International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 22, 2004

April 22, 2004





**  Global dailies claim Washington's "sumptuous support" abetted Rantisi's killing.

**  Left-leaning papers contend Israel's "unilateral" policy of force goes too far. 

**  Israel's "blatant act of recklessness" will only "extend the spiral of violence." 

**  Pro-Israel outlets say Rantisi's assassination "serves the cause of peace."




The U.S. must 'hold PM Sharon in check'--  Euro analysts judged the timing of Hamas leader Rantisi's killing "potentially explosive" for the U.S. because, coming just after Sharon's visit, it appeared to have Washington's "blanket endorsement."  Muslim writers far more bluntly blasted Bush's "indiscreet, unjust, unwarranted and immoral support of Israel's criminal conduct," assailing the "blank check from Washington" for Israel's "brutal and terrorist policies."  Kuwait's independent Al-Qabas blamed U.S. "political debauchery and arrogance" for creating what Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Bilad termed an "ugly partnership of state terrorism between the U.S. and the Zionist entity."  Palestinian dailies found it "unlikely" that Israel will halt its "brutal practices" given how America "supports it financially, militarily and politically." 


Israel needs to 'scale down hostilities' and avoid 'escalation'--  "Israel's determination to impose its own order on Palestine" fueled criticism from liberal writers around the globe.  South Africa's This Day judged Israel's assassinations to be "flagrant violations of international law," while France's Liberation agreed such "outlaw" actions are illegal.  Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo concluded that Israel has "given up pursuing a peace accord."  Dutch and Belgian papers found Rantisi's "arbitrary execution...unworthy of a parliamentary democracy," seeing in it proof of Israel's "moral decay." 


'An overwhelming barrage of violent Palestinian reprisal' is coming--  Observers agreed that such attacks "strengthen motivation to take revenge" among Palestinians, and predicted "greater violence and chaos."  Indonesia's Muslim-intellectual Republika advised the world not to blame the Palestinians if "more shahid [martyr] bombs strike."  Euro editorialists worried that violent revenge for Rantisi will occur in "suitable places in the West or Asia"; Austria's liberal Der Standard warned "somewhere, at some point, someone will pay the price."  Several Arab writers blamed their leaders' "impotence and cowardice" for Rantisi's death; Qatar's semi-independent Al-Raya averred "our weakness...led to this pathetic situation." 


'Bumping off Rantisi was justified'--  Hungarian, Czech and Israeli observers asserted that Israelis seek only to "protect themselves" from the "attacks of fanatical terrorists."  Russian papers backed the operation, concluding that the "civilized world is waging a war on terror."  Business-oriented Kommersant noted that "Israel has been spared terrorist acts" since the death of Hamas' previous leader.  The conservative Jerusalem Post dismissed critics who demand Israel "take no measure in its self-defense except to arrest suicide bombers" when they reach Israel, calling that "no defense at all."   


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 88 reports from 40 countries over 17 - 21 April 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "An Assassination That The World Must Condemn"


The center-left Independent editorialized (4/19):  "If anyone doubted Israel's determination to impose its own order on Palestine, its assassination of the new Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, a month after the killing of his predecessor, should have made it abundantly clear....  The U.S. alone declined to criticise Israel's action, but Downing Street's silence--leaving Jack Straw to issue the usual disapproval--gave an unequivocal signal.  After the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, Britain abstained on a UN resolution criticising Israel.  It would send a powerful sign that international law must be upheld if, when a repeat resolution is proposed this week, Britain and other European countries were to offer their support."


FRANCE:  "The Strategy Of Vacuum"


Charles Lambroschini noted in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/19):  “Sharon has every intention of doing a major clean up among the terrorists’ ranks....  But the assassination of Rantissi goes well beyond that. In spite of international protests, the Israelis are creating a vacuum....  Sharon is not only recycling President Bush’s strategy of preventive defense, which President Bush had adopted in order to justify his assault on Saddam Hussein....  Sharon is set on not repeating Barak’s past mistake....  The Israeli Prime Minister has increased the number of targeted assassinations sending out the message to the Palestinians that their only choice is to give in. Unfortunately, instead of giving up, Hamas will go even more underground, with its military arm expanding in the civilian population....  Sharon is essentially concerned with succeeding on the domestic front....  Mostly, nothing proves that Sharon will be able to ‘terrorize’ the terrorists. Hamas is not an organization that can be paralyzed simply by cutting off its head. Hamas is not a pyramid....  Israel’s logic of vendetta promises the worst for the future.”


"Lethal Weapon"


Patrick Sabatier remarked in left-of-center Liberation (4/19):  “Rantissi’s assassination should not be a surprise.  But that should not keep us from finding fault with Israel’s outlaw action. Not only are such executions illegal, the effectiveness of this lethal weapon remains doubtful....  The war against Hamas is part of Sharon’s unilateral forceful policy. And President Bush, in a surprising turn around, has just given Sharon his undivided support....  The elimination of Saddam Hussein was supposed to open the door to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But the fact is that one year later, the situation in Iraq is not good, and that ‘progress’ between the Israelis and the Palestinians is ‘one way.’  If one wanted to turn the Middle East into a time bomb, this is exactly how one should go about it.”


GERMANY:  "The Kingdom Of Shadows"


Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/19):  "One result of Rantisi's liquidation will be that the names of his successors will remain secret.  They will plan more terror attacks from the underground.  They will be more difficult to identify than Sheik Yassin or Rantisi....  After Sharon's planned withdraw, Gaza will become Hamas land directed from a hidden leadership, which is what Sharon wanted to avert.  It is difficult to conceive that Egypt, an area of mounting social problems and hatred, could play a pacifying role in this process.   It is also hard to imagine that Rantiti's targeted killing won't be avenged.  It might not happen in Israel itself.  There are enough 'suitable' places in the West and Asia, where they could attack.  Some of the recent violence in Iraq was explicitly linked to the liquidation of Sheik Yassin....  Above all, the American President unnecessarily and against the openness of the Middle East peace process, the road map, accepted these facts--keeping the large settlements for all eternity.  To Palestinians and Arabs this is an unbearable establishment of an illegal possession of land."


"Nothing New In Gaza"


Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/19):  "Israeli civilians will pay the price for their government's policy of fueling the circle of violence.  Sharon cannot kill so many terrorists like he is causing with his policy.  Even if Israel succeeds in weakening Hamas by killing its leadership, it cannot defeat Palestine terror with it.  On the contrary: the quagmire won't dry up but is watered.  Sharon will never understand that his believe in strength bringing security is false.  As long as there is nobody in Washington who tells him that, we can expect more of this violent policy."


ITALY:  "The Blood-Stained Check"


Igor Man judged in centrist, influential La Stampa (4/19):  “The blank check that Bush gave Sharon was immediately stained with blood.  The elimination of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Sheik Yassin’s successor, has upset Bush’s ‘epochal shift.’  The behavior of the president of the single world power is perplexing....  By praising and supporting Sharon’s plan, the U.S. has thrown away all moral scruples.  The Palestinians are no longer counterparts, rather sons of no one.  It’s a historic mistake to allow the U.S. and Israel to decide the Palestinians’ destiny....  This ‘epochal shift’ runs the risk of worsening the disaster that is occurring in the Middle East.  A greater disaster will be avoided only if Old Europe steps in with its logic and ancient experience.  But Europe seems to be standing by quietly watching events that are bigger than she is.”


"Sharon’s Road Roller"


Guido Olimpio opined in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (4/18):  “With his renowned tactical ability, Prime Minister Sharon took advantage of the current international situation.  The Madrid attacks and the hostage crisis in Iraq--it’s cynical to say so, but it’s true--favored the killing of Rantisi....  Israel clearly benefited from Washington’s clear and determined support for the withdrawal plan.  Sharon’s recent mission to the White House clearly ended with a victory for the Jewish state and for a harsh defeat of the Palestinian Authority.  Many say that the U.S. is no longer an ‘impartial arbitrator’ for the two eternal enemies.”


RUSSIA:  "Out-Of-Court War"


Reformist Izvestiya stated (4/19):  "There is often no alternative to pinpoint strikes in fighting Rantisi, Basayev, Bin Laden, Yandarbiyev, Mullah Omar and their ilk.  The civilized world is waging a war on terror.  Neither we nor the Israelis nor the Americans started this war.  We have had to defend ourselves.  You don't fight a war in a 'white dinner jacket and kid gloves' and, once drawn into a fight, you can't do without pinpoint strikes or out-of-court executions.  We wish we could take Shamil Basayev alive and bring him to trial.  But with Basayev, just like with Bin Laden, the finale will most likely be out-of-court."


"Rantisi's Death Serves Cause Of Peace"


Andrey Kolesnikov commented in business-oriented Kommersant (4/19):  "It is amazing how many people have reacted to the Rantisi assassination.  Muslims are agitated.  But then, they have always been like that.  The Christians are agitated, too.  Too many condemn the terrorist act.  The EU's Foreign Minister Javier Solana, for one, has called it unacceptable.  This is the man, formerly NATO's Secretary General, who once unconditionally supported the carpet bombings of Yugoslavia....  The Russian Foreign Ministry is touchingly evasive.  You'll agree that, after the tragic deaths of Mr. Yandarvbiyev and Mr. Khattab, it would have been strange to hear it speak of the Rantisi assassination being fraught with more violence....  As a matter of fact, Abdel Aziz Rantisi does not need anyone to stick up for him.  Explaining why the Israelis had tried and failed to kill him many times, Rantisi said that Allah did not want him dead....  Abdel Aziz Rantisi died a good death, one that serves the cause of peace.  Indeed, Israel has been spared terrorist acts ever since the death of Hamas's previous leader nearly a month ago."


AUSTRIA:  "Free Rein For Sharon"


Gudrun Harrer observed in liberal Der Standard (4/19):  ”Within the Israeli-Palestinian context, it came as no surprise that three weeks after the 'liquidation’ of Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin the Israeli army also eliminated his successor Abdel Aziz Rantisi.  Still, one can only marvel at how little consideration Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon has for his American friends....  The timing of Rantisi’s ‘targeted killing’ is potentially explosive:  no one will believe that it was not discussed with George Bush, or at least given a blanket endorsement by the U.S. president’s recent concession enabling Sharon to ‘take action against terrorist groups'....  Indeed, Sharon is the only one who actually profits from the U.S.' dramatic weakness in Iraq....  Many people in Israel are now hoping that Sharon’s unilateral move will result in an end to the stagnation...the elimination of Hamas’ leadership seems to be part of that plan.  Any references to international law by the UN, the EU and others are nothing but necessary as well as helpless pleas, as long as the only remaining superpower--the USA--also continues to move outside international legal norms....  Israel pointed out that since Yassin’s death Hamas has failed to carry out any massive retaliation strikes.  Perhaps, hopefully, things will remain quiet in Israel.  But somewhere, at some point, someone will pay the price.”


BELGIUM:  "Israeli State Terrorism"


Frank Schloemer wrote in independent De Morgen (4/19):  "As always Washington is hiding behind the principle that Israel is only taking care of its own security, that it has the right to defend itself and that the White House was not informed beforehand.  In that manner the United States implicitly approved Israel's state terrorism for the umpteenth time and encouraged Ariel Sharon to continue his actions....  Such actions are totally counterproductive and very bad for Israel's already very negative image in the world.  The Arab world--not to mention the Palestinians themselves--is radicalizing further and a call for revenge is in the air everywhere.  Even moderate Arab states that have a peace agreement with the Jewish state are turning farther and farther away from Israel....  Israel must stop this type of actions--above all for reasons of self-interest.  It is true that Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis, including children, and that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens against terrorist attacks.  But, Israel does not have the right to murder arbitrarily and to  preventively eliminate leaders of other groups outside its borders.  Even if al-Rantissi had human lives on his conscience, he had the right to a normal trial and verdict like any murderer.  This arbitrary execution is not only a violation of international law but also unworthy of a parliamentary democracy.  Israel is a parliamentary democracy--the only one in the Middle East--but that does not give the Sharon government the right to put itself above all international norms.  Sharon's actions only extend the spiral of violence and turn against his own country."


CROATIA:  "Rantisi's Death For Bloody Future"


Antun Masle wrote in Zagreb-based mass-circulation Jutarnji list (4/20):  "What are the predictions?  Compared to Hamas and the overall Palestinian resistance movement, the Israeli army looks like Star Wars.  Even though it surrounds Palestine with a triple ring, even though Palestinians have not undertaken a single effective revenge operation since Yassin’s murder, assessments are that summer and fall in Israeli cities will be bloody.  Unrests in neighboring Syria are possible too, along with the explosion of violence in Iraq.  And the Arab world will at any cost try to help in preventing the reelection of George Bush.”




Jiri Hanak noted in center-left Pravo (4/20):  "If the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden, would it be a terrorist act done by a state, or an act of prevention within the war on terrorism?  Was the killing of Reinard Heydrich also state terrorism, or was it an act of self-defense from a man who openly said the Czechs have no right to live in this part of Europe?  The Israeli army killed the second Hamas leader, Rantisi, a man who--just like his predecessor Yasini--claimed that Israel should be destroyed.  Europe has deplored the act, but the U.S. has accepted it.  Who is right? In the wars of 1967 and 1973, Israel was fighting for its life.  The then-Palestinian leader Shukeiri said: “The Jews who will survive may stay.  However, I don’t expect any to survive.” It is tempting to say that whatever the Israelis do in their defense, they do it right.  Israel will withdraw from Gaza, but it will keep some settlements in the proposed Palestinian territory.  Can you do what you deny the others? Is not the Israeli government also helping to power the carousel of bloodshed?"


“Hamas For The Second Time”


Milan Vodicka commented in leading, centrist MF Dnes (4/19):  “By all means, the chair of the leader of Palestinian Hamas is the 'hottest chair' for any boss all over the world.   The situation in the Middle East is getting more severe although it always looks as if it cannot get any worse.  It seems that the Israelis, depressed by the attacks of fanatical terrorists, are trying another desperate tactic to protect themselves....  The target is obvious: without a leader, organized and directed terrorists become only a grouping of undirected and unorganized terrorists...who would subsequently lose strength.  And why now? Notice that, unlike its British allies, the U.S. has condemned neither the killing of Yassin nor of Rantisi.  By doing so, it is sending a certain message to Muslims: You are not helping us with Iraq we will not help you with Israel.  Israelis listen to this and they strive to build up their defense line as long as they have time for it.”


HUNGARY:  "Abnormal Times"


Liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap editorialized (4/19):  "It is not a nice thing to hunt people with a missile.  As a matter of fact, hunting at people with whatever is, in general, an absolutely awful and unacceptable thing.  But the Middle East can't be listed among the so-called normal regions of the world since a long time.  And the Hamas leader's liquidation has to 'be placed' into this [irregular] part of the world.  Rantisi was, though, a terrorist.  He was a terrorist similar to the other terrorists who did 9/11, Madrid or Bali.  He was threatening with a bloodbath after the murder of Sheik Jasin.  If we look at Rantisi's death from the said point of view and if we also consider the objective fact that it was practically impossible to capture him, than his assassination can even be interpreted as [Israel's] self-defense.  And anybody can still condemn Sharon's methods, while it should not be forgotten that this is the game of two sides.  They both have set human lives as stake."


NETHERLANDS:  "Death In Gaza"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant declared (4/19):  "Aside from the moral decay inherent to the political assassination, the big question is whether Israel will achieve anything with this in Gaza.  In the first instance, Hamas' leadership will be de-regulated but no one needs to have illusions about the broad reaction among the Palestinian people.  Hamas enjoys broad support and this will only grow and become more grim."


"Senseless Revenge"


Centrist Algemeen Dagblad maintained (4/19):  "No one needs to shed a tear about the fate of extremist Muslim leaders who are literally and figuratively speaking prepared to go over dead bodies in order to establish an Islamic state on the rubbles of Israel.  However, the question is whether elimination of terrorist leaders will reduce motivation for terror and whether it will bring peace any closer.  The answer to this question is:  no.  As long as Israel prefers revenge to political negotiations with the Palestinians, those who do not identify themselves with Hamas, and as long as Israel does not discuss their fate with them rather than with the U.S., attacks on Hamas leaders will not contribute to peace.  These attacks will only strengthen the motivation to take revenge and lead to more bloodshed."


NORWAY:  "Roadmap For War"


Independent VG maintained (4/17):  "Israel assassinated the Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi....  After the sensational turnaround by President George W. Bush last week, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. government expressed great understanding over the murder of the Hamas leader....  Here it is power that rules. The UN, EU and others may condemn Israel for all they're worth. Prime Minister Sharon has secured the necessary political backing from the one country that really counts in this matter."


SWEDEN:  "A Dangerous Strategy"


Malmo-based liberal independent Sydsvenskan remarked (4/19):  "Israel has, since last summer, in targeted actions, killed three of the most colorful leaders of Hamas...and now the Palestinian areas are burning with hatred and implacability, and there is talk of ‘a volcano of revenge.’  To believe in the, so-called, roadmap to peace or other peace initiatives, given the situation, seems unrealistic.  Sharon is pushing the peace further away, and unfortunately President Bush has placed the U.S. ‘off-side’ with regards to the Mideast issue....  But Sharon’s imprudent rampaging must not result in the portraying al-Rantassi a better person than he actually was.  The Hamas leader was an uncompromising terrorist and an accessory to many of the more than 110 suicide bombings that since September 2000 have resulted in dead and mutilated civilian Israelis.  This indiscriminate murdering possibly can explain the Israeli desperation....  If the citizens of Israel have to face the alternatives to either give up their country or die, it is not at all remarkable that they offer resistance.  But this does not excuse Sharon’s choice of strategy.”


TURKEY:   "The Middle East Provoked"


Mim Kemal Oke opined in conservative, mass-appeal DB-Tercuman (4/21):  "Israel is pursuing an extermination strategy against Hamas.  However, the real intention is to provoke Hamas into fanatical actions that will expose to the international community the viciousness of Palestinians and will also give Israel a pretext to retaliate....  Hamas has remained silent thus far....  The EU has not approved the occupation of Iraq by the US.  President Bush would like to end the foreign policy isolation the US has been facing after the war with Iraq....  The upcoming presidential election in the US is a determining factor as well.  Bush, who is being challenged seriously by Kerry, feels obliged to play for the Jewish vote."


"A Looming Catastrophe"


Fehmi Koru wrote in Islamist/opinion maker Yeni Safak (4/19):  "The Israeli violence in Palestine is disrupting global balances....  How can the US expect people who are horrified by the events in Palestine to have appreciation for the Greater Middle East project--an initiative the Americans have been developing as an exit strategy in their fight against terrorism.  Sharon has exploited to the utmost the upcoming presidential elections in the US.  The extent of Bush's tolerance for Tel Aviv is taking him to the end of the road in politics by deepening his difficulties in Iraq.  It seems that catastrophe is at the doorstep for Bush."




ISRAEL:  "Don't Let Terror Ruin Things"


Yoel Marcus asserted in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (4/20):  "Bumping off Rantisi was justified.  I doubt that even the heads of the Palestinian Authority, including Dahlan, shed a tear over his death....  [Anyway], Hamas wants to reap the fruit of Israel's unilateral withdrawal and evacuation of settlement in Gaza, presenting it as a victory for the group.  Israel must be on its guard not to get sucked into this game....  Sharon has launched a dramatic initiative to withdraw Israeli forces and clear out 20 settlements in the Gaza Strip--a move that President Bush has described as an historic about-face and the first stage in implementing the road map on the way to establishing a Palestinian state.  We must take care that terror--of which there will be more--and our disproportionate responses to it, do not endanger the disengagement plan or cause the Sharon administration, which is not bowled over by the plan in any case, to turn against it....  Now is the time for Sharon the statesman to eclipse Sharon the general, and the forum of five to act like a political cabinet rather than a subsidiary of the General Staff.  Terror must not be allowed to torpedo the first political initiative in years to offer a small glimmer of hope for a better future."


"The Motivation Behind The Missile"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz contended (4/19):  "Knocking off Hamas leaders is not, in itself, policy.  If these acts aggravate risks faced by Israel and its citizens, they are wrong.  Conversely, if they are likely to restrain Hamas and lead it toward the route of a cease-fire (which disappeared rapidly last summer) and encourage the organization to work out practical arrangements with the Palestinian Authority prior to the withdrawal of IDF troops and settlements from Gaza--then the assassinations should not be ruled out.  An echo of this approach can be heard in the White House....  Even if it is possible to identify substantive arguments to justify the Rantisi assassination, the timing of the act raises skepticism about the motives of those who decided to carry it out.  Sharon was eager to arrive at Sunday's cabinet meeting--and to influence whether top Likud ministers who have expressed reservations about his disengagement plan will join active opponents of the plan or be content to issue vacuous statements--with a military success under his belt."


"Justified And Productive"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post asserted (4/19):  "Will the British foreign minister explain why the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein was justified and 'productive,' but the killing of Abdel Aziz Rantisi was not?  All three are, or were, leaders of what the British government defines as terrorist organizations....  To follow the minister's pronouncements to their logical conclusion, Israel may take no measure in its self-defense except to arrest suicide bombers when they reach Israeli soil, which is as good as no defense at all.  Alternatively, he believes Israel must resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the failure of the PA to take steps against terrorist organizations and the evidence that it is deeply implicated in terrorist activity."


"Assassination For Disengagement Purposes"


Alex Fishman held in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/18):  "If any such thing as a 'positive assassination' exists, then Abdel Aziz Rantisi's assassination warrants that term.  That is because the removal of Rantisi from the arena is likely to produce a far more substantial change in the performance of Hamas in Gaza than the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.  Rantisi needed to disappear quickly if only because he threw the gates of Gaza wide open to direct Iranian influence....  Assassinating leaders on its own serves no purpose, unless the weakening of the organization they headed is exploited to promote political goals.  Should the Palestinian Authority rise to the occasion and take responsibility in the Gaza Strip as a result of Hamas's weakened state, should Egypt, Jordan and other moderate Arab countries encourage and bolster constructive elements in the Gaza Strip to take responsibility and to rehabilitate life there after the Israeli withdrawal, should Israel rise to the occasion to strengthen those elements in the Gaza Strip that have the ability to assume responsibility--then these assassinations will prove to have been efficacious.  Rantisi's assassination does not change Hamas' desire for revenge in the least."


WEST BANK:  "By Assassinating Rantisi, Will Israel Achieve Its Objectives?"


Talal Okal commented in independent Al-Ayyam (4/19):  "Once again, the whole world except the U.S condemned the Israeli aggression [the killing of Rantisi and his companions]....  As we all know, the Israeli aggression against Palestinians is part of the unilateral plan, which the U.S. has approved and adopted.  Thus it is unlikely that these brutal Israeli practices will stop; rather we should expect more....  No matter what it does, Israel will not accomplish anything by uprooting Hamas, or any other Palestinian movement.  It [Israel] will not be able to destroy the resistance or its capacities, especially if the real motive behind this resistance--the occupation--continues to exist....  Israel and the U.S. should understand that this vicious aggression will only deepen hatred and enmity against them, and will shatter the hope for peace."


"After Washington Is Informed, What's Next?"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (4/19):  "The American reaction expressed by NSA Rice following the assassination crime against Rantisi, in which she stated that Washington was not informed about plans to kill Rantisi and that Israel has the right to self defense, provokes anger and re-emphasizes that, just like other officials in the American administration, Rice tries to underestimate the intelligence of the Arab nation and the whole world in general.  Such remarks are an attempt to conceal the American role that obviously sides with Israel and supports it financially, militarily and politically in addition to protecting it against the international community's will....  If Rice was not informed, now she is.  Sharon has renewed his threats to commit more assassinations....  Since it now knows, what will the American administration do?"


"Israelizing America"


Hafez Barghouti noted in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (4/19):  "No one talks about the assassination of Rantisi without mentioning an American association with this awful crime.  Indeed, the American administration has not hidden its support [to Israel], and describes Hamas as a terrorist organization to give Israel the right to defend itself....  I believe the 'Israelization' of America started right after the September 11 events, and then Israel got America involved in Iraq as an occupier, where it has been copying and applying Israeli methods....  Perhaps Bush's latest remarks clear the way for a new stage of the Zionist initiative to increase its hostility against the region...and perhaps the American calamity in Iraq is rising due to [America's] following Israeli advice in terms of spreading religious and ethnic Iraq."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "American-Zionist Terrorism Partnership"


Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad stated (4/19):  "Today the world suffers from an ugly partnership of state terrorism between the U.S. and the Zionist entity....  The American statement that agreed that the Israel has the right to defend itself demonstrated a partnership of terrorism.  This partnership plans to inflame the region and make war against the Arab world.  The hideous murder of Rantissi was an a clear green light by Washington....  The Zionist-Nazi crimes in the occupied Palestine parallel the crimes of the American occupation in Iraq....  Fallujah has turned into a mass graveyard for about 800 Iraqi martyrs who were killed in cold blood during one week. When will this unjust war end?  How can we explain this war if it is not a war against Islam and Arabs? Isn’t it really a clash between cultures?"         


"Green Light Leading To Death"


Jeddah’s moderate Okaz remarked (4/19):  "America says 'Israel has the right to defend itself against any ‘terrorist’ organization like Hamas!!'

In diplomatic terms this ‘rude’ justification is a continuation of the Green Light strategy that the U.S. has given Israel.  Normally a green light at a traffic intersection means proceed, you’re safe.  But in this case the green light means go ahead with your death and assassination plans.  This U.S. comment is nothing but a gross violation of Palestinian and Arab rights."


"Rantissi’s Murder"


The English-language pro-government Arab News declared (4/19):  "Ariel Sharon’s apologists say that the killing of Abdelaziz Al-Rantissi was designed as a blow against Hamas terrorists.  That is a twisted lie.  The murder of Rantissi was itself an act of terrorism--cold and calculated.  Israel wants to encourage more violence and drive the Middle East ever further into chaos....  Israel pretends it is exacting targeted, surgical revenge for suicide bombings.  It knows perfectly well that nothing could be better calculated to bring on further bloody attacks....  With every new humiliation the Israelis heap on the Palestinians, radical organizations find new and eager recruits.  The radicals seem to many the only way that a crushed and violated people can strike back at their mighty oppressor....  But there are two laws in the Middle East.  One for the Israelis, where murder, whether of Sheikh Yassin or Rantissi, is justifiable revenge; and one for the Palestinians, where revenge is always unjustifiable.  As long as much of the world, with the U.S. at the helm, embraces this double standard, no progress can be made in the Middle East....  Every Israeli outrage, and every reaction to it, seem to both sides to bear out what they have always believed.  Both sides become ever more firmly convinced that violence is the only language the other side understands.  What makes Rantissi’s murder particularly depressing, coming as it does so hard on the heels of Washington’s ringing endorsement of Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, is that Israel appears to believe that it now has a rubber stamp to do whatever it pleases to the Palestinians.  And perhaps it does.  Successive Israeli attacks have seemed in part designed to test the limits of U.S. tolerance, and attack after attack has shown that tolerance to be limitless.  The Middle East would be a vastly different place if only once in more than five decades a single U.S. administration had joined millions around the world and said 'Enough.'"


ALGERIA:  “Washington’s Responsibility”


Influential, French-language El Watan commented (4/19):  "The U.S. takes a heavy responsibility for the assassination of the Palestinian leader Al Rantissi.  By totally and unconditionally siding with Sharon’s separation plan--a plan that violates all the ulterior U.S. commitments--Mr. George W. Bush encouraged the terrorism of the Israeli state.  In addition, the U.S and Israel are encouraged by the cowardice of the Arab leaders, unable to join their forces against a policy that is permanently humiliating them.”


JORDAN:   “The American President And The Numerous Lines And Colors”


Haidar Rashid held in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/20):  “The U.S. gave Israel the green light to assassinate the Hamas leader, and, a few days ago, the U.S. administration had crossed the red lines of the Palestinian cause when President Bush declared his support for Sharon’s plan for withdrawal from Gaza and dropped the most important element of the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, namely the right of return....  The American occupation forces are going to withdraw from Iraq.  This is a truth that no two can argue.  The Israeli occupation cannot kill the spirit of resistance and defiance in the Palestinians.  More killing the Sharon way means for Palestinian determination to resist and fight back....  What is going on in the United States, which is affecting areas of tension and struggle here, is a form of psychological pressure and planning on the basis of the elections.  Yet, the U.S. administration’s crossing of the red lines in the Palestinian issue with such arrogance and the potential repetition of a similar thing in the Iraqi issue state the President Bush’s most important battle [the presidential elections] may not be guaranteed at all.”


“Helpless Even To Express Pain”


Urayb Rintawi opined in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (4/20):  “What is going on in the dark minds of the leaders of Tel Aviv?  We do not know the reality of anything.  We know for sure that they would not have gone this far had the Palestinian and Arab status quo been different and had the United States not turned into an ‘occupations caterer’ and the ‘thug’ of wars, eliminations, assassinations and invasions.  We do not know what could be said.  Events tie tongues and the humiliation and degradation that suffocate people are blocking the words and prevent them from coming out.  The call for patience and forbearance is like pouring oil on a raging fire....  We have nothing but our helplessness to do anything.  We cannot even express our pain and frustration.  Alas the situation we have come to.”


“The Position Of ‘We Were Not Aware’!”


Jawad Bashiti observed in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/20):  “A new position is being adopted by the Bush administration vis-à-vis every crime committed by Sharon, namely the position of ‘we did not have prior knowledge'.  Without declaring its clear support for Israel’s assassination crimes, the Bush administration tends to detail and clarify its position by saying things like: Israel has the right to defend itself; whoever is assassinated must have been a terrorist or leading a terrorist group; we urge Israel to consider the consequences of its actions.  From such a position, one would conclude that Israel, under the emblem of combating terrorism, has the right to commit assassinations even if the United States did not have prior knowledge of them, because there is no need for that!”


“Going Back To Square One”


Rakan Majali asserted in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (4/20):  “Israel is the one that confirms, in words, in deeds and on the ground, that the conflict is that of existence and not of borders.  The American and Israeli stands unite in adopting the idea that the conflict is that of existence, allowing Israel to take over everything, and in so doing the massacres continue, the killing of leaders continue, and the disarmament of the Palestinian people of all the principles of existence continue.  Israel and America want the conflict to return to square one as a conflict of existence.  They do not want to any options for the Palestinian people and the Arab nation but to accept this clear-cut and flagrant defiance.”


“No Peace And No Reform In The Greater Middle East”


Abu Yazan stated in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (4/19):  “By assassinating Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Sheikh Ahmad Yassin three weeks before, Israel has released a riding wave of anger, has entrenched the increasing power of fundamental and extremist powers in the Palestinian community, and has weakened, to the largest extent possible, the peace camp and those who call for negotiating a solution to the conflict....  When the United States has dropped off the Arab-Israeli conflict and settled for proposing agendas for political reform and democratic change, Israel, in its continuous search to break down the Palestinian resistance and steadfastness, has reminded the region, in its entirety, that this conflict will continue so long as there is an occupation.  The situation being as such, the result becomes the fact that the United States, with its absolute and blind bias in favor of Israel, is impeding the solution of the Palestinian issue and is weakening any chance of settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that Israel, by continuing its war against and extermination of the Palestinian people and its national and Islamic leaders, is wasting any opportunity for reform and change in the region.”


“What Is Sharon Doing?”


Chief Editor Taher Udwan asked in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/19):  “Simply, he is making talk about peace with Israel a futile thing....  What the Palestinian people and their leaderships are suffering from today would not have continued without the protection and political and military cover of the United States that has stood by Sharon’s state terrorism morally and politically.  In fact the U.S. worked diligently to exclude the Security Council and the international community from the struggle and from peace through a series of vetoes as well as the Bush’s recent letter of guarantees to Sharon....  Only a miracle can prevent these developments from turning a comprehensive confrontation between American and Israel on one hand and Arab and Muslim people on the other.”


“We The Killers!”


Mohammad Al-Tal concluded in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (4/19):  “The responsibility for what happened to Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi lies first and foremost on us, his people, because we left him and his brethren of Palestine disarmed of all financial and moral support and totally exposed before a murderer who wreaked murder and slaughter.  The failing and the weakness of the Arab nation have provided additional support for Sharon in his battle against the Mujahideen.  The White House’s unprecedented support for the Israeli policy was a determining factor in this open battle, that White House whose master considers every Arab Muslim a target to be eliminated.  Rantisi’s martyrdom and declaring Khaled Mish’al and other leaders new Zionist targets indicate clearly and explicitly Sharon’s disregard for the Arab official regime....  Let Sharon and Bush celebrate their victory.  The table will be turned without a doubt.  This is the logic of history and the Arab nation will not be pinning its destiny on an official regime that declares its demise every day.”


KUWAIT:  "Violence Begets Violence"


Dr. Ayed Al-Mana'a wrote in independent Al-Watan (4/21):  "Only three weeks after sheikh Yaseen's assassination, extremist Zionist Ariel Sharon committed another criminal act against Rantissi, Yaseen's successor.  The real goal behind Zionist violence toward the Palestinians is that they want the Palestinians to scuttle away with fear outside Israel's perceived borders.  This of course did not occur; Palestinians did not surrender to the Zionist will despite violent occupation.  The Palestinians' reaction to the Zionist ethnic cleansing was to react with more violence.  The assassination of Palestinian activists did not achieve for Israel the minimum requirements for security, it only proved that violence begets more violence."


"The Stupidity Of The Israeli Right"


Nahar Amer Al-Mikrad maintained in independent Al-Watan (4/21):  "Rantissi's assassination will damage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and contribute to the demise of the Road Map.  The United States must play a positive role and be completely impartial, by applying breaks to the Israeli right-wing extremists, because the assassinations policy will not negate the Palestinian's legal right to create their state.  Violence will beget more violence, and the enormity of the Palestinian issue cannot be dismissed so easily.  It is a badge of shame on the whole world, especially on the United States and their European allies, not to have solved this issue." 


"Who Is This Zionist Enemy" 


Dr. Yaser Al-Saleh opined in independent Al-Rai Al-A'am (4/20):  "Many are convinced that the Israeli enemy is comparable to America.  Liquidating resistance leaders is a similarity between Sharon and President Bush. The criminal Sharon carried out the Rantissi operation just two days after meeting with President Bush....  Both do not respect the sanctity of holy places or civilian cities, deploying cluster bombs on innocent civilians.  Added to that, both men are Zionists, motivated by their religious beliefs against the Muslim world.  Furthermore, Bush's Administration is filled with hard-core Zionists such as Wolfowitz, Frum and Perle....  So, what else can we expect out of an Administration that employs Sharon-like tactics? The only good thing to come out of the Fallujah massacres is that it exposed Bush's mask to reveal Sharon."


"For Those With Misplaced Political Vision"


Amna Al-Mousawi observed in independent Al-Rai Al-A'am (4/20):  "The White House politicians gave themselves the full right to defend the horrifying existence of a Zionist gang, and to fully legitimize the assassinations of Palestinian leaders.  Current events in Palestine are evidence that America gave Israel the green light to commit the most horrendous massacres under the pretext of self-defense.  The American Administration and this Zionist cell are full partners in committing these brutal crimes.  It is clear as the sun that what is happening in the occupied territories today, and the organized criminality taking place in Iraq, from appropriating sovereignty to imposing democracy, or creating a new world order under the pretext of fighting terrorism, are inextricably linked to Zionist-American interests.  It is not a secret that Zionist-American interests are targeting the region.  Drying up the wells of terrorism is just a cover to negate legitimate resistance to the occupation.  According to the new occupation project, imposing a so-called democracy is a means of enforcing successor dictatorships in place of the ones that have outlived their suitability."  


"Rantissi's Assassination Is Terrorism"


Adel Al-Qassar claimed in independent Al-Qabas (4/20):  "With Rantissi's death, Palestinian resistance will courageously rise again.  This violence and Zionist terrorism against the Palestinians, is committed with the blessing and support of the American Administration, and is clear evidence that the Palestinians have no other choice but to continue their resistance.  This excessive Zionist conduct, coupled with America's lenient spectator-like approach toward the Palestinian suffering, represents a circle of organized and continuous Zionist terrorism.  What can Arab and Islamic governments do in face of American political debauchery and arrogance?"


"Why Do They Hate Us But Love Israel"


Ahmad Al-Jarallah, Editor-in-chief and proprietor of independent Al-Seyassah, asked (4/19):  "Here we go again, reliving the cycle of pain in the aftermath of Dr. Rantisi's martyrdom, so soon after the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Yaseen.  For a while, we shall rage at America and Israel, and some Arab leaders will even issue emotionally charged censures.   All this will amount to nothing, except that we have to ask ourselves: Why does Israel attack us? Why is that country controlling our destiny? Why is Israel unconditionally accepted, pampered and always understood by the U.S.?  If we try to answer these questions, we shall find that the fault lies with us and not with Israel.  We have not yet learned to make friends. Israel speaks to the U.S. with one voice, whereas we speak with twenty-four different voices. How can such a minority control the American Administration?  Why does America bless every action taken by Sharon against us? Regrettably, we have offered nothing to the Americans.  On the contrary, we organize anti-American demonstrations; we burn their flag and their president's picture, and we demand a boycott of their goods.  Until we find the answers, we shall continue to struggle with animosity toward us.  Yaseen's and Rantisis's assassinations reflect our helplessness and hopelessness."


"Martyrs Everywhere"


Former Islamist MP Abel Muhsin Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (4/19):  "Zionists have clearly declared that they will continue to assassinate Palestinian resistance leaders, therefore, the only choice for the Palestinians is resistance.  The Rantisi operation occurred two days after Sharon's meeting with President Bush, who offered full support.  Offering martyrs will not weaken the resistance, but will infuse it with further determination.  Israel wants to prove to the Arabs that they have no status internationally, and that their future is decided by Israel." 


LEBANON:  “Confronting A Project--Not Only By Assassinations”


Rafiq Khoury claimed in centrist Al-Anwar (4/20):  “Reactions to Rantisi’s assassination were not at the same level as the policy of targeted killing.  Obviously, they were also not on the same level as the dangerous U.S. strategy in the region....  The scene that followed the assassination of Shaykh Yassin was repeated following Rantisi’s assassination:  a mixture of anger and condemnation and rhetoric that uses catchy words and statements....  The American-Israel strategy for the region needs a long term strategic response, and not a thousand response by Hamas or new assassinations....  The American-Israeli project should not continue to be the only game in the region.”


“Confronting A Project--Not Only By Assassinations”


Rafiq Khoury observed in centrist Al-Anwar (4/20):  “Reactions to Rantisi’s assassination were not at the same level as the policy of targeted killing.  Obviously, they were also not on the same level as the dangerous U.S. strategy in the region....  The scene that followed the assassination of Shaykh Yassin was repeated following Rantisi’s assassination:  a mixture of anger and condemnation and rhetoric that uses catchy words and statements....  The American-Israel strategy for the region needs a long term strategic response, and not a thousand response by Hamas or new assassinations....  The American-Israeli project should not continue to be the only game in the region.”


“Abdel-Aziz Rantissi: Israeli Assassination With An American And Arab Decision!”


Talal Salman averred in Arab nationalist As-Safir (4/19):  “The shrapnel of Israeli missiles that targeted the head of Hamas...hit every Arab home....  This was simply the most public political assassination in history.  It was one of the most horrific targeted crimes which carried the signature of the decision maker and the assassin....  The U.S...gave the license...for this public killing.  George Bush’s signature on this assassination is parallel to Sharon’s signature....  The U.S. believes that targeted killings by an occupier is not terrorism.  Assassination of political leaders is not terrorism.  Assassination of civilians including women and children is not terrorism.  Assassination of houses or trees is not terrorism.  State terrorism is legitimate....  As for Arabs...they have not even succeeded in protecting their personal dignity.”


”He Had A Date With Death”


Independent Al-Balad commented (4/19):  “Rantissi is not more important than the creator of Hamas and his influence is not greater than Abou-Jihad or other martyrs.  However, his assassination came about following a historic transformation in the U.S. position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which the U.S. approved Sharon’s disengagement plan.”


MOROCCO:  "Terrorism Has Become Legitimate!"


Mohamed Ben Saleh opined in Istiqlal party-run Arabic-language Al Alam (4/20):  "The entire world--except the U.S.--has condemned Israel for its criminal practices....  The world is facing a bigger danger than Israel, since it was created on the basis of aggression, killing, theft and destruction of civilization; but (worse than that is) the U.S. permission and advocacy for the state terrorism practiced by Israel in its ugliest aspects. There is no country in the world that practices state terrorism except Israel....  International terrorism has now become legitimate, especially after the meeting between Bush and Sharon and following the crime of assassinating the martyr Rantisi by a helicopter controlled by U.S. technology. Terrorism has taken its legitimacy from the leader of the civilized world."


"The Enemy"


Director Abdelmounem Dilami wrote in independent Arabic-language Assabah and independent business-oriented French-language L'Economiste (4/19):  "In fact, Israel cannot carry out this kind of operation (the assassination of Abdelaziz Al-Ranstissi) with such precision without the assistance of U.S. satellites.  The U.S. does not limit itself to protecting Israel, but encourages and participates with it in its terrorist actions. So what's left of U.S. credibility to talk about progress and development in the region?....  In the name of democracy, America bombards and kills peoples. The war against Iraq is unjustified: there are no weapons of mass destruction, but Washington does not care. After having destroyed the Iraqi state, Americans are perpetrating genocide in that country. We had hoped that the twenty-first century would have been one of prosperity. However, the U.S. has made of it the opposite, since it has implicated humanity into chaos. Gradually, the U.S. has become the strategic enemy of the elite in the Arab world, including the pro-Western elite."


QATAR:  “Who Killed Al-Rantici”


Al-Azab Al-Atayib maintained in semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Raya (4/19):  “The day before yesterday, I was reading an interview done with Dr. Rantici by an Egyptian paper on the Internet. I just felt that something not right...a few hours later someone in my office came and told me that Rantici was killed. For a few minutes I did not believe that he was killed, I thought he would survive this like he did last year, but no he did not--he died. The first question that crossed my mind was: Who killed Al-Rantici? Was it the last meeting between the criminal Sharon and Bush, who gave what he doesn’t own to those who do not deserve it? Is it the current Zionist administration in Washington that only offers death, blood, killing and weapons? Or is it our weakness, which led to this pathetic situation? It is us. We gave them the chance to penetrate us, we allowed them to live in our land, and it is our mistake. This anger in the Arab street, one day, will explode and God only knows what will happen.”


SYRIA:  "Can We Count On The Security Council?"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen read (4/21):  "The UNSC discussed Al-Rantissi's assassination in an open session....  The UNSC will also not be able to overcome the U.S. veto....  If the U.S. presumably concurs with international legitimacy, there is no indication that Israel is ready to succumb or even cares about this legitimacy....  Israel was established in political vacuum with the support of the imperialist powers in the UN. It was established on land which is not its own, land owned by people who have been deeply rooted to this land for five thousand years....  There is no indication that the UNSC can be counted on to sue Israel's crime of assassinating Al-Rantissi or any of its endless crimes."


"A State Of Joint Enmity Towards Arabs"


Ahmad Dawa remarked in government-owned Al-Thawra (4/20):  "Day after day, the danger neo-conservatives are for world peace becomes clearer....  The US Administration didn't need to known the timing and details of Al-Rantissi's assassination since it extends political, military and financial support to Israel and blesses Sharon's brutal and terrorist policies within the occupied territories....  Indications from Washington show that the Israeli-US relationship is becoming more and more dangerous for the region....  Both Bush and Kerry are competing to confirm Israel's right to self-defense in a battle in which Palestinians are the victims and whose fuel is a joint effort to get the votes of the Jewish lobby."


"Who Nurtures Rancor And Hatred?"


Khalaf al-Jarad wrote in government-owned Al-Ba'ath (4/19):  "Bush has simply abrogated international law and international resolutions established in 1947 and has side-stepped any role by his partners, whether in Europe, Russia or the UN, not even giving any role to Palestinians.  One his own authority, he gives and takes while others must commit themselves to the U.S. administration's Likudist ideas....  It is obvious that the two partners, Bush and Sharon have agreed on details of military operations in the region.  Al-Rantissi's assassination is the proof that exposes the secrets of their 'joint strategic vision' and proves the statement of those who drafted the U.S. 'letter of guarantees' that they do not negotiate with Israel as a separate partner, but as a partner on the same team.  In the next few months we will witness more repercussions of Sharon's visit, a visit which the Israeli media described as 'a significant victory for Sharon's vision and strategies'....  Who is it who cultivates the seeds of terrorism and puts terrorism into practice after all?  Who nurtures rancor and hatred not only in the Middle East but throughout the whole world?"


TUNISIA:  “After Bush’s Decision To Adopt Sharon’s Plan”


Senior editor Assia Atrous stated in independent Arabic-language As-Sabah (4/18):  “The fact that the American Secretary of State Colin Powell is justifying President Bush’s decision and working on placing all responsibility on the Palestinians’ shoulders...shows that America is shirking its promised role as an honest broker for the peace process. Whether President Bush’s decision is aimed at diverting attention from what is happening in Iraq or to winning the support of the Jewish lobby in his election campaign, the result is the same.  It reopens the debate on the credibility of the U.S. administration just after we had noted recent improvements in this regard....  Washington chose to ignore international law and to support the executioner, rather than the victim.  Is it therefore correct for the world to continue placing the responsibility on the Palestinian people for their possible reactions to the White House decision to concede Palestinian rights to the Israeli government?”


UAE:  "What Are Arabs Waiting For?"


The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News stated (4/19):  "With the assassination of Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Al Rantissi, Israel has resumed its murderous actions against the Palestinian people.  Israel carried out this crime only three weeks after it killed Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as he was leaving a Gaza mosque after dawn prayers.  Israel is carrying out these crimes amid shameful silence from Arab leaders.  The crimes are not expected to stop because Israel is interpreting this silence as consent towards what it is doing.  What are Arab leaders waiting for?....  Arab leaders are called upon to listen to their people now--and to their consciences--and take a stand against Israel's constant insults and abuses.  By maintaining a stony silence over Israel's slaughter of Palestinian people and their leaders, they are simply accepting humiliation.  Arab leaders should realise that Israel could view their silence not just as complete consent, but also as impotence and cowardice....  Our leaders must take action today because tomorrow is too late.  They must stop all negotiations with Israel, withdraw their ambassadors from that country and halt any move towards normalization of relations with Tel Aviv.  It is also time to send a strong message to the U.S., saying Arab states will not accept humiliation and will not be submissive.  They must give Washington an ultimatum to revise its pro-Israel policy, curb Tel Aviv instead of giving it the green signal to carry on criminal activities and expansionist moves, and play an impartial role in the Middle East to achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace settlement....  Both Israel and the U.S. have gone too far in their insults against our people and leaders, and it is time now to stop them."




JAPAN:  "U.S. Responsible For Israel's Assassination Of Hamas Leader"


Liberal Asahi said (4/19):  "Israel's assassination of Hamas leader al-Rantisi was a blatant act of recklessness.  The White House refrained from clearly condemning Israel's assassination.  The Bush administration will have to assume responsibility for retaliatory terrorist acts by Palestinians against Israel as well as for a rise in anti-U.S. feelings in the Arab and Islamic world.  We are concerned that the marriage of anti-U.S. occupation feelings among Iraqis and anti-U.S. sentiment among the Palestinians would worsen the Iraq situation and cause U.S. strategy toward the Middle East to fail.  At present, no other nations except the U.S. are able to stop Israel's reckless actions.  If the Bush administration cannot hold Prime Minister Sharon in check, it is not qualified to propose a plan for the democratization of the Middle East."


INDONESIA:  “Israel-U.S. Political Plan”


Islamic-oriented Pelita maintained (4/21):  "The Middle East is now burning following the murder of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Al Rantisi and President Bush’s position endorsing Sharon’s political plan on the occupation of Palestinian territories....  We find Bush’s position a blunder that will impact negatively on Middle East peace process.  It can even prompt new violence throughout the world.  A unilateral solution will not bring peace because the Palestinian-Israel issue cannot be settled individually, let alone only by the U.S.  After all, the U.S. and Israel do not own the Middle East.”


"The Killing Of Rantisi And Ariel Sharon’s Political Plan”


Leading independent Kompas editorialized (4/20):  “Less than a month after the killing of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the spiritual leader and founder of Hamas, Israel again struck its rockets and killed the new Hamas leader, Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi last Saturday....  The latest development is seen as part of the materialization of a Double Standard adopted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In the strategy, on the one hand, Israel will withdraw unilaterally from Gaza, which was occupied by Israel since the Arab-Israel war in 1967. Israel will also evacuate Jewish settlements in Gaza. But, on the other hand, Israel will continue its attacks on militant groups. This is what Sharon called the 'Political Framework'....  It is a fact that last Saturday’s attack has created new tension after the situation was relatively calm in the last weeks....  Every time a peace accord initiative was set up, it was hampered by progress colored with violence. In a seemingly never-ending situation, the U.S. has many times showed its position in

 mediating the conflict. But, instead of producing peace, new violence occurs. Often there is an impression that the role of the U.S. is less effective in creating peace. The reason is likely due to its impartiality, sided with Israel, and not careful. In the last case, its approval to allow Israel to withdraw from Gaza looks like it supports a peaceful solution. However, some believe that its support for Sharon will be interpreted as approval for Israeli leaders to act more aggressively.” 


“Bush-Sharon Vs. The World”


Independent Koran Tempo observed (4/20):  "The escalation of violence continues to roar in the Middle East, especially in Palestine, following the Israeli killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi. It is getting more obvious the ignorance of President Bush’s administration towards the important role it plays as an instrument of Israeli brutality. From day to day, it is obvious that the U.S. has no sincere will to eradicate terrorism; the superpower country has been involved by giving approval to terrorist acts....  For the Arab countries, President Bush’s stance is harmful, as he not only remained silent to Israeli’s brutality. Only few days before the killing, he gave his approval to Prime Minister Sharon’s plan to withdraw from Gaza but continue to occupy a number of Jewish settlements taken over in the 1967 War. The plan is clearly a digression against the formation of an independent Palestine state....  It is clear that the U.S. is getting more isolated in its policy on the Middle East. The U.S. position not only makes for heightened tensions in Palestine but also triggers anger that could burn in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf regions, in the form of uncontrollable terrorism.”


"Israel:  The Terrorist Becoming More And More Ferocious"


Muslim intellectual Republika asserted (4/19):  “Rantissi, the successor of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, was killed by two Israeli rockets launched from a helicopter in the Gaza strip on Sunday. Last month, it was Sheikh Yassin who was the victim.  This spiritual leader and founder of Hamas returned to God after Israeli rockets struck....  Do not blame the Palestinians if starting this second, this day, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, more shahid bombs strike.  Do not condemn them if later civilians and Israeli children become victims.  Remember, they are fighting for their lives, dignity, sovereignty and religion.  Of course we don’t want bloodshed to continue.  The world must unite to fight these injustices....  OIC countries can try other ways.  Remember what King Fahd did after he was outraged by Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians.  He manipulated oil production and prices, eventually directly attacking U.S. interests.  What happened next was the U.S. economy was hit, forcing the incumbent U.S. president George Bush, to visit the Saudi king.  A day after that, Bush pressured Israel....  It is such concrete step that would likely prevent further bloodshed and pave the way for Palestinian independence."


MALAYSIA:  "Burying Peace In Palestine"


The government-influenced English-language New Straits Times editorialized (4/20):  "Sharon, like other Israeli prime ministers before him, is leaving a trail of blood in his quest for peace.  His plan for 'disengaging' from the Gaza strip is being accompanied by a policy of assassination to decimate the top leadership of Hamas.  The refusal of the White House to censure the slaying underscores once again its blind support for Israel.  The execution was a direct result of American encouragement and the complete bias of the American administration towards the Israeli Government.  The principles of human rights and provisions of international law prohibit, without exception, the extra-judicial execution of people, and such killings are violations of international law.  While Israel has the right to defend itself, this should be done within the rule of law.  Targeted killings not only raise serious questions of legality but also grievously jeopardize efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question.  Israel has proven its prowess in killing people.  It is about time it shows that it knows how to seek peace."


SINGAPORE:  "Bush Backs Sharon" 


The pro-government Straits Times declared (4/20):  "What was United States President George W. Bush thinking of? The US occupation of Iraq is facing serious challenges; distrust of America is running high in Arab and Muslim countries; and he chooses this moment to back an Israeli plan obviously and grotesquely unjust to Palestinians? Mr. Bush should have shown Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the door last Wednesday....  'What was theirs, is mine; and what is theirs, is also mine,' Mr. Sharon in effect said, and Mr. Bush agreed. Is it any wonder the US, and Mr. Bush personally, is distrusted in the Arab-Muslim world?  As timing would have it, Israel's officially sanctioned murder of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantissi last Saturday has added fury to the sense of betrayal. The mix is deadly. The enormity of the injustice that Mr. Bush has committed the US to supporting cannot be exaggerated....  Seven U.S. administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, including the current administration, have held fast to that position--till, that is, Mr. Bush decided it was no longer valid. What makes the reversal so painful for US allies and friends, including moderate Muslims, is that it was motivated by nothing other than crass short-term political calculation....  For Mr. Bush, the deal will appeal to fundamentalist Christians and some Jewish voters. It is not clear why he thought he needed to make an especial appeal to people who would have voted for him in any event. But the U.S. presidential election is likely to be close, and Mr. Bush probably thought some extra insurance couldn't hurt. He would have advanced his wider policy aims in the region if he had stuck to the policies of six of his predecessors. If he wished to clarify his position on the settlements, he might have backed the agreement that Israel and the Palestinian Authority almost reached in December 2000. That agreement had provided for the transfer of some West Bank land to Israel, in return for an equivalent transfer of Israeli land to the new Palestinian state. A US commitment to the creation of such a state would have seemed credible to Arab-Muslims if Mr. Bush had not chosen this moment to shill for votes."


SOUTH KOREA:  "Israel’s ‘Targeted Assassination’ Of Hamas Leader Shocking"


Conservative Segye Ilbo editorialized (4/19):  “Israel’s latest assassination of top Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi has amplified the long-standing discord and hatred between the Arab world and the non-Arab world, as well as between concerned parties, posing the greatest threat to Middle East peace.  Considering that no country should use assassination and violence to win a ‘solution’ on its own terms, the Israeli act deserves blame from the international community for the current situation....  Washington is also to blame for the situation, given its recent reversal of the longstanding U.S. Middle East peace principle and its declared support for Israel....  For now, there seems to be no alternative but to rely on the UN to play the role of impartial mediator in international strife.  The U.S. and the UN should come forward to prevent the bloody vicious cycle of large-scale bombing attacks and ensuing retaliatory strikes from continuing any longer.”




INDIA:  "Israel In The Orb Of Self-Extinction"


Calcutta-based Bengali-language independent Ananda Bazar Patrika declared (4/21):  "The fire is already blazing and it is being fanned continually. It seems that both the sides are keen to make the Israel-Palestinian problem even more complex every hour. It is impossible to arrive at any other conclusion....  What the opponent's reaction to Israel's offensive move would be can be easily guessed. Consequently, not only are activists of militant organizations taking resolve by brandishing their weapons, but even other Palestinians, who do not normally belong to any extremist group or probably owe allegiance to the tenets of Hamas or al-Aksa, are in the meantime supporting retaliatory thoughts more than ever before. The Israeli leadership may rest assured that this unified will of avenging will not go awry and an overwhelming barrage of violent Palestinian reprisal in response to their state terrorism will soon follow. It would probably  be wrong to say that they 'wanted' this to happen. But was it possible to see any other outcome following their act? Whatever might be the distant objective of the Israeli plan for withdrawing from Gaza and the West Bank, there is no doubt that in the near future there would certainly be yet another chapter of violence and counter-violence unleashed. It is amazing why Israel is choosing an assured path of self-extinction in spite of this....  If U.S. support remains, Israel will continue to be on an attacking spree and Palestinian terrorists too would sweat the earth with blood. This is probably the Middle East's unfortunate fate in present times as well as in the future."              


"Sheer Madness" 


The centrist Asian Age opined (4/20):  "With a blank cheque from Washington, Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has done it again: his weaponry has removed Abdel Aziz Rantisi....  The roadmap for West Asian peace seems to now lie in tatters, perhaps forever, as the idea seems to be to make even new generation Palestinians hostile to the peace process. The decision to sanction the assassination of the Hamas leader signifies Israel's decision to decisively cripple Hamas. Targeting key Hamas leaders is the "logical" and predictable fallout of President Bush's decision to loosen all restraints on the Israeli leadership. Israel is following up on its policy of disengagement from the Gaza Strip by obliquely telling the Palestinians that all their hopes of a greater sense of appreciation of their rights have now vanished....  With first Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and now Rantisi gone, the calculation seems to be that the back of the Palestinian resistance has been broken in no uncertain terms. But here, both Sharon and his mentors in Washington seem to be making a mistake, because a people who have long lived with a sense of deprivation will now become more desperate than ever. Bush had stated a few days ago that UN Security Council resolutions which conferred the right of return to Palestinian refugees had become "irrelevant" now. In other words, Bush thinks that while one party to the conflict has every right to interpret things as it wants, the other has no such choice before it. A trigger-happy Sharon could not have asked for greater support than what he has now got from his friends. Issues such as perpetration of illegal settlements in the West Bank have been instantly discounted by the latest turn of events....  The otherwise disparate Arabs have now been afforded an opportunity to unite in hatred against the Jewish state. This is likely to be the long-term outcome to the raging madness in the region."


"Toll Of Terror" 


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer held (4/20):  "The 'targeted assassination' of Abdel Aziz Rantissi, the leader of the terrorist organization Hamas...has to be regretted. Killings, even of leaders of hardened terrorist organizations responsible for murdering hundreds of innocent men, women and children, warrant no rejoicing. They are, most tragically, an integral part of the spiral of violence and counter-violence that terrorism unleashes.  Hamas...has been systematically indulging in terrorism ever since its formation in 1987....  Hamas, whose formation breathed new life into terrorism in West Asia, belongs to the jihadi tradition....  Indeed, one wonders whether 'targeted assassinations' can at all deliver peace to West Asia. The Hamas is bound to evolve a tactical response to it; the very fact that the organization has kept the name of its new leader in Gaza strip secret, shows that it is already in the process of doing so. This in turn indicates that West Asia is unlikely to know peace in the near future. For, the region's climate is becoming increasingly inclement for political talks which alone can ensure a lasting settlement."


"One More Unforgivable Murder" 


Independent Urdu-language Inquilab argued (4/19):  "By assassinating the second top leader of the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas, Israel has only reaffirmed to the world community that it accepts no solution to the crisis in the Middle East except through brutality and aggression. Far more tragic is the callous indifference of the internationally community.  If it remains unmoved even at such a naked savagery and makes no effort to stop the anti-Palestinian and anti-peace actions of the Zionist state, one would be justified to see the world community as a party to Israel's inhuman crimes. It is extremely unfortunate that Israel's state terrorism and naked aggression draws no serious response from the international community which never fails to lecture the oppressed and helpless Palestinians on virtues of peace and tolerance. How can one expect a people not only deprived of their homeland and all legitimate rights but also targeted for decades with murders, tortures and many other horrible atrocities to keep quiet and make no resistance against the persecution? It is the duty of all peace loving countries to work out a joint strategy against Israel if a resolution of the Middle East crisis is to be found."


PAKISTAN:  "Assassination Is Kosher"


Shireen M. Mazari concluded in the centrist national English-language News (4/21):  "The only way to deal with the new norms is to maintain favorable positions on the ground and a psychological strength in oneself.  The old rules of the game are on their way out, the new ones are just coming into play--in between anarchy is taking over and there is space for maneuver if we are prepared psychologically.  Did you know the difference between assassination and murder?  According to the Oxford Reference Dictionary, murder is the "intentional and unlawful killing of one person by another" (it does not have to be by violent means); assassination refers to killing ‘an important person’ by "violent means usually for political or religious motives."  So, while murder may remain unlawful in most societies, assassinations will soon become kosher worldwide, if the new trend catches on! God help us all!"


"Dastardly Murder"


The centrist national English-language News editorialized (4/20):  "Consequently Israel with Washington’s sumptuous support continues to suppress the Palestinians without protest or any resistance from other Arab states.  The OIC, which is minded to react to the developments in the Middle East, does not offer much hope except loud rhetoric.  Possibly the solution will come from the Palestinians in the future in much the same as the Iraqis are confronting the U.S."


"In The Court Of History"


Islamabad-based Urdu-language Al-Akhbar noted (4/20):  "Whether there is a Republican administration in the U.S. or a Democrat, some realities of global politics never change--the U.S. does not have any independent idea or policies to pursue; it remains a total slave of the Zionist interests....  The martyrdom of Ahmad Yasin and Rantisi have brought Bush and Sharon to the court of history, which is setup just for those who commit atrocious crimes against humanity."


“Is There Any Doubt, Ambiguity In America’s Anti-Muslim Posture”


Karachi-based, pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu Islam opined (4/20):  "The blind U.S. support to Israeli terrorism has proved yet again that the U.S.  does not want to eliminate terrorism but Muslims themselves from the world and its tyrannical policies are propagating terrorism.  Had there been any ambiguity about this U.S. role in the minds of the world at large then it should have been removed by now."


"Israeli Gangsterism"


Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn said (4/19):  "The killing of Hamas Gaza chief Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi is more than an act of madness on the part of Israel.  It is now clear that it is part of Ariel Sharon's plan to eliminate one Palestinian leader after another....  America's support for Israel's unilateral actions and its gang sterism, which Washington's staunchest European allies also condemn as 'unlawful' and 'unacceptable,' has only worked to legitimize Mr. Sharon's twisted logic that makes no distinction between secular Palestinian organizations and militant Islamist groups.  The sudden shift in American policy is thus helping to further the right-wing Israeli government's murderous designs on all Palestinian leaders and leading the region towards greater violence and chaos." 


"Israel For Complete Surrender"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer (4/19):  "The assassination of Abdel Rantissi is yet another crime in the long list of Israel’s vandal conduct.  It deserved vehement condemnation worldwide and the international community has done so.  It is, however, being stated that Israel was encouraged to launch missile attack on Rantissi due to U.S. President Bush’s endorsement of Israeli stance towards its neighbors during Ariel Sharon’s visit to Washington the other day....  It is disgusting that the Bush administration is adding fuel to the fire with its indiscreet, unjust, unwarranted and immoral support of Israel’s criminal conduct instead of working for peace, security and stability in the Middle East."


"Rantissi’s Martyrdom After Sheikh Yassin:  Weakness Is Death"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt declared (4/19):  "Rantissi’s martyrdom is a slap on the face of humanity, which tolerates Israel’s state terrorism.  This is all the more shameful for the Arab world and the Islamic world for being silent spectators to this drama and being unaware of the logical conclusion of these events."


BANGLADESH:  “Killing Of Rantissi: Fuel To Greater Violence”


The independent English-language Daily Star commented (4/20):  "The EU and all Middle Eastern countries have condemned the killing, but the U.S., which has already waged two wars to oppose ‘state-sponsored terrorism,’ has endorsed the assassination.  The U.S. must realize that if its prime objective is to contain state-sponsored terrorism, Tel Aviv must be dissuaded from carrying out targeted assassinations."




SOUTH AFRICA:  “State Of Assassination”


Liberal This Day remarked (4/20):  "The assassination of...Rantissi should be condemned in the strongest possible terms....  While Israel’s assassinations are flagrant violations of international still enjoys the approval of the U.S. government....  It is significant that this attack came so quickly after…Bush’s meeting with...Sharon....  It confirms that the U.S. will continue to aid and abet the Sharon regime instead of using its considerable influence to end Israel’s oppressions of the Palestinians...the Rantissi killing...will prompt the inevitable, which is to drive Hamas underground.  Israel is no more likely to solve the suicide bombings by killing Palestinian leaders than the U.S. is going to win the so-called war on terror by invading Iraq.  The Middle East crisis needs much cooler heads to solve the problem--not itchy trigger fingers.  The ‘Holy Land’ is long gone.  The killing fields are all that are left.”


“Escalation Of Hate”


Afrikaans-language centrist Die Burger contended (4/20):  "The murder unlawful.  It’s immoral.  And it fuels an explosion of hate among Palestinians.  Sharon is making a political solution totally impossible by creating a legacy of hate which will follow the Israelis to the third and fourth generation....  Fact is that in Sharon future plans...there is no place for a Palestine.  Desperate actions are all that remain for Palestine.  And ordinary Israelis will pay the price for that.”


"Two Gone, One To Go?"


Pro-government, Afro-centric Sowetan argued (4/19):  "As expected, the U.S. ..was lukewarm in its response to Yassin’s killing.  Washington mildly criticized Sharon--not in person--but hastily affirmed his right to defend himself.  This was widely read as condoning extra-judicial killings by Israel.  Watchers of the volatile Middle East region feel--not unjustified--that the series of killings of Hamas leaders is a test case for the eventual frying of the bigger fish (read the assassination of Arafat)....  Rantissi’s killing is particularly significant.  It comes just days after the visit by Sharon to...Bush....  Therefore, if Sharon has to be stopped, it would be pointless for the world to continue talking to him.  Time has come to talk to his handler directly.  Bush must stop Sharon at once.”


TANZANIA:  “Murder Of Dr. Rantisi:  America Is To Blame, Not Israel"


Maalim Bassaleh stated in pro-Islam weekly Swahili-language tabloid Nasaha (4/21):  "The murder of Rantissi may appear to have been spontaneous, but the truth is that it was planned ages ago.  Ariel Sharon has promised to kill all Palestinian leaders opposed to Israel’s occupation of their land. He would already have killed Yasser Arafat had President George Bush not intervened....  America’s war against terrorism is actually directed against Muslims, although America does not explicitly say so for fear of antagonizing the world and other puppet Islamic states. The murders of Yassin and Rantissi are part of the so-called war against terrorism....  But Israel is deceiving herself. Sheikh Yassin and Dr. Rantissi are not the first Palestinian leaders to be assassinated by Israel. Although many more have been killed by Israeli forces, this has just served to motivate Palestinians to fight against the oppression of the forces of occupation....  If Israel wants to silence Palestinians by force, then it should kill all of them. However, just like Adolf Hitler failed to eliminate all Jews, Israel will not manage to kill all Palestinians.  If Sheikh Yassin and Dr. Rantissi are the bin Ladens of Palestine, then Sharon is the Hitler of Israel. Sharon is a murderer. In 1982, he ordered the attacks on Sabra and Shatilla, Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, during which more than 4,000 Palestinians were killed.  America, and specifically the Bush Administration, should carry the blame for all that is happening. While the whole world condemned the murders of the two Palestinian leaders, America not only refused to apportion blame, it actually declared that Israel has the right to defend herself.  This means that America finds the murders justifiable....  At a time when Israel is killing Palestinians under the pretext of fighting terrorism, American troops in Iraq are doing precisely the same. Bloodshed and chaos in the Middle East will never end until Israel withdraws from all occupied Palestinian land and at the same time America withdraws from Iraq, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries in the Middle East.  Those who are responsible for endangering world peace are well known."


“Continued Killing Of Palestinian Leaders Is Not A Solution To The Conflict"


Pro-government Swahili-language tabloid Uhuru asserted (4/19):  "Once again, the Israeli Government has exacerbated its conflict with Palestinians by murdering Hamas leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi. This comes just one month after the killing of Hamas leader and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.  On its part, Israel has insisted that it will continue to hunt down and kill all Palestinian leaders it perceives to be in the frontline in planning and executing attacks against Israelis. This strategy is condemned by all peace loving people all over the world because it serves only to worsen the situation in the Middle East.  Another thing that is definitely bound to worsen the situation in the region is the stand taken recently by the Israeli Government under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to withdraw Israeli settlements from the West Bank. This stand plus the killings of Palestinians and their leaders can be directly interpreted as closing the door for further peace talks between the two sides.  It is also disappointing to see that the steps taken by Israel enjoy support from America, a powerful country that has always stood side by side with Israel, even when the Jewish state has been condemned by the whole international community.  It is now becoming clear that Israel is determined to eliminate all Palestinian leaders, keeping in mind Ariel Sharon recently warned that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could be killed anytime.  Let not Israel and her biggest ally America cheat themselves. The extreme position taken by Sharon’s regime will just serve to worsen matters in the Middle East. Every time a Palestinian leader is murdered, another one rises up, perhaps even more radical than his predecessors.”


UGANDA:  "Killings Propel Cycle Of Violence"


The independent Monitor editorialized (4/20):  "Not since apartheid South Africa has one region attracted so much international ire as the violence-infested Middle East.  Alleging its right to self defense, Ariel Sharon's Israel has upped the ante in its 'targeted killings' of people it says are terrorists.  The latest man to die under this untenable policy is Abdelaziz Rantissi, the man who replaced Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated less than a month ago.  Both sides in this conflict have committed dastardly crimes; they have managed to establish a balance of terror in a sense.  Wise counsel now is for even-handedness as most of Europe is suggesting.  For peace to have a chance in that troubled land there is an urgent need to scale down hostilities and not the escalation Sharon is spearheading.  What will the death of Rantissi achieve if the more likely response is another suicide bombing in Tel Aviv?  The best case scenario, and we use the expression deliberately, is a fuelling of the cycle of violence."


"Bush's Gamble"


The bi-weekly tabloid Red Pepper maintained (4/20):  "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the weekend ordered the assassination of Hamas new leader Aziz Rantissi.  Sharon had returned from the U.S. where he appears to have received endorsement for this killing.  At the Washington summit Sharon also obtained a blanket endorsement for his unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza by which Israel will pull out of a few Palestinian territories unilaterally defining what will be its common border with the pseudo Palestinian state.  The latest assassination and the planned withdrawal are meeting widespread international condemnation.  Bush is breaking away from the policy of all his predecessors and siding with a hawkish Prime Minister.  By so doing he is taking a gamble.  Will the new policies bring peace to the Middle East or accentuate terrorism in the world?  Well, time will tell."




ARGENTINA:  "Only A Retreat In The Middle East Crisis"


Marcelo Cantelmi noted in leading Clarin (4/18):  "It is a hard task to find in recent history such an explosive and terminal moment in the Middle East crisis as what today seems to step, like a giant would do, on the little progress obtained regarding the peace process. However, this involution should not surprise us. It occurs in the framework of an international policy in which...only disorder factors end up strengthened....  It was not by chance that Rantisi's murder happened just a few hours after the historical meeting between Sharon and Bush at the White House....  This attack with just an example of the autonomy Washington grants to Israel in spite of the harsh questioning the selective murder practice unleashes in the world and even in Israel. But what should be observed is not this repression method as an isolated event, but its practice confirms the prevailing notion that there is no room or interest in a true peace plan... The most serious point of this escalation in violence is Bush's unexpected decision to support for the first time in history (Israel's) questioned policy of territorial colonization."


BRAZIL:  "The Sharon Doctrine"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo held (4/20):  "The 'selective murder' of another Hamas leader suggests that the Sharon administration may have given up pursuing a peace accord and is ready to eliminate points of contacts between Israelis and Palestinians. It is in such a context that Sharon's proposal of unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza fits....  Sharon's actions tend to reinforce the position of radical groups to the detriment of moderate Palestinian factions with whom it would be possible to reach an understanding under the principle of exchanging land for peace....  A significant extension of the fence is located in Palestinian territory, and this suggests that Sharon is preparing another annexation. Everything indicates that Arafat has been lenient with terrorism, but the Palestinian Authority at least recognizes Israel, while Hamas wants to destroy it. If increasing Hamas' prestige among the Palestinians by trying to disarticulate the terrorist organization is the best strategy the Sharon administration

can think of, then Israel should expect more problems soon."   


MEXICO:  “Deadly Escalation In Palestine”


Nationalist Universal thundered (4/18):  “Those who look for peace will have to act politically to remove the extremists from power and break the unending chain of reprisals, which could result in much more deadly attacks. The only way to stop escalation of this type is to adopt a policy of not making reprisals for each isolated incident, which has been shown to radically lower a confrontational climate....  Only one point impeded reaching peace and that was the status of Jerusalem. It’s necessary to return to these talks because the only way out of these terrible problems of insecurity and terrorism in the Middle East is by ending the conflict in Palestine.”



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