June 4, 2003
BUSH'S 'COMMITMENT' PROMPTS 'CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM'
** If the U.S. pressures
both sides, the roadmap "provides an opportunity" for peace.
** Hard-line outlets on
each side "warn against raising false hopes."
** U.S. involvement results
from its "preeminence in the Middle East."
** Anti-Israel critics
charge the impractical roadmap presupposes Palestinian
Bush's 'heartening return' to the peace process prompts guarded
optimism-- The "historic
progress" achieved at the Sharm-El-Sheikh and Aqaba summits drew
widespread praise for Bush's "political and personal
commitment." Egyptian papers said
the U.S. now has a "golden chance to regain trust" by
"pressuring Israel to implement the roadmap," though Jordan's
independent Al-Arab Al-Yawm questioned the "extent of the U.S.
commitment." Lebanon's centrist Al-Anwar
declared, "Arabs are ready to reach peace," while Tanzania's moderate
Nipashe hoped the roadmap would prove "a catalyst for peace"
Israeli and Arab conservatives believe the other side 'cannot
conceive' of making peace-- A writer in
pluralist Maariv wrote that Palestinians consider the roadmap just
"a diplomatic trick on the way to Israel's defeat." The Jerusalem Post warned,
"Destroying Israel remains a critical plank of the militant Islamic
agenda." On the Arab side, Jordan's
Al-Rai accused Sharon of seeking to "sabotage" the roadmap by
drowning it in "ambiguous and loose expressions." Other Arab dailies were "much more
pessimistic than optimistic," citing "Israel's bloody and most brutal
aggression" and its "maneuvers, hurdles, and procrastinations."
The U.S.' 'global power' makes Mideast stability its
responsibility-- The roadmap comprises
only a part of the U.S.' "remodeling of the Middle East," as
Washington has "too many interests in the Middle East to let the
Arab-Israeli fighting go unchecked."
Given what Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Watan termed the U.S.'
"political weight and regional interests," the summits foreshadow the
"end of the Arab political world as it has been conceived so
far." An Italian daily added that
if the U.S. gives "a state to the Palestinians and security to the
Israelis, nobody would any longer protest its right" to lead the world.
The roadmap is the 'beginning of a new Arab surrender'-- Skeptics termed the roadmap a
"deception...based on achieving both occupation and security" for
Israel that will only "force the Palestinians
into...subjugation." The rightist Pakistan
Observer alleged the roadmap's "many serious problems, deficiencies,
omissions and loopholes" reward Israeli "intransigence." Kuwait's Al-Watan insisted "jihad
is the only option" because "the Jews are the Umma's primary
enemy." Other writers labeled the
roadmap "heavier on symbolism than substance." Thailand's conservative Siam Rath
ominously called it a "Palestinian genocide plan."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis was based on 96 reports from 36 countries over 29 May - 4 June
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from their most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Bush The
The independent Financial Times observed (6/4): "President Bush's pledge yesterday...to
seek 'permanent reconciliation among the peoples of the Middle East' marks a
heartening return by the U.S. to peacemaking in the region. What matters now is that Washington turn
these words into deeds and at last deals even-handedly in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the
road map is worringly vague on exactly where it is going, it leaves no doubt
that a two-states solution requires the ending of violence and the progressive
but simultaneous ending of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza
strip--which the Palestinians regard as the cause of the violence. If Mr Bush is serious about resolving this
conflict, he will have to tell his Israeli ally that he can have peace, or the
settlements, but not both. Mr Sharon
appears confident it will never come to that.
Peace requires that the president proves him wrong."
"A Start Along The Peace Road"
The conservative Times took this view (6/4): "Mr Bush
will not achieve a breakthrough in just two days of meetings; but he will have
undercut sceptics, at home and in the Muslim world, who doubted his commitment
to the road map in the run-up to the U.S. elections, and he will have launched
the most ambitious U.S. diplomatic mission since coming to office. Until now Mr Bush has rightly been wary of
overengaging the authority of his office in the elusive search for peace. He saw how his predecessor’s focus on the
minutiae made him a prisoner of the region’s politics. Mr Bush left Evian early, but even his summit
hosts joined in the praise from the other G-8 leaders for his determination to
concentrate on the Middle East. He has
already achieved important symbolic steps: five Arab leaders have promised to crack
down on violence, rejecting terrorism in any form 'regardless of justifications
or motives'; and Ariel Sharon released dozens of Palestinian prisoners as a
goodwill gesture. More difficult steps
must now follow."
"An Opportunity For Peace In The Middle East, Which Mr Bush
Is Right To Seize"
The center-left Independent held (6/3): "Naturally enough, Mr Bush has been
criticised for hightailing it out of the G8 talks so soon. He could have and should, so the argument
runs, have spent much more time rebuilding bridges with estranged allies such
as France and Germany. For those
transatlantic differences are deep, and will not be bridged by some flabbily
worded communique or chummy body language....
Asking himself what exactly would be the most productive use of his
precious time over the coming few days, he opted to capitalise on an
opportunity that had presented itself in the Middle East.... He may well delegate more of the role to his
staff, rationing his own appearances to the more critical junctures. The current President Bush will certainly
continue to alleviate Israel's security concerns by speaking and acting against
state sponsors of terrorism in the region."
Bush Inaugurates His Middle East Peace Plan"
Jean-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/4): “One very revealing item among many others is
that not a single Arab news outlet sent a special correspondent to be included
in the 200 U.S. and foreign journalists covering the President’s trip to the
Middle East. For them, the President’s
tour is obviously less ‘historic’ than for President Bush.... This misunderstanding is not new, and the
Iraqi intervention has made things worse.”
"Two Diverging Visions"
Claue Guibal judged in left-of-center Liberation
(6/4): “It was announced that the summit
in Sharm el-Sheik would hold no major surprises. It has nevertheless allowed some
disagreements to appear between ‘moderate’ Arab countries and America’s
perceptions.... Hence the two concluding
press releases instead of the single one that was originally planned.”
GERMANY: "A Beginning
Jerusalem correspondent Thorsten Schmitz filed the following
editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/4): "It is too early for premature praise,
but for the first time in 32 months, a ray of hope is visible on the
horizon. But this ray would disappear
immediately if President Bush gave up his moderation in the Middle East because
of the pre-election campaign in the United States. Israelis and Palestinians cannot be left on
their own. With the summit in Aqaba, the
Middle East gets a chance. A photo
opportunity will emphasize this, since one man will no longer be in the
picture, a man, whose absence nobody bemoans:
"A Question Of Honesty"
Rolf Paasch opined in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (6/4): "Without a
halfway functioning democratization in Iraq, there can be no lasting solution
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If
the United States fails with its efforts to rebuild Iraq, all Arab prejudices
toward the arrogant superpower would be confirmed. And without a constructive contribution of
the neighboring countries, there will be no security for Israel either. George W. Bush has understood this and
summoned a coalition of the not so much willing to Sharm el-Sheikh.... Between the will of the superpower and the
wishes of their people, America's Arab allies looked like actors on the stage
in Sharm el-Sheikh desperately searching for an independent role. But diplomatic pressure on the supporters of
Hezbollah in Damascus is as appropriate as is the commitment of the
undemocratic Egyptian and Saudi leadership to supporting the roadmap to
peace. But the United States should at
the same time also try to convince the 'Arab street' of the honesty and
credibility of its Middle East policy by exerting pressure on Israel and by
democratizing Iraq. But if the Bush administration
pursues its engagement for a two-state solution with the same kind of
negligence that it shows in rebuilding Iraq, the democratic restructuring of
the Middle East will fail."
"Peace Of The Brave"
Michael Stuermer opined in an editorial in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (6/4): "President
Bush is exerting pressure. He
is...signaling to Sharon the end of his patience, and...he makes unmistakably
clear to the Arab leaders that they do not have the choice between half peace
and half war, but between pax americana, which includes Israel's existence, and
fatal instability that is threatening all nations of the region and their
rulers.... Bush shows his vision and
toughness. In American terms: 'He means business.'" With this
approach, and only with this approach, will peace for the brave have a
"In The Lion's Den"
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch said in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (6/3): "Without
talking the new Mideast roadmap to death, we must warn against raising false
hopes right from the onset. We must
concede that President Bush brought together Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud
Abbas. But one single Palestinian attack
would be enough to destroy this new beginning that should is now supposed to be
initiated in Aqaba. The numerous Israeli
objections against the roadmap do not bode well either. Even before Bush's trip to the Middle East,
Sharon was massively attacked by Jewish settlers and 'party friends.' Will Bush, who will start his pre-election
campaign in the fall, be able to remove all these obstacles? Maybe the meetings from Sharm el-Sheikh and
Aqaba will only be an episode."
ITALY: "When A
Mediator Goes To The Front Line"
Ugo Tramballi wrote in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore
(6/4): “Nothing like a President
visiting...[can] turn the ‘road map’ from an abstract plan into a realistic
guide for a concrete, credible and true peace.... Until three months ago, Bush was in a hurry
to wage a war against Iraq and was asking for more time to resolve the
Palestinian problem. The priorities have
now been reversed: Bush needs time to stabilize Iraq and wants to close as soon
as possible the century-old Arab-Israeli conflict. If the America that has removed Saddam
Hussein were to succeed in giving a state to the Palestinians and security to
the Israelis, nobody would any longer protest its right to be the leader of the
"Bush Wants Peace After Absolution"
R.A. Segre contended in pro-government, leading
center-right Il Giornale (6/4):
“Bush left the Sharm-el-Sheik summit with a half-full glass.... But the taste of the drink in the glass is,
for the time being, much more American than Arab. Bush succeeded in making this summit...look
like the direct continuation of the military victory in Iraq. The United States, in fact, notified the
representatives of the governments participating in the summit about the line
it intends to follow--and to make others follow--in the Middle East: the
establishment of new relations that won’t admit any support for terrorism
‘independently from any justifications there may be for it.’... The glass remained half empty, however, for
other explicit and implicit reasons. The
first is that the Sharm-el-Sheik summit represents the end of the Arab political
world as it has been conceived so far.
The Secretary of the Arab League was not invited, and Syria, Lebanon and
Libya were absent. And the symbol of the
Arab fight, Arafat, was not only not invited, but continues to be almost a
prisoner in Ramallah.”
“Middle East Peace, First Round In Egypt”
Eric Salerno wrote in Rome-based centrist Il Messaggero
(6/3): “(There are) conciliatory signals
from Israel, conciliatory remarks and some hope from the Palestinians on the
eve of the two Middle East summits. A
cautious optimism is in the air in the Middle East, due especially to President
Bush’s personal commitment.... National
Security Advisor Rice and Secretary Powell will accompany the President.”
Foreign Policy Effective"
Andrey Zlobin had this in reformist Vremya
Novostey (6/4): "Bush's foreign
policy has born fruit: he has done away with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan
and overthrown Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Riding on the rest of the victorious wave, then the U.S. President has
turned to a politically risky project, willing to help two neighboring states
make up so they could live in peace."
"Arafat To Go"
Leonid Gankin commented in reformist
(6/4): "It is hard to tell how
feasible the U.S. plan is.... But it is
a cinch that Arafat will soon be gone.
Politically, of course. Such is
the U.S. position. Disputing it, as
shown by experience, is hopeless and even harmful. But then, nothing bad will happen even if
Moscow keeps fighting to the bitter end, trying to defend Arafat. Washington will forgive us that just like it
has forgiven us for supporting Saddam.
Except that Russia might be taken out of the settlement process in the
Middle East. Too bad--being in promises
"Very Long Road"
Aleksandr Kapralov remarked in reformist Vremya
MN (6/4): "True, there is a chance, but the road is very long.... Europe wants no more of the United States'
amateur efforts to 'democratize' Arab regimes.... Abbas's making the Palestinians stop their
terrorist activities... would be a good start for the Roadmap plan."
"Middle East: Fate-Making Week"
Konstantin Kapitonov opined in reformist Vremya MN
(6/3): "This week may make or break
the situation in the Middle East. Bush
is going to play the main role in the operation peace. This is like a boss coming to put his house in
order. Had there been doubts in his
mind about this mission, Bush would not have organized summits in Sharm
al-Sheih and Aqaba. Throughout last week
Washington held intensive consultations with the Israelis, Palestinians,
Egyptians, Jordanians and Saudis. The
go-ahead was given after it became clear that there really is a chance for
change in the Middle East."
Aleksey Reutov noted in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(6/3): "Under his schedule, Bush
might just as well have sat through the rest of the Evian program, but he
preferred to arrive in Egypt early, thereby demonstrating his foreign policy
priorities. It is common knowledge what
George Bush's close attention to one country or another would end with. So you may be sure that the Arab leaders who
have been invited to the meeting have made conclusions by now."
Baptism Of Fire"
In centrist Die Presse, Thomas Vieregge maintained
(6/3): "George W. Bush had good
reasons for saving his Middle East mission for the end of his trip. Compared to
negotiations with shrewd professional politicians like Ariel Sharon, the
calamities with Chirac and Schröder look like harmless diplomatic
skirmishes.... Until now, the U.S.
President has tried to avoid the region as much as possible. Now he finally
risks the step into unknown territory--with a high degree of risk. He mustn’t
let himself be lulled by declarations and promises, sincere as they may sound,
and he must not let himself be taken in by half-hearted compromises--something
that both sides in the conflict have become masters at. When it comes to the
crunch, only pressure will get results. Bush senior proved this when he put the
thumbscrews on Israel’s Prime Minister Shamir after the end of the first Gulf
War: he turned off the Dollar-tap. And lo and behold--suddenly Shamir was
willing to co-operate. Bush junior has to insist on strict adherence to the
peace plan, and he must prevent his Roadmap from being diluted, as the Israelis
are now trying to do. Most importantly, he cannot let himself be deterred by
setbacks. Only the long-term presence of US negotiators can guarantee success.”
IRELAND: "Bush Brings
Peace Plan To Arab Leaders"
Siona Jenkins remarked in the center-left Irish Times
(6/3): "The President will be
hoping to get a strong Arab endorsement of his efforts to revive the moribund
Palestinian-Israeli peace process before going on to Jordan.... The Sharm el-Sheikh talks are likely to be
heavier on symbolism than substance. In
addition to the road map...the leaders will discuss Iraq, fighting terrorism
and economic issues.... Moreover, the
leaders President Bush will meet...are all moderates who have already voiced
support for the peace plan. But the fact that Mr Bush has come to deliver his
message personally is designed to show that he means business.... But while Mr Bush is likely to get a positive
response in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Arab leaders will face a far tougher challenge
selling the road map and other American plans for the region to their
respective publics. Anti-American
sentiment is at an all-time high in the Arab world. The war on Iraq was
vehemently opposed by most ordinary Arabs, and its swift conclusion was
considered a humiliation. The US is widely seen as Israel's protector, allowing
its ally to violate Palestinian rights for domestic political purposes. Few
believe that it will guarantee a just peace for the Palestinians."
NORWAY: “The Difficult
Independent VG maintained (6/4): "It will be the U.S. President’s task to
tempt and threaten the two Prime Ministers [Abbas and Sharon] and try to
impress upon both that there is no way back. They have both received a political
roadmap, and it must be followed....
Therefore it is permissible to hope, especially if the world's mightiest
politician continues his personal engagement.”
Francisco Azevedo e Silva commented in respected center-left Diário
de Notícias (6/3): "The President
of the U.S. has today in Egypt, and tomorrow in Jordan, the most difficult
phase of his seven-day diplomatic marathon....
Truth to tell, the White House never tried to hide where its biggest bet
was on this Bush marathon: the 'roadmap'....
The Americans are not unconnected to Sharon's (still insufficient)
concessions.... But there is still much
to be done, both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides, for today's Arab
regional summit to be able to make an important contribution to Palestinian
'pacification', presupposing some more determined work by Bush on Sharon. The
U.S. president has already sent signals that he will do so, since he has at his
disposal at the moment an augmented capacity for intervention--the waste of
which would be negative for American foreign policy itself."
SPAIN: "From Evian To
Centrist La Vanguardia held (6/4): "Without a doubt, 9/11 and the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq have dramatically changed the situation. In Iraq, the U.S. is embarking on the biggest
process of reconstruction of a country since the end of WW II, a phenomenon
that could alter the map of this whole volatile region. And from there comes the conviction that
there won't be even minimal stability in the Middle East if Palestinians and
Israelis don't solve their deep and extensive differences at the negotiation
table.... According to all indicators
the meeting in Sharm el Shiekh went reasonably well.... But moving from vision to reality will demand
more than declarations, that is certain."
ISRAEL: "The Important
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(6/4): "The words uttered today in
Aqaba will have a special significance and value. As President Bush declared yesterday in Sharm
el-Sheikh: 'There's a hopeful direction to recent events in the Middle
East.' Both prime ministers who meet
with him today have a role in that positive direction and they must send
tidings of a better future to their own people--and to the other side, as
well.... Abbas's mission when he
delivers his speech in Aqaba is to persuade the Israeli citizenry of the accuracy
of those intelligence assessments. In
addition, he must choose his words so they send a message to his own people and
the entire Arab world of a new Palestinian determination to suppress terror. As for Prime Minister Sharon, his words about
occupation echoed around the world and raised enormous expectations. The Aqaba setting, where the President of the
United States will reiterate his own political and personal commitment to bring
peace to our region, will provide a rare opportunity for Sharon to also
persuade his listeners at home and over the Green Line [i.e. the Palestinians]
of his commitment to compromise and conciliation between the two nations."
Nahum Barnea wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (6/4): "Sharon, who
has depended so heavily on the confidence that Bush displays towards him, will
find how easily Bush betrays him with his new man of peace, the Saudi crown
prince. Sharon can invite Bush and his
men time and again to helicopter flights over the country’s narrow waist: they
will continue to think in terms of Texas.
Sharon has dedicated 35 years of his life to building the
settlements. The arguments were
strategic, Zionist, messianic. The
opposing camp views them as a national disaster. Bush does not understand what the debate is
about. In his eyes, the settlements are
simply a dumb investment in hopeless stock.
Israel builds them, and the Palestinians will live in them. Strange, these Jews. Likewise for the Palestinians: Bush has no
ear for their political nuances, for the constraints, for their difficulty to
release themselves from the tradition of terror. He is like a child who is not sure he likes
the toy that has fallen into his hands.
If it annoys him, he will kick the toy under the bed. Clinton took the trouble to learn all the
nuances of Israeli and Arab politics, mediated and matched and in return
received terror and war. Who knows? Perhaps Bush's brutal, somewhat childish
simplicity will succeed more than Clinton's patient sophistication."
"How About A Jewish State?"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post
editorialized (6/4): "If Bush wants
to get anywhere with [the road map], he must stop avoiding and accommodating
Arab intransigence and deploy the moral clarity that has been his hallmark.... Today, the issue is not Israelis who cannot
utter the words 'Palestinian state,' but Arab leaders Palestinian Authority
Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Mubarak who cannot utter the words 'Jewish
state'.... What we see now is a U.S.
government that seems to have put Palestinian statehood at the top of its
post-Iraq agenda. This newspaper isn't
against a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state, but if this cause is to be
integrated into the war against terrorism, its focus must be changed.... Destroying Israel remains a critical plank of
the militant Islamic agenda, and Palestinian statehood has for decades been
seen by the Arab world as a means to that goal.
If militant Islam is America's target, it should be focusing on
destabilizing Iran and demanding up front that the Arab world speak, not just
of Israel, but a Jewish state. Then we
will know that we are on our way to a new Middle East, rather than more of the
"As It Were--A U.S.-Less Middle East"
Nationalist Emuna Elon wrote in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/4): "Here comes the conqueror--his name is
George Bush. Israel didn't conquer land
from the Palestinian people, because the Land of Israel is the People of
Israel's country; never--let me repeat, never--has it, or parts of it, been
under Palestinian sovereignty. In
contrast, the United States is now conquering the Middle East, including the
Land of Israel. The American conquest of
Iraq is a fait accompli, and George the Great is now continuing his splendid
campaign of conquest; he plans to establish two compliant colonies--a Palestinian
one and an Israeli one."
"U.S. Nurses Illusions On The Road To Aqaba"
Shmuel Rosner opined in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(6/3): "This week, the U.S.
Administration is exploiting a rare moment of agreement on the road to the
summit in Aqaba. There's agreement on
the summit itself and on the necessary details to make it a success--but not
necessarily an agreement on long-term policies that will follow.... Success is far from certain.... Abbas is currently enjoying a reputation in
Washington that someone called 'foggy.'
The Administration is pinning hopes on him but is ready to half admit
that it still doesn't have a firm basis for those hopes. At best, Abbas is a riddle here. Sharon's situation is ostensibly much better,
even if he does not enjoy the enormous credibility that his predecessor Ehud
Barak had in public opinion.... But the
Administration is coordinated with Sharon 'down to the fingertips,' as one
person deeply familiar with the talks between Israel and the White House said,
and the appreciation for Sharon has only increased since his most recent
moderate statements. [A Jewish lobbyist]
said that the Administration also has a form of illusion about Sharon."
"Understanding The Negotiating Strategies"
Barry Rubin observed in conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (6/3): "The Palestinian
leadership sees no need to impose a cease-fire or end the current
fighting. The battle will continue until
Israel accepts all of its demands, at which point there can be a truce while the
details of a full peace agreement are worked out.... Probably, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Abu Ala,
Mohammed Dahlan, and others would prefer a more flexible policy toward peace
with Israel and a harder-line one toward those determined to keep fighting until
anything remaining of the Palestinian infrastructure and economy is completely
destroyed. But Arafat won't let them do
so, and they are not going to challenge him seriously.... The Arab states' interpretation is that they
don't want to become involved at all. If
Arafat accepts a deal, they will go along with it.... The U.S. hopes to prepare the ground so the
best advantage can be taken of any opportunity.
Perhaps it would even be possible in some months to obtain a cease-fire
or some interim steps that would ease tensions.
All this is the basic reality behind the flurry of meetings, trips,
plans, and proclamations. In terms of
negotiations, not only are the 1990s over but we are back in the 1980s. The good news is that we are not back in the
1960s or 1970s."
"A Diplomatic Trick"
Hagai Segal commented in pluralist, popular Maariv
(6/3): "[The IDF] will return to
[the territories], not because Sharon is cheating everybody, and not because
history tends to maintain Israel in the territories despite himself, but
because the Palestinians cannot conceive truly making peace with Israel. They are ready to hold their fire for some
time, for a 'hudna'...but they will never sign a multigenerational peace. Such an agreement would contradict the
Palestinian entity's founding challenge--that of the elimination of Israel--and
the entire Palestinian folklore. As far
as Abu Mazen is concerned, the road map is but another diplomatic trick on the
way to Israel's defeat. In other words,
this land will perhaps be quiet for some time, but the inferno will fully
resume afterwards. The Palestinians will
use the upcoming cease-fire in the same way they used the few truces throughout
the Oslo process."
"The Betrayal Of The Intellectuals"
Sever Plotker opined in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (6/2): "Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon accepted President Bush’s vision of 'two states for two
peoples'.... The new Palestinian
leadership, under Abu Mazen, also accepted the principle of partition.... The intellectual elites in the Arab world
have adamantly refused to compromise with Israel. Among these elites, and by means of them
large parts of Arab public opinion, one of the prevalent ludicrous theories is
that the Jews are not a 'nation' but rather a 'religion,' and since they are a
religion they have no need for a sovereign state of their own.... The 'Palestinian problem' is used in the Arab
world today, just like 40 years ago, as an excuse for conservatism, silencing,
dictatorship and shutting off the world behind walls of isolation.... [Arab poets] and their colleagues encourage
the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Ramallah to remain in a 'perpetual
Intifada,' an Intifada that for the frustrated intellectuals is a spiritual
uplifting of sorts in which they are not required to sacrifice anything save a
few hateful words. By so doing the Arab
intellectuals betray, first and foremost, their Palestinian brethren. A summit meeting in Jerusalem, a summit
meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, a summit meeting in Aqaba constitute new
initiatives that inspire hope. But as
long as reconciliation with Israel fails to take root in the depths of the Arab
consciousness as their own natural and voluntary choice and continues to be
something that is imposed from without--imposed by the United States, imposed
by the Jewish lobby, imposed by globalization--the chances for peace are very
"Bush Is Determined"
Hemmi Shalev wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (6/2): "The blank check and the generous credit
that Bush gave Sharon in the past two and a half years are now being called in,
and Bush is coming to Aqaba to collect the debt.... If there was one huge surprise in Jerusalem,
it stemmed from the mistaken belief that Bush, for a variety of personal,
political, ideological and strategic reasons, from the outset considered the
heaps of credit that he gave Sharon as risky debts, if not utterly lost
ones. That conception collapsed on the
day that Bush delivered the bill and demanded that the road map be
approved. It was not a change within
Sharon, which either occurred or did not, that set the paralyzed wheels of the
peace process in motion, but rather a turnabout that occurred, by all signs,
with Bush. Contrary to Sharon, who at
least gave early warning of the possibility that he might turn into a
peace-seeker, Bush gave no hint that one fine day he would decide to stop being
indifferent, would climb off the fence and, in the best Texan tradition, grab
the bull by the horns.... After years of
false starts by the State Department, the White House got involved and the
softness was replaced overnight with tenacity and determination. Bush will not forgive anyone who tries to
ruin the show for him either at Sharm el-Sheikh, where the Arab leaders will
serve as decoration for the appetizer, or in Aqaba on Wednesday, where Sharon
and Abu Mazen are going to be the main course, and not even in Qatar on
Thursday, in a grand finale photo-op, when Bush meets with the American troops
that fought in Iraq. Hamas knows this as well and might show self-restraint,
but Osama bin Laden has a different agenda."
"Trust Is Not Enough"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(6/1): "[Israeli] 'good-will
gestures' were all apparently made in return for little more than Abbas's
announcement that 'the time for peace has come.' Abbas's vague rhetoric and manner was
sufficient to inspire his Israeli interlocutors with hope ahead of the Aqaba
summit with U.S. President George W. Bush later this week. Abbas expressed the hope that a cease-fire
with Palestinian terrorist groups could soon be achieved and the buoyed Israeli
side chose to regard this as Abbas's interim goal only, trusting that he
eventually intends to actually dismantle the terror network. Yet no sooner did the Jerusalem parley end
than another symbolic act took place.
Abbas's immediate move was to call on Yasser Arafat, report to him, win
approval, and receive further instructions.
Israel may pretend it is not dealing with Arafat, but its self-delusion
cannot be blamed on Abbas. He doesn't
bother covering-up the fact that he is directly answerable to his boss.... No 'confidence-building measures' that risk
endangering Israeli lives should be taken without concrete evidence that the
Palestinian side is taking action against terrorism. We help no one neither ourselves, nor Abbas,
assuming he sincerely wants to end terrorism by making it easier for terrorists
to kill Israelis. Security officials say
the number of attempted attacks is down, but still high. Given our bitter experience and current
circumstances, trust alone is not enough."
WEST BANK: “Sharm el-Sheikh
Summit And The Arab Commitment”
Independent Al-Quds opined (6/4): "The summit...is a sensible Arab
statement emphasizing the participants’ support for the American efforts toward
achieving some sort of peace settlement in the region based on the Quartet’s
roadmap as well as on Washington’s post-9/11 strategy of...containing and
fighting violence wherever it originates....
The statements of President Mubarak and President Bush regarding the
Palestinian issue reflect the seriousness of efforts exerted at the summit to
resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....
Undoubtedly, the Arab commitment to support the current American
administration’s efforts toward achieving a settlement is a positive
development. That said, we have to
caution against the possibility that Arab will could completely crumble in the
face of the American strategy.”
Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (6/4): “The implementation of the roadmap requires a
real change in the American position, especially regarding settlements and
Israeli state terrorism. This new
American position should not take for granted every Israeli claim regarding its
evacuation of some settlement outposts, simply because such outposts are
imaginary, a fact that can be easily discovered by the American observers when
they get here. Nevertheless, even when
the roadmap takes off, it will need the involvement of President Arafat,
without whom no roads can be paved and no maps can be drafted.”
“The Roadmap And The Israeli And Palestinian
Tawfiq Abu Bakr said in independent, pro-PA Al-Ayyam
(6/4): "The back-to-back
negotiations, in which every side communicates with its public, will never
work. We need face-to-face negotiations
without any statements from any side.
Such negotiations, even with an American or European participation,
should be conducted in secret and consist of no public statements. Oslo was the only agreement that really
worked because it took place away from the media. Only after an agreement is reached should the
results be presented to the publics, who then will have the final say on it.”
“What Will The Arab Leaders Tell President Bush?”
Ziad Abu Zayyad opined in independent Al-Quds (6/3): “As President Bush appears on Nile News TV to
affirm...that he is committed to achieving peace in the Middle East, the
Israeli government goes on tirelessly in its practices that offend all Muslims
by tightening its grip around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and preventing worshippers
from freely reaching the mosque....
There is no doubt that President Bush aims to tell the Arab leaders, on
the eve of his meeting with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, that he will
fulfill his promises and commit his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle
East. But more importantly, the
consecutive visits by Bush and Blair to the Arab capitals aim at extracting
official and popular Arab legitimacy for the war on Iraq.... So what will the Arab leaders gain from
meeting with Bush in Sharm el-Sheikh?
What will they say to the American president? And what are they hoping
to gain in return of giving Bush what he’s after? What the Arab leaders need to do is, first,
assert to President Bush that they are unequivocally against making the Iraqi
occupation permanent.... Secondly, they
have to make President Bush commit to ending all Israeli practices against
Jerusalem and demolishing the racially motivated wall and stopping all
settlement plans… Thirdly, demand that he exert pressure on Israel to issue a
statement recognizing that all of the Palestinian land, including Jerusalem, is
occupied territory.... Fourthly, the
Arab leaders must make clear to President Bush that President Yasser Arafat
will never ever be excluded [from any solution].”
“Our Way From Sharm el-Sheikh To The End Is Difficult”
Hasan el-Kashef commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(6/3): “In dealing with Bush’s vision
regarding the different phases of the roadmap, Sharon will try to follow a dual
tactic in an effort to tackle the many pressures, hardships and crises in the
long way leading to the conclusion of the roadmap. His first tactic will focus on extracting
advance Palestinian recognition of a solution that would neglect Palestinian
rights while at the same time acknowledging the Jewishness of the State of
Israel. Through his other tactic, Sharon will try to impose the security issue
on all Palestinian issues, emptying all of them of any political
content.... In Sharm el-Sheikh, the
internationally supported American administration will impose its vision toward
achieving a solution through [implementing] the roadmap. President Bush arrives in Sharm el-Sheikh
with international and regional blessing regarding the roadmap. He will leave Sharm el-Sheikh with Arab
support and blessing for his vision of a two-state solution. Tomorrow the American president will arrive
in Aqaba to open the way for implementing the roadmap, and he will sure want to
appear as a man of peace, one who is dedicating his time and attention to
finding a solution to the most difficult problem of all. We realize that the
American president is need of burnishing his image as a man of peace,
especially after gaining the reputation of a man of war as a result of invading
and occupying Iraq without international support or legitimacy. That said, no one expects President Bush, who
has defeated all of his opponents...to fail.”
“Bush’s Fate Depends On His Ability To Free His Administration
From Control Of Hawks”
Ragheda Durgham stated in independent Al-Quds (6/2): “There are reasons to believe that President
Bush will succeed where former President Clinton has failed. But there are other reasons that call for
concern, including the possibility for the Israeli-Palestinian issue to become
a ‘deferred vision'.... The American
President’s visit to the region and his role as a direct mediator in the new
peace process, which is based on the Roadmap that will lead to the creation of
the State of Palestine, are undoubtedly important developments. But the question is: What is the outcome of
such developments? The answer is
dependent upon the seriousness of President Bush in his determination to free
his administration from the control of hawkish elements, who only believe in
the logic of power and military victories, and place it instead under the dual
guardianship of sanity and pragmatism.”
“A Critical Phase”
Independent Al-Quds editorialized
(6/1): “These days, the Palestinian
people are going through a critical phase in their history. They have to
consider decisions concerning their sacrifices in the past three years and be
able to deal with the American and international pressure for accepting a
solution that may fall short of satisfying the minimum Palestinian national
aspirations. There is no doubt that the
Roadmap lacks essential elements demanded by the Palestinians, but this map
provides an opportunity that must be carefully considered, including ending
settlement activities and, more importantly, establishing an internationally
recognized, independent Palestinian state.
It is true that the Palestinian people have the will to continue their
struggle and resistance against the occupation.
But this will must also take facts on the ground into consideration and
utilize every opportunity to improve the political and regional Palestinian
position, in order to ease the harsh
restrictions imposed on our people. The current situation demands that all
Palestinians, including the government and opposition parties, reach a
consensus on a national strategy because the entire Palestinian people are in
the same boat.”
ALGERIA: "The American
Plan For The Middle East"
Leading French-language independent Le Quotidien d’Oran
declared (6/2): "The consensus on
the occupation of Iraq sealed in Evian concretizes the first step of American
preeminence in the Middle East. The second step will start tomorrow in Charm
El-Cheikh, where G. W. Bush has convoked several Arab kings and heads of state.
G. W. Bush would show the American public, strongly opposed to
bombing Iraq in a war which is still considered illegitimate and unjustified,
the image of a United States acting for peace and defending it.”
Nabil Zaki wrote in leftist, pro-opposition Al-Ahaly
(6/4): ”As soon as President Bush
arrived in Sharm, Sharon gave orders to impose a curfew in Ramallah following
his tanks’ raid on the city.... Sharon
wants to win time until next November when the presidential elections start in
the USA.... The impression of all those
who heard Sharon’s recent speech, even those inside the cabinet, is that he
doesn’t value words. For that reason the ministers of the settlement government
are not worried. Although they oppose
the road map, they see there is nothing wrong in continuing as ministers in the
cabinet.... This extremist right wing
who threatened withdrawal from the cabinet if the road map were accepted, is
now calm and sees they will remain in their places since nothing has threatened
the West Bank and the situation in Gaza has not changed.... The decision of the Israeli Government to
accept the road map was taken under pressure.
Consequently, Sharon will try to obstruct its implementation.”
"A Durable Peace"
Ibrahim Nafei contended in leading
pro-government Al-Ahram (6/4): ”Today
US President Bush meets with Palestinian PM Abu Mazen and PM Sharon to lay down
the foundation stone for durable peace in the ME. Everyone wishes to see this realized and
hopes Sharon’s confessions about the Palestinians and the Palestinian territories
are not just maneuvers to find a way out of the siege of international
consensus after the Arabs presented their peace initiatives at the same time
that Israeli bulldozers were demolishing Palestinian houses and assassinating
Palestinians and imposing a horrible siege on them.... The Aqaba meeting emphasizes that if
international powers take action, it becomes possible to realize peace. International powers have already taken
action and Israel can do nothing but stick to the road map. But if they continue
to put up obstacles and raise unjust conditions, then they will be grasping at
the dust of the road and not the road itself, and we will live another fifty
years in the whirlpool of wars and assassinations.”
"A New Basis"
Leading, pro-government Al Ahram opined (6/3): "The whole world is focusing its
attention today and tomorrow on Sharm and Aqaba to see a relaxation in
American-Arab relations and to see the new basis for the joint work of
realizing stability, progress, prosperity, and peace for all the peoples of the
region. Certainly these are historic moments because there are new chances on
the horizon for dispelling the state of despair and for leading to real work
towards realizing these principles. But these chances could melt away if they are
just words and not translated into action. This is the responsibility put on
the shoulders of the participants in these international and regional events.”
Small-circulation, pro-government Al-Gomhouriya held
(6/3): "In Sharm the US has a
golden chance to regain trust in its image and to show that it is a force for
rightousness and justice and not a force for occupation, revenge and abduction.
Washington realizes that by pressuring Israel to implement the road map and by
reviving the principle of land for peace, it will remove the bitterness which
it planted in hearts with its biased policy towards Israel and its invasion and
occupation of Iraq. We hope that this effort, which the US is exerting, will
protect its increasing interest in the region.”
Mohsen Mohammed wrote in liberal, pro-opposition
Al-Wafd (6/3): "Many Arabs
have suspicions about what is happening now. They see that Sharon will postpone
reaching a solution and will play with the Arabs the Israeli game of the time
factor and will exploit every suicidal operation and every political incident
in order to stall. The Arabs believe that the US will play with the time factor
too and will stall, waiting for a chance. The Arabs think what is happening now
serves the game of the American elections which will take place next year in
November. There are people in the US who emphasize that those around the
President are from the extreme right and that they are supporters of Israel and
will spoil everything.... The Arabs need
to know that the ME peace process will not be easy and will need time and
Said Sonbol observed in aggressive
pro-government Al-Akhbar (6/3):
“The truth that American President GWB should know as he visits the
region at this hour is that US credibility in the Arab street is lost, and the
feelings of animosity to US policy and to Americans is increasing day by day.
The reason behind this is blind US bias towards Israel. This bias has
encouraged Israel to bear down on the Palestinians, to deny their rights,
demolish their homes, uproot their trees, and humiliate them. America has an
historic chance to regain its credibility and standing in the Arab street and
eliminate the feelings of hatred and animosity.
This will be the case if it exerts pressure for peace and adopts a just
and impartial position that does not side with any party.”
"What Will Happen At the Aqaba Summit?"
Chief Editor Taher Udwan wrote in independent, mass-appeal
Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (6/4):
"There are negative and positive aspects of the Roadmap. The first
and most serious of those negative aspects is the existence of a right-wing
extremist government, headed by Sharon, in Tel Aviv. A few weeks ago, Israel's
prime minister said that he is not concerned with the Roadmap. One thing can
only explain his presence in Aqaba today and that is, President Bush's strong
pressures on him. One of the positive aspects of the summit is that the U.S.
president, who sent his troops to occupy Iraq in the name of liberation and
democracy is asked to put an end to the
plight of the Palestnians.... The Aqaba
summit is a great and historic opportunity for peace that will be crowned with
an independent Palestinian state. However, we should not go overboard without
hopes and expectations. Wagering on decisive U.S. pressures on Sharon needs
facts rather than analyses and hopes. Moreover, the continued existence of
Sharon and a Likud government will remain a continuous threat to the Roadmap
and to empty it from its contents through Israeli maneuvers, hurdles, and
procrastinations. However, we still must utlize this opportunity on a
Palestinian and Arab level and this is what will happen at the Aqaba summit
"The Road Map At the Aqaba Summit"
Fahd Fanek opined in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai
(6/4): "The presence of U.S.
President Bush at the Sharm El-Sheikh and Aqaba summits is a sign of the United
States' commitment this time. It also shows U.S. willingness to exert enough pressure
to accept the Roadmap and to start implementing it without any amendments--but
also taking into consideration Israel's fears as the president's reputation is
standing a test and he does not want to register any failures on the eve of the
next presidential elections.... If
President Bush succeeds in achieving peace in the Middle East, then this will
be a compensation for some of the negative repercussions of the aggression
against Iraq and his success in this regard will serve the interests of all parties
and will be an accomplishment that no one can deny.... Bitter experiences in the past called for
caution. We are much more pessimistic than optimistic and Sharon's acceptance
of the Roadmap under pressure may just be a mere tactic, after which Sharon
will jump at the first opportunity to back out and render the plan a
"Will The Aqaba Summit Be A Turning Point?"
Rakan Majali declared in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour
(6/4): “We can say that President Bush
came out of Sharm El-Sheikh summit, carrying reassurances to the Palestinians
and Israelis that any agreement between them at the Aqaba summit will receive
the world's blessings as expressed at the Evian summit and the Arabs' blessings
as reflected at the Sharm summit.... It
is hoped that the Aqaba summit will be a turning point and, primarily, a
starting point for the United States to regain some of its credibility, based
on which a just and comprehensive peace can be built and Arab-U.S. relations
can be improved. It is also the prelude to security and stability in the
"Will The Aqaba Summit Succeed In
Describing Sharon As An Occupier?"
Sultan Hattab contended in semi-official influential
Arabic-language Al-Rai (6/3):
"Those who meet at Sharm and in Aqaba should wrench two issues from
Sharon: The first is that the territories on which his forces have been stood
since 1967 are occupied territories. The second is that his government should
commit itself to a vision of two neighboring states on the historical land of
Palestine, namely, Israel and Palestine. This should be done before Sharon
wrenches from the meeting, particularly from the Palestinians, the recognition
that the State of Israel is a solely Jewish state, which means writing off the
Palestinians' right of return."
"An Attempt To Render The Aqaba Summit A Failure"
Mahmoud Rimawi opined in semi-official influential Arabic-language
Al-Rai (6/3): "The way the
occupation government [of Israel] has dealt with the Roadmap, after the
Palestinians and Arabs have accepted it, surely indicates a premeditated
attempt to sabotage the Aqaba meeting. The danger is that the Aqaba summit
would be reduced to a forum for Israel's fables and legends, which would drown
the Roadmap in ambiguous and loose expressions about a Palestinian state,
instead of making a clear commitment to the implementation of the articles of
this plan, and to a timetable and mechanisms to monitor, and follow up on its
"The Summit In Sharm El-Sheikh And The Results In Aqaba"
Chief Editor Taher Udwan wrote in independent, mass-appeal
Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (6/3):
"If the Sharm El-Sheikh summit is intended for the U.S. to dictate
its terms [to Arabs] as some Arab papers have predicted, then the results will
be revealed in the statements at Aqaba, particularly that of Sharon. On the
other hand, if the Sharm summit aims to establish an understanding between Bush
and the other leaders, this will be revealed in Bush's statement, also at
Aqaba. This is because tomorrow's summit, not today's summit, will show the
extent of the U.S. commitment to the peace process and whether seriousness [in
pursuing peace] has replaced its indifference and blind bias for Israel, which
were the hallmarks of U.S. policy under the current administration."
KUWAIT: “To Not Lose Our
Path To Palestine”
Essam Al-Fulaij wrote in independent Al-Watan (5/29): “We must stress that we should not give up
the Palestinian territories.... [O]ur
conflict with the Jews is a cultural-ideological conflict.... Resisting normalization with the Jewish enemy
is very important for the Jews are the Umma’s [Muslim nation’s] primary
enemy.... Jihad is the only option we
have as otherwise we will lose Palestine.”
That Might Support Bush's Initiative"
Nizar Abdel-Kader commented in independent, non-sectarian Ad-Diyar
(6/3): "Leaders in Sherm el-Sheikh
should work on convincing President Bush to ask Sharon to be committed to the
policy of self-control and to give Palestinians the opportunity to control the
situation on the ground. The moderate
flexible language Sharon has been using lately to satisfy and appease the
American President is not enough if not coupled with a real effective
withdrawal plan from Palestinian cities.
Sharon should help the Palestinians to return to the normal life they
had before the intifada."
"If They Only Talk"
Sahar Baasiri observed in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(6/3): "A very important meeting is
to be held today in Sherm El-Sheikh....
President Bush surrounded himself by his Arab allies and all of them are
surrounding the new person who joined their club: the new Palestinian Prime Minister. The content of the meeting is well know, and
let us put aside this joke by President Bush that he intends to discuss with
the Arab leaders the peace process, Iraq, combating terrorism and free
trade. Basically, Bush does not discuss
issues. He just informs people and tells
them what he wants them to do.... Bush
created for himself the image of 'war maker.'
Now he wants to be looked at as a 'peace maker'.... If the leaders in Sherm El-Sheikh are to be
allowed to talk, then they should clarify to President Bush that...alienating
Arafat from the peace process is not in the interest of this process. They should also insist on viewing the end
result of the roadmap.... Furthermore,
they should tell Bush that it is not enough to exert pressure on Sharon, but he
should start asking him to take practical steps. They should also remind him that even if the
Palestinians take all possible measures to stop violence, it will not be enough
because the only way to stop violence is to remove the Israeli occupation
"Bush's Bet: A Great Achievement"
Rafiq Khoury held in centrist Al-Anwar (6/1): "The American President who is planning
to attend two summits in Sharm-el-Sheikh And Aqaba, wants the leaders to look
into his eyes to see that he has truly decided to reach a peace
settlement. Bush believes that in the
past, it was impossible to reach peace with Arafat; however, today he is
dealing with different people and different circumstances. He has Abu-Mazen, Arabs are ready to reach
peace, and Sharon knows that the U.S. is committed to Israel's security. The only thing he has left is make sure that
everybody understands that when he says something, he really means it and when
he decides to be committed to peace then he really means it."
"The Sharm El-Sheikh Summit And Its Participants"
Walid Al-Hussein wrote in pro-Syria Al-Kifah Al-Arabi
(6/1): "Will Bush really find in
Sharm-el-Sheikh the necessary tools that would be able to strike when necessary
in order to resolve the destiny of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and the
Israeli settlements? Except for Egypt,
the American President will find out that he is wasting his time on forces that
have no value in the Arab world.... The
time will come when Arabs will realize that they will have to choose between
being friends of the United States or confronting the U.S. They should remember that even if confronting
the U.S. is dangerous, however, being its friend will eventually kill
them.... We do not want to change into a
nation of murdered people."
"Another Time, A Middle East Page"
Abdelahdi Mezrari maintained in semi-official, Arabic-language Assahara
(6/4): "Current U.S. President
George W. Bush's tour to the Middle East has reminded us of his father, who
following the Gulf War in 1991, went on a tour of the Middle East to arrange
the international peace conference which was then held in Madrid.... One does not need to be a story teller to
come to know the horizons of the roadmap. Past experience provides the best
means to foresee the future. Israel has violated all previous agreements,
and we have all the time to witness
Israel's renegation of all future agreements."
"From Monopoly Of Power To Monopoly Of
Pro-government, Arabic-language Al Ittihad Al
Ishtiraki noted (6/3):
"Today an Arab-American summit will be held at Sharam Sheikh
between U.S. President George W. Bush and several Arab leaders; and the summit
will be attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas.... Observers see in this summit a new
reactivation of the Arab-Israeli peace track and an attempt to gather Arab
support for American arrangements in Iraq in the context of working with the
region on a FTA with the U.S. at the political, economic, financial and
strategic levels. Absent from this diplomatic ballet led by President George
Bush are the U.N. and the Arab League."
"This Is My Opinion: Will The Roadmap Be
Wassif Mansur commented in pro-government,
Arablic-language Al Alam (6/1):
"Apparently, the U.S. position vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East
is not opposed to the European one, but practically and in depth, the U.S.
position is far from being close to striving for peace since the U.S.
Administration wants to achieve a special peace that serves America's interests
and satisfies Israel.... Upcoming days
will show us whether U.S. pressure on Sharon will strategic or whether Bush
would come under Israeli pressure to accept Israel's amendments on the
"Bush: A Difficult Victory Or A Lethal Failure"
Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh opined (6/4): "The Roadmap is an international
project, recognized by the Arabs as well as Israel but each with its own
conditions. We do not have unrealistic demands or look to embarrass the
president. In view of the fact that the Arabs took positive and clear steps
toward peace, but to consider them as the weakest and easiest party in
presenting waivers, and to treat this attitude as a winning point in signing
the surrendering paper to Israel is not acceptable. This attitude encouraged
the radicals to establish terrorist networks, which nailed the U.S. and the
Arabs, in addition to exploding the Palestinian Intifadah, which is the real
explanation of Israeli tyranny against Palestinians. We know of President
Bush's hesitation prior to opening dialogue with the Palestinians, since
getting involved in the issues led to perceived failures for previous
presidents. President Bush realized later on that the American policy couldn't
keep avoiding this historical crisis, which is strategically linked to his
country. Therefore, engaging in the issue places before him the responsibility
of failure or success, as both of the two ways will lead him either to lose or
win the next election. However, achieving peace will unlock all doors for him
to take over again the White House."
"Between Sharm El-Sheikh And Aqaba"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized
(6/3): "The summit at Sharm
El-Sheikh begins today followed tomorrow by another summit in Aqaba. President
Bush can either make a historical event out of these two summits, or just turn
them into protocol occasions with floods of promises. Washington, the guardian
of peace in this region, with its international role, political weight and
regional interests, can turn the order of events toward peace or war. The US
can compel Israel to comply with the peace requirements and conditions. The summits
in Sharm El-Sheikh and Aqaba are separated by a small amount of time and joined
by an opportunity to make peace or war. All interested parties, except Israel,
are going to Sharm El-Sheikh with optimism about reaching a peaceful solution
for the ME conflict. Israel remains skeptical about peace and believes only in
guns and blood. Will Bush bring with him the code for peace? Or will these two
summits be just recorded, as their predecessors, in the archives?"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina opined (6/3): "The Bush Administration has given the
ME a timeout period. 48 hours out of the President’s time to be spent between
Sharm El-Sheikh and Aqaba. Bush’s mission is to make the peace happen and not
just look for peace. When we say peace making, it is understood that the vision
for such peace must have been already completed by the American decision-maker.
Although regional options are limited, one fact should be carefully considered.
The American plan is not just the result of the US vision alone and/or
Washington’s abilities. It is also the result of active negotiations between
some effective powers in the region and Washington. Bush’s vision presented
itself in the Road Map that was drawn in Washington and sealed by Europe,
Russia and the UN. For this vision to become effective and executable, it must
be dealt with as a whole. A Free trade
zone and regional cohesiveness will not materialize as long as there is an
Israeli-Arab conflict. Nothing can ensure peace more than justice. Achieving
peace in the ME is a big mission. A mission that requires more than just a
timeout. However, let us remain optimistic and hope that the American mediator
will ask for overtime."
"Road Map Test"
Jeddah's pro-government English-language Arab
News declared (6/2): "It is
Bush who probably faces the biggest test of all. Militarily, America has proved
it has no equal, but is its diplomatic clout of the same caliber? The
Palestinians and Israelis will soon find out. Bush has tried hard to avoid
playing a personal role in the Middle East peace process. Events, though, have
forced his hand. America's global power is such that it cannot easily avoid
becoming engaged in such important geopolitical issues, however reluctant as it
and its president might be."
SYRIA: "Pledges Alone
Ahmad Hamadeh contended in government-owned Al-Thawra
(6/4): "The mere pledge to
establish a Palestinian state is insufficient. It needs a strong will and
practical steps to force an Israeli acknowledgement of Arab rights and an
Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories including Palestine, the Golan and
south Lebanon. Peace will be absent in
the region unless Washington adopts tangible measures to make Israel abide by
UNSC resolutions. This is the only guarantee to stop deterioration in the
region and create an appropriate atmosphere to revive the peace process on all
"Towards A More Credible Mechanism"
Mohamed Ali Buza commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(6/4): "On the tempo of current
preparations for the Sharm el-Sheikh and al-Aqaba summit, President Bush talked
about peace and difficult decisions confirming that will he do his utmost to
achieve it and support it. Despite its
importance, this talk remains within the context of formalities and difficult wishes,
but not impossible.... The region has
become saturated with promises. Its people have paid dear prices for the world
community's refrain from confronting Israel's bloody and most brutal
aggression.... It has become difficult
to trust the US role and to place bets on it. For 12 years it has failed to
prove its credibility and eligibility to be neutral and honest in the peace
process. The US must hasten to fulfill its commitments and promises to Arabs
and must adopt pragmatic steps to translate its statements on peace into
mechanisms that should include all tracks....
Peace is an Arab option; until it become an Israeli option, we wish for
U.S. pressure to make it so."
TUNISIA: "What Worries
Noureddine Achour wondered in independent Arabic-language Assabah
(6/2): "Is it the future of the
Middle East or that of Israel which worries President Bush? Bush did not bring
any new perception about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as he focused, as
usual, on pressing Palestinians.... This
statement precedes the Aqaba Summit, which unveils the Bush Administration
intentions about Palestine, as, in spite of previous promises, it still boosts
Israeli positions and tries to implement them in order to 'solve' the
Palestinian issue.... The US
Administration modified its positions about several international issues to
avoid problems with some prominent countries, but kept being demanding in
regard to the Palestinian people. It regards its struggle towards its
independence as 'acts of terrorism,' while Israel, according to Americans,
represents a 'threatened country,' while its soldiers commit war crimes on a
daily basis against the oppressed Palestinian people. If the US really wants to
put an end to the 50-year long stressful atmosphere in the Middle East, it
should focus on implementing justice and the right to choose destiny, and adopt
a new approach to this conflict. Will the US really focus on the future of the
Middle East region, or that of Israel, or will it try to relate both issues for
its own interests?"
"A Real Test"
Dubai-based business-oriented Arabic-language Al-Bayan
editorialized (6/4): "The official
statement of the American President represents a change in the U.S. vision of
Middle East issues, and we hope that these statements will become acts.... The Roadmap is a real test, not for the
Zionists who make promises and statements on peace that we don't trust, but for
the American administration who we fear will ignore their own promises (which
we are used to), especially as the American elections are very soon."
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej maintained (6/4): "The Sharm Al Sheikh summit was very
fast, and so was the Arab leaders acceptance of American President George W.
Bush's vision regarding terrorism, violence, and extremism 'in any way, from any
source, or from anywhere regardless of the excuses and motives,' something the
Arab leaders did not say.... President
Bush explained it personally, stating that they (Arab leaders) should help the
Palestinian administration in its war against terrorism. And by terrorism, here is the Palestinian
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej
editorialized (6/3): "There is
concern that Bush's visit to Sharm Al Sheikh and Aqaba is the beginning of a
new Arab surrender as Bush and Sharon will not rest while there is still
resistance in the region. And the
concern increases in the shadow of talks for deals that will be arranged at the
expense of the Intifada and the blood of thousands of martyrs and
"The Cart in Front of the Horse"
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej stated (6/1): "Under the Roadmap's beginning, Israeli
security is achieved. This means that
the Arabs will pay the price of peace before they get their rights, and that
the Palestinians will be paying a double price that might destroy their
existence before they reach their promised state. This is what is feared from the upcoming Bush
visit this week, since the continuation of placing the cart in front of the
horse means the continuation of a deception that is based on achieving both
occupation and security, while the Palestinian only receives promises."
“Bush The Key To Roadmap”
An editorial in the business-oriented Australian Financial
Review stated (6/2): “George Bush will step into the quicksand of Middle
East politics this week when he involves himself in the efforts to resolve the
long-running Arab-Israeli dispute.... US
Administrations historically have been extremely reluctant to intervene in the
Palestinian issue, partly because of concerns about a backlash among the
Israel-supporting Jews in America and partly because of the argument that
interference would be counter-productive in Israel itself. That perception
appears to be changing, because the US has now inserted itself into the Middle
East calculus in such a way that sitting on the sidelines is no longer an
option. The problem for Mr Bush, no less than for all his predecessors...is
that very significant compromises are required on both sides for there to be
any realistic prospect of a peace agreement....
The two sides have indicated a willingness to make a start, but it will
be up to Mr Bush to ensure that he delivers a message loud and clear to Mr
Abbas and Mr Sharon that the US is wedded to the road map’s three-stage
timetable, and furthermore is committed to doing whatever is necessary to
achieve that end.”
“Bush Himself Took The Trip To Promote Peace"
Ji Dongping held in official Communist Party international
publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (6/4): “The consensus of opinion is that Bush may
achieve some agreements during his first trip to the Middle East, but has
little possibility of making any major breakthrough. After the meeting, the U.S. will send a group
consisting of CIA and the State Department staff to supervise the
implementation of the Road Map. This
shows that the U.S. has planned to discard the EU, UN and Russia, the other 3
members of the ‘quartet’, and to lead the Middle East peace process by itself.”
“A Middle East Peace Meeting"
Yuan Tiecheng commented in official Communist Youth League-run China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (6/3): Wang Shijie is the Chinese envoy to the
Middle East, and said, talking about China’s interest in the Middle East,
‘China has its own interests in the Middle East, but the interests I mentioned
are not the same as the interests some power countries claim in the Middle
East. China now is opening up and
developing its economy. China needs a
peaceful international environment....
Besides, we hope for a stable oil supply channel to meet our country’s
economic development. But China’s oil
imports are not all from the Middle East....
Our stance on the Middle East issue is not completely for our oil
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Persevering Against The Odds"
Peter Kammerer wrote in the independent English-language South
China Morning Post (6/1): "U.S.
President George W. Bush has added a spark to that glimmer by taking a personal
interest. This week, he will make his
first visit to the Middle East since taking office in January 2001 to co-host
two summits with key power brokers. A
bold and surprising decision, observers like former U.S. envoy Philip Wilcox
view it as a sign that the U.S. is finally willing to push harder to resolve
differences between Jews and Arabs. By
doing so, Mr. Bush would be protecting American interests and rescuing Israelis
and Palestinians from a miserable impasse that has claimed tens of thousands of
lives since the U.S.-backed creation of Israel in Palestinian lands 55 years
ago.... Mr. Bush's change of heart was
inevitable.... Like every U.S. leader
before him, he had realized that America had too many interests in the Middle
East to let the Arab-Israeli fighting go unchecked.... A good sign was that Mr. Bush had become the
first American leader to go on record as supporting a Palestinian
state--although this had not been defined.
The Israeli government would probably allow the Palestinians to have
only 40 per cent of the occupied territories, while the Palestinians would want
INDONESIA: “Bush Trip
Reflects His View Of The World”
Leading independent Kompas observed
(6/4): “The trip of U.S. President
George W. Bush to Europe and the Middle East recently has been perceived as
illustrating a shift in U.S. views about the world after the Iraq War.... Relations are shifting. The U.S. is getting closer to Poland and
Qatar than France and Germany.... Bush
seriousness in advancing the roadmap for peace in the Middle East could be seen
in the change of Premier Sharon’s attitude after his trip to the U.S. Before
his meeting with President Bush in Washington, Sharon tended to reject the
roadmap.... After the meeting, Sharon
said he accepted the phases in implementation of the roadmap.... Of course, some still doubt Sharon’s
seriousness, given his reputation as a Jewish fanatic who is repressive to the
Palestinians. But many are also
impressed by his changed attitude. The
room for optimism therefore is beginning to open.”
“Middle East Increasingly Interesting With Sharon-Abbas Deal”
Leading independent Kompas commented
(5/31): "The image of Sharon, who
[prefers] to chose war and conflict, changed a bit this week. Since early in the week, Sharon has appeared
as a leader who supports peace. Indeed,
some people still doubt his seriousness to support the peace, but time will
tell.... The preparatory steps for
establishing a free Palestinian state are believed to have contributed to the
reduction of the tension and conflicts. Moreover, one of the agenda items of
the Palestinian struggle is establishing an independent state on their own
"Push For Peace"
The independent, widely-read Philippine Daily Inquirer
noted (6/4): "U.S. President George
Bush will meet Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in the Jordanian city of Aqaba to take
a more direct and personal role in pushing for Middle East peace.... The prospect is cautious but bright because
the protagonists have offered encouraging measures to build up the confidence
of each in the other.... The signs are hopeful not only because the two sides
are coming together with some prodding from the United States, but also because
the so-called roadmap to peace is sound enough to be credible, and broad enough
to accommodate differences, at least for now. The map has been drafted by the
United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, its
democratic character somehow ensuring that the disparate interests of the two protagonists,
with their share of allies and partisans, would be protected and
upheld.... The roadmap...is convincing
inasmuch as its first phase is already under way. It involves the Palestinians
reforming their own leadership and cracking down on terrorism (thus, the
replacement of the increasingly isolated Yasser Arafat by Abbas, who is also
known as Abu Mazen). It also involves the Israelis withdrawing their troops
from Palestinian cities, ceasing to build new settlements in the West Bank and
Gaza and dismantling those built since March 2001."
"Both Have Persisted With The Roadmap"
Belinda Olivares-Cunanan contended in the independent, widely-read
Philippine Daily Inquirer (5/31):
"A series of deadly suicide bombings carried out by Palestinians
and the exchange of barbed accusations...threatened to derail the peace
plan. In addition, both leaders (Sharon
and Abbas) have come under fire from their own homegrown critics.... The good thing is that under tremendous
pressure from Bush, both leaders have persisted with the roadmap.... The protagonists have scaled down their
expectations and demands and recognize that concessions have to be
made.... As Bush put it, 'We're on the
road to peace. It's just going to be a
bumpy road.' But historic progress is
SINGAPORE: "Now, For
The pro-government Straits Times opined (6/2): "Somehow, the blood-letting must cease.
Somehow, Palestinians must be given a state, with secure and viable borders, to
call their own. And somehow, Israel's right to exist and to live in peace with
its neighbors must be assured. Only one power on Earth has the strength and
influence to accomplish these ends--the United States. President George W. Bush
will travel to the region this week....
This would be his first visit to the region as President, an indication
both of the urgency of the situation as well as of Mr. Bush's desire to exploit
the strategic advantages the US has gained from its victory in Iraq.... It would be doubly daunting if Palestine were
to explode now in an orgy of violence, and Israel were to respond with its
usual unconstrained abandon. No US Commander-in-Chief, not least the current
one, can afford to ignore a festering problem that has the potential to
adversely affect the mission of 200,000 of his troops. Thus, the urgency with
which he has moved to drag Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the
negotiating table.... Mr. Bush's aim
this week must be to achieve enough significant steps along the 'road map' so
as to secure the hope and support of the broad centre of Israeli and
Palestinian societies for peace."
THAILAND: “Taking The First
Step On The Road”
The independent, English-language Nation declared
(6/4): “U.S. President George W. Bush
arrives in Jordan today to begin a landmark peace summit with Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas.... There have been other encouraging signs that
the gap in the two sides’ political positions is closing and the hatred that
has marked their relations cooling....
The moment of truth for Abbas will come in following through on his
pledge to rein in the terrorist groups that have been targeting Israeli
citizens. He must realize that the issue
is central not only to the peace talks but to the credibility of any eventual
Palestinian state. The whole concept of
nationhood will fall apart if the government cannot exercise authority over security
matters. Similarly, Sharon must drop his
insistence that the Palestinians must fulfill their peace obligations first
before Israel will act. Progress cannot
be made unless the two sides take parallel steps. The first task at the talks will be to build
on the nascent momentum for compromise, tenuous as it is, in spite of the anger
such progress would ignite among hard-liners.
A new push from Bush--whose commitment to the Middle East peace process
hasn’t always been obvious--can help Abbas and Sharon follow through on the
difficult commitments they have already made in supporting the road map to
Rachan Husen commented in conservative, Thai-language Siam Rath
(6/4): “There has been a projected image
that peace is likely and that negotiations will see some progress. That will only be a pipe dream. There will be
no official statement coming out of this summit. Obviously, there are still many conflicts
deeply buried underneath this ‘ideal image’.
Cowboy Bush and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders will perhaps announce
that the summit has produced a satisfactory progress and disperse. Then the killings of Palestinians will
continue as usual. And the ‘Peace Plan’
will become the ‘Palestinian Genocide Plan’!!"
“Road Map Shows A Fork In The Road”
The top-circulation, moderately-conservative, English-language Bangkok
Post declared (6/2): “The U.S. is
often criticized for its close relations with Israel, but it has strong
influence and respect among Palestinians.
Of the four road map artists, only America has the standing to talk
directly to almost all parties in the Mideast and to use prestige, leadership,
favors and even threats where necessary to push Israelis and Palestinians on
their journey. The road map is fair and
unique. That is, no one from anywhere
has come up with a superior plan. The
only known alternative is to allow the conflict to continue, with hard-liners
gaining more and more control of an escalating war designed to end in total
victory and genocide. Thus it is
critical to stop the violence as a prelude to embarking on the journey to peace
in 2005.... Mr. Sharon has talked openly
about ‘occupation'.... His Palestinian
counterpart Mahmoud Abbas has talked openly about quelling terrorism of
specific groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad first and foremost. These statements raise hopes. So, too, does Mr. Bush’s direct entry into
the peace process. The road map provides
directions on how to get from here to there in about two years. It provides no good will. Only the Israelis and Palestinians can provide
Kuldip Nayar maintained in the centrist Indian Express
(6/3): "Brajesh Mishra's advocacy
of an 'US-Israel-India' alliance is too serious a proposition to be
overlooked.... Whatever the truth, the
observation is unfortunate. After the fall of Iraq, the Arab world is dismayed
and demoralized. There is a change in its thinking. It wants to look towards
India and explore civilizational linkages and shared philosophy.... But there were also some misgivings.... We are suspect in the eyes of most
Arabs.... Our policy should have been to
push Israel towards West Asia where its roots are. At present it is
psychologically too near to Washington for the Arabs' comfort.... The anti-American feeling has increased in
the Arab world. So has the hostility towards Israel.... America's roadmap for peace in West Asia, if
and when implemented, falls short of the Palestinians' expectations.... For a permanent peace, Israel will have to go
back to its original borders....
Mishra...justifies the proposal for an US-Israel-India alliance on the
ground that it will have 'the political will and moral authority to take bold
decisions in extreme cases of terrorist provocation'.... Washington changed the environment to suit the
policy when it attacked Iraq without UN sanction. The neo-conservatives who
guide President Bush have given a new interpretation to democracy.... By trying to align ourselves with America and
Israel, we may be leaving the region to desperate men and mythical characters
who dream of vengeance all the time....
India...cannot afford to advocate alliances on the basis of power,
strength or money. This negates what we have stood for. Many small, weak
countries are pinning their hopes on India."
"Israel's Dominance Over Palestine"
Independent, Urdu-language Siasat opined
(6/1): "The most unfortunate and
deplorable aspect of the crisis in the Middle East is the foul play of the
U.S., especially under President Bush, which has consistently been supporting,
and virtually encouraging, Israel's oppressive and terrorist policies against
the Palestinians. Iraq was subjected to most stringent UN sanctions followed by
the US-UK aggression only because it dared to defy Washington's dictatorial
instructions. Israel has openly and stubbornly violated all UN resolutions and
international norms for decades and no sanctions were ever proposed against it.
Instead, the Zionist state was rewarded by the self-appointed custodians of
peace and justice in Washington by increasing its military and economic
aid.... The so-called new road map to
peace is nothing but a plan to force the Palestinians into submission and
subjugation to Israel. It is part of the old conspiracy to make Israel's
occupation of the Palestinian land permanent and declare Jerusalem the capital
of the Zionist state. America has been an active party to the conspiracy. Given
the thoroughly unfair and anti-Palestinian role that the US has been
characteristically playing, the upcoming Sharon-Bush-Abbas summit evokes
absolutely no hope."
"Is Israel Sincere?"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn
remarked (6/4): "Is the Israeli
prime minister sincere to the cause of peace?.... Let us not forget that Sharon is the man who
is responsible for the second Intifada that began in September 2000 and has
since then claimed hundreds of lives, mostly Palestinian. Though not in power
then, he visited the Islamic holy sites in Al-Quds despite being told not to do
so.... Today, there is some change in
the geopolitical scenario in the sense that for the first time Washington seems
genuinely involved with the Palestinian question. The roadmap is heavily tilted in favor of
Israel. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority was the first to accept
it.... Sharon is obsessed with
hate. He was not only the brains behind
the Begin government's invasion of Lebanon in 1982; he was responsible for the
massacre of Palestinian civilians in Sabra-Chattila. After becoming prime minister, he reacted to
the Intifada and the suicide bombings with savage fury.... One hopeful development, though, in the midst
of all the depressing signs, is Sharon's admission last week that the Israeli
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza could not be 'sustained' for long.... At any rate, whether the concept of peace and
stability in the Middle East on the basis of coexistence between Israel and
Palestine as sovereign states envisaged in the roadmap is to materialize, a crucial
factor will be the kind of pressure and persuasion that the U.S. and other
exponents of the plan bring to bear on Israel to go along and not to look for
pretexts and opportunities to undermine it the way it scuttled the Oslo
"Sharon's Change Of Heart?"
Dr. Moonis Ahmar contended in the centrist
national English-language News (6/3):
"America was supposed to ensure the smooth sailing of Oslo-I and
Oslo-II accords, but it failed to stop the violation of such accords by the
Israeli authorities. What is the guarantee that the Bush administration will
seek the prompt and full implementation of the roadmap?.... Not only Palestinian, but also the Israeli
moment of truth has arrived. Sharon
knows very well that his reoccupation of Gaza and the West Bank has been
internationally condemned and the Israelis have achieved neither peace nor
security. Similarly, the Palestinian
leadership, whether belonging to the PLO, Hamas or Hizbe Jihad, also knows the
fact that they cannot endlessly ask for sacrifices from the Palestinian
people. Therefore, both the Palestinians
and the Israelis have reached a breaking point and the only option which the
two have in the present circumstances is to accept the reality of living
"Road-Map Or Road Kill?"
Kareem M. Kamel contended in the Islamabad-based rightist
English-language Pakistan Observer (6/3): "In contrast to U.S. and Israeli
pressure on the Palestinians to unconditionally accept the dictates of the road
map, U.S. policy has always attempted to cover up for Israeli intransigence or
justify its brutal policies.... The
Palestinian Authority fully accepted the road map. Sharon insisted that there would be another
discussion with Washington over Israel's 15 reservations on the published road
map before he would submit it to his Government.... Setting aside the recipe for a Palestinian
civil war embedded in the road-map, there are many serious problems,
deficiencies, omissions and loopholes in the road-map that would allow Israel
to reproduce its brutal occupation in a multitude of different forms. While 'ending occupation' is an implicit
objective, the details of doing so are not clearly defined in the
NIGERIA: "A Road To Be
Ibadan-based independent Nigerian Tribune editorialized
(6/4): "The Palestinians have
accepted the road map to Middle East peace sponsored by the United States,
United Nations, European Union and Russia.
The road map is not a bad piece of political cartography. The map shows a road leading to Palestinian
statehood by 2005. But there are many
by-roads to be taken before reaching the major road. The Palestinians, to begin with, will have to
stop murdering unsuspecting Israelis.
Their bloody uprising has not brought them near their goal of forcing
Israel out of their occupied lands.
Israel cannot be militarily compelled to give up the occupied
territories, at least not in the foreseeable future. The Middle East peace road, as shown on the
map, may not be as wide and bump-free as the Appian Way but this should not
lead to Israel and the Palestinians not taking it. It should be a road taken."
SENEGAL: "Logic of
Daily-of-record Le Soleil commented (6/4): "By deciding to go to the region, in the
Middle East, the American President George Bush seems to want to retake a
posture abandoned by Washington since the failure of the Camp David and Oslo accords. With this act, the U.S. is opening a new
chapter in the dynamic towards peace in the Middle East, and thereby, in the
process of reconfiguring international geopolitics of which Palestine
constitutes an essential link.... The
American-British intervention in Iraq, under the cover of the fight against
weapons of mass destruction and the war on terror, seems, from this point of
view, to constitute a first milestone towards the installation of a definitive
peace in the Middle East. Even if
pacifists...continue to denounce this intervention and the underlying
motivations for it.... Washington is
keeping to its logic of making this part of the world from now on a zone of
peaceful coexistence that it hasn't been since 1947. Will George Bush be the 'messiah' that will
bring this definitive peace so much hoped for by Arabs and Israelis, whose
cohabitation should not lead to a spiral of terror? By deciding to step foot in the Palestinian
quagmire, by giving himself the right to bring together yesterday's enemies
around the negotiating table, by taking up the obligation of results in this
mediation effort, George Bush gives the whole world the assurances of his
desire to solve, once and for all, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while
creating the conditions for a durable peace in the sub-region."
TANZANIA: "May Bush’s
Efforts Bear Fruit"
Kiswahili-language independent, moderate, tabloid Nipashe
editorialized (6/4): “The Middle East is
the center of international terrorism.
There are many groups in the region that engage in terrorism and see it
as a weapon in their fight for the rights of their people.... To press for their demands, Palestinians have
been using suicide-bombing tactics. On
the other hand, Israelis have been conducting operations to apprehend and even
kill those they suspect of being behind the suicide bombings. Today, President Bush is taking an important
step in trying to end this conflict....
Peace in the region will be a catalyst for peace all over the
world. We have high hopes that these
efforts will be successful and once a Palestinian state is in place, we believe
acts of terrorism will be a thing of the past."
CANADA: "Boost Mideast
The leading Globe and Mail opined (6/3): "U.S. President George Bush can risk
aiming high as he brokers the Mideast peace summit tomorrow in Jordan. After three years of terror, reprisal and
recrimination, exhausted Palestinians and Israelis seem anxious to rebuild
trust, and move on. This is a mood Bush
can leverage, for everyone's benefit....
The skeptics doubt either leader will go so far. They are expected to endorse the road map,
cautiously restate the old formula of 'two states' living in peace, and fudge
the size of the state and the refugee issue.
Bush should push for the boldest possible declaration. And clarity.
Why? Because a stable peace
depends on Israel's willingness to create a workable Palestinian state, not a
truncated one. It depends, too, on
Palestinians accepting that refugees will be resettled not in Israel, but in
their new state. Why not say so,
"Along The Hard Road To Mideast Peace"
Leading Globe and Mail opined (6/2): "The summit called by U.S. President
George W. Bush for this week in Jordan is only the latest in a seemingly
endless, fruitless string of high-level peace efforts that has turned the very
phrase 'peace process' into a joke....
Now the 'roadmap', which lays out a route to Palestinian statehood and
Israeli security by 2005.... Now a small
window has opened. The U.S. victory in Iraq has given the superpower new
leverage in the Middle East and new determination to fix the
Israeli-Palestinian problem. The appointment of the pragmatic Mahmoud Abbas as
Palestinian prime minister likely has given the Israelis a new partner for
peace talks. The roadmap sets out a sensible step-by-step route to settlement
that has been accepted by both sides. As this week's summit draws near, it
bears saying one more time: This dispute is not beyond solution. Partition of
the Holy Land would not entail a huge and potentially bloody transfer of
populations, as did the partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan
in 1947. Nor would it involve a massive redrawing of borders. With some
adjustments, the two peoples would live within the borders they have inhabited
since 1948. A deal is in reach that would give each side a secure national home
in the bosom of the Holy Land. Concessions will be painful, but not half as
painful as the alternative. If Israelis and Palestinians fail to seize this
chance, the 50 years of killing predicted by Montgomery could turn into
"Glimpse Of Hope On The Horizon"
Lysiane Gagnon wrote in centrist La Presse (5/31): "On both sides, under the pressure of
President Bush, there have been compromises....
Bush is in a better position than his predecessors to put pressure on
the two belligerents. What has changed
the picture is Iraq. Rightly or wrongly Israel saw the regime of Saddam Hussein
as their most serious enemy. Now that
the U.S. has paid the price of blood to overthrow him, their President can
raise his voice with Sharon.... Other
peace factors are at work, such as the growing weariness of the Palestinian
people amid the infernal cycle of violence.
The rise of Mahmoud Abbas to a key post has loosened tongues. More and more Palestinians dare openly
protest against a kind of terrorism which only brings military reprisals,
growing unemployment and isolation. All
we can do is cross our fingers and hope."
ARGENTINA: "A New
Opportunity For The Middle East"
An editorial in leading Clarin read (6/2): "The harshest and most nationalistic
Israeli PM said for the first time in history that 'time has come to divide
this land between Israelis and Palestinians.' In this way, Sharon has produced
the most important gesture in favor of
peace since he took power by supporting the 'Road Map' promoted by the
U.S.... In fact, the 'Road Map' does
nothing else but resume the Oslo Accords (1993) under another name. It includes
a territorial partition, or the return of the territories occupied by Israel--the
West Bank and Gaza--and the creation of an independent State within three
years.... The U.S. presence in the
Middle East after the occupation of Iraq, and the weak Palestinian leadership
after the confrontation of the last two years are the main differences with the
scenario of ten years ago. This does nothing else but increase the Israeli
leaders' responsibility to lead this process in search for a solution of the
Palestinian conflict without any more bloodshed."
PANAMA: “Bush In Europe And
In The Middle East”
El Panama America editorialized (6/2):
"In order to deepen the general perspectives of the unilateral
military perspective in Iraq, President Bush began a tour: one to France where
he will dialogue with the G8 statesmen...and the other in Egypt where he will
make an effort to overcome the obstacles that have prevented the peaceful
coexistence of the Israelis and Palestinians.... Hussein’s regime has fallen.... But where the skepticism persists is around
the remodeling of the Middle East....
These crucial aspects need to be resolved.” ##