April 30, 2003
PM MAHMOUD ABBAS (ABU MAZEN): 'NEW HOPE' FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST
** Mazen's appointment
offers a "concrete possibility" for "tangible progress" in
** "Hamas, Islamic
Jihad and extremists loyal to Arafat" threaten Mazen's authority.
** Global outlets move
closer to Israeli position that Arafat is the "principal obstacle" to
** Arabs demand roadmap
release and insist U.S. "impose its implementation" on Israel.
There is a 'greater hope' for peace after the 'erosion' of
Arafat's influence-- Abu Mazen is a
"tough and serious negotiator" and "credible partner" whose
appointment is a "great victory for the Middle East" if he can achieve
"genuine authority independent of Arafat." Italian and Australian papers agreed Mazen's
appointment opens a "window of opportunity for peace." Arab pro-government papers also backed Mazen,
with Tunisia's La Presse declaring, "serious reasons for optimism
Arafat has lasted in his own 'tortuous way' due to a 'pathological
attachment to power'-- Israeli writers, among
others, feared Arafat "will try to remain important." Left-leaning Ha'aretz stated, "As
long as Arafat lives, Abu Mazen won't be able to move a pinky without his
say-so." Bangkok's independent Nation
criticized Arafat's "authoritarian ways and self-serving political
games." Prague's center-right Lidove
noviny warned Arafat may discredit Mazen as a U.S. "messenger
boy," as his cabinet is "viewed as American and Zionist
proteges." Independent Arab papers
said Arafat remains "the legitimate and elected President" of the
The roadmap is 'cover for the aggression' against Iraq and
Israel's 'barbaric' actions-- Papers in
Muslim-majority countries dismissed the roadmap as "completely in the
hands of the Israeli government."
West Bank outlets blasted Israel for "imposing a series of
impossible conditions" ahead of the roadmap's release. Calling for an end to the U.S.'
"procrastination" as well as Sharon's "daily massacres,"
Arab dailies accused Israel of "looking for pretexts to avoid"
negotiations to achieve its goals of "expansion and domination." Israel's Arabic-language Kul al-Arab
concluded, "The roadmap will fail."
Conservative Israeli papers decried U.S. plans, demanding Mazen
"stop the terrorist activity--and only afterwards proceed to the
As Israel's 'main sponsor,' only the U.S. can 'force Israel' into
genuine negotiations-- Arab dailies cited the
U.S.' "biased position favoring Israel" in questioning the
"truthfulness of American intentions." Only if the U.S. ends its "double
standards policy" will the peace process have "any chance of
succeeding." Lebanon's moderate Daily
Star warned any U.S. "failure to resist the pressure applied by
Israel" to delay the roadmap will prove disastrous for "America's
interests." European papers,
especially on the left, asserted that "Washington's ability to
impose" the roadmap on Israel is "vital for the credibility" of
U.S. foreign policy.
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey
is based on 90 reports from 27 countries over 18 - 29 April 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
FRANCE: “Bush And The
Aftermath Of The War On Iraq”
Left-of-center Le Monde maintained (4/25): “President Bush is face to face with his
first test of the post-war period: making public the Middle East roadmap. The
gesture will be the first test for the Bush administration.... The two main figures of the soon-to-be formed
Palestinian government are proof that on the Palestinian side, there is a will
to go beyond the era of terrorism....
But the fate of the roadmap will depend more on Washington’s ability to
impose the implementation of the roadmap’s first phase on Israel, than on the
goodwill of the Palestinians.... There
will be numerous obstacles on the ground: the Palestinians will not trust a
diplomatic process that does not go hand in hand with an important and rapid
Israeli withdrawal.... On the very day
of the Palestinian government’s announcement, there was a terrorist attack in
Tel Aviv soon followed by the destruction of two homes in Gaza by the Israeli
army: two tragic incidents proving to President Bush the magnitude and
difficulty of the task that lies ahead, if he truly wants to impose on the
Israelis and the Palestinians an agreement for a ‘viable’ peace.”
“Palestine On The Map?”
Bruno Frappat declared in Catholic La Croix (4/25): “Are we on the eve of a victory of reason or
is this one more illusion? While nobody has the answer, Abu Mazen’s nomination
may be one of those events which are recognized, after the fact, as being a
milestone.... And Arafat’s acceptance of
Abu Mazen, under pressure from the international community, is one more
GERMANY: "A New
Beginning In The Middle East"
Inge Guenther commented in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(4/25): "As much as the Middle East
peace process and the Iraq war are completely different issues, the two things
are also inextricably connected. On the
one hand, the U.S. wants to portray itself a promoter of peace now that the
Gulf offensive is over.... On the other
hand, the threat scenario has changed in Israel's favor: Saddam...has gone, and Syria, the other safe
haven for militants, is politically on the defensive and militarily under U.S.
pressure. These are not bad conditions
for the peace roadmap.... Just how much
progress can be made on the 'roadmap' will become clear at the negotiating
table. Abbas will want to find out for
sure, and Sharon will not be able to say no immediately now that he has a
credible partner. But there will be
movement only if Bush junior exerts the same level of pressure on the Israeli
side that he put into sidelining Arafat."
Erik-Michael Bader noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(4/24): "The brief history of the
Palestinian people on the political stage is by and large a tale of missed
opportunities and accidental self-sabotage.
If Arafat and Abbas had not succeeded in reaching agreement on the
composition of a cabinet within the constitutionally-set timeframe, it would
have represented another chapter of understandable but disgraceful
intransigence on the way to the tragic finale.... It is uncertain still whether the goal of two
peoples living together in peace has come any closer, but the chance of
achieving such a goal has not been lost."
ITALY: “Nobody Vouches For
Marcella Emiliani commented in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero
(4/29): “Today is a crucial day for the
peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The parliament of the
national Palestinian authority will cast a vote of confidence for Abu Mazen,
who might then present his own government. This, in turn, would represent the
first step towards the ‘road map’ for the resumption of negotiations, which in
the end would lead to the creation of a real Palestinian state by the year
2005.... Today there is greater hope. In
the first place, the regional situation has changed. After the end of Saddam
Hussein’s regime, a new order in the ME is taking shape, which, based on the
Anglo-American victory in Iraq, will be less and less willing to accept
dictators and despotic regimes, which use terrorism to gain leadership in the
Arab and Muslim world.... In view of his
installation as Prime Minister, Abu Mazen promised European diplomats yesterday
that in his inaugural speech he would reject violence as an instrument of
political struggle, and this is already an excellent first step. But, since
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are out of the parliamentary game, who will vouch for
them and who is going to deal with them?”
“The Two-Fold Challenge Awaiting Abu Mazen, A ‘Dove’ Caught
Between Two Fires”
Sandro Viola stated in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (4/26): “Nothing is clear yet. Certainly the political conditions have
changed. The road of negotiations seems
to be more viable than it was on the eve of previous peace processes. But the feelings of the two parties at war,
their wounds, their mutual hatred, their violence--all of that has, instead,
worsened. The uncertainty over a
possible solution of the conflict, in sum, is the same as it has always
been. We can only wait and see.”
“The Government Of Hope Is Born In Palestine”
Sandro Viola commented in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (4/24): “What counts now
is that the Abu Mazen government is born and that, according to the commitments
made by the Americans, the so-called ‘road map’...will be outlined over the
next few days.... A new, concrete
possibility to put an end to the longest conflict in contemporary history has
opened. Albeit weakened politically and
morally by too many years of ambiguity and too many mistakes, Yasser Arafat has
nonetheless been the soul and the symbol of the Palestinian national
movement. Nobody can take that away from
him. It is he who resurrected after each
defeat, raising again on the international level the Palestinians’ sacrosanct
right to their own land and their own state.
It is he who always reorganized and boosted Palestinian resistance after
so many defeats. That is why the world
has become convinced that the problem of a Palestinian state can no longer be
”Arafat Gives In, Agreement On Government”
Guido Olimpio wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della
Sera (4/24): “After a day of
extenuating talks, Arafat and Abu Mazen came to an agreement over the
composition of the new Palestinian government.
This is an important development indeed.... The pressure exerted by international
diplomacy and by regional mediators was decicive.... The Palestinians urged Washington to maintain
its promises by immediately presenting the ‘road map’.... Abu Mazen and Dahlan are seen as the right
men to begin democratic reforms but, most of all, as the men capable of
controlling armed groups.... And then
Arafat. By provoking the tug-of-war he
wanted to demonstrate that, despite everything, he still counts. And he will try to remain important by
avoiding to be relegated to a marginal role as the Israelis and the Americans
are hoping for. Abu Mazen will have to
“Not Even Arafat Is A Man For All Seasons”
Marcella Emiliani declared in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero
(4/22): “When ‘heroes’ become old, i.e.,
is it possible that Yasser Arafat may currently represent one of the main
problems for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Perhaps the question is not posed properly,
but many are asking it vis-à-vis the tug-of-war between the PNA Chairman and
Palestinian PM-designate Abu Mazen, unable to form a new government--which is
what Israel and the U.S. are waiting for in order to create a negotiating
agenda--due exactly to Arafat’s veto on several names and particularly on the
person responsible for security, Mohammed Dalan.”
“Arafat Attacks Abu Mazen: ‘Your Government Is Sponsored By The
Enrico Franceschini wrote in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (4/22): "Abu Mazen
is a reformist dressed in a traditional style, and not a revolutionary with a
Kalashnikov on his desk. That is why his
popularity among the Palestinians is not so high, with only 2-3 percent of them
identifying with him, while Arafat, albeit on the decline, continues to be the
most popular leader, with 22 percent.
But the President has gradually lost the support of the international
community. And now his pathological
attachment to power could make all peace hopes fade away again.”
Grigoriy Asmolov remarked in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(4/25): "Many right-wing
politicians in Israel doubt that Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammed Dahlan are truly
willing to declare war on Palestinian terror.
They recall that the preventive security service in Gaza, of which
Dahlan was the chief, was more than once involved in planning and committing
terrorist acts against Israelis.
Therefore, far from all right-wingers approve of Ariel Sharon's plans to
start negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas soon."
"Declaration Of War On Abbas"
In liberal Der Standard, Markus Bernath
stated (4/25): "The extremists in
the West Bank have given the first Palestinian Prime Minister a taste of things
to come even before he’s officially taken up office: The suicide attack of an 18-year
old Palestinian in the Israeli city of Kfar Saba, which cost an observant
policeman his life, was a clear declaration of war of the militant Fatah on
Premier Mahmud Abbas, who used to lead this largest Palestinian group together
with Yassir Arafat.... Many questions
are still unanswered: Has the ideal of a terror-free government been realized?
Only a quarter of the Palestinian cabinet has been newly appointed. Is Ariel
Sharon’s government going to support Abbas’ cabinet? The question of
settlements will be addressed at a later stage, the Israeli Premier said. For
the Palestinians, this issue is the first priority. How persevering are the
efforts of the US in the Middle East going to be? Will Abbas prove to be
capable of disarming the extremists? Not only Hamas and Djihad will have to
relinquish their weapons--so will Fatah, whose unity Arafat is trying so hard
"Bush’s New Order"
Peter Michael Lingens noted in independent political weekly Profil
(4/18): “In the course of the war,
George W. Bush and Tony Blair announced a new initiative for solving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, their timing gives reason to believe
that this was a propaganda-motivated red herring. But this is not necessarily the case. The
U.S. victory in the first war against Iraq paved the way for peace negotiations
between Israelis and Palestinians, and this war could revive them. The Israelis should be grateful to Bush for
eliminating their most dangerous enemy and depriving the Palestinians of their
biggest patron. At the same time, I
think that--contrary to popular belief--all other Arab states are now going to
feel more respectful rather than more hateful towards the U.S.”
"Arafat Is Losing Power"
Pavel Masa opined in center-right Lidove noviny
(4/24): "It must have seemed to
Yasser Arafat this week that he is receiving his last judgment. The Americans, the Brits, the Spaniards, the
Greeks are on the list of countries which told him that his authoritarian power
is over. And he was even exposed to
pressure from those who embraced him long time ago--the Egyptians, and other
Arabic brothers, and the Russians--to give the reins of power to Mahmoud
Abbas. Arafat has succumbed to the
demands in the end, but he may try to use the fresh anti-American mood on the
Palestinian streets to reverse yesterday's verdict on the dispute over the post
of the head of Palestinian security forces. However, in such a case he would
not only start digging his own political grave, but he would also take down the
hope for a creation of an independent Palestine."
HUNGARY: “ Hopeful Of A
Ferenc Kepecs judged in pro-government left-wing
Hungarian-language Nepszava (4/28):
"Mahmud Abbas has two trump cards. One is the support of foreign
counties (first of all the moderate Arab countries). The other one is the fact
that his policy rests on common sense.
Abbas’s [political] agenda is quite simple and basically matches the
expectations of the world. Its basic goals are the following. The Palestinians
should stop provoking further violence. Israel should end the occupation of
Arab land. A Palestinian state should be established and it should live in
peace with Israel. The only problem is that the powers in Israel today are
quite unwilling to make a compromise.
Washington should work with Sharon to be more understanding of
Palestine. And Abbas should work the Islamists to be more understanding of
Israel. And certainly the Palestinian society badly needs to be democratized.
For if things will be decided in the balloting boxes (and not at by arms) the
world could expect surprises. It could be that the quiet majority is on the
side of common sense in Palestine too.”
“Farewell To Arafat”
Csilla Medgyesi asserted in liberal Hungarian-language Magyar
Hirlap (4/25): ”Arafat committed a
fatal mistake when he rejected Bill Clinton’s and Ehud Barak’s settlement plan
and launched a second intifada instead.
The spiral of violence could not be stopped any more. The renegotiation of peace became
hopeless. Arafat became a burden for the
Palestinians. Mahmud Abbas has an
exceptional chance. He enjoys the full
backing of the United States, the European countries and most of the Arab leaders. And, as signs suggest, he can expect that
even Ariel Sharon offer him cooperation.
Abbas, even if he is unable to prevent every cue attempt, might manage
to cut the ties between the Palestinian Authority and terrorism. And that's all what Sharon expects from
him. Sharon then will, in return, offer
(if not voluntarily than under American pressure) a compromise in the issue of
[Israeli occupied] territories. Because
it is vital for Washington to reopen the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to
encourage a government to Washington’s taste in Iraq.”
The center-left Irish Times declared (4/26): "A compromise agreement among the
Palestinian leadership has this week opened the way towards a renewed peace
process with Israel in the wake of the war in Iraq.... As a result the US government has become much
more actively involved in the process, as Mr Colin Powell prepares to visit the
Middle East next week. The US is now committed to publishing the road map drawn
up with the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.... In principle this could lead to the creation
of a Palestinian state if all parties adhere to the agreement--a difficult but
not an impossible condition and certainly a hopeful one. Interpretations differ
in Israeli and Palestinian media as to whether these developments represent the
end of Mr Arafat's domination of Palestinian affairs or yet another successful
adaptation by him to changed circumstances. The Sharon government enjoyed
President Bush's support over the last year for its policy of opposing Mr
Arafat and seeking to marginalise him within the Palestinian
leadership.... Mr Abbas is on record as
opposing the violence and has appointed people determined to confront and
control those responsible for it.... A
great deal will depend on how determined President Bush is prepared to be in
"Hope For Peace As Arafat Accepts Cabinet"
David Horovitz remarked in the center-left Irish Times
(4/24): "Succumbing to
extraordinary international pressure...President Yasser Arafat yesterday
dropped his objections to the cabinet team...and thus re-opened the path to a
possible resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and, ultimately,
the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.... The PA's feuding veteran leaders agreed what
was described--face-saving for Mr. Arafat--as a compromise.... Under the 'compromise', Mr. Dahlan will not
hold the title to which Mr. Abbas had wanted to appoint him--Minister of the
Interior--which the new prime minister will retain himself. But Mr. Dahlan will
instead become Minister for Security Affairs and will do the job Mr. Abbas
wants him to do--take charge of the PA's security forces in order to confront
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and extremists loyal to Mr. Arafat who have been carrying
out attacks. Mr. Abbas has described the 'armed intifada' as a grievous
mistake, and his purported resolve to end it explains why Hamas is worried, why
Israel supports his appointment and why the Bush administration has made the
publication of the 'road map' to Palestinian statehood conditional on his
taking office as a prime minister with genuine authority independent of Mr.
Arafat.... American and European leaders
will start pressing for Mr. Abbas to take on the extremists, Israel to start
withdrawing its troops from deep inside the West Bank, and the two sides to get
back to the negotiating table."
Centrist La Vanguardia observed (4/25): "The old guard [of Arafat] is resisting
being displaced by a new generation of politicians, those who can count
initially on international good standing and would be accepted by Israel as
interlocutors to put in march the road map which the Madrid Quartet (the US,
EU, UN and Russia) hopes will establish peace in the Middle East.... Not to lead a new peace conference might be a
personal failure for [Arafat], but to end the Middle East conflict is now a
"The U.S. Makes Its Move In Palestine"
Independent El Mundo opined (4/24): "The agreement [of Arafat to the new
Palestinian government] was vital for the credibility of the Bush foreign
policy.... The U.S. president is
probably the only person in the world able to persuade Sharon that peaceful
coexistence with the Arabs is worth a generous agreement with the Palestinians. It's too soon for that agreement, but something
has started to change. Abu Mazen has in
his hands the opportunity that Arafat didn't know how to, or couldn't,
"The Road To Palestine"
Left-of-center El País held (4/24): "If Arafat has given in, it has been
because of the concerted pressure of all the members [of the Quartet]. It opens an essential hope for stability in
the region, even though it is not advisable to indulge in excessive wishful
thinking. This is a play with several
players and Sharon controls more than one.
Israel’s selective assassinations, ongoing destruction of Palestinian
houses in Gaza and its influence on the United States, where the Presidential
elections will take place next year, along with Palestinian terrorism do not
make peace easy. But a door has
"The Hour To Replace Arafat"
Conservative ABC opined (4/22): "Today, almost no one considers it
essential that Arafat continues leading the process and all bet on a Palestinian
leader able to sign agreements and to carry them out, to stop terrorism and
advance towards democracy.... Mazen is a
tough and serious negotiator, accepted by the international community and a
part of the Palestinian leadership.
Sharon himself has talked again about the 'painful concessions' Israel
will have to make and has offered to meet the new Prime Minister as soon as he
forms a government.... After the worst
of the Iraqi crisis, now it is time to turn to the question of Palestine. Arafat has to accept the facts, and Spain,
and President Aznar, with discretion and constancy are playing an important
"Tanks Against Peace"
Left-of-center El País editorialized (4/21): "If there is no Palestinian Government
next Wednesday, Arafat will have to designate another prime minister and this
will postpone the peace process....
Perhaps this is what Arafat is looking for, conscious that with U.S.
Presidential elections in November 2004 Bush will have little room for maneuver
to impose peace on Sharon.... These are
decisive moments for the Middle East.
Now the stability of the region depends more of what will happen between
Israelis and Palestinians than what will be the outcome of the war in Iraq,
although this conflict changes the equation.
Revolutions That Consume Their Sons, And Vice-Versa"
Yoel Marcus remarked in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(4/29): "Don't be fooled by the
inauguration of the Abu Mazen government.
Relevant or not, as long as Arafat lives, Abu Mazen won't be able to
move a pinky without his say-so.... Like
Arafat, [Sharon] is a national symbol, although under his stewardship Israel
has never been worse off. In mentality,
Sharon is closer to Arafat than to Menachem Begin, who had the courage to give
up all of Sinai and evacuate the settlements.
The two old foes are still fighting yesterday's war. Arafat is still chief of the PLO, battling
the Jews, and Sharon is still living in the era of reprisal attacks. There is no chance that the man who built
most of the settlements will dismantle them, and there is no chance that Arafat
will affix his signature to any clause that surrenders the Palestinian right of
return. What does seem likely is that
the window of opportunity will have to wait until these two are no longer
running the show."
"Give Abu Mazen A Chance"
Dan Margalit wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv
(4/29): "It is meaningful to
reflect upon the kind of terror that would have been carried out against an
isolated Israel had it not been for Oslo and Camp David. However infuriating it is to many people,
this reminder is necessary in order to advise the Government to take the risky
approach of Abu Mazen, first of all as a manifest repudiator of Palestinian
violence and as an initiator of permanent peace with Israel. This does not rub out his having played a
negative role at Camp David, and having all but denied the Holocaust. To all intents and purposes, this would mean
allowing him to run the Palestinians' lives in most of the territories
inhabited by his compatriots without the presence of numerous...[Israeli]
forces. If Israel is obliged to undergo
yet another round of violent terrorism on the way to the yearned-for peace,
Sharon had better take Israel back to imposed fighting in less auspicious
conditions but with international support, as did his predecessors, Rabin,
Peres and Barak, whom history is likely to judge favorably, despite the
disparagement of their efforts."
"Back To The Future?"
Alexander Maistrovoy stated in popular, pluralist Russian-language
Novosty Nedely (4/28): "President Bush did not succeed in forming a
coalition prior to the military operation in Iraq.... The Palestinian problem is going to be even
more difficult.... Bush has defined two
main conditions for renewing the peace talks: Arafat's removal and the end of
terror. Today, both of those look rather
doubtful and even unreal. Arafat
continues to enjoy the support of Western Europe, which does everything to
jumble the White House's cards. Not
only has Arafat remained a legitimate Palestinian leader for the largest part
of the world, but he also got 'a second breath' as leader of a people. The latest polls show that his popularity has
grown tremendously...whereas Abu Mazen and Muhammad Dahlan are viewed as
'American and Zionist proteges'....
Abu-Mazen might have serious problems in calming down the terrorist
groups and even changing the political climate in the PA. Most likely, neither [Abu Mazen nor Dahlan]
will take any significant measures....
Dahlan has objective difficulties...with the counter-intelligence
military leadership in the territories, which is still loyal to Jibril
Rajoub.... Abu Mazen and Dahlan will try
to convince the terrorist groups to 'cease fire' temporarily, and if possible
to convince the U.S. that the first and most important step to peace has been
walked. Then a lot would depend on
Bush's and Sharon's reactions. Should
Bush pretend that this meets his requirements, and Sharon give in the pressure,
Israel risks returning to the initial point of its 'bloody trip'--an updated
version of the Oslo accords."
"Back To Oslo"
Hemmi Shalev wrote in popular, populist Maariv (4/28): "Sharon’s policy is not without
achievements.... The pressure that
brought about Abu Mazen's appointment as prime minister, as well as major
points in the 'road map,' are some of the most prominent fruits of the Israeli
policy. On the other hand, Israel has
also had time to learn a lesson or two.
In its present declared willingness to let the new Palestinian cabinet
handle terror on its own, Israel is admitting the final failure of the
unilateral use of force. In fact,
despite the fact that it cannot be said too loudly, the basic premise of the
architects of the despised Oslo accords is now making a comeback, with perfect
circularity, as even a bona-fide right-wing government headed by Sharon admits
that only the Palestinians themselves, with the encouragement of political
concessions, can do the job.... This is
a complex and intricate process, in which Sharon will insist--as he has
committed himself and as he should--on the fulfillment of every iota of the
commitments that the Palestinians undertake.
On the other hand, any progress is fated in advance to failure if the
expectation is for an immediate and absolute cessation of terror. In order to give this a chance, Sharon will
have to take away the veto that he granted the avowed terrorists upon coming to
power, and explain to the public, despite the difficulty, that there is no
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post held (4/28): "On June 24, Bush finally looked at the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict with his post 9/11 glasses and saw, not a morally
amorphous 'cycle of violence,' but a fellow democracy under terrorist attack. Bush's revolutionary idea was met by a fierce
counter-reaction from Europe, the State Department, and our own Labor and
Meretz parties, resulting ultimately in the 'road map' we are about to see
today. Now, we can again safely, if
unfortunately, predict that Powell's upcoming trip to the region will fail,
absent a major course correction by Bush.
Rather than bog down in the details of the road map, the overarching
correction needed from Bush is to do something very 'unevenhanded' and say the
truth: Israel is a democracy that wants peace, and it is the unconditional
obligation of the Arab world to end its century of war against the only Jewish
state. Until Bush returns the burden of
realizing his two-state vision more starkly to Palestinian and other Arab shoulders,
Powell might as well stay home."
"Abu Mazen's Government In The Shadow Of The Bombing"
Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (4/25): "The Kfar Saba bombing became known
almost at the same time as Abu Mazen's success in forming his government. Despite the apparent utter lack of connection
between the two events, it would be hard to separate between them.... According to reports from the U.S., President
Bush intends to publish the 'road map.'
However, this newspaper believes that as long as terror is rampant,
steps must be made first of all to stop the terrorist activity--and only
afterwards proceed to the road map."
"Arafat Has Gone. He
Is Staying. He Will Stay"
Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (4/25): "The
government forced upon Arafat is zigzagging on its way. The Americans' patent intention was to
castrate Arafat, to turn him from the omnipotent ruler of Palestinian politics
into a picture on the wall. That move
was unsuccessful. Arafat was humiliated
and wounded, but he survived in his own tortuous way. The new Palestinian government...will be like
the Hydra from the Greek mythology. One
of its heads is Arafat: he controls the General Security forces--the largest
armed body of the Palestinian Authority--and Tawfik Tirawi's intelligence
service. Many of the ministers follow
his orders. To all intents and purposes,
he has a government within the government.
The [Hydra's] second head is Abu Mazen.
He is propped by international backing.
The third head is Muhammad Dahlan, who received control of the police
and the security branches, in spite of the 'hatyar'--the old man."
"Limitations Of The Roadmap"
Ultra-Orthodox Hamodi'a editorialized (4/25): "In accordance with its understanding
and perception, the U.S. leadership intends to demand the adoption of a
diplomatic plan that would require many concessions from Israel. The problem is that...there is no real
willingness on the other side to exhaust the chances of diplomatic
negotiations. The other side doesn't
have the ability to impose constraint and avoidance of bloodshed on all
terrorist groups, which control the street and the general atmosphere. Not only would such a diplomatic move not
bring the longed-for change in the Middle East any closer, but it would
postpone it for a longer period."
"Woe To The Victors"
Ben Caspit maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv
(4/24): "The Palestinian masses are
under siege in their villages, cities and refugee camps, looking askance at the
goings on...at the top echelon of the Palestinian oligarchy fighting for a
slice of the miserable ruling pie and the right to face Ariel Sharon in the
peace negotiations, whose results no sane analyst is prepared to
guarantee. If this is winning, then Abu
Mazen won. On the other hand, and there
is another hand, Arafat lost. True, for
an historical 15 minutes he returned to center stage, but his slow and steady
decline continues. Now everything
depends on Abu Mazen. If he succeeds in
realizing his potential, in cutting through the tunnel, in turning on the light
at the end of it and mobilizing the entire world in his favor, this will be the
beginning of the end of Arafat's regime.
Abu Mazen will need much help from the world, including Israel, as well
as a lot of luck.... On the one hand, in
contrast to many of his predecessors, [Sharon] is privileged to see the
downfall of Arafat and to stick one more nail in his coffin.... [On he other hand,] the success of Abu Mazen
and the failure of Arafat put the 'road map' on Sharon's table, and bring
Sharon to a major crossroads of decisions he fears.... The main problem that Abu Mazen and Israel
have is not who is the new Palestinian minister of agriculture, but what
happens in the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip."
"No Bear Hugs"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(4/24): "It is difficult at this
stage to determine whether the [Arafat-Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen)] understanding
will be fulfilled or last very long. In
any case, it is clear that the compromise was imposed on Arafat, but also
weakens the new Prime Minister.
Neutralizing Arafat is the key to the renewal of the negotiations--there
is a broad consensus about that in regional capitals and throughout the
West. It is to be hoped that Arab and
European countries, and of course the U.S., will maintain their pressure to see
him removed from the Palestinian decision-making process. However, Israel must be very cautious in this
matter. There is no point to statements
creating the impression that this is an ultimatum or an Israeli dictate to the
Palestinians. Abu Mazen, a long-time leader of the Fatah and Palestine
Liberation Organization, has long been considered Arafat's No. 2 and he does
not need any involvement by the Israeli government on his behalf, an
intervention that would be guaranteed, as far as Abu Mazen is concerned, to
become a destructive bear hug."
"Arafat Is Still Here"
Nahum Barnea and Ronni Shaked wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist
Yediot Aharonot (4/24): "It is true that Arafat is on his way out,
it is true that he is bruised and wounded, but it is too early to eulogize
him. The Chairman's smile Wednesday in
Ramallah was the wink of an old fox, a veteran of many battles for his
survival. Arafat could make his prime
minister miserable yet.... [However,]
Abu Mazen's [Mahmoud Abbas's] real test will not be against Arafat, but how he
meets the expectations of those who expect him to stop terrorism and show flexibility
in negotiations on a final status agreement with Israel. In the eyes of the world and of Israel Abu
Mazen's government has one purpose: eliminating terrorism.... Abu Mazen will have to prove to the Palestinian
public that he did not act against Arafat, the leader who is still considered a
symbol. He will have to prove that he is
not the messenger boy of Israel and the U.S.
In the short term, a string of Israeli gestures will help him a great
deal: the removal of closures and checkpoints, an end to assassinations, a
release of prisoners. Israel will not be
able to grant him these things if there is a terror rampage.... The establishment of a Palestinian government
brings closer, as was expected, the resumption of negotiations with the
Palestinians. Contacts between Sharon’s
bureau and the White House have produced reports that U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell will arrive in the region in ten days, with the goal of
re-starting the process. The Iraq war is
behind us, and the diplomatic campaign is ahead."
"Deepest Leadership Crisis Since 1983"
Danny Rubinstein remarked in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(4/22): "Senior Palestinian
officials are hoping for a compromise today in the most severe leadership
crisis in the Palestinian national movement since the 1983 rebellion against
Yasser Arafat's authority after the PLO was evicted from Beirut. But everyone is aware that the differences
between Arafat and the putative prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) remain
profound and a compromise might not be possible. Since the 1983 rebellion, Arafat has been the
one-man ruler of the Palestinian leadership and nobody dared challenge that
authority. But the current struggle
between Abu Mazen and Arafat says more about how much Arafat has been weakened
than it does about the adoption of democratic principles in Palestinian
politics. Arafat's weakness and a
measure of democratization in Palestinian society was already evident a year
ago when the Palestinian Legislative Council rejected an Arafat-proposed
government.... Although many expect a
compromise, it is very possible Abu Mazen will announce tonight that he has
failed to form a government, in which case Arafat must select someone else to
try to form one.... From Abu Mazen's
perspective, American support for him while U.S. troops are in Baghdad is very
embarrassing because of the rising tide of anti-Americanism in the Arab street
and Palestinian territories."
"Arafat Vs. Abbas"
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(4/22): "The struggle [between
Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen)], which seems to hinge on Abu
Mazen's determination to give Muhammad Dahlan authority over security matters,
highlights the fact that Yasser Arafat is and always has been the principal
obstacle to any meaningful peace process, in any peace agreement. In a sense, the struggle is a lose-lose one
for Arafat: either he 'wins' and sends Abu Mazen packing so that terrorism can
continue, rendering his own eviction from the region an inevitability, or he
loses and must hand over real authority to Abu Mazen and his cabinet. In either case, the terror campaign will be
ended.... Now nearly everyone, including
Europeans and Palestinians, admits both that Arafat is the obstacle that the
U.S. and Israel have said he is."
"Hitching A Ride On Success"
Yoel Marcus commented in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(4/22): "It doesn't really matter if the new views of the Prime Minister,
which have made waves around the world, are the honest truth or uttered with a
wink. The very fact that he has
articulated them is an act of bravery considering the problematic home crowd
sitting in the bleachers. Whether he
meant what he said is not important.
Anyone who publicly accepts Bush's vision, accepts, in principle,
withdrawal to Israel's 1967 borders, with some adjustments, plus the
establishment of a Palestinian state. He
meant it; he didn't mean it--it makes no difference. The moment he said it, it's a fact.... From now on, the test will be one of
leadership. America will not exert
pressure on Israel. But Israel must
accept the assistance and mediation services it offers. Turning America down is to risk being thrown
into the European lions' den, which is not a very good place to be. Sharon has said the right things at the right
time. But he will be tested by his
actions.... Sharon does not always tell
the truth. But as a tactician, there is
no one who understands better than he that now is the time to hitch a ride on
the historic victory of the United States."
"The Road Map"
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Zuheir Andrawus observed in Arabic-language
weekly Kul Al-Arab (4/18):
"The Palestinian people, who are defending their just cause in
their sons' blood, won't defend a dictator; neither will it allow the senior
leadership of the Palestinian Authority to apply Hamid Karzai's model in
Palestine.... The Palestinian people
won't allow America, Israel, Europe or the collaborating Arab regimes to bend
them.... The U.S. road map will fail, as
did the Oslo Agreement.... Without an
independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the bloodshed will
WEST BANK: “Abu Mazen’s
Government: Necessary Steps To Pass The Tests”
Ashraf al-Ajrami opined in independent, pro-Palestinian authority Al-Ayyam
(4/28): "The Palestinian government
has to work on regaining the trust of its citizens by conducting democratic
reforms in the ministries and in all the Palestinian Authority’s institutions.
It is true that radical changes cannot be carried out in one day, for it is
undoubtedly a lengthy and an exhausting process. Nevertheless, there are
important steps that can be carried out quickly and have immediate effects on
people’s lives. One of these important steps is to start the reform process in
the police department and judicial systems. The rule of law is the cornerstone
for any stable system.”
“An Impossible Condition For Each Step”
Independent Al-Quds editorialized
(4/28): "While everybody is focused
on the declaration of the ‘roadmap’ and its implementation following the PLC
vote of confidence tomorrow...political and military circles in Israel continue
trying to throw up roadblocks and procrastinate by imposing a series of
impossible conditions on the Palestinian side in return for any measure that
Israel may have to implement in the future. This is a well-known method that
takes advantage of the element of time and evades any effort or political
action that would make Israel honor a requirement of peace.”
“Insult To All The Palestinian People”
Independent Al-Quds observed (4/26): "The remarks of President George Bush in
his interview with NBC, in which he welcomed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmmod
Abbas (Abu Mazen) to the White House while excluding President Yasser Arafat,
are an insult to the Palestinian people. Such remarks also reflect a plain
ignorance of many facts. President Arafat is the legitimate and elected
President and is the head of the PLO executive committee, which is the sole
representative of the Palestinian people. These remarks also contradict the
principles and doctrines of democracy and freedom, which the American President
is supposed to believe in.... The
ability of the United States to play a neutral and an effective role in the
peace process depends, first and foremost, on its respect of the Palestinian
people and their legitimate leadership. The United States must also end its
biased position favoring Israel and refrain from considering itself the
criterion for justice with rights to chose leaderships of other nations. In
addition, it should respect international law and resolutions pertaining to the
Palestinian issue. No Palestinian prime minister would be able to push the
peace process forward while Israel is clinging to its extremist position and
while the American administration is maintaining its biased position toward
Israel, holding the Palestinian side responsible for the escalation of tension
in the region.”
"The New Cabinet And Issues Of Internal Conflict”
Samieh Shubeib opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam
(4/25): "It is clear that this
[Palestinian] government will be required to deal on the regional and
international levels with the implementation of the ‘roadmap’ and work
diligently on implementing the first phase of it, at least. Also, it is clear
that armed Palestinian national factions see that the formation of this
government is endangering them and their armed operations. Therefore, these
factions voiced their concern of the dangers of an internal conflict or the attempt
to disarm the Islamic and national factions by force. These armed factions
think that the next phase is for resistance and not negotiations.”
“Pretext To Elude Peace”
Independent Al-Quds editorialized
(4/25): "Violence should be stopped
on both sides. If the Israeli government wants the Palestinian organizations to
stop the activities Israel describes as terrorism then it should stop its
military operations. In addition, it should stop its occupation of the
Palestinian areas and halt collective punishments, sieges, house demolitions
and humiliation of Palestinian citizens at Israeli military checkpoints, which
have become a daily concern for every Palestinian. Such treatment at
checkpoints has a indescribable negative effect on the various aspects of the
economic, educational and social life of Palestinian society. It is unrealistic
for a nation living in security, tranquility and leading a decent life far from
occupation and settlements to practice violence against a neighboring nation.”
“Real Challenges After The Government’s Formation”
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (4/24): "The agreement to form the new
Palestinian government headed by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), following
appreciated efforts by Egypt and other Arab countries, is considered a success
in favor of Palestinian diplomacy. It is also a tangible progress in the
Palestinian issue, which is going through difficult international challenges.
The overwhelming American and British imperial invasion is now looking for new
victims, especially after the fall of the Iraqi regime.”
"The Roadmap: Project For A State With Temporary-Permanent
Mohammed Yaghi observed in independent,
pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/24): "If the Bush administration is really
concerned with ending the conflict and achieving security for Israel, even
though it is we who need security more than Israel, then it does not need a
map. Instead, there has to be a clear demand by the White House that Israel end
the occupation of the land begun in 1967. The Bush administration can then
demand that the Palestinians give up their weapons in order to guarantee
Israel’s security.... If the Bush
administration fails to fulfill these demands, then it would be seeking a long
truce, which has also been Sharon’s demand ever since he began heading the
current Israeli government.”
“The Half Majority Plus The Tenth”
Hasan el-Kashef observed in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(4/22): "As usual, the Palestinians
have managed to attract wide attention from the international media. Powerful countries and Arab states are
probably feeling jealous of the Palestinians, who still do not have their own
state. The whole world is following
every detail of the consultations and arguments regarding the formation of the
cabinet while other cabinets are being formed and dismantled in major and small
countries without much interest from the rest of the world.”
Adli Sadeq commented in semi-official Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida (4/22): "I waited up
late last night before writing these lines, hoping that the crisis of forming
the cabinet would have been over and an agreement between President Yasser
Arafat and Abu Mazen would have been reached.
The hope was that they would have been able to face the pressure wisely
in order to overcome the obstacles and complications of this critical
phase. We also hoped that they would
have managed to shift the pressure exerted by external powers toward Israel,
which occupies our land and kills our people and controls the life of
Palestinians. Nevertheless, President
Arafat and Abu Mazen are sticking to their positions, which will intensify
foreign pressure on the Palestinian leadership.
Consequently, Israel will continue its crimes without international
objection and without even the Palestinian Authority itself keeping an eye on
the invasions and the killing throughout the land.”
"Reaching Up To The National
Independent Al-Quds opined (4/22): "The American peace initiative called
the ‘roadmap’ is about to be declared.
This initiative, however, may turn out to be no more than a maneuver to
gain time or an attempt to cover for the aggression carried out against Iraq. Nevertheless, this does not prevent us from
dealing seriously with this American vision assuming that it might be a
good-faith initiative aiming to impose American peace on the Palestinian and
Israelis. It is worth mentioning,
though, that that the biased American position toward Israel will limit the
effect of this initiative and place it completely in the hands of the Israeli
"American And Israeli Interventions
Independent Al-Quds editorialized
(4/21): "The American and Israeli
intervention in forming the Palestinian government is totally rejected. The Palestinian people and their leadership,
who have struggled for long years to achieve freedom and liberation and
underwent the most difficult political hardships, are capable today of forming
the Palestinian government according to the high interests of the Palestinian
people.... Israel and the U.S. would be
wrong if they thought that pressuring and bluntly intervening in internal
Palestinian affairs would enhance Palestinian democracy, the Palestinian reform
process or the formation of a stable government enjoying the trust of all
Palestinian factions and milieus.”
“Give it Your Confidence”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Farahat Hossam
Eddin wrote (4/29): “The success of the
Egyptian mediation between Arafat and Abu Mazen in reaching a compromise...is a
victory for the Palestinian people, and not a victory for one party over the
other.... Washington threatened Arafat
with expulsion to Sudan.... Although
Secretary Powell announced he would not visit Palestinians or Israelis unless a
government, with Abu Mazen as its head, was formed, Israel leaked a scenario
for the reoccupation of Arafat’s residence....
As Israel does not miss any opportunity to drive a wedge between Palestinian
leaders, once the government was announced, its press banners said: ‘Bye-bye
Arafat!’.... The Palestinian themselves
are divided.... What should happen? If the Bush Administration is truly prepared
to declare an immutable roadmap for a Palestinian state having recognized
borders and in accordance with timetables...the Palestinian legislative Council
should give the new government its confidence.
If the new government achieves the desired goals, they should continue
to support it; if it fulfils Palestinian fears that it is the product of
U.S.-Euro-Israeli pressures, the Palestinian president should use his right to
remove, without cause, the new prime minister.”
“The Roadmap And Dahlan’s Country”
Mohamed Abul Hadid commented in small circulation, pro-government Al-Gomhuriya
(4/24): “Everyone is panting after the
U.S. to declare the Roadmap.... Let us
be frank.... Arabs have become
accustomed to hailing anything that America throws to us and consider it a
miraculous solution.... President Bush
determined 2005 as a date to establish a Palestinian state. This date is
suspicious, because Bush may either win the American elections in 2004 or lose
it to his Democratic competitor. This
competitor may not abide by Bush’s vision....
Many fail to realize...that there is an American-Israeli agreement, that
is the cornerstone of the strategic relationship between the two countries,
where the U.S. vows not to allow a Palestinian state beside Israel unless it
eliminates all sources of danger to Israel....
Iraq is only a first station on the roadmap.”
“Arafat-Abu Mazen: A Dispute of Wills”
Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar carried a comment by
Hala El-Issawy saying (4/22): “The
dispute over the formation of the [Palestinian] government is not between
Arafat and Abu Mazen, but rather between the Palestinian and American
will. Washington accuses Arafat of
seeking to abort Abu Mazen’s mission, or rather the American mission. Arafat wants to play a game with America to
prevent it from controlling this Arab piece of the dice.”
JORDAN: “Must Not Fail”
Jamil Nimri contended in independent, mass-appeal Al-Arab
Al-Yawm (4/21): "Mahmoud
Abbas's failure to form a Palestinian government is a political disaster, the
responsibility for which we do not believe the concerned parties will be able to
bear.... Whatever happens, the cabinet
must be formed. In reality, Abu Mazen
was heading towards total failure had it not been for a few people who
understood the outcome of the war on Iraq.
Arafat could therefore not put an end to this project, knowing that it
is an international condition for proceeding with the roadmap. Sharon committed another massacre
yesterday...and he would find no better gift than this Palestinian political
failure for him to continue his barbaric actions.”
LEBANON: "'Road Map'
Will Be Bush's Road To Glory--Or Infamy"
The moderate, English-language Daily Star declared
(4/26): "The Israeli government is
angling for more than a dozen changes in the 'road map' to peace before it has
even been released. Seeing as how the
Palestinian Authority has voiced no such objections despite having some very
real (and well-founded) fears, now is the time for George W. Bush to stand
firm. Failure to resist the pressure
applied by Israel and its supporters in Washington will doom his policies in
the region, and therefore America's interests.... The road map is expected to demand
simultaneous reciprocity of both sides.
It will not work if one of them is allowed to ignore it with impunity,
especially if the manner in which it does so is designed to provoke that which
the other is tasked with controlling.
Officially, the United States is on record as that that the settlements
have to go. If it wants the peace process
to have any chance of succeeding, it must not shrink from that judgment--either
now or in the future. If there are
exceptions, they must be balanced with fair swaps of comparable land. This is where Bush will show his true
colors--and where the fate of his country's plans in the region will be
"Nasrallah's Warnings Do Not Mean Confrontations"
Kassem Kassir contended in Hariri-owned, Christian-oriented Al-Mustaqbal
(4/26): "Regarding what Nasrallah
announced in his recent statements about his preparedness to confront any
Israeli or American aggression against Lebanon.... It was noted that despite this announcement
he did not talk about a direct role for the Hizballah Party in Palestine and
Iraq. Sources close to Hizballah
indicate that the 'Party is taking into consideration the changes that occurred
in the region lately, and does not want to give the Americans or the Israelis a
pretext to attack Lebanon and Syria.' It
was also clear that the Party is deliberately keeping the situation in the
Sheba' Farms quiet, is not talking about any role in Iraq and insisting that
the Iraqis have the ability to confront the future by themselves. Nasrallah's declarations and strong positions
do not mean that Hizblalah is planning to open new military fronts, it only
means that Hizballah is preparing itself for any development."
"Powell's Tour And The Roadmap"
Mecca's conservative Al Nadwa editorialized (4/28): "What is required at the present time is
not just to unveil the Roadmap, but also to put the plan in real action, this
objective will not be accomplished unless the US demonstrates its real role, by
means of pressing on Israel, as well as narrowing the maneuvering margins,
through obliging Israel to react positively. If the US does not do that, Israel
will not show any initiative for the sake of the peace process, since its
nature and history testify to that. Moreover, if the US does not oblige Israel
to comply with its patronized Roadmap, it says that the US has favored adopting
a double standard in the region, by considering Israel's interest on one side, and
distracting the Arab world with empty promises on the other side."
Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum opined (4/26): "The determination of the U.S.
government and European countries to make the roadmap a success, requires the
Palestinian people, through the Palestinian parliamentary, to endorse
Abu-Mazen's government and, especially for the U.S. Secretary of State to visit
the region to discuss the roadmap with concerned parties.... In order to make Abu-Mazen's government a
success and to enable it to gain the support of a larger number of
Palestinians, the U.S. should force Israel to stop building settlements and to
soften economic and security measures against the Palestinian people.... The success of Abu-Mazen's government
requires international and Arab support, which we hope it will obtain from all
parties, in order to weaken extremist elements."
"An Intelligence Role In Forming Abu-Mazen's Government"
Abha's moderate Al-Watan noted (4/26): "Abu-Mazen emerged victorious in his
confrontation with Arafat, but that victory might backfire on him and on the
political line, which he represents.
Abu-Mazen's government is described as an imposed government on the
Palestinians, thus it would be under suspicion by all Palestinian factions including
the Fath (movement) in which Abu-Mazen holds a leading position."
"We Reject The Price Of The Roadmap"
Jeddah's moderate Al Bilad editorialized (4/26): "First it was Mitchell, then Tenet, and
now the Road Map and still no real solutions to the Palestinian cause. No light
at the end of the tunnel for the Palestinian people. When the US finds itself
involved in an issue closely related to the Arab world, we find many
initiatives toward resolving the Palestinian-Israeli struggle are being
activated. However, these initiatives are quickly put back into the freezer
until further notice. The Palestinian cause is the only issue that the US can
utilize to temporarily please Arabs and Muslims, but unfortunately with
unfinished projects. The Road Map is of great benefit to the US. It portrays
America as a fair and peace-loving nation, but the truth is something
different. If the Palestinian-Israeli struggle is not quickly resolved, the
White House will find itself in a very critical and embarrassing situation. The
truthfulness of American intentions regarding this issue will be of historic
importance to the US. If at the end of the tunnel this Road Map really works,
we hope that it does not come at the cost of Iraq's occupation. Because then it
will be just a matter of exchanging masks, and that is something we, as a
Muslim and Arab nation, reject."
'It's All Israel's Fault!'
The English-language Arab News observed (4/26): "As the dust settles over Iraq and the
cacophony of excited voices on our television screens dies down, the Arab world
has begun to stir from the confusion into which the swift fall of Baghdad had
thrown it, to take a good look at itself and take stock.... For decades it has been difficult to find
anything in the opinion pages of the Arabic language press that did not concern
Israel. Every problem faced by Arab societies was blamed, in however obscure or
far-fetched a way, on Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. The issue served
as a sort of lowest common denominator, satisfying many journalists who were
not equipped to write about anything else as well as many of those who rule the
Arab world and who would prefer Israel--rather than their own shortcomings--to
be the subject of heated discussion in the 'Arab street'.... The days when the Arab world could just
scream "Israel", as if that one word were sufficient answer to every
question about every problem that came its way--as though saying that one word
could deflect all further inquiry--are over. The time for peaceful coexistence,
internal reflection and healthy, progressive thinking has come."
"Abu-Mazen’s Dilemma And Loss Of The Roadmap"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira published a commentary by Jaser
Al-Jaser saying (4/24): "The U.S.
support for Abu-Mazen is embarrassing because of its timing. Occupying troops from the U.S. army are now
present in Baghdad and sentiment against the U.S. is growing in the Arab world
and in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In addition, Abu Mazen was invited to visit Washington, although it is
unlikely that he agrees to become the first Arab leader to visit President Bush
at the White House after Iraq’s occupation....
In respect to chairman Yasser Arafat, his delay to approve Mahmmoud
Abbas’ cabinet shows him, as the Americans say, to be an obstacle to the last
chance for the Palestinians. Moreover,
he provides another argument for both the Americans and the Israelis to
postpone or block the roadmap."
"Palestinians Disagreements And Foreign Intervention"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (4/24): "It is always important to respect the
decisions of the Palestinian people, especially by those parties that endorse
and protect democracy.... Adherence to
democracy requires foreign parties to put equal pressure on Israel in order to
make her surrender to the fundamentals of a just and comprehensive peace. Such
pressure would convince Palestinians that those foreign movements are fair and
effective in bringing about peace."
"The New Palestinian Government"
Mecca’s conservative Al Nadwa declared (4/24): "Arafat finally agreed to the
appointment of Abu Mazen, Mahmmoud Abbas, to form the new Palestinian government.
The decision was made under tremendous national and international pressure. We
do not want external pressures to ruin the historic relations between the two
men. We trust that Abu Mazen and Arafat possess enough wisdom and experience to
rise above these differences. Their combined efforts will hopefully bring about
a resolution to the Palestinian issue. This would also spoil the chance for
Israel to execute its tyrannical strategies."
"Abu Mazen's Government"
Jeddah's moderate Al-Madina maintained (4/21): "The Americans said that they would
announce the Road Map as soon as a Palestinian government--which Mahmoud Abas
(Abu Mazen) is elected to head--is formed.
Day after day the Palestinians demand the activation of the Road Map...a
plan that has been drawn by the US, EU, Russia and the UN. The U.S.
procrastination in executing the Map is attributed to the fact that the
Palestinian Government hasn't yet been formed.
So far, Palestinians seem to agree with the terms of the plan, while Sharon's
government is attempting to make alterations and to implement changes that
would strip the Map of its realistic and objective dimensions. During the war, the Road Map was mentioned
twice by President Bush and PM Blair, which ironically coincided with domestic
turmoil on the home fronts of both leaders.
Is it possible that they will forget their promises now that the war is
over? Time is of the essence here. We should not waste more time and
consequently spoil a chance for the Palestinian people to live in peace."
SYRIA: "The Meaning Of
Government-owned Al-Ba'th said (4/29): "Threats will not instigate concessions,
and adherence to constants will not close the door for dialogue. No one can be forced to admit, two weeks
after the overtaking of Baghdad, that much has changed with regard to the
general structure of the conflict in the region. Arab lands are still under
occupation, Palestinian people are still deprived of their national and basic
rights, and the US is still giving its full and unconditional support to
Israel. Meanwhile, the concentrated campaign of pressure conducted by important
figures and institutions in the (US) Administration and Congress bring us back
to square one: control of Iraq, coordinated threats against Syria, skepticism
about any rapprochement between Iraq's regional neighbors, and increasing
obstacles in the face of the "Roadmap," all of which factors are in
the service of Israel."
"Singularity In War And Peace"
Ali Nassralah observed in government-owned Al-Thawra
(4/27): "Everything that has been
proposed--starting with the Mitchell report, the Tenet Plan, Zinni and Burns'
proposals and the Roadmap--are nothing more than security plans prepared
jointly by Israel and the US without the participation of any others lead this
all with these plans and proposals to failure.
One could ask why won't the Roadmap succeed if it was written by the
Quartet? The response is that: If the Quartet drew up the plan and was
concerned with its implementation, then why have scores of Israeli amendments
been accepted, and why does Washington maintain it and reserve the right to
declare it, and why postpone this declaration so many times? Zalman Shoval, Sharon's adviser, dispelled
any illusions about the Roadmap when he said that his government has all reason
to believe the US will take into account all Israeli amendments, and Washington
is in accord with Israel that the US will have sole responsibility for
implementing the plan without the involvement of the EU, Russia or the UN, and
that Israel will not be bound to any specific timetable for implementation.
This means that the US Administration is adamant about implementing
unilateralism in war and peace. This will lead to failure."
"Occupation Is The Root Of The Problem"
Government-owned Tishreen said (4/27): "When we say that resolutions 242 and
338 include the basic provisions for ending military occupation and
establishing a just and comprehensive peace in the region, this means that any
procrastination or selectivity in dealing with these two resolutions harms the
efforts aimed at addressing the occupation issue. Also, US pushes the region
into futile rows, which gradually divert the attention away from the core
issue, which is occupation, nothing else.
Syria said and continues to say that peace, which the international
community talks about and which is the ambition of the region in the first
place, can only be achieved by ending Israeli occupation under the principle of
land for peace. Syria also said the only solution to the core problem lies in
ending occupation, which continues to be the cause of tension, instability, and
lack of peace. Israel deliberately
publicizes its hostile plans against Arab states, especially Syria and Lebanon. Israel does not refrain from making threats,
incitement, and taking advantage of tension resulting from the war on Iraq to
divert the international community's attention to other problems so that it may
achieve its goals of expansion and domination."
"Pan Arabism, Target of Neo-conservative Ideology"
Bassam Hashem stated in government-owned Al-Ba'th
(4/24): "Americans have exposed
that privatization of Iraqi oil is a giant step towards the so-called
liberating Iraq. They hint that the acknowledgement of Israel is the
substantive prelude to make Iraq return to the lap of international
community. This political-economic
project is more absurd than the political project. It confirms that the US
Administration is persistent in its ignorance of the Arab region. Since the Arab liberation battles, the
pan-Arabism movement constituted the backbone of Arab societies. Pan-Arabism
lead the battles of the political liberation battles...and conducted the
battles of reforms and development....
The adventurous neo-conservatism claims combating fundamentalist
movements, while it is rooted in its religious hallucinations. It claims to
protect intellectual properties while it desires to rob the wealth of others by
arms. It claims separating religion from state, while it smashes and weakens
secularism.... The US wants the
Palestinian state to be a free zone crowded with businessmen and investors who
abroad. It wants the Arab region an area for carpet-baggers... The war plan
treated the Iraqi desert as if it is an empty land. The US imagination about reconstruction
assumes that the Arab cities are an empty vacuum without any features."
Government-owned, French-language La Presse contended
(4/27): "In Washington, everything
seems to indicate that it has decided to get things moving: Secretary of State
Colin Powell will return to the region next week and it will not be a surprise
if the 'road map' is announced publicly in the next coming days.... First things will depend on the Israeli mood,
after more than two years of Infitadha....
Second, we don't know if the Iraqi crisis will have an impact on the
Middle East file or not. If the members of the Quartet--U.S., UN, EU and
Russia--will succeed in overcoming their differences in order to be better
heard by Israel; the U.S. in particular,
which looks to 'exclude' Arafat and to draw 'red lines' to Abu Mazen,
risks putting in jeopardy the survival of the Palestinian Authority. Serious
reasons for optimism exist, but one should be have cautious optimism!"
Editor-in-chief Chokri Baccouche observed in independent
French-language Le Temps (4/25):
"Neither the reform of the Palestinian Authority nor the creation
of a new cabinet led by Mahmoud Abbas seem to have satisfied the Israeli Prime
Minister who is always looking for pretexts to avoid the negotiating table. It
is very likely that the roadmap that foresees the creation of a Palestinian
State between now and 2005 will not be implemented tomorrow. The Hebrew state
has always been against this project and will find all the means to nip it in
the bud. The United States who wants to be the sponsors of peace seems to have
gotten used to this situation. It even worsens the situation by asking the
Europeans to not consider the Palestinian leader, Arafat, as a viable
interlocutor any more.... The pax
Americana, of which we have a foretaste in Iraq, will probably go through
Palestine, where only one choice will be offered to the Palestinians; accepting
the fait accompli of a Sharonian peace or dying slowly in near-indifference."
"Moment Of Truth!"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned French-language La
Presse read (4/26): "Nothing
seems to oppose the release of the Palestinian road map project now. Is it
really the case?.... Two factors need to
be raised: the first one is the attitude of the American Congress that intends
to limit as much as possible the role of the UN, the European Union and Russia,
signatories with the U.S. of 'the roadmap', in order to punish them for their
position on the war in Iraq. The second
factor is the attitude of Sharon who has never hidden his rejection of
peace.... Would he be forced to review
his bloody policy or will he once more try to empty this initiative of its gist
by demanding unacceptable reforms from the Palestinians? Let's say that the moment of truth for the
thorny Israeli-Palestinian conflict approaches."
Senior editor Hajer Jeridi stated in independent French-language Le
Temps (4/21): "The magic potion
that will bring back peace and security to Palestine is the famous road map
that has yet to reveal all its secrets....
Any opposition or obstacle to a government supported by the U.S. and, in
an indirect way, by Israel could prevent the publication of the road map. Hence, one needn't be a keen strategist to
guess about the clauses of this document which are supposed to accord
independence to Palestine and self-determination to its people. The application of this document requires the
Palestinian side to respect a series of measures but nothing is demanded from
the Israeli side. The double standard
policy is perceptible right away which does not bode favorably for any success
of the process."
UAE: "U.S. Must Fully
Back Abu Mazen"
Mustapha Karkouti wrote in the pro-government English-language Gulf
News (4/29): "As the newly
formed government of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) awaits endorsement by the
Palestinian Legislative Council expected this week, now it is the turn of the
United States and Israel to pay off.
While the Palestinians have kept their word and delivered what the Bush
administration and premier Ariel Sharon have been asking for, the first item on
his agenda should be a direct demand for a prompt and effective pressure by the
administration on Israel to declare it is genuinely committed to the ultimate
goal of the peace plan as visualised by the president.... As the main sponsor of the Jewish state, the U.S. is the only
power that can feel sufficiently confident to muscle the Israeli government
down to the negotiation table without further delay. Furthermore, it would be entirely foolish to
deal with the Abbas government as a
rival authority to that of President Yasser Arafat. If the administration goes
down this route the U.S., and subsequently Israel, would only prolong the
bloody conflict and add intolerable measures to the already desperate
Palestinian misery.... Abbas should
demand the immediate lifting of the brutal Israeli occupation and an entrance
into meaningful negotiation to achieve the ultimate goal of self determination
and independence.... The road ahead is
rocky and uncertain. But unless the Bush administration wholeheartedly support
Abbas to fulfilling the just national Palestinian goals and find agreeable
solutions to the refugee problem, Jerusalem and independence with clear-cut
unambiguous sovereignty, his government is doomed.The road ahead is rocky and
uncertain. But unless the Bush administration wholeheartedly support Abbas to
fulfilling the just national Palestinian goals and find agreeable solutions to
the refugee problem, Jerusalem and independence with clear-cut unambiguous
sovereignty, his government is doomed."
Salim (alias) wrote in pan-Arab, Sharjah-based Al-Khaleej
(4/23): "The daily Israeli
massacres in Gaza strip and the West Bank are committed in the midst of Arab
and international silence, and as a result, these massacres are becoming a
routine that no one cares about. It is
as if Israel has the right to do what it wants. From Iraq to Palestine... It is as if Arab
bloodshed is permitted to an extent where there is no disapproval
whatsoever. So now we have become a
tasty morsel.... We are waiting for the
'Roadmap'.... But which road?"
"The Conflict Between Arafat And Abu Mazen"
Abu Dhabi-based, semi-official Al Ittihad editorialized
(4/23): "It is not reasonable for
democracy to occur in the midst of operations of killing, siege, and tank
bombing, in addition to insisting of building more settlements, and requesting many
alterations to the 'Roadmap.'.... The
people around the Palestinian President indicate he is worried that he will be
isolated from power and that he will only become a historical leader for the
Palestinians and his authority only symbolic.... We need a positive initiative (from Abu Mazen
and Arafat) in order for the 'pigheaded' (Israel) to drop their weapons and
look for peace."
"The Formation Of A New Palestinian Government"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej held
(4/22): "The war of positions, names,
diplomatic pouches, and authorities going on behind the scenes of the formation
of the Palestinian government should be stopped, so Israel, along with the
U.S., will not take advantage of it and sow further divisions among the
Palestinians, either within the authority itself, or between the authority and
other powers.... What Palestine needs
now in particular is to struggle and exert the efforts of all powers in order
to end the occupation, it (Palestine) does not need fighting in order to
negotiate with them (Israel) or to satisfy them."
“Road Map To Peace Must Bypass Arafat”
The conservative Australian stated (4/28): "Yasser Arafat is a major road-block on
the 'road-map towards peace' that has been drawn up, but not yet revealed, by
the US, the European Union, Russia, and the UN. The battle-scarred and
corrupted old warrior needs to realize, once and for all, that he is part of
the problem, and get himself out of the way of a solution.... The overthrow of Saddam Hussein, which has
tossed all the Middle East balls back up into the air, together with
indications that both Israeli and Palestinian public opinion is swinging
towards negotiation, are positive signs for the success of the road-map.”
"Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Escalated Again”
Huang Peizhao commented in official Communist Party-run People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (4/24):
“Analysts think the sudden escalation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict is
closely connected with the overall situation of the Middle East. Earlier, the U.S. was busy attacking Iraq and
it stopped Israel from attacking the Palestinians in order to earn the support
of Arab countries. Now the Iraqi war is
basically over...and Israel who benefited a lot from the war bore no more
pressure from the U.S., so it thinks it is the time to take action.”
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Why Arabs Reject U.S. Democracy"
Peter Kammerer wrote in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (4/19):
"Last June, Mr. Bush outlined a vague agenda of democratization,
with his 'road map' for the creation of a Palestinian state as the
centerpiece. The war on Iraq was the beginning
of that process. Experts agree the
details are vague.... Neither was the
road map for a Palestinian state being taken seriously by many Arabs. They believed the initiative had been taken
to pave the way for the attack on Iraq.
The approach was flawed and concerned the creation of a market economy
in the region rather than democracy....
The people ruled by Arab governments wanted democracy--on their own
terms--to emancipate and liberate them from oppression, injustice and
corruption.... Iran was the most
democratic country in the region, although the process was in its infancy and
it was still imperfect as a model.... As
an ideal for the Middle East, democracy is an admirable suggestion, and few
dispute that it is longed for by Arabs suppressed by monarchies and
autocracies. But if Mr. Bush and others
in his government are sincere in achieving such a goal, they have some steep
hills to climb."
INDONESIA: “The Palestine
Islamic-oriented Pelita stated
(4/26): “Now the Iraqi issue has
diminished and the political disagreement in Palestine has ended. It is
natural, therefore, for a New Initiative to begin concrete steps towards the
peace process. Many have expressed that one of the keys to peace in the Middle
East is the settlement of the Palestine-Israel problem. And the U.S. must have
understood this. President George W.
Bush promised that after the invasion of Iraq was complete, the Palestine issue
would also come to an end. Although the concrete details have yet to be
announced, Bush looks serious and has ordered the State Secretary Colin Powell
to immediately participate actively in the Middle East peace process.
Hopefully, the promise of President Bush and the concrete steps of the New
Initiative will be in line with expectation because the world is looking
forward to a lasting peace in the Middle East.”
"Settlement Of Palestinian Internal Conflict Relieving”
Leading independent Kompas commented
(4/25): “A political compromise was
finally reached between president Yasser Arafat and PM Mahmud Abbas in the
process of setting up a Palestinian reformed government. It is a relieving development because it will
avoid the conflict from protracting and spreading. Arafat endorsed Abbas for the position of the
Minister of Home Affairs...a very important position in the Palestinian
government because it is expected to straighten up the corrupt bureaucracy and
maintain security as well. Moreover, the
Palestinians now have to face the violence with Israel. He is expected to reduce and end the waves of
violence that have happened over the past 30 months and taken some 2,000 lives
among the Palestinians and some 800 among the Israelis."
Continues To Hide Threat Of Israel’s WMDs."
Government-influenced Malay-language Berita Harian declared
(4/29): "George W. Bush announced
recently that Saddam Hussein was no longer a threat to the U.S. with his
weapons of mass destruction. In reality,
Iraq was never a threat. The accusation
against Iraq was a ploy to distract from the large amount of weapons being
hoarded by Israel. It is not wrong to
say that the U.S. is only targeting Islamic countries. After attacking Afghanistan and Iraq,
Washington seems to be putting pressure on Syria now. As the so-called champion
of justice and human rights, the U.S. cannot remain quiet while Tel Aviv
continues its non-compliance of UN resolutions and ignoring international
laws. The Zionist regime cannot be
allowed to collect WMDs and become the threat to peace in the region."
THAILAND: “Glimmer Of Hope
For Middle East”
The lead editorial in the independent, English-language Nation
read (4/29): “The power-sharing
agreement that was finally reached last week between Palestinian Authority
President Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate chosen for the new post
of prime minister, reopens a window of opportunity for peace in the Middle
East. Encouragingly, the deal will see
an erosion of the influence held by Arafat, whose authoritarian ways and
self-serving political games have long been an obstacle to a resolution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has indicated he is ready to talk peace again after
spending three bloody years trying to undermine Arafat. And Washington, the key power broker in the
decades-old conflict, also now has someone in Abbas that it feels it can deal
with in implementing its ‘road map’ for the strife-torn area.... To be sure, it won’t be easy. Sharon has promised to make ‘painful
concessions’ for the cause of peace, but his history of spilling Arab blood and
inciting anti-Palestinian passions among his people doesn’t augur well for the
process. In the U.S. as well,
neo-conservatives inside and outside the government are pressing President
George W. Bush to dilute, or even abandon, the road map. Bush should end these calls by saying without
equivocation that diplomacy, not military action, will remain his first resort
in the Middle East.”
SOUTH AFRICA: "Move
Allister Sparks observed in three leftist papers (liberal Natal
Witness, the liberal Star, and left-of-center Dispatch Online)
(4/23): "If Bush is to counter the
increased threat of terrorism his war in Iraq has provoked, he should move
swiftly to achieve a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.... Getting a settlement will not be easy. Bush has committed himself to a 'roadmap' for
peace drawn up late last year by the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the
UN.... The problems are multiple. Firstly, such incremental steps have a way of
unraveling, as the Oslo agreements showed....
Secondly, both Israel and the Palestinians have singularly unfortunate
leadership personalities.... Bush needs
to cut through all this with a bold vision of his own. Instead of piecemeal steps he should leap ahead
of the game...in a single dramatic stroke....
If Bush could muster the same kind of single-minded determination he
showed over Iraq, he could pull off something like that. American has that kind of leverage over
Israel, and the weakened and bewildered Arab world would likely be co-operative
in applying pressure on the Palestinians to settle.... The catch is the words 'full withdrawal', for
that means abandoning the Jewish settlements.... [Sharon's] vision of settlement is clear: he wants the bulk of the settlements to
remain under Israeli jurisdiction, encircled and interconnected by roads which
Israel would control militarily.... It
is an apartheid 'solution,' and there is no way the Palestinians can be
expected to accept it. This is the
nettle Bush must grasp.... Tough though
it may be to move the old war-hawk [Sharon], this is what Bush must pressurize
him into doing [ completely abandoning all the settlements]. A single, clear, ahead-of-the-game
commitment. It is in America's own vital
security interests that he do so. It is
in Israel's too."
Secret Imposes Respect On All The Middle East"
Ignacio Montes de Oca noted in business-oriented InfoBae
(4/29): "One of the most striking
phenomena in the Middle East is Israel's ability to impose respect on the
nations that wish 'to push it to the sea once and for all', as an Arab leader
said.... Israel is reported to be
testing a new version of atomic warhead with an 1,800 kilometer-reach missile
recently provided by Germany. The
Israeli nuclear power explains Syria's maneuver to relate a commitment on
chemical or biological weapons to a wider deal banning all kinds of WMD in the
Middle East. Most analysts agree that, in spite of the fact that the evidence
could be overwhelming, Israel will hardly acknowledge it has atomic weapons and
even less will it agree to dismantle its nuclear program in response to Syria's
or another Arab state's pressure. Doing it could mean to lose a deterrence
weapon that keeps its harshest adversaries away. Israel's secret is having
created a weapon able to turn the small David into a powerful Goliath who is
able to take nuclear Armageddon to any country that dares jeopardize the Jews'
right to live in their ancestral land."
"The Impact Of Iraq On The Middle East"
Leading Clarin editorialized (4/26): "The expectation of a truce in the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict after the U.S. settlement in Iraq is taking a long
time to be reflected in facts. In the latest weeks, the Sharon administration
continued its military offensive in the occupied territories while the
conflicts in the harassed Palestinian leadership and the reiteration of suicide
attacks hinder the unblocking of stalled peace negotiations.... Loaded with the responsibility of this
deadlock between irreconcilable positions, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders
will come to a point in which they will have to agree on mutual concessions.
With the control of Iraq, the US is now much closer, in geopolitical and
geographical terms, to guaranteeing the conditions of this possible deal.
However, constructive scenarios and mutual acknowledgment are still missing in
the diplomatic board to be able to overcome the brutal demonstrations of
military force and deadly violence. In this framework, the deal between Arafat
and appointed prime minister Abu Mazen to form a new government opens lukewarm
prospects of a new negotiation stage between Palestine and Israel, hand-in-hand
with the persistent violence."
"Possible Palestinian Cabinet, Jeopardized"
Daily-of-record La Nacion said (4/23): "Yesterday, Arafat and his appointed
Prime Minister Abu Mazen maintained their differences over the appointment of
their chief of security. This opened the door to Mazen's possible failure in
his attempt to establish a cabinet, and he may be forced to resign.... Mazen's resignation could lead to a delay in
the implementation of the Middle East 'roadmap', a 'step-by-step' plan,
sponsored by the U.S., which will lead to the creation of a Palestinian State
in three years' time.... Negotiations
'between Arafat and myself failed. I won't argue any further on this,' said
Mazen yesterday.... This deadlock took
place despite growing international pressure for Arafat to accept certain
conditions imposed by his prime minister, backed by the U.S. and the EU. But
the old Palestinian leader doesn't seem willing to give in."
Right-of-center O Globo stated (4/25): "The U.S. and Israel blame Arafat for
the wave of violence in the occupied territories; he allegedly has done nothing
to prevent the actions of Palestinian extremists. Under pressure of Americans, Israelis and
Egyptians, among others, Arafat has accepted to divide power with a
prime-minister, and soon a new Palestinian Cabinet will be formed. The delicate issue of domestic security will
be entrusted to a known Palestinian professional who, as head of Gaza Strip
security, has arrested notorious activists hostile to Israel. Now one waits for Israel's reaction to those
crucial changes on the Palestinian side.
Prime Minister Sharon could, for instance, immediately suspend the
construction of Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo declared (4/25): "Good news has come from the Middle
East. Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas have reached
an accord to form a new cabinet. The arrangement paves the way for the
implementation of a new peace plan for the region.... If Mahmoud Abbas proves to be reasonably
strong, it is possible that the Israeli government will decide to resume the
peace process. This would imply a freeze on new Jewish settlements in
Palestinian territories and the removal of troops from those areas.... The next step would be the creation of a
Palestinian state.... More delicate
questions, such as the status of Jerusalem, would be discussed later on. A
strong supporter of the settlements, Ariel Sharon will probably yield to U.S.
pressure. The current situation is similar to the one that followed the first
Gulf War in 1991, which led to the first accords between Israelis and Palestinians.
The obstacles to peace are enormous, but it would be premature to say it does
not have any chance.”
CHILE: "New Cabinet
Leading-circulation, popular independent Santiago-based La
Tercera opined (4/25):
"Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen made it through his first
tough test, when last Wednesday he reached an accord...with Yasser Arafat to
reform the cabinet.... The deal is a
great victory for the Middle East and opens the door for the
Washington-designed peace plan for that region.... The victory for Mazen and the 'quartet'
negotiating peace--the U.N, the E.U., Russia, and the U.S.--was getting Arafat
to include the Gaza Strip's former chief of security, Mohamed Dahalan, in the
cabinet.... In spite of the caution
shown by Israel, the U.S., which has committed to assist the future autonomous
government, celebrated the pact. This
confirms the White House is planning to remain in the region after the conflict
with Iraq and promote democratic institutions to prevent outbreaks of violence
like the ones that have ravaged this subcontinent for decades."