October 3, 2003
ISRAEL'S SECURITY WALL WILL MAKE PEACE 'MORE
DIFFICULT' TO ACHIEVE
** Arab writers say the
peace process has "gone into hibernation."
** West Bank dailies call
security fence, settlement expansion a way to gain "full control"
over Palestinian lands.
** The "moral
crisis" of continuing violence provoked Israeli pilots' protest.
Arabs say peace with Sharon is 'impossible'-- Complaining that the U.S. continues to treat the
Palestinians as "the main obstacles to peace," and that the Quartet
"refuses to blame Israel" for continued unrest, Arab commentators
said that "Washington continues to be in the thrall of Sharon." The West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam
declared that it would be "terribly mistaken" to believe for
"even a second that peace can actually be achieved with Sharon" and
an Egyptian columnist maintained that "resistance...is the only way to
regain rights." An independent Hong
Kong outlet stated that instead of dismissing Arafat him as a failed leader,
"the U.S. should strengthen his hand so that he can show his people that
he has won a just peace."
Israel's security fence 'an affront to humanity'-- While a conservative British paper held that the
Palestinian failure to curb terrorism made extension of Israel's security wall
"inevitable," other Europeans declared the barrier "puts beyond
reach any conceivable solution" in the area. The Israeli wish to wall off part of the West
Bank "is understandable to prevent Palestinian terrorists from entering
Israel," said Germany's center-left Frankfurter Rundschau, but the
wall is "fatal" politically.
Saudi Arabia's Arab News judged that "by separating the two
peoples in such a crude and contemptible manner," Israel has made a peace
deal between Palestinians and the Israelis "more unlikely than
ever." Noting that a gap was left
in the fence near the Ariel settlement because of U.S. pressure, writers in
Germany, Italy and Israel predicted Sharon would complete that section of the
wall "in another six to eight months" when Bush will be fighting for
Protest by Israeli pilots is 'a bold gesture'-- The refusal of some Israeli reserve air force
pilots to fly missions in the West Bank caused a German paper to note that
"the 'extra-legal' killings of alleged terrorists have created a serious
moral crisis," while Poland's military weekly Polska Zbrojna called
the airmen's gesture "a protest against operations that only increase the
determination of the Palestinians."
Calling the airmen "brave," Qatar's Al-Watan said they
"proved without a doubt that people, even enemies, are brothers in
humanity." Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz
judged, "If the duty of a soldier is to protect democracy, maybe it is
these defiant pilots who are keeping Israeli democracy alive." A nationalist commentator retorted in
pluralist Yediot Aharonot that "refusing to eliminate 'ticking
bombs' [militarily] is immoral; allowing children on both sides to be killed on
the altar of one's false morality is immoral."
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 39 reports from 15 countries, October 1-3, 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
The independent Financial Times editorialized (10/2): "Israeli ministers like saying that
'good fences make for good neighbors'.
It is an offensive phrase.... But
the wall being built by the government of Ariel Sharon is wrong because it puts
beyond reach any conceivable solution to the century-old question of
Palestine. It is also wrong because
purely as a matter of security it simply will not work.... The idea that this will give Israelis
security--let alone give the Palestinians justice--is a delusion. Little in history suggests walls through
contiguous and contested territory resolve anything."
"Ring-Fencing Security: A Barrier Causing Division Within
The conservative Times opined
(10/2): "Israel's cabinet approved
a compromise yesterday over its controversial $100 million security fence in an
attempt to address U.S. concerns while satisfying the demands of the Right in
Ariel Sharon's Government. The fence
will not run to the east of Ariel, a settlement 12 miles inside a Palestinian
territory.... The barrier, under
construction for a year, is, as intended, a formidable obstacle. Reminding many of the fortified wall that
divided East and West Germany, it is seen by Israel as a drastic but necessary
last resort to prevent terrorist infiltration.... The Americans argue, reasonably, that it will
create a de facto border.... The
Palestinians complain that as well as the further loss of land, the fence
separates many Palestinian villagers from the agricultural land on which they
depend.... The debate is most complex
inside Israel.... Mr. Sharon himself is
caught in the middle.... He is
concerned, however, not to antagonize the Bush administration, when there is a
real determination in Washington to push ahead with the roadmap.... In the end, the Palestinian leadership has
only itself to blame for the fence. Had
there been the necessary moves to curb terrorism and stop the infiltration of
suicide bombers, the Israelis would not have undertaken such a hugely costly
barrier. In that Yassir Arafat thwarted
the attempt by Mahmoud Abbas to confront Hamas, he made the extension of the
fence inevitable. The new prime minister
must take the initiative against terrorism if he is not to see his country
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch wrote in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (10/2): "The
'outer-legal' killings of alleged terrorists have created a serious moral
crisis and global criticism. It even
reached a degree that 27 fighter pilots refused in a public declaration to
continue to participate in the 'hunt' of Palestinians, and the refusniks are
now getting the support of well-known authors.... The arrest of Bassam Saadi, one of the most
influential leaders of Islamic Jihad, must certainly be assessed
differently.... One has to watch closely
how the democratic state Israel deals with a man who has thus far only been
suspected of having been involved in terrorist attacks. The fight against terrorism--and the
situation in Guantanamo is evidence of this--can even prompt powerful
democracies to leave the principles of the rule of law. With Bassam Saadi and Marwan Barghouti,
Israel has captured two men, who could be used as political trump cards. Under certain conditions, they could be used
some day when it is necessary to make new arrangements."
"Land For Peace"
Peter Muench noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (10/2): "The Israeli
government says the fence, which has turned into a wall at some places, is to
protect Israel from Palestinian attacks.
From a viewpoint of an Israeli who wants to go into a restaurant in
Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv without fearing of being blown up, this is a sound
argument.... But even those who say the
truth are not always sincere. The story
of the fence also includes that Sharon rejected the original plans, since his
supporters strongly opposed a division of the Holy Land.... Since the prime minister is fighting for the
controversial project and his cabinet is even risking a limited conflict with
the United States, he must have more in mind than security. The course of the fence allows us to see the
reasons behind Sharon's change of mind....
The fence and the wall do not stretch along the green line but range
deeply into Palestinian territory....
This is not a mere provocation but a program.... It refers to everything that makes peace in
the Middle East more difficult.... The
approval of the next construction phase by the government shows that even
strongest U.S. objections only result in cosmetic changes. U.S President Bush opposed the
'wall'...during ex-prime minister Abbas' visit to Washington, but Israel's
government does not expect these words to be matched with deeds."
Inge Guenther remarked in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(10/2): "As far as psychological
reasons are concerned, the Israeli wish is understandable to prevent
Palestinian terrorists from entering Israel...but as far as politics is
concerned, the martial high-tech project, that is euphemistically called fence,
is fatal. One thing can be predicted
already now: this wall will block every
peace initiative even more than potential bomb plotter. If the fence would be built on the 'green
line,' the border from1967, even the Palestinians would not oppose it, since
this would have allowed the interpretation of a two-state solution, but Sharon
wanted to avoid this.... So a zig-zag
line was the result...with which Israel incorporates big chunks of the West Bank
into its own territory. This move
carries the handwriting of the settlers' lobby...and they are not worried about
the gaps along the Ariel settlement, which the government wants to left open to
appease the government in Washington.
But this will not last for all the time, since Sharon knows what he
wants--at least halt the West Bank--and when his buddy Bush will turn a blind
eye to his moves. Be patient, during the
election campaign he has to deal with other things."
Lengthens The Fence--Forty Kilometers Added"
Alberto Stabile observed in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (10/2): “For the Israelis
it’s only a barrier of protection against terrorism, but for the Palestinians
it’s Sharon’s contrivance to take over their land. The fence is still causing debate. It should be of no surprise, then, if the
decision made yesterday by Sharon’s government to add forty more kilometers to
the already 150 kilometer-long-fence appears like a half decision. Regarding the key issue, meaning whether or
not the fence should include the big settlement Ariel in the occupied
territories, the government has decided to put off its confrontation with the
U.S. administration, which opposes [the idea], until a more opportune
moment..... The debate will be reopened
and the final decision will be made once construction is at an advanced stage
and it will no longer be possible to postpone [the decision]. Sharon is trying
to buy time before it comes to a final confrontation with the U.S. in a few
months, when the U.S. will be in the middle of the electoral campaign and it
will be ever more difficult for Bush to resist Israeli pressures.”
Krzysztof Mroziewicz observed in military weekly Polska Zbrojna
(10/2): “A group of Israeli airmen
refused to take part in missions to bomb Palestinian settlements.... Perhaps the twenty-plus airmen who won’t bomb
Palestinian settlements will some day yield a political leader who will finally
forge an effective peace with the Palestinians.
For now, though, their gesture must be read as a protest against
operations that only increase the determination of the Palestinians. It is a bold gesture, one that carries a
court-martial, and one that proves desperation is also present among the
Israelis. It is not the desperation of
people ready to fight till the end, but of those who concluded that
ruthlessness in fight makes no sense, and that you have to fight a bit and
negotiate a bit.”
Pilots Are Rebelling"
Zafer Atay commented in economic-political Dunya
(10/2): “A group of Israeli war pilots
protested an order to attack civilian targets and criticized the Israeli
occupation. Both the wording and the
nature of the protest require a careful analysis, and this is much too
important to be called as an isolated action by individuals.... The Israeli government’s current policy in
dealing with terrorism is only serving to undermine peace and stability. Israel is keeping up its ‘war against
terrorism’ rhetoric, yet its policy is harming civilians, not
terrorists.... Moreover, as a result of
Israeli policy, Arafat has gained in prestige and become even more influential
than before. Israel continues to make a
big mistake by dreaming of eliminating terror by murdering Arafat. Given the circumstances, the protest voiced
by the Israeli pilots is extremely significant.”
ISRAEL: "A Fence Along
The Settlers' Lines"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(10/3): "The outline of the fence
authorized by the government was dictated overwhelmingly by the desire of the
politicians to appease the settlers. The
wish to include most of the settlements, especially Ariel and its suburbs,
within the security provided to the west of the fence, transformed the security
obstacle into a humanitarian and diplomatic obstacle. At least 75,000 Palestinians (excluding the
'Jerusalem Envelope' project, which will take in an additional quarter of a
million Palestinians) will find themselves inside enclaves and will be cut off
from their own sources of services. On
the other hand, in the collective Palestinian consciousness, and also that of
the Israelis, the broad areas to the west of the fence have been in fact
annexed by the state of Israel. The
United States has reiterated that it will not agree to Israel making use of the
approved route of the fence to dictate permanent political boundaries by
claiming security needs. The decision to
postpone the decision on the location of the fence in the Ariel area has put
off the confrontation with the United States, for the time being. In the future, the government must avoid
allowing this segment of the fence to become a political boundary and a bone of
contention with the U.S."
Senior columnist and longtime dove Yoel Marcus wrote in
independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/3): "Thirty years after Israel fell victim
to a faulty conception, Sharon has a fatalistic conception of his own, and it
boils down to this: until the shooting stops and the terror infrastructure is
dismantled, we're not giving anything.
There is nothing we can do and no contribution we can make apart from
battering the Palestinians until they are defeated on the battlefield.... In the meantime, the glue that holds the
nation together is coming loose.
National consensus is cracking.
Defying orders yes or no?
Targeted assassinations yes or no?
Is it legal or isn't it? The
whole country is in a state of confusion brought on by the limpness of our
leader. To cure these internal ills and
reverse Israel's political paralysis, a decision is needed that will shake up
the system. A kind of de Gaullist
somersault that will break the spell in one fell swoop. Sharon is still the only one who can do it
and win broad public support. Time is
not on his side, considering the preparations being made by the Likud in case
he doesn't make it through the year."
"How Attractive Are We?"
Senior economist Ya'acov Fisher wrote in conservative, independent
Jerusalem Post (10/3): "One of the central economic questions
during the current economic crisis is: How attractive is Israel to foreign
investors? The answer to this question
has become virtually a litmus test for the state of the economy.... In the early months of 2003, there seemed to
be an initial turnaround, which analysts latched onto as a sign that maybe the
economy is beginning to recover, if foreigners are beginning to show interest
again. However, the increase soon tailed
off and most recently, foreign investment has retreated. All these are short-term movements, linked,
among other things, with perceived changes in the local security
situation.... But despite some initial
signs of global hi-tech recovery, it is not clear when this recovery will firm
up, nor can we know that the international hi-tech sector will not be hit by
crises in the future. Israel has clearly
not yet established itself as a target for a wide range of foreign investment
designations.... Thank goodness for the
U.S. loan guarantees."
"Sharon's Most Important Decision"
Aluf Benn wrote on in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(10/2): "Wednesday's decision about
the route of the separation fence between Israel and the West Bank--officially
called 'the barrier for preventing terror attacks'--is the most important
decision of Ariel Sharon's government.
The decision proved that the Prime Minister is not a stubborn fossil and
that he is capable of changing his mind when circumstances dictate
this.... The map of the fence was
designed by the moderate Left, not the Right.... The Likud has adopted the map, but unlike the
Labor Party, does not regard it as the basis for a final-status accord. The decision was a typical Sharon compromise
between the pressure from right-wing ministers and the reservations of the U.S.
administration. The gimmick the
government invented--to begin building east of the settlements and postpone
linking them to the Green Line [the Israel/West Bank border]--was intended to
put off the anticipated confrontation with the Americans.... In another six to eight months, when the
fence issue will again come up for debate, President Bush will be fighting for
his political life in the election campaign and it is doubtful he'll take the
time to pressure Israel. And even if he
does, the amount to be deducted from the loan guarantees due to the fence is
not very substantial."
"Refusal For The Sake Of Democracy"
Publisher Amos Schocken contended in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(10/2): "One country inhabited by
two populations--one enjoying all rights and protections, and the other denied
basic rights and controlled by the other.
What could be more undemocratic than that? What democracy are we defending when we
denounce those who are acting, according to their ability and understanding,
against such injustice? If the duty of a
soldier is to protect democracy, maybe it is these defiant pilots who are
keeping Israeli democracy alive."
"'Refusers' Target Camaraderie"
Labor Party whip and son of the late president of Israel Chaim
Herzog, Knesset Member Isaac Herzog, opined in the independent, conservative Jerusalem
Post (10/2): "It is a mistake
to suppose that whoever is on the Israeli Left or in the peace camp supports
the refusers [the dissenting pilots], and whoever is on the other side
disagrees with what they did. I can
testify for myself and for my friends who consistently demand the evacuation of
settlements and believe the continued occupation corrupts Israel and endangers
its future, that there is no connecting thread between those positions and a
refusal to serve in the IDF.... The
phenomenon of refusal to serve is a symptom and a direct result of ruling over
another people, whether that was forced upon us or not. A wise government should have understood this
long ago, and responded with action, not talk.... As with any fabric, the minute you pull the
thread hanging out at the edge, the whole thing begins to unravel. The pilots should have thought about that
before they pulled so hard and signed their letter.... This camaraderie has to be preserved. Together."
"Not Exactly Quiet, But Nevertheless"
Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote
in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/1): "Three weeks after the last suicide
bombing, it is clear that Israel has been showing more caution in its use of
targeted assassinations against Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders.... Things are
also happening in Hamas.... Hamas, and
not only Israel, has no faith that the partial calm will not suddenly be
shattered.... Arafat's attitude toward
acts of terror, conversely, shows no change.
Once again, there are numerous reports that aside from the diplomatic
flag he is flying, the Palestinian leader is also bearing the flag of terrorist
attacks against Israel. In so doing, he
plays into the hands of the Sharon government.... Washington is no longer willing to show
patience for Arafat, but even in regard to Qurei, Washington and the quartet
are adopting a forceful tone.... Abu
Ala's tactics are different from those of Abu Mazen. He places emphasis on achieving a consensus
in Palestinian society more than on external activity. He therefore needs Arafat's 'umbrella.' He is also acting forcefully among Israeli
figures in order to gain the support of elements of Israeli society. For him, the protest of the Israeli pilots
provided evidence of cracks in Israeli society that are worth trying to
"There Are Other Ways"
Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres declared in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/1):
"[During the Jewish New Year], while we prayed: 'Let this year and
its curses end,' we should have remembered that the worse curses are those we
have brought upon ourselves.... This
government, too, knows, and has also stuttered its assent, that Israel will
leave most of the territories. But it
invests around 5 billion shekels [approximately USD 1.1 billion] there in
military and non-military budgets.
Fatalism also expresses itself in the diplomatic field.... The government blames Arafat for everything
and promises Israelis that if he disappears from the diplomatic map, moderate
leaders will rise on the Palestinian side.
Meanwhile it describes him as an all-powerful diplomatic and military
leader. But we have seen Arafat give in
to international pressure, in the same way the government has already given up
its desire to remove him. Fatalism has
brought paralysis into being. Paralysis
kills initiative and brings about poverty.
It is possible to act otherwise.
It is possible to beat the terrorists and terror by hitting their
motive. It is possible to strike terror
and to conduct negotiations in order to produce a different atmosphere in
Israel and throughout the world. It is
possible to step up the implementation of the policy Israel has agreed to--two
states for two nations--instead of refraining from deciding."
"What Is Immoral"
Nationalist columnist Emuna Elon noted in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (10/1):
"Had the letter [of the dissenting pilots] claimed that Israel's
policy isn't moral, all Israelis should have signed it.... [But] the harm caused to morality doesn't
start with roadblocks making the movement of the Palestinian population
difficult.... As long as terror isn't
eradicated the IDF has no choice but to check every old person and pregnant
woman as if they were disguised terrorists on their way to central
Israel.... Also, presenting settlers as
a stumbling block to morality is a moral distortion, because moral values don't
ban a people from living in its homeland....
What was immoral was to bring Arafat and his corrupt junta from Tunis
and to let them bring the Palestinian population down to a yet unseen level of
poverty and disfigurement, and to refrain from rescuing it from the terror
organizations.... Refusing to eliminate
'ticking bombs' is immoral; allowing children on both sides to be killed on the
altar of one's false morality is immoral."
WEST BANK: "Separation
Wall: Assassination Of The Palestinian
Independent Al-Ayyam ran a commentary by Samih Shbeib
(10/3): “In its most recent session, the
Israeli cabinet approved the implementation of the separation wall’s second
phase.... It is quite fair to say that
this wall has not merely security motives behind it, but also political ones of
the highest order, as it also determines the future (of Palestine).... Israeli officials, led by PM Sharon, believe
that the construction of this wall will by no means allow any regional or
international side to disapprove of it.
It will practically force some new facts on the ground as to who will
enjoy final control and sovereignty.
What Israel is essentially doing now, and will eventually achieve in the
next few months, is a deliberate assassination of the Palestinian future.”
"Their Main Objective Is To Build Settlements, Not To Make
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (10/3): “Yesterday’s Israeli government tender...to
build 565 new housing units in Jewish settlements all over the West Bank was
more evidence that this government’s objective is completely unrelated to peace
and reconciliation with the Palestinian side.
First and foremost, the real purpose is to build new settlements and
expand the already existing ones.... The
international community, however, and specifically the U.S., turns a deaf ear
to the constant Palestinian calls for help.
In return, Palestinians are pointed at as terrorists and obstacles to
peace, as if they are the ones who expropriate land inside the Green Line to
build more settlements. What happened to
the international community? Has it
confused the victim with the perpetrator?”
"The Abu Ala’ Cabinet:
A Confrontational Agenda Is Needed"
Ashraf Ajrami opined in independent Al-Ayyam (10/3): “If the leadership or any other side
envisions that any Palestinian official or prime minister could achieve a
political accomplishment with the Sharon government, their hope will soon
vanish. The same applies to the position
of the American administration: we need
not wait until the Abu Ala’ cabinet is formed to understand the whole
inflexible truth.... As long as Israel
persists in annexing and building more settlements, there’s no hope that the
Abu Ala’ government will make any serious accomplishment no matter how compliant
it becomes to the Americans and Israelis....
This leads us to the second part of the government’s mission, which
should basically focus on democratic reforms and the rebuilding process. That alone should be given the ultimate
priority, given that the horizon of the entire political process is completely
vague and impossible to determine.”
"Exchanging The Separation With A Wall"
Ibrahim Sha’ban wrote in independent Al-Quds (10/3): “Israel is willing to strengthen the roots of
settlements and annex them to Israel.
The wall secures this need regardless of the international position and
against the Palestinian will. Israel is
determined to deny the Palestinian right to return, and in any case the return
would only be to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.... With the separation wall, political solutions
have gone into hibernation, and the peace process has gone into Sharon and
Bush’s deep freeze.”
"Why Is Israel Evading 'Non-Security' Commitments?"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (10/2): “In light of the failure of the repeated
Israeli attempts to spark internal Palestinian disputes, the Israeli
authorities have vowed to escalate the conflict, preventing the Palestinian
side from carrying out its obligation toward stopping the violence. Despite the fact that the Palestinian
Authority and opposition showed commitment to the truce, Israel continued its
destructive policy of assassinations, arrests, and destruction, preventing the
Palestinian Authority from reaching an open dialogue of mutual understanding
with the opposition and thus weakening the Mahmoud Abbas government, causing
its fall.... Since Israel insists on
implementing all the ‘security’ elements in the roadmap, why then does the
Israeli government evade the implementation of the ‘non-security’ elements in
the same document?”
"Different Kinds Of Battles Need To Be Joined"
Talal Okal argued in independent Al-Ayyam (10/2): “Repeated official American remarks that
settlement activities and construction of the separation wall pose a threat to
Israel, continued non-stop all through last week. The most significant statement was made by
Assistant Secretary of State William Burns who said, ‘settlement activities
endanger Israel’s existence'....
However, such statements, including those on the deduction of U.S. loan
guarantees to Israel, which were announced right after the Quartet’s meeting,
have had no effect whatsoever. Had the
U.S. been truly serious about such statements, the Israeli conduct would have
"A Quarter-Century Since Camp David"
Tawfiq Abu Bakr averred in independent Al-Ayyam
(10/1): “The right-wing Israeli
government’s willingness to offer ‘big compromises’ with the Arabs stems from
its desire to ensure full control over the Palestinian people and land under
the claim that it is their ‘promised land.’
Those who believe for even a second that peace can actually be achieved
with Sharon, based on the fact that it was a right-wing government that forged
a peace agreement with Egypt, are terribly mistaken.... Thus, implementation of the roadmap will not
go beyond the plan’s first stage, for the next two stages would necessitate a
new Israeli government with a different mind-set and policies.... The most important lesson that Israelis
should learn is that peace with the government of Egypt does not mean peace
with the people of Egypt. This will
remain true as long as the Palestinian cause remains without a just
solution. The Israelis must keep this fact
in mind whenever they try to forge any peace agreement with the Arabs.”
"The Separation Wall Annexes Ariel Settlement To Israel
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (10/1): “The huge Jewish Ariel settlement is built in
the heart of the West Bank on confiscated land next to Arab villages. As it continues to grow and expand on
confiscated Arab land, it forms a geographic barrier that separates Palestinian
urban areas.... The latest on this Ariel
settlement, is that the Israeli government has decided to surround it with a
protective wall that will be part of the racially-motivated separation wall on
West Bank land.... The decision to
surround Ariel with the separation wall is an attempt by the Israeli government
to undermine the peace process and the will of the international
community. It is also a clear denial of
the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people. The international community and the United States,
both of which have repeatedly expressed determination to achieve a just settlement
to the dispute in the region, should, effectively and persistently, exert more
pressure on Israel to remove this separation wall.”
EGYPT: "Sustaining The
Salama Ahmed Salama concluded in pro-government Al Ahram
(10/2): “The Palestinian intifada has
entered its fourth year and those in the Arab world and international community
who believe that it has delayed the creation of a Palestinian state have yet to
present any alternative. What is certain
is that without the intifada the birth of any state would remain
impossible. Those in the Arab world who
promote Washington’s policies argue against continuing the intifada claiming
that Israel can obliterate the resistance by brute force and in the process
severely damage Palestinian lives and property.... Washington continues to be in the thrall of
Sharon, illogically using its veto to support Israel, which it funds with
billions of dollars.... Washington has also
rejected the presence of international peacekeeping forces to monitor the situation
on the ground.... Meanwhile, some Arab
leaders continue to argue that the U.S. is committed to the roadmap.... Against such willful blindness can anyone
blame the Palestinian people for persisting with the intifada?”
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar columnist Ayman Gomaa
wrote (10/2): “The time has come to stop
talking about an honest mediator in the peace process. President Bush and Secretary Powell repeat
statements that Palestinians--who are suffering the fire of occupation--are the
main obstacles to peace. The
Quartet...issued a suspicious statement condemning terrorist attacks by the
resistance and refuses to blame Israel or the terrorist Sharon.... Europe and Russia do not think silence about
Israeli crimes is enough, they even shamelessly hold Hamas, Jihad, and Arafat
responsible for blocking Middle East stability and welfare. Amid all of this, voices of Palestinian
children and women and even some inside Israel have been raised telling the
U.S. and the West, ‘enough lies’....
Israeli, American and Western allegations are feeble excuses to deprive
the Palestinian people of their sole pressure card, the resistance.... The resistance against occupation, which is
legitimized by international conscience, is the only way to regain rights,
without which any agreement Palestinians sign will be a document of surrender.”
"The March Of Peace And Lack Of Comprehension"
Pro-government Al Ahram columnist Abdo Mubasher wrote
(10/1): “Is there a sane person who
fails to realize that Egypt regained its sovereignty over its occupied
territories in the Sinai due to the Camp David Accords? Can people fail to comprehend that if not for
these accords, Egypt would still have been mired in a bloody dispute to regain
its land? All parties and currents
realize that Egypt, after the 1973 October War, lacked any military, economic,
or industrial capabilities to regain its land by force.... Did some people lose insight and objectivity
and so insist on rejecting Camp David?
Truly, the West Bank and Gaza are still under Israeli occupation, but
this reality has been the natural outcome of the Palestinian leadership’s
rejecting joining in the march of peace.
What Palestinians rejected in 1978, they accepted in Madrid and
Oslo.... Everyone realized the soundness
of the Egyptian march for peace boldly initiated with vision by Sadat in 1977.”
"Secret Aims Of Sharon’s Visit To Al Aqsa Mosque"
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar editorialized (10/1): “Sharon’s visit to the Al Aqsa mosque was
necessary for Israel. It was a
well-studied plot to elicit a Palestinian reaction...and thus the Jewish
response to this intifada, i.e. re-occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which
came under Palestinian autonomy after the Oslo accord.... Israel has never for a single day desired to
deliver land to the Palestinians. Israel
claimed the 1967 war regained Judah and Samaria, to the historic Jewish
territories, and these are the Jewish names for the Palestinian West Bank. That is why Sharon visited, with Barak’s
approval, Al Aqsa.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Mecca’s conservative, Al-Nadwa contended (10/2): "The latest Israeli decision to resume
the construction of the security fence represents a powerful blow to the
roadmap plan. It also proves Sharon’s
determination and intention to blowup the foundations of the roadmap. Israel has found in the American and
international silence an excuse to disrespect its concluded agreements with the
Palestinians. In order to stop Israel’s
destructive steps and plans an international decisive action has to be
"An Affront To Humanity"
Jeddah’s English language daily, Arab News judged
(10/2): "By approving the so-called
security wall, the Israeli cabinet has made it clear to the world that it cares
nothing for human rights, international law and accepted norms, and the plight
of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.... For by separating the two peoples in such a
crude and contemptible manner, the cabinet of Ariel Sharon has made a peace
deal between Palestinians and the Israelis more unlikely than ever.... The question now, as ever, is whether the
U.S. will really embrace its trumpeted role as honest broker and put its money
where its mouth is."
Riyadh’s English language moderate, Riyadh Daily observed
(10/2): "Once again Israel has
found itself on the wrong side of the international community. A UN report this week has said that the
controversial wall being built by Israel through the West Bank amounts to the
illegal annexation of Palestinian territory and must be condemned by the
international community. The report does
not in any way lend any hope for the Palestinian community as far as the wall
is concerned, but it once again exposes Israel’s plain disdain for world
opinion.... But at this juncture, Israel
is already deep into the project. Its
first phase is almost complete....
Though Washington has denounced the plan, it would be of no avail unless
there is definite action like, say, sanctions, to force Israel to drop the
fence plan for good."
Jeddah's English language daily, Saudi Gazette remarked
(10/1): "No one challenges the fact
that Israel possesses all types of weapons of mass destruction. As for nuclear bombs, former Prime Minister
Shimon Peres had once admitted that they were in the basement.... What's surprising however, is that while
talking about nuclear non-proliferation, no one has discussed Israel's nuclear
weapons. Perhaps this is because Israel
has never officially confirmed that it possesses nuclear weapons. But then, Iran has not said so officially
Riyadh's English language moderate, Riyadh Daily stated
(10/1): "The world's sole nuclear
watchdog has been harsh on the alleged nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea
but is incapable of addressing Israel's clandestine, though well known, nuclear
capabilities.... Israel, not being a
party to the NPT is outside the purview of international nuclear monitoring. This is a fundamental flaw in the
international nuclear control mechanism....
Every effort must be made to put pressure on Israel to sign the NPT and
make the Middle East a region completely free of weapons of mass
LEBANON: "The Barrier
Is Blocking A Settlement"
Joseph Samaha wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(10/2): “It is worthwhile to mention
that there are a number of Americans who say that the barrier which is being
built by Israel is against Bush’s vision. Perhaps this is true, however, in depth, the
barrier does not contradict Bush’s policy which assumes that the Middle East
should be re-organized in order to co-exist with Israel’s expansionist Zionist
policy.... Sharon is going to complete
the western barrier and will not hesitate to build the eastern part. The result will be the imprisonment of
thousands of Palestinians, inclusion of half the West Bank in Israeli
territory, in addition to separating it completely and for good from any
international borders.... All this is
taking place in the name of security and combating terrorism.... The bottom line is this: to continue building the barrier means to say
farewell to any hope of a peace settlement in the region particularly in the
shadow of the current Arab-American-Israeli-Palestinian balance of power.”
QATAR: "To Those Who
Faisal Batout wrote in semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Watan
(10/2): "Sharon will go on with
building his stupid fence, but that will not make the brave 12 [sic] Israeli
airmen return back to killing innocent Palestinians again. Those 12 airmen proved without a doubt that
people, even enemies, are brothers in humanity.
Those 12 airmen said no to Sharon because they finally discovered that
his is sick and mentally unstable. And I
believe more Jewish Israelis will say no soon to the stupid fence. This fence is not against the Palestinians
but it’s against humanity and international will. Like the 12 airmen, I am sure that Israelis
with vision will make history and stop Sharon from moving on with his stupid
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"The Best Bet For Peace--Arafat"
Sunanda Datta-Ray held in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (9/30): "The
U.S. has done it again. Its veto of the
United Nations Security Council resolution calling on Israel not to remove
Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat reiterates the U.S.'
determination not to allow Israel to be brought within the discipline of
international law.... Instead of
dismissing Mr. Arafat as a failed leader who should be removed, Mr. Bush should
recognize him as the legitimate leader who embodies [the] Palestinian identity
and national aspirations, to quote UN envoy to the Middle East Terje
Toed-Larsen.... Mr. Arafat is the best
bet for a lasting solution. Instead of
sidelining him, the U.S. should strengthen his hand so that he can show his
people that he has won a just peace.
That means withdrawal from the territories--the Gaza Strip, Golan
Heights, east Jerusalem and the West Bank--that Israel seized in 1967. Whether or not a Palestine is ever conceded
sovereignty, there will be no peace in the Middle East as long as Israel is
allowed to enjoy the fruits of conquest."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
PAKISTAN: "Walling Out
The center-right national English daily, The Nation
editorialized (10/3): "A more
sinister aspect of the second phase of construction is a plan to build a series
of barrier around five other Jewish settlements deep inside the West Bank. The Sharon hawks have the gall to publicize
this as keeping these settlements outside the 'Berlin Wall,' an eyewash to
placate any opposition in Capitol Hill; and to safeguard Washington's $9
billion loan guarantees to Israel. Hints
are already surfacing within Israel itself, that there will be a third phase of
land grabbing when these walled-in settlements will be connected to the so
called 'security fence'."
TANZANIA: "Roadmap Is
Political Deceit Of The Highest Order"
Ziabu Unda opined in the Kiswahili pro-Islam weekly tabloid Nasaha
(10/1): “There have been very many
unsuccessful attempts by Jews to assassinate Yasser Arafat. The latest attempt to send him into forced
exile is additional proof of the terrorism being perpetrated by Israel against
the Palestinian people, while the so-called civilized world watches. True peace between Israelis and Palestinians
is only possible if Palestine becomes an independent state and Israel
surrenders all the Palestinian territory it has occupied.... We are witnessing the hypocrisy of the
UN. The UN Security Council has passed
numerous resolutions calling on Israel to return Palestinian land, but to no
avail. What is stopping the Council from
taking action against Israel? Is it
nationality, skin color, or religion?
What a shame, for an organization that bears the responsibility for
ensuring that all people in the world live in peace! This is the reason why France, Germany, and
Russia have refused to support a new UN resolution asking them to send more
troops to Iraq. After the American
invasion of Iraq, we think it is the right time for the international community
to stand up against American and Jewish schemes against Palestinians, by
sending in an international force to oversee the implementation of the
Israeli/Palestinian peace process. Left
alone, the U.S. would not ensure justice.”