September 9, 2003
ABBAS' RESIGNATION: THE ROADMAP NOW A
** Lacking support from
all sides, Abbas was doomed to fail.
** Abbas' resignation is a
"victory" for Yasser Arafat.
** The roadmap's future
looks bleak; skeptics fear a return to the days when "terror
** The jury is still out on
new Palestinian PM Ahmed Qurei.
'Abbas did not really stand a chance from the beginning'-- Abbas "did not enjoy any support and could
not rely on anybody." Russia's
reformist Izvestiya diagnosed him with the "Gorbachev
syndrome": he was "far more popular" abroad than at home. Viewed by Palestinians as the "manager
of Israeli and Western interests," a Norwegian paper judged Abbas unable
to implement the "painful compromises" required to forge a
"peaceful settlement." Muslim
and leftist European commentators argued that Washington's failure to act as an
"honest broker" undermined Abbas.
Egypt's aggressive Al-Akhbar blasted Israel and the U.S. for
"destroying" the PM by "putting obstacles in front of any
'Arafat has, as usual, risen from the ashes'-- Centrist and conservative European analysts
concluded that Arafat's tepid support for Abbas and the roadmap led to the
Palestinian PM's resignation. The
Netherlands' liberal De Volkskrant contended that Arafat "seemed to
find his own survival more important. He
did not really want to share power with Abbas." Israeli journalists were skeptical about the
chances for peace since "terror is again ruling in the PLO."
Has the 'roadmap for peace' changed into 'a roadmap for
hell'?-- A majority of writers
posited that "the roadmap has failed." Spain's left-of-center El Pais termed
the peace initiative a "fiction" from the outset. But, a Russian journal remained optimistic,
stating that Qurei's appointment breathes "new life" into the peace
process. According to the conservative Australian,
the latest setback represents a victory for "extreme elements on both sides." Arab papers billed Israel's attacks on Hamas
as provocations designed to "collapse the Palestinian government";
the West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam warned that "the situation is
headed towards a significant new phase of escalation." In response to these "existential"
threats, Israel's nationalist Hatzofe demanded that Sharon "apply a
'strong hand' policy."
Ahmed Qurei: Arafat's 'puppet' or not?-- Analysts disagreed on Qurei's relationship with
Yasser Arafat. Russia's centrist Nezavisimaya
Gazeta declared that Qurei "is no puppet," while a German
commentator labeled him "totally dependent" on Arafat. Calling him "no different" than
Abbas, Saudi papers noted that Qurei must secure guarantees from Israel and the
U.S. to avoid his predecessor's fate.
Israel's independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz held that Qurei must
"preserve his independence from Arafat" to "lead his
people" to an agreement with Israel.
EDITOR: Andrew Borda
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 64 reports from 29
countries, September 6-9, 2003.
Editorial excepts from each country are ordered from the most recent
BRITAIN: "Mideast Peace Will Require Another Dayton"
The independent Financial Times opined
(9/9): "The political forces on each side that cannot contemplate the
concessions necessary for peace are still stronger than the
peacemakers.... The Americans' hope of
sidelining Mr. Arafat showed their misunderstanding of the scene. I do not believe Mr. Arafat is idolized by
many Palestinians. The ramshackle and
corrupt nature of his former government is pretty well recognized. But for most he is still the man who stood up
to the Israelis and created the Palestinian identity.... The scene would be transformed if the
Palestinians could see any clear prospect of improvement in their daily
lives.... But by increasing popular
support for Hamas, these killings make virtually impossible the task of those
Palestinians on whom the hope of peace depends.... One day a U.S. president will have to act in
the Middle East as Bill Clinton acted in Bosnia.... We will also have to maintain an
international presence on the ground.
But there is no other way. None
of the adversaries like the treaty of Dayton; but they signed and it stopped
the war in Bosnia. The same pressure
will be needed again before Jerusalem is restored to peace and Gaza ceases to
be an affront to civilization."
"End Of The Roadmap"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (9/8): "The internationally underwritten
road-map, intended to give the Palestinians a state and the Israelis security,
has run out of road. The road-map was a
flawed blueprint for peace, unlikely to get anywhere unless the U.S. applied
serious pressure to its Israeli ally. It
did not, so Mr. Abbas stood no chance: of winning his battle for supremacy with
Yasser Arafat, the veteran Palestinian leader.... Mr. Arafat was partly responsible, but his
meddling in the security services was by no means decisive. The prime minister never had any popular
standing. Nor was he ever going to
acquire any unless Israel and the .U.S enabled him to demonstrate that
moderation and engagement translate into concrete gains.... Unless the U.S. is prepared to engage more,
and more even-handedly, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will find it
even harder to attain its other regional goals in Iraq and in fighting Islamist
"Arafat Is The Problem"
The conservative Daily Telegraph noted
(9/8): "If, once Mr. Abbas has
departed from the scene, the simmering Middle East conflict now boils over, the
blame will lie at Mr. Arafat's door....
But Mr. Abbas's fate proves, if proof were needed, that no truly
moderate Palestinian leader can work alongside Mr. Arafat. Mr. Sharon will only take the risk of moving
against Mr. Arafat as a last resort. It
may yet come to that."
FRANCE: "The Middle East’s Uncertain Future"
Left-of-center Le Monde stated (9/9):
“Arafat’s final blow was to make Abbas’s task impossible. Arafat’s strategy is the worst possible
strategy. But Sharon has not done his
share either: Sharon, like Arafat, did not want the 'roadmap.’ He did not stop
the creation of new settlements; he did not lift certain measure which
complicated the Palestinians’ life; he missed every opportunity. His policy is what is called a policy of the
Francois Ernewein wrote in Catholic La Croix (9/8): “Day after day the unilateralism of American
policies has proved to be increasingly unbalanced. And in the end it has become
destabilizing.... Mahmoud Abbas’
position has been undermined. While
George W. Bush has cast Yasser Arafat aside with one hand, with the other hand
he has contributed to putting him back in power because of his leniency towards
Israel. The most positive aspect of the American policy in the Middle East
these last months has of course been its increased involvement and ambitious
projects for peace and democracy.... But
by viewing the roadmap as yet another tool in the fight against terrorism, the
American administration has ignored its other possibilities.... In its desire to run world affairs, the Bush
administration has been stripped of its power of negotiation.”
“Out Of Order”
Gerard Dupuy opined in left-of-center Liberation
(9/8): “As foreseen, the worst case
scenario has come about...and as expected the stalemate of the roadmap was
predictable since each of the protagonists played the part we knew he would
play.... Sharon and Arafat shuffled
their feet to come to the negotiating table displaying noteworthy ill will that
in the end stripped the negotiation process of any meaning. Mahmoud Abbas
heroically played the role of the underdog and Bush of the weak sponsor of a
policy that is way over his head....
Aside from Abbas, none of the actors seemed particularly interested in
the play they were taking part in.”
GERMANY: "And The
Peace Process Is Still Alive"
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin
judged (9/9): "The roadmap to peace is not 'more dead'
than it was two or three months ago.
Israelis and Palestinians are still in the initial stages of their
implementation, and nothing has happened that could question its logic. On the contrary, it has become more vivid
because many Palestinians have made a key experience in the few weeks of the
cease-fire: Their life dramatically
improved since there were no more attacks....
Cease-fire and part of the roadmap are still popular in Palestine. It is true that Abbas stepped down, but his
resignation does not mean a change of course.
His successor Qurei has been shaped by a dialogue with Israel.... It is possible that Israel, in the near
future, will have to deal with a Palestinian prime minister who is able to
implement something which the roadmap imposes on the Palestinians: to stop
terrorism. Are these reasons against
pessimism also reasons for optimism? Not
in the Middle East. The situation can
still get worse like during the intifada, which turned out to be a dead-end
street for both sides. And the people
remember it. A resignation will not
delete this memory."
Center-right Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung
opined (9/9): "The spiral of hatred continues to turn. The dramatic escalation of the situation
coincides with the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas. The moderate politician had to fail because
he had too many opponents and too few supporters. Israel's government did not help him present
results which Abbas urgently needed to get support among the Palestinians. The United States only halfhearted promoted
him, the radical-Islamic Palestinian organizations suspiciously watched his
activities, and President Arafat considered him a disliked rival. It was a smart move by Arafat, to bring
Parliamentary President Korei into the plan…but progress to resolve the Middle
East conflict will be impossible with a government leader who is totally
dependent on Arafat."
"No Palestinian Politician Is Able To Control
Right-of-center Rhein-Zeitung of Koblenz
said (9/9): "There is only one possibility to win peace in the Middle
East: An uncompromising, strong
initiative launched by the United States, the UN and the EU. All powers on which Israel and the
Palestinians are financially and politically dependent must implement a clearly
tiered peace plan, if necessary by imposing tough sanctions. It is a fact that no Palestinian politician
is currently able to control the numerous radical Palestinian groups.... It is
also a fact that no Israeli leader manages to do without retaliatory strikes
after a cruel suicide attack. Both sides
are sick with hatred, tremble with fear, and are extremely aggressive. And both sides have leaders with Sharon and
Arafat, who do not believe in peace.
They must brutally be saved by Europeans and Americans from
Right-of-center Westfaelische Zeitung of Muenster argued
(9/8): "Mahmoud Abbas, the helpless
Palestinian prime minister, did not enjoy any support and could not rely on
anybody. From Washington he only heard
admonishing words, a rather meager contribution of a U.S. government that had
forced him into this office. In
Jerusalem, he was disrespected: the answer of the Israeli government to the
bloody terror, which Abbas was simply unable to stop. And from Ramallah he was always faced with
Arafat's influence: he was isolated by Israel but continued to be the
Palestinian president and was active almost everywhere. From a human point of view, his resignation
is consistent. With respect to politics,
it is a disaster, a failure of a beacon of hope who buried any hope for the
"End Of A Roadmap"
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch declared in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (9/8): "After an
early enthusiasm, which seemed to be orchestrated for the media...the U.S.
president reduced his engagement for Palestine and this to the degree to which
the Iraq war became more important for him.
The pacification and restructuring of conquered Iraq has turned out to
be so difficult that other trouble spots in the Middle East disappeared from
his horizon. The grand design of a new
profoundly changed Middle East...sketched by the neo-conservatives in Washington...has
failed even in its initial stage....
Objections that this could not function because of religious and
cultural differences...were ignored. Now
it is necessary to avoid a total confrontation.
Israel and Hamas are threatening each other with mutual
destruction. Arafat, whom the Israelis
planned to neutralize, is back in the play again. The fact that Israel does not
want to talk to him does not change this....
On both sides, old men have dug their fingers into each other...and
their replacement is not in sight. Ten
years after the Oslo process, one has reached the old helplessness again. It is a paradox of our world that this
America, for which it is too much [to pacify Iraq], is now again called upon to
bring the two sides back to reason."
ITALY: “Arafat’s Final
Bernardo Valli stated in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (9/8): “Yasser Arafat
has, as usual risen from its ashes.
Although ever more stunned...he is undying.... The Americans had imposed Abu Mazen on him,
hoping that he (Mazen) would, in the long run, become the real Palestinian
leader.... And the Israeli government
had aimed at the same result. On the
contrary, Arafat has proven that a Palestinian Prime Minister would fumble
about without his support.... After Abu
Mazen’s resignations, in order to show that Arafat will never be considered
(Israel’s) interlocutor, nine ministers of the Israeli government declared to
be in favor of his immediate expulsion, and somebody even suggested an
execution. But the White House wants
neither an exile nor a martyr. Thus
concluding that Arafat keeps his stunned, precarious balance at the center of
this tragedy, as an unaccepted, but inevitable protagonist.... The U.S. President never addresses him, he
refuses to deal with him, but he still protects him from Sharon’s rage, because
the success of whatever peace plan for the Middle East depends on (Arafat’s)
fate.... His exile would fuel
anti-Americanism throughout the Arab world.
Martyr Arafat...would make even more difficult the already difficult
situation in Iraq. This is, however, the
line of the U.S. diplomacy. In fact,
Colin Powell continues to ask the Israeli government not to touch the compound
in Ramallah.... It is likely that
Israel’s intransigence won’t fade away too soon, but the Americans will do what
"After Abu Mazen”
Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio
asserted (9/9): “The roadmap has failed.
The next few weeks will witness two separate phenomena in the activities
involving the two warring parties: on one side, a revival of the violence, on
the other the media and diplomatic game to blame the rival party for the
failure of the umpteenth initiative to dialogue. The roadmap, however, should not leave room
for ambiguity.... The roadmap required a
clear assumption of responsibility and a clear choice between war and peace not
only on the part of the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also on the part of
the Arab world and the international mediators.
It was necessary for all to do their part in order to pave the way for
the fulfilling of respective obligations by the two warring parties.... The problem, in sum, is not Arafat, as many
continue to say, nor is it Sharon. The
problem is the inability of the Arab world to assume its responsibilities.”
Reformist Izvestiya asserted (9/9): "Hope for peace, dead yesterday, is back
to new life.... Unlike the 'boss,' Qurei
is not very popular. Even so, the West
is enthusiastic about the new appointment.
Israel will have to deal with Qurei again, which is not bad at all. But then, of course, if Arafat refuses to
share power, the new Prime Minister will only be that nominally, just like his
"Qurei Is No Puppet"
Centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta held (9/9):
"Abu Alia is no puppet of Arafat.
Yet their views largely coincide.
He is probably the best informed person when it comes to where the Palestinian
"Arafat's Pyrrhic Victory"
Maksim Yusin held in reformist Izvestiya (9/8): "With the last illusions gone along with
Abbas, the Americans will stake on destabilizing Arafat, trying to push him and
possibly all of the discredited Palestinian elite out of big-time
politics. So it is a big question
whether Arafat has won by bringing down the lightning rod, something Mahmoud
Abbas has been all these months, and whether his victory is not Pyrrhic.... Abbas the Premier could not get rid of the
Gorbachev syndrome, being far more popular abroad than at home. His pronouncements that have won acclaim in
the world as testaments of 'peaceableness' and common sense are seen in
Palestine as signs of weakness and even capitulation."
BELGIUM: "We Will Have To Wait And See"
Independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (9/9): “One
will have to wait and see whether Qurei will be able to play a significant
role. From the Palestinian angle, he has
one advantage: Arafat himself maneuvered him into the chair of Prime
Minister. Qurei will undoubtedly be
eager to work together with the President--so that the conflicts over powers
should be limited. Qurei is certainly
acceptable to the EU--which has already expressed its support--and probably to
the U.S., too. He is one of the
co-founders of the Oslo peace process....
His moderate standpoints yielded him much goodwill in the U.S. However, it is unacceptable for both the U.S.
and the EU that Qurei should function as Arafat’s puppet. Arafat probably realizes that --so that it
may be easier for him to delegate powers to a man whom he himself helped into
the saddle. It will largely depend on
Israel whether Qorei can launch a policy of his own. From the first Israeli reactions it is clear
that there is profound distrust of the new Prime Minister and that he will be
perceived as Arafat’s puppet. But, Qurei
will probably be given a chance, especially if the U.S. exerts some
pressure. The litmus test will be how he
deals with the terrorist organizations. Qurei
will have to show results rapidly. If
not, Israel will take the right in its own hands again--and it may try to exile
Arafat, ‘the source of all evil.’ At
this moment, Qurei has not shown yet what he has in mind for Hamas and the
“At The Doors Of Hell”
Baudouin Loos observed in left-of-center Le Soir
(9/8): “Everything is taking place as if
Ariel Sharon henceforth had a free hand. The assassination attempt against the
Hamas leaders and, first and foremost, against the charismatic Sheik Yassin,
illustrates his strategy: the total eradication of the Islamic movement--yet
quite an illusory endeavor. But can the
Israeli Prime Minister not been aware of the very likely consequences of his
policy? With or without Yassin, the Hamas, and others, will continue to
retaliate with terrorist attacks in Israel, to which the Israeli Government
will respond by totally occupying the West Bank and by expelling--or even
‘eliminating’--Yasser Arafat. Is this a
Dantesque scenario? Probably so, but it is also very likely. This scenario is
also likely to cost thousands of human lives and to postpone indefinitely any
prospect of a peaceful settlement. Will
the U.S. Administration prevent this from happening? It is the only one that
has sufficient influence on Sharon, but George W. Bush seems to have other
priorities, to begin with his reelection in 2004, not to mention trying to get
out of the Iraqi quagmire.”
"Chances For Oscar"
Pavel Masa commented in center-right Lidove noviny
(9/8): "The departure of Mahmoud
Abbas is not a sufficient pretext for allowing Israel to expel Arafat
immediately. The Jewish state could
perhaps overlook the pro-Arafat sentiments of the EU, but it would have to be
sure of U.S. support which is very unlikely.
Washington is buried up to its ears in solving problems in Iraq where it
would welcome support from Arab states as well as from Europe. Therefore the U.S. called on Israel for
temperance after Abbas' departure.
Arafat has taken roots in Palestinian society, where terrorists are also
parasites, but these roots are also very important for ordinary
Palestinians. To really remove Arafat
thus requires an entire complexity of diplomatic and economic actions. One successful step toward this goal happened
within the EU. It was precisely Czech
diplomats who pushed through such formulations into EU relations with Hamas at
the EU summit in Greece. Czech
politicians like to suggest that the Middle East is one of a few areas where
they--thanks to inherited experience--can score. If somebody put together a plan for removing
Arafat's clientism and preserving the Palestine administration, it would be a
masterpiece deserving a diplomatic Oscar.
American authors, who currently are busy with an Iraqi happy ending,
would not hurry up to rewrite the Palestinian one. Could colleagues from Prague really help them
up? One possible version of this story's
end, which can be eliminated for good after last weekend, is the one in which an evil despot voluntarily gives
up his power and games with terrorists."
"Back To Start"
Liberal-leaning Magyar Hirlap contended
(9/9): “Arafat has won a battle--but the peace process has lost a lot. Today we are again at where we were years
ago: at the beginning of the road. With
the fundamental difference that now there is no U.S. President with the Middle
East peace at his heart who would use his influence to force the opposing sides
to make concessions and real progress.
Bush promised a one-time intervention, and he would probably not change
his mind even if he could. But he
cannot; since the Akaba meeting, Bush has considerably weakened, and his
energies are occupied with the increasingly complicated Iraqi settlement and
next year’s presidential election--he has no energy left for the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although
the European Union and the Arab countries have maintained relations with Arafat
all along, they are not able to influence developments genuinely. And it may also turn out soon that Arafat’s
victory is Pyrrhic: although today he still is the most popular Palestinian
politician, but with the support of only 21% of the public, which may run out
very soon if he fails to sing the tune the masses want to hear.”
IRELAND: "Bleak Times For Middle
The center-left Irish Times observed
(9/9): "How long Mr Korei will be
able to survive.... The prospects do not
look good.... There have been renewed
calls from inside the cabinet for the expulsion of Mr Arafat from
Palestine. Mr Sharon has made clear that
selective assassinations of Hamas leaders will continue. Both policies would intensify the
conflict.... Although the scarcely
radical package was endorsed by the EU, UN, Russia, and moderate Arab states as
a means of jump-starting the peace process, U.S. engagement was never more than
token. Unable, and many would say
unwilling, to establish itself as an honest broker the U.S. never applied
pressure equally to both sides. Breakdown was inevitable.... Mr Korei, like Mr Abbas one of the key
negotiators of Oslo, yesterday spoke of preconditions before he would formally
accept the job. He wants unspecified
commitments from the EU and the U.S., and Israeli promises to demilitarise the
Occupied Territories. The problem is that the Europeans have no clout, the
Americans, elections looming, and the Israelis, the whip hand. Mr.
Korei has few cards of his own.
These are bleak times, indeed.”
NETHERLANDS: "The End
Influential liberal De Volkskrant editorialized (9/8): "Palestinian prime minister Abbas never
really had a chance. His policy could
have only succeeded if Israel would have taken on a more moderate
position. And Israel did not.... But Palestinian leader Arafat, too, is to be
blamed. Once again he seemed to find his own survival more important. He did not really want to share power with
Abbas. Abbas' prime ministership was a
political experiment which Israel and the U.S. had pushed for. The U.S. and Israel--understandably so--had
lost patience with Arafat who never really wanted to fight terrorism in an effective
way. However, in the Palestinian areas
Arafat is seen as the legitimate leader and Abbas was seen as a manager of
Israeli and Western interests.
Therefore, Abbas did not really stand a chance from the very
beginning.... The new candidate Palestinian
prime minister Abu Ala (Ahmed Korei) will probably not be able to achieve much
either. Palestinian extremists will try
to disrupt every approach toward Israel.
Israel sets strict demands to Palestinian leadership but is not taking
this leadership very seriously. The
timing of the Israeli attack on Hamas leaders indicates that the Sharon
government buried the roadmap for peace for the time being. Moreover, Israel does not give any hope for
an independent viable Palestinian state.
Without that prospect any attempt to find a solution will be doomed to
NORWAY: “Between [A Rock
And A Hard Place]”
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten maintained (9/7): "It is hardly a surprise that the
Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, tendered his resignation
yesterday.... As the situation is now, a
Palestinian Prime Minister, whomever that may be, will be between [a rock and a
hard place]. Ariel Sharon’s government
has not shown any will to live up to the peace intentions in the so-called
roadmap. Instead Israel’s demands on the Palestinians are rock hard, many of
them are also impossible to meet. Among other things therefore Abbas has not
had anything positive to show to the Palestinians who want to believe that a
peaceful solution is possible.... Every
attempt at peaceful solutions demands painful compromises, and only a
Palestinian leader with both political and popular support can accomplish
this. The power struggle that is now
going on illustrates this deep dilemma.”
SPAIN: "The End Of The
Left-of-center El País remarked (9/7): "Perhaps now they will see that the
roadmap promoted by the Quartet...began with a wrong approach by trying to
impose on the Palestinians a Prime Minister they did not want in order to
short-circuit a President elected by them and whom Washington and Israel saw as
a hindrance. Reality can be changed, but
not ignored. The roadmap was already a
fiction which was maintained because it was all there was. With Mazen's fall, [the roadmap] becomes a
worthless document. The international
community should start to seriously think about imposing a solution, but today
it does not seem willing. What is
foreseeable is for the situation to worsen even more."
ISRAEL: "Abu Ala's Chances"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
editorialized (9/9): "Now, with the
announcement by Yasser Arafat of Qurei's appointment as the new prime minister
of the Palestinian Authority, it is difficult to say his emergence at center
stage raises much enthusiasm in Israel....
However, Qurei's mere readiness to accept the challenge is
noteworthy. The conditions he is
presenting--more energetic involvement by the U.S. and Quartet members in
lifting the Israeli threat against Arafat--are evidence of political wisdom.... Upon assuming office, Qurei will face two
tests: he will have to restrain the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror
organizations...and he will have to preserve his independence from Arafat.... In Jerusalem and Washington--and even in
Ramallah--there have been those who have amused themselves with the hope that
Arafat's grip on power had been so weakened that the aging leader had become
irrelevant. But the events of recent
days prove things are not so simple, while the events of recent years--right up
to now--prove Arafat is not the man who will lead his people to an agreement
with Israel. Qurei will have to find his
way through this thicket of problems and issues."
"In The Twilight Of A Kingdom"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz held
(9/9): "It's true that no Israeli prime minister has ever visited the
White House nine times, but neither has Israel ever been as dependent on the
U.S. as it is now. 'Getting along' with
America is a good thing, but it also depletes Israel of initiative and makes
its interests subservient to those of Washington. America will not solve Israel's
problems. It won't always be there to
fix Israel's mistakes and rush to the rescue if American interests in the Arab
world are harmed in any way. In the
Sharon era, we have lost the drive, creativity and courage that allowed past
Israeli leaders to do what was good for our future and survival. How pathetic to watch Sharon fight the last
battle in the twilight of his kingdom on the battlefield of government
"Oslo, One Decade On"
Popular, pluralist Maariv declared (9/9):
"It would be ridiculous to say that the main conclusions of the Oslo
process's collapse are that Arafat is an evil man, or that a fence is
needed. Those technical insights could
have been reached as early as during the Lebanon War.... The key conclusion that is taking shape is
that solutions should not be imposed for irresolvable situation--in other
words: the lack of a solution is to be preferred over a dangerous
solution. When the Peace Camp members
invited Yasser Arafat to this country, they acted out of a feeling of emergency
and on the assumption that Israel had nothing to lose.... The Left's threshold of suffering was very
low, so that Israelis are now paying a hefty price. Contrary to beliefs prevailing [in 1993] it
has turned out that the peace process harmed Israel more than the occupation
did.... Before the Oslo Agreement there
were no targeted assassinations, no separation fences or so many roadblocks. Therefore, next time the Left comes up with a
new Oslo accord--a calculated risk, as it were--it will be better to say, 'No,
thanks.' Otherwise Israel might some day
regret its present condition."
"Terror Again Reigns In The PLO"
Moshe Ishon argued in nationalist Hatzofe (9/8): "The umbrella that the United States
deployed above the head of the Palestinian prime minister was insufficient to
protect him from the heavy hail showered upon him by his political detractors
who were striving to depose him, under Yasser Arafat's guidance. Abu Mazen's resignation has produced a
vacuum. In fact, it has brought the
situation back to the days when Arafat exclusively held the reins of power, to
the days when terror raged everywhere.
In such circumstances, Israel has no choice but to apply a 'strong hand'
policy.... The Intifada hasn't
ceased. There is no Palestinian
government. Israel is facing a war
against Arafat and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups. Terror is again ruling in the PLO."
"The Lessons From The Resignation"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(9/8): "There is no symmetry to the
division of guilt. Abbas hinted he
regards Arafat as a key element that weakened and obstructed his plans, but
Israel cannot take comfort in that. At
the end of three years of bloodletting, it is back to the starting point of a
new cycle of violence that will bring bereavement, pain and enormous damage to
both sides--without bringing them any closer to an agreement. Even when taking into account that the Abbas
resignation...is evidence that his policy of quitting terror is shared by only
a small minority in the Palestinian public and leadership, Israeli society
cannot wrap itself in self-righteousness and say that it did what it could to
calm the conflict. It is an existential
issue for Israel to end the conflict with the Palestinian people, thus
guaranteeing the future of the Zionist enterprise. It would be a grave mistake to once again
sink into armed conflict and despair of even seeking a way out of the
"The Brakes Are Gone"
Hemmi Shalev wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (9/7): "The Israeli government is signaling
that due to the collapse of the roadmap process, its brakes are gone, it has no
more patience, as its supporters put it, or it has lost its judgment, as its
critics would have it. The U.S. at least
for the present, believes that Israel's military and political pressure is
likely to yield desirable results, or at least to restore the situation to what
it was. But it is also true to say that the creative thinking of the Americans
and their willingness to intervene in the crisis is diminishing as the
presidential election campaign and the complications in Iraq and the U.S.
economy gather impetus. In Israel, from
a purely political point of view, this is a suitable time to run wild.... The emergency atmosphere will obscure any
thoughts about whether Israel contributed to Abu Mazen's failure, and about the
wisdom of Israel's current demand to be allowed to name his successor, because
if this is what happens he too will be branded a potential collaborator. And since the decisions which Israel has to
make will have a dramatic and fateful influence on its future, only a very few
of us will dare to ask whether our sudden boldness and determination is not aimed
at moving the headlines away from the various corruption investigations and
towards the issue of life and death."
WEST BANK: "The U.S. Is Responsible for Failure of Abu
Mohammad Abdul Hamid commented in independent Al-Ayyam
(9/9): “The resignation of Mahmoud Abbas’ government came as a rational
response to the lack of any political achievement and to the frustrated
attempts to achieve progress on the roadmap....
The U.S. shares most of the responsibility for this failure due to its
role in hindering the Quartet’s efforts, leaving both the Palestinian and
Israeli sides wrestling each other uncontrollably even during the most critical
times.... The failure of the Abu Mazen government started right after the Aqaba
Summit, as the Americans continued to show unlimited bias toward Israel. While demanding that Palestinians must ‘fight
terrorism’ as a first step in implementing the roadmap, the Americans turned a
blind eye to Palestinian demands....
Since the Aqaba summit, the American administration has been dealing one
blow after another to the Abu Mazen government, leaving him exposed to repeated
Israeli attacks, resulting in his cabinet’s fall.”
"One Objective For Any Palestinian
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (9/9): "Ever since the Palestinian Authority
was established, and the first government headed by President Arafat was
formed...the main goal...has been ending occupation and settlement expansion
and establishing an independent Palestinian state. This will continue to be the main goal and
principle that the Palestinians have to uphold when dealing with all foreign
powers, especially Israel and the U.S....
Mahmoud Abbas did not resign due to his conflict with President Arafat
over certain authorities; rather, he resigned due to the American-backed
Israeli obstacles aimed at undermining his government. Now that Ahmed Qurei is about to form a new
Palestinian government that adopts the firm objective of ending occupation and
settlements, it is perfectly clear that if his government fails to secure
international and American guarantees to force Sharon to commit to a cease-fire
and the roadmap, then his government will certainly not enjoy any better fate
than that of Abu Mazen’s.”
"Is This A Good Time?"
Adil Sadek commented in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(9/6): "If the [positions] of
Arafat and Abbas are indeed identical, then have personal factors...on the
rivalry between the two men played a role in holding Palestinian society, the
national cause and the Palestinian destiny hostage to the consequences of this
rivalry? If diagnoses of the two
positions are not identical, why then do we not call a spade a spade? Why do we not dot the i's and cross the
t's? Why do we not clarify exactly the
differences between the two men?.... The
only way to describe the situation that we are in today is to say that it is
worse than a state of occupation. We are
suffering from an occupation that is not content with what it has done; rather,
we are suffering from an occupation that attacks, destroys, sheds blood, and
builds racist walls that are turning into huge detention camps.... Consequently, considering the position of the
Sharon government on the peace process, as described by Abu Mazen, is this the
right time to put conditions on ourselves regarding language related to the
rule of law, the legitimacy of arms, and other such governance issues? The problem we face today is simply one of
existence, to be or not to be.”
"Before And After Resignation"
Talal Okal wrote in independent Al-Ayyam (9/8): “The resignation of Mahmoud Abbas last
Saturday is not the only indication that the situation is headed towards a
significant new phase of escalation.
Israel has tirelessly worked to justify its ongoing war against the
Palestinians. Prior to submitting his
written resignation to President Arafat, Abu Mazen has clarified that his
government was obstructed by American and Israeli deception, as well as
obstacles set forth by the Palestinian President’s office.... We believe that Israel carefully plotted the
collapse of the Palestinian government, while at the same time being able to
influence the American administration to adopt Israel’s position on this
matter.... Certainly the Palestinian
leadership, specifically President Arafat, will figure out a way to deal with
the crisis, although this will not prevent Israel from continuing to escalate
the situation even further.”
EGYPT: “Washington And
Israel Are Behind Abu Mazen’s Resignation”
Editor-In-Chief Galal Doweidar noted in aggressive, pro-government
Al Akhbar (9/8): “Israel and
Washington, despite their support of Abu Mazen, have worked on publicly
destroying him by putting obstacles in front of any progress in the peace
process.... Confronted with these swift
and sudden developments, Tel Aviv couldn’t hide its enmity to this democracy
and announced that it would not cooperate with any prime minister designated by
Arafat, who is publicly elected, which confirms its conspiratorial position
“The Six Rivals”
Pro-government Al Ahram columnist Abdel Moeti Ahmed held
(9/8): “Do we laugh or cry over the
strife going on amongst Palestinian brothers over seats and ranks while Israeli
occupation persists and assassination and repression continue?.. Have they forgotten that Israelis continues
to totally occupy their country and people?
This is shameful for all Palestinians and Arabs and harms the
cause.... Obviously Israel achieves more
benefits when watching Palestinian leaders fight over power rather than against
occupation. It must be happy when the
U.S. is pre-occupied with the deteriorating situation and its losses in
Iraq.... If desperation is not to
prevail, all Palestinian parties must place national interest ahead of personal
SAUDI ARABIA: "Arafat's Message"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized
(9/9): "Arafat’s victory was a
clear message to many parties, which worked hard to achieve a solution apart
from him. The U.S., in particular the
administration of President George Bush, has isolated and minimized his role to
greater extent and dealt with unimportant parties among the Palestinian public
opinion. It gave them an unlimited
political support but no financial support....
The big mistake, which brought Abu Mazen down was his absolute
confidence in the U.S. and Israel....
Ahmed Qorei is no great different than Abu Mazen, both were the
engineers of the Oslo pact and both are friends of the Americans and Israelis,
a matter Arafat fully aware of. But
Arafat wanted to send an important message to the Americans and Israelis that
he, although under siege, controls the Palestinian (peace) track.
"Desired American And European
Mecca’s conservative Al-Nadwa
editorialized (9/9): "The ball now is in the court of the international
community. The Americans, and
specifically the Europeans, must play the required role to push the peace
process forward, especially when the U.S. remains committed to the
Roadmap. In the coming phase there
should not be any delays. Honesty
dictates that pressure be exerted on Israel since it is the aggressor, killer,
and destroyor. Israel is the one who
provokes the Palestinians to retaliate against its incursions."
Riyadh’s English-language moderate Riyadh
Daily (9/9): "Newly named
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei has come with the most appropriate
counsel for Israel--to change its ways in dealing with elected President Yasser
Arafat. The divisions within the
Palestinian ranks have been caused by Israel’s insistence of a premier’s
post.... For Qorei to be effective,
Israel and its backers would need to adapt a more pragmatic approach toward
Arafat.... Qorei’s first task, as he has
somewhat indicated, would be to correct the pariah status accorded to Arafat by
this small, yet powerful, coterie of international players."
"Two Steps Backward"
Jeddah’s English-language pro-government Arab News
contended (9/8): "It was an
incredible decision on Israel's part to try to kill Yassin, leader of the
biggest Palestinian resistance movement. It was a red line the Israelis should
never have crossed. But cross it they did.
The result is that already some of Hamas’ members are calling for the
blood of Sharon.... For the moment,
however, Abbas’ resignation and the attack on Sheikh Yassin amount to two steps
backward for the peace process. The
first event will cause debilitating delays and the second can only lead to more
Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina noted (9/7): "The U.S. did not support Abu Mazen in
his struggle; they left him moaning between a rock and a hard place. By
intervening in the disputes between him and Arafat the U.S. caused an
escalation of the disagreements to the point of no return. Abu Mazen's
popularity among his people was negatively affected.... The consequences of this step will be far
more dangerous than what Arafat has thought."
"Abu Mazen's Resignation"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa maintained (9/7): "If we go back to the main facts, we
will find that Israel is the prime reason behind the resignation of Abu Mazen.
Since his appointment the Palestinian Prime Minister has done a great deal. The
courageous steps that he had taken towards a peace settlement were unthinkable.
He publicly denounced violence, and affirmed that peaceful means can accomplish
much more than violent actions. He called for a cease-fire in the Intifadah.
But Israel did nothing to help Abu Mazen gain the support and trust of his
people. To the contrary, its actions helped weaken his position. Only a
symbolic number of prisoners were released, and instead of putting an end to
the assassinations, the number of the targeted leaders doubled. Therefore,
Israel is the one who pushed Abu Mazen to resign by not cooperating with him in
executing the Roadmap's terms."
SYRIA: "The Syrian
Government-owned Tishreen said (9/7): "The current Arab position is not solid
as is required. This is not a secret. Developments in the region and around it
assert the inevitability of reforming this position.... In the final analysis, the Israeli enemy
targets all Arabs... What is happening in Iraq and Palestine need no more
explanation.... Syria holds to its
principle position in continuing work and exerting efforts to uplift the Arab
position to what it should be. Syria will not give up regardless of
TUNISIA: "The Snare And The Escalation"
Independent French-language Le Temps stated (9/8): “As to
be expected, the Hebrew state did not miss the opportunity to maliciously
exploit the turmoil at the heart of the Palestinian leadership.... Ariel Sharon weaves his diabolic plan to
attribute the most somber image to the Palestinian Authority and to its
historic and legitimate leader. What is
even more bitter is that Tel Aviv has succeeded in selling this wretched image
to the rest of the world that is being convinced of the Israeli thesis. Aside from the U.S., unconditional strategic
ally of Israel, even the EU, usually more understanding of the problems of the
Arab world, is currently taking energetic positions against the Palestinian
resistance movements. The inclusion of
Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an example of this."
“An Inextricable Situation”
Independent, French-language Tunis Hebdo
asserted (9/8): “As is the case of many
of the epidemics suffered by the developing world, the Middle East is today
infected by a second cancer, Iraq, in addition to that which infected
Palestine. The imbroglio has become such
that the Arab/Muslim public opinion no longer knows where to look. And often, the events in Fallujah casts a
shadow over those in Jenin, a fact which profits all those seeking to destroy
the Arab world, particularly the bloody Sharon and the falcons that circle the
White House.... Bogged down in Iraq,
Washington has not been able to reign in Sharon who goes as far as
assassinating the Palestinian leadership from within the ranks of Hamas.”
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: "Palestinians Must Unite, Put All
Abu Dhabi-based semi-government Al IttihadU editorialized
(9/7): "The situation escalated and reached its peak yesterday through the
targeting of Hamas's leader. Also, the
resignation of the Palestinian Prime Minister established the reality of the
division and conflict in the (Palestinian) National Authority that has been
focused on these conflicts instead of trying to obtain a clear vision of how to
confront the continuous attacks.... With
the obviousness of the goals of the Zionist right wing, which stamped the
Israeli community with the characteristic of radicalism, the Palestinians must,
today more than any other time, unite and put all conflicts aside."
"Israel Is The Real Problem"
Influential Al-Khaleej remarked (9/7):
"So, the Palestinian problem is not with the roadmap or the people who put
it, but it is with Israel and their strategy of targeting (Palestinian leaders)
that denies the Palestinians any just solution that could return their eligible
rights to the Palestinian people, and also with the U.S. who are supporting
Israel and considering this to be part of their war against terrorism, since
resistance has become terrorism and killing, destroying, and assassinating has
become self protection.... Israel is the
problem, and no one else. This problem
should not be minimized to a conflict between two people while Sharon is
AUSTRALIA: “The Middle East Dominos”
An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning
Herald observed (9/9): “Only five months ago, as the United States
President, George Bush, proclaimed the "end of major combat
operations" in Iraq, that country was cast in the role of regional
"beacon". In a simplistic
"domino theory" of democracy, the transformation of the Middle East
was supposed to flow from the liberation of the Iraqi people. In declaring that Iraq is now the
"central front" in the war on terrorism, and by his appeal yesterday
for multinational troops to bolster US forces in the postwar quagmire, Mr Bush
has implicitly conceded the naiveté of that vision.…The problem Washington
faces in forging effective relationships with key Palestinians, as well as
Iraqi and Afghani leaders, is a reflection of a wider problem. It is the
distrust of Washington on the so-called Arab street. “
“Arafat Tears Up The Peace Aap”
The national conservative Australian editorialized
(9/8): “Every setback for the roadmap to
peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--and Saturday's resignation of
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was a massive one--is a victory for
extreme elements on both side.... The
tragedy is that before the Jerusalem bomb there were real signs of a softening
in the Israeli position, with a release of Palestinian prisoners, limited troop
withdrawals and an easing of security at checkpoints. If the terrorists had
been properly called off, there can be little doubt U.S. pressure would have
kept Israel's nose to the roadmap. But presented yet again with a choice
between victimhood and statehood, the Palestinians have chosen badly. “
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Mideast Peace A Matter Of Unity And Resolve"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
opined (9/8): "The U.S. is as much
to blame as Israelis and Palestinians for the regrettable situation. All vowed on June 4 to do their utmost to
move towards the common goal of creation of a Palestinian state. On paper, that seemed achievable, but in
reality, the necessary unity and willingness for such an eventuality did not
exist. Mr. Bush gave his administration
the task of making the dream a reality.
But its focus was lost amid the quagmire of instability in Iraq and
domestic issues in the U.S. ahead of the campaign for next year's presidential
election.... The roadmap rested on the
premise that Israelis and Palestinians wanted peace and what was lacking was
the choreography to get them there. With
the goal set but no clear means laid out to resolve issues such as borders, the
return of displaced Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem and holy sites in
the city, the process would always be difficult.... There can be no roadmap while such divergent
opinions exist. All sides must work
towards the same goal and it is up to the U.S. to make that happen."
JAPAN: "The Collapse
of The Roadmap Must Be Stopped"
Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (9/8): "The Middle East 'roadmap' peace plan is
on the verge of collapse following the resignation of Palestinian Prime
Minister Abbas. But the post-Abbas departure crisis, apparently caused by escalating
feuding between him and Palestinian President Arafat, cannot be allowed to
worsen. The world community--especially Israel and the Palestinians--must do
what they can to overcome the ensuing turmoil.
It is certain that the US, the peace mediator which put the roadmap
together along with the EU, Russia and the UN, does not want to see the roadmap
collapse. If Washington plans to support Mr. Abbas' approach toward the peace
process, now is the time for the Bush administration to urge Israel to exert self-restraint."
INDONESIA: "U.S And Israel Miscalculated Arafat's Charisma
Independent afternoon Suara Pembaruan commented (9/8):
“Efforts to isolate Arafat from the Palestinian Authority were attributed more
to President Bush and Premier Ariel Sharon.
Although Egypt managed to engineer the rise of Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S.
and Israel miscalculated Arafat’s charisma and influence among the Palestinians
and the militant wings.... Washington
and Tel Aviv should not again ignore Arafat’s role and forcefully appoint other
pro-peace leaders because the peace process would become even more difficult to
reach. Arafat still deserves a respectable portion [in the process].”
“The World Astounded By Resignation Of Palestine PM”
Leading independent daily Kompas
commented (9/8): “Uneasiness again looms in the Middle East following the
resignation of Palestinian Premier Mahmoud Abbas. It caused waves of astonishment and concern
all over the world because it could affect the peace process.... The scenario of regeneration in Palestinian
leadership could be in jeopardy. Abbas'
chance to replace Arafat is getting weaker.
But it is similarly not easy for Arafat and Palestine to find a leader
of Abbas’ caliber, one that can be accepted by the Palestinians as well as by
Israel and the U.S. for his moderate stance.”
Resignation A Glitch To The Peace Process."
Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian
contended (9/8): "The resignation
of Mahmoud Abbas as the Prime Minister of Palestine has made it more difficult
for the U.S. efforts for peace negotiations.
this has strengthened the position of Yasser Arafat, as Abbas was viewed as too
“cooperative” with the U.S. and Israel ever since Abbas was elected PM (even
this at the behest of U.S. President George W. Bush). Many times Abbas bowed to the pressure of the
Bush Administration and Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, to crack down on Hamas, Jihad
Islam and other factions. It was no
surprise that he had to resign because he failed to gain control of the
Palestinian security forces from Arafat who had already been sidelined by Bush. In the face of the atrocities committed by
the Israeli military and the oppression enforced by Sharon, the Palestinians
continue to resist, not leaving their fates to Bush’s lies. All this time it has been Arafat’s will that
has kept the Palestinian hopes alive. Whoever replaces Abbas must keep in mind
the rights and aspirations of Palestinians and not push the agenda of Bush and
PAKISTAN: "Middle East: Back To Square One"
An editorial in the Lahore-based liberal
English-language, Daily Times declared (9/9): "The Middle East
roadmap is dead, unless of course a deus ex machina was to intervene to save
the situation. But that is wishful thinking and cannot be a substitute for
earnest diplomacy and honest brokering.
Both ingredients were lacking even as President Bush announced the
scheme at Aqaba in June this year....
Can the peace process be salvaged?
Yes and no. Yes, if the U.S.
begins to put pressure on Israel and gets Tel Aviv to move meaningfully on the
roadmap. Foremost, it would mean getting
rid of the Wall and resolving the issue of illegal settlements. The U.S. also needs to appreciate Mr.
Arafat’s power and stop trying to upstage him through his own nominees. That
policy has not worked and is unlikely to in the future. But none of this may come to pass, since the
Bush administration, late-comer to the Middle East anyway, is unlikely to
muster enough political resolve to get Israel to deliver. That is a grim scenario but the situation may
prove grimmer still."
"New Wave of Tension in Middle East"
An editorial in the Lahore-based populist Urdu Khabrain
noted (9/9) "The resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas
and Israeli Premier’s threat for killing the entire leadership of Hammas has
acerbated the situation in the tension-ridden Middle East.... Until and unless both the sides adhere to the
roadmap for peace, the dream for peace in the Middle East would not
"The Outcome Of The
American Roadmap At The Hands Of Israel"
An editorial in Karachi-based pro-jihad/Taliban Urdu-language Islam
read (9/8): "The present situation
in the Middle East suggests that the American roadmap to peace has badly
flopped and its entire responsibility falls on Israel. Israel had not accepted this roadmap from its
heart. Since the United States is an
unconditional patron of Israel, it could not be expected to take a note of
Israel stubbornness. However, it is
binding upon the international community to rein in Israel for the
establishment of peace in Middle East and play its role in providing their due
rights to Palestinians."
"The Inner Story Of Abu Mazen’s Resignation"
Dr. Jassim Taqui observed in the Islamabad-based rightist
English-language Pakistan Observer (9/8): "In fact both the Americans and the
Israelis have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to the downfall of Abu Mazen
by selecting him as the 'darling' Prime Minister, who can be a substitute to
the legendary leader Yasser Arafat. And
that is exactly the blunder they committed since Abu Mazen’s role as a 'man
planted by Washington and Israel' to run the PNA has tarnished his image beyond
any repair.... In an election year, the
U.S. administration changed its mind about the so-called roadmap to peace in
the Middle East. The administration’s
full support to Israel has put the peace process in dangerous straits. Now, the roadmap for peace has changed into a
roadmap for hell!"
SOUTH AFRICA: "Middle East Solution Lies In
The moderate Pretoria News declared
(9/9): "The overthrow of Saddam and the destruction there has nothing to
do with weapons of mass destruction. It
has nothing to do with al-Qaida either.
It is merely a settling of old scores.
The source - a gaping festering would - is and has always been the
Middle East. It starts there and it will
end there. But the solution ironically
lies in Washington. Israel is strong
politically and militarily because the US stands by it. Those who lobby for Israeli interests in the
US make sure that there is a price to pay for anybody who threatens those
interests. Until and unless Palestinians
and their Arab supporters create as powerful a lobby in Washington, peace in
the Middle East is not possible in the near future."
"Roadmap In Tatters?"
Balanced Business Day commented
(9/9): ""There may be no deal
while Arafat remains in power, but any moves by Israel to exile him would
simply solidify his support among Palestinians and in the Arab world. The US has been quick to warn Israel against
harming or hurting Arafat. With little
to show in the way of stabilization in Iraq, the US is now under increasing
pressure to show that hope remains for the roadmap."
The Liberal Mercury commented (9/8): "If seems there will be a five-week
interlude before his resignation becomes effective. That needs to be used as a pause during which
both sides can reflect on the enormously negative consequences of a complete
breakdown of the peace process. It
should also be used by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the
Arab nations of the region to exert maximum pressure on both Israel and the
Palestinians to scale down the conflict...
Every effort has to be made to keep the roadmap on the table because
there is no alternative... The only
realistic way out of the impasse is the creation of a viable Palestinian state
alongside the Israeli one, the security and survival of each guaranteed. It never was going to be easy, but the
momentum for peace has to be maintained."
CANADA: "The Wrong Man Quit"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (9/8):
"Mr. Abbas's resignation on the weekend deals a severe and perhaps fatal
blow to the new peace process....
Fingers of blame are pointing in many directions: at Mr. Sharon, for failing
to make the significant concessions that might have given Mr. Abbas some
credibility with his people, at Mr. Bush for failing to push Mr. Sharon to make
those concessions and at Mr. Abbas himself for failing to defang Palestinian
terrorist groups. The greatest blame
lies with a man who was not even invited to the Aqaba summit, and resented
it. Yasser Arafat made it clear from the
beginning that he felt outside forces had foisted Mr. Abbas on him. He was perfectly right. The U.S., Israel and many other nations made
it clear to him that they were disgusted with his collusion with terrorist
groups and fed up with the corruption and mismanagement that has marked his
administration. They insisted that he
appoint a new, more credible leader if he expected the Palestinian cause to
make progress.... Yesterday, Mr. Arafat
nominated a new man as prime minister.
Ahmed Korei is the speaker of parliament and, like Mr. Abbas, a moderate
and architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
His appointment will mean nothing unless Mr. Arafat lets him do his job.
The international community should insist on it. If it was not clear before it
is clear now--Mr. Arafat is a major obstacle to peace. By doing in the estimable Mr. Abbas, he has
once again frustrated the search for a just settlement. If Mr. Arafat cannot step aside, he should
ARGENTINA: "The Future Of An Illusion"
Left-of-center Pagina 12 opined (9/7):
"'Third vias', the illusion of finding -or creating- moderate and
acceptable partners within an opposed field, are typical of US
diplomacy.... This illusion crashed
yesterday again.... The invention of
Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian PM...never was something else but a laboratory
invention. In fact, it is the
Palestinians, not the U.S...., who should elect the leader of the
Palestinians. Last week, Arafat said
that the 'roadmap' was dead. But in fact
it had never lived: it was only a fiction....
From the Israeli point of view, the roadmap had the advantage that
(Israel) did not have to deliver one square inch of territory in exchange for
peace promises.... But there is
something new: the security wall Israel is building around the West Bank
Palestinian areas.... The building of
this wall is opposed by Arafat..., the U.S. State Department, and also by
Israeli pacifists and ultra-right wingers....
But since yesterday it is hard to tell how Powell or the Israeli enemies
of the wall will be able to prevent the (Israeli) PM from doing whatever he
wants particularly when he has a precedent in his favor: a similar wall
separates Israel from the Gaza Strip....
Lastly, yesterday's events buried the concept that after the U.S.
invasion of Iraq, a 'new Middle East' would be born. The invasion...could never have influenced
the Middle East conflict...because Saddam Hussein was not a decisive actor in
JAMAICA: "Re-engineering The Roadmap"
The centrist, business-oriented Sunday
Observer (9/7): "The circumstance of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
demanded crafty and well-crafted diplomacy.
Neither was forthcoming from the Americans, whose approach was not only
unbalanced but overly muscular. Every
snide and sneering remark against Mr. Arafat made Abu Mazen, among Palestinian
people, not an equal on the other side of the table, but a collaborator. Moreover, the Israelis' less than clinical
targeting of militants and property further eroded his credibility.... Maybe the roadmap can be saved, but it will
require a fair bit of re-engineering."