September 8, 2004
BEERSHEVA BOMBINGS: 'ISRAEL MUST CLOSE OFF ALL
** 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
** 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 role...in 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
'Syria should expel Hamas'--
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
ISRAEL: "One Step At A
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:
"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
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
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
happened...at 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.”
"Ending The Occupation Is The Way Out Of The Vicious Circle In
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 powers...express 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
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
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?"
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."
"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."
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
"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."
"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."
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."
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
"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 the...security 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?"
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.”
"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
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."
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."
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."