International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 8, 2004

September 8, 2004





**  For Israeli papers, the bombings demonstrate the need to "complete the separation fence."

**  Beersheva was a "natural reaction" to Sharon's "iron-fist policy," say Arab outlets.

**  Conservative Euro dailies blame Arafat's "corrupt, incompetent" PA.

**  Several analysts label Syria the "principal engine" of Palestinian terror. 




Hamas will try more 'large-scale terror attacks'--  Israeli writers predicted Hamas would launch "more terror attacks" in order to "win the popularity it needs" to fill the "governmental vacuum" expected in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal.  Thus, papers across the political spectrum backed the security barrier.  Left-leaning Ha'aretz noted the barrier's "central our efforts to check Palestinian terror"; the conservative Jerusalem Post contrasted the roadmap, which "has saved not a single Israeli life," to the barrier, which has "saved dozens of lives, perhaps hundreds."  They also praised Sharon's "determination" to leave Gaza, which Euro and Canadian papers also agreed was a "ray of hope."


A 'murderous official Israeli policy'--  Arab media termed Beersheva a "legitimate reaction" to "continuous Israeli aggression."  Egypt's leading Al-Ahram stated the "cause of the crisis is Israel's occupation," while Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Nadwa judged "Sharon personally...responsible for the escalation of violence."  Another Saudi outlet said Palestinians can use "whatever they have to fight...humiliation, hunger, destruction and deprivation."  Qatar's semi-official Gulf Times assailed the "dead Israelis...who came to rape the Palestinian land and kill its people."  Only a "fair political solution" can end the violence, concluded observers, who urged Israel to pursue a "genuine peace process" instead of "tyrannical terrorism."


Arafat 'encourages' Palestinian 'bloodthirsty terrorists'--  Center-right German papers assailed the PA as an "accomplice" of terrorism because it allows militants to "prepare quietly for their murderous expeditions."  Hamburger Abendblatt noted that Arafat "is unable, or does not want, to rein in" terrorists, while Bonn's General-Anzeiger declared that "Arafat is able to stop terror...if he only wants it."  Leftist outlets, meanwhile, blamed the terror on Palestinian "despair over the hopelessness of their situation."  This "lack of hope is what most cultivates the growth of blind violence," opined Spain's El Pais.  India's Azad Hind agreed that "when there is no hope...people are bound to take arms in hand." 


'Syria should expel Hamas'--  Several dailies focused on how terrorism in Israel has been "egged on by Syria."  Since Damascus "bears some responsibility for the attacks," noted Canada's leading centrist Globe and Mail, it "should not be at all surprised that Israel, and other civilized nations, hold it accountable."  Israel's pluralist Yediot Aharonot added that it is "legitimate" to let the Syrians know that "they are likely to pay" when they allow terrorist acts, "which they sponsor."  Syria's government-owned Tishreen countered that Damascus "will not give up its land and sovereignty" and warned it "has the right to repel aggression."


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


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.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  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 37 reports from 14 countries over 1 - 7 September 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




ISRAEL:  "One Step At A Time"


Aluf Benn held in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/3):  "Sharon has adopted new tactics to advance the disengagement: a focus on the small steps, which have already been approved by the government and enjoy the backing of most of the ministers, while postponing the political confrontation for a few months....  The political maneuvers, cunning as they may be, do not ensure that the plan will be implemented.  Its real problems are not on the government table but on the ground, in the expected opposition by the settlers and the Palestinians, which will really flare up only after a decision on the disengagement....  Sharon's associates have signaled the campaign headquarters of both candidates for the presidency of the U.S. that he intends to go through with [the plan]; that he will succeed in overcoming internal opposition, as well as the renewed terror, and the only danger to carrying out the disengagement is a policy reversal in Washington that will bring Arafat back to center stage.  This message was especially important with regard to Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who is surrounded by veterans of the negotiations during Bill Clinton's presidency.  Like President George Bush, Kerry has promised not to speak with Arafat, but Jerusalem knows that after the elections, the U.S. will have to give something in order to mend its ties with Europe and the Arab states, and they are preparing for any eventuality."


"Complete The Protective Wall"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (9/3):  "The double suicide attack in Beersheva on Tuesday, in which 16 Israelis were killed, once again highlighted the central role of the separation fence in our efforts to check Palestinian terror....  The attempt to seize another hill and another settlement, which has typified Sharon's activities in the territories since 1967, is what caused the foot-dragging in the construction of the fence, and gave rise to the legal procedures and the heavy international pressure against the project.  What is vital for the nation is to conclude the planning and to complete the protective wall--rather than to satisfy the urge to dominate the next chain of hills."


"Not A Question Of Viability"


Editor-in-Chief Bret Stephens argued in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (9/3):  "True, the continental U.S. is huge and a prospective Palestinian state would be tiny.  But why should tiny states be intrinsically less viable than large ones?....  In fact, the entire issue of a Palestinian state's territorial viability is bogus--a substitute way of justifying why Palestinians won't settle for less than X-amount of territory.  This isn't to say that there is something the matter with Palestinians holding out for as much territory as they can get, just as there is nothing the matter with Israel doing the same.  It's normal behavior.  But the significant point is that a country's viability, or 'sustainability,' is chiefly a function of the quality of governance, not the extent of terrain.  Israel will surely continue to be a thriving, democratic, technologically advanced nation-state following any pullout from Gaza and the West Bank.  And Palestine will likely continue to be a Third World kleptocracy, or worse, whether they achieve 50 percent of their state territorial demands, or 100 percent of them, or more."


"Assad Should Be Worried"


Alex Fishman wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (9/2):  "The terror attack in Beersheva occurred in the midst of a process that Israel finds very disturbing: a majority of the terror attacks committed today either in the West Bank or those that are launched from there, originate in Lebanon.  The principal engine behind the Palestinian terror organizations in the West Bank is Hizbullah, which is sponsored by Syria.  These data have taken the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in far more lethal directions and it will extinguish any Israeli-Palestinian attempt to reach some sort of political settlement.  Since that is the fundamental goal shared by Hizbullah, the Iranians and the Syrians who stand from behind: to prevent any peace settlement with Israel.  From their perspective, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must not die.  Therefore, from Israel's perspective it is legitimate to clarify to the Syrians that when they let Hizbullah, which they sponsor, operate in our front and backyard, they are liable to pay."


"Why Suddenly Blame Syria?"


Amos Harel maintained in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/2):  "Why is Syria being mentioned now?  It is possible it's just frustration.  For months, the IDF and Shin Bet security service were able to keep terror on a back burner and now once again the pictures of burning buses are on the television screens.  But the picture must also be seen in its broader context.  The weakening of the terror organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has created a leadership vacuum that external bodies are trying to fill.  The most obvious are Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas headquarters in Damascus--both of them egged on by Syria....  The assessment in the Central Command is that the struggle against terror has changed face.  There is no longer a direct confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians--instead directives come from Iran and Hizbullah with Syrian support.  Hizbullah is now applying 18 years of experience in the field in Lebanon to the war in the territories.  Israel is able to stop most of the suicide bombers but not to smash the organizations.  The question now is, where is the correct address for this?"


"Stronger Than Sharon"


Aluf Benn commented in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (9/2):  "On the Israeli balance sheet covering the four years of the Intifada, efforts to isolate Yasser Arafat must be listed in the column of failures....  From Sharon's perspective, the advantage of the current situation is that as long as Arafat is in power, Israel is exempt from holding negotiations and can act as it wants.  Both candidates in the upcoming U.S. presidential election have promised to ostracize Arafat, and even the Europeans have stopped calling for his release....  The heavy Israeli pressure over the last four years of fighting, backed by generous American support, has not moved the Palestinians a millimeter from the positions they put forth at Camp David and at Taba....  Sharon's mistake was that isolating Arafat appeared from the beginning to be an angry reaction to terror, and not a considered process from which a diplomatic price could be extracted (even though U.S. officials discussed detailed scenarios for Arafat's future).  Now there is no way out.  Calling for Arafat to be released from the Muqata [his Ramallah headquarters] is political suicide in Israel....  No one will call for the revival of the symbol of the hated Oslo Accords. Sharon is in danger of losing his seat for far less than that."


"End Of The Age Of Innocence"


Yaron London observed in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (9/2):  "While the majority of opponents to the occupation have adhered to their obedience [to the state], the settlers have continued to create irreversible facts.  They acted under the initiative of the government, with the semi-legal encouragement of people within the government, or by cheating the law, but there was only one result: the chances have dwindled that some day [Israel's] citizens would be able to determine by a majority of votes the route of the Hebrew state's borders.  Furthermore, the feeling of national solidarity has forced the opponents of the occupation to defend the settlers, who are at the forefront of the campaign against terrorism, even when dozens of settlements are outside the limits of the consensus.  This is how the opponents have turned themselves into collaborators of a historic move they abhorred....  In the middle of last week, an army unit was order to dismantle an 'unauthorized outpost.'  It ran into 1,5000 antagonists who rallied to the spot.  The army decided not to confront them, and the soldiers pulled back without trying to carry out their mission.  No one among the organizers of the protest was arrested or brought to justice....  The appeasement demonstrated by the opponents to the occupation has created an inconceivable situation: the settlers' violence has become legitimate, drama has turned into comedy; only the few draft resistors are being sent to jail and they're not laughing at all."


"Seal The Territories"


Guy Bechor wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (9/1):  "The Palestinian statement that the Beersheva terror attacks were revenge for the killing of top Hamas leaders is only partially true....  The moment that the Palestinian political establishment internalized that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is irreversible, it began to prepare for an historic battle for the people's consciousness and heritage.  Will the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza be depicted as coming from a position of Israeli power, or will it be presented as an Israeli flight under pressure of Palestinian terror attacks?  In a region where symbols are more important than content, Hamas must attain the second scenario, which will have tremendous influence over the future, and to this end, it has to carry out strategic terror attacks.  The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza will also create a governmental vacuum, which Hamas hopes to fill.  It can win the popularity it needs by means of large-scale terror attacks in Israel.  The Palestinians kill Jews, but are thinking of themselves.  Israel must now prepare for the battle for historic consciousness....  This terror attack means that, from now until the actual withdrawal, Israel must close off all the territories, without exception, including not allowing in workers, and try to complete the separation fence.  When disengagement takes place, in order for no pictures to be aired showing the Palestinian flag flying over the settlers' houses, Israel must dismantle the settlements in the Gaza Strip in their entirety and transfer the area to the Palestinians exactly as we got it: empty."


"Hamas Insists On Attacking Despite Egyptian Pressure"


Zeev Schiff maintained in left-leaning, independent Ha'aretz (9/1):  "The bombing of the buses yesterday proves Hamas's unwillingness to accept a cease-fire in anticipation of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as its people told Egyptian officials in Cairo last week.  The meeting in Cairo ended without results, and it was clear that it was only a matter of time before Hamas found a way to penetrate Israel's defenses....  Hamas's reply to Egypt was not surprising.  Its leadership sees Israel's disengagement plan as a threat, and even if it cannot prevent it, Hamas will try to make the IDF withdraw under fire.  The Egyptians are familiar with this position, but want to prove to the residents of the Gaza Strip that they are doing everything to reduce Israel's military pressure on them.  Hamas is gaining considerable prestige from its high level meetings with Egyptian officials.  At the end of the last round of talks, Hamas representatives said they would be willing to have another debate with the Egyptians after the latter receive Fatah's answer to the cease-fire proposal.  They probably know that Arafat is not ready to issue an explicit instruction for a cease-fire."


"Accusatory Fingers"


Dan Margalit held in popular, pluralist Maariv (9/1):  "This time the sea of tears won't conceal our accusatory finger....  Our first accusatory finger is to be pointed at the Palestinian people, which has allowed a terrorist leadership to govern it....  In the morning Ariel Sharon presented his plan for disengaging from Gaza with determination and resoluteness, and in the afternoon the Palestinian murderers advanced to truncate it.  There is no justifying that....  This is just a reenactment of the same thing -- a national behavioral pattern.  An accusatory finger is to be pointed at the radical Left, which indulges the Palestinians' crimes.  The Jews are always to blame....  [Israeli] leaders were so opposed [to the fence] that when rivers of Israeli blood began to run through our city streets they were forced to change their position and, as people who are angry with themselves often do, they swung like a pendulum to the opposite extreme.  They chose a fence that was too large, gratuitous, greedy, a fence that needlessly oppressed Palestinians. They planned a stealing fence....  [Actually,] in Gaza there is a fence, and there are no dead except those from Qassam rocket fire."


"Solana's Solicitude"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post opined (9/1):  "The telling fact about Tuesday's attack is that the attackers arrived in Beersheva from Hebron, unimpeded by the fence.  Had the fence been there, it's doubtful they would have penetrated.  By now, it's too late for the ICJ to take this fact into consideration--not that they would have done so anyway.  It's also too late for the European Union, which instead offered Israel a five-sentence condolence note via EU representative Javier Solana....  Note well: Solana condemns 'terrorist attacks,' but does not name its perpetrators.  He says 'violence must stop,' without addressing the source of this particular violence. He offers sympathy for Israeli victims and authorities, then prescribes the road map as 'the only way ahead.'  But the road map has not saved a single Israeli life.  The security fence has saved dozens of lives, perhaps hundreds. What kind of sympathy is it that would deny victims the means to defend themselves?  This is more than a rhetorical question.  Solana, no doubt, would answer that he approves of all means provided they are 'legitimate.'  But we search our minds in vain for 'legitimate' means to stop terrorism that are also effective."


WEST BANK:  "A Just Peace Will Spare The Blood Of The Two Peoples"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (9/1):  "It is not in the nature of the Palestinians or their heritage to shed blood and kill the innocent.  They have lived on the soil of their homeland for hundreds of years in peace with each other and with others as long as the others reciprocated peace for peace, understanding for understanding and respect for respect....  What Beersheba, as with the previous explosions over the past four years, cannot be justified, any more than the Israeli assaults that did not cease for a single instant over the same period, nay even since the Israeli occupation in 1967....  There is one known way to put an end to this vicious cycle of revenge and counter-revenge the two sides are paying an exorbitant price for.  There is no room for pride or hiding facts and trying to delude the Israelis and Palestinians about the catastrophic, tragic end to this conflict if it continues: a threat to the existence of both parties, who are bleeding before the eyes and ears of an indifferent world for a cause that is impossible to solve by military force....  The reality that the Palestinians have long realized--to be precise when they turned to just peace as a strategic option--is that a political settlement devoid of the use of force can achieve for them the acceptable minimum of their legitimate national demands, on condition that the other side respect these demands and not block them as long as they do not conflict with its security interests….   However the regrettable and sad reality today is that extremism and the pro-settlement elements that constitute a minority in the Israeli society dominate in steering official Israeli decision-making.  This has made the majority of the Israelis on the one hand, and the Palestinian people on the other hand, victims to this round of violence that does not appear destined to end soon.”


"The Road To Beersheba" 


Adli Sadiq noted in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (9/1):  “The murderous official Israeli policy is to blame, for it is the one that paved the road to Beersheba.  It certainly has caused a large number of deaths amongst Palestinians and a small one among Israelis.  In order for us to prove this, we would like to remind the Israelis of the quiet, peaceful days before Israel’s position on reconciliation was exposed as a fake....  We would like to tell the generals who cause deaths on both sides that they went beyond all red lines and that the consequences of their deeds are harmful to both [Israelis and Palestinians].  The racially-based separation wall, the daily crimes and the unilateral disengagement plan will not bring them security.  They must first accept in principle the idea that there is a partner with legitimate rights under international law, and then move to a genuine peace process that ends with a balanced settlement.”


EGYPT:  "Ending The Occupation Is The Way Out Of The Vicious Circle In Palestine"


Leading pro-government Al-Ahram declared (9/3):  "The two operations that were carried out in Beersheba came as a natural reaction to the continuous Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people....  Palestinians are martyred everyday at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.  The shedding of Arab Palestinian blood by forces of treachery and aggression has become a routine practice which does not move the world's conscience. Given this situation, the Palestinians are left with no option but to carry out such fedayeen [commando] operations to remind the Israelis that they too can suffer pain if they choose to continue the acts of suppression, killing, destruction, and colonial control....  The two operations of Beersheba show that there is a pressing need to activate negotiations to achieve a political settlement....  Such a settlement should end the brutal occupation, grant the Palestinians the right to return to their homes from where they were expelled, compensate them for their properties that were taken from them, and restore Jerusalem to the Palestinians....  Certain big shock at and rush to condemn any Palestinian fedayeen operation and justify all Israeli actions...they must understand that the cause of the crisis is Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and their horrible crimes....  The party that deserves to be condemned is the occupying state, not the victimized people who are under occupation and suffer terribly....  The notion that security can be achieved by occupying others' land, suppressing and killing them, and destroying their properties, a notion based on arrogant power, is the cause of Israel's ordeal.  Israel will not achieve security unless a fair political settlement based on implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy relating to Palestine has been reached. This is what Israeli leaders must understand before they...carry out more crimes." 




Small-circulation pro-government al-Gomhouriya declared (9/1): "Sharon's victims in Beersheba: We feel sorry for the great number of Israelis who died in the suicide attack in Beersheba. However, we have to recall that the Palestinian people and their national authority cried out loudly to revive the peace process and took initiatives which gave a chance for peaceful Israeli-Palestinian co-existence. However, Sharon did not listen to reason."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Sharon Is Responsible"


Makkah’s conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (9/2):  "The two suicide bombs in Beersheba were a natural product of polices of violence adopted by Sharon in dealing with Palestinian issues.  It is well known that violence only produces similar violence.  Therefore, Sharon personally is responsible for the escalation of violence and no one else is responsible....  The two bombings of Beersheba proved that the tough Israeli security measures wound not guarantee security for the Israelis.  The only way to achieve that is to reach a fair political solution, which takes into consideration the Palestinian interests."


"Fundamentals Of The Conflict"


London-based anti-American Al-Quds al-Arabi declared (9/2):  "Hamas has reminded the Arabs and Israelis of the fundamentals of the conflict....  The martyr attack operations were an alarm bell, waking up those from their deep slumber....  Tuesday's attacks had come as a shock to both the PA and the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who believed that he had wiped out the resistance by assassinating its spiritual symbols and field commanders....  Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei's reaction that the attacks would give Sharon justification to strike the Palestinian people was a misinterpretation of what is happening on the ground....  When Sharon's forces had invaded Gaza and Rafah refugee camp, killed hundreds of people, destroyed more than 500 homes, wiped out Jenin's refugee camp from the map, and carried out the massacres in Sabra and Shatilla (in Lebanon in 1981), he did not do all that in retaliation for a martyr attack....  Has Hamas' halting of suicide attacks in Israel for more than seven months stopped the Israeli assassinations, destruction and humiliations against the Palestinian people?"


"Tension Continues"


Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum opined (9/2):  "The operations of Beersheba do not only represent a legitimate reaction for the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Rantisi but also a reaction to the continuous Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, including the abuse of the Palestinian detainees....  Tension will continue since Sharon is determined on his extremist policies, and he continues to ignore the voice of wisdom."


"A Shameful Silence"


Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina contended (9/2):  "The two suicide missions in Beersheba provide proof that the building of the security wall will not bring peace to Israelis.  However, there are those who believe that these missions were a response to the awful silence of the West regarding Israel’s atrocities in the West Bank, and its continuous aggression against Palestinians.  It is also a reaction to the ignoring the suffering of the prisoners who are on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons. The question is: how long would this silence last? And can we blame the Palestinians for using whatever they have to fight an occupation and an aggression that has brought them humiliation, hunger, destruction, and deprivation?"


"Lessons To Be Learned From The Bombings At Beersheba"


Makkah’s conservative Al-Nadwa declared (9/1):  "The bombings in Beersheba proved that the iron-fist policy of Prime Minister Sharon, which received full support from the U.S. Administration, could only lead to increased violence and more Palestinian suicide bombing missions.  It is difficult for someone who witnesses the killing of his father or son by Israeli rockets to dream about peace with those who killed his family.  When Israel assassinated Sheikh Ahmmed Yassin, and Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Rantisi, the U.S. did not even denounce the killings.  But when Hamas announced its responsibility for the two bombings in Beersheba, Hamas was criticized immediately.  The important implication of these bombings is that they have opened the door wide for the Palestinian factions to return to militant resistance. They realize that political initiatives and dialogue has not helped their cause."


JORDAN:  "Beersheba:  Blood In Return For Israel's Intransigence"


Hasan Shobaki concluded in independent Al-Ghad (9/1):  “Israeli blood was shed yesterday in Beersheba in a clear message to the Israeli Prime Minister that the Palestinian resistance will remain so long as there is an occupation.  The explosions in Beersheba represent a language that is well understood by Sharon and his gang of experts in the extermination, killing and destruction of all that is human.  The terrorist scheme that Israel is adopting, in terms of frustrating the Palestinians in villages and refugee camps and the organized crimes against Palestinian prisoners, shows beyond the shadow of doubt that Israel seeks to nullify the Palestinian existence from the human viewpoint, just as it had sought before to nullify it from the geographic viewpoint.  The most indicative of this is Israel’s refusal to listen to the voice of the world calling for putting an end to the massacres being perpetrated against four thousand Palestinian prisoners....  The scenes of bloodshed caused by extremist Israeli occupation forces will not stop as long as Israeli voters insist on selecting leaderships like that of Sharon, and as long as U.S. elections continue to be governed by Israeli interests." 


QATAR:  "End Of Peace Effort Was Sure To Breed Violence"


The English-language semi-official Gulf Times declared (9/2):  "The Israeli army, on the orders of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, sealed off the West Bank and Gaza yesterday, then blockaded Hebron, in the aftermath of the double bus bombing....  The attacks were the first major bombings inside Israel since March 14, when Palestinian fighters killed 11 people in...Ashdod. The Islamic Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the latest bombings, saying they were carried out in retaliation for Israel’s assassination earlier this year of the movement’s founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi....  The Beersheba bombings were a natural reaction to Israel’s policies and practices for someone driven by the Hamas ideology and the knowledge that two members of his own family had been killed by Israelis a few months ago.  Palestinians will not mourn the dead Israelis, who were settlers from Russia and the U.S. who came to rape the Palestinian land and kill its people....  Almost every Palestinian family has now lost at least one of its members to Israeli bullets and most have also had land stolen for the Israeli settlement programme....  A large part of the problem in Palestine is due to the failure of the U.S. to enforce the agreements that it has 'guaranteed' in the past and of all the U.S. presidents, the current incumbent has done most harm by casually agreeing to any proposal Sharon puts to him. That has destroyed the principles at the heart of the international peace effort, leaving Palestinians with no hope of obtaining a just peace through negotiation.  The alternative to diplomacy and negotiation is, of course, the use of force. That is the message from the Beersheba bombings."


"Balance Of Terror"


Semi-official al-Watan opined (9/1):  "The twin suicide attack in Beersheba, besides being a natural reaction to avenge the assassination of Palestinian resistance leaders, is to remind them [the Israelis] that their military forces and tyrannical terrorism will do them no good. It will not protect them from the Palestinians as long as the Palestinians remain unsafe."


"Barriers and Deceit"


Semi-independent al-Raya noted (9/1):  "Palestinian resistance hits back strongly: the Beersheba suicide operation has proved that the Palestinian resistance may be silent for a while, but it will not keep silent forever. It will always react and prove to Ariel Sharon that the Palestinian struggle will not be subjected to the policies of barriers and deceit."


SYRIA:  "Why Syria?"


Izziddin Darwish opined in government-owned Tishreen (9/5):  "The Palestinian resistance claimed responsibility for the recent double-operation in Beersheba, saying that it came in retaliation for the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yasin and Dr. Abdul-Aziz al-Rantisi....  The Beersheba operation was only a reaction to hundreds of Israeli crimes, the responsibility for which lies with the Sharon government alone. This government closed all doors to the Palestinian people and pushed them to carry out such operations. This means that the butcher wants to kill his victim without allowing him to move....  Israelis are not embarrassed to threaten Syria in an attempt to pressure it to change its stands and give up its rights and the rights of the Arab nation. What is astonishing in this regard is the U.S.' great rush to adopt these Israeli claims and allegations....  The Palestinian people are defending their usurped national rights, land, and freedom.  Had they been able to restore their rights by any other means, they would not have resorted to resistance. However, all doors to peace are closed to them, and the international community does nothing.  For its part, Syria will not give up its land and sovereignty and will not bargain over its national rights and the dignity of its nation. Syria does not and will not attack anyone. However, it has the right to repel aggression, a right guaranteed by norms, laws, and the UN charter."


"A Notable Zionist Concentration On Human Aggression"


Chief Editor Dr. Mahdi Dakhalallah asserted in government-owned Al-Ba'th (9/1):  "Human aggression has been the basic method used by Zionists to spread hegemony in the region....  There were a number of factors that pushed Zionist circles inside and outside Israel to focus on this issue. Among them is a conviction prevailing among neoconservatives that the Arab region has become more submissive and flexible after the occupation of Iraq. The other conviction is that they have perfected a series of mechanisms in the field of military and state terrorism...and it is high time to reap the fruits of these mechanisms.  Zionist circles today concentrate on human aggression as they feel that now is the appropriate moment to achieve a qualitative change in their aggression against Arabs.  The first step in this 'human aggression' is to expand Zionist settlement in the occupied Arab territories. The second is to settle Palestinian refugees in exile, depriving them of their right of return....  The Gaza issue literally means opening Zionist settlement in the West Bank. Zionist circles in Washington endeavor to divert U.S. officials' attention to Gaza, causing them to overlook settlement in the West Bank....  The other aspect of settlement...will eventually include pressures on other Arab countries where there are Palestinian refugees.  Members of the US Congress during their recent visit to Beirut were crystal clear and forthright in their demands for settling Palestinian refugees, i.e. by depriving them of their right of return. Pressures are expected to increase on Lebanon soon to achieve this goal, which complements the settlement policy."


UAE:  "Peace Talks Better Than Land Grabs"


The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News held (9/7):  "Despite international condemnation, the Israelis persist in erecting their barrier between themselves and the Palestinians. Now they have moved from the areas presently under construction to start on their massive wall structure around the village of Beit Awwa, near Hebron. Even the Israeli Supreme Court has instructed the Israeli Defence Force to amend their plans to cause least disruption to Palestinian communities, yet this has generally been ignored in what the government allege are 'the interests of safety' to its citizens.  The reason behind the sudden shift to the south is the two bus explosions last week by suicide bombers, causing death and destruction and wreaking havoc upon a suburb of Beit Awwa. The immediate reaction of the government was to blame the absence of a security wall between Palestinians and Israelis, thus allowing militants to carry out their work.  Better than the Israelis spending vast sums of money on demolishing Palestinian houses to make way for their vast concrete structures, better than pulling down mature orchards belonging to the Palestinians, better than stealing even more land from Palestinians for buffer zones and parallel roads, better than all these things is for the Israelis to seek a parley for peace with the Palestinians."




GERMANY:  "Terror Returns"


Gemma Poerzgen opined in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (9/1):  "Since the dual attack from Beersheva it is clear that terror did not take a break....  The slowly growing feeling of greater security among the Israelis ignored military reports that offered enough indications that many messengers of death were circulating, even though many were arrested.  But the quiet was deceptive, since the Palestinians' despair over the hopelessness of their situation grew even more over the past few months....  The Middle East conflict is so inextricable, that Premier Sharon's withdrawal plan from Gaza looks like a ray of hope.  Even though in view of the resistance within his own Likud Party and the expected resistance of radical settlers, the implementation of the plan is still on shaky ground, there seems to be no other approach for a continuation of the road map.   The killed and wounded from Beersheva should remind us that it cannot be sufficient for the EU to wait for a new peace initiative until after the U.S presidential elections.  The possible beginning of a new terror wave and the expected Israeli reactions to it lead us to fear a new escalation."


"Dual Strike"


Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn observed (9/1):  "Immediately before the beginning of the Olympic Games, Yasser Arafat had announced a cease-fire for the time of the competition.  But what he conceived as a PR gag has now turned out to be an act of political stupidity after the dual strike.  If attacks had happened during the Games, Arafat's incapability to control the extremists among the Palestinians would have been visible to every one.  Since there was no attack, this must be considered evidence of the fact that Arafat is able to stop terror or at least reduce the number of terrorist attacks if he only wants it.  Obviously, this will has died with the Olympic flames.  After the peaceful Games, a murderous war is dominating again, because bloodthirsty terrorists want this and because Arafat does not thwart, but encourages them."


"Crime Of Being Israeli"


Mass-circulation, right-of-center tabloid Bild-Zeitung of Hamburg stated (9/1):  "Why did these people have to die?  Because they lived in Israel.  This is their crime.  The Islamic Hamas is proud to take responsibility for this success.  Their weapon is terror against the innocent; their goal is to intimidate the Israeli people and their government.  But Israel will strike back again.  It has no other choice.  A peace according to the diktat of terrorists would only be the quiet of a cemetery, a reward for brutality that shows no respect for human life.  The Palestinian leadership has disassociated itself from the murderers.  This is mere lip service, no more.  As long as these haulers of death are able to prepare quietly for their murderous expeditions on the West Bank, Yasser Arafat's autonomous agency will be an accomplice--responsible for complicity in murder."


"Farewell To Civilization"


Right-of-center Hamburger Abendblatt declared (9/1):  "It is not necessary to say that Arab terror in the Middle East bade farewell to the standards of civilization and humanity long ago.  But it is also sheer mockery...since the devastating attack happened at a highly sensitive day:  Israel's Premier Sharon had just presented his highly controversial...withdrawal plan from the Gaza Strip.  In addition, the murderers moved into Israel from a region that was not protected by fence.  That is why yesterday's attack will hardly be useful to any Palestinian but will give new momentum to those forces in Israel who want to pursue a much tougher line towards their Arab neighbors.  The peace process is threatening to become in vain.  What should be the items on an agenda for negotiations between an embattled...Israeli government leader and an incompetent, corrupt Palestinian leadership that is unable, or does not want, to rein in its terrorist groups?"


ITALY:  "Sharon Resolved On His Plan, ‘Out Of Gaza In Early 2005’"


Marco Ansaldo stated in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (9/1):  “On the day when the nightmare of Palestinian terrorism has, once again...shocked Israel, after months of a truce full of hope, Ariel Sharon has presented his reluctant party’s parliamentary group with his plan for a quick withdrawal.  His plan does, in fact, anticipate the pullout of thousands of settlers....  A shocking challenge to the Likud....  Cautious reactions arrived from Ramallah....  Minister Saeb Erekat, one of Arafat’s most important advisors...emphasized that ‘the withdrawal from Gaza decided by Sharon cannot be a substitute for the Quadripartite ‘peace track.’  We insist that the withdrawal is a part of the ‘roadmap’ plan.”


SPAIN:  "In Israeli Territory"


Left-of-center El País editorialized (9/1):  "Israel has occupied Palestinian territory since 1967, and as such has no right to build settlements in those lands.  With this settlement policy...a future hypothetical Palestinian state, worthy of the name, is increasingly less viable.  And without this possibility the hopes for peace are reduced, the path to peace blocked by the violence on both sides, the wall of separation that Israel is building, and the civil war among Palestinians fighting for control over Gaza and the PA.  The lack of hope is what most cultivates the growth of blind violence, as yesterday, once again, tragically demonstrated."




JAPAN:  "Blast To Delay Withdrawal From Gaza?"


An editorial in conservative Sankei read (9/1):  "The latest bus suicide bombings in southern Israel illustrate the stiff resolve of Palestinian guerrillas, despite increased pressure by the Israeli military.  With hardliners in the ruling Likud reacting strongly to Prime Minister Sharon's plan to speed up an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the latest terrorist attacks are likely to prompt such dissenters to further intensify their opposition to the Israeli leader."


INDIA:  "Suicide Attack" 


An editorial in Calcutta-based centrist Urdu-language Azad Hind read (9/2):  "As far as Israeli state terrorism is concerned, it cannot be denied that it has kept its forceful occupation over Palestinian land....  No perfect attention has yet been given to the solution of the Palestine issue. Israel has been regularly flouting the UN resolutions because it enjoys the patronage of the U.S. and Britain. For years Israel has been practicing an animal-like policy against the Palestinians...and by doing this Israel has closed the doors of peace and security. They are dropping bombs on refugee camps and bulldozing the homes of the innocent Palestinians, but Bush is branding all these terrorist activities as legal. In this situation when there is no hope of getting justice, people are bound to take arms in hand. It is the consequence of this disappointment that organizations like Hamas came into existence....  The U.S., which considers itself to be the divine commander and the custodian of human rights, jumps into action wherever it wants. But it cannot detect terrorism in the actions of its illegitimate child Israel. It never expresses any grief over the gross violation of...human rights and this is why the Palestinians are taking to extremism....  But, whatever be the cause, no peace-loving person can support the suicide attacks on two buses...that killed the civilians.  Hamas should understand that it is not the common Israelis, but the Israel government and its army that are their real enemies....  So, they should immediately stop this type of attacks."




CANADA:  "Syria's Chutzpah"


The leading centrist Globe and Mail commented (9/6):  "Syria has long been a byword for hypocrisy in international affairs. Its harsh repression of internal dissent, its routine use of torture, and its sponsorship of terrorism are well-known....  But even by those standards, Syria's response to twin bus bombings in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba last week sets a new low.  Whether Damascus bears some responsibility for the attacks, which killed 16 and injured 80, is not particularly in question.  Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the blasts, is headquartered in Syria. Khaled Mashaal, Hamas's supreme political leader, lives in Damascus under the protection of the Syrian regime. This makes Syria Hamas's sponsor.  This was the first such attack inside Israel in six months. It comes at a critical juncture in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's devilishly difficult project of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza....  Setting aside the fact that innocents were killed and maimed--which should never be set aside--the bombings make that laudable project all the more difficult, and peace all the more elusive.  Understandably, Israel reacted with some heat....  The message to Syria was clear: Rein in Hamas, use your influence to stop Hamas from killing civilians and destroying what little hopes exist for peace, or face the consequences.  Syria's response, astonishingly, was to blame Israel for exacerbating regional tensions. Likewise Hamas, in a statement beamed straight from Damascus, accused Israel of trying to provoke a confrontation. Its terrorist strikes are planned and carried out from the occupied territories, not Damascus, Hamas asserted huffily.  Ah, well. That makes it okay then, doesn't it? The effrontery is staggering. Radical Islamist terrorism has become a blight the world over....  Fanatics have cast aside every principle of human decency and honour.  They have murdered civilians....  Any group that resorts to such tactics now is a pariah--not just in one region, but globally.  Syria should expel Hamas and cut off its funding. Failing that, Damascus should not be at all surprised that Israel, and other civilized nations, hold it accountable for its friends' repulsive acts."


"Israel's 'Bulldozer' Makes His Move"


The leading centrist Globe and Mail held (9/2):  "Mindful that Gaza holds scant strategic value, most Israelis thus view its wretched towns and refugee camps chiefly as a liability. This consensus is the bedrock of Mr. Sharon's damn-the-torpedoes decision to forge ahead....  The path forward could hardly be more hazardous. Civil strife, pitting Palestinian moderates against extremists, is highly likely given the power vacuum an Israeli pullout would engender. But as Mr. Sharon apparently realizes, albeit late in his 76 years, Israel has little choice but to embark on such a sizable gamble. The alternative is a blood-drenched status quo that, by almost every yardstick, is no longer tenable."



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