International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 10, 2002

April 10, 2002





** Israeli conservatives argue that an IDF withdrawal would undercut deterrence; liberals say pullout would provided needed PR victory

** Arabs contend that the litmus test for Powell mission is an Israeli withdrawal

** Arabs struggle with how to channel pervasive discontent with U.S. policy

** European/Canadian relief at U.S. "re-engagement" was increasingly overtaken by despair, as Washington's demands fall on "deaf" ears

** Western condemnation of Sharon heats up, critics worry over fate of Palestinian civilians

** Europeans warn of damage to Israel's--and U.S.'--international standing




ISRAEL:  Predictably, liberal and conservative analysts differed on the issue of an IDF pullout from the West Bank.  Conservatives stressed the need to maintain deterrent capability.  They praised the "IDF's moral code of conduct" and called on the nation to show more resolve.  One conservative columnist allowed, however, that PM Sharon "could demonstrate flexibility" on IDF withdrawal if PA leader Arafat "condemns terror and unambiguously pledges to cease the fire."  Liberals lamented that Israel is losing "the diplomatic and media battle in the world," blaming Sharon's "hard-line" anti-terror tactics.  On another front, two independent Ha'aretz editorials slammed Sharon's "anachronistic" position on Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas.


ARABS:  The media continued to examine Secretary Powell's tour against the backdrop of widespread disillusionment with U.S. policy in the region.  U.S. appeals for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank were widely dismissed as a "face-saving" ruse by President Bush.  Powell's "dawdling" mission was criticized for allowing Sharon to mop up operations in the West Bank according to his own schedule.  Palestinian dailies and others warned that the IDF's incursions would only stiffen the resolve of the "Palestinian Masada" and that Powell's success hinged on an Israeli pullout from the West Bank.  Writer after writer asked Powell to meet with PA leader Arafat but a rare piece in a Saudi daily, arguing that the Palestinian cause is larger than one personality, asked Arafat to step down.  Nearly everywhere, an underlying theme was that Arabs should "re-evaluate" relations with Israel and the U.S. at this juncture.  Syrian dailies led the charge for a reversal of the process of normalizing relations with Tel Aviv and a re-institution of the Arab boycott against Israel.  On U.S.-Arab relations, a Saudi daily refuted the view that the only way for Arabs to influence U.S. policy is to boycott U.S. goods and/or impose an oil embargo. 


EUROPE/CANADA:  Despite staunch support for an urgent U.S. intervention, forecasts for the Powell mission have grown more pessimistic by the day.  "Rarely has a goodwill mission so resembled a mission impossible" was a common theme.  Commentators noted that no one in the region appeared eager to comply with Bush's demands--be it for an IDF pullback or Arab renunciations of suicide bombing.  "What happens if the U.S. says jump and nobody moves?" mused a Canadian writer.  Some frustrated editorialists blamed intransigent leadership on both sides, concluding that peace will be elusive "as long as Arafat and Sharon remain in power."  But, with the exception of a few conservative UK and Canadian outlets that argued for greater Arab accountability, analysts focused their ire on the Israeli government and Sharon's "brutal" offensive.  Condemnation was often coupled with increasing alarm about the fate of Palestinian civilians.  Turkish writers, for example, referred to "massacres" in Palestinian cities, while W. European editorialists cited unconfirmed death tolls in the hundreds and spoke of the "denial of basic human rights" in the occupied territories.   


EAST ASIA:  While a majority of papers judged that the U.S. has acted "belatedly" in the Middle East, a few optimistic voices had "high hopes" for the secretary's mission.  Countering the prevailing view in this region as well that Powell had embarked on a "mission impossible," writers in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines argued that his visit was "likely to lead to a cease-fire and perhaps a resumption of negotiations."


SOUTH ASIA:  Media offered no rays of hope for an end to the carnage.  Both Indian and Pakistani dailies held that the U.S. had no apparent "authority" over Sharon, with many charging that U.S. "dilly-dallying" had left Sharon free to continue his operation.  A Peshawar paper stated: "An unprecedented reign of tyranny has been let loose against a whole population...and a blinkered Bush [is] ready to give the marauding occupying forces more time to carry out their malicious job."  In the eyes of most, Powell has been dispatched on a belated, and probably doomed, mission to bring peace to the Middle East.


AFRICA:  Mostly pro-Palestinian pieces called on Israel to end its occupation.  The U.S. and the international community were asked to apply economic pressure, i.e. boycotts and withholding of financial aid, in order to persuade Israel not to commit "genocide."


LATIN AMERICA:  A number of leading dailies in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico hailed the announcement of Powell's trip, calling it a "step forward" for the Bush administration that might bring about, if not a "peace of the brave," the "peace of the exhausted."  Critics in these countries and elsewhere, however, charged that the timing of Powell's itinerary had given Sharon another week to "expand" his "war" against the Palestinians.   


EDITORS:  Kathleen Brahney, Gail Burke, Katherine Starr


EDITORS' NOTE: This report is based on 181 reports from 67 countries, April 5-10.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




ISRAEL:  "Power And Wisdom"


Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (4/10):  "The Government must order the IDF to bring the operation to an end and bring about an orderly withdrawal....  The more the Palestinians come to believe in their power, the sooner they are likely to renew their mass terror attacks, which will lead to an escalated response.  However, the time has come to consider broader issues--political and international ones--to allow the American Secretary of State to wield his influence in Arab capitals and to recruit broad support for an attempt to calm the region.... It is also important to look into the fundamental error in the attitude of the Sharon government: the lack of a political force operating in parallel with the military one.  That is the basic reason for Israel's failure in the diplomatic and media battle in the world.  As long as Israel under the leadership of Sharon is viewed as taking a hard-line political stand, the army's battles will not be sufficient. Israel has shown its power.  It must also show its wisdom."


"Powell Is Taking A Chance"


Conservative columnist Yosef Harif wrote in pluralist, popular Maariv (4/10): "Sharon would err if he acceded to the President's request to immediately withdraw on a large scale before the vital goals over which Israel went to war are achieved.  But he could demonstrate flexibility and prevent a confrontation with Bush if he receives clarifications that Arafat has indeed acceded to the U.S. president's repeated demands that he condemn terror and unambiguously pledge to cease the fire....  Powell will have to convince the Palestinians that they should not expect the United States to pressure Israel....  While...Arafat had agreed to accept the Tenet and Mitchell principles as a basis for negotiations, Israel now hears that he no longer accepts those principles.  Should the U.S. give in to the Palestinians and abandon those principles, it would only strengthen the credo of Arafat, who had advised Saddam on the eve of the Gulf War: 'Don't give up, be obstinate--the Americans will eventually compromise with you.'"


"The Price Of Our Morality"


Popular, pluralist Maariv editorialized (4/10): "Israelis can begin thinking today about the war after the war:  The public relations which Israel can be expected to be placed in the international defendant's seat for its acts in Operation Protective Wall.  The first shots in this war were fired in the course of the last two days in which allegations were made about killing and destruction, a failure to treat wounded people, civilian casualties and other allegations that will be accompanied by harsh visual documents, when the television screens around the world become filled with the spectacle of dead bodies lined up, destroyed houses and crying, distraught relatives.  Before that begins, Israel would do well to say to the world and to herself on the day after the day that was soaked with the blood of her soldiers in Jenin, that the casualties she suffered Tuesday were the painful price she paid for her insistence on fighting morally....  On this day, in which the heart grieves for Israel's dead and Israelis' heads are bowed before their graves, Israel has the right to be proud of the IDF's moral code of conduct."


"The Awful Price Of Restraint"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (4/10): "One must take a very elevated view of the Palestinians to avoid drawing the likeliest conclusion: that Palestinian fighters are using civilians, churches, mosques, and ambulances--that is, everything that's holy, or nearly so--to avoid a fight they themselves have picked.  And like a woman who repeatedly slaps her husband only to cry foul when he raises his fists, they are counting on Israel's reluctance to bring the full weight of its military might to bear against them as they continue to draw Israeli blood, one deadly slap at a time....  Yet when Israel acts--in self-defense, after six consecutive days of suicide attacks, with a degree of restraint and openness not exactly common among 'besiegers'--the world convulses.  The sad irony here is that, were Israel a crueler state, the world might criticize it less."


 "Don't Tear The Rope"


Senior columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in mass circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/8): "Since the seventies, Israel has headed the list of U.S. aid recipients.... This money built military power, security, living standard, and unfortunately also allowed the building of the settlements....  From time to time, the United States has paid a price for this alliance....  Along the years, Israeli governments have learned that they could stand up to confrontations with U.S. governments.... Nevertheless, these confrontations have their limits.  In the way Israel expects the United States to consider its interests, the United States expects Israel to consider its own interests.  The rope can be stretched but it must not be torn.  Especially now when Israel is so isolated."  


"A Lack Of Vision"


Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (4/9): "In his address to the Knesset yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave poignant expression to the profound sense of pain experienced by all Israelis during the wave of terrorism that swept the country during Passover.  Many also identified with the revulsion and condemnation that he expressed toward Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, as the prime minister on the podium exposed documents showing alleged direct links between the most senior levels of the P.A. and the worst terrorist elements.  The Prime Minister's evocation of a 'bureaucracy of murder' was well founded.... [But] when he turned to the diplomatic horizon, Sharon put his anachronistic political thinking and vocabulary on show.  He 'reached out his hand,' offered to meet 'moderate' Arab leaders -- 'unconditionally, and anywhere.'  It was as if Sharon wanted to turn the clocks of history back more than a decade.  But then, as now, the real question is not with whom to talk or where, but about what....  In his offer to meet with Arab leaders, and his welcome--in principle--for the peace proposal made by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Sharon showed that to a certain extent he was able to adapt his rhetoric to the international effort to widen the circle of those involved in discussing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.  But what remains clear is that only a concrete Israeli concession on the issue of settlements, no matter what the negotiating framework, will facilitate any significant political progress. The prime minister did not sound like someone who recognizes that most ineluctable truth."


"An Alternative To Sharon's Policies"


Independent Ha'aretz editorialized (4/8): "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a juncture requiring the Labor Party to leave the government and take up the leadership of the Israeli peace camp, which prefers peace over territories....  Until now it has reasoned that its participation in the Sharon government derived from a desire to moderate the government's decisions and prevent war; it has failed in that mission.  Now it is going to be a partner to a split between Israel and the United States.  After the extreme right joins the coalition, Labor's weight in the government will be inherently reduced, if not eliminated entirely, whenever a vote takes place....  Labor must present a clear alternative to Sharon's policies, which seek to maintain Israel's grip on the territories, and must challenge those policies in the Knesset and public forums.  The alternative must present a vision of a country that wants to live in security inside the 1967 borders, and retain its character as a Jewish and democratic state."


WEST BANK:  "U.S. Silence Supports Israel's Mischief"


Independent Al-Quds maintained (4/10): "The Israeli stalling in its supposedly immediate withdrawal from Palestinian cities, is supported by American silence.  The Israeli forces with their tanks and warplanes are committing mischief throughout the Palestinian areas with no justification but to kill more innocent Palestinian civilians. The postponement of the arrival of Secretary Powell to Palestine is nothing more than a reflection of this dubious American silence.  By taking advantage of ambiguous American statements, Israel is trying to prolong its presence in the Palestinian territories.  This will undoubtedly lead to the destruction of the peace process and undermining any effort to achieve a just and peaceful solution."


"Sharon Chooses War Over Peace"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (4/9): "Whoever listens to Israeli Prime Minister Sharon as he talks about his intentions and plans for the Palestinian people, will not help but realize that the man has chosen the path of destruction over peace and stability....  The Israeli forces may be able to occupy defenseless Palestinian towns and to detain hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Palestinian civilians...,but these forces will not be able to take away the deep-rooted Palestinian aspirations for national rights and ambitions.  International silence will not last forever....  Even in the United States, there will soon be loud American voices calling for changing the mistaken policies of the current American administration, which contradict the principles on which America was founded. These voices will also demand that the administration build its policies based on the American Constitution, which calls for defending the victims of aggression and helping them to achieve freedom and self-determination."


"Bush's Speech And Powell's Visit"


Bilal Al-Hasan commented in independent Al-Quds (4/9): "If we carefully consider in President Bush's speech [on the Middle East], from a strictly political perspective, ignoring the humiliating remarks against Arafat and the statements about Palestinian terrorism challenging the 'great democracy of Israel,' the speech actually includes a few good points.  It called for implementing a cease-fire, completing a withdrawal of Israeli forces, resuming joint political and security talks, and establishing a Palestinian state based on UN Resolution 242....  However, one has to be wary because the situation may go in the opposite direction.  Secretary Powell mustn't think that he is coming to the region believing that Sharon has taught the Palestinians a lesson and that they are now so obedient that they will accept what they have rejected in the past."


"Palestinians Need U.S. Protection"


Independent Al-Quds opined (4/8): "Have the United States and, what is known as, the free world gone blind, unable to see the Israeli army fire their tank shells against innocent civilians, including children, women and elderly?...  Washington had rallied to rescue the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo and considered such help as a virtue and a good cause.  So, why not help the Palestinians? Aren't they human beings too?  If the United States wants the Palestinians to move toward peace, then it has to protect them from Israeli aggression, instead of providing Israel with political cover and a green light to carry out its aggression....  The United States may be Israel's best friend, but it has no justification, whatsoever, for bringing on the anger of the Palestinian people, who have never wronged America in any way."


BAHRAIN:  "Freeze All Commercial Contracts With Americans"


Semi-independent Al-Ayam's Sawsan Al-Shaer (4/2): "The American people should pay attention to the mutual interests that they share with us, the Arabs, because if they care about Israel more than they care about their interests in the region, then it is time to say to America that we cannot continue our partnership.  The responsibility lies with our governments and peoples to end or at least to freeze all commercial contracts with American companies and factories.  Nothing but interests can be used to effectively pressure the Americans."


"Boycott Is Our Jihad Against American Terrorism"


Semi-independent Akhbar Al-Khalij's Sayed Zahra wrote (4/1):  "President Bush has announced war on all the Arabs without exception.  Since our leaders cannot take any practical decisions, I call on the Arab peoples to boycott anything that is related to America.  Boycott is our way of going to Jihad against the barbaric American terrorism."


EGYPT:  "Is He Always Late?"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's columnist Salah Eddin Hafez observed (4/10):  "Whatever the aims of Secretary Powell's tour, it is happening very late for calculated reasons....  The current U.S. secretary's visit is intentionally based on the diplomacy of vindication. The aim of this procrastination is to allow the crisis to escalate to a maximum degree...until the savior arrives or to allow the crisis to ignite to facilitate negotiation and imposition of a solution.... Powell did not come late as some may think; but, he came at the time the American policy deemed as appropriate for commencing the mission of rebuilding the situation after Sharon had finished....  If the American-Israeli plot has succeeded so far, it is largely because of our [Arab] failure not only to manage the crisis but also to understand the basic rules-of-the-game."


"Welcome To Powell"


Opposition Al Wafd's columnist Mohammed Amin maintained (4/10): "The focus is on the meeting between Arafat and Powell as if this is the final goal.  Bush, Cheney and Powell were the ones that encouraged Sharon to pursue aggression because President Bush said that he understood the Israeli motives.  What will the Arab countries say to Powell?  They should abandon demonstrations and, taking the example of Belgium, should sever relations with Israel and like EU countries pressure Israel by economic ways."


"Powell's Mission Is To Save Bush Not Palestinians"


Opposition Al Wafd's columnist Gamal Abu El Fetouh stated (4/10): "Why didn't Powell start with Israel and stop the massacre in Palestine?.... In fact, Bush put himself in a very difficult situation when he asked Sharon to withdraw and Sharon refused.  Bush has very limited options for pressuring Sharon.  If he resorts to the pressure of American assistance, he will have to confront the Israeli lobby in Congress.  Powell came to the region to rescue President Bush from embarrassment after Sharon's rejection of withdrawal.  But Prince Abdullah and King Mohammed of Morocco said the United States is threatening its own interests and is losing her credibility in the region because of her bias towards Israel."


"Farcical Dialogue"


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar's editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar maintained (4/8): "After his talks with Blair, Bush phoned Sharon to ask him to withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.  What the media did not announce is that the American president told the beast Sharon that the [American] green light for him to finish off the Palestinian Authority is over....  If anything, this farcical dialogue between Bush and Sharon signifies American collaboration with the killer....  Can Sharon dare turn down a serious demand by the United States, the benefactor of Israel?.... Given the fact that Powell is starting his tour by visiting Egypt and Saudi Arabia, instead of heading directly to the occupied territories...we realize that Washington responded to Sharon's request to be given an opportunity to kill the maximum number of Palestinians and destroy their infrastructure.... Where is the UNSC?"


JORDAN:  "Powell's Tour And The Israeli Vision"


Daily columnist Sultan Hattab wrote this op-ed piece in semi-official, influential Al-Ra’i (4/10):  "The policy of aggression adopted by the U.S. administration while it supports Israel and portrays its act of aggression as an act of self-defense makes Iraq’s stand look as if it is moving in response to the Arab street or as if it is the only regime that is standing against the U.S. Administration and Israel. Hence, the moderate Arab parties’ mission will be quite tough if the U.S. administration does not quickly change its stand....  Colin Powell, who is currently visiting the region, will not get a reception that is any better than the one Cheney received, when the Arabs rejected a strike against Iraq.  Powell should not be carrying papers and drafts for an Israeli vision.  He must listen to the Arab status quo and realize that selling Israel more time to continue its aggression is not in the U.S. interest. His visit to Morocco, Cairo, Amman, and other cities before an Israeli withdrawal and before he sits with Arafat, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian Authority will make matters worse.  It is now time to stop U.S. and European visits that are coming to defend Israel and to stand by its side and to exert pressure on Arab capitals to pressure Arafat.”


"Peace Has Led To A State Of Arab Weakness"


Chief Editor Taher Udwan wrote on the back page of independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/9):  “After a long process during which they have resorted to peace as an only option, the Arabs now find themselves before a bitter fact that the road to peace has not led to peace but to a state of humiliating Arab weakness against an Israeli military power on the loose--one that has no respect to any agreements--while the U.S. godfather of peace provides it with sponsorship and support.  Israel seems to have a different definition of peace that contradicts human and international principles and norms. This is because its government has a military power available in its hands, thanks only to U.S. military, technical,and financial support.”


KUWAIT:  "George Not Abu Akram"


Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh, prominent liberal lawyer and former editor-in-chief of Arabic-language Al-Watan, wrote in independent Al-Qabas (4/6): "The American president issued a new initiative that calls on Israel to stop its attacks against Palestinian lands...and said that Arafat betrayed the hopes of his people.  The Palestinian people did not delegate Bush to evaluate their elected President....  President Bush also called for putting an end to what he labeled as suicide bombings, yet he knows very well that Arafat is besieged in two rooms while awaiting the finalization of interrogating the innocent at Guantanamo and the arrest of bin Laden.... The American president can issue orders to anyone around the world except Israel, which has a special status in the United States.  That is why the Bush initiative is as good as dead in light of the (ensuing) Israeli rejection."


LEBANON:  "The Escalation Is Against Lebanon!"


An editorial by Gebran Tueni in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar held (4/10):  “We say frankly, stop playing with fire in south Lebanon.  We say this to Hizballah and its Secretary General....  We say this to the Palestinian factions....  We say this to the Lebanese Authorities, and we say this to the Syrian command in Lebanon and Damascus....  We say this because the south and Sheb’a are neither the ownership of Hizballah nor the Palestinian factions....  Playing with fire is a crime against Lebanon.  The Government has to listen to those southerners who own land in Kafarshouba and Hasbaya and other areas....  Allow us to say that President Lahoud...can indeed ask Hizballah to stop the operations in the south at this time.”


"Powell’s Mission And The 'Palestinian Masada'"


The English-language Daily Star opined (4/10): “Secretary Powell mouthed some refreshing words...stressing President...Bush’s support for Palestinian independence and declaring that America was prepared to send observers to the region....  Powell acknowledged, for instance, that it should not be expected that the suicide bombings, which prompted the Israeli attack, would not resume.  Washington must do more, however, than tacitly recognize the counterproductive nature of Sharon’s brutality:  It must work quickly to address the conditions that ignited the intifada in the first place.....  Powell served two tours of Vietnam during which...he was decorated several times.  Surely that degree of physical bravery indicates a level of moral courage sufficient to back up his words with action by convincing his president that the domestic political costs of pressuring Sharon to make peace are a burden that must be borne.  The missing ingredient for a long-sought peace is a U.S. willingness to help end Palestinian resistance by working to ensure the realization of legitimate Palestinian aspirations."


MOROCCO:  "Powell Should Include Arafat ln His Consultations"


A front-page commentary by Fouad Bahja in government coalition, Arabic-language USFP party Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki read (4/9):  "His Majesty has renewed to Mr. Powell Morocco's determination to reinforce cooperation and consultation at all levels of the historical relations between the two countries. On the same occasion, King Mohammed VI has strongly condemned the siege imposed on Arafat and his aides and called on Powell to make sure that the U.S. does its best for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories.  Our country is not only a first phase of Powell's tour to the area but also represents a hope for stopping Israeli massacres in Palestinian territories.  Arab circles hope to convince the U.S. official of the necessity to include President Arafat in his talks."


"Will Colin Powell Meet With Aicha?"


An inside page commentary by Khalid Alioua in Government coalition, Arabic-language USFP Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki said (4/7):  "If you don't meet with Arafat, what could other Arab leaders offer you.  Do they have decision-making in Cairo, Amman and Riyadh?  Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Abdullah have nothing to offer you.  If Powell's visit aims at exerting more pressure on Arafat, then U.S. initiative is doomed to failure. Occupation breeds resistance.  Ms. Aicha, who lost her son Mahmoud, 22 years old, in a martyr operation, stated, I have wept a lot over my son, but now I see that he died for a cause and I have other sons for the same cause."


OMAN:  "Outcome…Premises And Conclusions"


An Omani Intellectual, Abdullah Al Ghailani, wrote in semi-independent Al-Watan (4/8):  “The Arab people are supposed to give up hope in an impartial American intervention except in only one case, i.e., the American vital interests correlate with the American practical stand. Unless this condition is fulfilled, the American stand that supports Israeli aggression infinitely will never change. It seems that the Arab political leadership is--voluntarily or involuntarily--unable to adjust this equation. Accordingly, this leadership awakes showing the diplomacy of begging and kneeling at the threshold of the White House. Each wave of Jewish aggression is associated with increase in dissatisfaction against the Arab weakness. This now forms trends that strongly call for making essential changes in the mechanisms of struggle against the Jews....  Finally, we would do nothing but kneel for these people and their growing will ingness to sacrifice and martyrdom.  This is the wisdom of Allah that the spirit of sacrifice would never fade.”


QATAR:   "Lack Of Sincerity By The U.S."


The semi-independent, English-langauge Gulf Times held (4/9): "The U.S. government has been left looking confused, hypocritical and weak as Secretary of State Colin Powell dawdles through Africa, Europe, and Arabia on his way to Israel, urging Arab leaders to rein in Arafat and issuing requests for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian cities.  The White House is genuinely concerned about what is going on in the Occupied Territories, but its concern appears to be not the persecution of the Palestinians but the effect that Israel's aggression is having on U.S. foreign policy interests, most notably the 'get Saddam' campaign.  If there was ever any doubt about that, it was dispelled on Sunday night when Secretary Powell responded to Ariel Sharon's refusal to halt military operations against the Palestinians by saying: 'I'm pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is expediting his operations.'  The message that sends to Sharon is that he can be as brutal as he likes to the Palestinians as long as he completes his plans quickly.  President Bush responded to Sharon's utter disregard for U.S. appeals by announcing that he expected a withdrawal "now" and that "now means now" ... just as it did yesterday and the day before.  But the President's insistence did not extend to threatening to suspend payment of the massive sums U.S. taxpayers donate to Israel each year."


"The Cowboys And The New Nazis In Israel"


Columnist Mohammed Al-Malki wrote in semi-independent Arabic-language Al-Raya (4/7): "The American government has proven that it was involved in the planning of this massacre of Palestinians.  It was planned during Cheney's visit to the region.  When Cheney was delivered a big 'No' on attacking Iraq, he became angry and gave the green light to Sharon to start the second phase on the U.S. war against terror. It was pre-planned and agreed upon by the cowboys in Washington and the new Nazis in Tel Aviv."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Arafat Must Give Up Authority"


Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan had this op-ed by Ali Said Al-Ghamdi (4/10):  "It would be quite difficult to ask Chairman Arafat to give up authority, but such a step will be necessary in the shadow of the current tragic circumstances.  This is not defeatism so much as it is a truth that cannot be doubted.  It is enough for Chairman Arafat that he carried the burden of his people's stand for more than four decades.  He fought until he achieved Oslo, and will remain an historical symbol of the creation of a new Palestinian state.  His giving up of authority will not diminish the great history he has made.  On the contrary, he will remain in his people's hearts forever.  Can he decide to leave 'the Peace of Brave' as bravely as he entered it?  To conclude, the Palestinian issue is not a one-man issue, and it would not be rational to block the solution of this issue because of Arafat's personality."


"Oil Embargo.... Between Reason And Emotion"


London-based, pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat commented (4/10):  "To play with petroleum is harmful, for two reasons.  First, crude oil is not so important as it was in the past.... This is because most of the great industrial countries are using natural gas and atomic energy to generate electricity.  Therefore, this (an oil embargo) would not be a big problem.  Second, most international opinion is on the side of the Palestinians.... The world outside the Middle East will not understand this collective punishment.... Certainly, Israel will be happy if OPEC embargos oil; it will seize the opportunity to accuse OPEC of terrorism as it manipulates the market against the West.  The leaders of OPEC have taken the right and the wise decision.  Banning oil would be harmful both politically and economically."


"Arab Demonstrations"


London-based, pan-Arab Al-Hayat's Riyadh bureau chief opined (4/10):  "Demonstrations in the Arab world are not an indication of democracy and freedom of speech.... But the Arab governments can permit them, in order to defuse the riots (usually) associated with them, to educate people in how to demonstrate in a civilized way, and use them as a means of expression and release (of frustrations) and also as a way of advancing political issues.  Certainly, Palestine will not be liberated by demonstrations and marches, but to welcome Powell with large demonstrations perhaps would make him realize that the words he hears from politicians behind closed doors are also an expression of the street's opinion."


"Powell's Difficult Test"


Abha-based, moderate Al-Watan held (4/10): "Powell is aware that he faces a difficult if not impossible task, especially given the present Arab disappointment following the U.S.'s unacceptable and uncharacteristic bias in favor of Israeli interests.... How will Powell break the ice?  The Arab's shaky trust in U.S. foreign policy means Washington's promises have lost the effect they once had. Arabs have become all too familiar with the Administration's sweet promises every time it needs them, only to discover that what actually takes place on the ground is the opposite.  Therefore, Powell must come up with a more effective way of regaining Arab trust.  Powell faces a difficult task--either he succeeds in implementing a cease-fire and in reining in Israel, or he returns empty-handed, allowing the complex situation to deteriorate into the foreseeable disaster.  This would make his handling of the current crisis a waste of time."


"Pullout Farce"


Jeddah-based, moderate Saudi Gazette held (4/10): "Ariel Sharon, under enormous international pressure, has once again hoodwinked the world by staging the troops withdrawal drama.... Yet, only a credulous President George W. Bush would declare that the Israeli withdrawal was a beginning.  If anything, it was the beginning of ethnic cleansing -- the holocaust of this century.  Ironically, on Tuesday Israel 'commemorated' holocaust at the hands of the Nazis by equally mercilessly massacring more than 2,800 (sic) innocent Palestinian civilians, a large number of them being children and infants, during 11 days since March 29.  Still, world leaders like Bush argue that Israelis, not the Palestinians, are waging a war against terrorism....American and Israeli officials do not accept statements by Palestinian officials as reflective of the correct situation.... US Secretary of State Colin Powell is wasting his time outside the scene of the catastrophe, as if he does not know the opinion of Arab leaders and people. The absence of any urgency on the part of the U.S. compels the Arabs to think that Powell is giving Sharon time to finish off his dirty job quickly."


SYRIA:  "Meanings Of Powell's Shuttle Trip"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen asserted (4/10): "The U.S. president stated bluntly that he means what he says with regard to an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities. But nothing has materialized on the ground. Rather, Sharon's government expanded the cycle of bloodshed, has occupied more Palestinian towns, intensified the siege on other towns, and escalated the genocide without any American response....  What is taking place in the Palestinian territories indicates clearly that the U.S. has great moral responsibility for the Palestinian blood that is being shed around the clock.  The same applies to European countries, especially Britain which blindly follows American policy. These countries deafen the world with noise about democracy and human rights, but do not even make a move about what is taking place (in the Occupied Territories) and are content to watch from a distance!"


"Arab Responsibility"


Government-owned Al-Ba'th said (4/10): "Betting on an effective American position vis-à-vis the Middle East problem and the Arab-Zionist conflict will not succeed in the current circumstances with the military imbalance in favor of Israel. The world cannot make any serious move if Arabs do not take the initiative and shoulder their responsibility."


"Activating Boycott As A Weapon"


Government-owned Tishreen editorialized (4/9):  "If the international community shoulders responsibility for the escalation in Zionist crimes, then the Arabs' responsibility is greater and graver.  Those Arab countries who still have relations, communications, and commercial ties with Israel have not severed these relations or closed down the enemy's (Israel's) offices; those pools of (Palestinian) blood have not moved their consciences....  Who should boycott Israel?  Europe, who contributed in the establishment of this racist entity,...or the Arabs whom Zionists have not only butchered and displaced by the millions--Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese--but also occupied their lands by force?"


TUNISIA:  "The Unforeseeable..."


Editor-in-Chief M'Hamed Ben Youssef wrote in independent French-language weekly Tunis Hebdo (4/8):  "The fact that Zinni has been charged by the White House to meet the Palestinian leader, in his small location surrounded by the tanks, proves that the axis, Tel Aviv-Washington, has not found an alternative to Arafat. Hence, it is a first pocketed dividend and a promising sign to the continuation of the resistance. If Powell, while visiting the Middle East will do so--meeting Arafat--we would then talk for good, about Arafat's victory.  But we have not yet reached this phase!  Most important is the fact that in most of the capitals, Arafat remains unavoidable.  No Palestinian official from his entourage has shown a will to replace him.  He remains the master of the situation....  The U.S. Department of State and the different American intelligence services are in a process to consider and reconsider all the world's reactions, in particular the ones coming from the Arab-Muslim order to come to a 'useful' conclusion that throws more light on the White House's eventual choices of the project of 'Toppling the Iraqi Regime'.  It is a gigantic aggression still under consideration.  It is more a matter of evaluating the risks of such a military adventure."




BRITAIN:   "The Battle Of Peace"


According to an editorial in the conservative Times (4/10):  "Nothing could be more perilous for Israel than such open defiance of an American ultimatum, three times reiterated....  When red lights flash in Washington, it is not an option to feign blindness.  Sharon is under notice that Washington has no faith in his strategy of all-out retaliation and will tolerate the damage done to the broader spectrum of America's Middle East policies no longer....  But piling pressure on Israel, via America, is not enough:  The restoration of sufficient confidence to make negotiations possible is a two-way street.  Arab support, financial as well as rhetorical, has to end for groups...whose goal is Israel's violent destruction....  Israel is losing the war on public opinion....  Arab leaders have read [Powell] the Riot Act about America's 'double standards' with respect to terrorism; but they must cease themselves to apply them if this deadly and destructive confrontation is to end....  For Palestinians...the choice now lies between two wars: against an embattled Israel, or against the enemies of peace within."


"Time To Get Serious"


The liberal Guardian opined (4/9):  "Ignoring U.S., European and regional demands to desist, Israel continues to pursue a campaign of terror across the Palestinian territories.  Some sensitive souls might prefer to describe Sharon's actions as a defensive security sweep, as a targeted military operation, or more fashionably, as a legitimate contribution to the wider 'war against terrorism.'  But when civilians are killed or wounded in their hundreds, when a generation of children is traumatised, when the feeble structures of nascent Palestinian statehood are systematically destroyed, when a whole people is corralled, penned in, humiliated and denied basic human rights, when even the holiest of religious shrines is transformed into a battlefield, when hatred and revenge, individual and collective, replaces reason and decency as the fount of government policy, and when hope is daily blindfolded, placed before a wall and coldly executed, what other word is there for this than terror?  That Israel has been provoked, repeatedly and egregiously, is plain.  That its own civilians have suffered, terribly and horrifically, is evident. That it has a right of self-defence, that it has a right to be angry, that for nearly two years the wounds of its long-held, well-founded sense of victimhood have reopened and festered is not in dispute.  Yet it is Sharon's peculiar genius, in dire national circumstances otherwise fully deserving of sympathy, constantly to transform Israel from righteous victim into unlawful aggressor.  Sharon never loses an opportunity to lurch into importunity; he always goes too far.  Now, like a terrorist set to catch a terrorist, he has finally completed that desperate, dismal circle.  Judging by recent opinion polls inside Israel, such destructive, almost anarchic behaviour at the top is highly contagious lower down--and must perforce be quickly isolated.  That is the main challenge that awaits...Colin Powell, when he arrives in Jerusalem....  Powell, chief envoy of a nation solemnly dedicated to eradicating terror wherever it lurks, must tell Sharon himself to eschew the paths of terrorism and return to his senses--or stand aside."


"Powell's Dilemma"


The independent Financial Times published this lead editorial (4/8):  "While the U.S. re-engagement is a hopeful sign, Israelis and Palestinians have been left on their own for so long that any attempt to contain the conflict now faces daunting challenges....  Any hope of restoring calm surely requires the U.S. to be speaking to both sides.  The problem is that Mr. Sharon insists--on the basis of documents whose authenticity it is impossible to verify--that the Palestinian Authority has sponsored attacks against Israels and must therefore be dismantled.  Closing down the PA might, indeed, be in Mr. Sharon's interest: He has in any case shown no inclination to contemplate a political solution to the crisis.  But it is not in the interest of the U.S.  Even the State Department believes that the alternative to the PA is a far more radical leadership.  A security arrangement cannot be Mr. Powell's only goal this week.  For a truce to hold it must be accompanied by the launch of political negotiations that lead ultimately to the creation of an independent Palestinian state."


FRANCE:  "The Law Of Silence”


Gerard Dupuy held in left-of-center Liberation (4/10):  “Sharon does not seem to be taking the U.S. requests...seriously.…  The law of silence imposed by Sharon and excluding all journalists and eyewitnesses from the military areas does not facilitate the counting of Palestinian casualties.…  This law of silence bars us from knowing exactly what is the fate of the civilian population, opening the door to the most extreme rumors… including rumors of massacres....   What has been observed by NGOs, such as hampering medical assistance goes against the Geneva Convention....  Sharon’s blind confidence in his military superiority as well as the arrival of bellicose ministers in his cabinet does not bode well for the operation underway.  It is easy to understand therefore why Secretary Powell is taking his time on his way to Jerusalem.  Rarely has a goodwill mission so resembled a mission impossible.”


"America's Impatience"


Alexandra Ackoun opined in right-of-center Le Parisien (4/9):  "Are Sharon's words at the Knesset really a challenge?  America's policy, which has been deliberately kept vague, would indicate that Washington might have made a deal with the Israeli government giving it enough time to do as it wishes....  Letting Sharon go to the end of his plans would in fact be a continuation of Bush's policy:  Since September 11, [his] one and only concern is fighting terrorism.  And he has never made light of his feelings for Arafat."


"State Of Emergency"


Bruno Frappat held in Catholic La Croix (4/9): "In order to break the circle of violence in the Middle East, the only third party that can have any effect is the proverbial international community....  It is no longer enough to beg the U.S. to come out of its lethargy: proof of its inability to act or of its duplicity has already been widely confirmed."




Jacques Amalric asserted in left-of-center Liberation (4/9):  "Sharon's obstinacy is nothing new....  But clearly George W. Bush has underestimated it... President Bush thought it was enough to speak up for action to follow... But Bush junior has been challenged and forced to harshly reiterate what he had intimated last Thursday... Now, the Powell mission is at stake... as well as the credibility of the president of the U.S., who has been preaching in the desert.  This is a rather bleak opening session for America's diplomacy, needing as it does to offer a certain amount of satisfaction to its Arab allies in the region."


"Secretary Powell's Slow-Motion Mission"


Pascal Riche judged in left-of-center Liberation (4/9): "Nothing of what has happened in the past few days can be considered a source of optimism, starting with Sharon's snub to his American ally yesterday....  Powell knows that he will arrive in Israel after the battle, like the cavalry, and that his credibility will have already suffered before he even sets foot in Israel."


"President Bush's Awakening"


Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial opined (4/6):  "Psychoanalysts and political experts will some day explain how President Bush was able, in the space of a week, to support Israel's operation in the occupied territories...and later ask for that same operation to stop urgently....  The realists will make the following commentary: Washington has given Sharon a two-week green light which he will use to the last.  The truth is probably somewhat more complex.  Bush has finally understood Sharon's true intentions: not 'just eradicating terrorism' but the complete destruction of the Palestinian Authority....  Sharon is acting out of personal animosity towards Arafat... Sharon does not want a Palestinian state....  Sharon may have intended today to trick the Bush administration with his operation in the occupied territories and his fight against terrorism.  But skepticism has begun to grip Washington....  Bush has justly criticized Arafat's moral and political inability to denounce the monstrosity of civilian attacks.  But he was also forced to accept the idea that the only Palestinian interlocutor is Arafat.  Bush's awakening comes somewhat late.  It has come about thanks to the correct interpretation of Sharon's true motivation and because of growing anti-American feelings in the Arab world.  Bush is going to have to do what Bill Clinton did: force a political negotiation on peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Short of that, the risks are abysmal." 


GERMANY:   "Fischer's Plan"


Gerold Buechner wrote in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/10):  "In part, Foreign Minister Fischer's plan is supposed to encourage the U.S. to continue to stay involved in the Middle East after recently having rediscovered it.  Combining the strengths and contacts of the U.S., the EU, Russia, and the UN would be an important foundation for successful mediation.  It is true that Israelis and Palestinians will not overcome the crisis without outside help.  Another thing is clear as well: If Sharon and Arafat and their peoples do not want co-existence, even the most determined outside efforts are going to be in vain.  The Middle East conflict must be solved in the Middle East, not in Washington or Berlin."


"Washington's Double-Diplomacy"


Dietrich Alexander observed in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/9):  "While Powell is taking his time getting to Israel, Sharon is speeding things up....  Ignoring UN and U.S. demands for an immediate withdrawal, the Israeli premier is expanding the scope of his military offensive--with tacit U.S. approval, this much seems clear....  The United States is engaged in highly risky double-diplomacy, and nothing less than its last bit of credibility in the Arab camp is at stake.  Bush is demanding immediate withdrawal in order to live up to the expectations of the international community, while simultaneously giving free rein to Sharon, albeit with a time limit attached."




Rouven Schellenberger noted in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/9):  "The Europeans' latest mediation efforts in the Middle East have looked quite clumsy....  Nevertheless, the Europeans have not learned their lesson.  On the contrary--European foreign policy is gambling away its credibility with more and more initiatives.  Over the weekend, several EU foreign ministers called for sanctions against Israel, and on Monday EU Commission President Prodi called for a crisis meeting between Europeans and Israelis.  Neither initiative is likely to succeed....  These latest EU efforts...threaten to further reduce the Europeans' influence in the Middle East.  In the future, the EU should not stop issuing warnings, but it should bring its political weight into play only together with the United States, Russia, and the UN.  The Europeans alone have no influence in the Middle East."


"Too Much Time For Sharon"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (4/8):  "Washington continues to act tentatively....  Powell...will presumably not arrive before Thursday.  And it remains open, according to Washington, whether he will meet with Arafat at all.  In light of all this, Sharon is not unjustified in deducing that his army must step up its activities, but that he can take his time with ordering a withdrawal.  Any additional day left to Sharon is reducing the value of President Bush's initiative and the political influence of his mediator."


"Rigged Game In The Middle East"


Business Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg maintained (4/8):  "Despite his determined rhetoric, President Bush has been granting Sharon time to act from the beginning.  Israel should 'begin' with the withdrawal as 'quickly as possible,' Bush said.  It was left to Sharon to decide what is possible and how to begin....  Thus, playing for time is the chosen compromise.  Israel can continue with Washington's blessing, but it needs to hurry up."


ITALY:  "The Real Enemies Of Peace"


Ugo Tramballi asserted in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (4/10): "There are many enemies in the Middle East of whom Powell should beware.  But only two of them are really in a position to try to make his mission fail, since the success of Powell's visit would mark the beginning of the end of their long political careers--Sharon and Arafat....  What the Americans will ask from the Israeli Prime Minister and from the Palestinian leader is the only viable road to resume peace negotiations, but it is also something impossible for them....  The Americans know that their efforts will be difficult, perhaps hopeless, as long as Sharon and Arafat remain in power."


"Politics Overwhelmed By War"


Marcella Emiliani commented in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (4/10): "Since President Bush decided to intervene in the Middle East crisis, he has done all he possibly can to underline the urgency of finding a road that will lead to a cease-fire and to peace.... Israel's 'Defense Shield' has spoiled U.S.-Israel and Israel-Vatican relations, has pushed Europe to threaten sanctions against Tel Aviv, has reunited the Arab world, has revived the Lebanese war front, has restored international credit towards Arafat, and has re-created a role even for Saddam Hussein."


"Invisible Europe"


A front-page commentary by Gian Enrico Rusconi in centrist, influential La Stampa read (4/7):  "Obviously Europe will support the U.S. mediation initiative, entrusted to Colin Powell and supported, in turn, by the United Nations, in collaboration with the Arab nations and Russia.  Perhaps it is a good thing that the resolution of the Middle East conflict be sought through the collaboration of many international subjects and institutions.  Yet it is useless to deny that everything began only after a clear signal had come from Washington.  Europe will certainly do its part, but it emerges politically and morally reconfigured from this event."


RUSSIA:  "Israel Exceeds Necessary Defense"


Military analyst Pavel Felgengauer wrote in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (4/9):  "There will be no peace.  What lies in store is a protracted guerrilla war.  The Israeli losses will increase, but the final outcome of the conflict is not in doubt....  There is still time to halt the process of reciprocal self-destruction.  But for this to happen, totally new leaders must appear in Israel."


"A War For Two"


Leonid Gankin and Sergei Strokan declared in the reformist weekly Vlast (4/9):  "If the world community is seriously concerned to restore peace in the Middle East, it probably must seriously think about changing the present Palestinian regime, and many think the sooner that happens, the better....  Javier Solana made a sensational statement which has not been noted by all.  He said that for peace to be established in the Middle East, Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat have to resign....  Considering that Solana never makes important statements without clearing them with Washington...his words ought to be taken very seriously.  It is because they may mean that the verdict to both leaders has already been signed.  And not only by history."


"Appeals Helpless Up Against Guns" 


Viktor Shevel remarked in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (4/9): "The Israeli prime minister must have remembered his past as an army general. True to his reputation, he has rolled over Palestinian towns and villages like a bulldozer.  There is no stopping him with the resolutions of the UN or appeals by Europe and the United States." 


"Both Arafat And Sharon Are To Blame" 


Vadim Markushin contended on page one of centrist Krasnaya Zvezda (4/9): "Is Yasser Arafat responsible for the unfortunate turn of events?  He certainly is.  He was in a far better position once but he failed to use it to influence the intractable in his own camp and stop the cycle of violence from unfolding.  Is the Sharon cabinet responsible for the new war in the Middle East?  The answer is obvious.  All major powers agree with that and demand that the hostilities be stopped and the troops withdrawn immediately." 


"The Tail Wags The Dog" 


Vasiliy Safronchuk charged in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (4/9):  "With things having come to a head in the Middle East, Washington is feigning activity.  Washington and Tel Aviv have staged a show, as the world is watching.  It is commonly known that, were the United States to demand something in earnest, Israel would comply immediately....  Washington's Middle East policy is hypocritical through and through." 


ALBANIA:   "Terrorism Or War For A Palestinian State?"


Leading Shekulli featured this view (4/8):  "The identification of terrorism following September 11 events, constitutes the grounds where every effort to label Palestinians as terrorists takes root.  The Israelis do not miss any chance without referring to September 11 to convince the world that Arafat is a terrorist and that their [Israeli's] tank-policy is just....  If Israelis continue to obstruct and refuse the formation of a Palestinian state through negotiations and political agreements, shall the choice of other non-political means by Palestinians to achieve their goals be considered terrorism?


AUSTRIA:  "A Race Against Time"


Foreign editor Livia Klingl commented in mass-circulation Kurier (4/10):  "Even though many people in Israel actually welcomed the offensive in the West Bank, internationally, Sharon has seriously damaged Israel's image....  The only remaining option is a political solution, and everyone in the Middle East is aware of that.  It's no secret either that ultimately the result of any negotiation process will have to be an independent Palestinian state.  But obviously Sharon has no vision for future times of peace."


"Blind Eye"


Senior columnist Ernst Trost commented in mass-circulation tabloid Kronen Zeitung (4/8):  "The deadly chain-reaction in the Middle East is not going to make Powell's mission an easy one. Both sides in the conflict have long since done away with objectivity.  They're no longer able to understand the other's motives, nor do they regard their opponents as human beings.  It seems that Israel's as well as the Palestinians' vision is seriously impaired.  They only see what the other side has done to them, while simultaneously they're turning a blind eye to their own mistakes and failures.  Whatever happens, it is the other side's fault, and...they've become indifferent to each other's suffering.  The numbers of those who have kept a cool head and who refuse to listen to all those hateful slogans are growing smaller every day."


BELGIUM:  "Sharon Has Given Arafat New Legitimacy"


Alain Van Der Eecken analyzed in left-of-center weekly Le Soir (4/10):  "Sharon had decided to totally isolate Arafat and to at last subdue him. In fact, he gave Arafat a new legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinian and of the Arab world, forcing Washington to break this isolation."


"No Successors In Sight"


Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen held in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (4/9):  "Both Sharon and Arafat are de facto eliminated from a fundamental dialogue, but there are no successors in sight.  Under these circumstances expectations must not be high.  A lower degree of violence is the maximum that can be achieved in the short term.  The repair of the damages of a few weeks will require years of work." 


"The New Rogue State"


Foreign affairs writer Guy Van Vlierden argued in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (4/9):  "Since last week, the world has had a new rogue state.  If we apply Bush's term consistently, Israel cannot but be one.  While the entire world community...demands an end to the violent invasion of Palestinian territory, Israel puts its tanks in higher gear....  According to the rules of international politics, that country has been a violator (of international law) for a long time.  The world community has denounced Palestinian terrorism, but the manner in which Sharon says that he is fighting it has been rejected several times, too....  Israel ignores the will of the world and the United States."


"Bush Walking On Thin Ice"


Foreign editor Paul De Bruyn held in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/6):  "Bush has understood that there can be no peace if he does not manage to rein in Sharon.  He knows that the crisis is a danger for America's interests.  If the Palestinians' situation does not improve, he can stop thinking about Arab support for his campaign against terrorism.  In that case, he should certainly not think about an attack against Iraq....   The United States is the only country that can force Israel and the Arab world to make concessions.  By remaining idle, the U.S. gave the hardliners a free hand...  Powell's mission gives us new hope that an end may come to the violence and suffering.  However, the higher the expectations, the larger the dangers.  Powell and Bush are entering a minefield.  There are enough extremists prepared to sabotage everything...  Maybe, the best thing would be that both Sharon and Arafat disappear, as Solana says.  Bush knows that, too, but it is not realistic.  Sharon and Arafat will not leave willingly. They cling to their position.  Their personal 20-year-old feud makes mediation even more difficult.  Time is limited, but there is no alternative.  Doing nothing means more violence.  Today, however, the situation is critical.  In the Middle East, there is only one certainty: when everyone thinks that the situation cannot worsen anymore, it does. That must never be the case again."


BULGARIA:  "Who Will Stop The Massacre In Palestine?"


Left-leaning Monitor averred (4/10):  "It is unreasonable for Israel to consider every criticism of its policies as a form of antisemitism....  The suicide bombings of the Islamist extremists are rightfully called terrorism.  But is it not terrorism to murder people without trial and conviction, in their own homes, only because they are suspected terrorists?  Peace cannot be enforced with violence.  On the contrary--the  escalation will continue until brighter minds on both sides of the conflict says: Enough is enough!"


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Depth Of Bush's Irritation"


Pavel Masa in the center-right Lidove Noviny (4/8): "The irritation of the two men (Bush and Sharon) is just a question of tactical divergence.  Bush is annoyed that he has to engage in calming down the nervous oil market instead of preparing an overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  Sharon is galled that due to problems of American politics, he has to hastily finish something that he could have done properly."


DENMARK:  "International Effort Required In Middle East"


Center-left Politiken judged (4/10):  "Massive international efforts--with the U.S. taking the lead--will be needed if we are to stop the spiral of violence continuing in the Middle East....  The developments over the next few months could have repercussions, not only for Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the whole of the Western world."  


"Wanted:  New Generation Of Palestinian Leader"


Center-left Politiken's Middle East correspondent, Herbert Pundik, commented (4/7):  "Yasser Arafat appears to be the biggest obstacle preventing the Israeli moderates from re-entering the political arena.  Quite simply, Arafat represents the enemy.  He appears to be the guardian angel of terrorists, and no Israeli politician, regardless of their political convictions, could realistically negotiate with him.  In the final analysis... a new generation of moderate Palestinian leaders is needed [in order to move the peace process forward].  If this does not occur, the Palestinians will not get their state and Israel will not have peace." 


FINLAND:  "Bush Puts U.S. Prestige At Stake In Mideast"


Leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat's editorial read (4/6):  "Powell faces a very difficult task.  First, his standing in Washington is not undisputed.  Powell has already been forced to retreat from his moderate position several times. Right now, he needs resolute and unambiguous support from President Bush.  Powell has a few trump cards.  The most recent and probably the most significant is the new Saudi Arabian peace initiative. Israeli hawks can no longer claim that the country's only options are a permanent state of war or annihilation as a state."


GREECE:  "Europe's Absence"


In top-circulation pro-government influential To Vima (4/7), managing editor Yannis Kartalis wrote in his regular Sunday column:  "The EU's inability to effectively deal with an international crisis in its neighborhood is proven again....  The U.S. monocracy is reconfirmed, but not due to Bush's (non-existent indeed) diplomatic skills, but due to the Europeans' failure to promote a uniform foreign policy....  The EU could not stand up against this catastrophic policy which results in the extermination of an entire people.  After a period of silence, Washington took the initiative, not because it disagrees with Sharon, but because a continuing crisis would put its plans to topple Saddam Hussein at risk.  Consequently, Bush appears as a peacemaker today, only to prepare another war later."


HUNGARY:  "How Long Will Sharon Be  Running Amok?" 


Foreign editor Gabor Stier argued in conservative Magyar Nemzet (4/8):  "Even if the U.S. does not hear the call of its responsibility for the world, it could consider at least its own interests!  Because Arafat and Sharon can be a stronger challenge to the U.S.' power than Osama bin Laden and his terrorists....  Over the past couple of months a coalition is building up more against the  United States than against Saddam Hussein.  President Bush has to decide whether he gives up on his unilateral policy toward the Middle East region and stops Sharon's running amok.   Or will he be paralyzed by the violence."


IRELAND:   "Bush's Credibility Is On The Line"


The liberal Irish Times ran this editorial (4/8):  "The Bush administration has much ground to make up with the major parties involved....  This puts the U.S.' credibility as a broker in the conflict at issue even before last week's welcome and necessary decision to re-engage comes properly into play....  Powell carries a heavy burden of responsibility on his journey this week."


"Two Old And Dangerous Men"


The liberal, populist Sunday Independent said (4/7):  "A critical problem for General Powell is that the two men at the heart of the crisis, Sharon and Arafat, are in reality the cause of the crisis.  Both are old and dangerous men, lifetime adversaries with no capacity to make peace for their peoples....  The onus to find peace from the current bloody chaos should not, however, be General Powell's responsibility alone....  The time has long since passed for the rest of the Arab world to speak to the Palestinians with real moral authority, to demand an end to the terrorist campaign as a precursor for peace, to state emphatically that Israel has a right to exist and that the only acceptable course of action is negotiation, not war....  General Powell travels with our good wishes, and our hopes. He must try the impossible, and he knows that failure carries a heavy price.  If he can make some progress then perhaps the people of Israel and Palestine, given breathing space, will recognise that the time has come to change their leaders and find men of good faith who can negotiate a lasting settlement.  Without that step, the future looks unremittingly grim."


MALTA:  "Stopping Sharon"


The English-language independent weekly Malta Independent had this view (4/7):  "Israel's invasion and reoccupation of Palestinian territories is wrong and can only end in disaster for Israel....  There can only be a political solution for this conflict....  Responsibility lies principally with the United States--Israel's best friend--to put pressure on Mr. Sharon to stop this military adventure that can only lead to more violence and end what is left of the peace process.  Unfortunately, the United States has equated Israel's action with the global war on terrorism, which is certainly not the case....  America's European friends, including Malta, should continue to press for immediate U.S. pressure on Israel to stop this senseless military action."


THE NETHERLANDS:  "Powell Doesn't Have Much To Offer Or To Gain"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant's Washington-based correspondent Bert Lanting commented (4/10):  "Powell has begun a very unrewarding mission; history has shown that there is little credit to be gained in the Middle East."


"Powell's Difficult Mission"


Left-of-center Trouw had this editorial (4/10):  "For the time being it still seems that Sharon and Arafat do not understand that continuing this war makes no sense and that a solution to the conflict is drifting further away."


"Biggest Mistake"


Influential liberal De Volkskrant had a commentary by Prof. Maarten van Rossem (4/9):  "The biggest mistake the U.S. government made in the past year, we can now easily conclude, was to allow general Sharon to do what he wants....  The American position in the Arab world has been damaged....  Osama must undoubtedly have been watching the developments unfold with great pleasure."


NORWAY:  "The U.S. And All The Children Of Abraham" 


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (4/8):  "Bush has increased the pressure on Sharon who has answered by 'hastening' the operations."


POLAND:  "Even Powell Cannot Make Miracles"


Marek Zajac observed in Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny (4/10):  "The world sighed with relief when the United States began its mediation....  One can hardly expect a miracle, though...since Sharon ignores Bush's appeals to withdraw 'without delay.'..  Washington for the time being is looking for the golden mean between being loyal toward Israel and the exigencies of the war on terror."


PORTUGAL:  "Bin Laden's Revenge"


Columnist Francisco Sarsfield Cabral judged in influential center-left Público (4/6): "It may now be too late for the U.S. to assume the active role that it should be taking in promoting peace (and not just supporting Israel)....  If there is a place where terrorism has an obvious political root, it is in Palestine....  Maybe Bush has finally woken up:  Not even a superpower can impose order on the world through the use or threat of force alone.  In the Middle East, the unilateralism of the Bush administration collided with reality."


SLOVENIA:  "Bush's Stomping His Feet" 


Ales Gaube wrote in left-of-center independent Dnevnik (4/10):  "Despite Sharon's evident disregard for America's warnings, Powell did not change his agenda.  Instead of hurrying to Jerusalem...he stopped in Morocco and Egypt....  So, by the time of his arrival, Sharon will have had a free hand to carry out his offensive....  However, Sharon's concept of Israel's self-defense has brought the country to such a stage of violating the international law that even its Washington friends could not remain silent."


"For Peace With Collaborationists"


Left-of-center Delo commented in a front page editorial by correspondent Barbara Surk (4/9):  "With his speech in the Parliament...Sharon not only confirmed the assumptions that he planned to re-occupy Palestinian territories, but also turned down Bush's demand to immediately withdraw....  Sharon's resolute words have not upset Bush.  Israel and the United States are still on the same wavelength after Sep. 11.  [The United States] intends to subordinate the Middle East to [its] interests with [the help of] regional collaborationists rather than peace partners."


SPAIN:   "To Stop Sharon"


Editor Jose Antich opined in centrist La Vanguardia (4/10): "It is a tragic irony of history that as sirens sounded yesterday in Israel to commemorate  the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, Sharon's  government caused hundreds of casualties in the refugee camp of Jenin....  The U.S. administration is irritated with Sharon, or is simply trying to put distance between them, so as not to be involved in the flagrant murder that is occurring in the refugee camp....  It is evident that Powell's visit leaves little margin for optimism and that a realistic perspective of the situation minimizes the possibility that the U.S. will put the Israeli Army back where it was 13 tragic days ago."


"Sharon Speeds Up"


Centrist La Vanguardia opined (4/9): "If Powell fails, the worst won't be that the top officials of the Bush administration may continue to discount more intervention.  The worst is that the tragedy will grow bigger.  The putting verbal pressure on Sharon.  And the prime minister is responding with answers that could be understood as defiance.  The Bush administration...must put more efficient pressure both on Israelis and Palestinians."


“Peace ‘Quartet’ In Madrid”


Conservative ABC commented (4/8): “There is no solution to the conflict without the U.S., but neither is there a solution with only the U.S.  The Spanish presidency's insistence has contributed to Washington’s change of position towards Israel becoming more firm and realistic, a turnaround that allows powerful diplomatic tools to be put into play."


“The Hour Of Colin Powell”


Editor Pedro J. Ramírez wrote in independent El Mundo (4/7):  “Only from the moderate positions shared by the six-month president of the EU and the U.S. secretary of state can a plan be put into play to resolve the Middle East drama, in which Europe should contribute diplomacy and money and the U.S. determination and soldiers.  The possibilities of success are remote, but consist in bringing together the Mitchell Plan with the still undefined Saudi Plan.”


SWEDEN:   "U.S. Is Needed In Mideast"


Independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter editorialized (4/6):  "One cannot continue as if nothing has happened.  Much of what was achieved is now ruined, and just to get the parties back to square one will be a tremendous challenge for the international community; without the U.S.' participation it will not be possible."


TURKEY:  "The Truth About Arafat"


Hasan Bulent Kahraman opined in liberal-intellectual Radikal (4/10):  "It may be politically incorrect, but I would like to emphasize this anyway.  The ongoing escalation should be evaluated not only with the view that 'Israel is wrong', but also looking at Arafat's position....  Arafat has never been one to push peace in his political approach.  His policy has always been identified with terror.  Even when the situation changed and he was presented with opportunities for a peaceful solution, he did nothing but leave the table at the last minute....  However, it certainly does not justify the Israeli acts."


"U.S. Sponsors The Massacre"


Fehmi Koru lamented in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (4/10): "Israel is using totally American military equipment and vehicles in its ongoing massacres in the Palestinian cities.  In the meantime, President Bush is speaking evasively in order to give Sharon enough time to 'finish the job'. ... The U.S. has always considered its own interests first...however, this is the first time the U.S. has fully contradicted the whole world.  The U.S. had a moral supremacy after the 9/11 events, but it is losing that rapidly due to its support of Israel."


"What Is U.S. Doing?"


Taha Akyol commented in mass-appeal Milliyet (4/9): "Sharon looks like he is 'putting gas' on the fire.  As for the Bush administration, it provides full support to Sharon while giving only lip service to the Palestinians.  This policy of the Bush administration serves the interests of the radicals, from Saddam to UBL."


"Sharon's Goal is Expansionism"


Ozgen Acar wrote in social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet (4/9): "Sharon feels obliged to eliminate Arafat, the biggest obstacle in the way of the 'Grand Israel' goal that is the ideal of his party.  The ongoing massacres are actually helping him to get closer to this goal.  The recent Israeli attacks in Ramallah clearly proved that 'force' supersedes international law."


"President Bush's Middle East Sin"


Cengiz Candar argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (4/9): "No policy has a chance of success unless it derives from the concepts of justice and moral supremacy.  U.S. policies in the Middle East are only sowing the seeds of global terror and violence."


"Colin Powell In The Middle East"


Yilmaz Oztuna wrote a front-page editorial in conservative/mass appeal Turkiye (4/8): "Let's hope that Washington realizes that Ariel Sharon is the main obstacle in the fight against terrorism because of his policies.  Sharon's actions harm not only Jews but American interests as well....  Neither Sharon nor Netanyahu can stop the bloodshed.  Israel needs someone moderate and rational, such as General Barak or Shimon Peres.  It seems that only the U.S. remains capable of giving such a direction to Israel."


"Bush's Initiative"


Retired Ambassador Sukru Elekdag wrote in mass-appeal Sabah (4/8):  "The Sharon operation is based on elimination of Palestinians in a vindictive manner and is ignoring international laws and norms.  President Bush, by declaring self-defense, gave support to Israel's wrong policy from the very beginning....  Bush even failed to present an objective, fair and balanced approach when he asked Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian lands."


YUGOSLAVIA (KOSOVO):  "Kosovars, Hebrews And Palestinians"


Independent Zeri had an editorial by its publisher Blerim Shala (4/8):  "Perhaps it was the only case that brought Hebrews and Palestinians together.  In the spring of 1999, when Kosovars (on Easter) were facing the horror of a regime, in Israel and Palestine where held at the same time big protest of support for Kosovo Albanians.... Because of the supreme role of America in Kosovo, the peace in the Middle East is in the interest of Kosovars, too.  Images that are coming from Israel and Palestine today are surely harder for Kosovo Albanians to see than for other Europeans.  However, if someone tries to support one side there (as it happened in Prizren two days ago with religious appeals and motives), than this model of protest should be qualified as a dangerous one for Kosovo and its fate."  [Note: Days ago in the Kosovar city of Prizren took place a protest against the occupation of Palestine and the killing of civilians there.]




AUSTRALIA:  "Time To Replace The Rotten Carrot"


The liberal Canberra Times (4/9) featured this observation from Nelly Lahoud, scholar of Islamic political thought at the Australian National University:  "It is yet unclear why it took so long for the United States to intervene.  One possible reason for the delay could be that the United States envisages a conditional intervention in return for the Arabs' support for its war on terrorism to target Iraq.  This may explain why Powell will visit five other states on his way to Israel this week....  Powell's visit is likely to lead to a cease-fire and perhaps a resumption of negotiations.  The next stage is of critical significance if a long-term solution is genuinely being sought.  It is therefore important not to exaggerate the Sharon factor in the current crisis, and not to allow speculation about his replacement to be marketed as a solution."


"Powell Must Find Path To Peace"


An editorial in the liberal Melbourne Age opined (4/8):  "To have any chance of success [Powell] must insist not only on an end to Israel's invasion and the suicide bombings, but on the beginning of talks that will result in a permanent settlement.  No truce will last unless both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships accept that their task is not to pursue unattainable victories, but to create a Palestinian state content to live in peace with its neighbor, Israel.  And, to police the peace while talks are under way, it may be necessary for Israeli troops in the territories to be replaced by U.S. or NATO forces....  As the emissary of the only nation whose support Israel cannot do without, Mr. Powell has both the opportunity and the responsibility to overcome...skepticism [from the Sharon government about the plan proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.]"


"Pushed Into Action In Middle East"


An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald's weekend edition contended (4/6):  "The United States' major policy shift on the Middle East goes beyond a welcome, if belated, call for an end to the bloody Israeli military campaign inside the Palestinian territories.  The decision to send Secretary Powell to the region next week represents a new willingness in Washington to view the conflict in a broader context.  That is, that the grief and anger on both sides runs so deep that without outside intervention there is little or no prospect of peace.  After a week in which President Bush stood back as Israeli tanks ploughed into one Palestinian city after another, his speech on Thursday came as a relief to much of the international community, which had been imploring Washington to act."


"Mission Impossible"


The national conservative Australian's editorial maintained (4/8):  "Mr. Bush's policy shift is the right one....  But the decision is not without risks and history may prove it was taken too late.... But the risks of doing nothing clearly outweigh the risks of engagement for the United States and the rest of the Arab world."


"Powell's Mideast Quest Serves Wider U.S. Agenda"


Washington correspondent Peter Hartcher penned this analysis in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (4/6-7):  "Colin Powell is probably the best choice for an impossible assignment: a problem-solver not an ideologue, a moderate not a hardliner, a soldier-statesman of impeccable integrity and unique standing.  But it is an impossible assignment nevertheless.... Powell may, through some extraordinary stroke, be able to bring about some sort of settlement but, in the history of this dispute, even the most dramatic breakthroughs have brought only temporary respite.  Curiously enough, a lull, rather than a solution, may suit the hawks in the Bush administration perfectly well.  They want to win enough Arab goodwill to ensure the co-operation of the Saudis and other Gulf regimes in the U.S. plan to attack Iraq's Saddam Hussein."


CHINA:  "Israel Bides Its Time"


Chen Peiming had this to say in an official Xinhua News Agency comment (4/10):  “[Israel and The United States] have some tacit agreements.  Since Bush took office, he has met Sharon four times.  After each meeting, Sharon took some actions.  This time Bush sent Powell to the Middle East and he notified Sharon in advance. This purposely left some time for Israel.  On the other side, the extreme rightist party of the Likude in Israel does not always follow America’s orders.  Sharon said during the Kosovo War that ‘if Israel and the United States have conflicts, the United States may attack us.’”


CHINA/HONG KONG S.A.R.:  "Settling Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Brooks No Delay"


Pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao's editorial asserted (4/10):  "Israel ignored the strong demands from the UN and the international community to withdraw its troops.  It clings obstinately to its own course and launches large-scale military actions against Palestine.  If the state of affairs continues to develop to the extent that Mr. Arafat himself is hurt, or the fighting spreads to other parts of the Middle East, it is possible that more Islamic and Arab countries including Iran and Libya will impose oil sanctions and other sanctions on Israel and the U.S....  And, of course, it will have a negative impact on the slowly recovering international economy.  Thus, people have to be alert.  It is worth paying attention to the fact that the last two global oil crises originated in the Middle East.  The day before yesterday, Iraq again used oil as a weapon.  This reminds the world once again that there can be no delay in settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East issues."


"Seizing The Initiative"


The independent, English-language South China Morning Post remarked in an editorial (4/6):  "U.S. President George W. Bush has finally said the words the world wanted to hear....  Hopes have been raised and Mr. Bush must do his utmost to ensure the American push for peace does not stall as it has countless times before.  With Secretary of State Colin Powell spearheading the renewed mediation efforts, Mr. Bush has put his most capable diplomat in charge of brokering a ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians.  Mr. Powell's seniority and expertise speak volumes for the seriousness of the new-found resolve....  The wounds are deep and there is no easy solution to resolving a complex situation that has cost thousands of lives.  But Mr. Bush's fresh initiative and continued impetus will go a long way in the search for peace."


INDONESIA:  "Palestine"


Independent Koran Tempo (4/10) commented: "The problem is Palestine is not an 'empty area'. There are Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, who have been living there for a long time, who early last decade received a promise for freedom from the English colonialist.  The ZionistS can only build Israel in Palestine by evicting the Arabs, either Muslim or Christian.  It was the 1930s.  They kicked out the Arabs by terrorizing them, killing the women and children. The same tradition is continued by Ariel Sharon and his friends now with the unreserved support from the super power, the United States....  We seem to come to the most basic question: On what moral basis, can human beings from any religion, including Jews, allow Palestinians to suffer for a half-decade for a mistake the never made?"


"If Arafat Were Killed"


Independent Koran Tempo (4/8) published this op-ed piece by activist with the Liberal Islamic Network, Hamid Basyaib:  "Who knows whether President Bush, the only person able to stop Sharon's monster-like steps, is moved and aware that Israel's terrorism has been out of proportion."


JAPAN:  "Arabs Skeptical About U.S. Mediation"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Cairo correspondent Kubo observed (4/9):  "Arab nations are reacting strongly to the Powell mission, describing it as a mere gesture to create a peace environment--without visiting the Palestinian region--and as 'buying time' for Israel to push ahead with military operations against the Palestinians.  King Mohammed VI told Secretary Powell that Israeli troops would have to suspend operations and withdraw before any other progress.  The king's remark was quite a surprise for the secretary, who had placed greater expectations on the Arab world's application of pressure against Palestinian terrorism."


"High-Powered U.S. Mediation Hoped For"


An editorial in conservative Sankei emphasized (4/8):  "High-powered U.S. mediation has never been more necessary to halt the worsening Israel-Palestinian standoff. The world community is placing high hopes on Secretary Powell's peace diplomacy.  Japan should give positive support to the latest U.S. Middle East diplomacy."


"Tightrope Diplomacy For Powell"


Business Nihon Keizai's Washington correspondent Sunohara noted (4/6):  "Secretary of State Powell will mediate between [the two sides]...but there are no signs that the two warring sides will comply with the Bush initiative.  Secretary Powell will conduct 'tightrope diplomacy' amid persistent voices of support among administration officials for Israel and a deepening sense of distrust in the Arab world toward the United States."


"Dramatic Change Of Course?"


Liberal Asahi's front-page "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" column noted (4/6):  "We welcome President Bush's 'enough is enough' speech....  While European and other leaders hailed the speech as a dramatic U.S. change of course on the Middle East, the question is whether or how the hawkish Israeli soldier-turned-Prime-Minister Sharon will comply with the Bush initiative.  Secretary Powell...and Sharon will hold the key to halting the ongoing bloody standoff and returning to peace talks."


MALAYSIA:  "U.S., Britain Cannot Ignore The Situation"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian expressed this editorial view (4/10):  "Based on suspicions that Iraq is building nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the United States and Britain are willing to commit great acts of destruction (by trying to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein).  However, where were America and Britain when innocent Palestinians had their homes bulldozed and women and children were shot at?  Apart from a stern message from Bush that the Israeli army should leave Palestinian territory and a warning from Blair not to play with fire, there has been no action.  Arab leaders have warned U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that America's credibility in this matter is crumbling because of its inablity to get Israel to cease its aggression.  It is so clear that America is watching out only for itself; protecting its economic ties to oil in the region.  It labels Iraq a 'terrorist' country because it does not rely on oil from there.  Much of its corporate, political, judiciary, education, film industry are influenced by Jews, thus America chooses to ignore Jewish aggression.  Saddam has already shown the way by unilaterally declaring an oil embargo to put pressure on America.  Unfortunately other nations such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not agreeing to this move.  If the Arab nations can unite in action, the idea of a free Palestinian state will not be just a dream."


"U.S. Intervention Is Underlying Opportunity For Mideast Peace"


Government-influenced, Chinese language Sin Chew Jit Poh declared (4/10):  "While there are signs to show that the Israel forces are withdrawing from the West Bank, there is no indication that the Israel will change its strategy.  After a U.S. intervention we do not expect to see an immediate cease-fire; we might even see the ascent of war by the Israel to gain more bargaining power at peace negotiation table. At this moment, the Bush administration must use action to pressure the Israel.  What new plan Colin Powell  brings to the Middle East to bring lasting peace is something the international community will focus upon."


"Standing Up To Sharon"


The government-influenced, English-language New Straits Times' editorial asserted (4/9): "Sharon knows that no Israeli leader can openly defy its patron for long and that sooner or later he will have to give in to mounting international pressure.  Having put his authority on the line, Bush must now face down Sharon's high-stakes political gamble."


"U.S. Must Stop Handling Sharon With Kid Gloves"


Assistant group editor Hardev Kaur observed in the government-influenced Financial Daily (4/8):  "The United States has been slow in taking a firm and decisive stand with regard to the situation in West Asia and reining in Israel.  Compare this with the speed of its action for the liberation of Kuwait, its response to the September 11 attacks...and its mission to wipe out the Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and its quick response in Kosovo and Macedonia averting a potential Balkan crisis.  Will Washington wake up and assume the leadership that is required of it to stop Sharon from continuing with his destructive and dangerous policy?...  Will the United States continue to deal with Sharon with kid gloves, or will it play its role as the only superpower in the world, and one that has the most influence over Sharon and the power to end the senseless killing and brutality and begin an era of peace?"


PHILIPPINES:  "Powell Has To Be Savior Of World Peace"


Philippine Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Blas Ople emphasized in his column in the independent Manila Bulletin (4/10):  "While Europe and much of the rest of the world seethed with indignation over Sharon's truculence...Secretary...Powell is about to step into the breach, bringing to bear the full clout of the United States and the world's hopes for an early cease-fire....  A new Desert Storm might be brewing....  This in turn will cause the collapse of President Bush's coalition against terrorism, with all the moderate Arabs...saying that an attack on Iraq would be regarded as an attack on the whole Arab world.  Saddam has already responded by cutting off Iraq's oil supply to the United States and Britain for at least the next 30 days....  The general who conceptualized and directed Desert Storm is now tasked with a more vital mission, to put the insane events in the Middle East under control and forestall an Armageddon that can engulf the whole world.  This time Colin Powell has to be the savior of world peace, no less."


"U.S. Acted Too Late"


Amando Doronila contended in the independent Philippine Daily Inquirer (4/10):  "The United States has acted too late to half [Israel's] offensive [in the West Bank.]...   Powell's mission appears to have redoubled Sharon's resolve to seize the Palestinian cities and make the buffer zone objective a fait accompli."


SINGAPORE:  "White House Ends Its Low Profile"


According to an editorial in the pro-government Business Times (4/9):  "The White House seems to have concluded that its previous low-profile approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian violence has not only played into the hands of extremists on both sides of the conflict, but has also harmed U.S. interests in the Middle East and around the world....  What Washington cannot ignore is that the satellite television images of Israeli soldiers battling Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza have ignited anti-American feelings among Arabs and other Muslims, and eroded public support for the pro-American regimes.  Mr. Bush should be concerned about the potential for political instability and anti-Americanism in the Middle East.  There is a clear way out: the Saudi Arabian proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace....  The Saudis have persuaded the members of the Arab League to adopt the plan.  Mr. Bush must now get Israel, and Mr. Sharon in particular, to accept it as well."


"A Step Forward"


The pro-government Straits Times concluded (4/6):  "It took him a while, but U.S. President George W. Bush finally adopted a somewhat constructive position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday....  Implicit in his decision to send Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region was a commitment to press both parties to resume political negotiations soon, but this was not spelled out clearly.  It was left to Mr. Powell to speak of the urgent necessity of political negotiations leading quickly to a Palestinian state or 'an interim state.'...  The president needs to make clear that he shares this crucial recognition and will back Mr. Powell's efforts when he goes to the Middle East....  Mr. Bush has been sounding notably more hawkish than his chief diplomat of late, and this must cease if the United States is to serve effectively as an honest broker in the region."


SOUTH KOREA:  “Israel Should Accept UNSC Appeal For Troop Withdrawal”


Moderate Hankook Ilbo held (4/9):  "[Israel's] inflicting pain on Palestine through military power may be effective in the short term, but it is not the solution to gaining permanent peace.  It will only trigger a vicious cycle of ‘eye for eye’ retaliation.…  Israel should accept the Security Council’s resolution to withdraw forces.  In addition, Israel, Palestine, the United States and Arab nations should agree on a substantive peace agenda.”


"Tragedy In Middle East No Longer Acceptable"


In the view of government-owned Daehan Mail (4/5):  “As indiscriminate attacks by Israel continue in the Palestinian-held region, the ‘Promised Land’ is becoming a ‘land of tragedy’… The deteriorating situation in the Middle East is also resulting in adverse reactions across the globe: An oil price hike is threatening the recovering world economy, and growing anti-American sentiment may weaken the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism.  The  Bush highly responsible for allowing the situation to deteriorate this far… The U.S. should take all necessary measures, including pressuring the Israeli government, to re-direct the situation in the Middle East.  Israel and the United States will ultimately be held responsible for the tragedy if they fail to take necessary actions.”


TAIWAN:  "Hope That Mideast In Not On Path Of No Return"


The centrist/pro-status quo China Times' editorial remarked (4/10):  "Now even the American public have started to strongly urge the Bush administration not to be too partial to Israel....  The international community indeed should urge the United States to move in this direction and play the role as a just mediator....  The Bush administration, in the name of 'counter-terrorism,' has actively called on its allies to reprimand the 'axis of evil' and start the global strategic deployment.  But the global community is not all at ease with the role of the Untied States as a strong leader.  Many...believe that the United States' 'anti-terrorism' campaign should not depend entirely on military deployment, but should focus on strengthening its commitment to peace."


THAILAND:  "Missing The Point About Terrorism"


The lead editorial The lead editorial in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post maintained (4/8):  "It was distressing to see a clutch of OIC delegates try to justify some attacks on civilians.  In the end, of course, they could not.  So they resorted to the tired, old argument that the OIC should never condemn any action by any Palestinian groups.  The struggle to gain a homeland is so important that even condemning an obvious atrocity like recent suicide bombings would harm the movement.  On this note, the latest attempt to define terrorism failed.  That hardly credits the OIC, which could have gained stature in the eyes of the world by condemning the terrible weapons now being used by Palestinian groups.  The suicide bombings cannot be justified on any reasonable grounds.  They are clearly outside the teachings of the Koran, which forbids suicide and strongly prohibits attacks on the enemy's women and children.  The OIC did the group a disservice by waffling on this terrible, new development.  Neither the Palestinians nor their supporters can hope to win praise for their recent atrocities in Israel, aimed--like the New York attacks of September 11--entirely at the civilian population."


VIETNAM:  "Escalation Of War Is Not The Exit"


Van Luc wrote in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, the daily of the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam (4/9):  "It is necessary to stress that while the international community was making many efforts to put an end to the violence between Israel and Palestine, the United States just ignored it.  [Washington's] attitude...was nothing less than giving the green light to Tel Aviv's stepping up of the operation in the West Bank....  The spiral of developing in a more and more complicated way, making the world public worry that a new Middle East war may break out....  Because of that, the broad public want Israel and Palestine to stop the violence and resume talks to find an appropriate solution that meets the interests of the concerned parties.  That will also be the most effective solution that ensures a long-lasting peace in the Middle East."


"A Dark Middle East"


Danh Duc wrote in Ho Chi Minh City's Communist Youth Party Tuoi Tre (4/7):  "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview that  'what we need is a political solution that will advance the cause of the Palestinian people and the cause of the Israeli people, so that both of them can live side by side.'...  Given the current situation, however,  it is impossible to reach such a solution, or even a cease-fire....  The problem is that...Sharon has completely denied the role of President Arafat as a peace partner using the Israeli military to crush the infrastructure of  the Palestinian Authority....  Facing such a dark future, the Palestinian resistance is a necessity."


"Roots Of The Brutal War In The Middle East"


Nguyen Chien wrote in Hanoi city government's Noi Moi (4/6):  "Israel must not have been able to carry out its actions had the United States not given it the green light....  To date, the United States is still the main sponsor for Israel-Palestine negotiations.  It is because of this biased sponsorship that the negotiations have not yielded any results, reflecting U.S. interests in the region....  The United States uses Israel to threaten the Arab world to supply oil unconditionally for the United States.  On the other hand, the United States uses its relations with Arab countries to warn Israel that it must not beyond the United States' velvet-covered hands of steel."




INDIA:  "Short, Sharon And Nasty"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (4/10):  "Israel has ignored calls by George Bush to vacate Palestinian territories 'without delay.'  This disregard of American advice is not surprising, considering that only recently the U.S. president himself went on record saying that Yasser Arafat had let down his people, and that there were other (Arab) personalities in the region who could lead ... Naturally, the tepidness of the overall U.S. response to the current escalation of the conflict by Israel has not been lost on Ariel Sharon....  India needs to upgrade its diplomatic efforts with a pronounced sharpness, something clearly lacking so far."


"Whoever Heard Of Oslo?"


Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations and UN Special Coordinator for Gaza Chinmaya R. Gharekhananalysis opined  in the centrist Hindu (4/10):  "If Sharon's purpose was to boost Mr. Arafat's popularity, he has succeeded beyond his imagination....  Oslo did make a contribution, but the premise on which it was based turned out to be wrong.  It was expected that small steps, if implemented in good faith by both sides, will inspire enough confidence to permit tackling more complex issues later....  The future is uncertain, the only certainty being continued bloodshed."


"Overkill In West Asia"


The centrist Times Of India observed (4/9):  "Sharon is only following what Shylock described as bettering the instruction of his mentors.  The only leverage Washington could have over Tel Aviv is shutting off economic aid, an option it will never exercise.  But in being unable or unwilling to stay Sharon's hand, the United States will only damage itself in the long run....  Even now, the Arab world has offered an olive branch in the form of the Saudi peace proposal. Mr. Sharon, of course, will have none of it."


Drowning In A Red Sea"


Keki N. Daruwalla wrote in the nationalist Hindusatan Times (4/9):  "No oracles need tell us that there will be no victors in West Asia.  Both sides are indulging in bullying, blood-letting and mayhem....  And if something happens to Arafat, the entire West Asia will go up in flames....  This time Bush has been more wooden and has talked about Israel's right to war against terrorism.  The current American attitude holds few hopes for the Palestinians....  The tragedy is that both Arafat and Sharon have lost all credibility with their opponents."


"To Arafat, In Anguish" 


Noted academician Mushirul Hishran judged in the centrist Hindu (4/9):  "A Palestinian state is no more than a distant dream.  Mr. Arafat, the man who has doggedly tread the path of peace, lives in exile in his own homeland....  The United Nations, acting at the behest of the United States, has lost the moral authority to enforce its own resolutions....  We extend diplomatic recognition to Israel, a move that ran contrary to the avowed goals of India's foreign policy, and forged trade, economic and military ties without paying scant attention to its implications on our relations with the Arab countries.  It is no exaggeration to say that India is, currently, a part of the Israel and U.S. axis."


"Crisis After Crisis" 


Shubha Singh stated in the centrist Pioneer (4/8):  "Removing Arafat from the scene may seem a momentary advance that Sharon can chalk up to his account, but will it serve any other purpose for the Israeli people?  It is unlikely to bring an end to the suicide attacks....  U.S. support to Israel has not wavered; President Arafat has not been a welcome visitor to Washington since President Bush took over....  Acting in the belief of full American support, Sharon can disregard European or even Security Council interventions.  Washington needs to send a clear message to Sharon to pull back."


"Crisis In The Middle East" 


Independent, Tamil-language Dinamani cautioned (4/8):  "It should not be forgotten that Arafat is the representative of the moderate section among the different Palestine liberation groups....  India has been supporting Palestine strongly, for justice is on its side in this issue.  India should not deviate from its moral commitment."


PAKISTAN:  "The Bush Initiative"


M.B. Naqvi wrote in the centrist, national News (4/10):  "It was as a committed friend of Israel that George W. Bush, the U.S. president, has gone on asking it to withdraw its forces from Palestinian cities....  It remains to be seen how Israel responds to the Bush initiative and what it reads in it....  What Israel is aiming to do in Gaza and the West Bank is a small but vital component of the grand strategical moves being made by the United States, ably assisted by the British.  An entire new order in Asia is thus being created that might remould the global one.  It behoves all thinking persons to look at the facts dispassionately and assess the situation from the viewpoint of where will they, the Pakistanis, and indeed the rest of the third world, fit into the eventual world order--or disorder. Or can we in Pakistan do anything about it at all?"


"Israeli Aggression And The Muslim Umma's Apathy"


Second largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized (4/10):  "President Bush and PM Blair are committing aggression against Iraq and preparing for more.  Similarly, both worked together in the destruction of Afghanistan, so why would they now stop Israeli aggression against Palestine?  How long will the Arab countries, hemming and hawing right now just to save their own skins, be able to protect themselves from the Jewish, Christian onslaught. They must adopt a unified policy immediately, not only to safeguard Palestine, but also to protect themselves."


"Will Powell Mission Succeed?"


An op-ed in the Karachi-based, independent, English-language Dawn predicted (4/10):  "The effectiveness of Powell's mission this week, which will take place after Sharon has had time enough to do his worst, will depend to a large extent on the degree of pressure the U.S. is willing to put on its Israeli chums.  Don't expect even the mildest sanctions, let alone the threat of a hiatus in arms shipments.  If anything, the reverse strategy is likelier: Just pretend for a while to be a good boy, Arik, and you can have all the weapons and cash you want....  Powell could also be hobbled by the hawks back home, as he was last year when he proposed an international presence in Israel.  And a suicide bombing during his visit to the region would give Sharon the opportunity he needs to slip back into warmonger mode."


"Israeli Aggression"


The centrist, national News declared (4/9):  "The United States, whose misplaced incitement to Sharon is responsible for whatever is happening, has still not shown the high level of concern required by the situation as there is still too much of foot dragging in ending the violence....  Powell has landed, but his expected arrival did not send Sharon scurrying into pulling out troops in accordance with the Bush dictation.  U.S. political currency has lost all value in the Middle East at a time when the oil weapon is coming into play."


"U.S. Dilly-Dallying"


The Peshawar-based, independent Frontier Post underscored (4/9):  "Secretary Powell, who is due in the region, has said that both sides will have to do more to end the fighting....  And while he was airing these views, NSA Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying that President Bush wanted Israel to withdraw without delay but understood that it could not be helter-skelter and chaotic....  In this cacophony of American voices, one can find the reason why Mr. Sharon is not too keen to wind up his egregious campaign of killings.  The Bush administration first allowed the violence to reach its apex before upgrading its peace mission by sending Secretary Powell.  Now that the secretary is to begin his tour to retrieve the pieces of the peace jigsaw, the administration seems to be dilly-dallying on an immediate Israeli pullout.  This is evident in Mr. Bush's observation that an Israeli pullout could not be 'helter-skelter.'  Imagine, an unprecedented reign of tyranny has been let loose against a whole population and here we have a blinkered Bush ready to give the marauding occupying forces more time to carry out their malicious job....  Secretary Powell may not be a happy man for being deputed to bring peace to the region because his previous efforts foundered on the rock of obstinacy displayed by the same hawkish lobby."


"The Last Hope"


The center-right, national English language Nation editorialized (4/8):  "In a rather belated move, President Bush has sent Secretary Powell to the Middle East to induce a measure of sanity there....  Washington must rein in Israel, force it to halt the invasion, withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, and renounce its settlements policy.  Crown Prince Abdullah’s peace initiative, endorsed by the Beirut summit, represents the last hope for the beleaguered region."


"Massacre In Palestine"


The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt opined (4/8):  "Israel is a satellite state of America...and [thus] has the blessing of the Bush administration for the terror that it has unleashed....  President Bush should not underestimate peoples' demonstrations in support of Palestine and against Israel, he himself being an important character in this violence....  President Bush is urgently required to organize a cease-fire and order Israel to withdraw its troops from Palestinian areas and implement the UN resolutions.  He should not forget  that public opinion is fast turning against him."


"President Bush Must Adopt Pragmatism"


Leading, mass-circulation Jang commented (4/8):  "President Bush speaks in an authoritative tone with the Arab and  Muslim leaders to get things done.  But when it comes to Israel, his tone is not authoritative but partisan and brotherly.  President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair must not forget the reality that after the leadership of  President Yasir Arafat negotiations with any other Palestinian leader will  not achieve anything.  Whether they like it or not, Bush and Blair would again have to talk to Yasir Arafat for peace in the Middle East.   President  Bush's hatred for Arafat and his politically imprudent position of not  trusting him will not bring peace to this region."


"Situation InThe Middle East"


Sensationalist Ummat asserted (4/8):  "Israel is fully aware [that its thinking is independent] of the U.S.,  which is why it does not give much importance to any of U.S. statement  against Israel. That is why they have ignored Bush's demand to withdraw  troops from Palestinian areas."


BANGLADESH:  "Bush Should Recognize State Of Palestine Now"


Former Ambassador Arshaduzzaman wrote in the independent, English language Daily Star (4/8): "A grave responsibility lies on the shoulders of President Bush.  In spite of his pro-Israel tilt, he had the guts to declare the need for two states--Palestine and Israel living side by side.  The State of Palestine is recognized by more than 100 states, and Palestine maintains embassies in all those countries.  Palestine has roughly twice as many embassies around the world than Israel.  The reason Israel is a member of the United Nations and Palestine is not is because the U.S. has so far refused to recognize Palestine....  By granting recognition to the State of Palestine, President Bush will cut the Gordian knot and lift a huge burden from not only the suffering people of the Middle East but probably save humanity from an impending catastrophe."


"Arafat's Preparations For A New War"


Former Bangladesh Ambassador to Iraq and Lebanon, K.G. Mustafa, commented in Pro-Awami League  Janakantha (4/8):  "The present situation calls for the Palestinians to get involved in a new and long-drawn-out war.  They may not survive in the face of an organized Israeli force, but they will win in the long run with support from favorable world opinion.  Neighboring Arab countries have given shelters to Palestinian refugees.  But those Arab countries must recognize that Palestine has not emerged as a problem only, it has come with huge resources, education, and culture.  It is true that Palestinians are the cause of sorrow for Lebanon.  But it is also true that Lebanon's trade centers have been built by the Palestinians.  Palestinian Arabs were once known as the most affluent and educated among Arabs.  They will be able to restore their glory again."




NIGERIA:  "U.S. Policy:  A Glaring Double Standard"


The Lagos-based independent This Day held (4/9):  "The double standard the United States has applied in the Middle East tragedy is too glaring to be ignored.  Can anyone imagine what would have been the reaction of the sole superpower if another country, other than its favorite Israel had made such an incursion to an Arab country?  Such an aggressor could have been instantly given the classic Saddam Hussein treatment....  America's intervention in the crisis must be imbued with a sense of justice and equity to all sides....   Mr. Sharon should be told by his American backers that the solution to the conflict does not lie in humiliation of Yasser Arafat and his people and pacification of Palestinian militiamen.  The path of peace is a comprehensive negotiation to guarantee justice and equity on all sides."


"The Baby Of America's Lukewarmness"


The Lagos-based independent weekly Sunday Champion told readers (4/7):  "We urge leading countries in the international system to put pressure on both Israel and Palestine to stop the present madness.  On this score, it is good thing that President George Bush's America has dropped its hitherto complacency.  It is generally believed that the current Israel intransigence is a product of America's lukewarm attitude to the Middle East crisis.  It is therefore good a thing that George Bush has started advising Israel to withdraw its troops from Palestinian areas it has occupied and to generally avoid actions that humiliate non-combatant Palestinians."


SENEGAL:  "Palestine:  A Planned Massacre"


Abdou Latif Coulibaly wrote in independent Sud Quotidien (4/8): "Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush have given themselves the mission of destroying Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.  In a total fusion of their means and ideas they have engaged in a war without concession.  When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon identifies Yasser Arafat as an enemy of Israel, the American president states that the Palestinian leader has 'betrayed the hopes of his people'.  In fact, it's easy to see why these two men form a duo.  George W. Bush, the head of state, has distressingly low intellectual capacity, doubling as a politician without a single vision; Ariel Sharon is at best 'a good soldier.'"


SOUTH AFRICA:  "Send In Colin Powell"


The liberal Natal Witness commented (4/10):  "Hitherto the Bush administration has been alarmingly unilateralist in its foreign policy....  In sharp distinction from the peace-making efforts of the Clinton years, it has tried to disentangle itself from the Middle East and certainly failed to impose any restraint on...Sharon.  That latter failure is now viewed with increasing alarm...particularly in states in the Middle East that have traditionally been friendly towards the West....  Suddenly...Bush has finally stepped in personally to try to stop the slaughter...sending the chief dove...Colin Powell...and telephoning Sharon....  Sharon's immediate reaction was a defiant speech to the Knesset.  But an annual $3 billion worth of aid from the United States is an extremely powerful lever....  It is hard to see what Israel has gained by the incursion....  Bush's failure to control his client has also damaged U.S. interests in the region.  Whether or not the Powell mission is able to do anything to repair the damage remains to be seen.  The auspices are not hopeful."


"Israel's Leading Terrorists Paved Way To Ramallah With Folly"


In his regular column "Second Take" in the liberal Sunday Independent Xolela Mangcu stated (4/7):  "Sharon has always been a warlord.  His invasion of Ramallah is part of a longstanding desire to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization and, as he recently admitted, ultimately kill its leader:  Yasser Arafat....  What I find perplexing is how a people who has suffered so much could repeatedly elect such warlords as its leaders.  One answer may lie in how Israelis have used the language of self-defence against anti-Semitism as a shield of protection against criticism and, conversely, as a pretext for military aggression.  But often these claims in self-defence have been fabricated....  Yet it was not an anti-Semite but Israel's founding Prime Minister...Ben-Gurion, who said:  'Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.  Politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.'...  All of this is not to say the Palestinians have not committed horrendous acts of violence against Israeli civilians.  It is only to wish that Ben-Gurion's words ring in our ears as we seek fair and just solutions in the Middle East.  World political morality is at stake."


UGANDA:  "The Shame Of Palestine And Israel"


The independent Monitor held (4/10):  "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the classic of a militarily powerful state winning battles, but losing the war. Israeli has sent heavy weapons and crack troops into Palestinian areas to confront militants armed with Kalashinkovs, and children and young people armed with stones and Molotov cocktails. And Palestinian suicide bombers continue to kill dozens of innocent Israeli citizens. There is more than just a war over territory between Israel and Palestine. What is at stake is history....  Both the Palestinians and Jews are damaging their cause, because they come across as people who are unable to govern themselves in a multicultural society. It is quite depressing to see, given the history of Palestinians and Jews as long suffering people, that on both sides there isn't a ground swell of aversion for the politics by murder that is consuming Palestine and Israel."


ZIMBABWE:  "Stop The Siege On Palestine"


The independent weekly Zimbabwe Mirror held (4/5):  "The import of what President Bush and his Secretary of State Powell had to say over the weekend, in response to President Arafat's plea in the face of Israeli aggression, is tantamount to an incentive for Nazi-type genocide against the Palestinian people.  Even as late as Monday this week, the European Union, too, remained Arafat pleaded in vain for international intervention as Israel extended its reoccupation of the West Bank.  So, it is that the 'War on Terror' has become an end in itself for the United States and its allies, a convenient carpet under which to conceal the basic causes of the conflict in the Middle East and a new framework through which to try in vain to institutionalize and justify the New World Dysorder (sic).  In the meantime, it is incumbent on the Arab countries themselves, including those who were bought out under the Camp David process of years gone by, to come to the rescue of Arafat and his Palestinian people, if need be by resorting to oil power.  But Africa and the Third World generally have been too quiet ever since this new siege against our Palestinian brothers and sisters. This is time to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people, and with all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, beginning with the termination of all diplomatic ties with the Israeli state."




CANADA:  “Mission Impossible?”


Under the sub-heading, “What happens if the United States says jump, and nobody moves?” former Canadian diplomat Norman Spector mused in the leading Globe and Mail (4/10):  "Washington knows full well the kind of danger into which they are sending Mr. Powell.  They know that the Israeli leader has no endgame...and that he's no fan of the only conceivable political one--a viable Palestinian state living beside the Jewish one.  Nor do they have any illusions about Arafat.... If Mr. Powell fails to secure a cease-fire, and the suicide bombings resume, the Jewish state will eventually adopt the logic of critics who morally equate all civilian deaths.  The situation is ripe for escalation, and even a regional conflict.”


“Powell Peace Mission A Red Herring”


Columnist Richard Gwyn wrote in the liberal Toronto Star (4/10):  “Even before it really starts...Bush's Middle Eastern peace initiative is unravelling....  Sharon's resort to all-out force is also widely popular among ordinary Americans....  Whether this military assault will actually succeed is entirely another question.... a test of will and nerve and courage--and as well of fanaticism--between Israelis and Palestinians.  Each convinced that the other will not allow it to exist.  Compared with the intensity of this contest, Bush's intervention had to be a sideshow.  As sideshows go, though, the manner of Bush's intervention has made his effort less substantial, and more ineffective, than need have been the case....  Powell's mission thus has effectively shrunk down to trying to patch up relations with the governments of the Arab states the U.S. will need for its attack on Iraq.  This attempt by Washington to avoid the Palestinian issue and, even more obviously, to avoid Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is the root cause of the problem Bush has created for himself.  In essence, Bush is interested only in Baghdad, not in Ramallah or Nablus or Jenin, or even in Jerusalem.  Everyone in the Middle East knows this, Sharon included.  So they're not all that interested in Bush, or in his emissary, Powell.”


“Language Of Peace Is Not Shared”


Columnist Jonathan Kay commented in the conservative National Post (4/10):  “Bush has repeatedly called for the region's leaders to definitively renounce terrorism. But in recent weeks, Muslim nations have actually made a point of doing just the opposite....  In fact, we seem to have reached such a hopeless stage that words themselves have become useless.  Mr. Bush says that Arab leaders ‘must stand up and condemn terrorism,’ and that suicide bombers are murderers, ‘not martyrs.’...  So long as the debate about terrorism focused on Osama bin Laden, we could find a few points of agreement with the Arab League.  Morally, we were speaking different dialects, but at least it was the same basic language.  Now, however, the main front in the debate over terrorism has shifted to Israel--whose destruction is so fervently wished for among Arabs that the plain words of the Prophet Muhammad himself are mutilated daily in order to remove any hindrance to slaughter....  To the extent Mr. Bush is pinning his hopes on the conceit that Arafat and other Middle Eastern dictators will renounce terrorism in exchange for an Israeli pullout, he will fail utterly.  In fact, no one even expects the Arabs to take Bush's demands seriously--which is why the media has obsessed in recent days over Ariel Sharon's failure to comply, but ignored Arafat's.  In the present intellectual climate, the interfaith dialogue about suicide bombers Bush seeks to start is a hopeless project, and Israel has no choice but to place its trust in tanks and commandos.  It would help matters if Mr. Bush understood this, rather than urging Israel to scuttle its current military campaign, which now appears to be the only half-way promising means the Jewish state has to fight terrorism.”


"Powell Upside Down"


Editorialist Serge Truffaut judged in Montreal's liberal Montreal French-language Le Devoir (4/10):  "With the Powell trip starting in Casablanca rather than Jerusalem...Sharon has all the time to pursue his offensive....  The hiatus in the Powell itinerary could be a sign of the tug-of-war taking place in the White House.  The Pentagon brass, led by Donald Rumsfeld and allied with Vice President Cheney, likes and supports the discourse of Ariel Sharon who says that he too, like the Americans, is fighting terrorism. They are being opposed by Powell and others .... Their case rests on two points.  First they believe equating Arafat and the Palestinian Authority with bin Laden and Al-Qaeda is totally wrong.  Then, the Bush advisors who don't see eye to eye with the Pentagon remind the latter that if they want to fight Saddam Hussein they would do well to spare their Arab allies.  Without their support, the Anti-Hussein coalition is bound to fail."


“After Israel's Pullback”


The liberal Toronto Star opined (4/9):  "Bush has been stung by Sharon's defiance. His pro-Israeli tilt is becoming hard to sustain. His anti-terror coalition is losing support.  And anti-Americanism is on the rise.  Absent a credible peace process, worse will follow.  Sharon, dreaming of being rid of Arafat, seems not to care. But in the ruined streets of Nablus and Bethlehem, shell-shocked Palestinians are counting their dead.  And they are rallying behind younger, rebellion-hardened fighters in the Al Aqsa Brigades, a militant wing of Arafat's Fatah movement....  Nothing suggests that Israelis would find them easier to deal with if Arafat were gone.  And behind them, are Hamas and Jihad.”            


"Bush Wades In Where Clinton Foundered"


Columnist Richard Gwyn observed in the liberal Toronto Star (4/7):  "Unlike Clinton, though, Bush's purpose is not to try to bring peace to the region.  His objective instead is to make the Middle East safe for war--for Bush's own impending war against Iraq, that is, or, more exactly, for his impending war to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein....  What principally prompted Bush to adopt this new tactic was undoubtedly the scale of the reaction--violence in many Islamic countries; sharp criticism in Europe and in Canada, as well--to the massive, and in human terms brutal, scale of the Israeli intervention into Palestinian towns and refugee camps."


ARGENTINA:  "Israeli 'Wall' Cedes A Little Bit"


Eduardo Febbro, left-of-center Pagina 12's Jerusalem-based correspondent, contended (4/9):  "Sharon's harsh speech conveys one political certainty:  Local analysts agree that the Israeli prime minister acted as if he had a long time ahead, that is to say, as if the U.S. demands would not be a big deal for him.  An Israeli expert explained on TV that 'when time comes, Sharon will announce the withdrawal of the Israeli army from a place where the operation has already finished and Washington will show satisfaction.'"


"Sharon Has One More Week"


Gustavo Sierra, leading Clarin's international columnist, pointed out (4/9):  "Everything indicates that if Powell had stated his trip in Israel, he would have won time.  Because he could have started talks with the one who has to concede most, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon....  Now, Sharon's troops are free to continue 'cleansing' the Palestinian cities and refugee camps at least until Friday, when Powell will finally arrive in Israel."


"Middle East: When Bush Decides To Emerge From His Sleep"


Oscar Raul Cardoso, leading Clarin's international analyst, opined (4/6):  "The U.S. decision [to send Secretary Powell to the Middle East] is of invaluable importance....  Clearly both contenders have lost their 'peace compass' and there is no possible solution without international help.  It is also very clear that the United States--like it or not--is, inevitably, of key importance in achieving peace in the Middle East....  For the past months, Bush and Sharon have unsuccessfully tried to impose security at any cost, setting aside the gist of the problem for a further stage which, in view of the circumstances, will never be achieved.  Therefore, Powell's trip will mean returning to the beginning of the conflict, with the same ideas regarding the exchange of peace for territories, the fate of the Palestinian diaspora, and most likely, Jerusalem's definitive status.  Ironically, Bush now has to endorse the same agenda he criticized Clinton for....  If there is any moderation left in this crisis, Powell will have to find the formula to obtain it and build--in the opinion of former Prime Minister Ben Ami--'not the peace of the brave, but maybe the peace of the exhausted.'"


"Sharon 1, Bush 0"


Claudio Uriarte, leftist Pagina 12's international analyst, asserted (4/7):  "The key question is 'how much and for how long' will Sharon be able to resist if the U.S. pressure for a cease-fire is unbearable....  What George W. Bush has said on the Middle East...seems to reflect the opinion of antagonistic sectors within the administration...[i.e.,] Sharon must stop the invasion, Arafat must stop terrorism, Iran and Syria must stop helping the Palestinians, Israel must put an end to its settlements, the Palestinian Authority must stop fueling violence against Israel, Iraq must stop building mass destruction weapons, etc.  In sum: war must stop and peace must prevail, without looking into the reasons which led to this situation, overlooking key aspects such as Jerusalem's future status or the rights of Palestinian refugees.  All these things can be said if one is ready to back words with actions which, in this case, means the deployment--in situ--of a U.S. military force of no less than 20,000 men.  And it is unlikely that this will take place because people still remember what occurred in Lebanon, when the bombing of the Marines headquarters led to a hasty return home."


"Efforts To End War In Israel"


An editorial in leading Clarin remarked (4/8):  "Secretary Colin Powell's imminent mission may be the first step in that direction or, maybe, the last chance for the forces in conflict to resume peace talks."


BRAZIL:  "The Price Of Omission"


Conservative O Globo stressed (4/10):  "Even with Sharon in's strange to see Israel ignore U.S. demands.... This is taking place when everything seems to be out of control.... Taking the opposite view from that of his Democratic predecessor, Bush has stayed out of [the Middle East] for as long as he could, while Palestinians and Israelis slid down the path to confrontation....   Bush has been forced to send Secretary Powell to put out the fire that the White House itself has helped to feed.  [Powell's] mission is being seen as a direct intervention to put the brakes on Sharon....  In Morocco, the first stop in his trip, King Mohammed asked Powell: 'Don't you think you should have started with Jerusalem?'  It was an uncomfortable, indelicate question.  But an opportune one."


"End Of Inertia"


Independent Jornal do Brasil judged in an editorial (4/8):  "Confident in his anti-terrorism strategy, [President] Bush resisted as long as he could....  But...he finally understood that American [inaction] could be seen as a symptom of weakness that would only worsen the situation [in the Middle East.]"


"Inhumane Law In Palestine"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's political columnist Vinicius Torres Freire opined (4/8):  "George Bush's erratic diplomacy seemed to have sent the message to Ariel Sharon to remove the knife from the Palestinians' neck. Secretary of State Powell said that Sharon understood Bush's message, i.e., that the war will stop 'as soon as possible' and that Sharon still has time to 'speed up' his operation.  So far, the pantomime is nothing but an attempt to erase the general impression of Bush's complicity.  Bush wants Arafat to control his terrorists.  But Sharon has killed or arrested Arafat's police....  Those arrested are Palestinians, and the prison wardens are the United States and Israel....  Without international intervention, [Israeli] barbarism will continue."


"Hegemony And Global Responsibility"


University of Sao Paulo Professor Gilberto Dupas commented in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (4/6):  "The radicalization of Bush's discourse on terrorism has provided the pretext for a brutal toughening of Israel's regime. The United States has temporarily lost the legitimacy to restrain the aggressiveness of both parties, especially Israel.  The real test of the United States' true intentions will be a possible escalation against Iraq. With old accounts to settle with Saddam Hussein, Bush may lead the entire region into chaos and provoke profound hostility from old European allies."


"Nihilism Against Peace"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's lead editorial opined (4/7):  "We hope Secretary Powell's visit to the Middle East creates a quick return to the almost concluded conversations mediated by then President Clinton....  The lack of a multilateral institution with prestige and power to act in the Middle East is deplorable.  The fact is that only the active participation of a high level U.S. representative will be useful in the unfortunately probable hypothesis that the bloody Palestinian terrorist attempts continue...  The historical opportunity the Arab nations have to assume a more active role in the negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis must not be wasted."


"Finally, A Chance For Peace"


Independent Jornal da Tarde held (4/7):  "Colin Powell's destiny seems to be to rebuild with diplomacy and patience what his boss and the awkward Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have destroyed with their irresponsible bravado.  Peace in the Middle East depends essentially on the United States using all its influence to contain resentments within the limits of diplomacy and politics....  It will not be easy to stop the war.  But if the Untied States is determined to do so, it will finally happen."


MEXICO:  "Stop"


Federico Reyes Heroles told readers of independent Reforma (4/9):  "It would be superficial for us to criticize only Israeli military action....  Palestinians believe that terrorism is a valid answer to Israeli occupation.  If Israel really wants to have safe border and access to its religious monuments, and if the Palestinians truly want to obtain territory for a legitimate state...and if the international community does not want this terrorist spiral to escalate, the time for intervention has come.  It is the only way to save lives and to make a minimum of rationality persevere in the face of barbarity."


"Middle East: Game Of Lies"


Carlos Martinez Assad opined in nationalist El Universal (4/9):  "Israel and Palestine are involved in a territorial dispute, while the United States is involved in a struggle to extend its area of influence in the Middle East.  The most powerful nation on the planet is using the strategy adopted by other empires to establish its control in order to seek out gains for the marketplace and productivity."


"Who Will Stop Sharon?"


Alberto Aziz Nassif noted in independent Reforma (4/9):  "After the majority of Palestinians suffered considerable destruction, the United States finally timidly asked Sharon to please 'begin to pull back,' belatedly sending Secretary of State Colin Powell to the zone.  However, Sharon failed to retreat and instead expanded the war, saying 'there's no turning back.'  Bush's war against terrorism following the 9/11 attacks was the pretext for restarting the Israeli-Arab war....  In the meanwhile, it is urgent to stop the war." Middle East


"Middle East: Will There Be Peace?"


Ana Portnoy wrote in Monterrey's independent El Norte (4/7):  "The mystique of martyrism has increased with the impact of the September 11th attacks. If, in addition to this mystique, we add educational models that link hate and death, and then include an insurance policy of several thousand dollars (Iraq is paying $25,000) to terrorists' families, we can understand the attraction that this new technology represents and the need for different societies to halt it....  At the Arab League Conference in March...the Arabic message that Arafat sent through television, while speaking about accepting the Saudi Arabia proposal, (also) included lectures praising the Palestinian martyrs. ... No country in the world would tolerate the number of terrorist attacks that Israel has borne  without reacting toward the protection of its citizens. This type of security is the primary responsibility of any government.  Due to the lack of action from the Palestine Authority, which continually ignores international pressure, the government of Israel has no other alternative than to directly dismantle terrorists' operations and expose the links of the Palestine Authority officers to these organizations."


"Suicide As A Weapon "


Adolfo Aguilar Zinser judged (4/5) in independent Reforma:  "The most serious risk is that as the Israeli occupation becomes more violent, the feelings that motivate terrorist actions will also increase....  It is imperative for the international community to become actively involved and to stop things from getting out of hand....  Nothing justifies a 'wait-and-see' attitude.  The responsibility is in the hands of the international community, and to a great extent in the hands of the United Nations."


"Bush Changes Attitude"


Nationalist Excelsior's editorial held (4/5):  "Bush has done well by asking Israel to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territories.  He also announced that he will send Colin Powell to the region....  This is a step towards peace.  It is important for Washington to have at last become involved in the search for peace....  The peace dialogue should resume immediately to end the bloodshed."


"Bush, An Obstacle To Peace"


An editorial in far-left La Jornada asserted (4/5):  "President Bush's remarks yesterday made it patent that he, his administration and his country, will not be peace factors in the Middle East, but of suspicion and  war....  Bush blames the current escalation on the suicide terrorist actions--certainly condemnable, but he is confused about cause and effect.  Had he been well-versed on the conflict, he should have realized that the attempts are directly fueled by the prolonged criminal, illegal and genocidal occupation by the Israeli army of Palestinian territories."


CHILE:  "Will U.S. Adopt A Balanced Approach?"


In its prime-time newscast, conservative Catholic University Television featured these remarks (4/9) by international commentator Karin Ebensperger who said:  "Ariel Sharon would not be as powerful if he did not receive the support from the United States.  What is being defined today is whether Washington will continue its unconditional support of Israel whatever their actions are, or whether the United States will seek a balance to address the Arab world."


ECUADOR:  "Sharon Has Washington's Blessing"


Simon Espinosa Cordero opined in Quito's influential, center-left Hoy (4/5):  "The Sharon-Arafat dilemma leads to an impasse:  It will not be settled due to humanitarian reasons or justice, but for economic reasons....  Nobody will settle this impasse because Sharon has Washington's blessing.  The United States is Israel's best ally, and Arabs are not liked by Washingtonians....  It would not be rash to think that even if Sharon succeeds in eliminating Palestinian terrorists from the occupied territories, Washington would not support peace on the pretext that terrorists from Iraq, Iran and Lebanon have yet to be eliminated....  Sharon is not a fool, but he resembles Hitler."


"Terrorism And Terror"


Quito's leading, centrist El Comercio featured this opinion (4/5) by Gonzalo Ruiz Alvarez:  "At the bottom of all this there is the double standard of the U.S. government, its sinuous conduct that changes day by day....  Beyond a cease-fire, a definitive dialogue is necessary to seek the peace so longed for in the region, overcoming Bush and Sharon's blindness and the extremist positions on both sides.  The future for Palestinians and Israelis deserves it, to wash away the sacrifice of the innocent deaths in the Holy Land.  What a challenge for the civilized world."


"The Bloodbath Continues"


Orlando Alcivar noted in Guayaquil's leading, center-right El Universo (4/5):  "Something...has to be done by the international organizations and the great powers involved--we might almost say that the only one is the United States--to stop this conflict of the millennium that is getting worse each day, endangering world peace.:


JAMAICA:  "Pardon Our Skepticism, General Sharon"


The lead editorial in the centrist, business-oriented Daily Observer intoned (4/9):  "We would not be surprised if General Sharon's currency is counterfeit and that he is attempting to use it to buy time.  It is likely to be a cynical attempt by the Israeli prime minister to lull his critics into a false sense of security, while, at the same time, give the United States an opportunity to say that its charge has begun to heed its words....  Ostensibly, the Israelis are rooting out terrorists and suicide bombers....  What the Israeli prime minister has not learned in his long years is that such tactics, the currency of Israeli and Palestinian blood, have not bought his people security...[nor] advanced the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live within secure borders....  General Sharon's approach does not take into account the equally legitimate right of Palestinians to live in a nation that is fully, not partially, sovereign.  The thumping humiliation of the Palestinians and Mr Arafat will not halt the suicide bombers if there is not a just settlement to this problem."


PANAMA:  "Ostrich Policy In The Middle East"


Conservative El Panama America featured this oped (4/5) by Carlos Christian Sanchez:  "Facing a possible global religious war like the Crusades, the Pentagon hawks and diplomats in Washington ostriches hiding their heads when facing the unknown....  George Bush is beginning to receive criticism in his country for the way in which this problem has been handled.  Some members of Congress and senators...are of the opinion that the Bush strategy lacks clear objectives....  After September 11, Washington has implemented anti-terrorism politics....  In this context, what is good for the United States cannot be bad for others, and, since the United States is conducting a war against terrorism, Israel should have the same right.  On the other side, President Bush could well be taking care of his political future....  Jewish financial groups are the greatest contributors to the [political] campaigns in the United States."


PERU:  "Alert On Middle East Crisis"


Flagship, conservative El Comercio stressed (4/5):  "The international responsible for...heading a global initiative...leading to a  cease-fire.  Eliminating Yasser Arafat's Prime Minister Sharon's government...insists on doing, is a very risky option....  We emphatically condemn the terrorists attacks perpetrated by extremists groups against Israel, but at the same time believe that violent response only generates more confrontations and worsens the conflict...especially if we consider the Arab countries' reaction....   The only solution left for Israel's own security is to resume dialogue under the auspices of...the international community."  



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