June 20, 2003
HAMAS: 'FANATICAL TERROR NETWORK' OR LEGITIMATE
** Israel supporters back
its "self-defense" because Hamas "doesn't want any peace."
** Leftists allege Israel's
"harsh reprisals" cause a "catastrophic boomerang effect."
** Roadmap critics claim it
would make the proposed Palestinian state "a mockery" and blame the
U.S.' "double standards" for allowing Sharon to continue his
Hamas will do 'everything to destroy' the roadmap, so there is 'no
point in a cease-fire'-- Conservative papers
joined Israeli writers in terming Hamas a "fanatical religious terror
network" seeking to "wipe out both Israel and secular Palestinian
rule." Palestinian militants who
declare "Israel must be razed to the ground" are "terrorists who
deserve to die," according to Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz. Russia's reformist Moskovskiye Novosti
labeled Hamas "incapable of compromising." The Ottawa Citizen concluded,
"Hamas is dedicated to killing every Jew it can, period."
The 'growth of the Islamic movement' stems from Israel's
'overzealous revenge attacks'-- Arab and leftist dailies
blamed the "rampant Jewish military" for punishing "the
clandestine terror perpetrated by Palestinians with a form of state
terror." The UAE's
business-oriented Al-Bayan judged "Sharon’s comprehensive terrorist
war" was "pushing the Palestinians towards a huge wall of
despair." Austria's Der Standard
agreed that Israeli operations are "no longer self-defense" but
rather "murder, which cannot be justified." Hamas and other militants are "part and
parcel of Palestinian society," and thus should be part of Palestine's
"unified national leadership," according to the West Bank's
Critics allege the roadmap 'primarily' aims to serve Israel's
interests-- As an "irrelevant
sideshow to the horrifying carnage," the roadmap is a "political
failure." Arab dailies blasted the
roadmap for "describing resistance as terrorism" and making Israel
the "dominant regional player."
Kuwait's independent Al-Rai Al-Aam added, "Arabs and Muslims
are subjugated" under the roadmap.
South Asian dailies said the roadmap ignored Palestinian
"aspirations." India's centrist
Hindu assailed its goal of a "Bantustanised Palestine permanently
subordinated to Israel." Pakistan's
Jasarat predicted it would permit "mass Muslim killing in
The U.S. is 'capable of pressing Israel'-- Suspicions regarding the U.S.' "biased
approach" remained high. An Indian
daily opined, "America will see to it that peace or no peace Israel's
national interest is not compromised."
Brazil's right-of-center O Globo agreed the U.S. has "taken
Israel's side" when its role should be "exclusively that of a
mediator." Egypt's pro-government Al-Gomhouriya
asserted the U.S. can "exert real pressure" on Sharon because
"Israel totally depends on American economic, military and political
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 65 reports from 28 countries over 12 - 20 June 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
"Spiral Of Terror"
Josef Joffe noted in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg
(6/18): "There will be no peace as
long as the Hamas, Jihad, and the Al Aqsa terrorist groups do not want it. Their worst weapon is their knowledge that no
Israeli government can simply accept their murderous attacks. So what can be done? The question is easily raised. The answer can be given only by the
Palestinians themselves. Evidence of
this is the lost decade following the shaking of hands between Rabin and Arafat
in the Rose Garden of the White House....
The terror against Israeli civilians must be stopped. This cannot be
achieved by Israeli missiles but only by Palestinian efforts. Before peace gets a chance, two 'civil wars'
must be fought; the ones against those forces in the Israeli and Palestinian
camp that know how to use their different veto weapons in such a successful
" A No Is A No Is A--Yes"
Charles Landsmann noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of
Berlin (6/17): "The cease-fire in
the Middle East will come. If not today,
then tomorrow, in any case, it will come soon.
The contradictory remarks of the Palestinian groups talking part in the
talks are evidence that the decisive breakthrough has been achieved or is
imminent. We should not be fooled by
ominous statements of militant Islamists.
Optimism seems to be appropriate.
And we should be grateful to the United States and Egypt. Without massive pressure from the
outside...not even talks among the Palestinian groups would have been
possible. The cease-fire...will be the
basis for the roadmap, and it has almost an historic extent. It is true that the Palestinians have not met
all requirements, but there can be no doubt: It is now up to Ariel Sharon to
stick to his commitments."
ITALY: “Israel Dismantles
Settlements, Abu Mazen Fails To Bend Hamas”
Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio held (6/20): “Colin Powell arrives with report cards to be
distributed to Israel and to the Palestinians, with more precise requests, and
with promises that he would bring to the Quartet, which is meeting on Saturday
in Aqaba to go to the rescue of the Road Map.... On one side--Israel--Powell will find
outposts that have been dismantled with the same determination used by the
Israeli army to defend itself from terrorism, without hesitating to engage in
battles with the settlers who refuse to leave.... Most of all, Powell will find promises made
in Aqaba and maintained. On the other
side, the Palestinian side, Powell will find nothing but the exhausting
meetings among Abu Mazen, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. (He will find) no commitment whatsoever, not
even for a truce--which is, in fact, the commitment made by Abu Mazen in
Aqaba. (There are) only embarrassing
statements about the fact that the terrorists promised Egypt...that they would
carry out only local, insignificants attacks.... We must add to this alarming picture that
Abu Mazen, who means well but has to deal with his weakness and his personal
history, has proposed to put together a united Palestinian leadership, formed by
thirteen organizations, including Hamas.
In sum, terrorists would sit at the same table with government leaders
to decide about negotiations with Israel--a condition that ought to be
unacceptable for all protagonists.”
“What Should Be Done With Yasser? His Exile To Hammameth Is The
Guido Olimpio remarked in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (6/18): “The idea of
sending Arafat away always comes back after an attack. In fact, also last night, an ambush against
an Israeli car caused the death of a girl....
Several Israeli ministers have repeatedly urged Sharon to carry out that
final act: Arafat’s exile; but the Prime Minister, upon his intelligence’s
advice, has always avoided that decision....
But now the Americans have decided to examine that possibility. Should negotiations aimed at stopping
terrorism fail...Washington will give its green light to that exile, because it
would consider Arafat the secret director of maneuvers opposing the road
map.... However, despite these rumors,
the Palestinian leader (Arafat) continues to be the Palestinians’ point of reference. Yesterday, causing a little political storm,
Arafat announced that Marwan Barghouti, Intifada chief, will be released by the
Israelis ‘within 48 hours;’ a release which could have been included in the
negotiations to reach a truce with both Fatah and Hamas. That news prompted the intervention of the
Israeli high court.... Barghouti will
not be set free because he is the architect of terrorism.... (However) Barghouti’s freedom could possibly
convince them (Fatah and Hamas) to accept a truce. However, even Israeli security services might
have...proposed Barghouti...with an exchange...a reduction of his sentence or
(even) release in return for an end of all violence.... (Meanwhile) U.S. (diplomatic) activity
continues restlessly. U.S. special envoy
John Wolf, who is in charge of following the implementation of the road map to
peace, is testing (the intentions of) both fighting parties. Friday, Secretary of State Colin Powell will
arrive in the region. He will meet with
Sharon and Abu Mazen, and will then go to Aqaba to attend the summit with UN,
Russian and European Union members.”
“Sharon Rejects Hamas Truce”
Gian Micalessin remarked in pro-government, leading center-right Il
Giornale (6/17): “The Egyptians
didn’t make it. And neither did Abu Mazen. Getting a truce from Hamas appears
more and more like a dream. And it could remain so. Yesterday, the Israeli
PM...reaffirmed his willingness to continue striking against the fundamentalist
groups.... The diplomatic defeat of the
Egyptian mission took place when Hamas fundamentalists said they were not ready
for a truce unless they had precise guarantees, first of all the end to Israeli
reprisals.... In this situation, a last
attempt might come from Colin Powell, expected to travel to Jerusalem before or
after the meeting of the Quartet in Jordan on June 22. In the meantime, it
seems that the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers from Luxembourg welcomed the White
House’s suggestion to declare war on Hamas and they threaten to insert the
political wing of the organization on the list of terrorist groups.”
“Hamas: Truce In Exchange For Safety”
Eric Salerno declared in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero
(6/17): “After some cautious optimism,
yesterday, concern returned. The Egyptian mediators were not able to convince
Hamas fundamentalists to lay down their weapons, not even for a limited span of
time.... The Israeli PM...said that
Israel does not want a truce because it would allow the militias to become more
organized.... It seems that Hamas wants
international guarantees for the safety of its leaders.”
"Truce Is Only Good For Terrorists"
Zakhar Gelman filed in official government-run Rossiyskaya
Gazeta (6/18): "A truce would
virtually be a violation of the PA's obligations inasmuch as the Roadmap
clearly provides for the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure. A truce would be good for Palestinian
terrorist organizations primarily because it would enable them to rest,
regroup, and build up the reserves. It
would also boost the prestige of the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders in the eyes
of the Arab world and the U.S. administration. But it would be bad for Israel,
which has taken the initiative, pledging itself to destroy the terrorist
"Israelis Don't Believe In Roadmap"
Ary Baratz stated in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti
(6/17): "Few people in Israel believe in the new peace plan. Even some cabinet members are strongly
opposed to it. The Israelis' view is
that you can't come to an agreement with Palestine. Over the seven years of 'peaceful negotiations'
and the nearly three years of bloody Intifada, official Palestinian propaganda
has raised a generation that is incapable of compromising. The world's major powers can force Israel
into a concession, but it won't appease the Arabs or stabilize the situation."
Hans Rauscher opined in liberal Der Standard
(6/17): “Sharon’s government announces
that Hamas has to be exterminated, Hamas declares that every Israeli, even
civilians, even women and children and old people, are a legitimate target. The
targeted killings of Palestinian leaders, be they members of Hamas, the
Islamist Jihad, or Arafat’s Al-Aksa brigades, will be continued, says Sharon’s
government. However, Israel is in the wrong. It is a fact that the Palestinian
suicide attackers, who on purpose choose nightclubs, schools, and kindergartens
as their targets, aren’t freedom fighters, but murderers. But by now, almost
every time the Israeli army carries out one of its ‘targeted attacks,’
civilians, women and children die as well....
There is no way around it: This is no longer self-defense--it is murder,
which cannot be justified by the crimes of the suicide bombers. It is a crime
“Road Map Chances”
Liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap remarked
(6/20): "Could anybody with a
rational mindset believe that the Palestinian society, which has been fighting
[for its legitimacy] since its Genesis, is going to transform itself to a
peaceful way of living within two years?
It would not only require a set of administrative measures but the
complete restructuring of the system, as well as the trans-coding of an entire
POLAND: “Spiral Of
Marek Ostrowski opined in military weekly Polska Zbrojna
(6/20): “Does anyone still believe
another new peace plan will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It seems
that--in defiance of common sense--the majority of the public on both sides of
the conflict trusts that only brutal force can achieve something.... To break this spiral of aggression something
extraordinary is required. We should oppose the opinion of the majority that a
desired objective can be achieved only through force; we should curb a natural
instinct for revenge, and strive for a ‘courage of peace,’ which is more difficult
than a ‘courage of war.’ And yet President George Bush in his recent speech
called for a showdown with the terrorists from the Palestinian Hamas, and U.S.
Senator Richard Lugar considered direct involvement of American troops in
fighting terrorists in the Middle East. Though they may be logical and
understandable to the public, such statements do not lead to breaking the
spiral of aggression.”
“This Weird World”
Magdalena Nagorska wrote in center-left Zycie Warszawy
(6/17): “Egyptian mediators are
negotiating with terrorists. They
plainly fawn over Hamas so that they will kindly stop killing Israelis.
Hamas...says it does not intend to stop suicidal attacks; while declaring that
Israel must be razed to the ground, it proposes insulting conditions, quoted
with delight by media worldwide. No international organization cares to respond
to this. Hamas terrorists have been upgraded to the rank of a player with which
peace in the Middle East must be negotiated. Plans of super powers depend on
their goodwill. The world accepts this absurdity with resigned silence.
Apparently the principle that you do not talk with terrorists has become
PORTUGAL: "Enroute To
In influential moderate-left Público, deputy editor-in-chief Nuno
Pacheco argued (6/14): "The
optimism generated by the Aqba summit is gone.... This spiral of violence was more than
predictable.... Hamas doesn't want any
peace at all, and will do everything to destroy the process.... Sharon, for his part, doesn't know how to
react except by firing off the cannons....
It is unrealistic to ask Abu Mazen to free himself of Hamas
'definitively', because not even democratic Spain has yet been able to free
itself definitively of ETA. But it is
possible to ask, or even force, Ariel Sharon to create the conditions necessary
for Hamas to see its maneuvering room and base of support drastically
ISRAEL: "Quarter To
Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(6/20): "With full control over the
Likud and wide public support, both for the road map and dismantling
settlements, plus a friendly squeeze from Bush, Sharon has begun the inevitable
showdown with the settlers.... The
Americans are taking pictures, and they know exactly what we're building and
what we're knocking down. Sharon, of
course, would like to drag the process out....
But meanwhile, he even walks around the Knesset building surrounded by
an army of bodyguards, and it's not Arab assailants he's afraid of.... If I were a Palestinian leader, I would say
to myself that this cocktail--Bush pushing and Sharon at the peak of his
powers--is an opportunity that would literally be a crime to miss."
Hemmi Shalev observed in popular, pluralist Maariv
(6/20): "After months of antagonism
against a domestic Palestinian hudna [interim cease-fire], Sharon and the
Israeli defense establishment are being grudgingly dragged into the necessity
to accept it. Unlike Israel, the U.S. Administration
has become convinced that without an internal cease-fire, Abu Mazen and
Muhammad Dahlan stand no chance.... It
isn't a mark of wisdom to be a pessimist, because in recent years Cassandras
have turned out to be the most acute observers.... But...after 800 Israeli victims and three times
as many dead among the Palestinians, one should perhaps try something
else--give a chance to the hudna, rest a little with a feeling of quiet, even
if it's phony. Eventually, who knows,
we'll start getting used to it."
"'No Fault' Doesn't Work Here"
Saul Singer held in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (6/20): "There is a
problem...with the neutral approach: it favors bullies.... There is nothing more demoralizing for
Israel, and more encouraging for Hamas and other terrorist groups, than for the
U.S., Israel's best friend, to say you can fight, but don't touch their
leaders.... It is hard to overstate the
damage caused by the knowledge that our only ally is setting limits on how we
can fight back, and if we go beyond those limits then the blame for the
conflict will shift to our shoulders....
The fact that having limited permission to hit Hamas is considered
progress shows how far the U.S. has been from fully backing Israel's right to
self-defense. Americans are right to want their country to act as an honest
broker, but being honest does not mean being blind."
"Road Map To Perpetuating The Status Quo"
Meron Benvenisti wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(6/19): "It's impossible to
disconnect the road map, its formulas and definitions, from the political and
military reality that exists in the occupied territories, and which it
seemingly seeks to change. This reality
has two symbols: the outposts and the checkpoints. Both are meant to paint the open areas of the
West Bank in Jewish colors.... The road
map won't lead anywhere because a solution based on the connection between territory
and ethnic identity--which was applicable up to about 20 years ago--cannot be
implemented and any attempt to implement it will only complicate the problem
instead of solving it.... The only
choice left is between a regime of a Jewish minority over an Arab majority
without civil rights, or a multi-cultural governmental framework, usually
referred to as a 'binational state.' The
road map and the rest of the plans based on 'separation' are simply dreams
perpetuating the status quo."
"The Moloch Process"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(6/19): "There are increasing
indications that Sharon no longer rejects the notion out of hand, though only a
few days ago it was depicted as a sham, which would leave Palestinian
terrorists with their arms at their disposal and their infrastructure intact. This cruel hoax, dubbed 'hudna,' doesn't
even come close to Abbas's undertaking to eradicate terrorism and dismantle the
terrorist infrastructure.... At the same
time, however, Hamas counts on precisely the opposite of the Israeli
government's wishful thinking. Hamas has no desire or intention to
self-destruct.... While Sharon hopes for
the best and terrorists plot for the worst, Abbas tries to have it both ways.
He has vowed to stop terrorism, but he has also promised not to use force
against the terrorists. Herein lies the
basic flaw of the entire process. There
is no neat way to avoid the issue and no shortcut in the struggle against
terrorism.... Our government must not be
tempted to overlook [the murder of a 7-year-old girl on a road inside Israel]
as another small sacrifice on the road to peace. That road isn't sacrosanct if it exacts such
an awful toll. It's not a peace process if it demands, like Moloch, the
sacrifice of a young child's life."
"The Chick And The Rooster"
Dov Goldstein maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv
(6/19): "The Palestinians view Abu
Mazen as the representative of the Palestinian people's surrender to demands by
foreign elements. They are convinced
that only Arafat faithfully and devotedly expresses their national aspirations.
No attempt to remove him from the scene
is bound to succeed. It would be met
with the Palestinians' obstinate and resolute objection. In that aspect, it is Hamas and Islamic
Jihad--and not Abu Mazen and Dahlan--who are the natural representatives of the
Palestinian people. As opposed to the
chick Abu Mazen, Arafat is a...vociferous and murderous rooster. If he doesn't agree to a 'hudna,' there will
be no 'hudna.' If he doesn't agree to
the road map, there will be no road map....
Israel buried him prematurely.
Perhaps it cannot live with him, but it is certain it can't live without
"End Of The Dream"
Yosef Harif maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv
(6/18): "It is clear that Abu
Mazen, whom the Americans appointed Prime Minister of the Palestinian
Authority, won't be able to withstand Arafat's pressure. Thus, it will be no surprise if the road map
initiative goes bankrupt soon. The truth
is that it isn't Bush's initiative, but that of Secretary of State Colin
Powell.... Powell can send to the region
inspectors to monitor the implementation of the road map, and create the
impression that the initiative will bring peace, but those who follow what is
happening behind the scene in Washington won't be surprised if it turns out
that George Bush, who shared the spectacular vision at Aqaba, won't be
enthusiastic about that initiative for long....
Even those who despaired of Sharon, like the settlers, can be convinced
that his painful concessions will never satisfy the Palestinians. If I am not mistaken, Bush, too, has started
becoming convinced of it.... Slowly,
we'll start perceiving Bush's withdrawal from the road map. It seems that, like all his predecessors,
he's in for a frustrating ending, in keeping with Kissinger's realistic
"No Halfway Cease-Fire"
Nationalist Hatzofe declared (6/18): "It is very possible that under pressure
from Egypt and other Arab countries, Hamas will agree to a hudna, however it
must be ensured that it disarms at the same time. There is no point in a cease-fire with this
scum of the earth, if the hudna is not accompanied by an almost complete
cleanup of weapons from the Palestinian cities.... Hamas, like other terrorist bodies, is
interested in a period of calm in order to rearm, locate collaborators and be
better prepared for the next battle. As
long as the issue of the 'right of return' is not closed, as well as the future
of Jerusalem and the borders of withdrawal, there is no value to any
understanding or agreement. The very
assent to express willingness to disarm and cease incitement is a great step
towards normal and substantive negotiations.
Without this, any cease-fire will make a substantial contribution to the
next round of the Intifada, both in weapons and in the preparedness of Palestinian
terrorists. Until an understanding on
the above issues is reached, the security forces should continue in
assassinating the planners of terror attacks at all ranks of terrorist command,
not skipping over Sheikh Yassin, and trying again to reach Rantisi."
"Real Strategy Vs. Wishful Thinking"
Columnist Barry Rubin observed in the conservative, independent Jerusalem
Post (6/17): "It is nonsense to
speak of a 'cycle of violence' when the victims of terrorism understand and
repeatedly see that their eagerness to end the fighting, readiness to make
concessions, and willingness to avoid confrontation has no effect
whatsoever. This point has already been
reached as regards Israel.... By
insulating Arafat from pressure, the Europeans in effect ensure that fighting
continues and more people die.
Unintentionally, a U.S. policy that puts the emphasis on reducing the
material pressure on Arafat and Abu Mazen, as well as the military pressure on
Hamas and the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, would have the same effect. The time has come for the U.S. to support
consistently and in real terms Israel's self-defense against these forces. Such a policy is based on recognition that
only such methods can bring the Palestinian side to a real cease-fire and
toward the barest possibility of a peace agreement. Both President George W. Bush and Secretary
of State Colin Powell have recognized that this analysis of the situation is
accurate, but for diplomatic reasons they have not drawn the logical conclusion
regarding what kind of policy is necessary."
"Truth Serum On The Tip Of A Missile"
Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(6/17): "It's hard to believe that now, 55 years after the establishment
of the state and decades after signing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan,
we are once again hearing threats of the kind made by Ahmed Shukeiri [the first
chairman of the PLO] 40 years ago....
Unlike the PLO, which bills itself as a national liberation
organization, Hamas is a fanatical religious terror network that is seeking to
wipe out both Israel and secular Palestinian rule. In the attempt on Rantisi's life, one may
disagree with the timing and the method, but there is no question that the
heads of an organization which has been killing our people indiscriminately for
well over a decade are terrorists who deserve to die.... In this terror organization that willfully
murders women and children, there is no difference between a political leader
and a military leader, in the same way that Osama bin Laden doesn't run his
operations in two separate tracks....
The government's determination to crack down on Hamas is legitimate as
long as it is acceptable to Bush and strengthens Abu Mazen for the day that he
lays down the law and confronts his own opposition."
"A Condemnation By 'Worried' Emperor Bush"
Deputy Editor-in-Chief Zuheir Andrawus held in weekly
Arabic-language Kul Al-Arab (6/13):
"Bush, the White House hawks, the Pentagon and the State Department
reject condemnation of the killings carried out by Israel. They only state
their 'irritation' over Sharon sending Apache [gunships] to assassinate the
Hamas political leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
Terrorism is terrorism, blood is blood, and killing is killing. It is impossible to differentiate between
terrorism by armed organizations and the terrorism of a sovereign
state.... The U.S. Administration has
had, and will keep a policy of total support for Israel. It will continue its double-standard policy
in the region: Israel has the right to defend itself, whereas the Palestinians
are a group of terrorists acting to fail the political process, because they
hate peace--according to President Bush!....
Sharon wished to affect the so-called 'road map' peace plan by
assassinating Abdel Aziz Rantisi.... We
[this newspaper] support the eradication of all types and forms of terrorism;
those who are insisting that others stop terrorism need to look in the mirror
and ask about their country's practice--and that of their ally, Israel--on the
issue of terrorism."
WEST BANK: "The
Hafez Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(6/19): "Could the Americans be so
naive to repeatedly fall into Israeli lies regarding dismantling some
settlements or releasing some prisoners....
Serious implementation of the roadmap must be accompanied by a
monitoring mechanism on the ground. However, the dispatched American team is
incapable of doing so even if it consisted of 100 members, simply because that
team is overlooking Israeli repeated attempt to deceive and circumvent
provisions of the roadmap.... There is a
pressing need now for the Palestinians to intensify their political and public
relations efforts in order to expose the Israeli lies before they are viewed by
the rest of the world as reality.”
“Truce Does Not Mean Defeat”
Ahmed Majdalani contended in independent, pro-PA
Al-Ayyam (6/18): "The
formation of a unified national leadership represented by the PLO’s executive
committee and by other political forces will boost the confidence of all sides
of the Palestinian political spectrum and would mean that participation in
national decision-making will be open to everyone, and that there is no room
for exclusion, domination or monopoly.
It would also mean that everybody will have an interest in the success
of the political efforts for the sake of the supreme interests of the
Palestinian people.... The concrete and
living historical experience of our people proves, day after day, that we have
no option other than dialogue and that there is no option other than the
democratic option, which boosts intellectual political pluralism that has
distinguished our people and their national movement.”
"Hamas Movement Crosses Threshold Of Perils"
Ashraf Ajrami commented in independent Al-Ayyam
(6/16): "In the wake of the bloody
wave of violence in Palestine in the past few days, the discourse has now
reverted back to talking about a hudna or a cease-fire between the Palestinians
and Israelis. It seems that this development could not have happened without
the heavy losses sustained by the two sides of the conflict. Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to exploit the international
circumstances--especially the U.S. position branding Hamas and other resistance
movements as enemies of peace--in order to deal a strong blow to these
movements. Sharon wanted to force the resistance movements to halt their armed
operations or to force the Palestinian government to clamp down on these
movements.... However, it seems that
Sharon did not take into account the fact that although the U.S. supports
Israel’s fight against the resistance factions, especially Hamas, the American
administration is not prepared to jeopardize the whole political
process.... Additionally, it seems that
Hamas has started to soften its position. In a recent statement, Sheikh Ahmad
Yasin, [Hamas spiritual leader], said that his movement is prepared to accept an
Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip as a basis to stop attacks against
Israel.... Such a stand by Hamas will
definitely have a positive effect, especially if the U.S. agrees to pressure
Israel into halting all forms of aggression against the Palestinian people,
including stopping Israel’s assassination policy and ending occupation and
EGYPT: “Peace Will Remain A
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Morsi Attallah
observed (6/19): “It is no exaggeration
to say that peace is difficult to achieve while Sharon remains head of the
Israeli government.... A reading of
Sharon’s biography in the book, ‘The Warrior’ written by David
Chanoff...reveals a man who suffered a tortured childhood and was dominated by
the conspiracy theory.... Sharon
feels...he is still unable to record his name as a leader of Jewish history and
that any step towards peace, will mean, as extremists imply, he is driving a
large nail in the grave of the [Jewish] dream.... I believe that thirty months of Palestinian
intifada have not only shaken Israel’s confidence in the Zionist dream, but
also have shaken the man’s confidence in the use of force.... A man who led demonstrations against Rabin
and plotted his assassination...cannot change over night.... His mentality does not allow a minimal
Israeli commitment to the roadmap. Even
if he accepted the map, the acceptance would last only a few months and in
order to avoid clashing with President Bush in the hope that Bush might become
preoccupied with the American elections wherein Zionist lobby pressure will be
“America And Hamas”
Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya senior
columnist Mohamed Abul Hadid wrote (6/19):
“The greatest mistake of American policy...is that it is being dragged
behind Sharon’s policy and deals with Hamas as a terrorist
organization.... Hamas, as well as
Fatah, Jihad and other Palestinian factions, are part and parcel of Palestinian
society and have emerged in reaction to continuing Israeli occupation and
coercive practices.... The difference
between Hamas and likes of Al Qaeda’s is the difference between the sky and
earth. Hamas is a Palestinian-only
group, not an international movement; it is a resistance movement against
occupation.... It does not initiate
aggression, but responds to aggression on Palestinian civilians...its sources
of finance are legal.... It is
self-armed.... Its leader, Sheikh
Yassine, is a well- known Palestinian struggler...and Hamas was not party to
the September 11 attacks and is not fighting American troops in Afghanistan and
Iraq.... Israel is the party which
ignited this situation in order to evade the roadmap and commits assassinations
daily.... Someone must tell the American
Administration and Europe the truth.”
“The Importance of Returning to the Choice of Peace”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (6/18): “The Sharon government should realize that
the security of its citizens starts with the security of the Palestinian
citizen.... Whatever the sacrifices, the
cost of peace is still less than the cost of violence, which has exacerbated
greatly. Violence is a natural outcome
of the lack of justice...and Israel’s insistence on defying the international
will and opting for violence instead of peace.... It is time to put an end to the cycle of
violence for which innocent people on both sides pay the price.”
“American Pressure On Israel Is Ability And Will”
Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya opined
(6/18): “While Egypt continues its
effort to contain the explosive situation in the Palestinian territories, the
Sharon government continues to pursue its extremist policy.... There are no signs of an imminent change in
Sharon’s position.... Thus, the U.S. is
required to make a firm decision to make the Sharon government feel the
seriousness of the situation....
Secretary Powell’s visit on Friday will be a test of the seriousness of
the American position. No one is convinced the U.S. is capable of pressuring
Israel to prepare a suitable climate for the implementation of the roadmap,
while Israel totally depends on American economic, military and political
support. There is no doubt that the U.S. is capable of pressuring Israel, but
the question is: does it truly want to exert that pressure?”
Anis Mansour wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram
(6/18): “It is difficult to reason with someone
who suffered injustice.... However, we
ask Palestine and Israel to remember history, when Sadat and Begin agreed on a
simple rule that ‘everything is negotiable.’ They sat on the negotiating table
calmly; they differed, agreed, threatened, and then were joined by Carter. But Egypt’s territories were regained...and
Taba returned by international law...despite Palestinian attacks against
Sadat.... Unless missiles are silenced
in Palestine and Israel, there is no hope for a solution. The two countries
that attacked Israel on the day of its birth were Egypt and Jordan, but now the
three are living in peace, which is our wish for Palestine. Those who love Palestine and its enlightened
people beg them to stop [the violence] and negotiate. There is or will be no other method or map
for peace except on the negotiating table.”
"Struggle For Survival"
Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Dr. Abdel Atti
Mohamed held (6/17): “Political Islam as
a phenomenon has re-emerged.... In the
Palestinian territories, Hamas and Jihad made a show of power not only against
Israel but also against the Palestinian Authority... The main reason for this trend is a struggle
for power... It is a relentless goal,
which has employed many tactics.... In
the Palestinian territories, Hamas and other Islamic movements, with the
appearance of the roadmap, felt threatened with disappearance.... Israel’s occupation is one of the traditional
factors in the growth of the Islamic movement.
The cultural and political change demanded of the Middle East raise
concern in the Islamic movement....
These groups are struggling for survival.”
JORDAN: “Sharon Asks For A
Yaser Za’atreh contended in center-left, influential
Arabic-language Al-Dustour (6/16):
“Sharon asks for a truce with Hamas.
Who would believe that this terrible ‘bulldozer’ would finally go down
on his knees and ask for a truce.... In
light of this, we must wonder: when the resistance movement is achieving all
this and forcing the occupiers to retreat while it suffers from the lack of
Palestinian consensus, why not support it fully so that it might force the
enemy to retreat even more?”
KUWAIT: “No Peace With
Dr. Sami Nasser Al-Khalifa contended in independent Al-Rai
Al-Aam (6/14): “In his attempt to
assassinate [senior leader of Hamas Abdul Aziz] Al-Rantissi, Sharon has proven
that any so-called ‘peace’ cannot be achieved unless the Palestinians surrender
to the Zionist will, or Arabs and Muslims are subjugated under the new ‘Road
Map plan'.... We have no choice but to
resort to the Quran, because verses on Jihad mentioned in many Surras state
that war should have one objective: boosting the Almighty’s religion. In other
words, war means to fight [for] a divine project.”
“The Burned-Bodies Dialogue”
Dr. Ayyed Al-Manna observed in independent Al-Watan
(6/14): “The religious and the political
extremists on both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians are engaged in the
burned bodies dialogue. The Palestinians attack the Israelis with explosive
belts while the Israelis respond back by attacking the Palestinians using the
Apache helicopters and tanks. What is the aim of this dialogue? As long as both
parties have not reached the point of exhaustion, then the burned-bodies
dialogue will be seen as the most effective means to achieve the final goal.”
LEBANON: “For The Intifada
To Be Fruitful”
Samir Kassir observed in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(6/20): “Obviously, it is not enough to
talk about possibility of releasing Fatah movement Secretary Marwan Barghouti
and a number of Palestinians from Israeli prisons, however, the mere idea of
talking about this possibility...gives the impression that there is a very
serious intention to implement the roadmap....
Consequently, this means that the U.S. wants to make sure that the
roadmap is implemented successfully...American pressures on the Palestinians
are well-known, and their pressure on Arab countries are apparent as well--the
real question is: what is the extent of the American pressure on the Israeli
Government?.... During the last thirty
years, U.S. pressures exerted on Israel were kept secret or behind the
scenes.... This time, the only way that
can help the U.S. to exert pressure on Israel is to deprive Sharon of using the
Palestinian suicide operations as a justification for his policies and
attitude. Even if Palestinians find
themselves having to stop the intifada, they should go ahead and do it in order
to harvest political gains...and consequently implement the roadmap.”
“The Last Stop”
Sateh Noureddine held in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(6/19): “According to Lebanese instinct,
a cease-fire will become effective soon in Palestinian areas...and it could be
an ending of a phase...that paves the way for moving this conflict to other
fronts that include Lebanon.... There is
no doubt that the Palestinian and Israeli societies have expressed their
exhaustion of the continuous blood-spilling and want to give their fighters a
temporary time-out that...would comply with the American desires and their
comprehensive regional plans....
However, Israel will deal with, and view calm at the Palestinian front
as an opportunity to open the portfolio of its northern front and blow the
dangers at this front out of proportion.
Israel will not find it difficult to draw the attention of the world
towards Hizballah and to change its limited defensive strength into an element
that can damage military balance in the region.... It is also not difficult to speculate that
Hizballah will be dealt with and viewed like Hamas.”
Commitment On The Part Of Palestinians: Difficulties For Powell's Mission"
Mohamed Aouzal contended in semi-official, French-language Le
Matin (6/19): "Powell's mission
is difficult in the framework of the escalation of violence in the
region.... To reach the objective, Tel
Aviv must cooperate with Mahmoud Abbas to create a favorable environment that
would encourage the major Palestinian groups to put an end to violence."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Why No
Objection to Israel’s WMD?"
Hassan Tahsin maintained in in English-language, pro-government Arab
News (6/20): "Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon has spelled out clearly his reasons for accepting the
Middle East road map with 14 reservations....
To accept peace on Sharon’s terms would make the proposed Palestinian
state a mockery in the service of Israel’s security. The most dangerous thing is that Israel is
allowed to possess all kinds of weapons of mass destruction while Arab
countries are denied these weapons under the pretext that Israel is under
threat.... Israel has become a depot for
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threatening the security of Arab,
Asian and European countries....
According to one estimate, Israel possesses at least 100 nuclear
bombs.... At least three international
sources have confirmed that Israel had not only produced nuclear mines but
spread them in various regions at different periods of the Arab-Israeli
conflict, especially in Golan and Naqab during the military confrontation with
Egypt in October 1973 and in January 1991.
The question is: Who can ask the international community to disarm
Israel of its mass destructive weapons?"
Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily
(6/18): "To begin with, Israel
needs to publicly abandon its assassination policy against senior Palestinian
militants. The campaign is not only
downright illegal, but is also of little military value, though it goes a long
way in striking fear among the common Palestinians. As a first step toward a
cease-fire, Israel would need to immediately denounce this doctrine of murder
and thereby build some semblance of trust between the two sides. Washington's
new peace drive in the region, through its emissary John Wolf, is a welcome
step in pushing the stalled peace process forward. But his efforts face the threat of being waylaid
by Israel's persistent misuse of the global war on terror. Wolf should comprehend the fact that Israel
has got away with crying wolf for far too long and that the time has finally
come to disregard this ruse altogether."
SYRIA: "Winds Of
Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(6/18): "President Bush stepped up
his criticism campaign of Palestinian groups, saying that the world should deal
forcefully with them. He holds them responsible for violence without even
saying anything about UN resolutions on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
territories. Even Secretary Powell called on the world to fight Hamas and
Islamic Jihad, describing them as terrorists.
If Washington is deliberating mixing concepts, equating the criminal
with the victim, describing resistance as terrorism, condoning Israeli
assassination of Palestinian civilians...how will it be able to reconcile its
stand in support of Zionist terrorism with its officials' statements on
establishing a Palestinian state? Peace
is far off in light of the US Administration's deception, maneuvering, ignoring
of Palestinian rights, reversing facts and harping on combating alleged
Palestinian terrorism without acknowledging the consonance of the Intifada with
UNSC resolutions.... There is no need
for security meetings between Palestinians and Israelis if Israeli practices
torpedo security and increase the Palestinian people's sufferings and suspend
their rights? In fact all the security
meetings and the US efforts to facilitate them make no difference since they do
not address the fundamental issue, namely, Israeli occupation."
TUNISIA: “What Are The
Limits To The Nuclear Proliferation?”
An editorial by Noureddine Hlaoui in independent French-language Le
Temps read (6/18): "To avoid
the possible irresponsible use of nuclear weapons, the whole world, in
particular the great powers that possess this powerful weapon, has never
stopped calling and working in order to stop the proliferation of this
devastating wave. It is in this context that the U.S. is putting strong
pressure these days on North Korea and Iran to stop the race to obtain the
atomic weapon. This important initiative
raises many questions. Why did Washington close its eyes on the Indian and
Pakistani efforts that have ended in the production of their own
bombs?.... Why did the U.S. watch kindly
over the finalization of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which could destroy the
whole region of the Middle East? Why
does the U.S. insist on forcing some countries to accept the visits of the AIEA
experts to check their installations while the Hebrew State continues to
challenge and to reject with arrogance signing the nuclear non-proliferation
treaty and allowing the AIEA teams to visit Israel? It is the practice of the
double standard policy that only the Zionist State benefits from.... The U.S. has the means to ensure respect of
international law. It has in the recent past demonstrated that if it wants to,
it can. This is important for the
stability of the whole planet.”
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej declared (6/15): "There is a great deal of similarity
between the American occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine
in style as well as in objectives.... In
Palestine as well as in Iraq, occupation imposes itself, and the people's will
is trying to emphasize its right to resistance to get their liberty back. If both occupations complete one another and
are connected in goals and strategies, then the resistance of both people is
united in objectives as well."
"Sharon's War Against Peace"
Dubai-based business-oriented Arabic-language Al Bayan
editorialized (6/14): "The
beginning of Sharon’s comprehensive terrorist war against the Palestinian
people came to abort any hope for peaceful negotiations. In fact, the war assassinated the hope of
peace by pushing the Palestinians towards a huge wall of despair and
disappointment.... If the Arabs do not
move to save the Palestinian people, then their turn will come soon, according
to a public agenda that aims to make Israel the only dominant regional
CHINA: “Right Of Return Key
The official English-language China Daily said (6/18): “There is no easy way to go through the
roadmap brought into force by U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this month,
as it evades some of the most tough questions, one of which is the Palestinian
refugees’ right of return.”
PHILIPPINES: “Wall Of
The independent Manila Standard editorialized (6/19): “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
says Robert Frost. And it is not the
wailing kind in Jerusalem because Israel is raising one that is 600 km
long...presumably to keep out suicide bombers and terrorists. This physical demarcation will certainly
redraw whatever road map is being worked out between Israel and Palestine under
the auspices of the U.S.... The greater
part of humanity wants to see more settlement through peace than through arms.... For if there is any good use for fences, we
are also told that a good neighbor is better than a distant relative.”
Argee Guevarra argued in leading business-oriented BusinessWorld
(6/18): "While the road map rolls
on a road show in the Red Sea, violence has not taken a vacation in Israel and
Palestine. Suicide bombers continue attacking buses in almost every Jewish city
and Israeli combat aircraft continue blasting to smithereens suspected Hamas
hideouts.... In the meantime, President
Bush stage-manages a moro-moro (farce) peace summitry with the parties to the
conflict in the hope that the publicity generated by the negotiations would
bring about a semblance of peace in the region.
Unfortunately, the actors in Bush's moro-moro appear no more than
talking heads who discuss peace in abstract terms while the streets of
Palestine and Israel flood with blood as Israel pursues its policy of state
terrorism while Hamas mercilessly carries out more daring terrorist missions in
Israel. The Road Map to Peace has thus become an irrelevant sideshow to the
horrifying carnage taking place while the world watches helplessly in yet
another biblical feature of fratricidal relations."
INDIA: "Peace As A Victim"
An editorial in independent Urdu-language Milap
read (6/19): "Although the renewed
violence in the Middle East did not surprise anyone, it did shock the world
community that expected progress after the recent visit of President Bush to the
region and his meeting with Arab and Israeli leaders. Be it the Palestinian
suicide attack or Israel's military operation, the real victim is peace. No
peace efforts can make progress in an atmosphere of violence. Apart from the
US, the international community, too, should help in resolving the problem.
Also, it is necessary for both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with
a broadminded approach."
"The Tragedy Of Palestine"
Achin Vanaik declared in the centrist Hindu (6/18): "Today, the most powerful national
liberation movement anywhere in the world is that of the Palestinians. Yet,
their struggle stands triply betrayed. It is being betrayed by the supreme
`peacemaker', the U.S. It is being betrayed by the Arab and the Third World
Governments.... Today's U.S.-sponsored
`road map' is simply a repackaging of the old Oslo process, itself meant to
culminate in the creation of a Bantustanised Palestine permanently subordinated
to Israel. But because the President Bush, has, for the first time, formally
declared support to the principle of a separate Palestinian state, he is being
applauded for statesmanship and vision....
How ironic that Israel and the U.S., the only two foreign occupying
forces in West Asia and guilty of inflicting unspeakable brutalities on the
people of the region, are being hailed as genuine peacemakers! Amazingly, the
U.S. has also been applauded for imposing an unelected leader of its choice on
the Palestinians and for then pursuing another fraudulent 'peace process' through
him!.... But the chances of this
fraudulent U.S.-backed plan succeeding are low. Given Palestinian weakness, Mr.
Sharon sees the concessions as too much. But he cannot openly oppose the U.S.,
which wants some settlement to stabilize its regional dominance. So his
strategy is to play for time till the U.S. elections come along next year when
domestic preoccupations become paramount and no presidential aspirant can
afford being seen as tough on Israel. As for the Palestinians, rejecting the
leadership of Abu Mazen is not enough. To succeed in their goal of eventually
achieving a just and dignified settlement they must have a new political
leadership that will, no matter how difficult, eschew violent retaliation
against Israel's brutal colonial rule and seek to shift the political
relationship of forces against Washington and Tel Aviv.... In the absence of such an emergent
leadership, the most likely short-run development will be yet another defiant,
courageous, yet desperate third Intifada."
"Peace Prospects Clouded"
Nationalist Urdu-language Rahnuma-E-Deccan declared
(6/18): "The so-called roadmap as
drawn by the US for peace in the Middle East is primarily meant for serving
Israel's interests, with no considerations to the grievances or aspirations of
the Palestinians. Most of its provisions impose such conditions that make the
very concept of an independent Palestinian state meaningless and consequently
unacceptable. It is this biased approach against Palestinians that helps the
organizations like Hamas. It is foolish and ridiculous to expect Palestinians
to welcome something that has nothing to do with their rights and aspirations.
Then, why should Hamas be singled out for sabotaging the so-called peace
efforts? Why not Israel? As long as Palestinians continue to be deprived of
justice by the US and Israel, the situation is unlikely to change."
"Palestine: New Bush
Cuttuck-based Oriya-language Samaja opined (6/14): "There is no doubt that the U.S. wants
to reinforce its presence in the region by keeping Israel in its fold. The Iraq invasion has enhanced the Arab
world's enmity against America. In this
circumstance, the U.S. has to play its cards carefully.... The U.S. seems to be obsessed with the idea
that it has to act as an international policeman. To play the role effectively it wants to
establish its supremacy over as many countries as possible. If Syria, Jordan and Iran come to accept its
supremacy it will be a real victory for America.... In any case America will see to it that peace
or no peace Israel's national interest is not compromised.... The equation being such, America's peace move
"Will This New Peace Effort Be Successful?"
Assistant Editor Semanthi Ghosh wrote in Influential Kolkata-based
Bengali-language periodical Desh (6/12):
"The situation at the moment is that both Sharon and Abbas are
under tremendous international and domestic pressure. The pressure within is
not for releasing even an inch of land while the pressure from outside relates
to arriving at a consensus inside the country at any cost, the first and
essential step for the 'roadmap' project....
This is the 'iron logic' of the international 'roadmap' scheme...but is
this at all possible to bring about? Or, is the mystery of the peace effort
concealed inside this impossibility?.... Maybe, Sharon caught in a quagmire, is
keeping his options of retraction this way. For, in case the decision of the
'national debate' goes against him, he will have no responsibility.... On the other hand, will the militants, who
pooh poohed even Arafat, at all listen to the sweet words of compromise from
Abbas?.... Maybe, because of this
situation, the two leaders are promoting their message of goodwill in English
instead of Hebrew or Arabic. This shield of the language is essential for them,
as they cannot reach out to their countrymen with the complete dictum. But, how long will they continue to
Facts Or Showing Bravery?"
Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity
Urdu-language Jasarat stated (6/20):
"Those who are suggesting that General Musharraf recognize Israel
are not concerned with the fact Israel has control over the Muslims' first
worshiping mosque at Jerusalem; for them the killings of Palestinians is not
the killings of Muslims; for them these people live far away from Pakistan,
wear different clothes and speak a different language. So we have reasons to accept Israel. And God forbid if Israel or America take
control over Mecca and Madina, even then are we to maintain the same
stance? It is in the interest of the
President not to recognize Israel and provide patronage to this illegitimate
child of America and Britain."
"Relations With Israel?"
The Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times
declared (6/19): "Talking to a
Pakistani independent TV news channel, General Musharraf said that Pakistan
could seriously ponder the matter of recognizing Israel-- once the Palestinian
crisis was resolved in the Middle East--in light of the collective decision
taken on it by the Arab states. He correctly put a political gloss on the
question and did not fall into the trap of eternal "scriptural"
animosity towards the Jewish state....
General Musharraf’s view that Pakistan align its position with the Arab
states is realistic in the sense that we have economically crucial relations
with the latter that recognition of Israel might affect. Recognizing Israel
after consulting with the Arab states is a realistic option.... The fact is that any Pakistani presence in
Tel Aviv could force Israel to balance its relations with India and recognize
Pakistan’s strategic importance in the area.
Together with Egypt, Jordan and the Central Asian states, Pakistan can
become a counterpoise to the one-sided diplomacy of Israeli extremists. So General Musharraf should be commended for
raising the question at this juncture."
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
stated (6/19): "Israel’s
recognition is a very sensitive issue in view of Pakistan’s sentimental
attachment with the Palestinian people, who were uprooted from their soil to
create the Jewish State under an international conspiracy and are languishing
in refugee camps in their own homeland over the decades.... The Pakistani people are mindful of their
agony and misery and cannot ignore Israel’s brutalities against them. They cannot obviously swallow any review of
Pakistan’s position on the issue.
Foreign policy of a country cannot, however, be static and has to be tailored
according to a given situation and national interests. What is essential is that Israel must end its
military oppression against the Palestinians, withdraw its troops from the
Palestinian areas, scrupulously adhere to the ME peace roadmap and facilitate
early establishment of an independent, secure and sovereign Palestinian State.
Besides, Israel will have to eschew its aggressive designs in the Middle East
and prove its intentions to live in peace and harmony with its neighbors to
evoke consideration by the world community, including Pakistan."
"A New Model Of American Terrorism"
Shahnawaz Farooqi opined in Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic
unity Urdu-language Jasarat (6/18):
"The examples of American terror in Afghanistan and Iraq are not
ever to be forgotten for centuries. To
add to this, Israel and America plan to kill each and every member of
'Hamas.' This only goes to prove that a
new history of mass Muslim killing in Palestine is about to be written, where
conscience-less Arab leaders would be with America in their own interest."
SOUTH AFRICA: "Middle
East Battle Lines Are Being Redrawn"
The liberal Sunday Independent commented (6/15): "There are some important changes in the
balance of forces in the Middle East....
Palestinian and Israeli death tolls are now running almost
50/50.... Second, Bush has shown more
even-handedness in his criticism of Israeli counterattacks.... Both Bush and...Powell...have made it clear
that they will not allow escalating violence to scuttle implementation of the
road map. But this week's suicide
bombings by Hamas has hardened American attitudes...against Hamas and other
militant Palestinian groups.... One
hopeful sign amid the mayhem is that the political will of the international
community--and the US in particular--seems to be stronger than before.... Syria and Iran and other countries that
harbor Hamas are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they are
harboring terrorists in a world that does not tolerate terrorism.... It is vital that suicide bombing by
Palestinian militants and overzealous revenge attacks by the Israeli security
forces are not allowed to relegate another peace plan to the Middle Eastern
Against Hamas Will Actually Help Abbas"
David Warren observed in the conservative Ottawa Citizen
(6/14): "I would choose 'fight to
the death' to describe the present tussle between Israel and Palestinian
terrorism. Both cannot survive.... In
the case of the West Bank and Gaza, there is also no hope for the creation of a
Palestinian state until the terrorists are annihilated.... To Palestinians who want to have a state, and
keep their terror militias, the kindest thing that can be said is: 'choose
one.'.... Yes, the current Israeli
offensive includes targeted assassinations of the entire Hamas leadership. This
is unpopular even among many Israelis....
To them, and to their like in the rest of the world, there is a
reciprocal relationship.... This is
nonsense. As Hamas itself declared, the bus attack was planned well before the
Israeli helicopters were dispatched against Mr. Rantisi.... Hamas is not dedicated to killing every Jew
it can in response to Israeli attacks on the Hamas leadership. Hamas is
dedicated to killing every Jew it can, period.
The targeted assassinations seem to be part of a larger mission of
annihilation against Hamas.... Israel
has hardly undermined the effort of Mahmoud Abbas to rein in the terror
masters, since the Palestinian premier has publicly announced he has no such
intention. He only asked for a "hudna" (temporary ceasefire).... Nor is Israel creating an impediment to talks
with the Palestinian Authority, but rather removing a major impediment--the
organization that has vowed to sabotage them."
Peace, Too Far"
Oscar Raul Cardoso contended in leading Clarin (6/14): "When the Middle East 'road
map'--basically Washington's creation--was launched in March, everyone knew it
was a fragile option.... The doubts
surrounding it are simpler than many analyses of the situation. After all--now
that the conventional war, not the real one, ended in Iraq--how much time and
energy will Bush--a candidate in campaign for the 2004 elections--is willing or
able to dedicate to the Middle East conflict, when things in the domestic front
aren't at their best right now? This is
a permanent question when we take into consideration the 'road map', no matter
what our speculations are. This new peace plan for the Middle East may live or
die, but what we know for sure is that the present regional situation will
change.... In many aspects, the
development of the situation in Iraq and in Israel is almost symmetrical. In
both, we smell political failure."
Right-of-center O Globo stated (6/17): "President Bush made a serious mistake
to include Hamas on the list of U.S. international enemies--like the al
Qaeda. In this case, the differences are
more important than the similarities.
Hamas is a monster with a unmistakable profile, born from the seeds of
hate in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, where it has deep roots. The al-Qaeda is a diffuse, exiled terrorist
organization pledged to attacking American targets and citizens. Moreover, Bush made another bad mistake. By mixing apples with oranges, he tacitly
took Israel's side in a dispute in which the U.S. role should exclusively be
that of a mediator."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (6/17): "Of course Israel is entitled to defend
itself from groups that have vowed to destroy the Jewish state. It is also
obvious that the right to self-defense includes [taking] military action
against extremists. The point is that Israeli repression and the so-called
'selective murder' of Hamas leaders were not--and never will be--able to
provide security for Israel.... Instead
of responding to each terrorist attack, Israel should unilaterally withdraw
troops and settlements from the occupied territories at once."
"The Boomerang Effect Of Sharon's Policy"
Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized
(6/15): "The Palestinian terrorist
groups seem to be the only rational political players in the Arab-Israeli
conflict: their actions are consistent with their purposes and produce the
desired effects.... Tragically, they
have on their side the policies implemented by Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon.... The unprecedented harsh
reprisals directed at the Palestinian population as a whole make it difficult
to deny the accusation that Sharon's administration can be compared to those of
Israel's worst enemies, as it punishes the clandestine terror perpetrated by
Palestinians with a form of state terror. The catastrophic boomerang effect of
the seemingly unchanging truculence of the old general does not go unnoticed
any more--despite everything--even in Israel."
ECUADOR: "Is The
Peace Plan Failing?"
Quito-based center-left Hoy wondered (6/14): "The peace plan for Palestinians and
Israelis, announced by President George W. Bush, is on the brink of failure
because of an escalation of violence during the last few days.... It is unlikely that Islamic extremist groups
like Hamas will accept the plan, nor is it likely to see a change in the
stubbornness of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
There is no room for conciliation between the call to destroy Hamas and
attacking Zionist objectives in the occupied territories. Between these two
extremes, there is no possibility for peace between Israel and the Palestinian
Authority.... Palestinian Prime
Minister, Abu Mazen, is overwhelmed by the situation. The urgent need for a
mutual cease-fire to allow some hope for peace requires the participation of
Yasser Arafat and recognizing his leadership; however, neither the Israeli
Prime Minister, nor President Bush seem willing to do this.... After the war against Iraq on the pretext of
destroying weapons of mass destruction which have not been found, the failure
of the 'plan' would fan the flames that will reduce peace and stability in the
region down to ashes."
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:
"Mamaguy By Israel?"
The sensationalist Newsday declared
(6/12): "The so-called Road Map,
the initiative of U.S. President George W. Bush to broker a peaceful settlement
between the Israelis and the Palestinians, now seems destined to go the way of
all previous attempts to bring this age-old conflict to an end.... In fact, Tuesday's attack by an Israeli
helicopter on Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi in which a bodyguard and a
bystander were killed may well spell the doom of the Road Map.... President Bush has issued the required ritual-like
condemnation of the Israeli attempt to eliminate the Hamas leader, and the
action may even help him to understand the recalcitrant and obstreperous nature
of the Israeli leadership but, poor fellow, what can he really do to rein in
the Sharon regime and the rampant Jewish military?.... In this entire situation, the Israelis know
that they have it made, that they don't even have to listen to Bush. They know that the $3 billion in aid they
receive from the U.S. every year is untouchable.... Therefore, while they may find it convenient
to go through the motions of another peace process...iIt seems to us that the
Israelis are engaging in a huge mamaguy since we know there is no question of
their voluntary withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza."