September 16, 2003
EXPELLING HIM WOULD BE A 'PATENTLY WRONG MOVE'
** Expelling the
"elected, legitimate" Palestinian leader will cause a "maelstrom
** Critics say Israel's
plan "smacks of desperation and folly."
** Muslim writers blame the
U.S.' "extreme pro-Israel bias" for allowing the threats to Arafat.
** Conservative dailies
back Israel, because peace is impossible "without Arafat's ouster."
The cycle of violence will 'certainly worsen' if Arafat is
exiled-- Observers warned that
Arafat's removal would cause the "irreversible end of the peace process
and...a further spread of violence."
The pro-government Saudi Gazette predicted a "volcano of
anger will explode" among Palestinians; European papers forecasted Arafat
would "be replaced by someone more extreme," resulting in an
"escalation of terror." The UAE's
pan-Arab Al-Khaleej termed Arafat "the only legitimate political
representative" for the Palestinian people. Norway's Christian Democrat Vaart Land
held that any "decision to remove Arafat must be left to the
Arafat is the 'scapegoat for the entire Israeli nation'-- Critics called Israel's plan to exile Arafat
Spain's centrist La Vanguardia backed "the path of
negotiation and peace," and along with the liberal Toronto Star
urged Israel to "deliver a viable Palestinian state." Arab dailies held Sharon's government
"directly responsible for the explosive situation," alleging it
sought to "erase any Palestinian from ruling Palestinian lands." The West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam
alleged Israel wanted to "denounce the entire Palestinian national
struggle" by portraying "Arafat as a criminal and its legitimate
resistance as terrorism."
The U.S. 'should blame itself'--
other Arab papers, Egyptian and Tunisian dailies blamed the U.S. for not
halting "Sharon's campaign to harm Arafat." Tunisia's independent As-Sabah said
the blame for Israel's "provocative and racist decision...should be
directed at the U.S." Cairo's
aggressive Al-Akhbar added, "Palestine drowns in a sea of blood
while the Zionist lobby at the White House persists with its bias" for
Sharon. The West Bank's official Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida linked the U.S. to its "foster daughter" Israel--the
"only two occupying powers in the world" that both claim to be
"champions of democracy, freedom and human rights."
'Peace cannot precede Arafat's forced retirement'-- Canadian, Polish and Israeli papers supported
Arafat's expulsion, labeling him the "fundamental obstacle that has been
impeding Mideast peace efforts." A
writer in Tel Aviv's pluralist Maariv urged Israel to "now do the
dirty work--eliminate Hamas, expel Arafat." Other writers agreed Israelis "have
every reason to call Yasser Arafat a terrorist" but worried he would be
"restored as a martyr" if exiled.
London's conservative Daily Telegraph said Arafat's
"corrupt, despotic rule has disqualified him" from politics but
termed the plan to banish him "extraordinarily inept."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 79 reports from 34 countries over 9 - 16 September
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Talk Of
Assassinating Mr. Arafat Is An Admission Of Failure"
The center-left Independent editorialized
(9/15): "The threat to kill Yasser
Arafat, the president of the Palestinian proto-state, is disastrous not just
because it is uncivilised or morally repugnant--although it undoubtedly is--but
because it would be ineffective.... It
is a measure of the failure of Ariel Sharon's government that it has nothing to
offer a frightened Israeli people but self-defeating gestures of bloodthirsty
revenge.... This has further provoked
world opinion, which fails to see the line of direct accountability from Hamas
suicide bombers to Mr. Arafat that seems so obvious to so many
Israelis.... To pass a death sentence
against the head of an authority with which Israeli is not even at war is a
gross violation.... Worse, openly
discussing that option has inspired a huge show of support for Mr. Arafat from
the Palestinian people.... The
likelihood is that he would be replaced by someone more extreme, pledged to
vengeance.... The Israeli right is
falling into the very trap that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have dug for it."
"Getting Rid Of Arafat"
The conservative Daily Telegraph
maintained (9/13): "Ariel Sharon's
cabinet has announced its agreement 'in principle' to expel Mr. Arafat from the
occupied territories.... It has also
burnished Mr. Arafat's reputation as the defiant leader of an oppressed
people.... Tactically, the decision is
extraordinarily inept, raising doubts as to whether any coherent strategy for
dealing with Palestinian terrorism lies behind it.... Tragically for the Palestinians, Mr. Arafat has
never outgrown the status of guerilla leader.
His corrupt, despotic rule has disqualified him from being a viable
interlocutor in the search for peace....
Exiled, he would remain a point of reference for those in the occupied
territories, undermining efforts to create an alternative leadership, as he did
before returning from exile in Tunis in 1994.
No one doubts that the Israelis have a daunting task in sidelining this
repellent yet formidable figure. But
they have made it no easier by proclaiming their intentions in advance."
"Aiming At Arafat"
The independent Financial Times
(9/13): "It is hard to imagine
anything more lunatic from Israel's viewpoint than taking out its anger against
Palestinian violence by killing or expelling Yassir Arafat.... Mr. Arafat certainly helped undermine the
U.S.-sponsored 'road map'.... For Israel
and the US, the whole exercise was predicated on the veteran Palestinian
leader's being pushed to the sidelines in favour of someone more acceptable to
them, such as Mr. Abbas.... Countries
can make enemies but they can never pick their enemy's leader. Mr. Arafat happens to be the Arab world's
only elected leader.... Israel's threat
to remove Mr. Arafat from the scene merely strengthens his domestic
position.... The road map is probably
dead. If so, Israeli leaders are as much
to blame as Mr. Arafat, because of their failure to produce any immediate gains
for the Palestinians."
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine judged (9/13): "Israel is used to criticism. But the decision in principle of the Sharon
government to extradite the Palestinian president has rung the alarm bells from
Washington to Berlin. In view of the
highly explosive situation and an escalation dynamic against which the roadmap
has hardly any chance, an extradition would hardly contribute to calming the
situation. On the contrary, Arafat's
extradition would give the PLO leader a new stage where he could present
himself again as the hero of the Palestinian cause, or even as a martyr. It is difficult to recognize why such a
solidarity and resistance mania will not result in an enormous loss of security
Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich argued
(9/13): "If Premier Sharon finally
wants to turn his arch enemy Arafat into a martyr and to a symbol of the
Palestinian cause, he only needs to extradite or kill him. The consequences for Israel, which gives
priority to its security, would be fatal.
Arafat certainly tolerated and promoted the change of the formerly
peaceful intifada into armed resistance.
But he can hardly be made fully responsible for the full extent of
Hamas' terror. His extradition or
killing would definitely suck Israel and the Palestinian territories into a
maelstrom of violence. Compared to the
terror with which Israel and the Palestinians would then be confronted, the
previous Hamas war would look pale."
"Dangerous Israeli Step"
Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg
remarked (9/12): "The decision of
the Israeli cabinet...cannot surprise anybody...but is a dangerous step. The threat alone to deport Arafat is an
affront to the Palestinians, who continue to support their symbolic
figure. If Sharon really decides to
implement the decision, this would mean the irreversible end of the peace
process and would lead to a further spread of violence.... Arafat's deportation would not resolve the
problems. New Prime Minister Qurei
clearly said that he needs Arafat's support to assert his views. The Palestinians must resolve the Arafat
problem on their own. Only if they
succeed in forcing him to retreat, can a further escalation of the conflict be
"Another Deep Humiliation"
Centrist Badische Zeitung of Freiburg judged (9/12): "If the decision of the Israeli
government is really implemented, many Palestinians would consider this another
deep humiliation. This could result in
even greater support for the extremists, since the Palestinian leader is still
considered the most important national symbol among wide parts of the
population. Even Arafat critics among
the Palestinians are advocating an approach that makes the PLO leader's
departure from politics not too humiliating.
But, unfortunately, the Jerusalem government seems to ignore all
warnings. That is why the time has now
come for the international community of nations, with the United States at the
helm, to interfere more intensely in the Middle East conflict. It must then not only make stubborn Arafat
change course, but it should also not allow his counter player Sharon to
continue his course."
ITALY: “All The Risks Of A
Franco Venturini wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (9/12): “America’s first
reaction (to the possible expulsion of Arafat) was negative, since it fears
that Arafat may conquer ‘a new stage.’
The consultations of Palestinian PM-designate Abu Ala were
interrupted. Mubarak and Chirac issued
strong warnings.... And even the
Israelis seem to be divided.... We do
not need more to realize the extent of the risks involved in Israel’s
announcement.... Anywhere he goes Arafat
may become more inflammatory than he is allowed to be in Ramallah. The crisis of the Palestinian leadership
could turn into a chaotic power vacuum, leaving what is left of the Road Map
without an interlocutor and favoring further lack of control on terrorist
groups. Should America make the best of
a bad job that would lead to another break with the Europeans right when the
U.S and the EU are trying to mend the split over Iraq. The likely development in the Middle East
would be another escalation of the violence, and the restoration of Arafat’s
role as the symbolic hero of the Palestinian cause--a role that has deteriorated
over the course of the years but has not disappeared.”
RUSSIA: "U.S. Protects
Vladimir Konev observed in reformist Izvestiya (9/16): "Over the weekend it became clear that
the Americans had protected Arafat not just from banishment but possibly from
death.... The U.S. is sure that exiling,
even more so killing, Arafat may literally blow up the Middle East. Washington,
with its hands full in Afghanistan and Iraq, can't afford a 'third
Thomas Vieregge held in liberal Der Standard
(9/13): “This is what martyr legends are
made of: Israel is planning to get Yassir Arafat out of the country in a single
swipe. Such a measure, however, would
only provoke the anger of the Palestinians, and Israel was promptly given a
taste of what to expect, should it stick to the plan: Tens of thousands of
people vented their anger in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Ten years after Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir
Arafat, rather unwillingly, shook hands in a historical ceremony in the White
House, the Palestinian leader has become persona non grata, the scapegoat for
the entire Israeli nation. This might be
understandable, faced with the setbacks of recent times, the new series of
attacks, and the intrigues surrounding the tough old survivor, who has never
cast off the uniform or the attitude of a guerrilla leader--but it hardly
amounts to a political strategy. In
fact, the plan smacks more of complete helplessness, apart from being totally
“Sharon’s American-Style Diktat”
Chief editor Gerald Papy held in independent La Libre Belgique
(9/13): "The Israeli Government’s
decision to ‘get rid’ of Yasser Arafat is the climax of Ariel Sharon’s strategy
to deal with the Palestinians in the same manner as George W. Bush has been
dealing with the actors of the ‘axis of evil’ since September 11, 2001: as
Arafat is nothing but a terrorist leader, he must be eliminated, no matter what
the consequences are, even if one of those is an increase of terrorist acts. That is, of course, not with such a
simplistic vision of dispute settlements that the fifty-year-old war between
Israelis and Palestinians will come to an end.... Yasser Arafat is not Usama bin Laden.
Although Arafat has some responsibilities for anti-Israeli terrorist acts and
for the failure of the implementation of the Road Map, one did not need to be
an expert to predict that the Israeli-American decision, a few months ago, to
exclude Arafat from power and to impose a Prime Minister would arouse
resistance. Strong Israeli and American
support of Mahmoud Abbas, and the suspension of Israeli targeted killings would
have reinforced the power of Abbas...and gradually isolated Arafat. But this policy was not conducted, with the
consequences that we can see today, i.e. a reinforced power and popularity for
Yasser Arafat.... Thinking that a
negotiation can be successful by totally excluding the elected leader of the
Palestinian Authority is an illusion. Expelling Arafat will only reinforce
Palestinian extremists. It is time for
the sponsors of the ‘peace process’ to apply to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict the principles that are being applied to any other dispute settlement
process: verification of the parties’ commitments, negotiations, and, if
necessary, sanctions and international military intervention.”
"The Symbol Arafat"
Erik Ziarczyk noted in financial De Financieel-Economische Tijd
(9/13): “As President, Arafat did
not make much impression the last few years.
His regime was notorious for its corruption and nepotism. Many Palestinians protested against the abuse
of power by the people around Arafat.
More than President, he was the symbol of Palestinian nationalism and
resistance against the Israeli occupation.
The last ten years, Israel has always had trouble with the ‘symbol
Arafat’ but it did not manage to clip his wings. At a given moment, one had the impression
that Israel had found the solution with Mahmoud Abbas, one of Arafat’s
followers. Abbas was known for his
aversion for the increasing violence. He
repeatedly urged to ‘demilitarize’ the Palestinian resistance against
Israel. Under pressure from Israel and
the United States, Arafat named him Prime Minister in April. But, Abbas did not succeed in carrying out
his promises. That had a lot do with
Arafat who continuously put spokes in Abbas’s wheels. According to many, however, Abbas also
disappointed: he lacked political courage.
In other words, Arafat has shown that he is still pulling the
strings. But, Sharon is a impressive
opponent--as he has shown in the past.
As Minister of Defense he forced Arafat to leave in 1982. After Sharon’s invasion of Lebanon, Arafat
and his followers left Beirut and went to Tunis. If things depend on Israel, Arafat will be
exchanging his beloved Ramallah for Tunis soon.”
"Things That Cannot Be Solved By One Shot"
Pavel Tomasek observed in business-oriented Hospodarske noviny
(9/16): "The idea of solving the
Middle East conflict by murdering Yasser Arafat--a notion discussed by some
members of the Israeli government--is only a more brutal form of the proposed
[road map]...which has so far...not been successful.... The Israelis have every reason to call Yasser
Arafat a terrorist and they have the same right to go after him as the U.S. has
to go after Osama bin Laden.... The
question is how many more Israelis will be killed in retaliation for Arafat’s
murder.... Even though Israel’s
attitudes are understandable, one would expect a more ingenious approach to the
matter than to aim for one well-targeted shot."
Michaela Rozov commented in center-right Lidove noviny (9/13): "It has been clear for quiet some time
now that the Israelis made a historical mistake when they allowed Arafat to
return to the occupied zone.... However,
they won’t be able to repair [it] by expelling him.... The expulsion would only lead to the
escalation of terror in the Middle East, which is also an opinion shared by the
head of the Israeli army...and the head of Israeli intelligence.... Sharon’s government should pay attention to
Washington and reassess its decision about Arafat."
"The School Of Civil War"
Zbynek Petracek opined in mainstream MF Dnes (9/12): "Even the last big act of Palestinian
terror against randomly chosen Israelis did not provoke such attention of Czech
politicians as did the change at the head of the Palestinian government.... Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said
that it was a serious rift because Abbas had signed the Road Map peace
proposal.... But the same Abbas shortly
after signing the peace agreement also signed a truce with terrorist
organizations Hamas and Islamic Djihad...and the same Abbas bears
responsibility for not dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism in the
Palestinian territories.... It must be
clear, neither Abbas, nor Ahmed Qureia belongs to [the Palestinian] hawks, who
would--like Arafat--speak differently to the international and the Arab media,
and who would in practice actually support terror. But Palestinian leaders, no matter how
rational they are, consider the existence of Israel and its actions against
terrorists on Palestinian territories to be a bigger threat than the existence of terrorists in their own
ranks. In other words: they are more
afraid of a confrontation with their own terrorists than with the forces of the
state of Israel. Thus, Palestinians are
still waiting for their own civil conflict to resolve key issues. Until the Palestinians undergo such a civil
conflict resolution, any "peace process" and any person in the post
of Palestinian premier could have only conditional success."
HUNGARY: “Sweet Home”
Liberal Magyar Hirlap editorialized (9/13): “Fact, Arafat is an obstacle to the peace
process. As a statesman he has
failed. But he is the elected,
legitimate leader of the Palestinian people.
He is even more. He is a
symbol. He is an emblematic figure of
the Palestinian people’s oppression and fight.
He is Palestine itself, ‘whom’ Israel, as well as Washington, like it
not, have to work with. And Washington
ought to draw the conclusion to itself too that Arafat can’t simply be
considered 'irrelevant’. He can’t be
simply isolated. As long as Arafat is
the Palestinian president, Washington (and Israel) has to sort out the issues
with him, which is still the better option.
Because the other, worse option is that the extreme forces, the Hammas
and Jihad, take over power. And the
consequence of it will definitely be a war.”
Still Missing Chances For Peace"
Niall Stanage noted in the left-of-center weekly Sunday
Business Post (9/14): "A truce
will have to be reached eventually, and one of the Middle East's most poignant
tragedies is that all those killing each other know it. Furthermore, they know
its likely outline: Israel will give up some of the land it occupies on the
West Bank and in Gaza in return for an ending of the Palestinian armed
struggle. Other painful concessions will have to be made; by Israel on the
issue of sovereignty over Jerusalem, and by the Palestinian leadership on the
`right of return' for refugees.... Like
any leader seeking to end a conflict, Abbas put his credibility on the line. In
return, he got no help from America, which failed to prod Israel into making
concessions. He got no help from Arafat....
There is a sad predictability about all of this. Few causes combine
basic moral force with such woeful tactics as that of the Palestinians.... For all that, there is truth in the saying
that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.... Such moral advantage was thrown away the
moment the appalling and nihilistic suicide bombings began again in earnest.
There is no sign that the Palestinians are learning from their
mistakes.... The Palestinian cause will
never prosper like this. Its leaders must oppose Israeli occupation, of course.
But they must also break the habit of getting themselves into a mess of their
NORWAY: “Oslo Agreement's
Christian Democratic Vaart Land commented (9/13): "A peace agreement is probably
impossible as long as Sharon governs Israel and Arafat is the leader of the
Palestinians. But just as it is only the
Israelis that can remove Sharon, a decision to remove Arafat must be left to
POLAND: “Arafat Non Grata”
Dawid Warszawski opined in center-right weekly Wprost
(9/15): “The decision of Israel’s
Security Cabinet to expel Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian Authority means
that the Israelis are determined to confront the fundamental obstacle that has
been impeding Middle East peace efforts for a decade. The aging Palestinian
leader, who has spent his life fighting Israel, has not been able to accept its
existence (despite the agreements he has signed).... He has been always guided by the
everything-or-nothing principle, and has apparently preferred ‘nothing’ to ‘not
“The Dangerous Old Men”
Kazimierz Pytko observed in center-left Zycie Warszawy
(9/15): “Yasser Arafat is 74, Ariel
Sharon is 75. Both are long past the
military service age limit, but despite this, they are fighting a fierce war,
successfully torpedoing any peace initiatives.... It is obvious that Arafat will achieve
nothing positive for his people. He has
no influence, not only on Israel’s actions, but also on Palestinian
organizations like Hamas or Jihad. In
spite of this, he does not intend to resign to be replaced by politicians who
are younger, more efficient, and better predestined to building peace. Ariel Sharon...also suffers from the war
veteran syndrome. Unable to get rid of
military habits, he reduces his policy to a simple attack-counterattack
principle, which hardly has room for compromise.”
SLOVENIA: "The Last
Vojislav Bercko noted in left-of-center independent Vecer
(9/15): "In the eyes of the
international community, which has--pressed by the U.S.--recently often closed
one eye towards Israel’s violations of international standards and human
rights, the Israeli Government has evidently gone too far with its decision to
extradite [Arafat].... The decision
particularly enraged the authors of the Roadmap for Peace.... The U.S. exercised restraint in its
reprimanding of Israel...while other members of the peace quartet decisively
condemned the decision.... The ambitious
plan--mostly needed by President Bush because of the Iraqi crisis--unhappily
failed last week. Opinions about who is
responsible for this differ and will differ in the future.... Sharon feels no desire and no need for a
Palestinian state.... The creators of
the Roadmap are in a difficult situation: the U.S. will at least publicly not
renounce its support for Israel, particularly not one year before presidential
elections. The EU and the UN do not know
what to do. This is why it increasingly
smells of a new war in the Middle East.”
Centrist La Vanguardia contended (9/13): "The international community cannot
continue accepting a situation based on the unceasing humiliation of
Arabs. Israel and the Palestinian
National Authority should play their cards without wanting to win a game in
which there is not, and there should not be, winners or losers. There is only the path of negotiation and
peace, and this involves dismantling the settlements, giving up the infamous
wall of shame that Sharon is building and setting the limits of a territory
where Palestinians cannot only live, but also have a future."
Conservative La Razon editorialized (9/12): "Arafat's time is over.... Forcing Abbas' resignation confirmed that
Arafat prefers power to peace. Israel's decision
to exile [Arafat] puts the international community in a difficult situation,
which obliges it to intervene quickly.
It is not for Ariel Sharon nor his government to remove Arafat.... If [Israel] acts at its own risk, if it
exiles him, the situation may turn against itself. This would not be taking into account the
risk of reviving the figure of an exiled Arafat, who would be restored as a
martyr and a symbol of a people's resistance, which will help to conceal what
today is only terrorism."
TURKEY: “Israel, Murder,
Ahmet Tasgetiren commented in Islamist intellectual Yeni Safak
(9/16): “Israel has turned its guns
toward Sheikh Ahmad Yasin and Arafat.
This policy displays a will to butcher the Palestinian people. A ‘road map’ will become meaningless on such
a path of blood.... The U.S. is merely
watching. Even Shimon Peres has
displayed a clearer reaction than Washington, and as have the Jewish
intellectuals in Israel sensitive to human rights.... It’s not difficult for Israel to kill Sheikh
Yasin and Arafat. But such murders will
never bring peace to Palestine.... The
U.S. cannot claim to be a world power by standing behind Israel’s murders. The world has a negative view of America
because of the images of Washington’s bosses clearly visible on Sharon’s face.”
"Where Is This Image Coming From?"
Marina Rosenblit noted in conservative, Russian-language Vesty
(9/16): ”Making public the decision [to
'remove' Arafat], which nobody is planning to implement yet, has brought Arafat
back to the center of the world's attention....
His name is once again on everybody's lips and the western countries’
leaders express their support [for him].
The image of the Palestinian Authority Chairman improved in a couple of
seconds, as if he didn't support terror, hadn't declined Barak's peace
proposals...and hadn't forced Abu-Mazen out of a position established for him
by the U.S. Administration. The
Palestinians claim that they have never supported Arafat as warmly as
now.... It would be interesting to know
which goals the Israeli government tries to achieve by divulging strategic
decisions long before their implementation."
"Insisting On Stupidity"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz opined (9/15): "The procedures that preceded the
declaration of the expulsion by force of Arafat began with reports about
Sharon's office inquiring at the uppermost levels of the U.S. Administration
whether Washington had softened its prohibition against harming Arafat, a
prohibition dictated to Sharon by President Bush more than two years
ago.... As an experienced politician,
Sharon should know that the explicit question invites a negative answer. Bush cannot allow himself to be perceived as
a co-conspirator against the head of a quasi-state that Washington was a
partner to establishing in the Oslo agreements, when it needs the support of
Arab and Muslim states in Iraq. American
readiness to topple regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, including harm to the
leaders of those regimes, is irrelevant to their position on an Israeli
operation in which Arafat could be harmed."
"Who Will Decide About The Banishment's Implementation?"
Nationalist Hatzofe opined (9/14): "Before the Cabinet meeting [in which
Arafat's expulsion was decided] National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
talked with the Prime Minister's Bureau chief, Atty. Dov Weisglass, clarifying
the U.S. Administration's stance on the need to avoid from acting against
Arafat at this stage.... The Israeli
government does not have the exclusivity regarding the date and means [of
putting the Cabinet decision into practice.]
The U.S. Administration will dictate those steps or the avoidance
thereof, and will at least be extremely involved in this issue, similar to all
matters pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Hard-line] Education Minister Limor Livnat
may well speak about the double standards of the U.S., but the Israeli
government effectively accepts the Bush administration's dictates."
"King Of The Ratings"
Hemmi Shalev maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv
(9/14): "No public-relations
professional in the world could conduct such a successful lightning campaign
for such a problematic client. But the
Israeli government has done it.... If
Arafat were to be thrown out in the middle of the night, the world would wake
up to a new morning--for better or worse, it depends on how you look at it--and
adapt. But when the government announces
in advance its intention to expel him, it invites, even compels, international
pressure in the Security Council and support rallies at Arafat's Ramallah
compound; meanwhile Arafat, at least temporarily, was sitting pretty. The cabinet's decision suddenly thrust
Israel, and not the Palestinians, into the position of 'a people that dwells
alone,' thundering once more about international 'hypocrisy,' to say nothing of
anti-Semitism. It takes real talent to
get into such a public-relations mess when your opponent is Arafat, the
arch-terrorist whose time has supposedly passed. But worse than that, there is a big
difference in terms of political ramifications between suffering the condemnation
of the Security Council after the fact, for a 'fait accompli,' and disobeying
the international community at the outset despite prior warning. Once the U.S. Administration has been forced
to express its opposition in public, for the record, Israel will have no choice
but to embarrass its best ally in the world in front of everyone if and when it
Ben Caspit noted in popular, pluralist Maariv (9/12): "It would be difficult to see [Abu Ala]
handle terror or initiating a real action [against it].... Almost as always, the ball has been thrown to
the Israeli camp. It is Israel that must
now do the dirty work--eliminate Hamas, expel Arafat. It is doubtful whether the critical mass for
this was produced this week.... Silvan Shalom
has advocated this for a long time. As
always, the key is in Washington. There
is almost universal consensus [in Israel] that Arafat's physical demise
shouldn't be caused by Israel. The
trouble is that over the past few months Israel has more than once received
hints that Arafat would not be expelled and would prefer to die as a 'shahid'
[martyr]. Such a mishap could turn the
entire region against Israel and the U.S.
Regarding such a decision, Israel must not take risks, even at a time
when Sharon is threatened to be overthrown in public opinion polls."
"There Are No Miracle Solutions"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(9/11): "The necessary war against
the terrorist organizations, first and foremost Hamas and Islamic Jihad, cannot
be based on shock or draw its justification from the longing for
revenge.... What some Israeli
politicians view as the ultimate solution should be rejected out of hand: the
expulsion of Yasser Arafat.... There are
some who are raising ideas for a no-holds-barred assault, along the lines of
'we will crush them'--something that is liable to plunge this region into even
greater bloodshed and destruction. These ideas must be utterly rejected. The
necessary war against the terrorist organizations, as other nations also know,
is a long and wearying battle. There are no one-time miracle solutions to
terrorism. Israel must continue to fight, while preserving its moral
"Arafat's Expulsion at the Top of the Agenda"
Nationalist Hatzofe observed (9/12): "The [Oslo] Agreement was supposed to
open 'an era of peace' between Israel and the Palestinians. It eventually led to increased hatred and
violence by the Palestinians against the Jews and to grave harm to Israel. Not only has Yasser Arafat not acted to
implement the accord, but also he sabotaged it at every opportunity, when he
reckoned that a positive understanding of any kind was being reached.... Without Arafat's ouster, it will be
impossible to enter the track of an arrangement between the Palestinians and
Israel. The time has come for Prime
Minister-designate Abu Ala to understand this, too."
"Days Of Attacks And Strikes"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz maintained (9/11): "The Sharon government has made a clear
contribution toward the torment suffered by Israelis and Palestinians. But this contribution pales compared to the
roles played by Arafat and the terror organizations. The atrocities on Tuesday...illustrated anew
the base moral decline of a society that worships the blind killing of people,
and which seeks to accomplish its goals through bloodshed and bullets. Israel is to wage war against those who carry
out such terror strikes, and those who initiate, plan and orchestrate them; and
Israel will continue the fight until it is won.
By defining Hamas and other extremists as terror organizations, without
drawing a distinction between 'political' and 'military' wings, the U.S.
Government, and even the European Union, have recognized this fact.... If they are to save the diplomatic efforts
undertaken in President Bush's initiative from collapse, all moderate
Palestinian elements must disavow the terror organizations, and act against
them. A positive step could be the
unification of all branches of the Palestinian security apparatus under one
viable authority that is determined to get back to the peace track."
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post held (9/11): "The world will not help Israel; we must
help ourselves. We must kill as many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as
possible, as quickly possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not
letting that damage stop us. And we must
kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative.... Killing Arafat, more than any other act,
would demonstrate that the tool of terror is unacceptable, even against Israel,
even in the name of a Palestinian state.
Arafat does not just stand for terror, he stands for the refusal to make
peace with Israel under any circumstances and within any borders. In this respect, there is no distinction,
beyond the tactical, between him and Hamas....
Whom the Palestinians choose to lead them is none of our business,
provided it is a free choice, and provided they do not opt for leaders who
choose terror and aggression. So long as
the Palestinians choose such a leadership, it should be held no more immune to
counterattack by Israel than the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were by the
"The Sharon Decision:
Israeli Policy In One World"
Rajab Abu Sariyeh wrote in independent Al-Ayyam
(9/16): “The Israeli government works
hard to denounce the entire Palestinian national struggle by attempting to show
its symbol [Arafat] as a criminal and its legitimate resistance as
terrorism.... Some international
circles, including the Americans and Europeans, maintain that the only way out
[for the Palestinians] now is to accelerate the forming of the new Palestinian
government. Unfortunately, this is
another proof that they do not oppose the Israeli decision and are willing to
continue to ignore core issues through sticking to the illusion that the
removal of President Arafat and establishing a new government would increase
the likelihood of reaching a political solution.... The Palestinians should explicitly announce
that no solution can ever be reached with the Sharon extremist government in
power, and that their top priority is to re-arrange their internal security and
"Following The Expulsion Decision"
Samih Shbeib declared in independent Al-Ayyam (9/15): “The Israeli security cabinet’s decision [to
deport Arafat] is in essence an attempt to test the American reaction as well
as that of the Palestinian street....
The Israeli cabinet did not take into account that such decision would
only increase loyalty to the Palestinian president and strengthen his
leadership at a time when the U.S. has resolutely rejected this
decision.... The Sharon government’s
practices have confirmed that Israel has indeed lost its ‘democratic’ and
‘ethical’ glamour, proving once again that Israel is a racist state that
violates all kinds of human rights.
Under this foolish Israeli decision lies a great historic opportunity
for Palestinians to take advantage of.
First and foremost, Palestinians should demand that the international
community, particularly the U.S. and Europe, adopt stronger and clearer
positions on [Israel’s] attempts to wipe out the Palestinian Authority and
evade the peace process. The
Palestinians should also make the most of any possibility to reopen channels
with Israeli parties and senior figures who oppose the present government.”
"Have The Israeli People Had Their Say?"
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (9/15): “Finally, the Israelis have begun to realize
what has always been clear since the beginning, that their present government,
led by Sharon, has achieved nothing but total failure in three main fields:
security, economy and the political solution.... Such conclusions have been reached not only
by Palestinians but by a number of political analysts and experts in Israel as
well.... Now that the Israelis
themselves understand how the Sharon government has led both peoples, Palestinians
and Israelis, to the current tense situation and how its policies have hindered
the achievement of peace and security, it is high time for the international
community, specifically the Quartet and the U.S., to move ahead and put an end
to the Israeli violence.... It is also
the appropriate time for the Israeli people to have their say, especially after
the loads of unfulfilled promises given to them by their government. [The Israeli people] have to understand that
as long as their government lacks the courage to make peace with the Palestinians,
led by their historic, legitimate and elected leader Yasser Arafat, none of
those promises will ever be fulfilled.”
Bassem Abu Sumayya wrote in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(9/13): “Israel must have heard the
crowds who flocked to President Yasser Arafat’s headquarters and thousands of
others who took to the streets until late last night. I do not believe that Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon...expected that the Palestinian response to his troubling decision to
deport President Arafat would be a popular referendum on the Palestinian
leader. The result of this referendum is
clear: there is no alternative to Arafat, whether Israel likes it or
not.... Interestingly enough...the U.S.
and its foster daughter Israel continue to deliberately ignore the fact that
they are the only two occupational powers in the world, while continuing to
claim that they are the only champions of democracy, freedom, and human
rights.... These acts fit in with the
principles of U.S. civilization and are part of its ‘humanitarian’ mission to
"A Decision Rejected By The Palestinian
Independent Al-Quds held (9/12): “The decision made last night by the Israeli
government to expel President Arafat is ultimately a challenge to the
Palestinian people, a clear infringement of all agreements signed by Israel and
the Palestinians, a singular underestimation of the international will led by
the United States, and a final blow the peace process. Arafat is not an alien in his own homeland,
such that the Israeli government determines his destiny in one of its sessions;
he is the Palestinian people’s elected president and leader in pursuit of their
national aspirations. Any harming of him
would simply lead to catastrophic consequences at Palestinian, regional and
international levels. The world will not
allow Israel to make Arafat a scapegoat for its political failure, its unacceptable
negligence of peace process commitments or its insistence on occupying
Palestinian land for settlement expansion....
Just as a reminder, it was Arafat who signed the Oslo agreement which
led to the Wye River accord in 1998, and it was his hope of achieving peace
that obliged him to accept interim agreements that do not meet the minimimum
needs of legitimate Palestinian demands, all the while hoping to bring [these
agreements] up to an acceptable level.”
"The Struggle's Climax And Aftermath"
Samih Shbeib wrote in independent Al-Ayyam (9/12): “Abu Ala’s declarations since being
designated to form a new cabinet are an indication that he is fully intent on
finding mutual guarantees to initiate talks on road map implementation, aiming
to avoid prior extreme positions and complications, as matters have reached an
intolerable boiling point with the ongoing reciprocal violence.... Palestinians and Israelis now realize that,
in practical terms, it is time to re-word their questions about what’s next,
bearing in mind that neither side should negate the other.... Additionally, will regional and international
pressures and internal Israeli opinion urge the Sharon government to try to
re-open negotiating files with the new Palestinian government? Will the Sharon government realize that the
struggle has reached its peak and that it’s time to pursue means of
reconciliation? A radical, arrogant
attitude will only lead [Sharon’s] government to push for more bloodshed, bringing
about new facts that even the Israelis will find hard to deal with.”
"The Abu Ala' Government:
The Circumstances Of Its Formation And The Size Of The Risk"
Rajab Abu Siriyeh opined in independent Al-Ayyam
(9/12): “The surprising element in the
formation of the new Abu Ala’ government was the twin Jerusalem-Tel Aviv
bombings. Unexpectedly, and contrary to
speculations that the two bombings would hinder the process, Abu Ala’ took the
risk of shouldering national responsibilities and announced his acceptance of
the nomination.... After every [suicide
bombing] the Palestinian side goes to defense politically in order to withstand
outside pressures and stepped-up Israeli threats.... The mission of Abu Ala’s cabinet thus has
become more focused and defined, for he himself has stressed that the security
issue will be at the top of his cabinet’s priorities.... Therefore, this government’s success in its
mission will also depend on complementary work from the National Security
Council, which is expected to unify all PA apparatuses to carry out their
Talal Okal contended in independent Al-Ayyam
(9/11): “It is unfair to consider the
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv bombings as the reason behind the mounting level of
danger that Israel tries to point out, just as it was unfair to claim that the
Jerusalem bombing about a month ago was the reason for the collapse of the
50-day truce. Both cases were used as
pretexts to justify a previously planned policy aimed at pressuring the
Palestinian side to give in to the Israeli-American scheme of achieving a sort
of peace agreement that is mainly based on the security of Israel.... The American administration is quite aware of
the fact that the Palestinian situation differs from that of Iraq or
Afghanistan. It realizes that President
Arafat cannot be overlooked in times of peace or of tension.... The American administration has so far failed
to understand that by adopting and supporting Israel’s policies, it encourages
more disasters to take place, especially if Israel decides to foolishly carry
out incursions into the Gaza strip or expel President Arafat. This will only bring further uncontrollable,
never-ending violence, given that the Palestinian people have all the basic
means to escalate their resistance.”
"Expelling the Israeli Ambassador"
Salama Ahmed Salama observed in leading pro-government Al Ahram
(9/14): "The recent Israeli
decision to expel, or to slay, Arafat...[is] like a check-mate on the Middle
East chessboard to make the road smoother for Israel in imposing the desired
political settlement or in reoccupying the West Bank and Gaza. All international reactions condemn the
Israeli decision.... Arab countries must
make a clear decision about Israel's decision to expel Arafat.... The logical response is for both Egypt and
Jordan...to inform the U.S. and Israel that expelling Arafat or harming him
will be met with the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the freezing of
all relations and that the U.S. should bear all the consequences of this
measure on its interests in the region....
The issue of fighting terrorism, which has become the focus of U.S.
domestic and foreign policy, cannot be separated from the state terrorism
practiced by Israel against the Palestinian people. The U.S. should blame itself because it
propagates the culture of hatred and violence and works to ignite a new cycle
of violence against it and against Israel."
"Palestine Is Paying A Dear Price For U.S. Failure"
Galal Aref contended in aggressive pro-government weekly Akhbar
Al Yom (9/13): "The U.S.
Administration, not Sharon, bears the greatest responsibility for
massacres...in Palestine which threaten the entire region. We all know Sharon is a war criminal whose
rightful place, like that of any Nazi, is to be tried before the international
court.... The surprise came when
President Bush Jr.--who was expected to be more partial to justice--established
an Administration governed by Zionist ideology.... The September 11 attacks were a golden
opportunity for the Zionist lobby within the American Administration, which
instead of reconsidering its policies and trying to establish more
understanding with the Arab and Islamic world, was commandeered by the Zionist
lobby in the opposite direction.... The
roadmap was only an attempt to win time...and Bush's vision of a Palestinian
state was merely an Israeli plan to establish a Palestinian entity without
borders or sovereignty. These policies
have reached their inevitable, failed end and Palestine drowns in a sea of
blood while the Zionist lobby at the White House persists with its bias towards
Sharon's gang. But Arabs will not be the
only victims of these erroneous policies.
Israel and the U.S. will pay the toll from their interests."
Salama Ahmed Salama observed in pro-government Al Ahram
(9/11): “As many anticipated the roadmap
collapsed, a result of American bias towards Israeli objectives combined with
the absence of international monitoring on the ground. Compounding the inevitability of failure was
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s blanket refusal to accept even the possibility
of a peaceful coexistence with Palestinians and the ever diminishing European
role, and the differences that broke out between the Palestinians.... The quarrel between Abbas and Arafat was not
only a dispute over control of the Palestinian security apparatus. The conflict was between two visions: one
posits that halting all resistance operations will convince the U.S. to
interfere on behalf of the Palestinians...the other has no faith in Israel
honoring its commitments or the U.S. pressuring it to do so. Events have shown that to trust American
promises regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict is foolhardy.... The U.S. undermined Abbas’ legitimacy by
attempting to force him to dismantle the Palestinian factions.... Unless there is a neutral international force
to monitor the situation and assess the responsibilities of each side, there
can be no peace.”
Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie wrote
(9/11): “The creation of a Palestinian
state conflicts with the beliefs of the fundamentalist Israeli right, which
reduces the Palestinian problem to the existence of an ‘alien’ people on part
of what they term ‘Greater Israel’....
For pragmatic reasons to do with perpetuation in power Sharon has sought
to ‘export’ his domestic tensions to the Palestinian side.... To the Sharon government calm is the number
one enemy.... For the Palestinians and
Arabs the truce was part of an inherently reciprocal political process intended
to facilitate the implementation of the roadmap; for Sharon it was a one-way
street and the job of the PA (Palestinian Authority), in his view, is to assist
Tel Aviv in ensuring the security of Israel....
It is little wonder, therefore, that Abu Mazen increasingly felt his
position untenable. To compound his
frustrations Washington made no efforts worth mentioning to pressure Israel
into meeting its obligations under the roadmap.... Naturally Arafat, the legitimately elected
President of his people, could not relinquish control over Palestinian
security.... [Abu Mazen] appealed to the
PA Legislative Council, setting a number of conditions that would have to be
met if he were to remain in power. This
decision, I believe, was ill-judged. Had
he succeeded a dangerous rift would have opened in the PA leadership.... All the wiser...was Arafat’s choice of Ahmed
Qurei to lead the Palestinian government....
Qurei will face many formidable challenges: unremitting Israeli aggression against the
Palestinian people; Sharon’s campaign to harm Arafat and Washington’s extreme
pro-Israeli bias, epitomized most recently in the decision to suspend the
roadmap, which dovetailed perfectly with Sharon’s designs.”
El-Sayed El-Naggar commented in aggressive pro-government Al
Akhbar (9/11): “Sharon has
reconfirmed the ability of Jews to design strife among nations for them to
control. Before Israel diverted the
Palestinians’ attention to their domestic strife, the basic issue was the
isolating wall, which created a crisis between the U.S. and Israel...and
incurred condemnation by the Quartet....
Finding itself in an impasse, Israel deemed it a must to stop
international support for Palestinians and to end world condemnation of
Israel.... Its plot has succeeded. We urge the world to be aware of the crime of
continuing to build the separating wall on the occupied Palestinian territories. Mainly, Palestinians should set differences
aside for the sake of the greater cause.”
Jeddah's English-language pro-government Saudi
Gazette declared (9/16): "The
world, particularly the West, has not reacted as strongly as it should have to
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement that killing Palestinian
President Yasser Arafat is an option for the Israeli government. Amidst the
deafening silence in the civilized world, there is one question that demands a
quick answer: is this how civilized nations behave, and if not, then should
Israel's behavior go unnoticed and unpunished?.... The Arabs wonder if this U.S. administration
would have reacted in exactly the same manner if a Palestinian official had
issued such a threat towards Sharon or some other Israeli official? A crime is a crime even if committed by a
senior government official. Punishment
for a crime cannot be according to the social status of criminals. The minimum punishment for Olmert should be
that he be sacked from the Israeli government.
The Arabs will see if the U.S. and Europe even makes such a
"Volcano Of Anger"
Jeddah's English-language pro-government Saudi Gazette
observed (9/14): "The world is
unanimous in condemning the Israeli intention to expel Arafat. The Palestinians
have warned that a volcano of anger will explode if Israel goes against their
leaders in an irresponsible manner. It
is the responsibility of the world, and primarily of the United States and
other members of the Quartet to not let the volcano erupt."
"A High Cost Decision"
Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum opined (9/13): "We do not want the U.S. administration,
in attempt to absorb the anger of the Palestinian people, to put pressure on
Israel to prevent implementing of this decision temporally but we want her to
exercise pressure on the right direct to force Israel to save the roadmap
plan.... The decision at the end of the
day represents an open challenge not only to the Palestinian Authority but also
to the resolve of the Palestinian people, all concluded agreements including
the Oslo agreement and the roadmap plan itself."
"The Palestinian People's Support For Arafat"
Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazira stated (9/13): "It is true that the Palestinian people
have no tanks, Apache helicopters nor missiles but they have determination and
resolve to thwart all Israeli actions and plans including the decision to expel
their leader and symbol Arafat.... Nevertheless,
Washington and other country's rejection of the decision will not stop its
"Immunity Is Political Not Military"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized
(9/11): "The fedayeen operations
are not the best way to re-gain the Palestinian rights. Israel, with its mighty military power, and
protection by international silence about its crimes, can easily wipe out Gaza
and the whole West Bank. Those who executed
the two operations on Tuesday, not only did they revenge for the assassination
of Abu Shanab, they revenged for the disgrace that hit Abu Mazen and his
government.... These operations were
retaliation to all the injustices and aggressions against every Palestinian
child, woman, and old man."
Sahar Baasiri noted in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/13): “When Sharon and his cabinet
decided to expel Arafat, he had no intention of giving Arafat a chance to
return to the limelight. However, his
decision backfired. Sharon’s decision to
expel Arafat means that he is at the end of his wits and knows that he had
tried everything with the Palestinians but it did not work. Sharon had assassinated, and surrounded and
destroyed and imprisoned the Palestinians but his tactics did not work.... Obviously, Sharon will never admit that his
policies have failed...so found himself having no other choice but to touch
Arafat personally. The reaction to the
Israeli decision to expel Arafat became a referendum for Arafat’s popularity
and legitimacy. The Palestinians, with
their different affiliations warned Israel not to touch Arafat. Great world capitals also warned Israel, and
most importantly, Washington itself opposed the decision...justifying its
position by indicating that Arafat should not be given a chance to travel
around the world.”
"What Is Behind The Liquidation Plans?"
Government-owned Tishreen argued
(9/14): "The Israeli plan to
liquidate Palestinian leaders and nationalist figures is publicized and well
known. Sharon's government has been publicly
speaking about this plan for months now and is currently working to implement
it through successive operations to assassinate the Intifada leaders and
cadre.... The latest Israeli decision to
expel Yaser Arafat from the occupied territories represents part of this
terrorist plan, which the Sharon government officially adopted. This clearly means that Israel's ultimate
goal is not Arafat or Palestinian leaders in and outside of the Palestinian
Authority, rather the entire Palestinian people. The Sharon government wants
the Palestinian people to be divided, weak, frustrated, and ready to accept
anything dictated to them. The Sharon
government believes that getting rid of Palestinian leaders through liquidation
and expulsion will have a direct negative impact on the Palestinian people's
activities and Intifada and undermine their ability to deal with any peace
efforts.... This view might be correct
in some aspects. However, Sharon and
the other extremists in his government overlooked the fact that it is the
Palestinian people who produced these political and field leaders and who are
able to produce substitutes for them everyday."
"Sharon's Government Is To Blame"
Izziddin Darwish commented in government-owned Tishreen
(9/11): "Sharon's government is directly responsible for the explosive
situation in the Palestinian Territories and for frustrating the Palestinian
people and making them lose trust in any peace initiative, including the
Roadmap which is also rejected by Sharon....
What should the Palestinian people do?
Should they surrender to the death, which comes from Israeli missiles
and tell Israeli forces they have accepted your occupation and have
relinquished our land and sovereignty?
This is impossible."
Editor Raouf Khalsi wrote in independent
French-language Le Temps (9/13):
“So Israel has decided to banish Arafat. The U.S. supported the idea of
excluding Arafat from the political scene.
Being heavily involved in the Iraqi issue, the U.S. allowed Sharon to
revive the cycle of violence, to sow the seeds of anger and to push the
Palestinian factions towards extreme radicalization. Though the U.S. reaction was against Arafat’s
expulsion, it still reflects its arrogance as it demonstrates an obsessional disdain
for the historic legitimacy that Arafat incarnates.”
“The Crime Of Silence!”
Editor-in-chief Mohsen Zoghlami commented in
independent Arabic-language As-Sabah (9/13): “If blame is to be directed at one side in
reference to the Israeli provocative and racist decision to expel Arafat, it
should be directed at the United States that unjustly supports the terrorist
government of Sharon.... Hence, the
declared American position that seems to disagree with the decision of Arafat’s
removal holds no real meaning since the U.S. is considered as a partner of
Israel in taking this decision.”
UAE: "Erasing The
Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab declared
(9/14): "It is obvious that the
Israeli government, led by the old war criminal, Sharon, is still overwhelmed
with its plans not only to expel the Palestinian president, but also to erase
any Palestinian from ruling Palestinian lands."
Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej editorialized
(9/13): "The international warnings
and responses to the dangers of expelling the Palestinian president lead Israel
to a real political crisis, especially with widespread agreement that he
(President Arafat) is the legimately elected representative of the Palestinian
people, and that the decision to expel him is considered 'a big mistake,' 'a
fatal hit for peace efforts,' and 'has no wisdom,' all which will lead to
'catastrophic consequences.' The
responses to Sharon's decision established that the Palestinian President is
the only legitimate political representative...for the Palestinian people, it
is hard to think of eliminating or disregarding him."
“U.S. Must Find Will For Peace”
An editorial in the business-oriented Australian Financial
Review read (9/11): “The Middle East
is teetering yet again on the brink of disaster. This is testing a U.S.
administration that has been unnerved by the near collapse of Middle East peace
efforts, by the continuing rash of suicide bombings in Israel and by
debilitating security challenges in liberated Iraq.... U.S. Middle East policy is under enormous
pressure. The administration is
struggling to make its case to Congress for additional funding for the
restoration of peace to, and reconstruction of, Iraq. The so-called roadmap to
Middle East peace...is in real danger of following other failed Middle East
peace initiatives and, worse, Israel and the Palestinians appear to be sliding
towards all out conflict.... A further
slide to violence seems inevitable unless Washington can rediscover the
enthusiasm for Middle East peace that led to its support of the road map. It needs to find the will to force the
parties back to the negotiating table.”
CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SARS): "A Fight To Exist"
The independent English-language Standard remarked
(9/13): "The international
community is right to condemn a decision by the Israeli security cabinet to
'expel' Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Removing Arafat would solve nothing and only harden the resolve of the
Palestinians. Perhaps now we should be
looking at an international solution as the U.S.-inspired 'road map to peace'
has clearly come to a dead end.... This
is not a question about Arafat. It is a question about the Palestinian people
and their right to exist as a people in their own homeland. No one today questions Israel's right to
exist. But its foundations are somewhat
questionable. Let us not forget that Palestine became an international issue
towards the end of World War I with the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. It was among several former Ottoman Arab
territories that were placed under the administration of Britain under...the
former League of Nations.... Over half
the Palestinian population either fled or were expelled from the new state of
Israel. And Israel has spent the last 55
years fighting to defend it. With the
road map in tatters, perhaps it is now time for the international community to
put right what it failed to do in 1947 with partition. And in doing so both Israel and the
Palestinians will have to make some painful concessions if peace is ever going
to come to the promised land."
"Removing Arafat Is No Solution"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
said (9/13): "Now, Israel wants to
remove a man who, for all his faults, remains the Palestinians' most revered
leader. He is both their elected
president and an emblem of their hopes for their own state. As fragile and hopeless as the peace process
now seems, removing Mr. Arafat will do nothing but kill it off
completely.... Any action to remove Mr.
Arafat now will thwart any hope that the new Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed
Qorei, might be able to form a cabinet and begin to inch towards peace. Mr. Qorei was endorsed by Mr. Arafat but he
is a committed moderate who seems willing to work for peace--and seems to know
how hard that will be. Progress will
depend on his ability to negotiate with and win concessions from both Israel
and Mr. Arafat. From Israel, he will
need guarantees of an end to the rising tide of retaliatory violence and
reasonable borders for the fence Israelis insist on building to separate
themselves from the Palestinians. From
Mr. Arafat, he will need co-operation in disarming groups such as Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. Mr. Qorei will have no
chance of accomplishing any of this if the Israelis go ahead with their
thuggish plan to exile, if not assassinate, the man many Palestinians look to
as their head of state and their representative to the world."
"New Palestinian Prime Minister's Road Is Dangerous And
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(9/13): "Ahmed Qorei has
participated in the peace process for a long time.... He has won the praise of the Palestinians,
who view him as a leader concerned about the hardships of the people. In the negotiations, Ahmed Qorei was seen as
a reasonable and good-natured individual.
Israel also has a good impression of him.... Although Ahmed Qorei is accepted by Arafat,
Palestinians and Israel, the difficulties that he faces will not be less than
those Abbas did.... The latest test
Ahmed Qorei has to face is that the Israeli security cabinet has agreed to
expel Arafat and urged the Israeli military to take corresponding action. The U.S. and the EU object to the decision. They believe that it will only exacerbate the
INDONESIA: “Desperation And
Frustration Would Intensify With Expulsion Of Arafat”
Leading independent Kompas commented
(9/15): “Desperation, frustration,
resentment, hostilities, violence, and aggressiveness would likely mount to
more dangerous levels should President Arafat be expelled. Israel’s threat to expel him has caused
strong criticism and protest from everywhere, including Indonesia.... The opportunities ahead would become uncertain
if Israel expels Arafat.... The most
dangerous consequence would be mounting threats of suicide bombings.”
INDIA: "No Rambo Act,
An editorial in centrist Indian Express read (9/15): "In a patently wrong move, Israel has proclaimed
a governmental decision to 'remove' President Yasser Arafat.... It is possible that the Israeli cabinet has
now assumed the mantle to champion the US doctrine of regime change as a
solution to political problems of dealing with even legitimate regimes. After all President Arafat is an elected
representative.... And it is not so long
ago that the Israeli government...had invited him to head the newly-formed
Palestine Authority in the occupied territories. It is not surprising, therefore, that the
world--including the US--has reacted in such strong terms.... Russia and the UK have slammed the decision
as one which would destroy the prospects of peace in the region while possibly
leading to an uncontrolled chain of events. The French president has termed the
decision a 'serious mistake'.... Arab
and Muslim opinion across the world, incensed by US war against Iraq, is
infuriated. The decision has almost immediately resulted in a predictable
response from the Palestinians.
Thousands have vowed to defend Arafat with their lives.... Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas had stepped down
in sheer frustration at the continuing violence from both sides only
recently. The events related to his exit
had demonstrated Arafat's profile as the unquestioned leader of the
Palestinians. It is not surprising therefore that Ahmed Korie, the nominated
prime minister, has suspended efforts to form a government signaling total
support for the man Israel seeks to remove. Israel would, therefore, be
well-advised to listen to world opinion and exercise restraint."
"Raising Arafat's Stock, Sharon-Style"
The nationalist Hindustan Times opined (9/15): "The decision...of the Ariel Sharon
government to 'remove' Arafat from his West Bank headquarters at Ramallah has
had a not unexpected effect. It has sent the Palestinian leader's stock soaring
among his people. Thus, if Tel Aviv had hoped to remove Arafat as a factor in
any negotiations so that the U.S.-directed 'roadmap' might have a chance yet,
it may have ended up doing precisely the opposite.... Analysts believe that while Sharon may well
take military action against Arafat to address public sentiment in his country
after last week's suicide bombings, he has been obliged to keep the timing of
the Palestinian leader's deportation open. This is on account of Washington's
current opposition to the idea, although it has no love lost for Arafat. The US
no doubt calculates that any drastic action against the symbol of Palestinian
resistance will inflame Arab opinion.
While Sharon...is clearly keen to have a go at Arafat as he believes
that he is 'our bin Laden'.... The US
might have to appear more even-handed if the 'roadmap' is to be given a lease
The Mumbai-based, left-of-center Free Press Journal noted
(9/11): "India's growing
cooperation with Israel, particularly in defense and strategic fields, is bound
to serve this nation's cause well.
Indeed, given that India too is a victim of terrorism exported by its
Islamic neighbor, Indo-Israeli friendship can prove mutually advantageous to
the two countries. If only Indian
politicians could learn to be as tough-minded and unbending in the face of the
most inhuman terrorist acts perpetrated by anyone anywhere in the
world.... Anyone willing to help India
bolster its external and internal defenses against foreign aggression and
internal subversion should be most welcome. Those opposing the Sharon visit are
still living in a time warp even though their ideological masters in Moscow had
long ago shed their blinkers and begun to assess their relationship with Israel
on a more realistic basis. Divisive domestic politics ought not to intrude in
the conduct of foreign relation. The
opponents of the Sharon visit need to update their views in consonance with the
supreme national interest."
The Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times
editorialized (9/16): "If Mr.
Arafat is killed, the bloodletting will not be confined to a small area. It will spread far and wide and the United
States will be caught in the burning fires inevitably. That is another reason why the Bush
administration needs to leash Mr. Sharon in the larger interest of the United
States itself and the world community."
"Threat Of Yasir Arafat's Assassination"
Sensationalist, pro-Jihad Urdu-language Ummat thundered
(9/16): "Besides its self-styled
roadmap to peace, the United States has adopted the policy of removing any
hurdle that comes in its way for the achievement of its objectives. The United States has now decided to get rid
of 74-year-old Yasir Arafat who symbolized the soul of jihad in the
independence movement against Israel just for the sake of the U.S."
The liberal Mercury commented (9/16): "The United States, the European Union
and Russian need to exercise every bit of leverage possible on the Israeli
government to prevent its resorting to truly desperate measures in its
confrontation with Palestinian militants.
When the Israeli deputy prime minister can speak of killing...Arafat as
an option...it is time for the world to really worry.... Such an action would convulse the entire
Middle East. Moderate Arab governments
that have supported the peace process would be unable to ignore the fury of the
streets. A potent new martyr would be
instantly created. It could set back the
peace process a long time.... There is
no alternative to the time-consuming and frustrating process of seeking out and
engaging the moderate elements on either side."
"Israel, Arafat And The Fate Of Peace In The Mideast"
Abdallah Katunzi wrote in anti-government
Kiswahili-language tabloid Majira (9/15): "After President Bush initiated the
‘roadmap', there was hope that this initiative would succeed in ending the
long-lasting Israeli/Palestinian conflict. However, despite the peace plan’s
noble goals, there is still a long way to go before peace comes to this
troubled region. But a recent statement
by the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofat could threaten the successful
implementation of the ‘roadmap’ peace plan. Mofat...claims that Israel made a
grievous mistake by not expelling Arafat in the last two years. Mofat’s
statement begs some questions. Was he speaking as a private person or as a
government minister? Is the timing of this statement a coincidence or is it
deliberate? While the Israeli government
accuses Palestinians of hindering this peace plan and previous ones,
Palestinian officials charge that Israeli constant attacks on Palestine are the
real obstacles to peace. Mofat’s
statement will obviously increase tension...and Israel is to blame for this
predicament. This statement should be condemned in the strongest terms. All
concerned parties should sit down and continue with the peace talks for the
benefit of all.... This is not the time
to incite hatred and disturbances in an area where tensions are already high.
The international community should exercise its responsibility and take to task
all those that are bent on torpedoing the peace process in this crisis prone
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press reflected (9/15): “The question is...is [Arafat] the solution
or the problem to peace between Israel and the Palestinians? At one time, not
so many years ago, that question might have been phrased differently. It might
have asked what role Mr. Arafat could play in peace between the Israelis and
the Arabs. That question is not really relevant any longer. With the possible
exception of Syria--and even Syria is a very doubtful case--there is no longer
any Arab government that has a serious interest in a war with Israel. The problem
is the Palestinians. Having nurtured them as a weapon against Israel for more
than 50 years, the Arabs now find that they will just not go away. Having
funded and supported Mr. Arafat for almost as long, they find now that he will
not go away, and that creates a problem for every party concerned, but
particularly for the Arabs, the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. Mr.
Arafat's record indicates that he has no real interest in a peace
agreement.... The Israelis are almost
certainly right that if he were out of the way, the road map to peace would be
easier to follow. Unfortunately, he is not out of the way. He can not be put
out of the way by Israel without making things worse. Arab governments could,
however, marginalize him. The road to peace in Palestine begins not in
Jerusalem or Ramallah; it begins in the capitals of the Arab world.”
"Wrong Way To Deal With Yasser Arafat"
The leading Globe and Mail contended (9/13): "For the past two years, Israel and the
United States have done their level best to marginalize Yasser Arafat, and with
good reason. The president of the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly proven
himself both incompetent and mendacious. And, although he has clung stubbornly
to power--undermining his fledgling and now former prime minister, Mahmoud
Abbas, stymieing any real effort to confront Palestinian terrorist groups--it
has often appeared the grizzled survivor's days in power were finally numbered.
Thursday night, with its staggeringly ill-considered decision to 'remove' Mr.
Arafat, the Israeli security cabinet wound back the clock. In that single act,
it transformed him from an aging, ailing, isolated has-been into a populist
hero and potential martyr.... Israel's
deep frustration with Mr. Arafat is entirely understandable.... Eventually it became clear to all who dealt
with him, including many within his own ranks, that Mr. Arafat could not be
trusted.... Behind the scenes, though,
he continued to wield considerable power....
It would have been naive to think Mr. Abbas's designated successor,
Ahmed Qureia, would be treated any differently. Without question, Mr. Arafat
had to be confronted. But not like this. For now, Mr. Qureia's job has become
immeasurably more difficult. Mr. Arafat suddenly is back at centre stage. Governments
around the world, including the United States, have demanded that he not be
harmed or expelled. His own people are rallying to his cause. Whatever else he
may be, he is no longer sidelined. And the goal of a lasting Mideast peace has
become all the more elusive as a result."
"Israel Has Put Off The Removal Of Arafat As Long As It
David Warren commented in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen
(9/13): "It is...clear from the
polls in Israel that the country demands the removal of Mr. Arafat, who is
their single most deadly and dangerous enemy. The threat he offers has grown
larger than that of Osama or Saddam to the U.S. And if the Israeli military has
finally been ordered to directly attack Hamas and other terrorist leaders, why
not remove the queen bee from the hive? The world will wail, and undoubtedly
the Arab Street will fill.... Colin
Powell, will utter sombre statements. President Bush himself either has or has
not expressed himself to Prime Minister Sharon privately. And the removal of Mr. Arafat will be, at
least in the short term, extremely inconvenient to immediate American interests
throughout the region. But it will also strike to the heart of the long-term
problem, as did the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It will compel the Palestinians to form
a new leadership, and it will communicate the Israeli will to survive to the
Arab world at large. No single act since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq
is likely to have a more positive actual effect on regional security--after the
debris has cleared."
“Father Of Fear”
The right-of-center Calgary Herald observed (9/9): “Abbas's resignation is a win for Palestinian
hardliners and a setback for U.S. President George W. Bush's road-map peace
plan. That required the Palestinian Authority to restrain Hamas and Islamic
Jihad terrorists from striking Israel from within its borders; clearly, there
is little hope of that happening while Arafat continues to pull the strings.
For, by denying Abbas control of Palestine's security organizations, Arafat
effectively prevented him from confronting those who desire Israel's
destruction. Abbas and Arafat have thus been at crossed purposes from the
start, with Arafat enjoying greater popular support, thanks to his relentless
propaganda urging Palestinians to accept nothing less than a state which
includes all of Israel. Given the stakes, the road-map demand for a moderate
Palestinian leader such as Abbas was worth a try. Sadly, it has shown that
peace cannot precede Arafat's forced retirement and with it, the corking of his
unique vial of ideological poison.”
Violence In The Middle East"
An editorial in leading Clarin read (9/15): "Through his decision to expel Arafat
from the Palestinian autonomous territory, the Sharon administration explicitly
brings back the Middle East conflict to a status similar to the time before the
Oslo accords.... The decision to respond
every suicide attack with retaliation will spark greater resentment and pain
among the Palestinian people, therefore mixing victims with murderers. This
dynamic has unleashed a cycle of violence that will certainly worsen if the
threat to expel Arafat from Palestine is fulfilled."
BRAZIL: "Worse Without
Right-of-center O Globo
editorialized (9/14): "It's
impossible to predict with certainty what the consequences of Arafat's expulsion from the Palestinian
territories would be, but it would certainly be a way to keep peace in the
region further away rather than closer.
To simply leave the old leader destitute would make him more
dangerous to Israel, as former
prime-minister Shimon Peres has warned....
To remove Arafat from the
Palestinian territories would not only make him a living legend but also create an extremely dangerous
leadership gap. A even worse mistake the
Israeli government promises to commit is to
assassinate Arafat, which would turn him into a martyr.... To expel Arafat would only make the conflict
even more unsolvable today. The fact is that while Yasser Arafat is far
from being Israel's ideal interlocutor, he has no substitutes at the
moment. One can hope that a more
authentic leader, more interested in attaining peaceful coexistence with Israelis
may appear...or then to give up waiting and negotiate with Arafat himself. But to remove him by force hoping that the
gap will soon be filled by a new, better
leader--what other intention may the Israeli
government have?--would be to trust the dangerous illusion that peace
may emerge from chaos."
Conservative, influential, Santiago-based newspaper-of-record El
Mercurio opined (9/14): "As
long as Palestinians are unsure that their territory will have
continuity--without Jewish settlements--and as long as Israelis continue to
fear that thousands of Arabs will return to their state, turning them into a
minority, no government will be able to guarantee peace in the Middle
Top national El Tiempo observed
(9/10): "Abu Ala ‘Ahmed Qureia’
finally accepted becoming the Palestinian Prime Minister.... Maybe this fact is enough to give a second
chance to the Road Map.... The truth is
that under present conditions there are few reasons to be optimistic.”