential La Stampa read (4/7): "Obviously Europe will support the U.S.
mediation initiative, entrusted to Colin Powell and supported, in turn, by the
United Nations, in collaboration with the Arab nations and Russia. Perhaps it is a good thing that the
resolution of the Middle East conflict be sought through the collaboration of
many international subjects and institutions.
Yet it is useless to deny that everything began only after a clear
signal had come from Washington. Europe
will certainly do its part, but it emerges politically and morally reconfigured
from this event."
"Israel Exceeds Necessary Defense"
Military analyst Pavel Felgengauer wrote in
reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (4/9): "There will be no peace. What lies in store is a protracted guerrilla
war. The Israeli losses will increase,
but the final outcome of the conflict is not in doubt.... There is still time to halt the process of
reciprocal self-destruction. But for
this to happen, totally new leaders must appear in Israel."
"A War For Two"
Leonid Gankin and Sergei Strokan declared in the
reformist weekly Vlast (4/9):
"If the world community is seriously concerned to restore peace in
the Middle East, it probably must seriously think about changing the present
Palestinian regime, and many think the sooner that happens, the better.... Javier Solana made a sensational statement
which has not been noted by all. He said
that for peace to be established in the Middle East, Ariel Sharon and Yasser
Arafat have to resign.... Considering
that Solana never makes important statements without clearing them with
Washington...his words ought to be taken very seriously. It is because they may mean that the verdict
to both leaders has already been signed.
And not only by history."
"Appeals Helpless Up Against
Viktor Shevel remarked in official government Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (4/9): "The Israeli prime minister must have remembered his
past as an army general. True to his reputation, he has rolled over Palestinian
towns and villages like a bulldozer.
There is no stopping him with the resolutions of the UN or appeals by
Europe and the United States."
"Both Arafat And Sharon Are To
Vadim Markushin contended on page one of
centrist Krasnaya Zvezda (4/9): "Is Yasser Arafat responsible for
the unfortunate turn of events? He
certainly is. He was in a far better
position once but he failed to use it to influence the intractable in his own
camp and stop the cycle of violence from unfolding. Is the Sharon cabinet responsible for the new
war in the Middle East? The answer is
obvious. All major powers agree with
that and demand that the hostilities be stopped and the troops withdrawn
"The Tail Wags The Dog"
Vasiliy Safronchuk charged in nationalist
opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (4/9):
"With things having come to a head in the Middle East, Washington
is feigning activity. Washington and Tel
Aviv have staged a show, as the world is watching. It is commonly known that, were the United
States to demand something in earnest, Israel would comply immediately.... Washington's Middle East policy is
hypocritical through and through."
"Terrorism Or War For A Palestinian State?"
Leading Shekulli featured this view
(4/8): "The identification of
terrorism following September 11 events, constitutes the grounds where every
effort to label Palestinians as terrorists takes root. The Israelis do not miss any chance without
referring to September 11 to convince the world that Arafat is a terrorist and
that their [Israeli's] tank-policy is just....
If Israelis continue to obstruct and refuse the formation of a
Palestinian state through negotiations and political agreements, shall the
choice of other non-political means by Palestinians to achieve their goals be
Race Against Time"
Foreign editor Livia Klingl commented in
mass-circulation Kurier (4/10):
"Even though many people in Israel actually welcomed the offensive
in the West Bank, internationally, Sharon has seriously damaged Israel's
image.... The only remaining option is a
political solution, and everyone in the Middle East is aware of that. It's no secret either that ultimately the
result of any negotiation process will have to be an independent Palestinian
state. But obviously Sharon has no
vision for future times of peace."
Senior columnist Ernst Trost commented in mass-circulation
tabloid Kronen Zeitung (4/8):
"The deadly chain-reaction in the Middle East is not going to make
Powell's mission an easy one. Both sides in the conflict have long since done
away with objectivity. They're no longer
able to understand the other's motives, nor do they regard their opponents as
human beings. It seems that Israel's as
well as the Palestinians' vision is seriously impaired. They only see what the other side has done to
them, while simultaneously they're turning a blind eye to their own mistakes
and failures. Whatever happens, it is
the other side's fault, and...they've become indifferent to each other's
suffering. The numbers of those who have
kept a cool head and who refuse to listen to all those hateful slogans are
growing smaller every day."
"Sharon Has Given Arafat New Legitimacy"
Alain Van Der Eecken analyzed in left-of-center
weekly Le Soir (4/10):
"Sharon had decided to totally isolate Arafat and to at last subdue
him. In fact, he gave Arafat a new legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinian
and of the Arab world, forcing Washington to break this isolation."
"No Successors In Sight"
Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen held in
independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (4/9): "Both Sharon and Arafat are de facto
eliminated from a fundamental dialogue, but there are no successors in
sight. Under these circumstances
expectations must not be high. A lower
degree of violence is the maximum that can be achieved in the short term. The repair of the damages of a few weeks will
require years of work."
"The New Rogue State"
Foreign affairs writer Guy Van Vlierden argued
in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (4/9): "Since last week, the world has had a
new rogue state. If we apply Bush's term
consistently, Israel cannot but be one.
While the entire world community...demands an end to the violent
invasion of Palestinian territory, Israel puts its tanks in higher
gear.... According to the rules of
international politics, that country has been a violator (of international law)
for a long time. The world community has
denounced Palestinian terrorism, but the manner in which Sharon says that he is
fighting it has been rejected several times, too.... Israel ignores the will of the world and the
"Bush Walking On Thin Ice"
Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn held in
conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/6): "Bush has understood that there can be
no peace if he does not manage to rein in Sharon. He knows that the crisis is a danger for America's
interests. If the Palestinians'
situation does not improve, he can stop thinking about Arab support for his
campaign against terrorism. In that
case, he should certainly not think about an attack against Iraq.... The United States is the only country that
can force Israel and the Arab world to make concessions. By remaining idle, the U.S. gave the
hardliners a free hand... Powell's
mission gives us new hope that an end may come to the violence and
suffering. However, the higher the
expectations, the larger the dangers.
Powell and Bush are entering a minefield. There are enough extremists prepared to
sabotage everything... Maybe, the best
thing would be that both Sharon and Arafat disappear, as Solana says. Bush knows that, too, but it is not
realistic. Sharon and Arafat will not
leave willingly. They cling to their position.
Their personal 20-year-old feud makes mediation even more difficult. Time is limited, but there is no
alternative. Doing nothing means more
violence. Today, however, the situation
is critical. In the Middle East, there
is only one certainty: when everyone thinks that the situation cannot worsen
anymore, it does. That must never be the case again."
"Who Will Stop The Massacre In Palestine?"
Left-leaning Monitor averred (4/10): "It is unreasonable for Israel to
consider every criticism of its policies as a form of antisemitism.... The suicide bombings of the Islamist
extremists are rightfully called terrorism.
But is it not terrorism to murder people without trial and conviction,
in their own homes, only because they are suspected terrorists? Peace cannot be enforced with violence. On the contrary--the escalation will continue until brighter minds
on both sides of the conflict says: Enough is enough!"
"Depth Of Bush's Irritation"
Pavel Masa in the center-right Lidove Noviny
(4/8): "The irritation of the two men (Bush and Sharon) is just a question
of tactical divergence. Bush is annoyed
that he has to engage in calming down the nervous oil market instead of
preparing an overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Sharon is galled that due to problems of American politics, he has to
hastily finish something that he could have done properly."
"International Effort Required In Middle East"
Center-left Politiken judged (4/10): "Massive international efforts--with the
U.S. taking the lead--will be needed if we are to stop the spiral of violence
continuing in the Middle East.... The
developments over the next few months could have repercussions, not only for
Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the whole of the Western world."
New Generation Of Palestinian Leader"
Center-left Politiken's Middle East
correspondent, Herbert Pundik, commented (4/7):
"Yasser Arafat appears to be the biggest obstacle preventing the
Israeli moderates from re-entering the political arena. Quite simply, Arafat represents the
enemy. He appears to be the guardian
angel of terrorists, and no Israeli politician, regardless of their political
convictions, could realistically negotiate with him. In the final analysis... a new generation of
moderate Palestinian leaders is needed [in order to move the peace process
forward]. If this does not occur, the
Palestinians will not get their state and Israel will not have peace."
FINLAND: "Bush Puts
U.S. Prestige At Stake In Mideast"
Leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat's editorial read
(4/6): "Powell faces a very
difficult task. First, his standing in
Washington is not undisputed. Powell has
already been forced to retreat from his moderate position several times. Right
now, he needs resolute and unambiguous support from President Bush. Powell has a few trump cards. The most recent and probably the most
significant is the new Saudi Arabian peace initiative. Israeli hawks can no
longer claim that the country's only options are a permanent state of war or
annihilation as a state."
In top-circulation pro-government influential To
Vima (4/7), managing editor Yannis Kartalis wrote in his regular Sunday
column: "The EU's inability to
effectively deal with an international crisis in its neighborhood is proven
again.... The U.S. monocracy is
reconfirmed, but not due to Bush's (non-existent indeed) diplomatic skills, but
due to the Europeans' failure to promote a uniform foreign policy.... The EU could not stand up against this
catastrophic policy which results in the extermination of an entire
people. After a period of silence,
Washington took the initiative, not because it disagrees with Sharon, but
because a continuing crisis would put its plans to topple Saddam Hussein at
risk. Consequently, Bush appears as a
peacemaker today, only to prepare another war later."
"How Long Will Sharon Be
Foreign editor Gabor Stier argued in
conservative Magyar Nemzet (4/8):
"Even if the U.S. does not hear the call of its responsibility for
the world, it could consider at least its own interests! Because Arafat and Sharon can be a stronger
challenge to the U.S.' power than Osama bin Laden and his terrorists.... Over the past couple of months a coalition is
building up more against the United
States than against Saddam Hussein.
President Bush has to decide whether he gives up on his unilateral
policy toward the Middle East region and stops Sharon's running amok. Or will he be paralyzed by the violence."
"Bush's Credibility Is On The Line"
The liberal Irish Times ran this
editorial (4/8): "The Bush
administration has much ground to make up with the major parties
involved.... This puts the U.S.'
credibility as a broker in the conflict at issue even before last week's
welcome and necessary decision to re-engage comes properly into play.... Powell carries a heavy burden of
responsibility on his journey this week."
"Two Old And Dangerous Men"
The liberal, populist Sunday Independent
said (4/7): "A critical problem for
General Powell is that the two men at the heart of the crisis, Sharon and
Arafat, are in reality the cause of the crisis.
Both are old and dangerous men, lifetime adversaries with no capacity to
make peace for their peoples.... The
onus to find peace from the current bloody chaos should not, however, be
General Powell's responsibility alone....
The time has long since passed for the rest of the Arab world to speak
to the Palestinians with real moral authority, to demand an end to the
terrorist campaign as a precursor for peace, to state emphatically that Israel
has a right to exist and that the only acceptable course of action is
negotiation, not war.... General Powell
travels with our good wishes, and our hopes. He must try the impossible, and he
knows that failure carries a heavy price.
If he can make some progress then perhaps the people of Israel and
Palestine, given breathing space, will recognise that the time has come to
change their leaders and find men of good faith who can negotiate a lasting
settlement. Without that step, the
future looks unremittingly grim."
The English-language independent weekly Malta
Independent had this view (4/7):
"Israel's invasion and reoccupation of Palestinian territories is
wrong and can only end in disaster for Israel.... There can only be a political solution for
this conflict.... Responsibility lies
principally with the United States--Israel's best friend--to put pressure on
Mr. Sharon to stop this military adventure that can only lead to more violence
and end what is left of the peace process.
Unfortunately, the United States has equated Israel's action with the
global war on terrorism, which is certainly not the case.... America's European friends, including Malta,
should continue to press for immediate U.S. pressure on Israel to stop this
senseless military action."
"Powell Doesn't Have Much To Offer Or To Gain"
Influential liberal De Volkskrant's
Washington-based correspondent Bert Lanting commented (4/10): "Powell has begun a very unrewarding
mission; history has shown that there is little credit to be gained in the
"Powell's Difficult Mission"
Left-of-center Trouw had this editorial
(4/10): "For the time being it
still seems that Sharon and Arafat do not understand that continuing this war
makes no sense and that a solution to the conflict is drifting further
Influential liberal De Volkskrant had a
commentary by Prof. Maarten van Rossem (4/9):
"The biggest mistake the U.S. government made in the past year, we
can now easily conclude, was to allow general Sharon to do what he
wants.... The American position in the
Arab world has been damaged.... Osama
must undoubtedly have been watching the developments unfold with great
"The U.S. And All The Children Of Abraham"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented
(4/8): "Bush has increased the
pressure on Sharon who has answered by 'hastening' the operations."
"Even Powell Cannot Make Miracles"
Marek Zajac observed in Catholic weekly Tygodnik
Powszechny (4/10): "The world
sighed with relief when the United States began its mediation.... One can hardly expect a miracle,
though...since Sharon ignores Bush's appeals to withdraw 'without
delay.'.. Washington for the time being
is looking for the golden mean between being loyal toward Israel and the
exigencies of the war on terror."
"Bin Laden's Revenge"
Columnist Francisco Sarsfield Cabral judged in
influential center-left Público (4/6): "It may now be too late for
the U.S. to assume the active role that it should be taking in promoting peace
(and not just supporting Israel).... If
there is a place where terrorism has an obvious political root, it is in
Palestine.... Maybe Bush has finally
woken up: Not even a superpower can
impose order on the world through the use or threat of force alone. In the Middle East, the unilateralism of the
Bush administration collided with reality."
"Bush's Stomping His Feet"
Ales Gaube wrote in left-of-center independent Dnevnik
(4/10): "Despite Sharon's evident
disregard for America's warnings, Powell did not change his agenda. Instead of hurrying to Jerusalem...he stopped
in Morocco and Egypt.... So, by the time
of his arrival, Sharon will have had a free hand to carry out his
offensive.... However, Sharon's concept
of Israel's self-defense has brought the country to such a stage of violating
the international law that even its Washington friends could not remain silent."
"For Peace With Collaborationists"
Left-of-center Delo commented in a front
page editorial by correspondent Barbara Surk (4/9): "With his speech in the
Parliament...Sharon not only confirmed the assumptions that he planned to
re-occupy Palestinian territories, but also turned down Bush's demand to
immediately withdraw.... Sharon's
resolute words have not upset Bush.
Israel and the United States are still on the same wavelength after Sep.
11. [The United States] intends to
subordinate the Middle East to [its] interests with [the help of] regional
collaborationists rather than peace partners."
"To Stop Sharon"
Editor Jose Antich opined in centrist La
Vanguardia (4/10): "It is a tragic irony of history that as sirens
sounded yesterday in Israel to commemorate
the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, Sharon's government caused hundreds of casualties in
the refugee camp of Jenin.... The U.S.
administration is irritated with Sharon, or is simply trying to put distance
between them, so as not to be involved in the flagrant murder that is occurring
in the refugee camp.... It is evident
that Powell's visit leaves little margin for optimism and that a realistic
perspective of the situation minimizes the possibility that the U.S. will put
the Israeli Army back where it was 13 tragic days ago."
"Sharon Speeds Up"
Centrist La Vanguardia opined (4/9):
"If Powell fails, the worst won't be that the top officials of the Bush
administration may continue to discount more intervention. The worst is that the tragedy will grow bigger. The U.S...is putting verbal pressure on
Sharon. And the prime minister is
responding with answers that could be understood as defiance. The Bush administration...must put more
efficient pressure both on Israelis and Palestinians."
“Peace ‘Quartet’ In Madrid”
Conservative ABC commented (4/8): “There
is no solution to the conflict without the U.S., but neither is there a
solution with only the U.S. The Spanish
presidency's insistence has contributed to Washington’s change of position
towards Israel becoming more firm and realistic, a turnaround that allows
powerful diplomatic tools to be put into play."
“The Hour Of Colin Powell”
Editor Pedro J. Ramírez wrote in independent El
Mundo (4/7): “Only from the moderate
positions shared by the six-month president of the EU and the U.S. secretary of
state can a plan be put into play to resolve the Middle East drama, in which
Europe should contribute diplomacy and money and the U.S. determination and
soldiers. The possibilities of success
are remote, but consist in bringing together the Mitchell Plan with the still
undefined Saudi Plan.”
"U.S. Is Needed In Mideast"
Independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter
editorialized (4/6): "One cannot
continue as if nothing has happened.
Much of what was achieved is now ruined, and just to get the parties
back to square one will be a tremendous challenge for the international
community; without the U.S.' participation it will not be possible."
"The Truth About Arafat"
Hasan Bulent Kahraman opined in
liberal-intellectual Radikal (4/10):
"It may be politically incorrect, but I would like to emphasize
this anyway. The ongoing escalation
should be evaluated not only with the view that 'Israel is wrong', but also looking
at Arafat's position.... Arafat has
never been one to push peace in his political approach. His policy has always been identified with
terror. Even when the situation changed
and he was presented with opportunities for a peaceful solution, he did nothing
but leave the table at the last minute....
However, it certainly does not justify the Israeli acts."
"U.S. Sponsors The Massacre"
Fehmi Koru lamented in Islamic-intellectual Yeni
Safak (4/10): "Israel is using totally American military equipment and
vehicles in its ongoing massacres in the Palestinian cities. In the meantime, President Bush is speaking
evasively in order to give Sharon enough time to 'finish the job'. ... The U.S.
has always considered its own interests first...however, this is the first time
the U.S. has fully contradicted the whole world. The U.S. had a moral supremacy after the 9/11
events, but it is losing that rapidly due to its support of Israel."
"What Is U.S. Doing?"
Taha Akyol commented in mass-appeal Milliyet
(4/9): "Sharon looks like he is 'putting gas' on the fire. As for the Bush administration, it provides
full support to Sharon while giving only lip service to the Palestinians. This policy of the Bush administration serves
the interests of the radicals, from Saddam to UBL."
"Sharon's Goal is Expansionism"
Ozgen Acar wrote in social democrat-intellectual
Cumhuriyet (4/9): "Sharon feels obliged to eliminate Arafat, the
biggest obstacle in the way of the 'Grand Israel' goal that is the ideal of his
party. The ongoing massacres are
actually helping him to get closer to this goal. The recent Israeli attacks in Ramallah
clearly proved that 'force' supersedes international law."
"President Bush's Middle East Sin"
Cengiz Candar argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni
Safak (4/9): "No policy has a chance of success unless it derives from
the concepts of justice and moral supremacy.
U.S. policies in the Middle East are only sowing the seeds of global
terror and violence."
"Colin Powell In The Middle East"
Yilmaz Oztuna wrote a front-page editorial in
conservative/mass appeal Turkiye (4/8): "Let's hope that Washington
realizes that Ariel Sharon is the main obstacle in the fight against terrorism
because of his policies. Sharon's
actions harm not only Jews but American interests as well.... Neither Sharon nor Netanyahu can stop the
bloodshed. Israel needs someone moderate
and rational, such as General Barak or Shimon Peres. It seems that only the U.S. remains capable
of giving such a direction to Israel."
Retired Ambassador Sukru Elekdag wrote in
mass-appeal Sabah (4/8):
"The Sharon operation is based on elimination of Palestinians in a
vindictive manner and is ignoring international laws and norms. President Bush, by declaring self-defense,
gave support to Israel's wrong policy from the very beginning.... Bush even failed to present an objective,
fair and balanced approach when he asked Israel to withdraw from the
YUGOSLAVIA (KOSOVO): "Kosovars, Hebrews And
Independent Zeri had an editorial by its
publisher Blerim Shala (4/8):
"Perhaps it was the only case that brought Hebrews and Palestinians
together. In the spring of 1999, when
Kosovars (on Easter) were facing the horror of a regime, in Israel and
Palestine where held at the same time big protest of support for Kosovo
Albanians.... Because of the supreme role of America in Kosovo, the peace in
the Middle East is in the interest of Kosovars, too. Images that are coming from Israel and
Palestine today are surely harder for Kosovo Albanians to see than for other
Europeans. However, if someone tries to
support one side there (as it happened in Prizren two days ago with religious
appeals and motives), than this model of protest should be qualified as a
dangerous one for Kosovo and its fate."
[Note: Days ago in the Kosovar city of Prizren took place a protest
against the occupation of Palestine and the killing of civilians there.]
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Time To Replace The Rotten Carrot"
The liberal Canberra Times (4/9) featured
this observation from Nelly Lahoud, scholar of Islamic political thought at the
Australian National University: "It
is yet unclear why it took so long for the United States to intervene. One possible reason for the delay could be
that the United States envisages a conditional intervention in return for the
Arabs' support for its war on terrorism to target Iraq. This may explain why Powell will visit five
other states on his way to Israel this week....
Powell's visit is likely to lead to a cease-fire and perhaps a
resumption of negotiations. The next
stage is of critical significance if a long-term solution is genuinely being
sought. It is therefore important not to
exaggerate the Sharon factor in the current crisis, and not to allow speculation
about his replacement to be marketed as a solution."
"Powell Must Find Path To Peace"
An editorial in the liberal Melbourne Age
opined (4/8): "To have any chance
of success [Powell] must insist not only on an end to Israel's invasion and the
suicide bombings, but on the beginning of talks that will result in a permanent
settlement. No truce will last unless
both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships accept that their task is not to
pursue unattainable victories, but to create a Palestinian state content to
live in peace with its neighbor, Israel.
And, to police the peace while talks are under way, it may be necessary
for Israeli troops in the territories to be replaced by U.S. or NATO forces.... As the emissary of the only nation whose support
Israel cannot do without, Mr. Powell has both the opportunity and the
responsibility to overcome...skepticism [from the Sharon government about the
plan proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.]"
"Pushed Into Action In Middle East"
An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning
Herald's weekend edition contended (4/6):
"The United States' major policy shift on the Middle East goes
beyond a welcome, if belated, call for an end to the bloody Israeli military
campaign inside the Palestinian territories.
The decision to send Secretary Powell to the region next week represents
a new willingness in Washington to view the conflict in a broader context. That is, that the grief and anger on both
sides runs so deep that without outside intervention there is little or no
prospect of peace. After a week in which
President Bush stood back as Israeli tanks ploughed into one Palestinian city
after another, his speech on Thursday came as a relief to much of the international
community, which had been imploring Washington to act."
The national conservative Australian's
editorial maintained (4/8): "Mr.
Bush's policy shift is the right one....
But the decision is not without risks and history may prove it was taken
too late.... But the risks of doing nothing clearly outweigh the risks of
engagement for the United States and the rest of the Arab world."
"Powell's Mideast Quest Serves Wider U.S.
Washington correspondent Peter Hartcher penned
this analysis in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review
(4/6-7): "Colin Powell is probably
the best choice for an impossible assignment: a problem-solver not an
ideologue, a moderate not a hardliner, a soldier-statesman of impeccable
integrity and unique standing. But it is
an impossible assignment nevertheless.... Powell may, through some
extraordinary stroke, be able to bring about some sort of settlement but, in
the history of this dispute, even the most dramatic breakthroughs have brought
only temporary respite. Curiously enough,
a lull, rather than a solution, may suit the hawks in the Bush administration
perfectly well. They want to win enough
Arab goodwill to ensure the co-operation of the Saudis and other Gulf regimes
in the U.S. plan to attack Iraq's Saddam Hussein."
"Israel Bides Its Time"
Chen Peiming had this to say in an official Xinhua
News Agency comment (4/10): “[Israel
and The United States] have some tacit agreements. Since Bush took office, he has met Sharon
four times. After each meeting, Sharon
took some actions. This time Bush sent
Powell to the Middle East and he notified Sharon in advance. This purposely
left some time for Israel. On the other
side, the extreme rightist party of the Likude in Israel does not always follow
America’s orders. Sharon said during the
Kosovo War that ‘if Israel and the United States have conflicts, the United
States may attack us.’”
CHINA/HONG KONG S.A.R.: "Settling Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Brooks No Delay"
Pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao's editorial asserted
(4/10): "Israel ignored the strong
demands from the UN and the international community to withdraw its
troops. It clings obstinately to its own
course and launches large-scale military actions against Palestine. If the state of affairs continues to develop
to the extent that Mr. Arafat himself is hurt, or the fighting spreads to other
parts of the Middle East, it is possible that more Islamic and Arab countries
including Iran and Libya will impose oil sanctions and other sanctions on
Israel and the U.S.... And, of course,
it will have a negative impact on the slowly recovering international
economy. Thus, people have to be
alert. It is worth paying attention to
the fact that the last two global oil crises originated in the Middle
East. The day before yesterday, Iraq
again used oil as a weapon. This reminds
the world once again that there can be no delay in settling the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East issues."
"Seizing The Initiative"
The independent, English-language South China
Morning Post remarked in an editorial (4/6): "U.S. President George W. Bush has
finally said the words the world wanted to hear.... Hopes have been raised and Mr. Bush must do
his utmost to ensure the American push for peace does not stall as it has
countless times before. With Secretary
of State Colin Powell spearheading the renewed mediation efforts, Mr. Bush has
put his most capable diplomat in charge of brokering a ceasefire between
Israelis and Palestinians. Mr. Powell's
seniority and expertise speak volumes for the seriousness of the new-found
resolve.... The wounds are deep and
there is no easy solution to resolving a complex situation that has cost
thousands of lives. But Mr. Bush's fresh
initiative and continued impetus will go a long way in the search for
Independent Koran Tempo (4/10) commented:
"The problem is Palestine is not an 'empty area'. There are Arabs, both
Muslim and Christian, who have been living there for a long time, who early
last decade received a promise for freedom from the English colonialist. The ZionistS can only build Israel in
Palestine by evicting the Arabs, either Muslim or Christian. It was done...in the 1930s. They kicked out the Arabs by terrorizing
them, killing the women and children. The same tradition is continued by Ariel
Sharon and his friends now with the unreserved support from the super power,
the United States.... We seem to come to
the most basic question: On what moral basis, can human beings from any
religion, including Jews, allow Palestinians to suffer for a half-decade for a
mistake the never made?"
"If Arafat Were Killed"
Independent Koran Tempo (4/8) published
this op-ed piece by activist with the Liberal Islamic Network, Hamid
Basyaib: "Who knows whether
President Bush, the only person able to stop Sharon's monster-like steps, is
moved and aware that Israel's terrorism has been out of proportion."
"Arabs Skeptical About U.S. Mediation"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Cairo
correspondent Kubo observed (4/9):
"Arab nations are reacting strongly to the Powell mission,
describing it as a mere gesture to create a peace environment--without visiting
the Palestinian region--and as 'buying time' for Israel to push ahead with
military operations against the Palestinians.
King Mohammed VI told Secretary Powell that Israeli troops would have to
suspend operations and withdraw before any other progress. The king's remark was quite a surprise for
the secretary, who had placed greater expectations on the Arab world's
application of pressure against Palestinian terrorism."
"High-Powered U.S. Mediation Hoped
An editorial in conservative Sankei
emphasized (4/8): "High-powered
U.S. mediation has never been more necessary to halt the worsening
Israel-Palestinian standoff. The world community is placing high hopes on Secretary
Powell's peace diplomacy. Japan should
give positive support to the latest U.S. Middle East diplomacy."
"Tightrope Diplomacy For Powell"
Business Nihon Keizai's Washington
correspondent Sunohara noted (4/6):
"Secretary of State Powell will mediate between [the two
sides]...but there are no signs that the two warring sides will comply with the
Bush initiative. Secretary Powell will
conduct 'tightrope diplomacy' amid persistent voices of support among administration
officials for Israel and a deepening sense of distrust in the Arab world toward
the United States."
"Dramatic Change Of Course?"
Liberal Asahi's front-page "Vox
Populi, Vox Dei" column noted (4/6):
"We welcome President Bush's 'enough is enough' speech.... While European and other leaders hailed the
speech as a dramatic U.S. change of course on the Middle East, the question is
whether or how the hawkish Israeli soldier-turned-Prime-Minister Sharon will
comply with the Bush initiative.
Secretary Powell...and Sharon will hold the key to halting the ongoing
bloody standoff and returning to peace talks."
"U.S., Britain Cannot Ignore The Situation"
Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita
Harian expressed this editorial view (4/10): "Based on suspicions that Iraq is
building nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the United States and
Britain are willing to commit great acts of destruction (by trying to topple
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein).
However, where were America and Britain when innocent Palestinians had
their homes bulldozed and women and children were shot at? Apart from a stern message from Bush that the
Israeli army should leave Palestinian territory and a warning from Blair not to
play with fire, there has been no action.
Arab leaders have warned U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that
America's credibility in this matter is crumbling because of its inablity to
get Israel to cease its aggression. It
is so clear that America is watching out only for itself; protecting its
economic ties to oil in the region. It
labels Iraq a 'terrorist' country because it does not rely on oil from
there. Much of its corporate, political,
judiciary, education, film industry are influenced by Jews, thus America
chooses to ignore Jewish aggression.
Saddam has already shown the way by unilaterally declaring an oil
embargo to put pressure on America.
Unfortunately other nations such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not
agreeing to this move. If the Arab
nations can unite in action, the idea of a free Palestinian state will not be
just a dream."
"U.S. Intervention Is Underlying
Opportunity For Mideast Peace"
Government-influenced, Chinese language Sin
Chew Jit Poh declared (4/10):
"While there are signs to show that the Israel forces are
withdrawing from the West Bank, there is no indication that the Israel will
change its strategy. After a U.S.
intervention we do not expect to see an immediate cease-fire; we might even see
the ascent of war by the Israel to gain more bargaining power at peace
negotiation table. At this moment, the Bush administration must use action to
pressure the Israel. What new plan Colin
Powell brings to the Middle East to
bring lasting peace is something the international community will focus
"Standing Up To Sharon"
The government-influenced, English-language New
Straits Times' editorial asserted (4/9): "Sharon knows that no Israeli
leader can openly defy its patron for long and that sooner or later he will
have to give in to mounting international pressure. Having put his authority on the line, Bush
must now face down Sharon's high-stakes political gamble."
"U.S. Must Stop Handling Sharon With Kid
Assistant group editor Hardev Kaur observed in
the government-influenced Financial Daily (4/8): "The United States has been slow in
taking a firm and decisive stand with regard to the situation in West Asia and
reining in Israel. Compare this with the
speed of its action for the liberation of Kuwait, its response to the September
11 attacks...and its mission to wipe out the Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban
in Afghanistan, and its quick response in Kosovo and Macedonia averting a
potential Balkan crisis. Will Washington
wake up and assume the leadership that is required of it to stop Sharon from
continuing with his destructive and dangerous policy?... Will the United States continue to deal with
Sharon with kid gloves, or will it play its role as the only superpower in the
world, and one that has the most influence over Sharon and the power to end the
senseless killing and brutality and begin an era of peace?"
"Powell Has To Be Savior Of World Peace"
Philippine Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chairman Blas Ople emphasized in his column in the independent Manila
Bulletin (4/10): "While Europe
and much of the rest of the world seethed with indignation over Sharon's
truculence...Secretary...Powell is about to step into the breach, bringing to
bear the full clout of the United States and the world's hopes for an early
cease-fire.... A new Desert Storm might
be brewing.... This in turn will cause
the collapse of President Bush's coalition against terrorism, with all the
moderate Arabs...saying that an attack on Iraq would be regarded as an attack
on the whole Arab world. Saddam has
already responded by cutting off Iraq's oil supply to the United States and
Britain for at least the next 30 days....
The general who conceptualized and directed Desert Storm is now tasked
with a more vital mission, to put the insane events in the Middle East under
control and forestall an Armageddon that can engulf the whole world. This time Colin Powell has to be the savior
of world peace, no less."
"U.S. Acted Too Late"
Amando Doronila contended in the independent Philippine
Daily Inquirer (4/10): "The
United States has acted too late to half [Israel's] offensive [in the West
Bank.]... Powell's mission appears to
have redoubled Sharon's resolve to seize the Palestinian cities and make the
buffer zone objective a fait accompli."
"White House Ends Its Low Profile"
According to an editorial in the pro-government Business
Times (4/9): "The White House
seems to have concluded that its previous low-profile approach towards the
Israeli-Palestinian violence has not only played into the hands of extremists
on both sides of the conflict, but has also harmed U.S. interests in the Middle
East and around the world.... What
Washington cannot ignore is that the satellite television images of Israeli
soldiers battling Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza have ignited
anti-American feelings among Arabs and other Muslims, and eroded public support
for the pro-American regimes. Mr. Bush
should be concerned about the potential for political instability and
anti-Americanism in the Middle East.
There is a clear way out: the Saudi Arabian proposal for
Israeli-Palestinian peace.... The Saudis
have persuaded the members of the Arab League to adopt the plan. Mr. Bush must now get Israel, and Mr. Sharon
in particular, to accept it as well."
"A Step Forward"
The pro-government Straits Times
concluded (4/6): "It took him a
while, but U.S. President George W. Bush finally adopted a somewhat
constructive position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday.... Implicit in his decision to send Secretary of
State Colin Powell to the region was a commitment to press both parties to resume
political negotiations soon, but this was not spelled out clearly. It was left to Mr. Powell to speak of the
urgent necessity of political negotiations leading quickly to a Palestinian
state or 'an interim state.'... The
president needs to make clear that he shares this crucial recognition and will
back Mr. Powell's efforts when he goes to the Middle East.... Mr. Bush has been sounding notably more
hawkish than his chief diplomat of late, and this must cease if the United
States is to serve effectively as an honest broker in the region."
“Israel Should Accept UNSC Appeal For Troop Withdrawal”
Moderate Hankook Ilbo held (4/9): "[Israel's] inflicting pain on Palestine
through military power may be effective in the short term, but it is not the
solution to gaining permanent peace. It
will only trigger a vicious cycle of ‘eye for eye’ retaliation.… Israel should accept the Security Council’s
resolution to withdraw forces. In
addition, Israel, Palestine, the United States and Arab nations should agree on
a substantive peace agenda.”
"Tragedy In Middle East No Longer
In the view of government-owned Daehan Mail
(4/5): “As indiscriminate attacks by
Israel continue in the Palestinian-held region, the ‘Promised Land’ is becoming
a ‘land of tragedy’… The deteriorating situation in the Middle East is also
resulting in adverse reactions across the globe: An oil price hike is
threatening the recovering world economy, and growing anti-American sentiment
may weaken the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism. The
Bush administration...is highly responsible for allowing the situation
to deteriorate this far… The U.S. should take all necessary measures, including
pressuring the Israeli government, to re-direct the situation in the Middle
East. Israel and the United States will
ultimately be held responsible for the tragedy if they fail to take necessary
"Hope That Mideast In Not On Path Of No Return"
The centrist/pro-status quo China Times'
editorial remarked (4/10): "Now
even the American public have started to strongly urge the Bush administration
not to be too partial to Israel.... The
international community indeed should urge the United States to move in this
direction and play the role as a just mediator.... The Bush administration, in the name of
'counter-terrorism,' has actively called on its allies to reprimand the 'axis
of evil' and start the global strategic deployment. But the global community is not all at ease
with the role of the Untied States as a strong leader. Many...believe that the United States'
'anti-terrorism' campaign should not depend entirely on military deployment,
but should focus on strengthening its commitment to peace."
"Missing The Point About Terrorism"
The lead editorial The lead editorial in the
top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post
maintained (4/8): "It was
distressing to see a clutch of OIC delegates try to justify some attacks on
civilians. In the end, of course, they
could not. So they resorted to the
tired, old argument that the OIC should never condemn any action by any
Palestinian groups. The struggle to gain
a homeland is so important that even condemning an obvious atrocity like recent
suicide bombings would harm the movement.
On this note, the latest attempt to define terrorism failed. That hardly credits the OIC, which could have
gained stature in the eyes of the world by condemning the terrible weapons now
being used by Palestinian groups. The
suicide bombings cannot be justified on any reasonable grounds. They are clearly outside the teachings of the
Koran, which forbids suicide and strongly prohibits attacks on the enemy's
women and children. The OIC did the
group a disservice by waffling on this terrible, new development. Neither the Palestinians nor their supporters
can hope to win praise for their recent atrocities in Israel, aimed--like the
New York attacks of September 11--entirely at the civilian population."
"Escalation Of War Is Not The Exit"
Van Luc wrote in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, the
daily of the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam (4/9): "It is necessary to stress that while
the international community was making many efforts to put an end to the
violence between Israel and Palestine, the United States just ignored it. [Washington's] attitude...was nothing less
than giving the green light to Tel Aviv's stepping up of the operation in the
West Bank.... The spiral of violence...is
developing in a more and more complicated way, making the world public worry
that a new Middle East war may break out....
Because of that, the broad public want Israel and Palestine to stop the
violence and resume talks to find an appropriate solution that meets the
interests of the concerned parties. That
will also be the most effective solution that ensures a long-lasting peace in
the Middle East."
"A Dark Middle East"
Danh Duc wrote in Ho Chi Minh City's Communist
Youth Party Tuoi Tre (4/7):
"U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview
that 'what we need is a political
solution that will advance the cause of the Palestinian people and the cause of
the Israeli people, so that both of them can live side by side.'... Given the current situation, however, it is impossible to reach such a solution, or
even a cease-fire.... The problem is
that...Sharon has completely denied the role of President Arafat as a peace
partner and...is using the Israeli military to crush the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority.... Facing such a dark future, the Palestinian
resistance is a necessity."
"Roots Of The Brutal War In The Middle
Nguyen Chien wrote in Hanoi city government's Noi
Moi (4/6): "Israel must not
have been able to carry out its actions had the United States not given it the
green light.... To date, the United
States is still the main sponsor for Israel-Palestine negotiations. It is because of this biased sponsorship that
the negotiations have not yielded any results, reflecting U.S. interests in the
region.... The United States uses Israel
to threaten the Arab world to supply oil unconditionally for the United
States. On the other hand, the United
States uses its relations with Arab countries to warn Israel that it must not
beyond the United States' velvet-covered hands of steel."
"Short, Sharon And Nasty"
The nationalist Hindustan Times
editorialized (4/10): "Israel has
ignored calls by George Bush to vacate Palestinian territories 'without
delay.' This disregard of American
advice is not surprising, considering that only recently the U.S. president
himself went on record saying that Yasser Arafat had let down his people, and
that there were other (Arab) personalities in the region who could lead ...
Naturally, the tepidness of the overall U.S. response to the current escalation
of the conflict by Israel has not been lost on Ariel Sharon.... India needs to upgrade its diplomatic efforts
with a pronounced sharpness, something clearly lacking so far."
"Whoever Heard Of Oslo?"
Former Permanent Representative of India to the
United Nations and UN Special Coordinator for Gaza Chinmaya R.
Gharekhananalysis opined in the centrist
Hindu (4/10): "If Sharon's
purpose was to boost Mr. Arafat's popularity, he has succeeded beyond his
imagination.... Oslo did make a
contribution, but the premise on which it was based turned out to be
wrong. It was expected that small steps,
if implemented in good faith by both sides, will inspire enough confidence to
permit tackling more complex issues later....
The future is uncertain, the only certainty being continued
"Overkill In West Asia"
The centrist Times Of India observed
(4/9): "Sharon is only following
what Shylock described as bettering the instruction of his mentors. The only leverage Washington could have over
Tel Aviv is shutting off economic aid, an option it will never exercise. But in being unable or unwilling to stay
Sharon's hand, the United States will only damage itself in the long
run.... Even now, the Arab world has
offered an olive branch in the form of the Saudi peace proposal. Mr. Sharon, of
course, will have none of it."
Drowning In A Red Sea"
Keki N. Daruwalla wrote in the nationalist Hindusatan
Times (4/9): "No oracles need
tell us that there will be no victors in West Asia. Both sides are indulging in bullying,
blood-letting and mayhem.... And if
something happens to Arafat, the entire West Asia will go up in flames.... This time Bush has been more wooden and has
talked about Israel's right to war against terrorism. The current American attitude holds few hopes
for the Palestinians.... The tragedy is
that both Arafat and Sharon have lost all credibility with their
"To Arafat, In Anguish"
Noted academician Mushirul Hishran judged in the
centrist Hindu (4/9): "A
Palestinian state is no more than a distant dream. Mr. Arafat, the man who has doggedly tread
the path of peace, lives in exile in his own homeland.... The United Nations, acting at the behest of
the United States, has lost the moral authority to enforce its own
resolutions.... We extend diplomatic
recognition to Israel, a move that ran contrary to the avowed goals of India's
foreign policy, and forged trade, economic and military ties without paying
scant attention to its implications on our relations with the Arab
countries. It is no exaggeration to say
that India is, currently, a part of the Israel and U.S. axis."
"Crisis After Crisis"
Shubha Singh stated in the centrist Pioneer
(4/8): "Removing Arafat from the
scene may seem a momentary advance that Sharon can chalk up to his account, but
will it serve any other purpose for the Israeli people? It is unlikely to bring an end to the suicide
attacks.... U.S. support to Israel has
not wavered; President Arafat has not been a welcome visitor to Washington
since President Bush took over....
Acting in the belief of full American support, Sharon can disregard
European or even Security Council interventions. Washington needs to send a clear message to
Sharon to pull back."
"Crisis In The Middle East"
Independent, Tamil-language Dinamani
cautioned (4/8): "It should not be
forgotten that Arafat is the representative of the moderate section among the
different Palestine liberation groups....
India has been supporting Palestine strongly, for justice is on its side
in this issue. India should not deviate
from its moral commitment."
"The Bush Initiative"
M.B. Naqvi wrote in the centrist, national News
(4/10): "It was as a committed
friend of Israel that George W. Bush, the U.S. president, has gone on asking it
to withdraw its forces from Palestinian cities.... It remains to be seen how Israel responds to
the Bush initiative and what it reads in it....
What Israel is aiming to do in Gaza and the West Bank is a small but
vital component of the grand strategical moves being made by the United States,
ably assisted by the British. An entire
new order in Asia is thus being created that might remould the global one. It behoves all thinking persons to look at
the facts dispassionately and assess the situation from the viewpoint of where
will they, the Pakistanis, and indeed the rest of the third world, fit into the
eventual world order--or disorder. Or can we in Pakistan do anything about it
"Israeli Aggression And The Muslim Umma's
Second largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt
editorialized (4/10): "President
Bush and PM Blair are committing aggression against Iraq and preparing for
more. Similarly, both worked together in
the destruction of Afghanistan, so why would they now stop Israeli aggression
against Palestine? How long will the
Arab countries, hemming and hawing right now just to save their own skins, be
able to protect themselves from the Jewish, Christian onslaught. They must
adopt a unified policy immediately, not only to safeguard Palestine, but also
to protect themselves."
"Will Powell Mission Succeed?"
An op-ed in the Karachi-based, independent,
English-language Dawn predicted (4/10):
"The effectiveness of Powell's mission this week, which will take
place after Sharon has had time enough to do his worst, will depend to a large
extent on the degree of pressure the U.S. is willing to put on its Israeli
chums. Don't expect even the mildest
sanctions, let alone the threat of a hiatus in arms shipments. If anything, the reverse strategy is
likelier: Just pretend for a while to be a good boy, Arik, and you can have all
the weapons and cash you want.... Powell
could also be hobbled by the hawks back home, as he was last year when he
proposed an international presence in Israel.
And a suicide bombing during his visit to the region would give Sharon
the opportunity he needs to slip back into warmonger mode."
The centrist, national News declared
(4/9): "The United States, whose
misplaced incitement to Sharon is responsible for whatever is happening, has
still not shown the high level of concern required by the situation as there is
still too much of foot dragging in ending the violence.... Powell has landed, but his expected arrival
did not send Sharon scurrying into pulling out troops in accordance with the
Bush dictation. U.S. political currency
has lost all value in the Middle East at a time when the oil weapon is coming
The Peshawar-based, independent Frontier Post
underscored (4/9): "Secretary
Powell, who is due in the region, has said that both sides will have to do more
to end the fighting.... And while he was
airing these views, NSA Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying that President
Bush wanted Israel to withdraw without delay but understood that it could not
be helter-skelter and chaotic.... In
this cacophony of American voices, one can find the reason why Mr. Sharon is
not too keen to wind up his egregious campaign of killings. The Bush administration first allowed the
violence to reach its apex before upgrading its peace mission by sending
Secretary Powell. Now that the secretary
is to begin his tour to retrieve the pieces of the peace jigsaw, the
administration seems to be dilly-dallying on an immediate Israeli pullout. This is evident in Mr. Bush's observation
that an Israeli pullout could not be 'helter-skelter.' Imagine, an unprecedented reign of tyranny
has been let loose against a whole population and here we have a blinkered Bush
ready to give the marauding occupying forces more time to carry out their
malicious job.... Secretary Powell may
not be a happy man for being deputed to bring peace to the region because his
previous efforts foundered on the rock of obstinacy displayed by the same
"The Last Hope"
The center-right, national English language Nation
editorialized (4/8): "In a rather
belated move, President Bush has sent Secretary Powell to the Middle East to
induce a measure of sanity there....
Washington must rein in Israel, force it to halt the invasion, withdraw
to its pre-1967 borders, and renounce its settlements policy. Crown Prince Abdullah’s peace initiative,
endorsed by the Beirut summit, represents the last hope for the beleaguered
"Massacre In Palestine"
The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt
opined (4/8): "Israel is a satellite
state of America...and [thus] has the blessing of the Bush administration for
the terror that it has unleashed....
President Bush should not underestimate peoples' demonstrations in
support of Palestine and against Israel, he himself being an important character
in this violence.... President Bush is
urgently required to organize a cease-fire and order Israel to withdraw its
troops from Palestinian areas and implement the UN resolutions. He should not forget that public opinion is fast turning against
"President Bush Must Adopt Pragmatism"
Leading, mass-circulation Jang commented
(4/8): "President Bush speaks in an
authoritative tone with the Arab and
Muslim leaders to get things done.
But when it comes to Israel, his tone is not authoritative but partisan
and brotherly. President Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair must not forget the reality that after the leadership
of President Yasir Arafat negotiations
with any other Palestinian leader will
not achieve anything. Whether
they like it or not, Bush and Blair would again have to talk to Yasir Arafat
for peace in the Middle East.
President Bush's hatred for
Arafat and his politically imprudent position of not trusting him will not bring peace to this
"Situation InThe Middle East"
Sensationalist Ummat asserted (4/8): "Israel is fully aware [that its
thinking is independent] of the U.S.,
which is why it does not give much importance to any of U.S. statement against Israel. That is why they have ignored
Bush's demand to withdraw troops from
"Bush Should Recognize State Of Palestine Now"
Former Ambassador Arshaduzzaman wrote in the
independent, English language Daily Star (4/8): "A grave
responsibility lies on the shoulders of President Bush. In spite of his pro-Israel tilt, he had the
guts to declare the need for two states--Palestine and Israel living side by
side. The State of Palestine is
recognized by more than 100 states, and Palestine maintains embassies in all
those countries. Palestine has roughly
twice as many embassies around the world than Israel. The reason Israel is a member of the United
Nations and Palestine is not is because the U.S. has so far refused to
recognize Palestine.... By granting
recognition to the State of Palestine, President Bush will cut the Gordian knot
and lift a huge burden from not only the suffering people of the Middle East
but probably save humanity from an impending catastrophe."
"Arafat's Preparations For A New War"
Former Bangladesh Ambassador to Iraq and
Lebanon, K.G. Mustafa, commented in Pro-Awami League Janakantha (4/8): "The present situation calls for the
Palestinians to get involved in a new and long-drawn-out war. They may not survive in the face of an
organized Israeli force, but they will win in the long run with support from
favorable world opinion. Neighboring
Arab countries have given shelters to Palestinian refugees. But those Arab countries must recognize that
Palestine has not emerged as a problem only, it has come with huge resources,
education, and culture. It is true that
Palestinians are the cause of sorrow for Lebanon. But it is also true that Lebanon's trade
centers have been built by the Palestinians.
Palestinian Arabs were once known as the most affluent and educated
among Arabs. They will be able to
restore their glory again."
"U.S. Policy: A Glaring
The Lagos-based independent This Day held (4/9): "The double standard the United States
has applied in the Middle East tragedy is too glaring to be ignored. Can anyone imagine what would have been the
reaction of the sole superpower if another country, other than its favorite
Israel had made such an incursion to an Arab country? Such an aggressor could have been instantly
given the classic Saddam Hussein treatment....
America's intervention in the crisis must be imbued with a sense of
justice and equity to all sides.... Mr.
Sharon should be told by his American backers that the solution to the conflict
does not lie in humiliation of Yasser Arafat and his people and pacification of
Palestinian militiamen. The path of
peace is a comprehensive negotiation to guarantee justice and equity on all
"The Baby Of America's Lukewarmness"
The Lagos-based independent weekly Sunday
Champion told readers (4/7):
"We urge leading countries in the international system to put
pressure on both Israel and Palestine to stop the present madness. On this score, it is good thing that
President George Bush's America has dropped its hitherto complacency. It is generally believed that the current
Israel intransigence is a product of America's lukewarm attitude to the Middle
East crisis. It is therefore good a
thing that George Bush has started advising Israel to withdraw its troops from
Palestinian areas it has occupied and to generally avoid actions that humiliate
"Palestine: A Planned
Abdou Latif Coulibaly wrote in independent Sud
Quotidien (4/8): "Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush have given
themselves the mission of destroying Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian
Authority. In a total fusion of their
means and ideas they have engaged in a war without concession. When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon identifies
Yasser Arafat as an enemy of Israel, the American president states that the
Palestinian leader has 'betrayed the hopes of his people'. In fact, it's easy to see why these two men
form a duo. George W. Bush, the head of
state, has distressingly low intellectual capacity, doubling as a politician
without a single vision; Ariel Sharon is at best 'a good soldier.'"
"Send In Colin Powell"
The liberal Natal Witness commented
(4/10): "Hitherto the Bush
administration has been alarmingly unilateralist in its foreign policy.... In sharp distinction from the peace-making
efforts of the Clinton years, it has tried to disentangle itself from the
Middle East and certainly failed to impose any restraint on...Sharon. That latter failure is now viewed with
increasing alarm...particularly in states in the Middle East that have
traditionally been friendly towards the West.... Suddenly...Bush has finally stepped in
personally to try to stop the slaughter...sending the chief dove...Colin Powell...and
telephoning Sharon.... Sharon's
immediate reaction was a defiant speech to the Knesset. But an annual $3 billion worth of aid from
the United States is an extremely powerful lever.... It is hard to see what Israel has gained by
the incursion.... Bush's failure to
control his client has also damaged U.S. interests in the region. Whether or not the Powell mission is able to
do anything to repair the damage remains to be seen. The auspices are not hopeful."
"Israel's Leading Terrorists Paved Way To
Ramallah With Folly"
In his regular column "Second Take" in
the liberal Sunday Independent Xolela Mangcu stated (4/7): "Sharon has always been a warlord. His invasion of Ramallah is part of a
longstanding desire to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization and, as he
recently admitted, ultimately kill its leader:
Yasser Arafat.... What I find
perplexing is how a people who has suffered so much could repeatedly elect such
warlords as its leaders. One answer may
lie in how Israelis have used the language of self-defence against
anti-Semitism as a shield of protection against criticism and, conversely, as a
pretext for military aggression. But
often these claims in self-defence have been fabricated.... Yet it was not an anti-Semite but Israel's
founding Prime Minister...Ben-Gurion, who said:
'Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves. Politically we are the aggressors and they
defend themselves.'... All of this is
not to say the Palestinians have not committed horrendous acts of violence against
Israeli civilians. It is only to wish
that Ben-Gurion's words ring in our ears as we seek fair and just solutions in
the Middle East. World political
morality is at stake."
"The Shame Of Palestine And Israel"
The independent Monitor held (4/10): "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the
classic of a militarily powerful state winning battles, but losing the war.
Israeli has sent heavy weapons and crack troops into Palestinian areas to
confront militants armed with Kalashinkovs, and children and young people armed
with stones and Molotov cocktails. And Palestinian suicide bombers continue to
kill dozens of innocent Israeli citizens. There is more than just a war over
territory between Israel and Palestine. What is at stake is history.... Both the Palestinians and Jews are damaging
their cause, because they come across as people who are unable to govern
themselves in a multicultural society. It is quite depressing to see, given the
history of Palestinians and Jews as long suffering people, that on both sides
there isn't a ground swell of aversion for the politics by murder that is
consuming Palestine and Israel."
"Stop The Siege On Palestine"
The independent weekly Zimbabwe Mirror
held (4/5): "The import of what
President Bush and his Secretary of State Powell had to say over the weekend,
in response to President Arafat's plea in the face of Israeli aggression, is
tantamount to an incentive for Nazi-type genocide against the Palestinian
people. Even as late as Monday this week,
the European Union, too, remained silent....as Arafat pleaded in vain for
international intervention as Israel extended its reoccupation of the West
Bank. So, it is that the 'War on Terror'
has become an end in itself for the United States and its allies, a convenient
carpet under which to conceal the basic causes of the conflict in the Middle
East and a new framework through which to try in vain to institutionalize and
justify the New World Dysorder (sic). In
the meantime, it is incumbent on the Arab countries themselves, including those
who were bought out under the Camp David process of years gone by, to come to
the rescue of Arafat and his Palestinian people, if need be by resorting to oil
power. But Africa and the Third World
generally have been too quiet ever since this new siege against our Palestinian
brothers and sisters. This is time to express our solidarity with the
Palestinian people, and with all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East,
beginning with the termination of all diplomatic ties with the Israeli
Under the sub-heading, “What happens if the
United States says jump, and nobody moves?” former Canadian diplomat Norman
Spector mused in the leading Globe and Mail (4/10): "Washington knows full well the kind of
danger into which they are sending Mr. Powell.
They know that the Israeli leader has no endgame...and that he's no fan
of the only conceivable political one--a viable Palestinian state living beside
the Jewish one. Nor do they have any
illusions about Arafat.... If Mr. Powell fails to secure a cease-fire, and the
suicide bombings resume, the Jewish state will eventually adopt the logic of
critics who morally equate all civilian deaths.
The situation is ripe for escalation, and even a regional conflict.”
“Powell Peace Mission A Red Herring”
Columnist Richard Gwyn wrote in the liberal Toronto
Star (4/10): “Even before it really
starts...Bush's Middle Eastern peace initiative is unravelling.... Sharon's resort to all-out force is also
widely popular among ordinary Americans....
Whether this military assault will actually succeed is entirely another
question.... This...is a test of will
and nerve and courage--and as well of fanaticism--between Israelis and
Palestinians. Each side...is convinced
that the other will not allow it to exist.
Compared with the intensity of this contest, Bush's intervention had to
be a sideshow. As sideshows go, though,
the manner of Bush's intervention has made his effort less substantial, and
more ineffective, than need have been the case.... Powell's mission thus has effectively shrunk
down to trying to patch up relations with the governments of the Arab states
the U.S. will need for its attack on Iraq.
This attempt by Washington to avoid the Palestinian issue and, even more
obviously, to avoid Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is the root cause of the
problem Bush has created for himself. In
essence, Bush is interested only in Baghdad, not in Ramallah or Nablus or Jenin,
or even in Jerusalem. Everyone in the
Middle East knows this, Sharon included.
So they're not all that interested in Bush, or in his emissary, Powell.”
“Language Of Peace Is Not Shared”
Columnist Jonathan Kay commented in the
conservative National Post (4/10):
“Bush has repeatedly called for the region's leaders to definitively
renounce terrorism. But in recent weeks, Muslim nations have actually made a
point of doing just the opposite.... In
fact, we seem to have reached such a hopeless stage that words themselves have
become useless. Mr. Bush says that Arab
leaders ‘must stand up and condemn terrorism,’ and that suicide bombers are
murderers, ‘not martyrs.’... So long as
the debate about terrorism focused on Osama bin Laden, we could find a few
points of agreement with the Arab League.
Morally, we were speaking different dialects, but at least it was the
same basic language. Now, however, the
main front in the debate over terrorism has shifted to Israel--whose
destruction is so fervently wished for among Arabs that the plain words of the
Prophet Muhammad himself are mutilated daily in order to remove any hindrance
to slaughter.... To the extent Mr. Bush
is pinning his hopes on the conceit that Arafat and other Middle Eastern
dictators will renounce terrorism in exchange for an Israeli pullout, he will
fail utterly. In fact, no one even
expects the Arabs to take Bush's demands seriously--which is why the media has
obsessed in recent days over Ariel Sharon's failure to comply, but ignored
Arafat's. In the present intellectual
climate, the interfaith dialogue about suicide bombers Bush seeks to start is a
hopeless project, and Israel has no choice but to place its trust in tanks and
commandos. It would help matters if Mr.
Bush understood this, rather than urging Israel to scuttle its current military
campaign, which now appears to be the only half-way promising means the Jewish
state has to fight terrorism.”
"Powell Upside Down"
Editorialist Serge Truffaut judged in Montreal's
liberal Montreal French-language Le Devoir (4/10): "With the Powell trip starting in
Casablanca rather than Jerusalem...Sharon has all the time to pursue his
offensive.... The hiatus in the Powell
itinerary could be a sign of the tug-of-war taking place in the White House. The Pentagon brass, led by Donald Rumsfeld
and allied with Vice President Cheney, likes and supports the discourse of
Ariel Sharon who says that he too, like the Americans, is fighting terrorism.
They are being opposed by Powell and others .... Their case rests on two
points. First they believe equating
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority with bin Laden and Al-Qaeda is totally
wrong. Then, the Bush advisors who don't
see eye to eye with the Pentagon remind the latter that if they want to fight
Saddam Hussein they would do well to spare their Arab allies. Without their support, the Anti-Hussein
coalition is bound to fail."
“After Israel's Pullback”
The liberal Toronto Star opined
(4/9): "Bush has been stung by
Sharon's defiance. His pro-Israeli tilt is becoming hard to sustain. His
anti-terror coalition is losing support.
And anti-Americanism is on the rise.
Absent a credible peace process, worse will follow. Sharon, dreaming of being rid of Arafat,
seems not to care. But in the ruined streets of Nablus and Bethlehem,
shell-shocked Palestinians are counting their dead. And they are rallying behind younger,
rebellion-hardened fighters in the Al Aqsa Brigades, a militant wing of
Arafat's Fatah movement.... Nothing
suggests that Israelis would find them easier to deal with if Arafat were
gone. And behind them, are Hamas and
"Bush Wades In Where Clinton
Columnist Richard Gwyn observed in the liberal Toronto
Star (4/7): "Unlike Clinton,
though, Bush's purpose is not to try to bring peace to the region. His objective instead is to make the Middle
East safe for war--for Bush's own impending war against Iraq, that is, or, more
exactly, for his impending war to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.... What principally prompted Bush to adopt this
new tactic was undoubtedly the scale of the reaction--violence in many Islamic
countries; sharp criticism in Europe and in Canada, as well--to the massive,
and in human terms brutal, scale of the Israeli intervention into Palestinian
towns and refugee camps."
'Wall' Cedes A Little Bit"
Eduardo Febbro, left-of-center Pagina 12's Jerusalem-based
correspondent, contended (4/9):
"Sharon's harsh speech conveys one political certainty: Local analysts agree that the Israeli prime
minister acted as if he had a long time ahead, that is to say, as if the U.S.
demands would not be a big deal for him.
An Israeli expert explained on TV that 'when time comes, Sharon will
announce the withdrawal of the Israeli army from a place where the operation
has already finished and Washington will show satisfaction.'"
"Sharon Has One More Week"
Gustavo Sierra, leading Clarin's international columnist,
pointed out (4/9): "Everything
indicates that if Powell had stated his trip in Israel, he would have won
time. Because he could have started talks
with the one who has to concede most, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.... Now, Sharon's troops are free to continue
'cleansing' the Palestinian cities and refugee camps at least until Friday,
when Powell will finally arrive in Israel."
"Middle East: When Bush Decides To Emerge From His
Oscar Raul Cardoso, leading Clarin's
international analyst, opined (4/6):
"The U.S. decision [to send Secretary Powell to the Middle East] is
of invaluable importance.... Clearly
both contenders have lost their 'peace compass' and there is no possible
solution without international help. It
is also very clear that the United States--like it or not--is, inevitably, of
key importance in achieving peace in the Middle East.... For the past months, Bush and Sharon have
unsuccessfully tried to impose security at any cost, setting aside the gist of
the problem for a further stage which, in view of the circumstances, will never
be achieved. Therefore, Powell's trip
will mean returning to the beginning of the conflict, with the same ideas
regarding the exchange of peace for territories, the fate of the Palestinian
diaspora, and most likely, Jerusalem's definitive status. Ironically, Bush now has to endorse the same
agenda he criticized Clinton for.... If
there is any moderation left in this crisis, Powell will have to find the
formula to obtain it and build--in the opinion of former Prime Minister Ben
Ami--'not the peace of the brave, but maybe the peace of the exhausted.'"
"Sharon 1, Bush 0"
Claudio Uriarte, leftist Pagina 12's
international analyst, asserted (4/7):
"The key question is 'how much and for how long' will Sharon be
able to resist if the U.S. pressure for a cease-fire is unbearable.... What George W. Bush has said on the Middle
East...seems to reflect the opinion of antagonistic sectors within the administration...[i.e.,]
Sharon must stop the invasion, Arafat must stop terrorism, Iran and Syria must
stop helping the Palestinians, Israel must put an end to its settlements, the
Palestinian Authority must stop fueling violence against Israel, Iraq must stop
building mass destruction weapons, etc.
In sum: war must stop and peace must prevail, without looking into the
reasons which led to this situation, overlooking key aspects such as
Jerusalem's future status or the rights of Palestinian refugees. All these things can be said if one is ready
to back words with actions which, in this case, means the deployment--in
situ--of a U.S. military force of no less than 20,000 men. And it is unlikely that this will take place because
people still remember what occurred in Lebanon, when the bombing of the Marines
headquarters led to a hasty return home."
"Efforts To End War In Israel"
An editorial in leading Clarin remarked
(4/8): "Secretary Colin Powell's
imminent mission may be the first step in that direction or, maybe, the last
chance for the forces in conflict to resume peace talks."
"The Price Of Omission"
Conservative O Globo stressed
(4/10): "Even with Sharon in
command...it's strange to see Israel ignore U.S. demands.... This is taking
place when everything seems to be out of control.... Taking the opposite view
from that of his Democratic predecessor, Bush has stayed out of [the Middle
East] for as long as he could, while Palestinians and Israelis slid down the
path to confrontation.... Bush has been
forced to send Secretary Powell to put out the fire that the White House itself
has helped to feed. [Powell's] mission
is being seen as a direct intervention to put the brakes on Sharon.... In Morocco, the first stop in his trip, King
Mohammed asked Powell: 'Don't you think you should have started with
Jerusalem?' It was an uncomfortable,
indelicate question. But an opportune
"End Of Inertia"
Independent Jornal do Brasil judged in an
editorial (4/8): "Confident in his
anti-terrorism strategy, [President] Bush resisted as long as he could.... But...he finally understood that American
[inaction] could be seen as a symptom of weakness that would only worsen the
situation [in the Middle East.]"
"Inhumane Law In Palestine"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's political
columnist Vinicius Torres Freire opined (4/8):
"George Bush's erratic diplomacy seemed to have sent the message to
Ariel Sharon to remove the knife from the Palestinians' neck. Secretary of
State Powell said that Sharon understood Bush's message, i.e., that the war
will stop 'as soon as possible' and that Sharon still has time to 'speed up'
his operation. So far, the pantomime is
nothing but an attempt to erase the general impression of Bush's complicity. Bush wants Arafat to control his terrorists. But Sharon has killed or arrested Arafat's
police.... Those arrested are
Palestinians, and the prison wardens are the United States and Israel.... Without international intervention, [Israeli]
barbarism will continue."
"Hegemony And Global Responsibility"
University of Sao Paulo Professor Gilberto Dupas
commented in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (4/6): "The radicalization of Bush's discourse
on terrorism has provided the pretext for a brutal toughening of Israel's
regime. The United States has temporarily lost the legitimacy to restrain the
aggressiveness of both parties, especially Israel. The real test of the United States' true
intentions will be a possible escalation against Iraq. With old accounts to
settle with Saddam Hussein, Bush may lead the entire region into chaos and
provoke profound hostility from old European allies."
"Nihilism Against Peace"
Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's lead
editorial opined (4/7): "We hope
Secretary Powell's visit to the Middle East creates a quick return to the
almost concluded conversations mediated by then President Clinton.... The lack of a multilateral institution with
prestige and power to act in the Middle East is deplorable. The fact is that only the active
participation of a high level U.S. representative will be useful in the
unfortunately probable hypothesis that the bloody Palestinian terrorist
attempts continue... The historical
opportunity the Arab nations have to assume a more active role in the
negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis must not be wasted."
"Finally, A Chance For Peace"
Independent Jornal da Tarde held
(4/7): "Colin Powell's destiny
seems to be to rebuild with diplomacy and patience what his boss and the
awkward Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have destroyed with their irresponsible
bravado. Peace in the Middle East
depends essentially on the United States using all its influence to contain
resentments within the limits of diplomacy and politics.... It will not be easy to stop the war. But if the Untied States is determined to do
so, it will finally happen."
Federico Reyes Heroles told readers of
independent Reforma (4/9):
"It would be superficial for us to criticize only Israeli military
action.... Palestinians believe that
terrorism is a valid answer to Israeli occupation. If Israel really wants to have safe border
and access to its religious monuments, and if the Palestinians truly want to
obtain territory for a legitimate state...and if the international community
does not want this terrorist spiral to escalate, the time for intervention has
come. It is the only way to save lives
and to make a minimum of rationality persevere in the face of barbarity."
"Middle East: Game Of Lies"
Carlos Martinez Assad opined in nationalist El
Universal (4/9): "Israel and
Palestine are involved in a territorial dispute, while the United States is
involved in a struggle to extend its area of influence in the Middle East. The most powerful nation on the planet is
using the strategy adopted by other empires to establish its control in order
to seek out gains for the marketplace and productivity."
"Who Will Stop Sharon?"
Alberto Aziz Nassif noted in independent Reforma
(4/9): "After the majority of
Palestinians suffered considerable destruction, the United States finally
timidly asked Sharon to please 'begin to pull back,' belatedly sending
Secretary of State Colin Powell to the zone.
However, Sharon failed to retreat and instead expanded the war, saying
'there's no turning back.' Bush's war
against terrorism following the 9/11 attacks was the pretext for restarting the
Israeli-Arab war.... In the meanwhile,
it is urgent to stop the war." Middle East
"Middle East: Will There Be Peace?"
Ana Portnoy wrote in Monterrey's independent El
Norte (4/7): "The mystique of
martyrism has increased with the impact of the September 11th attacks. If, in
addition to this mystique, we add educational models that link hate and death,
and then include an insurance policy of several thousand dollars (Iraq is
paying $25,000) to terrorists' families, we can understand the attraction that
this new technology represents and the need for different societies to halt
it.... At the Arab League Conference in
March...the Arabic message that Arafat sent through television, while speaking
about accepting the Saudi Arabia proposal, (also) included lectures praising
the Palestinian martyrs. ... No country in the world would tolerate the number
of terrorist attacks that Israel has borne
without reacting toward the protection of its citizens. This type of
security is the primary responsibility of any government. Due to the lack of action from the Palestine
Authority, which continually ignores international pressure, the government of
Israel has no other alternative than to directly dismantle terrorists'
operations and expose the links of the Palestine Authority officers to these
"Suicide As A Weapon "
Adolfo Aguilar Zinser judged (4/5) in
independent Reforma: "The
most serious risk is that as the Israeli occupation becomes more violent, the
feelings that motivate terrorist actions will also increase.... It is imperative for the international
community to become actively involved and to stop things from getting out of
hand.... Nothing justifies a
'wait-and-see' attitude. The
responsibility is in the hands of the international community, and to a great extent
in the hands of the United Nations."
"Bush Changes Attitude"
Nationalist Excelsior's editorial held
(4/5): "Bush has done well by
asking Israel to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territories. He also announced that he will send Colin
Powell to the region.... This is a step
towards peace. It is important for
Washington to have at last become involved in the search for peace.... The peace dialogue should resume immediately
to end the bloodshed."
"Bush, An Obstacle To Peace"
An editorial in far-left La Jornada
asserted (4/5): "President Bush's
remarks yesterday made it patent that he, his administration and his country,
will not be peace factors in the Middle East, but of suspicion and war....
Bush blames the current escalation on the suicide terrorist
actions--certainly condemnable, but he is confused about cause and effect. Had he been well-versed on the conflict, he
should have realized that the attempts are directly fueled by the prolonged
criminal, illegal and genocidal occupation by the Israeli army of Palestinian
"Will U.S. Adopt A Balanced Approach?"
In its prime-time newscast, conservative
Catholic University Television featured these remarks (4/9) by international
commentator Karin Ebensperger who said:
"Ariel Sharon would not be as powerful if he did not receive the
support from the United States. What is
being defined today is whether Washington will continue its unconditional
support of Israel whatever their actions are, or whether the United States will
seek a balance to address the Arab world."
"Sharon Has Washington's Blessing"
Simon Espinosa Cordero opined in Quito's
influential, center-left Hoy (4/5):
"The Sharon-Arafat dilemma leads to an impasse: It will not be settled due to humanitarian
reasons or justice, but for economic reasons.... Nobody will settle this impasse because
Sharon has Washington's blessing. The
United States is Israel's best ally, and Arabs are not liked by
Washingtonians.... It would not be rash
to think that even if Sharon succeeds in eliminating Palestinian terrorists
from the occupied territories, Washington would not support peace on the
pretext that terrorists from Iraq, Iran and Lebanon have yet to be
eliminated.... Sharon is not a fool, but
he resembles Hitler."
"Terrorism And Terror"
Quito's leading, centrist El Comercio
featured this opinion (4/5) by Gonzalo Ruiz Alvarez: "At the bottom of all this there is the
double standard of the U.S. government, its sinuous conduct that changes day by
day.... Beyond a cease-fire, a
definitive dialogue is necessary to seek the peace so longed for in the region,
overcoming Bush and Sharon's blindness and the extremist positions on both
sides. The future for Palestinians and
Israelis deserves it, to wash away the sacrifice of the innocent deaths in the
Holy Land. What a challenge for the
"The Bloodbath Continues"
Orlando Alcivar noted in Guayaquil's leading,
center-right El Universo (4/5):
"Something...has to be done by the international organizations and
the great powers involved--we might almost say that the only one is the United
States--to stop this conflict of the millennium that is getting worse each day,
endangering world peace.:
"Pardon Our Skepticism, General Sharon"
The lead editorial in the centrist,
business-oriented Daily Observer intoned (4/9): "We would not be surprised if General
Sharon's currency is counterfeit and that he is attempting to use it to buy
time. It is likely to be a cynical
attempt by the Israeli prime minister to lull his critics into a false sense of
security, while, at the same time, give the United States an opportunity to say
that its charge has begun to heed its words....
Ostensibly, the Israelis are rooting out terrorists and suicide
bombers.... What the Israeli prime
minister has not learned in his long years is that such tactics, the currency
of Israeli and Palestinian blood, have not bought his people security...[nor]
advanced the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live within secure
borders.... General Sharon's approach
does not take into account the equally legitimate right of Palestinians to live
in a nation that is fully, not partially, sovereign. The thumping humiliation of the Palestinians
and Mr Arafat will not halt the suicide bombers if there is not a just
settlement to this problem."
"Ostrich Policy In The Middle East"
Conservative El Panama America featured
this oped (4/5) by Carlos Christian Sanchez:
"Facing a possible global religious war like the Crusades, the
Pentagon hawks and diplomats in Washington are...like ostriches hiding their
heads when facing the unknown.... George
Bush is beginning to receive criticism in his country for the way in which this
problem has been handled. Some members
of Congress and senators...are of the opinion that the Bush strategy lacks
clear objectives.... After September 11,
Washington has implemented anti-terrorism politics.... In this context, what is good for the United
States cannot be bad for others, and, since the United States is conducting a
war against terrorism, Israel should have the same right. On the other side, President Bush could well
be taking care of his political future....
Jewish financial groups are the greatest contributors to the [political]
campaigns in the United States."
"Alert On Middle East Crisis"
Flagship, conservative El Comercio
stressed (4/5): "The international
community...is responsible for...heading a global initiative...leading to
a cease-fire. Eliminating Yasser Arafat's leadership...as
Prime Minister Sharon's government...insists on doing, is a very risky
option.... We emphatically condemn the
terrorists attacks perpetrated by extremists groups against Israel, but at the
same time believe that violent response only generates more confrontations and
worsens the conflict...especially if we consider the Arab countries'
reaction.... The only solution left for
Israel's own security is to resume dialogue under the auspices of...the