November 21, 2003
MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS: 'DIALOGUE INSTEAD OF MILITARY CONFRONTATION'
** Euros insist that their
criticism of Israel's "policies and behavior" is not
** New PA PM Ahmed Qurei, a
"skilled politician," can create a "climate...for a halt to
** Arab, Euro and leftist
Israeli papers support the Geneva Accords as a "bold gesture."
** Sharon's "draconian
policy of peace with security" is blamed for intensifying the
The 'trustful cooperation' between Israel and Europe has 'somehow
faded'-- One center-right Euro
writer said critics of Israel must "show greater understanding of the
existential misery in which...Israel sees itself," but urged Sharon not to
"consider all advice...one-sided and hostile." Irish, Spanish and German papers added that
"Europe must not tolerate anti-Semitism" while advocating a
"just compromise for the Palestinians." Conversely, Prague's mainstream MF Dnes
reflected East European opinion by defending Israel as the "only enclave
of democracy and Western civilization in the Middle East."
Sharon must meet Qurei to restart the roadmap, which is 'the only
show in town'-- Now that "Palestinians
have formed their government and are ready for a truce," Arab and leftist
Euro papers say Sharon must "come down off his high horse" and meet
Qurei. Pro-Beijing Macau Daily News
termed any "political dialogue...a glimmer of hope." But Arab papers demanded international
efforts to "move the peace process forward," with the West Bank's
independent Al-Ayyam conditioning any cease-fire on "a halt of
settlement activity and an end to the separation wall." Israel's conservative Jerusalem Post
countered, "There can be no peace until the Palestinians are forced or
choose to abandon terrorism."
The Geneva Accords indicate 'new and hopeful thinking'-- A Spanish daily described the
privately-negotiated Geneva Accords as being "so well-received in Europe'
because they contain "detailed solutions for all the problems" in the
peace process. Palestinian writers
welcomed Geneva's "influence on the Israeli street," with independent
Al-Quds hoping they "could be the last in a series of political
initiatives to settle" the conflict.
Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz also hailed the Accords as a
"chance to get out of the dead end."
Muslim and leftist writers blame Israel's 'inflexible attitude and
policy'-- Critics say Israel's
"continued occupation and intensification of settlement activity" and
its "hostile expansionist tendency" block the peace. Egyptian writers blasted Israel's
"annihilation plans" against Palestinians, as aggressive Al Akhbar
Morocco's pro-opposition L'Opinion reflected criticism of
Israel's security fence, describing it as "apartheid, Israeli
style." An Israeli leftist warned
against Sharon's policies, opposing the creation of "Bantustans for the
residents of the territories."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis was based on 42 reports from 18 countries over 31 October - 21
November 2003. Editorial excerpts from
each country are listed from the most recent date.
Erik-Michael Bader said in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(11/21): "A UN resolution,
initiated by Russia, has now called upon the parties in the [Middle East]
conflict to comply with their commitments laid down in the international peace
plan for the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... Without a healing of this wound, there are
little prospects for the pacification of the region and a...successful fight
against Islamic terrorism. But this does
not mean that the roadmap is living again.
The problem is that the parties in the conflict want to make their first
step dependent on the first step of the other side, while the peace plan
provides for parallel steps. Previous
bad experience teaches us that the initial stage can work only if the first
step of one side remains immune for a certain period of time to the impulse to
react to setbacks and violations of the other side."
Gisela Dachs noted in center-left weekly Die Zeit of
Hamburg (11/20): "More than 100,000
Israelis and 60,000 Palestinians have put their names under a campaign which
too calls for peaceful coexistence of two states and an end to the
conflict. They are supported by three
former Israeli security chiefs, who have warned of catastrophe if Israel does
not radically alter its policies towards the Palestinian people. Recently, even [Israel’s] chief of staff has
voiced concern over the course of the government--based solely on heavy-handed
tactics. The government responds rather
hysterically to the criticism. And seems
to yield cautiously. Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon has suddenly come down off his high horse and wants to meet the
Palestinian Minister-President Qurei, who is said to be a loyal follower of
Inge Guenther opined in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(11/20): “It cannot be glossed
over. The relationship between Europe
and Israel has been beset by problems for a long time, but recently it has
reached an all-time low. As in each
relationship, both sides have contributed their share. Prime Minister Sharon sees a large, if vague,
link between the political attitudes of the West Europeans in the Middle East
conflict and a wave of anti-Jewish hate attacks including attacks on synagogues
in Paris or the terror attacks in Istanbul, a charge, which hurts the old
continent deeply, especially because of the mainly German, but also European,
responsibility for the Holocaust. It is
not enough to point out that official politics has always distanced itself from
anti-Semitic statements.... One does not
defend Sharon’s course when passionately rejecting these prejudices. On the contrary--whoever is anxious to solve
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must refrain from general judgments and
prejudices.... To heed this requirement of
fairness is a prerequisite for active mediation by the EU. That one-sidedness in the peace process leads
into a cul-de-sac has been demonstrated by America’s lopsided support of
Israel. Therefore, Europe must not
tolerate anti-Semitism in any form....
Without a just compromise for the Palestinians, a two-state solution
acceptable to both sides, Israel risks its existence as a predominantly Jewish
state and democracy.... That peace is
feasible has been proved by another bi-national initiative, the Geneva draft
launched by Jossi Beilin and Jassir Abed Rabbo.... Now, when else, is the time for the EU to
commit itself more strongly in the Middle East.
Despite Israel’s fundamental criticism of the West Europeans--it regards
the Eastern EU applicants anyway as more promising--Sharon’s foreign policy is
nevertheless pragmatically orientated.
As always, a crisis contains a chance, if both sides seize it. Though their relationship will remain
susceptible to disturbances, at least they have again realized that they cannot
manage without another.”
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger opined in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (11/18): "It will be
an alarming indication of the tense relations between Europe and Israel if
people almost invoke a return of confidence in relations. One thing cannot be denied: The spirit of trustful cooperation has
somehow faded. In Europe, critical
voices of Israel have developed into a nonchalant anti-Israeli mood. We must assume that it hides anti-Israeli
resentment, but not that this mood develops into great applause for Islamic
terrorism. Israel in turn is complaining
about the imbalance in the European view....
It is probably idle talk to find out who is responsible for this
alienation. Can it be stopped? Europe must should show greater understanding
of the existential misery in which the abandoned democracy in Israel sees
itself, and demonstrate greater routine when showing consternation following a
suicide attacker blowing himself and others up.
And Israel should not, like a reflex, consider all advice and every
statement one-sided and hostile. Yes,
indeed, sometimes, such statements reveal aggressive morality but sometimes
only political reason."
Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf said
(11/18): "Relations between the EU
and Israel are not good.... Israel's
government also blamed mounting anti-Semitism in some European countries for
the terrorist attacks on Jewish institutions in Istanbul. This is a tough accusation.... Is there really an increase in anti-Semitism
in Europe?.... For Islamic anti-Zionism
and the terrorist fight of Al Qaida against the state of Israel, this may
certainly be true. But it is necessary
to make a clear distinction and to make one thing clear: It is the goal of the attackers from Istanbul
to take advantage of growing European criticism of the current policy of Prime
Minister Sharon for their goals. But
criticism of Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. The Israeli prime minister may have a different
view and he is right to do so. But
Sharon should not make the mistake to fall into the trap his opponents
set. It must be doubted, however,
whether 'historian' Berlusconi, as acting EU-president, will explain this small
but important difference to Sharon during his upcoming visit to Rome."
Philippe Berkenbaum commented in left-of-center Le Soir
(11/17): “In the West, it is our
responsibility to prevent youngsters coming from immigrant families from being
educated in a climate of hatred. We must also refuse to show the least
complacency for Arab leaders who stir up hatred to reinforce their power. But we must also convince Israeli leaders
that, whatever we might do, Jews will continue to suffer as long as a minority
among them continue to behave like colonialists.”
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Why
Jews Become So Often A Target"
Jan Jandourek wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (11/21): "Terrorists killed 25 people in the
attack on synagogues in Istanbul several days ago. Shortly afterwards Czech neo-Nazis sang at
their concert: 'Burn down synagogues.'
The police let them be.... It is
a mystery what people from the West have against the only enclave of democracy
and Western civilization in the Middle East.
It is clear why the French government is not fanatically pro-Israeli
oriented as it has some five million Muslims in the country and 'only' some six
hundred thousand Jews. But it is unclear
why Westerners refused to notice the causality that those who attack the Jews
will eventually attack everyone."
IRELAND: "Israel And
The center-left Irish Times declared (11/18): "Today's meeting of the European Union's
association council with Israel comes at a difficult, indeed a critical, time
in their relationship. They (EU foreign
ministers) pointed out that the deteriorating situation between Israel and the
Palestinians affects European security interests and emphasized their
commitment to restore the international roadmap for peace, which recent events
have reduced to tatters.... The
ministers insist the Israelis must change their policy of not engaging fully
with the EU representative, Mr Mark Otte, and others who have been dealing with
the Palestinian president, Mr Yasser Arafat....
It is high time the EU asserted its interests and potential influence
more effectively on these Middle East issues. They are of critical importance
for Europeans, who increasingly believe their leaders should be doing more
about them and who do not trust the United States to represent their interests
in a balanced fashion as next year's elections loom there. The Israeli government
has done its best to avoid or minimize European involvement; but it is now
coming under more pressure at home and abroad to re-engage with the
Palestinians.... The Israeli government
is also tempted to describe European criticisms of its policies and behavior as
anti-Semitic. Both these approaches should be firmly resisted by the EU council
of ministers, in defense of their policy and the better to counter real
instances of racism. But this requires a much more united and determined policy
than they have hitherto displayed."
POLAND: “Europe Does Not
Dawid Warszawski wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza
(11/19): “After the attacks on the
synagogues in Istanbul and on the Jewish school near Paris things seem to be
going the right way. The police are conducting investigations, the authorities
are condemning, presidents are taking action so that this never happens
again.... There is one reservation,
though: no one has taken to the streets to protest against these crimes. Let us
imagine what it would look like if two mosques and an Islamic school were
attacked at the same time in Europe. Crowds in the streets, speeches condemning
European racism, heads bowed in shame....
It is rather unlikely that Europeans will spontaneously demonstrate to
show solidarity with Jews over anything, including carnage. They condemn
perpetrators, but they no longer sympathize with victims.”
Conservative ABC noted (11/20): "A spate of anti-Semitism, not limited
to terrorist activity, though it achieves its greatest perversity, is moving
the world.... It's true that the
Palestine conflict and the Israeli government's mistaken policy to combat the
terrorist offensive encourages this spate, but does not attenuate its criminal
condition. Islamic fundamentalism
doesn't need reasons beyond hatred, resentment and intolerance.... This resentment is a perfect breeding ground
for hatred and intolerance. When the provocation of the political mistakes of
Israel are added, the terror is served. It
is explained, but under no circumstances is it justified, nor does it deserve
any but the most unequivocal condemnation."
Left-of-center El País held (11/19): "Sharon has tried to instill a feeling
of guilt among the European Fifteen, with the objective of silencing European
criticism and turning their governments and community institutions away from
the search for solutions to the conflict.
But after serious internal discussions, the EU has expressed the
European consensus. It is a clear
message addressed by a group of democratic countries to another one which
believes it is the only democracy in the Middle East.... The Geneva Agreements, drawn up by private
citizens from Israel and Palestine, and with detailed solutions for all the
problems, are a bold gesture, and that is why they are being so well-received
ISRAEL: "Perhaps It Is
Just The Beginning"
Ben Caspit observed in popular, pluralist Maariv
(11/21): "This is still not it, but
perhaps it is the beginning. Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon announced yesterday in a speech he made in the Export
Institute that Israel is willing to carry out 'unilateral measures.' He did not
elaborate. Yesterday Sharon gave the
preview for what could be, perhaps, someday, his planned Herzliya 2 speech,
whose existence...is still hidden in the back of the drawer, undergoing
revisions and drafts. It is intended to
renew hope and rebalance the political process, giving the Palestinians real
compensation of the first degree....
Sharon is still hesitating, but the situation, the public, the polls and
the despair are pushing him.... Sharon’s
statements yesterday are no more than a calculated opening maneuver in a
nerve-wracking chess game. If Sharon
intends a unilateral withdrawal from Palestinian cities, this is not important
news. If he means more than that, all
options are open."
"Just Where Does The Optimism Come From?"
Aluf Benn wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(11/20): "It is difficult to find
any real enthusiasm for Qurei among Sharon and his aides.... But the Israeli approach is full of
hope--even though it is not clear what it is based on, unless it is meant to
prepare the groundwork for blame in the future.
[Those Israelis] say if Qurei is serious in his statements about a
cease-fire as a solution, there's no chance for progress. And they hope that beneath the statements
hides a secret plan to eradicate terror.
After all, it's not credible, they say in Sharon's entourage, that such
an experienced politician as Qurei really is counting on a cease-fire and
doesn't know that he has to take practical security steps.... [The] gap in a priori expectations by the
sides threatens the success of the move, which in any case is based on both
sides' fatigue from the war and not from sudden breakthrough into mutual
"Games Of Make-Believe"
Ofer Shelach commented in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (11/20): "It looked as
if, during the last round [of a move that anticipated a non-violent solution to
the conflict, Israeli] make-believe was intended for the American judge. This time it appears that most of it is meant
for domestic consumption. The Americans
ceased intervening a long time ago; they are quietly folding up toward the
election year. But the public on both
sides is grumbling. Palestinians and
Israelis feel there is no hope and that their leaderships are leading them to a
disaster. In Israel, recent declarations
that emanated from the defense establishment itself--and of some of its retired
members--have made clear to Sharon that if time for action has not yet come, at
least the time for pretending has....
There are no demonstrations, there is no protest, the responses to an
interview of Shin Bet chiefs were stronger around the world than in
"The Trap Of Success"
Guy Bechor declared in pluralist, mass-circulation Yediot
Aharonot (11/20): "The Israeli
government has accepted the U.S. Administration's road map; so has the
Palestinian government. Arafat adheres
to the map. What is left to do is to
bridge between the sides so that they can come back to the road map. Despite all reservations from it, the roadmap
is in fact the only show in town. All
the rest is public relations.... This is
the maximum that can be obtained.... As
usual, Arafat is an obstacle to real diplomatic progress, but if he remains in
the picture, he will let Abu Ala move forward and even fight terrorism as
required in the road map."
"Chance For A Cease-Fire"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(11/19): "Apparently, [Palestinian
Prime Minister Ahmed] Qurei and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon learned the lesson
from the failure of Qurei's predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas. Both know it will take a joint effort to
prevent another failure that would fatally harm the moderate strain in the
Palestinian leadership. Such an effort
means readiness by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to
suspend their mutual suspicion and to act with a spirit of hope for the tired,
scarred populations on both sides. For
the fall 2003 version of the hudna to not end up filed in the archives, like
the previous one last summer, Qurei must impose his authority on the security
apparatuses in the PA to make an effort to end terror attacks. That is a necessary condition for an opening,
but deeper efforts will be needed against terror's capabilities and the
preparations to renew it.... Israel, for
its part, must reduce its military and civilian presence in those parts of the
territories that are the PA's responsibility.... Rarely are states given a chance to correct a
previous mistake. The second 'hudna' is
such a rare occasion.... Instead of
having regrets in another week or month, the security professionals must make
clear to the political level that they will support taking a reasonable risk,
for the sake of the chance to get out of the dead end."
"No Time Left"
Yael Gewirtz noted in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (11/18): "With all due
respect to the new 'hudna,' this time too, it doesn't constitute a
'breakthrough'.... It is an initiative
that Israel isn't leading. Israel is
only going along with it. The Israeli
government could perhaps continue to tighten the noose around
terrorism.... But it must quickly
create...a significant, practical initiative and start a direct dialogue."
"My Alternative To Geneva"
Former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon stated in conservative,
independent Jerusalem Post (11/18):
"[In the Beilin-Abed Rabbo initiative] there is the question of
content, specifically Geneva's haziness on the right of return, which has
allowed each side to give its own version of how many refugees and their
descendents should be allowed in to Israel proper. Such varying interpretations were the bane of
Oslo, and cannot be allowed regarding such a sensitive core issue. No less provocative was Geneva's call for
handing the Temple Mount over to Palestinian sovereignty. The initiative was also procedurally
problematic. Many Israelis feel that, by
drafting a full and detailed accord, Geneva's architects have tied the hands of
bona fide negotiators in the future, denying them room to maneuver.... All of which returns us, by dint of contradistinction,
to the 'Peoples' Voice' peace petition I have been promoting along with my
Palestinian partner, Prof. Sari Nusseibeh.
Unlike Geneva, our initiative is a simple declaration of principles, one
page in length.... The grassroots
quality of the Peoples' Voice has the additional benefit of generating
broad-based support for peace among Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging
democratic discourse in the latter society especially.... Compared to Geneva, the Peoples' Voice lays
down 'red lines' which are acceptable to the Israeli mainstream, and does so in
a democratic manner that transcends partisan dispute. Those who want Israel to be a democratic
Jewish homeland should hark to the Peoples' Voice. It is real, it is viable. It is here and now."
"The Road to Bantustan"
Akiva Eldar opined in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(11/17): "The Right understands
that waves of anti-Semitism will not bring masses of Jews to a country riddled
with terror, unemployment and social rifts, and on the verge of losing its
Jewish majority.... As far as [moderate
rightists such as Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] are concerned, the
Palestinians can term the enclaves that remain under their control 'a state.' They will be first in line to recognize
it.... If Israel is tempted to establish
Bantustans for the residents of the territories, and to put off a resolution to
the problem of the Palestinian diaspora for better days, the residents of
Israel and the Jewish Diaspora can expect worse ones to come."
"A Welcome Flurry Of Activity"
Indendent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(11/17): "The distribution of
copies of the Geneva Accord to every household in Israel began this
week.... At the same time, the Peoples'
Voice campaign is moving forward. This campaign is the initiative of Ami
Ayalon, the former head of the Shin Bet, and Sari Nusseibeh, the president of
Al-Quds University. The fact that some
150,000 Israelis and Palestinians have already signed on to this campaign indicates
that it, too, has elicited a substantial response. This initiative, like the Geneva Accord, is
also based on a two-state solution. On
Friday, Ayalon received the public support of three of his colleagues who had
also served as head of the Shin Bet....
Doubts about the basic assumptions of the current policy also surfaced
two weeks ago in a conversation between IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon and
three journalists. This conversation drew angry responses from the Prime
Minister and Defense Minister. Behind
this flurry of new and welcome thinking stands the threatening demographic
reality, which can no longer be ignored.
It's not only that time is not working to our benefit; time is running
out.... The reality is clear and the
hopelessness of the government's policies is also clear. The peace initiatives and various plans, and
the support they are gathering, reflect the widening cracks in the public's
faith in the government's positions.
However, the political constellation necessary for translating these
positive developments into real political momentum has yet to coalesce."
"No Surrender, Thanks"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post observed
(11/17): "In its Friday edition,
Israel's largest newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, led with a banner headline, 'We
are on the way to catastrophe'--a rough paraphrase of a joint interview with
four former heads of the Shin Bet security service.... We too are frustrated with the government's
seeming contentment with an ongoing stalemate with no end in sight and little
evident direction. But if elections were
held tomorrow, we believe that the public would once again defeat the advocates
of unilateral surrender and choose those who believe that there can be no peace
until the Palestinians are forced or choose to abandon terrorism. The public is not always right, but in this
case we believe it has much greater strength, acuity, and wisdom than those who
seek to unseat its elected leaders. What
is more, it is precisely the advocates of surrender who, by giving Palestinians
who push the terror strategy hope, are prolonging the war."
WEST BANK: "The Mutual
Truce: Palestinian And Israeli
Samih Shbeib remarked in independent Al-Ayyam (11/21): “The Egyptian efforts [to support a
Palestinian-Israeli truce] come in the midst of a variety of circumstances, the
most important of which is the U.S.’s engagement in the Iraqi crisis with its
serious threats to U.S. forces and the future of the [U.S.] administration,
causing limited American pressure to calm the Palestinian-Israeli
front.... Also, there is a rising call
within the Israeli military demanding an end to the inappropriate role that
Israeli forces play in Palestinian cities and villages all over the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip.... Negotiations
about a mutual truce require that Palestinians have an objective sense of
what’s taking place inside the Israeli military and of the Geneva accord’s influence
on the Israeli street. Therefore, [Palestinians] should not offer any
facilitations to the Israeli government to get only formal ones in return,
given that Israel itself needs an easing of the situation to meet its basic
"Russia: A Balanced
Official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida contended (11/20): “Russia has achieved passage of its
several-week-old draft resolution to support the Roadmap plan with unanimous
endorsement by the UNSC members.... We,
as Palestinians, highly value this balanced Russian stand toward the Middle
East conflict.... We also hope that
Russia has a greater influence on the political process in this region which
has been monopolized by the U.S., and everyone including Russia knows how
biased the U.S. has been toward Israel....
In this respect, we would like to mention President Bush’s statement
yesterday in which he asked European officials not to meet with certain
Palestinian leaders whom he described as ‘not trustworthy.’ If he means President Arafat, Bush has basically
ruined the simplest foundations of honest mediation and clearly contradicted
all his previous calls for democracy.”
"Sharon Is In Crisis...Beware Of Rescuing Him"
Hani Masri opined in independent Al-Ayyam (11/18):
“It is enough for us to review the outcome of a European poll [on the
status of the Israeli state] to understand the current Israeli dilemma,
including the economic crisis and deteriorating Israeli security.... Why can’t the Palestinian leadership initiate
a ‘cease-aggression’ agreement that also demands a halt of settlement activity
and an end to the separation wall? Why
can’t it think of utilizing the mounting Israeli crisis on all levels to
substantially modify the conditions of the negotiations? And why can’t we read the signals of the
escalating Iraqi resistance against the American occupation?”
"The Lack Of Initiatives Is Not The Real Problem"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (11/17): “The Geneva accord, which currently enjoys
wide media coverage, could be a last in a series of political initiatives to
settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict....
However, it seems that this and other former initiatives have never
reached their intended recipients, namely the Israeli government. The Sharon government has clearly rejected
this accord... Can such initiatives, no matter how well drafted they are, ever
be taken seriously or have a future to them?”
"An Extraordinary Worthwhile Warning"
Independent Al-Quds commented (11/15): “If the Israeli Government trusts its
prominent professional security and intelligence veterans and listens to the
views they proposed for getting the Palestinian-Israeli issue out of its
current bottleneck, the warning that four former [Mossad chiefs] delivered
should sound the alarm bell and draw the attention of Israeli PM Sharon and his
key government officials.... The warning
spotlights a fact to which Sharon seems to close his eyes, namely that the
continued occupation and intensification of settlement activity, [and] the
continued denial of a state for the Palestinian people...will keep [the
Palestinians] within Israel's borders as part of the Israeli people, whether
Israeli officials like it or not.”
EGYPT: “Importance Of
Creating Climate For Roadmap Implementation”
Pro-government Al Ahram contended (11/19): “Some voices in Israel attempt to pursue the
policy of manipulating the fates of nations in the region. This is a desperate attempt that will not
work in blemishing or hiding Egypt’s leading role to achieve peace in the
region, despite the destruction these people have brought to peace and to
Israel itself.... President Mubarak’s
envoy’s current talks with the Palestinians aims to create the climate once again
for a halt to violence between the two sides...and begin implementing the
roadmap, which has stumbled due to Israeli maneuvering.... The ball is in the American and Israeli court
now that the Palestinians have formed their government and are ready for a
“The Extremists Are Angry?”
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar Editor-in-chief Galal
Dowidar declared (11/19): “Israeli
extremists groups reveal their rejection of peace everyday...despite the blood
drained from both the Israeli and Palestinian people.... While the entire world is praising Egypt’s
leading role in establishing a halt of Palestinian violence and paving the way
for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks, a Likudish Knesset
member...has vented his poisonous anger at Egyptian mediation efforts...his
statements are feverish hallucinations....
He knows perfectly well that terrorism is Israeli-made.”
“Peace Opportunities Are Egyptian-Made”
Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya remarked
(11/18): “Egypt has never stopped its
efforts to mediate a peaceful settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli
sides...undoubtedly the cycles of violence and counter-violence have proved
that the grounds that are ripe with blood and doubts do not serve the
implementation of a peace plan...that is why the mission of the Egyptian envoy
Omar Suleiman...is a new opportunity to establish a binding truce, especially
“After European Poll, Israel’s Campaign Against France And
European Civilization Continues”
Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Nafie
argued (11/17): “Israel ignored the
European opinion that it is the first enemy of international peace...and even
started a monstrous attack on...France, the civilized nation...and on European
culture and Christianity. In my opinion, this attack from Israeli media and
Zionist organizations against Europe, in addition clashes with other countries
about corruption cases committed by Jewish businessmen, reveals that the true
face of the Zionist project on the land of Palestine has started to unveil
worldwide, even in the countries that have been the core of support for Israel
and the Zionist movement.”
“Israel Does Not Fear Alleged European Changes”
Abd-Rabboh El-Masry maintained in pro-opposition Al Wafd
(11/17): “The European poll is not as
serious as the Arab press think...and it does not represent the European man on
the street.... The poll will have no
impact on the European-Israeli partnership meeting.... The seeming disparity between the European
and American positions cannot be dependable....
The poll did not push Israel to change its annihilation plans against
the Palestinian people because it realizes its truth.”
“A Witness From Their Own”
Pro-government Al Ahram said (11/16): “Four of the Shin Bet chiefs made the first
warning of its kind that Israel could face a catastrophe if it continued its
occupation of Palestinian territories.
This is a realistic testimony from within Israel...which confirms the
impasse Israel is suffering and the confliction that prevailed due to the
Israeli government’s aggressive policy.”
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Status Of Jerusalem"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (11/20): "The U.S. Congress misses no opportunity
to show its full support for Israel....
Recently there was a rebirth of an old American call to consider the
occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.... The holy city of Jerusalem occupies a special
position on the agenda of the Arab and Islamic countries and any attempt to
target or weaken the religious and political status of Jerusalem will increase
tension and provoke the entire Arab and Muslim worlds."
MOROCCO: "The Roadmap
And Russia's Comeback"
Arabic-language Socialist ISFP party-run Al Ittihad Al
Ishtiraki declared (11/21):
"Resolution 1515 presented by Russia was endorsed by other
countries, including Germany, China, Chile, France and Britain.... What has distinguished this resolution is
Russia's return to the Middle East, taking the initiative as an international
player and assuming its role in reactivating the roadmap. All this despite Russia's special status as a
regional power, following the victory of the unilateral power in formulating
international policy.... The
contradiction now is that even though America voted for this resolution along
with the international community, its President, George Bush, did not fail to
criticize the Palestinian leadership, seizing the opportunity of his speech in
London to talk negatively about the Palestinian Authority. He has strayed away from the neutrality
required of a country that sponsors peace in one of the world's most dangerous
regions. But despite George Bush's position, the international community must
not remain hostage to U.S. or Israeli stances. It must find the means to
activate the recent UN resolution and move the peace process forward in the
service of world peace and security."
"Fence Of Apartheid"
Hafid Fassi Fihri commented in pro-opposition Istiqlal party-run
French-language L’Opinion (11/21):
"In defiance of the international community, Israel is building a
'security' fence inside the West Bank. Israel talks of security but it neglects
to mention that this fence will not prevent the Tsahal tanks from entering
Palestinian cities, not to mention Israeli missile and helicopter attacks on
the civilian population! Once this fence is built, Palestinians will become an
imprisoned people.... Ariel Sharon
appears to be using the despair and terror in which Israelis live in order to
impose the construction of the fence....
In this case, there is a pact of silence surrounding apartheid, Israeli
style, giving us the impression that the governments of the entire world are
Challenge Of The Peace Of The Brave"
Editor Abdelmagid Haouachi wrote in independent French-language Le
Quotidien (11/15): "It is high
time to put in place a dialogue instead of military confrontation, violence and
destruction.... This option, articulated
by Arafat at the advent of the new Palestinian government headed by PM Qarei,
is privileging peace with the Israeli population.... It is a genuine political move made by the
Palestinian Authority staffed with experienced leaders.... Such a clear-sighted move can by no means
ignore the necessity of reaping the fruit of the strong Palestinian resistance
which opposed the Israeli opponent and its hostile expansionist tendency."
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"Positive Interactions Between Israel And Palestine Will Help
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(11/16): "Recently, Israel's stance
seems to have softened. Israeli
officials claimed that they would give the Qorei government a chance. The Israeli Defense Department recently
stated that it would remove blockades in most of the Palestinian cities in the
West Bank. Also, Israel announced that
it would tear down some houses that had been built illegally in colonial
settlement areas. All these moves will
help to alleviate the tense relations between Israel and Palestine.... Although Israel and Palestine have initiated
some cooperation on security issues, they still have many differences, which cannot
be resolved in a short period of time.
Nevertheless, as long as Israel and Palestine can maintain a political
dialogue, unnecessary clashes can be avoided.
This provides Israel and Palestine a glimmer of hope after the heavy
Glimmer Of Hope"
The independent Manila Times declared (11/15): "There are signs that Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon is beginning to relent but it's too soon to say if there would be
any change in his draconian policy of peace with security. Sharon is willing to meet with Ahmed Qurei,
the new head of the Palestinian government, to restart the peace
process.... However, Qurei continues to
be skeptical. Qurei thinks that Sharon is in tactical retreat on account of six
events. The first is the European Commission poll that showed 60 percent of all
Europeans consider Israel the greatest threat to world peace.... The second is...Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon...told
Israeli journalists that the army is against the hardline treatment of
Palestinian civilians.... The third is
the proposal by the moderate Shinui Party...to abandon the settlement in
Netzmarim in Gaza.... The fourth is the
rally in memory of Yitzak Rabin...that drew 100,000 people.... They carried streamers that read: 'Leave the
territories, save the country' and 'Sharon go home'. The fifth is the Geneva accord.... The key provisions of the...accord concern
the right of return, sovereignty over Jerusalem, and the Jewish settlements.... The last is also an unofficial peace
plan...[that] 90,000 Israelis and 60,000 Palestinians have signed.... These are the pressure points on the Israeli
INDIA: "Right Step By
Cuttuck-based Oriya-language independent Samaja held
(10/31): "The U.S. should now
understand that it couldn't protect its ally that has violated international
law by building a wall in the Palestinian territory. The General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted
to stop this illegal move by Israel and the UN Secretary-General has been asked
to see that certain portions of the wall erected in Palestinian territory are
demolished immediately.... Though late,
the UN has acted in the right direction.
But it is quite possible that puffed with America's support Israel will
ignore the UN directive. One may only
hope that the UN reaction will have some impact on America's autocratic
PAKISTAN: "Passage of
Lahore-based populist Urdu-language Khabrain held
(11/21): "By approving the Russian
resolution, the UNSC has ratified the roadmap to Mideast peace.... The major impediment in its implementation is
Israel's inflexible attitude and policy....
Israeli intrangisence has reached such levels that despite the UNSC
resolution and criticism by President Bush, it continues to build the
fence.... Now that the UNSC has ratified
the roadmap, it must use its authority to get it implemented as well."
The leading Globe and Mail opined (11/19): "Once again, Israelis and Palestinians
have an opportunity to reach a ceasefire of their own, one they must grasp if
there is to be any meaningful progress toward peace in the Middle East, and an
end to the seemingly endless round of violence.... Mr. Arafat continues to wield considerable
power. But as Mr. Sharon himself acknowledges, Mr. Qureia is a more skilled
politician than his predecessor and has a record as a moderate. And both sides
are under increasing pressure at home and abroad to produce something
constructive at the negotiating table....
Mr. Sharon has insisted in the past that the militant groups be disarmed
and dismantled as a necessary condition for talks. But if Mr. Qureia is able to
persuade the militants to stop their terror attacks--and there is no guarantee
that he will, even with Mr. Arafat's apparent backing--the Israeli government
should take that as a cue to come to the bargaining table. And it should stay
there even if there are further suicide attacks and sniper killings. Terrorists
should not be handed a veto over peace talks. Similarly, the Palestinian side
must acknowledge that Israel has a right to defend its citizens, and that the
only way to prevent military retaliation is a negotiated settlement that can be
BRAZIL: "Walls Or
Center-left Jornal do Brasil maintained (11/17): "In the most sacred Islamic month, the
Ramadan, and the most Jewish day, the Shabat, two bombs almost simultaneously
were exploded in two places bordering two Synagogues in Ankara, Turkey.... If we look for the reasons of such attitudes
we will find out that they have the same objectives preached by Osama Bin
Laden, who wishes to transform the Arab world into Islamic republics and
supercede the powers of the laic world by the power of religion, or else, of
fundamentalist fanaticism. The greatest
damage of such attacks are undisputedly the human loss, but the greatest risk
to the democratic world resides in the legitimacy of such measures of force
that rulers adopt to defend its citizens whenever they are the target of those
fanatics. I'm talking about the wall that is being built by the Israeli
government.... In the Jewish philosophy
we learn that bridges are more desirable than walls. Bridges unite people and territories; walls
split and discriminate people.... We
regret the construction of the wall, however we can't forget that it may be
demolished by a future Israeli ruler democratically elected.... The wall may even be demolished by the
current government as soon as peace reigns again or trust between Israelis and
Palestinians is obtained."