January 10, 2003
MIDEAST CONFLICT: BOMBINGS, RETALIATION CONFIRM
** Israeli outlets split on
best policy as Arabs warn "violence breeds only violence."
** London-Tel Aviv division
grows following PM Sharon's "hasty decision" to prevent Palestinian
attendance at London reform conference.
pressure" restrained Israeli reaction to suicide bombings.
** Many focus on attacks'
effect on Israeli election.
Israelis remain 'without a glimmer of hope' after latest
bombings-- Israeli outlets declared
that the two suicide attacks in Tel Aviv "strewed devastation, fear and
bereavement" but were divided on how to respond. Conservative dailies heaped additional blame
on the "Oslo debacle" and demanded PM Sharon "desist from
publicly supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state." Liberal papers said Sharon "cannot win
the conflict by force" and is not prepared to end it "by means of
negotiations." Arab outlets as
usual blamed Sharon and other "racist enemies of peace and stability"
for triggering the latest "martyrdom operations."
British antipathy to 'foolish and self-defeating' Sharon heats
up-- British papers called Sharon the "main
obstacle to reconciliation and progress" after he prevented Palestinians
from attending a London conference in the wake of the bombings. The conservative Times, while
admitting "serious progress" at the conference was unlikely,
criticized Israel's "undiplomatic slaps" to PM Tony Blair. Israel's independent Ha'aretz added
that "PA leaders...might reap diplomatic dividends" from what
pluralist Yediot Aharanot called Sharon's "stupidest
decision." Conservative Israeli
papers, meanwhile, disparaged the UK's "lack of diplomatic
Israel undertaking a 'low-profile' reaction due to concerns over
offending U.S.-- Many dailies cited U.S.
opposition to "any radical measures that would jeopardize an eventual
offensive against Iraq" to explain Israel's "more restrained than
usual" retaliation after the bombings.
Israel's Russian-language Novosty Nedely warned that increasing
regional tension would only produce "stronger U.S. pressure and a tougher
position" towards Israel. Muslim
countries' papers meanwhile blasted the West's continuing "apathy"
towards what Saudi Arabia's moderate Okaz dubbed "Israeli
terrorism, oppression and violence."
Syrian, Egyptian and Moroccan papers condemned Israel's "ethnic
cleansing operations" in Palestine.
Arabs blast Israel's 'political racism'-- A centrist German daily noted the attacks
reinforced how the "majority of Israelis support Sharon's tough
course," not Labor candidate Amram Mitzna's "reconciliatory
rhetoric." Arab papers attributed
the disqualification of two Israeli Arab MPs (since reinstated) to Zionist
objectives to create "a 'pure Jewish state' that will deprive minority
communities...of all political and national rights." Others attacked Sharon's "extremist
positions," saying they prove "Zionism doesn't advocate Arab-Jewish
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 58 reports from 23 countries over 4-9 January 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: “How Gesture For
Peace Ended In Row”
Richard Beeston wrote in the conservative Times (1/7): "Britain’s credibility in the region has
taken a huge knock. Blair...has been
left smarting after undiplomatic slaps in the face delivered on one cheek by
Sharon...and the other by Netanyahu....
This should have been easy to predict and avoid.... Sharon stands to gain by being seen to act
tough. Equally, Arafat, can gain
sympathy in the international community for being prepared to discuss reforms
to his administration but being prevented from doing so. The other participants at the conference
probably know that they are not missing much, since few believed that any
serious progress would be made in London.
Even Blair whose international prestige has been damaged, does not
emerge empty-handed.... His very public
spat with the Israelis may yet give him new credibility in the eyes of the Arab
world. The only losers are the Israelis
and Palestinians themselves. A modest
initiative to discuss their conflict internationally has been thwarted. It will be some time before Blair, or anyone
else on the international stage, proposes holding another conference in
The liberal Guardian stated (1/7): "The decision by the government of
Sharon to stop Palestinian delegates attending next week’s Middle East peace
conference in London is foolish and self-defeating. By this action, Sharon and Netanyahu have
once again given Israel’s enemies the opportunity to portray it as the main
obstacle to reconciliation and progess....
The Sharon government’s action in attempting to wreck the London
conference also amounts to a slap in the face for Blair.... Straw was right to express Britain’s sharp displeasure. Netanyahu’s response was as irrational as it
was ungracious. Sharon and colleagues
appear determined to smear all Palestinians as 'terrorist'...but most
Israelis...know very well it is nonsense....
War is not what vast majorities of thinking Palestinians and Israelis
want or support. They want political
leaders with the courage and imagination to forge a path to peace and security
founded on a just, lasting settlement.
They want the end of extremism; they want the beginning of a
future. So what does Sharon want?”
“Revive Peace Talks”
The independent Financial Times declared (1/7): "Sharon was and is determined to pound
the Palestinians into submission and to keep the majority of the occupied West
Bank. Bush, for his part, is inclined to
paint all terrorism a single colour after Sept 11.... Palestinian land shrinks as Sharon expands
illegal Jewish settlements. This
situation not only denies Palestinians justice.
It is not in the interests of Israelis yearning for security. Nor will it help the U.S. prosecute the
campaign against Islamist terrorists grouped around al-Qaida. On the contrary, the Bush administration’s
choice of Iraq as the fulcrum of action to transform the Middle East, while in
effect allowing Israel to pursue what all Arabs and Muslims see as a colonial
war against the Palestinians, is the greatest of political gifts to Osama bin
Laden and his followers. It is time for
the U.S., with the support of the EU, Russia and the UN, to insist Israel and
the Palestinians return to talks, based on the Taba parameters and last year’s
Arab League peace plan.... A just
settlement on such a basis would be the most powerful of weapons against the
suicide bombers. It would also give the U.S. the legitimacy it so signally
lacks in the Islamic world to crush al-Qaida."
FRANCE: "No Middle
East Truce During The Elections"
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (1/7): "Israel's response to Sunday's terrorist
attacks were more restrained than usual so as not to annoy the U.S. as it prepares
for a major offensive against Iraq....
The infernal cycle of Middle East violence has not abated in spite of
the coming elections. Ariel Sharon is
practically sure to be reelected...even if it has become clear that Likud's
policy of repression to insure Israel's security is not working. FM de Villepin is about to reiterate this
message while insisting that peace cannot exist without a Palestinian
state. President Bush has adopted the
same position, yet the U.S. and Europe seem to diverge: While Europe considers
that the Middle East is the most dangerous place in the world today, the U.S.
is deploying its troops around Iraq....
As a consequence the Middle East roadmap is being ignored by the
Quartet...and the Palestinian cause is being used as an excuse by Saddam
Hussein and Bin Laden neither of whom care much about the Palestinians."
"Israeli Response Curbed By Washington"
Pierre Prier wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (1/7): "Ariel Sharon's dilemma was proven once
again after Sunday's terrible terrorist attacks. The Israeli PM could neither respond
forcefully nor guarantee the security of the Israelis.... Sharon was again forced to explain to those
of his ministers asking for Arafat's expulsion that the U.S., Israel's number
one ally and principal money source, did not approve of any radical measures
that would jeopardize an eventual offensive against Iraq. What President Bush does not need at this
point is to be associated with the expulsion of a man who symbolizes the
GERMANY: “Serving The
Charles A. Landsmann wrote in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (1/8): “The terrorists helped
Sharon’s campaign while weakening the position of the Labor Party.... Those behind the attacks knew that Sharon
cannot retaliate militarily right now, because President Bush told him not to
cause problems while Iraq is on the agenda.
Sharon ‘punished’ the Palestinians by prohibiting meetings of the
Palestinian leadership that were to set the course for important reforms. The Israeli government thus keeps the
Palestinians from developing reform proposals while making reforms the
condition for political negotiations. In
this manner, Sharon prevents democratization in the Palestinian areas...and
destroys the possibility of a peaceful solution.”
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich observed
(1/7): "The double suicide bombing
will help Sharon's election campaign....
It convinces the majority of Israelis that the country must stick to its
policy of counter-violence and retaliation if it wants to end Palestinian
terror. The Palestinians' ability to
keep entering Israel and set off bombs...reveals that Arafat's influence
continues to wane.... His condemnation
of suicide attacks is mere lip service.
Arafat's main goal is to present himself as a victim to the world. The only problem is that nobody besides
Arafat's people believes him anymore."
Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
opined (1/7): "As always, Arafat
has nothing to say about the bombings except that he and his leadership are not
involved.... Meanwhile, the Al Aqsa
brigades, closely affiliated with Arafat, are eager to claim responsibility for
the attacks and even give out the names of the assassins. Arafat's statement is not credible. One cannot blame the Israeli voters for
having lost confidence in the peace process under Arafat and turning to
right-wing politicians. The only reason
Arafat has not been expelled yet is that Sharon does not want to lose moderate
voters and has promised the U.S. not to escalate the situation
unnecessarily.... Arafat has to decide
where he stands. If he seeks political
acceptance in Israel and the West, he has to renounce terrorism once and for
"Campaigning With Fear"
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin judged (1/6): “Sharon’s party has lost ground in the polls
because of a corruption scandal.... The
Israeli leader knows there is only one way of changing the situation. He must score points with the issue that made
voters flock to his camp before the scandal -- the conflict with the
Palestinians. To put it differently:
suicide bombings, like the ones that happened Sunday, are supposed to win the
election for Sharon. The majority of
Israelis support Sharon’s tough course, and Labor Party head Mitzna has failed
to win over hearts with reconciliatory rhetoric and promises for a Palestinian
ITALY: "Israel Will
Eliminate Terrorists One By One"
Gian Micalessin said in pro-government, leading center-right Il
Giornale (1/7): "Indeed, the
Sunday night attack...not only demonstrates that terrorism is blind. Above all, it shows how impotent everyone is
with regards to the threat. (It shows)
the impotence of the government, of the opposition, of the security services,
and of those who, as Egypt, have been trying to convince the Palestinian armed
groups to stop their attacks. Indeed,
the government is the first one to realize it has no arms. Up until yesterday the only retaliation was
the bombing of a factory in Gaza....
Indeed, after 27 months of Intifada all [possible] retaliatory actions
have been carried out. Indeed, they
cannot play the last card, which is the expulsion or even the elimination of
Arafat.... With the attack on Iraq and
the general elections in Israel near, the Israeli PM cannot allow himself
to break the promise he made to
President Bush not to touch the Palestinian leader."
Restrains its Reactions"
Baudouin Loos noted in left-of-center Le Soir (1/7): "After the Tel Aviv suicide attack that
left 24 dead, Israel opted for a rather low profile, anticipating American
pressure: President Bush, focused on his invasion plans in Iraq, does not want
to be bothered in the region by actions that might increase anti-American
feelings that are already largely present.
Besides, Israel is currently negotiating an exceptional $12 billion
America aid package."
The Hope For Peace"
Socialist-affiliated Duma commented (1/7): "The PA is trying to carry on with the
dialogue, which could lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state,
but Islamic radicals are poisoning each hope for peace with terrorist
acts. In the long run and having in mind
the up-coming elections in Israel, the paradox is that the Islamic radicals,
with their bloody attacks against the peaceful citizenry are helping Sharon and
the Likud party stay in power."
IRELAND: "Fallout From
Tel Aviv Atrocity"
The liberal Irish Times editorialized (1/8): "Israel has responded to the latest
suicide bombing atrocity, in which 23 people died and 100 were injured in Tel
Aviv, by striking out at international political attempts to get the peace
process with the Palestinians going again....
Such a strategy is more likely to encourage terrorism than prevent it.
In deference to United States concerns that a massive military retaliation
similar to the Ramallah operation six months ago would reduce Arab support for
an attack on Iraq, the Israeli government has decided to prevent a political
and diplomatic revival of efforts to tackle the principal source of instability
in the region.... It is a dreadful
impasse athwart the most dangerous conflict in the Middle East. The US
administration has been very reluctant to take such initiatives in the belief
that a successful war against Iraq would create the conditions in which to
pursue and reach an overall regional peace. That highly debatable assumption
adds another layer of instability to the region. A war fought without a
constructive engagement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would bring fresh
dangers. Mr Blair should persevere with his initiative in spite of these
setbacks and deserves support for his efforts."
"Sharon Faces Dilemma On Bombing"
Peter Hirschberg wrote in the liberal Irish Times
(1/6): "But because of the
proximity of the election, the fact that yesterday's attack was in the heart of
Tel Aviv, and the high death toll...the Prime Minister might consider more
wide-ranging action. With the elections
so close, Mr. Sharon does not want to be portrayed by Israel's far-right as
being soft on the Palestinians.... Now,
even more so, Mr. Sharon will be acutely aware of a firm American request that
he not take any drastic measures that might destabilise the region on the eve
of a possible strike against Saddam Hussein."
POLAND: “Blowing Up Their
Dawid Warszwski wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(1/8): “It is true that an indirect
impetus for the [Palestinian] attacks is the burden of living under occupation
and the desire to take revenge for Israeli repression. But the understood
sympathy for the fate of Palestinians should not translate into tolerance for
their leaders who consciously rejected peace two years ago in Camp David, and
who consciously educate their youth to kill. It is not true that the
Palestinians have no other weapon but terror. The Israeli government pledges
that once terror stops and those responsible for terror step down, negotiations
will resume. There is no doubt that, if such conditions were met but Israel
nevertheless hesitated, it would change its mind under the pressure from the
U.S. - pressure which is a strategic necessity to quell this conflict.... Occupied and repressed, the Palestinians care
not a bit for the fate of Israeli victims. When will they understand that with
every attack their future is also being blown up?”
Immobilization, An Unfair Reprisal"
Independent El Mundo declared (1/8): "The collective suffering of all the
inhabitants of the West Bank will not relieve an ounce the pain of the
relatives of Israeli victims. Problems
are piling up for Prime Minister Sharon on the road to elections. Investigators, who are studying in detail
possible irregularities in his political financing, are keeping him against the
ropes. His mood does not seem to be the
most appropriate to making well-balanced decisions. Palestinians' freedom of movement should be
restored as soon as possible."
"Massacre In Tel-Aviv"
Conservative ABC stated (1/6): "The raving race of extremists is
leading the Palestinian people towards disaster and giving justification for
Sharon to keep up a policy of collective repression, which, although
unsuccessful...is giving him political benefits, above all in the U.S.... Bush should observe the situation with
prudence and in all its broad scope, and try to ensure that its Israeli ally
doesn't become another problem."
Diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn wrote in independent Ha'aretz
(1/9): "The support of U.S.
President Bush has strengthened Sharon's rule to this day. In exchange, Sharon
scattered agreements 'in principle' and positive signals about a Palestinian
state and the American initiatives, from the Mitchell Plan to the Bush Speech
and the 'road map,' and refrained from expelling Yasser Arafat and reoccupying
Gaza. That was enough for the
Administration to buy some quiet in Europe and the Arab world on the way to
Iraq. But what will happen on the 'day
after'?.... If Washington decides the
time has come to cash in the mortgage and demand a settlement freeze and a
renewal of the negotiations, Sharon can expect to face a very difficult
time. He knows well that the road map
leads in one direction: to the internationalization of the conflict and the
1967 borders. And as opposed to his rule
that 'there are no free lunches' in political life, he's been forced to ask for
a huge aid package from the U.S. He can
only hope the Americans make do with lip service about a political settlement,
as they have until now, and not try to impose one."
"Battle For Survival"
Commentator Sima Kadmon noted in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (1/9): "An
earthquake--there are no more accurate words to describe what is happening in
the Likud. The Likud, headed by Ariel
Sharon, is moving from a mode of restraint to a battle for survival. Of to be or not to be. In less than a month, the gap of about 20
seats between Likud and Labor has shrunk to a gap that can be counted on the
fingers of one hand. This is no longer a
fall. Not even a crash. This is absolute
lack of faith in the man and in the party....
If...the next polls show that the Likud has gone below 30 seats, these
elections may be the most dramatic upheaval of all times. As of this moment, Sharon must begin to work
from his gut: he must not stand and face us with advisers and lawyers, but with
all his powers of persuasion. Not with
documents and numbers, but with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
"A Short Circuit With London"
Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (1/8): "The Sharon government's discomfort over
Britain's activities in the region has some justification.... Nevertheless, wisdom and good judgment should
have been able to keep these feelings out of the kitchen cabinet's hasty
decision on Sunday night, following the double bombing in Tel Aviv, to forbid
senior Palestinian officials to attend the London conference on reforming the
Palestinian Authority. The conference's
sponsor, Prime Minister Blair, has more than once proven his friendship for
Israel and his commitment to finding a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.... The planned conference
itself also deserves a less one-dimensional response from the government: It is
supposed to deal with reforming the Palestinian Authority, and the government
of Israel claims to support such reforms and to be interested in seeing them
take place. It is admittedly galling to
Prime Minister Sharon that the Arab states and the members of the Quartet were
also invited to the London conference, while Israel was banished and its
representatives were forbidden to attend even as observers. But this does not justify Israel acting in a
manner that effectively torpedoes the entire event.... Imposing a travel ban on Palestinians when
there is no security justification for it will make it harder for Israel to
claim that it is guided solely by security considerations. Blair has not given up; Tuesday, he once
again asked Sharon to reconsider. The Prime Minister would be wise to accede to
"Tempest In His Teacup"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post opined (1/8): "The Jerusalem Post is inclined
to agree that relatively little is gained by denying Palestinian negotiators
the opportunity to travel to Britain for what will surely be a footnote of a
conference. Yet Israel must respond to
Sunday's terror attacks somehow....
Israel's relations with Britain are important. The ties are historical, cultural, political
and ideological. Just as Britain serves
as a bridge between America and Europe, it could fulfill a similar role between
Israel and the EU. Also, Britain is very
much a full partner with the U.S. in the Middle East and its influence in any
prospective post-war settlement is likely to be large. So it is critical there be no further
deterioration of relations between us.
That said, if Israel sees that it has little to gain by taking into
account British concerns since she is likely be criticized by Britain no matter
what she does the Sharon government may very well come to the conclusion that
there is no longer much point in listening to London. To have influence in Jerusalem, as it does in
Washington, Britain must demonstrate understanding and credibility superior to
what we've seen from the rest of Europe.
So far, we haven't seen it."
"Why Upset London"
Senior commentator Rami Tal commented in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (1/8): "If a contest is held for the
title of 'stupidest decision,' it seems that one contender could be the
decision made by the kitchen cabinet to prevent a Palestinian delegation from
going to London for a discussion on government reforms in the Palestinian
Authority. The demand for such reforms
was not made by Israel.... The idea of
reforms in the PA is American in origin--the product of a combination of
typical American naiveté, pressure by Jewish organizations in the U.S. and the
aspiration of the Bush administration to appear as an advocate of promoting
democracy around the world.... Britain
has recently joined this effort, and its Prime Minister, Tony Blair, initiated
the aforementioned conference in London--with the participation of
representatives from all the Arab countries and Palestinian
representatives. Israel then launched
into a series of errors. On one hand, it
argued that Israeli representatives should also have been invited to the
conference, despite the fact that such an invitation would have caused the
failure of the conference before it began.
On the other hand, it was argued that there is no point in the
conference, since Arafat was the one who selected the Palestinian
representatives (and who should have done this?
Sharon? [Israel's right-wing
politicians?]). At the beginning of the
week, the redeeming excuse was finally found: the terror attacks at the old
central bus station in Tel Aviv. Sharon-Mofaz-Netanyahu determined that...the
Palestinians would be punished by not allowing their representatives to go to
Britain. Her Majesty’s government
reacted with anger, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed polite
disapproval at the decision."
"What is Blair's Story?"
Likud associate and former Ambassador to the UK Dror Zeigerman
noted popular, pluralist Maariv (1/8):
"The intervention of Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing new.
In 1998 he initiated and convened a meeting with the participation of
Binyamin Netanyahu, Yasser Arafat and then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. The summit was, as expected, a
complete failure. Only a covert
breakfast between Netanyahu and Blair prevented Albright from announcing the
failure publicly and pointing an accusing finger at Netanyahu and Arafat. Netanyahu managed to persuade Blair that the
failure would stick to him as the host, and persuaded him to intervene with
President Bill Clinton to prevent issuing such a statement. Blair understood the hard way that the Middle
East is not Northern Ireland. If there
is a chance for dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians, it lies in the
intervention of the President of the U.S.
This may be the reason that Blair refrained from including Israel in the
conference he is to convene in London next week.... Blair defines himself as a great friend of
Israel, and so he is. His
misunderstanding of Israeli politics, a certain degree of naiveté and Jewish
advisors well connected to the Labor Party have caused him to stumble and
abandon the diplomatic code. Therefore,
Sharon and Netanyahu did well to reprimand the British ambassador in Israel for
a lack of diplomatic tact in British intervention in Israel’s elections. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also
have no reason to accept the British request for a gesture that will enable the
Palestinian delegation leave for the conference in Britain. The fear of damage to the diplomatic
relations between the two countries is exaggerated. If such damage occurs, it will be in the
short term only."
"Britain, As Usual"
Nationalist Hatzofe thundered (1/8): "Britain, which hunted down ships
carrying survivors of Auschwitz and the death camps to Israel, has never
changed its nature regarding the Jewish people and Israel.... Britain the Good and Hypocritical knows that
meetings with Palestinian officials have no value and that these meetings only
give legitimacy to the continuation of terror, but it still continues to hold
diplomatic meetings as if the shahids [martyrs] had passed from this
world.... The Government's decision to
prevent the Palestinian delegation from going to London is worthy of praise and
encouragement, especially against the backdrop of the horrible terror attacks
in Tel Aviv on Sunday.... [Arafat] is a
Palestinian leader who wants to eliminate Israel, not to make peace. Britain, judging from its past and its
behavior in the present, is interested in advancing his aims. The proof: funds from the EU, in which
Britain is a partner, flow with an open hand to the extreme Israeli Left which
wants to take Israel back to borders that are not enough to guarantee its
"PA's Chance To Reap Diplomatic Dividends"
Arab affairs commentator Danny Rubinstein wrote
in independent Ha'aretz (1/7):
"Palestinian leaders were surprised yesterday by punitive
diplomatic steps taken by Israel, particularly the decision to stop Palestinian
officials from taking part in a conference on reforms in the PA organized by
British PM Tony Blair for mid-January.
The PA leaders denounced these Israeli actions; while some hinted that
they might be able to reap diplomatic dividends from Israel's moves.... Palestinians have viewed the London
conference as a diplomatic success. It
eases policies of isolation that Israel and the U.S. have enforced against the
PA, the Palestinian officials believe.
The Palestinians were pleased that the British invitation was relayed
directly to Arafat, even though it was clear that the PA chairman would not be
able to make the trip. For the Palestinians, the London conference was to be a
serious attempt to revive a diplomatic process that has come to a near total
"Terror and a Dead End"
Ha'aretz editorialized (1/7): "Apparently, the
effort being made by Egypt to create an agreement between the Palestinian
groups to cease their attacks has not managed to create the necessary
change.... Diplomacy alone will not
bring an end to terrorism. Terror will
cease only if the Palestinian public rejects the terrorists and their
commanders and their terrorist activity.
But there is no sign on the horizon of such a broad popular movement to
uproot terror from within its midst. The
Palestinians believe that there is no chance for a broad front against terror
when they don't have a track that leads to solving their national problem. Three weeks before the elections there's no
point in expecting a political breakthrough.
But the Israeli public cannot be blind to the fact that Ariel Sharon and
his government have so far rebuffed every political initiative and used the IDF
with destructive brutality that harmed the Palestinian population and often
contributed to fanning the flames of hatred and violence. Thus, they also share responsibility for the
continuing terrible bloodshed."
"Those Who Pay Order The Music"
Efraim Ganor wrote in popular, pluralist
Russian-language Novosty Nedely (1/6):
"A high-ranking Israeli delegation headed by the PM's bureau chief
Dov Weisglass arrived in the U.S. to discuss the issues of military and
financial aid to Israel with the U.S. Administration.... Israeli public opinion polls are being viewed
and analyzed in Washington, and might very well rebuff [the U.S.'] publicly
expressed support for Sharon. What will
be the consequences for Israel? Stronger
U.S. pressure and a tougher position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.... Under the current difficult
circumstances Israel would not be able to withstand such pressure. Therefore, Sharon rushes to close the issue
of financial aid and has sent Weisglass to Washington...before internal
pressure in Likud starts. The PM is
eager to show the Americans that he really controls the situation, but he needs
the U.S. assistance to do so. The current
situation is very difficult and complicated.
Israel depends on the U.S. both financially and politically. The U.S. is using this in order to force any
[Israeli] Prime Minister...to accept the Quartet's formula.... This might lead to a serious internal
conflict in the country, and...greater instability. Only Yasser Arafat would gain from it."
"Government In A Bind"
Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (1/6): "Note
the inclination of the ministers who convened late last night with the Prime
Minister: it doesn’t matter who committed the terror attack in Tel Aviv, Fatah,
Islamic Jihad or Hamas, they sanctified a single solution: Arafat's
expulsion. Sharon was stuck with the
thankless job of restoring their sanity to them. Sharon knows and they know that the expulsion
of Arafat now, on the eve of the attack on Iraq, when there is no evidence of
any connection whatsoever between the Palestinian Authority and the terror
attack, would be tantamount to a declaration of war on the Bush administration,
a war that Israel cannot afford....
Sharon is not smiling. Just like
every decent Israeli, he is angry and pained by the severity of the blow, and
he understands the bind that his government is in: it cannot win the conflict
by force, it is not prepared to decide to end the conflict by means of
negotiations, and it does not want to end it by means of genuine separation,
which would entail the evacuation of settlements. It is held captive within this status quo,
without a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel."
"The Real Scuds"
Senior columnist Hemmi Shalev wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv
(1/6): "Only a few hours after the
spectacular display of futuristic technology for the defense of the skies [the
successful Arrow missile test], two deadly missiles penetrated Tel Aviv's space
and strewed devastation, fear and bereavement.
These are surface-to-surface missiles, in the fullest sense of the
expression-simple, sophisticated, deadly and human, or perhaps sub-human. These are the real Scuds threatening our
lives.... And despite all the efforts,
the Arrow has not yet been invented that will be able to completely intercept
the launching of suicide bombers....
Palestinian terror defeated Yitzhak Shamir in the elections of 1992,
Shimon Peres in 1996 and Ehud Barak in 2001, but all the conventional wisdom
believes that it could actually help Sharon.
Only few will now bet on a dramatic upheaval in the dynamics of public
opinion, which suddenly, without prior warning, will translate the collective
consciousness that 'it cannot go on this way' into ballots as well."
"Guarantees To Perpetuate The Occupation"
Columnist Akiva Eldar observed in independent Ha'aretz
(1/6): "The most dangerous
innovation in the American attitude to the settlements shouldn't be sought in
their relationship to the guarantees or the problematic timing of the
negotiations over the aid. There's a
much more profound change in policy here: in the latest discussions of the road
map, President Bush rejected the Quartet's position that terror should be
fought as if there were no new settlements and the settlements should be frozen
as if there were no terror. He set a new
precedent, that settlements are not an absolute danger to peace, but rather a
matter contingent on outside factors, including domestic American politics. The American decision that a settlement
freeze is conditional on Sharon's satisfaction with a cease-fire is, in effect,
a legitimization of the deepening of the occupation, perpetuating the war and
perhaps a guarantee for continued right-wing rule."
"No Funding For Terror"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(1/6): "In some ways, the
solicitude being shown [by the U.S.] to the PA's second tier, including Arafat
deputy Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Finance Minister Salaam Fayad, is more
disturbing than the protection of Arafat himself. The reason is that while Arafat's days in
leadership are presumably numbered, the embrace of his close associates calls
into question the U.S. vision for a post-Arafat regime. Let us say, for the moment, that Abbas and
Fayad are sincerely interested in ending the current terrorist phase of the
struggle. Does this qualify them to
become the next leaders of the PA, or have the U.S. and Israel learned nothing
from the Oslo debacle?.... It is
certainly reasonable for Bush to be concerned about the humanitarian plight of
the Palestinian people, which he has rightly blamed on their own
leadership. But if he is so concerned
about the people, he should not be demanding that Israel funnel money to their
oppressors, even if he has found one among them who is not corrupt. Rather, the Israeli-collected tax money
should continue to be withheld, or distributed through non-governmental
organizations. At a minimum, Israel
should neither be asked to, nor accept a request, to fund a government that
holds direct responsibility for terrorism against its citizens."
"A Dangerous Map"
Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (1/5): "Contrary to media reports that the
United States has accepted most of Israel's remarks concerning the draft ['road
map'] document, it turns out that its final outline ignores most of
them.... Everything indicates that after
the elections the U.S. will apply heavy pressure on Israel to agree to the
principles of the 'road map.' The new
Israeli government will have to confront that pressure and the dangers inherent
in that map. Ariel Sharon should clarify
his position regarding this dangerous map before the elections and desist from
publicly supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state and sending out
conciliatory messages, mostly aimed at preparing the ground for the formation
of a government comprising the Labor and Shinui parties."
WEST BANK: "After Tel
Aviv Operation: Prompt Initiative Needed”
Talal Okal opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam
(1/9): "As far as the Sharon government
is concerned, the fact that [the Palestinian Authority] has condemned the Tel
Aviv bombing attacks will not help bring about a suitable atmosphere for any
political talks because this government seems to be taking hostile measures
against everybody. Israel has purposely
decided to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for the attacks in an
effort to undermine the Palestinian Authority’s ability to control the
situation.... Meanwhile, Israel has
continued its aggression and massacres against the Palestinian people, refusing
to acknowledge any of their grievances.
For its part, the American administration has authorized Israel’s
aggression as a right to self-defense, giving Israel free rein to continue its
“Feeble Pretexts To Abort London Conference”
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (1/8): "It seems that all along the Israeli
government disliked the idea of holding a conference in the British capital to
revive the peace process based on President Bush’s vision for peace in the
region. Israel has found just the right pretext to sabotage the conference by
using last Sunday’s double attack in Tel Aviv and the Israeli civilian victims
to justify prohibiting the Palestinian delegation from traveling to the British
capital. This Israeli action came despite the Palestinian Authority’s strong
condemnation of the attack, stressing that such attacks aim at hindering the
peace process and enhancing the chances of Ariel Sharon’s victory in the
"Preventing The Prevention Efforts"
Adli Sadek commented in semi-offical Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(1/7): "The Sharon government is
effectively against all efforts aimed at ending [Palestinian] bombing attacks
and is actively preventing such efforts from succeeding through undermining the
pro-peace bloc in Palestinian society and then creating counterproductive facts
on the ground, including daily killings....
The Sharon government's decision to prevent the Palestinian delegation
from participating in the London conference, in addition to all of this
government's [other] prohibitions, fritters away all hopes [in peace] and
replaces them with death on both sides.
We are dealing with a government dominated by an obsession [with
prevention]. It prevents any chance for
a settlement; it prevents the PA from having strong institutions...and it
prevents any reforms in the PA. In
short, it prevents any effort to end the killings."
"At The Doors Of Israeli Elections"
Sameih Shubeib opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam
(1/6): "The nullification of the
candidacy of Azmi Bishara and Ahmed Tibi reveals the goals of the Israeli
policy, which are mainly based on Zionism and the ambition of establishing a
‘pure Jewish State.’ Such a state will deprive minority communities, such as
the Arab minority, of all political and national rights. In addition, the action of nullifying the
candidacy of Bishara and Tibi shows that Sharon and his supporters are hoping
for a massive victory to establish a new national unity government, making
Sharon the real king of the new Israel, ‘clean’ from any other political groups
or entities, especially the Arabs.”
"Where Is The Chance Of Making Progress On The Peace
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (1/6): "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
stated yesterday during the weekly session of his government that there is ‘a
real possibility for pushing the political track with the Palestinians.’ He added that he has a ‘plan to enhance the
principles declared by American President George Bush’s peace proposal.’ These remarks by Sharon come as a surprise
not only because there is no declared Israeli position toward supporting
political negotiations, but also because Sharon has failed to make any
concessions regarding his extremist positions on the Palestinian cause.”
EGYPT: “Neither Indians
Lading pro-government Al Ahram contributor Mohamed
El-Sammak observed (1/8): “American
General Philip Sheridan, who led the ethnic cleansing campaign against Red
Indians in the U.S., said, ‘the good Indian is a dead Indian.’ Sharon, who is
leading the ethnic cleansing campaign against Arabs in Palestine, is adopting
the same concept. However, Palestinians
are neither Indians nor red. The mistake
of the Red Indians was they believed the promises of the American government,
and in return they fell like flies in massacres. Palestinians today do not believe either
American or Israeli promises.... In fact,
general Sharon is not only a mimicking pupil of general Sheridan, but also a
committed disciple of Gabotensky, the Zionist philosopher.... Hollywood depicted resisting Red Indians as
criminals, the same way the Zionist media is now depicting Palestinian
strugglers who are giving their lives for the sake of national dignity and
rights. While the Red Indians were
misfortunate to be in an isolated continent out of the reach of anyone’s help,
Palestinians also are receiving only verbal support from Arabs.... However, even if Israel brought all world
Jews into Palestine, they will remain a minority at the heart of the Arab
world. They will discover that Arabs are not Red Indians...and one day
[Israelis] will have to pay a dear price for all their crimes.”
“Israel And The Final Settlement”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram senior columnist Salama
Ahmed Salama opined (1/8): “The mission
of the dialogue among Palestinian factions is not to eliminate resistance, but
to coordinate efforts to manage the dispute. It is a decisive stage in the face
of an Israeli [escalation], which exploits a possible strike on Iraq. Israel seeks a final settlement based on
Zionist learning from Nazism. A ‘final settlement’ is the term used by Nazis to
liquidate the Jewish problem in Europe, which is the same method being
currently used to liquidate the Palestinian problem in the Middle East. There is good coordination with the U.S. to
determine the Israeli role in the campaign against Iraq, and Israel is
obtaining $14 billion of aid to reinforce strategic cooperation [with the
U.S.].... The outcome of a year of
Israeli thuggery shows that Sharon is proceeding toward a ‘final settlement’
rapidly. Israeli statistics show that 2073 Palestinians were killed in
2002...and 44 new settlements were built.
This renders the peace efforts talked about in London or elsewhere as
“Sharon And Nourishing Reasons For Violence”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s unsigned editorial read
(1/8): “Each time a Palestinian
martyrdom operation occurs in response to Israeli repressive policies, the
Sharon government resorts to further repression and aggression against the
Palestinian people, showing repeated scenarios that reveal shortsightedness and
failure to learn the lesson and assimilate the fact that security failed so far
to subdue the Palestinian people...instead of calming the violence cycle, in
which civilians and innocent people on both sides fell, he pursued his policy
that nourishes this violence....
Certainly, the Israeli government continues its losing bet on force and
aggression, exploiting the world’s pre-occupation with Iraq.... However, the international community is now
more convinced of the necessity of settling the Mideast dispute.... However, statements and initiatives are not
enough.... There must be an
international political will to be translated into specific and binding steps,
as the only way to end this chronic dispute.”
"Sharon, Mixing Up Concepts"
Leading pro-government Al-Ahram opined
(1/5): "Within the framework of
Israel's continued escalation of Middle East tension, extremist Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon has started a tendentious publicity campaign in which he attempts
to accuse Syria of possession of weapons of mass destruction.... Sharon's false accusations against Syria
surely do not rest on any evidence. They
rather disclose the Israeli government's desire to mix up cards and concepts
and its attempt to implicate more than one Arab country in an issue that will
prompt a relentless US war against Iraq....
It is also beyond doubt that Sharon wants to send to the Israelis a
message that the Jewish state is still vulnerable to many dangers and that he
is now keener on maintaining their security more than ever before.... He won the last elections after his
security-related pledges that he would abort the Palestinian intifada and end
the martyrdom operations. But through
these operations, resistance groups have succeeded in shaking the Israeli
security system and dealing it a crushing blow.... The US administration should act for an end
to this unjustified Israeli escalation against Syria. Also, considering that to accede to Sharon's
plans would make a battlefield of the entire Middle East, Arab action is needed
to explain the situation, disclose facts and clarify matters."
JORDAN: “The Embarrassing
Situation Of Yaser Arafat”
Chief Editor Taher Udwan declared in center-left, mass-appeal Al-Arab
Al-Yawm (1/7): “The dual suicide
bombings in Tel Aviv hurt the Palestinians as much as it bled the Israelis and
destroyed their security myth. The
bombing ignited disputes within the Fateh movement, and showed that the Fateh
people, just like Hamas and Jihad, no longer believe in Yaser Arafat’s
political tactics or the method of 'keeping quiet and calm in the face of the
Israeli knife' as the only way out of the current siege. The Fateh group, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
declared its responsibility for the dual bombings but the Fateh leadership and
the PA denied that. This is the first
time such a thing has occurred....
Arafat is in a tight spot, and Israel is using Abu Ammar’s siege and his
tight spot to confuse the Palestinians and to tear them apart in order to
divide them up. Will the PA and the
Palestinian factions realize this?”
MOROCCO: "This is My
Mohamed Ben Salah wrote in Arabic-language pro-government Al
Alam (1/7): "Violence breeds
violence and the Tel Aviv operation was in fact violent but not so much when
compared with thousands of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli violence. The
cycle of violence will continue with the election of the bloodthirsty Israelis
(The Likud).... The Palestinian people
have come to know their path; but the one who has lost it is the U.S.
administration as Middle East peace broker."
Chief Editor Ahmed Boukyoud opined in Arabic-language
pro-government Bayane Al Youm (1/7): "In the recent operation in Tel Aviv,
the unequal conflict in the Middle East has entered a perilous phase which thus
reduces the chances for a peace settlement in the Middle East under the
aggressive inclination of Israeli officials. This phase requires from the
international community to come out of its silence and act to stop Israel's
oppression and occupation of Palestinian territories. Arab countries are also requested to
translate their solidarity slogans into actions and tangible initiatives to
strengthen the Palestinian people's resistance and legitimate struggle."
SAUDI ARABIA: “We Reject
Brutality But Are Surprised By Partiality”
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized (1/7): “We condemn all forms of terrorism as a way
of thinking and acting. We also
denounce all acts of violence carried out against innocent civilians, regardless
of who they are or where they live....
We ask: Why the Palestinian suicide operations at this time
particularly, when international and European efforts are intensified to
formulate the shape of the upcoming Palestinian state.... We also question the description by the U.S.
administration of Palestinian suicide operations as 'brutal terrorism’ when it
uses soft and adorned expressions in describing Israeli terrorism, oppression
and violence, which is systematically and continuously exercised against all
segments of Palestinian society.”
“Israel Hammers Toward Escalation”
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira opined (1/7): “The suicide bombings of Tel Aviv came to
remind Israel that there are those who could also harm her, likewise there are
those who could alter the equation of terror to include all and to bring a
balance of terror.... Many victims will
fall because no one can deter or control Israel.... It is vital to correct this odd situation,
which Israel represents since peace conditions require the presence of observers,
who are ready to deal with peace needs.
The Palestinians have always proved their commitment to a peaceful
solution, but Israel finds itself free of any commitment even if it is an
"Widening The Rift"
The English-language pro-government Riyadh Daily published
this editorial declaring (1/4): “Israel,
often cited by the West as the beacon of democracy in the region has now
established itself as an espouser of political racism by slapping an election
ban on two Arab MPs. Ahmad Tibi and Azmi
Bishara, along with his Balad party, have been banned from running for the
January 28 legislative elections on the grounds that they support the
Palestinian cause. However, the real
motive behind the ban is clear, considering the fact that Israel's central
electoral commission, which imposed the ban, is dominated by hard-line
right-wingers.... Pacifists from both
sides are struggling to bring the Arabs and Jews together. But it is evident that Sharon’s extremist
line of thought is seeking to perpetuate the age-old animosities between the
two communities. Zionism doesn’t
advocate Arab-Jewish co-existence in any way.
And Sharon’s policies are surely proving this point to the hilt.”
SYRIA: "The Real
Riad Zein observed in the government-owned Syria Times
(1/9): "In the heat of the unprecedented American military build-up in the
Gulf region, the question of Israel's possession of a nuclear arsenal continues
to be pressing. It is widely known that
Israel possesses more than 200 nuclear and other sophisticated arms of mass
destruction as well as the 'Dimona' nuclear reactor. It moreover continues to
develop different nuclear installations. Israel also blatantly refuses to join
the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to honor resolutions of the international
legitimacy. What encourages Israel brazen defiance is the U.S. that continues
to render all aid to its strategic ally.
Needless to say therein that the actual threat and real danger to the
region is Israel. Its weapons of mass annihilation are in the hands of
extremist and terrorist leaders who are not hesitant to use these destructive
arms, to continue carrying out acts of mass genocide and destruction and to
escalate grave tensions in the entire Middle East."
"Resistance Is The Language And The Option"
Mohammad Ali Bouza opined in government-owned Al-Thawra
(1/8): "In the midst of America's
overwhelming concentration on the Iraqi issue, the Tel Aviv well-planned
bombings were executed came after two months of unilateral self-restraint to
cause a shock and to bring the Palestinian issue and the tragic situation there
back to the forefront. Martyrdom,
resistance and heroic confrontation with continued Zionist terrorism is the
only language that enemy understands, and is the only remaining option for the
people of the Occupied Territories after now that all other paths to peace have
been blocked. It would be better if
those who are now shedding crocodile tears and raising their one-sided racist
and unjust voices would see the truth in its entirety and to stop the
aggression and massacres perpetrated by their favored Israel, instead of
expecting the Palestinian people to remain docile subject to death, hunger and
destruction, just so Washington will not label them as terrorists."
Bashar Satti said in the government-owned Syria Times
(1/6): "The U.S. Administration
should have given aid to Arabs and not to the Israelis who want to harm the
Arab region beyond repair. Iraq has
already abided by UNSC resolution 1441 and shown that it has no WMD. Israel should be forced to do the same since
it is the only country that constitutes a real threat to the whole region. The U.S. administration is strongly urged to
revise its hostile stands against Iraq as well as other Arab and Muslim
"Violence Breeds Violence"
Center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour noted
(1/6): "The right-wing and
extremist government in Israel did not listen to the voice of reason and
ignored all the warnings of the repercussions of Israel’s violence that has
taken the crazy war against the people, the trees, and stones in Palestine to
new limits.... Violence breeds only
violence and the victims in both [Israeli and Palestinian] incidents of
violence are innocent civilians, men women and children. Yet, if we are to point fingers of
accusations at those responsible for this cycle of violence, then all are
fingers are pointed at Sharon, Mofaz, Netanyahu, and the entire political and
racist institution of Israel. We hate to
see innocents fall. The blood of those
who were killed yesterday in Tel Aviv, just like the blood of the thousands of
Palestinians, is on the hands of those racist enemies of peace and stability.”
Operations: Who's Winning And Who's Losing?"
Senior Editor Manoubi Akrout stated in independent French-language
Le Quotidien (1/7): "After
six weeks of calm, the martyr operations resumed 2 days ago. At first sight,
the message is simple; Sharon has come up short in his promise at the beginning
of his mandate to cut short any violence.
After Sharon, we may have the pacifist Mitzna in the Israeli government.
But think about it, the game of alternation (of political parties) is part of Israel's
weapons to lose the Arab-Muslim world in the labyrinth of the international
law. To all who still believe in the myth of a left-right alternation, we
remind them that the Mitzna Labor party was part of Sharon's government not
more than two months ago.... The
Palestinian people have not found another prospect other than to fight with
their blood. Does the international
public opinion really think that Palestinian mothers would give their children
to a cause if it were not a just and even holy one? Unfortunately, even with
this degree of supreme sacrifice, Palestinians could unconsciously play the
game of its occupiers. The Israelis have followed the wave of the U.S. campaign
against terrorism by looking for any way to weaken the Palestinian
"Defusing New Risk In The Middle East"
The national conservative Australian editorialized
(1/7): "Despite the chasm that
separates the two sides, talk they must.
The suicide bombing strategy constitutes a real deterioration in the
already bloody relations between Israel and the Palestinians, and one that
presages a downward spiral to even worse violence and perpetual civilian
deaths. In the first instance, it is up
to the PA to bring all its militants under its discipline. Both sides must then
talk for as long as it takes to find a peace that the vast majorities of both
their peoples will accept to put an end to this new and potentially
uncontrollable stage of the Middle East slaughter."
Also Admired For Preparing Leadership"
Leading independent Kompas commented
(1/6): “The preparation for leadership
succession in Palestine is becoming clearer and more concrete. President Yasser Arafat for the umpteenth
time mentioned Mahmoud Abbas or better known as Abu Mahzen as his prospective
successor.... Arafat found it necessary
to name his successor in order to avoid being dictated to by external powers in
its leadership regeneration. He has even
asserted that the succession must be left to the Palestinian people. Apparently, Arafat has caught negative
indications that Israel and the U.S. might make a maneuver in the regeneration
process. Israel and the U.S. have
expressed their aversion of his leadership, which they find as having failed to
terminate the wave of suicide attacks.
To the Palestinians, the mentioning of Mahzen as his successor candidate
has helped curb the succession issue.”
The editorial in the independent Philippine Star read
(1/8): "The Israeli government
immediately approved retaliatory strikes against the Palestinians. No doubt the
retaliation will be deadly, and no doubt it will encourage further Palestinian
attacks using that most lethal of weapons--the suicide bomber. The suicide
attacks were launched for the first time inside Israel only about a year ago,
eliciting some of the most punishing retaliatory strikes from the Israelis.
Breaking this cycle of violence in that part of the world has been a major
challenge to the international community for several decades. The suicide
bombings have made prospects for peace even dimmer. As the peace talks remain stalled, the
international community has tried to stop the flow of support to Palestinian
groups responsible for the bombings. This is proving to be as tricky as trying
to revive the peace talks. In the end, however, both sides must realize that
their only hope for survival lies in returning to the negotiating table."
Suicide Attacks In Israel"
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
observed (1/7): "Blood-splattering
by Israel or by Palestinians cannot be condoned and deserves condemnation, as
humanity is the ultimate victim of political designs. The death of 19 persons in the Israeli
capital Tel Aviv is understandably the part of the ongoing tit for tat killings
by Israelis and Palestinians. The
tragedy, however, is that the root cause of the violence has remained festering
over the past half a century.
Palestinians are obviously responding to the injustice, repression and
retaliation to which they are being subjected by Israel, since its
birth.... The tit for tat killings will,
therefore, continue unabated till the Palestinians' right is restituted. They are pursuing a just struggle for their
own sovereign state, which was the unambiguous objective of the (UN) Plan, as a
result of which Israel was implanted in the heart of the Arab land. The West's apathy towards the turmoil in the
Middle East due to Israel's vandalism is simply disgusting."
TANZANIA: “America Should
Help Palestinians And Israelis Live In Peace”
Kiswahili-language ruling party-owned Uhuru editorialized
(1/7): "The world continues to
witness the shedding of blood in the Middle East where two days ago, two
Palestinians blew themselves up in Tel Aviv, Israel, and caused the death of
not less than 23 other people and more than 100 wounded. Just as we have always stated, we are deeply
saddened by the continued killing of innocent people in the Middle East,
whether they are Palestinians, Israelis or people of other nationalities. The killings from the day before yesterday
took place at a time when the Israeli government is continuing to attack some
Palestinian extremists and to take revenge.
Through this bullying politics being perpetrated by Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon, innocent people have been killed.
Parallel to these attacks, some Palestinian areas continue to be
occupied by Israeli soldiers. We don’t
think that this policy of using violence is the way to solve the Middle East
conflict. The use of force will incite
more hatred among the Palestinians, who will come up with strategies to revenge
by suicide bombs. The results are that
more innocent people will be killed in Israel.
The origin of the Middle East conflict has been clear for a long time
now: While Palestinians should recognize
the legitimacy of the state of Israel, Palestinians must be given the right to
live in freedom on their own land.
Without giving them this right, peace in this area will remain a
dream.... It is our belief that if a
powerful country like the US were truly determined to find a solution to the
Middle East problem, all would already have been at peace.... Regarding the Middle East issue, we believe
that the US has an important role to play in bringing about a solution, if it
decides to do so. Its contribution would
be highly appreciated by the world, if it could help Israelis and Palestinians
to live in peace as neighbors that depend on one another, instead of insisting
on giving Iraq a beating for reasons that seem more to serve only personal
political and economic interests, rather than eliminating a threat to world
MEXICO: "Middle East:
Far-left Jornada stated (1/6): "The recent spiral of violence between
the Israeli government and Palestinian extremists--two intolerant powers that
stare at each other in the mirror--points out to the world that there are much
more significant threats to world peace...than Iraq or al-Qaida. This potentially explosive situation should
be cause for alarm among the powerful governments and lead to the establishment
of a regional peace process supported by the UNSC with the deployment of
peacekeeping forces in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian-controlled
sections of Jerusalem. This should be
the priority at hand, and not the delirium of war that Washington is preparing