International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 27, 2002

June 27, 2002




**  President Bush's perceived interference in Palestinian affairs was the most criticized aspect of his Rose Garden remarks, but his denunciation of terrorism was praised in some quarters. 

**  Israeli and conservative Canadian dailies welcomed a new calculus in Mideast diplomacy.

**  Official Arab media's initial positive spin on the speech turned critical over the Arafat issue.




Bush's call for new Palestinian leadership drew universal editorial fire, from the most pluralistic Western nations to the democratically-challenged.  London's centrist Independent intoned, "Mr. Bush broke the first rule of statesmanship: non-interference in other people's affairs." A Haitian radio station asked, "Why is it necessary to win an election if the results don't seem to please the powers of the world?"  While all were pleased to see the U.S. again engaged in the region, many worried about the feasibility of a plan they perceived as one-sided.  For their part, Indian writers joined others worldwide in deriding the U.S.' "history of supporting autocratic leaders."  Meanwhile, Pakistan's Lahore-based national Daily Times intoned that Pakistan will have a harder time expelling al-Qaida "if the Pakistani mind is offended by a U.S. policy that favors Ariel Sharon in the Middle East."


Nevertheless, his clear denunciation of terrorism was praised in some quarters.  Israeli dailies of all stripes and conservative Canadian papers welcomed what they saw as a new calculus in Mideast problem-solving.  They determined that the president broke new ground in linking Israel's anti-terror fight to the U.S.' and establishing "a laboratory model" for Arab democracy.  Tel Aviv's mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot saw the Bush plan as analogous to former President Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union as an evil empire.  Canada's conservative National Post determined that by directing "sternly anti-terrorist, pro-democracy rhetoric" at the Arab world at large, Mr. Bush has served notice that "Arafat will not get the regional war against Israel he wants."


The official Arab media's initial restraint turned sharply critical over Bush's 'rejection of the people's choice of Yasser Arafat.'  The disconnect between Arab rulers' initial positive reception of the Bush "vision" and the Arab street's angry rejection of it was troubling for some.  Moderate Riyadh Daily spoke of Arabs attempting to "save face" while finding common ground.  Jordan's most widely-read columnist  observed that President Bush had asked Arab rulers "to help implement reforms in Palestine that they do not carry out in their own countries."


EDITOR:  Gail Hamer Burke






EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 78 reports from 48 countries, June 25 - 27.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.






ISRAEL:  "Arafat Stands Next To Saddam"


Popular, pluralist Maariv editorialized (6/27): "In his remarks [at the G-8 conference Wednesday], Bush placed Arafat very close to where Saddam Hussein stands in the eyes of the U.S. president.  True, Arafat is not officially a head of state and the Palestinian state is barely a state-in-the-making.  Still, pretty seldom does a U.S. president threaten an entity with military measures because it is not turning itself into an organized democracy, a law-abiding regime and a transparent government....  After September 11, some members of conservative circles in the United States...recommended that Western, mostly American, forces take over Mideast states and force democracy upon them....  Another possibility hinted at by Bush is the use of American military separate Israelis and Palestinians....  Anyway, the picture emerging from Bush's insistence on the issue of Palestinian leadership and the necessity for democracy in the P.A. is that Yasser Arafat has definitely finished his career." 


"A Warning For Arab Regimes"


Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor observed in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/27):  "Bush's speech called for building a laboratory model for a new democratic and pluralist Arab regime.... Those remarks undermine the Arab regimes, which have brought this upon themselves.  As Professor Edward Said has declared, the Middle East is the only place...where there is not even one hint of democracy, in a world that defines itself today by norms of human rights and democracy.  Contrary to the claim that Bush's speech has not created a clear mechanism for an agreement, it has produced an entire reward and punishment system....  Like at the evil Durban Conference, it has again become obvious that the United States is the only beacon of justice, truth and honesty, which does not hesitate to stand up for the entire world, when necessary.  As usual, the European states are stuttering.  But they will eventually adopt the path that the United States is showing to all."


"A Palestinian Coronation"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/27):  "With Bush reportedly planning to push for Arafat's removal at the upcoming G-8 summit, Arafat undoubtedly is growing concerned about his waning political relevance.  But, as any good dictator knows, the best way to crown yourself with an aura of legitimacy is to turn to 'the people' and that, it appears, is precisely what Arafat has decided to do.   The danger, of course, is that many in the international community will nevertheless fall prey to this transparent ploy, naively assuming that the Palestinians will indeed be given a free and fair opportunity to elect themselves a representative leadership.  If past Palestinian electoral shenanigans are any indication, though, next year's balloting is unlikely to be a model of democracy in action." 


"A Democratic Palestine, With No Discounts"


Columnist Ari Shavit maintained in independent Ha'aretz (6/27): "Thanks to George Bush, the idea of a democratic Palestinian state this week became the complement to the idea of a democratic Jewish state.... If there is no Palestine, by the end of the decade Israel will no longer be Jewish and democratic.  But if the future Palestine is not democratic, sooner or later there will be no Israel: the violent extremism that will erupt from this state will cause Israel to vanish....  The fact that they [the Palestinians] are under occupation does not grant them moral discounts....  And as long as their leadership does not choose the democratic experience, it should be treated as an enemy of freedom.  As long as it lends a hand to the collective aggression of murderous suicide-madness, it should be treated as endangering world peace.  Nothing less....  This outline is a definition of the purpose of the war and its theater: who is fighting who and for what.  In this sense it is truly part of a broad campaign.  It is a prelude to the coming attack on Iraq.... [But] the same cruel choice that Palestinian society must confront in the coming months will shortly confront the Israeli right as well."


"Who’s Facing Reality?"


In the view of the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (6/26):  "Bush's speech on Monday was perhaps the greatest injection of realism into U.S. policy in 35 years.  If anything has been proved by Oslo's collapse, it is that basing a peace process on an unreconstructed dictatorship was unrealistic, even utopian....  Bush, contrary to his critics, is among the best friends the Palestinians have ever had.  If he is successful, future Palestinians will consider him their liberator.  The genius of Bush's speech is that it finally spoke the truth about who is standing in the way of Palestinian liberty and independence.  Those who continue to blame Israel for Palestinian suffering are not doing the Palestinians any favors, and they certainly are not realists.  The lesson of September 11, and the core of the still-evolving Bush Doctrine, is that basing peace or stability on belligerent dictatorships is like building on sand.  Bush's new emphasis on democracy is not starry-eyed naivety, but realism based on bitter experience."


"A Clear Voice Against Terrorism"


Independent Ha'aretz's editorial declared (6/26): "It must be recognized that by ruling out Arafat, with blunt revulsion for him as someone who 'traded in terror,' the president gave authentic voice to a broad and profound attitude that has swept across America since September 11.  No less important and to the point, as far as Israel is concerned, was Bush's inherent acceptance of the argument that the Palestinian Authority, under Arafat's leadership, 'rejected Israel's outstretched hand.'  With that, and in the details of the President's vision about an Arafat-less future in our region, the president appears not to have departed from the permanent, long-standing position of the United States with regard to the conflict.  It is not a Sharon-style, shrunken, truncated Palestinian state that the president expects to see alongside Israel.  Like all his predecessors since 1967, Bush made clear that the day will come when Israel must leave the vast majority of the territories....  There is logic in the criticism voiced against Bush for presenting a vision without drawing a road map to achieve it....  But the speech's strength outweighs its flaws: it is the clearest voice yet to be heard against Palestinian terrorism.  The president of the United States told the Palestinians that if they continue with terrorism, they will not get a state."


"Bush's Vision, Reagan's Vision"


Chief economic editor Sever Plotker wrote in the lead editorial of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/26):  "The Bush vision recalls another turning-point speech made by a U.S. president.  On August 13th, 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech to the British Parliament.  Reagan called the USSR 'an evil empire,' and said: the USSR will be crushed by the wave of history rising against it...and that the march of freedom and democracy will turn the Soviet bloc into dust and ashes....  Ronald Reagan's vision came true in its entirety:  The USSR collapsed in August of 1991.  The Soviet regime fell apart and communist parties were made illegal.  The evil empire was vanquished by people who listened to Reagan.  It is possible that in much the same way Bush's vision will come true one day.   A Palestinian state will arise that will be democratic, liberal, tolerant, free of Arafat and members of his gang, a country that will fight terror and live in peace with Israel."


WEST BANK:  "Speech Is Out Of Touch"


Independent Al-Quds ran this editorial (6/27):  "To the misfortune of President Bush's speech, it came right after Israel has completed its direct occupation of all the Palestinian cities and towns, which are supposed to be under full Palestinian control, in accordance with the Oslo accords.  Thus, the president's speech was empty of any worthy content.  Most of the Palestinian people are psychologically not ready to listen to the speech or to make the time and effort to search for the positive and negative points in it.  They are too busy dealing with the daily suffering and distress caused by Israeli oppression.  Undoubtedly, the fact that the speech has no reference or condemnation of the latest massive Israeli offensive, which Israeli officials said it will be a long-term occupation, has discouraged the Palestinians from paying any attention to the U.S. presidential vision....  The main element missing in this vision is an effective mechanism to end the 35-year-old occupation and settlements, which have consumed most of the Palestinian land."


"A Speech Worth Considering"


Independent Al-Quds put forth this view (6/26):  "It is neither wise nor possible for the Palestinians to ignore President Bush's speech, especially since the Palestinian issue has become a regional as well as an international concern.  The United States' role in the peace process is essential and unchallenged....  There are several positive points in the president's speech as viewed by the Palestinians as well as the Israelis.... The President talked about eliminating occupation, freezing settlements, and ending siege, closures and restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people.  He also expressed understanding to the Palestinian suffering and promised the Palestinians with a better and more prosperous future....  All in all, the president's speech has many good points, which the Palestinians must consider very carefully."


"Bush's Speech:  Bad Diplomacy"


Sam Bahour commented in the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center's daily media summary (distributed electronically) and in the news website (6/26): "The long-awaited speech of President Bush was supposed to set the pace for the Palestinians and Israelis to step back from the vicious and bloody cycle of violence that has gripped them for nearly two years.  Instead, President Bush and his administration have publicly adopted the Israeli agenda of battering the Palestinians into submission. President Bush's illusion that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be 'talked away' in a series of speeches is not only a poor example of leadership, but seriously places U.S. interests in the region at high risk.... To a naive audience President Bush's speech may have sounded like a sensible framework for progress, but for anyone with any understanding at all of the Middle East, it was clearly a shallow attempt in diplomacy that amounts to U.S. surrender of its Middle East foreign policy to the ranks of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel's lobby in the United States.  Indeed, the speech was praised by Israel's right, which has rejected Palestinian statehood outright."


EGYPT:  "Regardless Of Take-It-Or-Leave-It Policy, What If Arafat Is Re-Elected?"


Pro-government Al Gomhouriya's editor-in-chief Samir Ragab noted (6/27):  "Arabs and Palestinains are now required to consult frankly and freely without sensitivities to take a unified position on Bush's ideas. They should only be regarded as ideas, far from being a real program, and these ideas are discussable and can be changed.  Arabs should not apply the American logic of 'take it or leave it.'"


"Yasser Arafat Is American"


Opposition Al Wafd's board chairman Abbas Al Tarabily argued (6/27):  "Washington wants to create an American-made Arafat to implement America's instructions and Israel's demands.... Thus, Washington wants to cancel the will fo the Palestinian people, forgetting that araft has become a symbol of their struggle and he alone can renew their trust in him....  By the same token, if Washington wants to change the leader of Palestinian struggle for independence, why not we ask America to cancel the names of its own strugglers after whom she named its states and streets?  Why can France not delete the name of its heroic struggler Charles De Gaulle?"


"Balanced Statement, Awaiting Implementation"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's editorial read (6/26): "President Mubarak welcomed President Bush's statements as balanced, but noted some points need clarification....  Undoubtedly, the statement included positive ideas which can be a light at the end of the dark tunnel for the Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis in general.  However, implementation of Bush's ideas requires clarification.  The statement on reform of the Palestinian Authority and the finding of a new leadership were unclear as was how to fulfill the obligations he imposed on the Israeli side.  The statement did not mention anything about the idea of an international peace conference....  Most importantly, the statement requires strong will if it is to be implemented.  President Bush may have focused in his speech on what he called Palestinian terrorism and the need for Palestinians to change their leadership, but he failed to point to a political change required from Israel--an Israel which is led by an extremist who merits an international trial....  The president's admission that any settlement depends on UN resolutions, the settlement of the Jerusalem and refugee issues and a final peace with Syria and Lebanon are all positive, but...real will emanating from Washington and honest intentions from Israel are essential for implementation."


LEBANON:  Media Treatment--Most Papers Critical


Most newspapers were sharply critical of the Bush speech, reflecting either cynicism or pessimism.  Pro-Syrian papers Al-Kifah Al-Arabi and Ash-Sharq were particularly critical in their banners, with Al-Kifah Al-Arabi sarcastically characterizing the speech as a "vision of war for peace in the region."  Ash-Sharq highlighted President Bush's renewal of the option that "you are either with us or against us" in the war on terrorism, claiming that President Bush "adopted Sharon's principles."  Other papers were no less critical: pro-Sunni Al-Liwa characterized the speech as a "contradictory vision for peace and certainly biased towards Israel;" Hariri-owned Al-Mustaqbal opined that the speech was "Sharonic in its form and content."  The same paper also considered the speech as an "American green light for Sharon to be excessive in the aggression against Palestinians, and to broaden aggression against Syria and Lebanon."  Moderate, anti-Syria An-Nahar and centrist Al-Anwar highlighted President Bush's "campaign against Syria."  All papers highlighted the call for a new Palestinian leadership.


"Bush's Vision Worse Than Oslo"


An editorial by Aouni Al-Kaaki in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq underscored (6/25):  "George W. Bush might have his own affiliations and religious beliefs.  He might live in fear of being unable to renew his term for a second time. He might be facing a real impasse regarding the divisions of his administration between the hawks and the doves....  But his bias towards Israel is becoming unacceptable...and his road map to peace is devoid of any objectivity.  Bush packed his speech with conditions on Palestinians and asked them to change their leadership.  This is considered meddling in their internal affairs....  Each article in Bush's vision will require long and endless negotiations...similar to Oslo."


JORDAN:  "Bush Ignores Arab Initiative"


Most widely read Jordanian columnist Fahed Al-Fanek contended in semi-official, influential Al-Rai (6/27): "The reforms that Bush asked exclusively of the Palestinians are correct, and in fact they are demanded by the Palestinian people.  But in reality, Bush is not concerned with them because the United States is in the habit of dealing and making alliance with the worst dictatorial corrupt regimes.  In fact, President Bush asked certain rulers to help implement political and fiscal reforms in Palestine that they do not carry out in their own countries. The other point is that the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia made several visits to Washington and spent long hours with the president explaining to him the Arab point of view, and they returned optimistic, thinking that they managed to influence his thinking, only to discover that he had closed his eyes and ears to them because he is committed to Sharon’s vision.”


"Significance Of Ignoring The Arab Iinitiative"


Columnist Mahmoud Al-Rimawi concluded in semi-official, influential Al-Rai (6/27):  “Despite the frequent meetings that President Bush made with Arab leaders, and what the White House publicized about a positive spirit in these meetings that were held at the highest levels, it is evident that the American hawks--who would be better described as the American Likud--were doing all that they could to make the administration’s views compatible with those of the occupation government in Tel Aviv.  This is the great danger of the speech.  One has to be an imbecile to believe and trust that the construction of the Palestinian state should start with the destruction of its nucleus while closing the door against serious negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.  Arabs are now called upon to mobilize themselves to end this saga that uses the pretext of fighting terrorism to prevent peace and abet the state terrorism that is being practiced by the war criminals of Tel Aviv.”


KUWAIT:   "A No-Good State"


Former editor-in-chief of Al-Watan and prominent liberal lawyer, Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh, wrote in independent Al-Qabas (6/27):  “At last the American president spoke of his vision for a solution to the Palestinian-Zionist conflict.  We wish he had not spoken, because typical of American politicians, he equated the murderer with the victim....  Will America allow the Palestinians to elect some of those Palestinians unjustly imprisoned in Israeli jails or do they want a Palestinian Hamed Karzai?...  The president said he understands Israeli pain and anger.  He does not understand, however, that (alleviating) such pain requires Israeli evacuation from Palestinian land and requires an end to sending American weapons to kill Palestinian women, children, and elderly citizens.”       


"Self-Deception And Our Arab Reality"


Director of the Kuwait Information Office in Washington, Shafeeq Al-Ghabra, asked in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/27):  “How long will this Arab self-deception continue?  We pretend that we are achieving victories on the Israeli front, yet in reality, we are attacked and defeated.  Pretending that slogans and loud chanting are capable of replacing work and knowledge will not change our situation....  Pretending that the laws governing other societies do not apply to us, and that we are entitled to make scores of mistakes and to lose political, economic, and ‘resistance’ opportunities, yet expect to achieve victory, is an over-simplification of the current situation.  Pretending that the Arab voice must be heard worldwide because it is the rightful voice will not alter our situation if we do not strengthen this voice with proof and the logic of debate.  If this does not happen we will be pushed backward instead of forward....  We must put an end to this self-deception we have adopted throughout the past two decades.  Halting this deterioration requires an in-depth reform of the Arab condition and seeking new horizons we have not considered before.”


QATAR:  "I Didn't Hear Bush, I Heard Sharon"


Columnist Mazen Hamad wrote in semi-independent Al-Watan (6/25):  "Last night Bush was speaking, but with Sharon's tongue. He has accepted all of Sharon's demands.  Even in the long-awaited vision that he laid out for a Palestinian state, Bush gave its final approval to Sharon.  Yesterday, Bush gave Sharon the authority to carry out operations of virtually any length and scope in order to ensure Israel's security.  Bush spoke about halting the creation of new settlements, and he wished for an ultimate withdrawal of Israeli Defense Forces from the Palestinian Authority areas.  But he did not talk about dismantling the current settlements, or consider such a demand to be any sort of precondition for Israel.  The Palestinian State will remain hostage to Sharon's mood.  We have been forced to wait for Sharon to give us a 'terrorism free certificate' before being able to establish our State--and I am sure that Sharon will never give us this honor."

SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Court And The Judge"


Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan held (6/27):  "Although President Bush's initiative does not differ significantly with the Arab peace initiative in regard to the Palestinian question, it was less than inspiring on the level of comprehensive peace in the region.  The speech was ambiguous and required clarification from the U.S. administration in order to formulate a final and precise opinion....  The most important thing is what Prince Saud Al-Faisal said yesterday, that the Palestinian people alone are the judge and the court of their cause."


"Bush's Proposal"


Moderate Riyadh Daily asserted (6/27):  "The statement of U.S. President George W. Bush on the Middle East conflict was controversial.  It was warmly welcomed by Israel and was accepted by Arafat.  However, some Arab countries voiced their reservations while others outrightly rejected it....  On the Arab side, there are no complete agreements nor differences.  This is the reality.  It is hoped that we develop a balance in our agreements and differences, even if it is only for face saving."


SYRIA:  "How Could Peace Process Be Unleashed"


Government-owned Tishreen held (6/27): "President Bush's vision has excessively focused on generalities and became distant from the essence of a solution.  It focused on Israel's security and ignored the continued Israeli occupation and the atrocities that the Palestinian people are exposed to.  Many Americans described Bush's plan as ambiguous, lacking a clear map, and that it will be impossible to unleash the peace process without a virtual American involvement in the peace process...  President Bush has insisted on changing the Palestinian leadership to please extremist right-winged Israelis. The logic of affairs dictates he request a real change in Israel to ensure its involvement in the peace process and its acceptance of Security Council resolutions that require a full Israeli withdrawal to the June 4th lines."


TUNISIA:  "Waiting For Godot..."


Editor-in-chief Chokri Baccouche wrote in independent, French-language Le Quotidien (6/26):  "A Palestinian provisional within eighteen months matched with drastic conditions such as the explicit exclusion of Yasser Arafat.  George Bush's famous peace plan has disappointed a lot of people.  From postponements to hesitations, Palestinians will finally gain an independent state...'when hell freezes over'.  Yet one thing is sure: The American president has wiped out the Oslo and Sharm-Al-Sheikh agreements, by proposing a vision matching the Hebrew state and in accordance with the Israeli prime minister's objectives."




BRITAIN:  "We've Missed The Point Of Bush's Middle East Policy"


The liberal Guardian stated (6/27):  "It is usually a mistake to assume that a world leader is off his head....  George Bush is no exception to this rule.  His first solemn shot at bringing peace to the Middle East is so one-sided, so absurdly unreal, that it's tempting to dismiss it as the casual folly of a president who cannot be serious.  But presidents need the benefit of the doubt about their seriousness.  Certainly Bush proves he's nowhere near being a multilateralist.  The long-promised speech was the result of little consultation.... If you were an optimist, like Blair, you might also say the speech, however blatant its bias, constituted at last a serious U.S. intervention....  The European attitude to U.S. intervention almost anywhere has often been paradoxical, not to say contradictory.  But another rationale for Bush's sanity is more convincing.  This is that he cares more about the war against terror than bringing a just peace to Israel/Palestine....  Europeans, by contrast, still live in the old world where change occurs, nominally at any rate, through more familiar modalities.... There's hardly an American front-line politician who has come out against attacking Saddam, and hardly a European who favors it.  This grows from differences of history, of culture and even--to American incomprehension--of geography....  Europeans, for their part, think Bush exaggerates.  And even if he doesn't, they think his answers, whether in Israel or Iraq, are counter-productive....  He and his people have their eye on a purpose.  The danger they run is that they think they can achieve it, if necessary, alone."


A Mideast Vision Without A Map”


The independent Financial Times contended (6/26):  “Mr. Bush has spelled out a vision without a road map.  He does not have any new ideas about getting from here to there....  The good news is that Mr. Bush is determined to engage in the peace process.  He wants the United States to be involved, with the European Union and the rest of the international community, in building a viable and prosperous Palestinian state....  Mr. Arafat has more popular support than most, if not all, of the Arab leaders in the region.  It is up to the Palestinian people to choose their own leaders.  Mr. Bush can urge them to change but he cannot dictate the outcome....  What is missing in all of this is a real incentive for the Palestinian people to behave as Mr. Bush would wish....  On that score, Mr. Bush will have to do more.”


"Mr Bush...Has Broken First Rule Of Statesmanship"


The centrist Independent stated (6/26):  “It takes two to make peace, and neither leader seems disposed to make the requisite concessions or show the requisite concessions or show the requisite vision....  Mr. Bush’s speech, and the lead-up to it, risks making matters even worse, if that were possible.  By leaking selective details about support for a ‘provisional’ Palestinian state, the White House raised expectations and trapped Mr. Bush into having to say something at a time that was not of his choosing....  Mr. Bush broke the first rule of statesmanship: non-interference in other people's internal affairs.  And he did it in a way that was politically and practically counterproductive."


FRANCE:  "Determination And A Vision"


Jean Daniel commented in left-of-center weekly Le Nouvel Observateur (6/27):  "The speech President Bush gave on June 24 translates determination and a vision, although late, very late....  The vision is that of a man conscious of the international role played by his country. The determination lies in the confirmation of a policy adopted by Clinton, Arab nations, non-fundamentalist Muslims and the Europeans....  Bush proves he has learned two essential things.  First, that his battle against terrorism must include an emergency plan giving Arabs and Muslims reasons to prefer America's protection to Islamic fundamentalism.  Second, President Bush has come to realize that without peace in the Middle East, where today's sources of anti-Americanism lie, there was no chance for a political solution in the region or for an operation against Iraq....  His plan might have been inspired by Colin Powell's Arab, European and Russian interlocutors.  This is Secretary Powell's victory over Donald Rumsfeld....  To reach this point, President Bush traveled a long road....  He was forced to listen to George Tenet, George Mitchell and especially to Dick Cheney, who explained that the United States  could lose its prestige in the Middle East and its audience in Europe."


“Bush And Palestine”


Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (6/26):  “President Bush has offered a strange deal to the Palestinians:  The United States will help you to establish a state if you get rid of your leader.... 

"What the United States is demanding of the Palestinians under occupation--democracy, transparency, effectiveness--it does not demand from many dictatorships in the region with whom it enjoys better relations....  But this is not the issue.  In his speech, President Bush endorsed one of Sharon’s principal demands when he asked for Arafat’s departure.  He endorsed what has been Sharon’s obsession: the elimination, if only political, of the man who embodies the movement for Palestinian liberation....  Yet Sharon’s enthusiasm for Bush’s plan is based on a misunderstanding.  For Sharon and his allies, putting Arafat on the sidelines is striking a blow to the creation of a Palestinian state, something they do not want.  Sharon hopes to remain vague and let Jewish settlements create a situation from which it will be impossible to go back....  But this is not the logic behind President Bush’s speech.    Mr. Bush reaffirmed a political perspective which happens to be the right one....  Sharon feels confident he can maintain the status quo and gain some time.  Mr. Bush must tell him that the second part of his speech is as important as the first."


GERMANY:  "Under Pressure"


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/27) noted in an editorial:  "The allies at the G-8 summit have almost unanimously made it clear that they do not like the idea to force a new leadership on the Palestinians.  The Palestinians have reacted quickly by announcing reforms and a date for elections (whatever that may mean in the end).  Bush was not able to gain much room to maneuver with his Middle East speech, which was just one more sign of his lack of orientation.  It seems odd that there was so little coordination between Bush's Middle East initiative and those countries whose support the U.S. president needs to get things moving in the region.  This is what Bush does not understood: Arafat's (and Sharon's) removal would help the peace process, but if a U.S. president explicitly demands such a change, the opposite will happen.  Bush's idea was not wrong, but it was also not smart."


"One-Member Middle East Quartet"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (6/27) judged in an editorial:  "Thanks to George W. Bush, the Europeans are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place.  If they embrace his pro-Israeli policy, they will lose all credibility as mediators among the Arabs and Palestinians.  If the EU continues to steer a neutral course in order to put together an international Middle East coalition, a collision with the United States will be inevitable.  The best thing Europe can do right now is to apply its old virtues of perseverance, sobriety, and patience.  The U.S. initiative has so many flaws that it will soon have to be overhauled from top to bottom.  Nothing will happen in the Middle East without the United States, but the country is not strong enough to fix the problem by itself, as the history of the region has taught us."


"A Superpower Takes Action”


Wolfgang Guenter Lerch noted on the front-page of center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/26):  “One cannot argue with Bush’s making an end to terrorism a condition of negotiations....  Yet this is where the problem starts.  What is terrorism?  Might it also include some of the actions of the Israeli army, which have claimed more than 2,000 Palestinian lives since the start of the intifada?...  Arafat and Sharon are each in their own way hostages to Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder and leader of Hamas....  Bush’s second condition, new leadership and democratic structures for the Palestinians, sound reasonable at first.  But is it realistic?...  The Palestinians insist, and rightly so, that Arafat is their legitimately elected political leader."


ITALY:  "Embarrassment At The White House"


A commentary by Marcella Emiliani in Rome's centrist  Il Messaggero said (6/27): "What should have been the U.S. peace plan on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has turned into deep embarrassment for President Bush....  It is certainly clear that the Palestinians...have been able to push the 'game' back to the U.S. field, thus nailing down the White House to its own contradictions.  (In fact) Arafat did either turn a deaf ear or pretend not to understand what Bush meant by demanding a new Palestinian leadership not involved in corruption....  He (Arafat) then asked his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat to release the information that Palestinian democracy continues, and that both presidential and legislative elections will take place in...January 2003....  Will Arafat run for president?...  In the name of democracy, Arafat's candidacy is his best weapon...against the United States.  In fact, should re-elected, the United States will be forced to accept him holding its nose...or to say...openly that Arafat is not acceptable as president, thus dangerously interfering in Palestinian internal affairs, and with even more serious repercussions vis-à-vis the Arab-Muslim world."


"An Initiative That Needs To Be Carried Out With Facts"


Ugo Tramballi judged in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore (6/26):  “The real issue is whether the administration will limit itself to the speech on the White House lawn and then turn its attention to Iraq; or whether, beginning today, the Americans will give new substance to their policy in the region.  Rarely has a U.S. initiative prompted such support or curious silence in the Arab world.  Wakened by the international events after September 11, and without ideas any more on the Palestinian issue, the Arabs are basically happy that the U.S. superpower has something to propose....  Yasser Arafat is clearly a defeated leader....  (But) if the Americans believe that it will be enough to remove Arafat by international decree, they will only push the Palestinians to proudly close ranks around their leader, even though they are tired of him.  If the Americans believe that Palestine can be reformed upon command, they will help Hamas achieve power.  Since Arafat has to disappear, it is necessary to help him find an acceptable way out.  And even when that happens, if statements are not followed by political pressure, Bush will find another obstacle on the road towards his ‘vision’--Ariel Sharon....  In order to go down in history books as the great pacifier, the U.S. president will have to find a way out for Ariel Sharon, as well.”


AUSTRIA:  "Sharon's Big Moment"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer opined in liberal Der Standard (6/27): "With his speech, George Bush proved that he has adopted Sharon's political position down to the last detail....  Clearly, things are not going to change in the near future, except for the worse....  Let there be no doubt about it:  Arafat is definitely guilty and apparently also incompetent; it is time for him to go....  But it would be dishonest or naïve, or simply a denial of historical facts to blame the conflict's origin and its history exclusively on Arafat....  After all--and of course this is also an ideological issue--Israel itself has never clearly defined its borders.  And, to the tremendous relief of Israel's right, the situation is not going to change for quite a while--thanks to the United States."


BELGIUM:  "Bush Innovates"


Baudouin Loos stressed in left-of-center Le Soir (6/27):  "By inventing the notion of 'provisional state'--by the way, does this mean that, depending on the goodwill of some, that country will either become a normal country or nothing?  George Bush undoubtedly innovates.  He is even more innovative by announcing, in his Oval Office, whom the Palestinians must force to resign or refuse to elect.  Let us point out that these innovations flout international law.   In fact, all this only postpones the unavoidable negotiations--negotiations which Ariel Sharon, who does not want to yield on anything essential for him, is precisely trying to avoid....  Bush has chosen his own interests, the November mid-term elections and, in a longer term, his own re-election in 2004....  The interest of the region--and perhaps even of the world--would have justified an unconditional American support for the Saudi peace initiative--the Abdullah plan--i.e., total peace with the Arab world for Israel in exchange of a total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.  This is a plan which is simple but incredibly audacious.  By haughtily ignoring it, Bush gave a slap in the face of the Arab world, which does not even seem to hold it against him."


"On What Basis Does Bush Call For Arafat's Replacement?"


Foreign editor Gerald Papy challenged in independent La Libre Belgique (6/26): "What kind of legitimacy does George Bush have to call for the replacement of a President who was elected

after a rare exercise of democracy in the Arab world--Bush who, since September 11, has hardly restrained his unconditional support for the Saudi feudal monarchy, in spite of the suspicion that some of its princes are accomplices of the al-Qaida network?  The call for Yasser Arafat's replacement is another expression of American unilateralism.  It is also a strategic mistake.  There will be more Palestinians who will rally around their old leader than Palestinians who will vote him out."


DENMARK:  "Arafat's Chance"


Center-right Jyllands-Posten commented (6/26): "If Yasser Arafat knows what is good for him, he will welcome Bush's plan for the Middle East and use it as a platform for the one thing that he has be fighting for all his life--a free and independent Palestinian state."


"Bush Should Not Get Mixed Up In Palestinian Leadership Question"


Left-wing Information judged (6/26): "Several European leaders has underscored the fact that the Palestinians are responsible for choosing their leader and not the United States.  This is what we call democracy." 


HUNGARY:  "Change Of Regime In Palestine?"


Leading Nepszabadsag emphasized (6/26):  "The disadvantage of the Bush speech is that everything he said is simply unrealistic.  The problem is the logic.  Why does the U.S. administration think that in a non-democratic regime, with Arafat still in power, those few  Palestinian democrats who demand democracy, freedom of speech and press, a multiparty system and a market based economy would not be taken away by Arafat's national secret services.  They could even celebrate if they escaped being executed as 'collaborators' with Israel.  The Palestinian leadership is Arafat's back-up line.  It has already rejected U.S. interference in Palestinian internal affairs.  The Palestinian leadership has to come forward, with or without Arafat, and make it clear whether it wants peace or war."


IRELAND:  "Arabs View Bush Speech As A Victory For Israel"


The liberal Irish Times carried this piece by Michael Jansen (6/26):  "The call by President George Bush for a new and different Palestinian leadership has instantly boosted the standing of Mr. Yasser Arafat....  (Bush) placed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict squarely within the ambit of his 'war on terror'.  Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims cannot accept this move.  They make a firm distinction between terrorism, which they oppose, and Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation....  Mr. Bush made it impossible for the Palestinians to oust Mr. Arafat democratically....  Palestinians are enraged by Mr. Bush's attempt to dictate the outcome of this election....  Mr. Bush dealt with Israel's role almost as an afterthought....  (Bush) did not put forward a clear plan of action for Israel to follow or synchronise Israeli moves with those to be taken by the Palestinians."


THE NETHERLANDS:  "Bush Peace Plan For Middle East Is One Sided"


Centrist Haagsche Courant has this editorial (6/26):  "The positive point in the Bush plan is its simplistic nature.  Both Israelis and Palestinians know exactly where they stand in the plan.  Bill Clinton's backroom plans often lacked such clarity....  The remarkable thing about the Bush plan is that it is openly taking sides with the Israelis.  By urging Arafat to leave, the Americans did exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Sharon wants....  By doing this, the United States is ignoring the fact that Arafat was elected by the Palestinians and that makes the execution of his 'peace plan' controversial....  What really killed the plan was the Israelis  cheering the United States' declaring Arafat politically dead....  A peace plan that so openly serves the interests of only one party cannot be the foundation of peace negotiations."


NORWAY:  "A Difficult And Important Bush Speech"


Newspaper-of-record, conservative Aftenposten held (6/26):  "What makes this speech so important is that the United States, as a particularly strong figure in this conflict, is now putting its full political weight behind the demands for a Palestinian state...  Correctly, it is believed that the speech makes few demands of the Israelis... But this might be too hasty a conclusion, because if a Palestinian state is created, it will...make major...concrete and difficult demands of Israel....  The United States' demand that Yasser Arafat must leave, conflicts with what must be an obvious basis for any democracy--that the people must have the right to elect their own leadership....  There are no ready solutions on the table.  But when the United States  engages itself for a Palestinian state, it is a step in the right direction."


"A Free Way For Sharon"


Social Democrat Dagsavisen (6/26) commented: "The hawks won the battle for the United States' Middle East policy....  Ariel Sharon has been given free hand to continue the occupation of Palestinian cities.  But with certain goodwill it can be noted that George W. Bush for the first time has promised to go for the establishment of a Palestinian state....  Terrorism is directing developments in the Middle East.  Everyone has the right to defend himself against terrorism....  Peace requires political solutions and compromises. But the speech of George W. Bush has not cleared a single obstacle on the road to peace."


POLAND:  "George Bush In Fantasyland"


Lukasz Warzecha asserted in center-right Zycie (6/27):  "Those who expected that the U.S. administration would become more engaged in pursuing a realistic resolution to the [Middle East] conflict were deeply disappointed.  Even though Bush said that the United States would support the creation of a 'temporary' Palestinian state, he specified many conditions....  George Bush failed to live up to expectations.  It is not easy to admit it, but, compared to him, Bill Clinton in his approach to the Middle East issue was much more of a real statesman.  Washington has been accused of a pro-Israeli inclination for a long time.  The Middle East conflict requires a mighty external power.  But such a power cannot opt for one of the sides in such a blatant way.  Bush could have gained credibility as an arbiter if he had demonstrated that he had a real concept of how to resolve the conflict, and that--despite political closeness with Tel Aviv--he tried to look at the arguments of both sides at a distance....  His 'vision of the Middle East' is a vision of some ideal state without a single suggestion of how to reach this state by realistic methods."


PORTUGAL:  "Part Of The Solution Or Part Of The Problem?"


Influential, center-left O Público's editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes noted (6/26): "George W. Bush's 'vision' for the Middle East sends a tough message to the Palestinians....  Formally, this message is unassailable.  Formally one should only expect the United States to support regimes that are democratic and committed to peaceful relations with their neighbors.  Formally.  In truth, we know that the United States supports--namely in the Arab world--many regimes that do not fulfill those conditions.  And in practice, we also know that President Bush's message had a concrete target, despite never being named: Yasser Arafat.  On this point, however, Bush is right....  As head of the Palestinian Authority, he has failed.... Yesterday, Sharon saw himself as the winner in getting Bush to proscribe Arafat....  The worst is that, even with Bush having revealed his 'vision' for the Middle East, he said little or nothing about how to get there.  Now, rhetoric about democracy and peace does little good if the American administration does not simultaneously have a plan to create conditions for a change of leadership in Palestine--something that seems impossible if its people continue to be surrounded by Sharon's tanks.  Bush said nothing about such a plan--whence the fragility of his 'vision.'"


ROMANIA:  "Major Consequences For Peace Process, U.S.-Arab Relations"


Editorialist Mihai Hareshian commented in the English-language Nine O'Clock (6/27):  "Before publicly announcing his peace plan, Mr. Bush found himself facing a pro-Israel Congress and the pressure of Christian Conservatives and Jewish voters.  As a result, the U.S. president's speech on Tuesday had to take into account these institutional and public pressures.  The peace plan announced by Bush envisages the building of a Palestinian state, but calls on Palestinian voters to choose new political leaders and give up on Mr. Arafat, whose name was not even mentioned.  This is a great change in U.S. policy, which is to have major consequences, not only on the peace process in the region, but on U.S. relations with the Arab states, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, first and foremost.  The request from Washington, doubtless, the most influential capital with regard to the volatile region of the Middle East, that Palestinians renounce Mr. Arafat, raises an expected challenge to Palestinian society and the Arab world in general.  The ball is in their court now."


RUSSIA:  "Water Under The Bridge"


Boris Petrovich commented in reformist Noviye Izvestiya (6/27): "The U.S. president thinks that he has done his bit to restore peace in the Middle East.  He is ready to explain to the G-7 [sic] members in Canada why Yasser Arafat must quit.  George Bush is unabashed by the predictable criticism of his initiative--for him it is water under the bridge.  In other words, the president does not care very much about the fate of his own plan, letting the State Department 'correct' the most odious parts of his speech.  Thus cleansed, the United States' new policy will look more acceptable to the partners and allies, who haven't exactly been happy with Bush's principal tenet that, without Arafat, the settlement process will go far better."


"U.S. Contributes To Butchery"


Vyacheslav Tetekin charged in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (6/27):  "A co-sponsor of the peace process, the United States should have condemned Israeli intransigence.  Instead the Americans have openly sided with the Israelis, holding the Palestinians entirely responsible for what is going on.   Never before has the White House been so obedient, following in the wake of Tel Aviv's policy....   As they call for peace and denounce terrorism, the Americans contribute to a continued massacre in the Middle East.  Bush looks pretty odd, speaking of his mistrust of Arafat--that coming from a semi-legitimate president won't sway the Palestinians.  Arafat is one of the greatest politicians of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.  Bush can't hold a candle to him in personal authority.   Arafat and his cause, the cause of Palestinian independence, enjoy enormous support within and without.   So Bush's arrogant attempts to act as the ruler of the world are doomed."


SPAIN:  "Checkmate To Arafat"


Conservative ABC declared (6/26):  "The plan is lame.  It does not make any reference to an international  conference that would work towards both parties' agreement on a definition of a future State; it does not present a calendar and does not foresee a mission of Colin Powell to work on the details previous to starting this new process....  The fact is that Arafat deserves his status of a discarded leader.  He did not take firm measures against the terrorist groups because he feared the street's reaction.  He has turned the Palestinian Authority into an ineffective, corrupt structure and he has lead his people into a counterproductive war and his repeated attempts at playing the victim have stopped having an impact on Europe....  Sharon and Arafat want to achieve peace through war.  It may be time for both leaders to retire."


TURKEY:  "The Bush Plan"


Mass-appeal Hurriyet's Brussels-based columnist Hadi Uluengin argued (6/27):  "Apart from international objections--from the EU to China--the fact of the matter is, the Bush plan is not a realistic one.  First of all, his promise for a Palestinian state remains very evasive.  Besides, the procedure for implementation of the plan is an unrealistic dream:  Arafat will go; there will be a democratic regime in Palestine; terrorism will end; Israel will not only withdraw from the West Bank but also start negotiations with the Palestinian state....  The only positive and realistic point to make is that the United States has at last become  involved in the region."


"The Bush Plan:  Palestine Without Arafat"


Izzet Sedes maintained in mass-appeal Aksam (6/27): "President Bush has created a model for unusual diplomatic rhetoric.  Why does the United States interfere with the leadership of a movement?  There is a double standard in this.  The president of the United States is interfering with Palestinian affairs by clearly asking for democratic and transparent leadership, while, at the same time, the United States sees no harm in being in close cooperation with many dictatorships around the world....  Bush is hoping to exert pressure on Arafat, but is only making Arafat's position even stronger than before....  It seems like nothing will change in the Middle East in the foreseeable future, and unfortunately the bloodshed and agony in the region will continue."



AUSTRALIA: "Mideast Plan Is Vague But Welcome"


The business-focused Australian Financial Review (6/26) editorialized:  "President George Bush's long-awaited statement on the Middle East is welcome because it provides the possibility, faint though that possibility may be, of serious U.S. re-engagement in the region.  What is controversial about the Bush statement is his demand that the Palestinians elect a 'new'' leadership and put behind themselves leaders tainted with terror.  Of course, he is referring to Yasser Arafat, but whatever might be the view of Mr Arafat's role as an encourager of terror it is extraordinarily presumptuous to seek to impose a new leadership on a sovereign people simply because you don't like the present one.  This is dangerous stuff, especially in light of the Americans' ragged history of constructing puppet regimes."


"Bush Tells Arafat To Eat His Own Children"


Tony Parkinson, international editor for the liberal Age, contended (6/26):  "What began as a vision became an ultimatum.  Yesterday George Bush delivered an explicit warning to the Palestinian leadership that international support for their aspirations for statehood will stand or fall on whether they are prepared to renounce terrorism as a tool for achieving political aims.  The 'with us or against us' rhetoric of September 11 is being sharpened.  In the first instance, it appears, the ball is in Arafat's court."


CHINA:  "Bush Gives Free Hand To Sharon, Pushes Palestinian Statehood Off Horizon"


The official, English-language China Daily insisted (6/27):  “U.S. President George W. Bush's recent Middle East policy speech has given Ariel Sharon a freer hand to combat the Palestinian uprising and has pushed Palestinian statehood off the immediate horizon, political analysts said.  Analysts agreed that the stringent demands placed on the Palestinians, and the absence of parallel demands on Israel, offered the sides no immediate exit from nearly 21 months of bloodshed.  Bush's outline of a provisional Palestinian state, with permanent borders possible only after three years of reform and peacemaking, was a vague response to their desire for independence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Analysts said the blank check from the White House did not extend to Arafat's expulsion, a strategy urged by some members of Sharon's

coalition government but opposed by others.”     


CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "To Put The Fire Out Or Pour Oil On It"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News said in an editorial (6/26):  "The U.S. government is inclined to take a tough stance on Middle East policy.  One example is that the United States is mixing up the Middle East issue with the war on terrorism.  This is exactly what the hawks in Israel want to see, because then they can unscrupulously kill people on Palestinian territory and call it by the fine sounding name of 'combating terrorism.'...  Israel does not attack Syria because there has been a tacit agreement between the U.S. and Israel for more than ten years.  This tacit agreement has successfully prevented a regional war.  If the United States does not restrict Israel in its Syria policy any more, the Middle East issue will no longer be just a conflict between Palestine and Israel.  It may become a Middle East war....  At this stage, the United States should put pressure on Israel and demand that it withdraw from  Palestinian territory.  It should increase co-operation with countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and should  support Arafat's efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority and combat terrorist acts.  As long as there is a good atmosphere, the planned peace negotiations in September will succeed, and the fire in Palestine and Israel can be put out."


JAPAN:  "Bush Peace Proposal Creates A Stir"


An editorial in business-oriented Nihon Keizai held (6/27):  "Although the Palestinians reacted negatively to President Bush's new Mideast peace proposal that 'implicitly' calls for the removal of Chairman Arafat, Prime Minister Koizumi lauded the peace proposal as positive during his one-on-one meeting with the president.  Now a focal point at the Kananaskis G-8 summit, which started early Thursday morning (Japan time), is how other world leaders will react to the proposal.  The Bush proposal is designed to put an end to the current tit-for-tat suicide bombings-reprisal military operations.  But there will actually be many twists and turns ahead over the U.S. call for Arafat's removal.  Secretary of State Powell made a remark suggesting that the United States would not turn down Arafat if he were again elected chairman in a fair election.  UN Secretary General Annan expressed his skepticism over Mr. Bush's call for Arafat's resignation, saying the Palestinians would most probably elect another radical as leader, even if an election were held.  There are global expectations placed on the Kananaskis summit's effective role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian standoff and restoring peace to the region."


INDONESIA:  "Bush's Coup d'État Against Arafat"


Independent Koran Tempo maintained (6/26):  "By campaigning a coup d'état against Arafat, President Bush has despised a basic principle in civilized international relations, if not showing an antidemocratic stance.  Only the Palestinian people have the right to determine their own leader.  The requirements that Bush proposed would only prolong the suffering of the Palestinians.  His support for the ousting of Arafat can be interpreted as a green light for Sharon to kill Arafat.  Or, is that the real motive of the United States, i.e., facilitating permanent occupation for the Israelis?  Seasons have changed, but the stance of the United States remains the same.  It becomes more difficult for us to trust the United States as a just peacemaker in Palestine."


PHILIPPINES:  "Bush Calls For Change"


According to the independent Manila Times (6/26):  "The long-awaited speech of President...Bush that outlines his peace plan for the Middle East was finally articulated on June 24.  Its main theme was the battle against and the defeat of terrorism....  The speech was long on rhetoric but short on concrete proposals that will move the Middle East process to a final political solution....  There is precious little to go by to guide negotiations and action....  Although...Arafat rejected them when President Bill Clinton outlined them in the July 2000 meetings at Camp David, perhaps President Bush can use the Camp David proposals as the starting points in elaborating his own vision for peace in the Middle East."


SINGAPORE:  "This Is Vision?"


The pro-government Straits Times held (6/26):  "U.S. President George W. Bush's overdue plan for a Palestinian settlement is an odd bag of practical bits, wishful thinking and a virtual nod to Israeli militancy.  There must be puzzlement how these can add up to the 'vision' that had been touted, still less a workable plan....  It may be shown in the fullness of time that all that the Bush plan can accomplish is to reward Israel for its unremitting disavowal of Palestinian dreams.  Mr. Bush should explain how that can make it palatable for a Palestinian leadership to engage the Israelis.  He warned the Palestinians that 'Israel will continue to defend itself'...if they continued to use terrorist methods. That will sound to a neutral party like condoning force and land grabs.  Already, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has declared boldly that Mr. Bush's delicate wording about Israel being entitled to 'secure and recognized' borders was acceptance of its position that it did not have to pull back to pre-1967 lines.  Things are getting worse."


SOUTH KOREA:  “U.S. Should Respect Palestine’s Sovereignty”


Conservative Segye Ilbo held (6/26): “Mr. Bush’s Mideast peace plan deserves praise as a major step toward resolution of the Middle East crisis, since it presents a concrete timetable for the creation of an interim Palestinian state through democratic procedures.  However, because the plan calls for the removal of Yasser Arafat as Palestinian leader, it will inevitably come under fire for interfering in domestic Palestinian affairs.…  Unreasonable U.S. attempts to replace the Palestinian leader, who still enjoys public support, might aggravate the conflicts between Israel and Palestine and undermine the Mideast peace process....  In addition, the United States should participate in an international conference on the Mideast peace process that would include the UN, Arab nations, Russia and the EU, as well as Israel and Palestine, to explore a better diplomatic solution.”


VIETNAM:  "New U.S. Plan Will Shatter Hopes For Peace In Middle East"


Nguyen Khac Duc wrote in Cong An Thanh Pho, the mouthpiece of Ho Chi Minh City's Police (6/27): "The so-called new Middle East peace plan actually just reflects the traditional carrot-and-stick policy of Uncle Sam....  By playing an interfering role rather than a mediating role, the U.S. government is once again pouring oil on the fire in the Middle East.... The demand to replace Yasser Arafat is a blatant intervention into the internal affairs and self-determination of the Palestinian people....  World public opinion strongly objects to the new U.S. policy because it very dangerous to the global and regional security."




INDIA:  "Arafat Responds With Poll Schedule"


An analysis in the centrist Hindu (6/27) by Bahrain correspondent Kesava Menon stressed.  "Arab leaders are still trying to come to terms with the 'vision statement' of U.S. President George W. Bush...but in their initial reactions, these leaders have viewed the speech as positive overall....  There seem to be few in the Arab world who dispute Mr. Bush's view that the PLO Chariman's leadership has been less than adequate.  But they do strongly resent the view that the United States or anyone else should be the ones to decide the Palestinian leadership....  Mr. Arafat and other Arab leaders seem to have some hope that he will be able to retain his status though he sheds most of his powers under the reforms of the Authority demanded by Mr. Bush."


"America Against Arafat"


Left-of-center Malayalam Mathrubhumi held (6/27):  "American President George Bush's statement for a change of leadership in Palestine promising an independent Palestine in three years is in bad taste.  This is not the first time an American leader has made a statement violating international regulations.  It's for the people of Palestine to decide whom they should elect (as their leader.)...  America has a history of supporting autocratic leaders, including Musharraf.  By suggesting change of a people's leader like Arafat, America has fallen in the eyes of many, including of its own people."


PAKISTAN:  "Get Arafat"


The Lahore-based independent Daily Times held (6/27):  "Bush has supported the establishment of an 'interim' Palestinian state, but has made it conditional on changing the present Palestinian leadership....  America's inability to formulate a coherent policy in the Middle East is going to entail costs in the long run.  Its allies are going along but one can clearly see the chinks in their 'interpretive' statements....  The 'Get Usama' and 'Get Arafat' campaigns are both a part of a domestic-driven agenda, but the latter has more acceptance globally than the former.  What the Bush policy does to the Arabs in particular affects attitudes in states like Pakistan.  Al-Qaida is, after all, an Arab outfit brought into the region by America's earlier policy.  Its ouster from Pakistan will become more problematic if the Pakistani mind is offended by a policy (or a lack of it) that favors Ariel Sharon in the Middle East."


 "Sharon's Eyes On Syria Now"


Islamabad's rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer declared (6/27):  "It seems that Bush and Sharon are bent upon pushing the Middle East into a wider conflict with sinister motives.  As if their joint venture of unethically delaying the establishment of the Palestinian State on one pretext or the other is not enough to keep the Middle East in turmoil, they have now conceived another conspiracy to ensure Jewish domination in the region by launching aggression against Syria.  Bush's latest plan to deprive the Palestinians of their real leadership by entailing Yasser Arafat's removal as a pre-condition to the process of Palestinian State has already exposed the Israel-U.S. axis to establish Jewish hegemony in the Middle East region....  The Muslim leadership has to wake up to the objective realities so unambiguously staring in its face as a result of the U.S.-Israeli nexus of evil.  History bears testimony to the fact that nations and empires, failing to respond to the challenges posed to their survival with dignity and honor, have always perished.  Let the OIC/Arab League leadership ponder!"


SRI LANKA:  "Moderates Losing Ground To Hardliners In Mideast"


An op-ed page article by Lynn Ockersz in the government-owned and -controlled, English-language Daily News noted (6/25):  "Israeli and her Western backers have been quick to point an accusing finger at Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for failure to rein in the forces of extremism in the Palestinian camp, but the simple truth is that the moderates have been upstaged by the hardliners in the Palestinian resistance....  The voices of extremism are bound to drown out those of political moderation in the Palestinian camp as long as Israel and its Western backers prove unyielding on the principal demands of the Palestinians. Hawkishness on one side will generate corresponding tendencies in the other."




GHANA:  "Colonisers Of The World"


Harruna Attah stated in the pro-ruling party (NPP) Accra Mail (6/26):  "President Bush has spoken and Arafat must go....  Between the Arabs and Jews, many people of the world have been colonized through the adoption of religious names.  These two tribes that so colonized the world with great monotheistic religions are today probably leading in the effort to blow up the planet.  It is not fair.  What then is there for the rest of us to keep holding on to the religions they bequeathed us?...  Sharon.  Arafat.  What to make of them.  Now the American, Mr. Bush says one of them must make way.  I am holding my breath."


NIGERIA:  "A Far Away Dream"


Lagos-based, independent ThisDay ran this commentary by Paul Reynolds of BBC News Online (6/26):  "A state of Palestine is only a distant prospect.  Mr. Bush did not promise one, as Britain once promised Jews a 'national home' in the Holy Land.  So even if reform takes place, and new leaders are elected, a long negotiation remains with no certainty at the end....  Mr. Bush says he hopes for an agreement on a state of Palestine in three years.  As things stand, that is an impossible dream.  There have been so many similar moments of 'vision' before--the Begin-Sadat agreement led to a White House handshake and peace between Israel and Egypt but to nothing for the Palestinians; another White House lawn handshake between Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin also led nowhere.  Realism indicates that the conflict will go on.  The Americans have planted a Palestinian flag on a hillside but it is far away.  It might be reached one day and if its is, then the Bush speech will be an important marker in Middle East history.  But a Promised Land for the children of Palestine is not inevitable."




CANADA:  "Clearing A Roadblock"


The right-of-center Calgary Herald editorialized (6/26):  "President George W. Bush's Middle East prescription removes a contradiction of U.S. policy, that while condemning Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, it still expected Israel to negotiate with him.  It was futile:  Even if one could ignore Arafat's terrorist past, he has conspicuously failed to deliver on any of his promises to end attacks against Israel.  His credibility, even with his own people, is slender.  He must go.  Finding a better alternative will not be easy, of course.  Commitment to justice, accountability and peace--the basic tools of hope for an end to violence--is seldom accompanied by the ruthlessness needed to contain extremists for whom terrorism has become an end in itself.  Still, it is time for new voices to say, 'Enough.'"


"Arabs Put On Notice"


The conservative National Post pointed out (6/26): "In one sweeping brush stroke, President George W. Bush painted his vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace on Monday....  First comes security. To this end, Mr. Bush addressed Palestinians directly:  Dump Yasser Arafat and his cronies--for Israelis will never be secure living next to a regime run by professional, life-long terrorists....  Though the bulk of the speech concerned Israeli-Palestinian matters, Mr. Bush's sternly anti-terrorist, pro-democracy rhetoric was clearly meant for the Arab world at large....  Mr. Bush is quite correct to situate the Arab-Israeli conflict in a larger context:  Many Arab nations treat the terrorist war against Israel as a proxy conflict to prove their militant bona fides.  So long as Palestinians get cash from Riyadh and Damascus, the terror will continue....  By putting them [the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah, the Syrian-supported Lebanese terror-group ] on notice, Mr. Bush is saying that the United States will not let Mr. Arafat get the regional war against Israel he wants.  Mr. Bush said many things that needed saying in his Monday speech. He is to be congratulated for delivering it."


ARGENTINA:  "Words Sharon Wanted To Hear"


Paula Lugones, leading Clarin's international columnist, opined (6/25):  "After September 11 and under international pressure, Bush seems to choose the idea of a quick establishment of a Palestinian State.  Now, after months of hesitation, he decided to 'get rid of Arafat' and bet on a new leadership.  The problem is that there are no clear leaders in sight.  And there is another risk at stake--the possibility that extremist sectors reach the highest levels of Palestinian power."


BRAZIL:  "Balancing The Scales"


Conservative O Globo ran this opinion piece (6/26) on its international page:  "Arafat may be one of the obstacles to a peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.  But when President Bush links U.S. support of a  Palestinian State to Arafat's removal, he is directly interfering in Palestinians internal affairs.  After all, Arafat is a legitimate leader, having being elected president of the Palestinian National Authority and confirmed by a plebiscite.  To be perfectly consistent, Bush should also demand the other  legitimate leader, Sharon, to leave his post as Israel's prime minister.  That would be impracticable as well."


"A Danger Named Bush"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's political columnist Clovis Rossi intoned (6/26): "Yasser Arafat... is the Palestinian Authority's legitimate opposed to the countless leaders enjoying full support and sometimes financial aid from the United States.  This is why George Bush's disqualification of Arafat is intolerable....  Actually, it is the international community that would have the right to disqualify George Bush for at least two important reasons: 1) He removed Bill Clinton's signature from the Kyoto Protocol...  In other words, he superimposed the supposed interests of the U.S. industry over environmental protection; 2) He does not support the creation of the International Criminal Court....  He has clearly signaled that human rights must be respected (and their violations punished) only when U.S. troops are not involved.  A president with such a record has not the slightest moral support to say who can and who cannot rule Palestine or any other place."


CHILE:  "Powerful Encouragement To Relaunch Talks"


Top-circulation, popular La Tercera observed (6/25):  "Arafat's reaction to Bush's remarks, to sign a decree announcing a presidential election the beginning of next year, is positive.  Arafat, in any case, had no other choice.  His position as an interlocutor is weak, he's been unable to stop the attacks by fundamentalist movements, and he needs administratively to reform his organization.   But Bush's intervention does not necessarily guarantee there will be less violence....  The United States and European countries must commit themselves to long-term support ... Secretary of State Colin Powell's upcoming trip to the Middle East is a good sign.  After all, the White House's proposal is the fist step to addressing the challenge of pacifying the region after months of battles, death, and hostilities."




Left-of-center, independent, leading afternoon tabloid El Nacional opined (6/26): "The United States is overdoing its role as the navel of the world, by assuming the right to install or remove governments using the pretext that it is being done in the name of peace or to combat terrorism....  President Bush recently admitted that he had on agenda the idea of ousting Saddam Hussein.  A little while ago, Bush also urged Fidel Castro to launch a democratization process in Cuba 'Washington-style'....  Now it is Yasser Arafat's turn, president of the National Palestinian Authority....  Bush demands Arafat's resignation for permitting or supporting terrorism, but he forgets that Israeli cannons are pointing to the neck of the president of the Palestinian Authority.  He also forgets the massacre of Sabra and Shatila."


ECUADOR:  "Bush Enters The Middle East"


Hernan Perez Loose declared in Guayaquil's (and Ecuador's) leading, center-right El Universo (6/25):  "It was about time President Bush abandoned the attitude he had with regards to the Middle East, in the sense of placing himself on the sidelines, leaving the events to progress on their own.  After all, the campaign against terrorism and the road to Baghdad in particular, go through a lasting solution of this ages-old problem."


HAITI:  "Mr. Bush's Candor"


Radio Melodie FM editorialized (6/25):  "When the Palestinian people will have new leaders, new institutions and new security agreements with its neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state....  Elections are important, but what is more important is having the support of the Bush administration.  Elections or not, without the support of the Bush administration, well, you follow my thought...  What is becoming of popular sovereignty, which the United States defends with so much energy?...  Moral of the story:  In Washington or in Paris, in the Middle East or in Madagascar or anywhere, why is it necessary to win an election if the results don't seem to please the powers of the world?  At this time, why is it necessary to have elections at all?"




Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home