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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

November 21, 2003

November 21, 2003





**  Euros insist that their criticism of Israel's "policies and behavior" is not "anti-Semitic."


**  New PA PM Ahmed Qurei, a "skilled politician," can create a "climate...for a halt to violence."


**  Arab, Euro and leftist Israeli papers support the Geneva Accords as a "bold gesture."   


**  Sharon's "draconian policy of peace with security" is blamed for intensifying the conflict. 




The 'trustful cooperation' between Israel and Europe has 'somehow faded'--  One center-right Euro writer said critics of Israel must "show greater understanding of the existential misery in which...Israel sees itself," but urged Sharon not to "consider all and hostile."  Irish, Spanish and German papers added that "Europe must not tolerate anti-Semitism" while advocating a "just compromise for the Palestinians."  Conversely, Prague's mainstream MF Dnes reflected East European opinion by defending Israel as the "only enclave of democracy and Western civilization in the Middle East."    


Sharon must meet Qurei to restart the roadmap, which is 'the only show in town'--  Now that "Palestinians have formed their government and are ready for a truce," Arab and leftist Euro papers say Sharon must "come down off his high horse" and meet Qurei.  Pro-Beijing Macau Daily News termed any "political dialogue...a glimmer of hope."  But Arab papers demanded international efforts to "move the peace process forward," with the West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam conditioning any cease-fire on "a halt of settlement activity and an end to the separation wall."  Israel's conservative Jerusalem Post countered, "There can be no peace until the Palestinians are forced or choose to abandon terrorism."  


The Geneva Accords indicate 'new and hopeful thinking'--  A Spanish daily described the privately-negotiated Geneva Accords as being "so well-received in Europe' because they contain "detailed solutions for all the problems" in the peace process.  Palestinian writers welcomed Geneva's "influence on the Israeli street," with independent Al-Quds hoping they "could be the last in a series of political initiatives to settle" the conflict.  Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz also hailed the Accords as a "chance to get out of the dead end."


Muslim and leftist writers blame Israel's 'inflexible attitude and policy'--  Critics say Israel's "continued occupation and intensification of settlement activity" and its "hostile expansionist tendency" block the peace.  Egyptian writers blasted Israel's "annihilation plans" against Palestinians, as aggressive Al Akhbar labeled "terrorism...Israeli-made."  Morocco's pro-opposition L'Opinion reflected criticism of Israel's security fence, describing it as "apartheid, Israeli style."  An Israeli leftist warned against Sharon's policies, opposing the creation of "Bantustans for the residents of the territories."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis was based on 42 reports from 18 countries over 31 October - 21 November 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date. 




GERMANY:  "Revival Attempt"


Erik-Michael Bader said in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/21):  "A UN resolution, initiated by Russia, has now called upon the parties in the [Middle East] conflict to comply with their commitments laid down in the international peace plan for the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....  Without a healing of this wound, there are little prospects for the pacification of the region and a...successful fight against Islamic terrorism.  But this does not mean that the roadmap is living again.  The problem is that the parties in the conflict want to make their first step dependent on the first step of the other side, while the peace plan provides for parallel steps.  Previous bad experience teaches us that the initial stage can work only if the first step of one side remains immune for a certain period of time to the impulse to react to setbacks and violations of the other side."




Gisela Dachs noted in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (11/20):  "More than 100,000 Israelis and 60,000 Palestinians have put their names under a campaign which too calls for peaceful coexistence of two states and an end to the conflict.  They are supported by three former Israeli security chiefs, who have warned of catastrophe if Israel does not radically alter its policies towards the Palestinian people.  Recently, even [Israel’s] chief of staff has voiced concern over the course of the government--based solely on heavy-handed tactics.  The government responds rather hysterically to the criticism.  And seems to yield cautiously.  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has suddenly come down off his high horse and wants to meet the Palestinian Minister-President Qurei, who is said to be a loyal follower of Arafat."


“Shaky Relationship”


Inge Guenther opined in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (11/20):  “It cannot be glossed over.  The relationship between Europe and Israel has been beset by problems for a long time, but recently it has reached an all-time low.  As in each relationship, both sides have contributed their share.  Prime Minister Sharon sees a large, if vague, link between the political attitudes of the West Europeans in the Middle East conflict and a wave of anti-Jewish hate attacks including attacks on synagogues in Paris or the terror attacks in Istanbul, a charge, which hurts the old continent deeply, especially because of the mainly German, but also European, responsibility for the Holocaust.  It is not enough to point out that official politics has always distanced itself from anti-Semitic statements....  One does not defend Sharon’s course when passionately rejecting these prejudices.  On the contrary--whoever is anxious to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must refrain from general judgments and prejudices....  To heed this requirement of fairness is a prerequisite for active mediation by the EU.  That one-sidedness in the peace process leads into a cul-de-sac has been demonstrated by America’s lopsided support of Israel.  Therefore, Europe must not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form....  Without a just compromise for the Palestinians, a two-state solution acceptable to both sides, Israel risks its existence as a predominantly Jewish state and democracy....  That peace is feasible has been proved by another bi-national initiative, the Geneva draft launched by Jossi Beilin and Jassir Abed Rabbo....  Now, when else, is the time for the EU to commit itself more strongly in the Middle East.  Despite Israel’s fundamental criticism of the West Europeans--it regards the Eastern EU applicants anyway as more promising--Sharon’s foreign policy is nevertheless pragmatically orientated.  As always, a crisis contains a chance, if both sides seize it.  Though their relationship will remain susceptible to disturbances, at least they have again realized that they cannot manage without another.”




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/18):  "It will be an alarming indication of the tense relations between Europe and Israel if people almost invoke a return of confidence in relations.  One thing cannot be denied:  The spirit of trustful cooperation has somehow faded.  In Europe, critical voices of Israel have developed into a nonchalant anti-Israeli mood.  We must assume that it hides anti-Israeli resentment, but not that this mood develops into great applause for Islamic terrorism.  Israel in turn is complaining about the imbalance in the European view....  It is probably idle talk to find out who is responsible for this alienation.  Can it be stopped?  Europe must should show greater understanding of the existential misery in which the abandoned democracy in Israel sees itself, and demonstrate greater routine when showing consternation following a suicide attacker blowing himself and others up.  And Israel should not, like a reflex, consider all advice and every statement one-sided and hostile.  Yes, indeed, sometimes, such statements reveal aggressive morality but sometimes only political reason."


"Tough Accusation"


Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf said (11/18):  "Relations between the EU and Israel are not good....  Israel's government also blamed mounting anti-Semitism in some European countries for the terrorist attacks on Jewish institutions in Istanbul.  This is a tough accusation....  Is there really an increase in anti-Semitism in Europe?....  For Islamic anti-Zionism and the terrorist fight of Al Qaida against the state of Israel, this may certainly be true.  But it is necessary to make a clear distinction and to make one thing clear:  It is the goal of the attackers from Istanbul to take advantage of growing European criticism of the current policy of Prime Minister Sharon for their goals.  But criticism of Israel has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.  The Israeli prime minister may have a different view and he is right to do so.  But Sharon should not make the mistake to fall into the trap his opponents set.  It must be doubted, however, whether 'historian' Berlusconi, as acting EU-president, will explain this small but important difference to Sharon during his upcoming visit to Rome."


BELGIUM:  "Increasing Anti-Semitic Incidents"


Philippe Berkenbaum commented in left-of-center Le Soir (11/17):  “In the West, it is our responsibility to prevent youngsters coming from immigrant families from being educated in a climate of hatred. We must also refuse to show the least complacency for Arab leaders who stir up hatred to reinforce their power.  But we must also convince Israeli leaders that, whatever we might do, Jews will continue to suffer as long as a minority among them continue to behave like colonialists.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Why Jews Become So Often A Target"


Jan Jandourek wrote in mainstream MF Dnes (11/21):  "Terrorists killed 25 people in the attack on synagogues in Istanbul several days ago.  Shortly afterwards Czech neo-Nazis sang at their concert: 'Burn down synagogues.'  The police let them be....  It is a mystery what people from the West have against the only enclave of democracy and Western civilization in the Middle East.  It is clear why the French government is not fanatically pro-Israeli oriented as it has some five million Muslims in the country and 'only' some six hundred thousand Jews.  But it is unclear why Westerners refused to notice the causality that those who attack the Jews will eventually attack everyone."


IRELAND:  "Israel And The EU"


The center-left Irish Times declared (11/18):  "Today's meeting of the European Union's association council with Israel comes at a difficult, indeed a critical, time in their relationship.  They (EU foreign ministers) pointed out that the deteriorating situation between Israel and the Palestinians affects European security interests and emphasized their commitment to restore the international roadmap for peace, which recent events have reduced to tatters....  The ministers insist the Israelis must change their policy of not engaging fully with the EU representative, Mr Mark Otte, and others who have been dealing with the Palestinian president, Mr Yasser Arafat....  It is high time the EU asserted its interests and potential influence more effectively on these Middle East issues. They are of critical importance for Europeans, who increasingly believe their leaders should be doing more about them and who do not trust the United States to represent their interests in a balanced fashion as next year's elections loom there. The Israeli government has done its best to avoid or minimize European involvement; but it is now coming under more pressure at home and abroad to re-engage with the Palestinians....  The Israeli government is also tempted to describe European criticisms of its policies and behavior as anti-Semitic. Both these approaches should be firmly resisted by the EU council of ministers, in defense of their policy and the better to counter real instances of racism. But this requires a much more united and determined policy than they have hitherto displayed."


POLAND:  “Europe Does Not Like Jews”


Dawid Warszawski wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (11/19):  “After the attacks on the synagogues in Istanbul and on the Jewish school near Paris things seem to be going the right way. The police are conducting investigations, the authorities are condemning, presidents are taking action so that this never happens again....  There is one reservation, though: no one has taken to the streets to protest against these crimes. Let us imagine what it would look like if two mosques and an Islamic school were attacked at the same time in Europe. Crowds in the streets, speeches condemning European racism, heads bowed in shame....  It is rather unlikely that Europeans will spontaneously demonstrate to show solidarity with Jews over anything, including carnage. They condemn perpetrators, but they no longer sympathize with victims.”


SPAIN:  "Anti-Semitic Hatred"


Conservative ABC noted (11/20):  "A spate of anti-Semitism, not limited to terrorist activity, though it achieves its greatest perversity, is moving the world....  It's true that the Palestine conflict and the Israeli government's mistaken policy to combat the terrorist offensive encourages this spate, but does not attenuate its criminal condition.  Islamic fundamentalism doesn't need reasons beyond hatred, resentment and intolerance....  This resentment is a perfect breeding ground for hatred and intolerance. When the provocation of the political mistakes of Israel are added, the terror is served.  It is explained, but under no circumstances is it justified, nor does it deserve any but the most unequivocal condemnation."


"Political Criticism"


Left-of-center El País held (11/19):  "Sharon has tried to instill a feeling of guilt among the European Fifteen, with the objective of silencing European criticism and turning their governments and community institutions away from the search for solutions to the conflict.  But after serious internal discussions, the EU has expressed the European consensus.  It is a clear message addressed by a group of democratic countries to another one which believes it is the only democracy in the Middle East....  The Geneva Agreements, drawn up by private citizens from Israel and Palestine, and with detailed solutions for all the problems, are a bold gesture, and that is why they are being so well-received in Europe."




ISRAEL:  "Perhaps It Is Just The Beginning"


Ben Caspit observed in popular, pluralist Maariv (11/21):  "This is still not it, but perhaps it is the beginning.  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced yesterday in a speech he made in the Export Institute that Israel is willing to carry out 'unilateral measures.' He did not elaborate.  Yesterday Sharon gave the preview for what could be, perhaps, someday, his planned Herzliya 2 speech, whose still hidden in the back of the drawer, undergoing revisions and drafts.  It is intended to renew hope and rebalance the political process, giving the Palestinians real compensation of the first degree....  Sharon is still hesitating, but the situation, the public, the polls and the despair are pushing him....  Sharon’s statements yesterday are no more than a calculated opening maneuver in a nerve-wracking chess game.  If Sharon intends a unilateral withdrawal from Palestinian cities, this is not important news.  If he means more than that, all options are open."


"Just Where Does The Optimism Come From?"


Aluf Benn wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/20):  "It is difficult to find any real enthusiasm for Qurei among Sharon and his aides....  But the Israeli approach is full of hope--even though it is not clear what it is based on, unless it is meant to prepare the groundwork for blame in the future.  [Those Israelis] say if Qurei is serious in his statements about a cease-fire as a solution, there's no chance for progress.  And they hope that beneath the statements hides a secret plan to eradicate terror.  After all, it's not credible, they say in Sharon's entourage, that such an experienced politician as Qurei really is counting on a cease-fire and doesn't know that he has to take practical security steps....  [The] gap in a priori expectations by the sides threatens the success of the move, which in any case is based on both sides' fatigue from the war and not from sudden breakthrough into mutual trust."


"Games Of Make-Believe"


Ofer Shelach commented in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/20):  "It looked as if, during the last round [of a move that anticipated a non-violent solution to the conflict, Israeli] make-believe was intended for the American judge.  This time it appears that most of it is meant for domestic consumption.  The Americans ceased intervening a long time ago; they are quietly folding up toward the election year.  But the public on both sides is grumbling.  Palestinians and Israelis feel there is no hope and that their leaderships are leading them to a disaster.  In Israel, recent declarations that emanated from the defense establishment itself--and of some of its retired members--have made clear to Sharon that if time for action has not yet come, at least the time for pretending has....  There are no demonstrations, there is no protest, the responses to an interview of Shin Bet chiefs were stronger around the world than in Israel."


"The Trap Of Success"


Guy Bechor declared in pluralist, mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot (11/20):  "The Israeli government has accepted the U.S. Administration's road map; so has the Palestinian government.  Arafat adheres to the map.  What is left to do is to bridge between the sides so that they can come back to the road map.  Despite all reservations from it, the roadmap is in fact the only show in town.  All the rest is public relations....  This is the maximum that can be obtained....  As usual, Arafat is an obstacle to real diplomatic progress, but if he remains in the picture, he will let Abu Ala move forward and even fight terrorism as required in the road map."


"Chance For A Cease-Fire"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/19):  "Apparently, [Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed] Qurei and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon learned the lesson from the failure of Qurei's predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas.  Both know it will take a joint effort to prevent another failure that would fatally harm the moderate strain in the Palestinian leadership.  Such an effort means readiness by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to suspend their mutual suspicion and to act with a spirit of hope for the tired, scarred populations on both sides.  For the fall 2003 version of the hudna to not end up filed in the archives, like the previous one last summer, Qurei must impose his authority on the security apparatuses in the PA to make an effort to end terror attacks.  That is a necessary condition for an opening, but deeper efforts will be needed against terror's capabilities and the preparations to renew it....  Israel, for its part, must reduce its military and civilian presence in those parts of the territories that are the PA's responsibility....  Rarely are states given a chance to correct a previous mistake.  The second 'hudna' is such a rare occasion....  Instead of having regrets in another week or month, the security professionals must make clear to the political level that they will support taking a reasonable risk, for the sake of the chance to get out of the dead end."


"No Time Left"


Yael Gewirtz noted in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/18):  "With all due respect to the new 'hudna,' this time too, it doesn't constitute a 'breakthrough'....  It is an initiative that Israel isn't leading.  Israel is only going along with it.  The Israeli government could perhaps continue to tighten the noose around terrorism....  But it must quickly create...a significant, practical initiative and start a direct dialogue."


"My Alternative To Geneva"


Former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon stated in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (11/18):  "[In the Beilin-Abed Rabbo initiative] there is the question of content, specifically Geneva's haziness on the right of return, which has allowed each side to give its own version of how many refugees and their descendents should be allowed in to Israel proper.  Such varying interpretations were the bane of Oslo, and cannot be allowed regarding such a sensitive core issue.  No less provocative was Geneva's call for handing the Temple Mount over to Palestinian sovereignty.  The initiative was also procedurally problematic.  Many Israelis feel that, by drafting a full and detailed accord, Geneva's architects have tied the hands of bona fide negotiators in the future, denying them room to maneuver....  All of which returns us, by dint of contradistinction, to the 'Peoples' Voice' peace petition I have been promoting along with my Palestinian partner, Prof. Sari Nusseibeh.  Unlike Geneva, our initiative is a simple declaration of principles, one page in length....  The grassroots quality of the Peoples' Voice has the additional benefit of generating broad-based support for peace among Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging democratic discourse in the latter society especially....  Compared to Geneva, the Peoples' Voice lays down 'red lines' which are acceptable to the Israeli mainstream, and does so in a democratic manner that transcends partisan dispute.  Those who want Israel to be a democratic Jewish homeland should hark to the Peoples' Voice.  It is real, it is viable.  It is here and now."


"The Road to Bantustan"


Akiva Eldar opined in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (11/17):  "The Right understands that waves of anti-Semitism will not bring masses of Jews to a country riddled with terror, unemployment and social rifts, and on the verge of losing its Jewish majority....  As far as [moderate rightists such as Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] are concerned, the Palestinians can term the enclaves that remain under their control 'a state.'  They will be first in line to recognize it....  If Israel is tempted to establish Bantustans for the residents of the territories, and to put off a resolution to the problem of the Palestinian diaspora for better days, the residents of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora can expect worse ones to come."


"A Welcome Flurry Of Activity"


Indendent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (11/17):  "The distribution of copies of the Geneva Accord to every household in Israel began this week....  At the same time, the Peoples' Voice campaign is moving forward. This campaign is the initiative of Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Shin Bet, and Sari Nusseibeh, the president of Al-Quds University.  The fact that some 150,000 Israelis and Palestinians have already signed on to this campaign indicates that it, too, has elicited a substantial response.  This initiative, like the Geneva Accord, is also based on a two-state solution.  On Friday, Ayalon received the public support of three of his colleagues who had also served as head of the Shin Bet....  Doubts about the basic assumptions of the current policy also surfaced two weeks ago in a conversation between IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon and three journalists. This conversation drew angry responses from the Prime Minister and Defense Minister.  Behind this flurry of new and welcome thinking stands the threatening demographic reality, which can no longer be ignored.  It's not only that time is not working to our benefit; time is running out....  The reality is clear and the hopelessness of the government's policies is also clear.  The peace initiatives and various plans, and the support they are gathering, reflect the widening cracks in the public's faith in the government's positions.  However, the political constellation necessary for translating these positive developments into real political momentum has yet to coalesce."


"No Surrender, Thanks"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post observed (11/17):  "In its Friday edition, Israel's largest newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, led with a banner headline, 'We are on the way to catastrophe'--a rough paraphrase of a joint interview with four former heads of the Shin Bet security service....  We too are frustrated with the government's seeming contentment with an ongoing stalemate with no end in sight and little evident direction.  But if elections were held tomorrow, we believe that the public would once again defeat the advocates of unilateral surrender and choose those who believe that there can be no peace until the Palestinians are forced or choose to abandon terrorism.  The public is not always right, but in this case we believe it has much greater strength, acuity, and wisdom than those who seek to unseat its elected leaders.  What is more, it is precisely the advocates of surrender who, by giving Palestinians who push the terror strategy hope, are prolonging the war."


WEST BANK:  "The Mutual Truce:  Palestinian And Israeli Needs"


Samih Shbeib remarked in independent Al-Ayyam (11/21):  “The Egyptian efforts [to support a Palestinian-Israeli truce] come in the midst of a variety of circumstances, the most important of which is the U.S.’s engagement in the Iraqi crisis with its serious threats to U.S. forces and the future of the [U.S.] administration, causing limited American pressure to calm the Palestinian-Israeli front....  Also, there is a rising call within the Israeli military demanding an end to the inappropriate role that Israeli forces play in Palestinian cities and villages all over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip....  Negotiations about a mutual truce require that Palestinians have an objective sense of what’s taking place inside the Israeli military and of the Geneva accord’s influence on the Israeli street. Therefore, [Palestinians] should not offer any facilitations to the Israeli government to get only formal ones in return, given that Israel itself needs an easing of the situation to meet its basic needs.”


"Russia:  A Balanced Position"


Official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida contended (11/20):  “Russia has achieved passage of its several-week-old draft resolution to support the Roadmap plan with unanimous endorsement by the UNSC members....  We, as Palestinians, highly value this balanced Russian stand toward the Middle East conflict....  We also hope that Russia has a greater influence on the political process in this region which has been monopolized by the U.S., and everyone including Russia knows how biased the U.S. has been toward Israel....  In this respect, we would like to mention President Bush’s statement yesterday in which he asked European officials not to meet with certain Palestinian leaders whom he described as ‘not trustworthy.’  If he means President Arafat, Bush has basically ruined the simplest foundations of honest mediation and clearly contradicted all his previous calls for democracy.”


"Sharon Is In Crisis...Beware Of Rescuing Him"


Hani Masri opined in independent Al-Ayyam  (11/18):  “It is enough for us to review the outcome of a European poll [on the status of the Israeli state] to understand the current Israeli dilemma, including the economic crisis and deteriorating Israeli security....  Why can’t the Palestinian leadership initiate a ‘cease-aggression’ agreement that also demands a halt of settlement activity and an end to the separation wall?  Why can’t it think of utilizing the mounting Israeli crisis on all levels to substantially modify the conditions of the negotiations?  And why can’t we read the signals of the escalating Iraqi resistance against the American occupation?”


"The Lack Of Initiatives Is Not The Real Problem"


Independent Al-Quds editorialized (11/17):  “The Geneva accord, which currently enjoys wide media coverage, could be a last in a series of political initiatives to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict....  However, it seems that this and other former initiatives have never reached their intended recipients, namely the Israeli government.  The Sharon government has clearly rejected this accord... Can such initiatives, no matter how well drafted they are, ever be taken seriously or have a future to them?”


"An Extraordinary Worthwhile Warning"


Independent Al-Quds commented (11/15):  “If the Israeli Government trusts its prominent professional security and intelligence veterans and listens to the views they proposed for getting the Palestinian-Israeli issue out of its current bottleneck, the warning that four former [Mossad chiefs] delivered should sound the alarm bell and draw the attention of Israeli PM Sharon and his key government officials....  The warning spotlights a fact to which Sharon seems to close his eyes, namely that the continued occupation and intensification of settlement activity, [and] the continued denial of a state for the Palestinian people...will keep [the Palestinians] within Israel's borders as part of the Israeli people, whether Israeli officials like it or not.”


EGYPT:  “Importance Of Creating Climate For Roadmap Implementation”


Pro-government Al Ahram contended (11/19):  “Some voices in Israel attempt to pursue the policy of manipulating the fates of nations in the region.  This is a desperate attempt that will not work in blemishing or hiding Egypt’s leading role to achieve peace in the region, despite the destruction these people have brought to peace and to Israel itself....  President Mubarak’s envoy’s current talks with the Palestinians aims to create the climate once again for a halt to violence between the two sides...and begin implementing the roadmap, which has stumbled due to Israeli maneuvering....  The ball is in the American and Israeli court now that the Palestinians have formed their government and are ready for a truce.”


“The Extremists Are Angry?”


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar declared (11/19):  “Israeli extremists groups reveal their rejection of peace everyday...despite the blood drained from both the Israeli and Palestinian people....  While the entire world is praising Egypt’s leading role in establishing a halt of Palestinian violence and paving the way for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks, a Likudish Knesset member...has vented his poisonous anger at Egyptian mediation efforts...his statements are feverish hallucinations....  He knows perfectly well that terrorism is Israeli-made.”


“Peace Opportunities Are Egyptian-Made”


Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya remarked (11/18):  “Egypt has never stopped its efforts to mediate a peaceful settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides...undoubtedly the cycles of violence and counter-violence have proved that the grounds that are ripe with blood and doubts do not serve the implementation of a peace plan...that is why the mission of the Egyptian envoy Omar a new opportunity to establish a binding truce, especially to Israelis.”


“After European Poll, Israel’s Campaign Against France And European Civilization Continues”


Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Nafie argued (11/17):  “Israel ignored the European opinion that it is the first enemy of international peace...and even started a monstrous attack on...France, the civilized nation...and on European culture and Christianity. In my opinion, this attack from Israeli media and Zionist organizations against Europe, in addition clashes with other countries about corruption cases committed by Jewish businessmen, reveals that the true face of the Zionist project on the land of Palestine has started to unveil worldwide, even in the countries that have been the core of support for Israel and the Zionist movement.”


“Israel Does Not Fear Alleged European Changes”


Abd-Rabboh El-Masry maintained in pro-opposition Al Wafd (11/17):  “The European poll is not as serious as the Arab press think...and it does not represent the European man on the street....  The poll will have no impact on the European-Israeli partnership meeting....  The seeming disparity between the European and American positions cannot be dependable....  The poll did not push Israel to change its annihilation plans against the Palestinian people because it realizes its truth.”


“A Witness From Their Own”


Pro-government Al Ahram said (11/16):  “Four of the Shin Bet chiefs made the first warning of its kind that Israel could face a catastrophe if it continued its occupation of Palestinian territories.  This is a realistic testimony from within Israel...which confirms the impasse Israel is suffering and the confliction that prevailed due to the Israeli government’s aggressive policy.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "The Status Of Jerusalem"


Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (11/20):  "The U.S. Congress misses no opportunity to show its full support for Israel....  Recently there was a rebirth of an old American call to consider the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel....  The holy city of Jerusalem occupies a special position on the agenda of the Arab and Islamic countries and any attempt to target or weaken the religious and political status of Jerusalem will increase tension and provoke the entire Arab and Muslim worlds."


MOROCCO:  "The Roadmap And Russia's Comeback"


Arabic-language Socialist ISFP party-run Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki declared (11/21):  "Resolution 1515 presented by Russia was endorsed by other countries, including Germany, China, Chile, France and Britain....  What has distinguished this resolution is Russia's return to the Middle East, taking the initiative as an international player and assuming its role in reactivating the roadmap.  All this despite Russia's special status as a regional power, following the victory of the unilateral power in formulating international policy....  The contradiction now is that even though America voted for this resolution along with the international community, its President, George Bush, did not fail to criticize the Palestinian leadership, seizing the opportunity of his speech in London to talk negatively about the Palestinian Authority.  He has strayed away from the neutrality required of a country that sponsors peace in one of the world's most dangerous regions. But despite George Bush's position, the international community must not remain hostage to U.S. or Israeli stances. It must find the means to activate the recent UN resolution and move the peace process forward in the service of world peace and security."


"Fence Of Apartheid"


Hafid Fassi Fihri commented in pro-opposition Istiqlal party-run French-language L’Opinion (11/21):  "In defiance of the international community, Israel is building a 'security' fence inside the West Bank. Israel talks of security but it neglects to mention that this fence will not prevent the Tsahal tanks from entering Palestinian cities, not to mention Israeli missile and helicopter attacks on the civilian population! Once this fence is built, Palestinians will become an imprisoned people....  Ariel Sharon appears to be using the despair and terror in which Israelis live in order to impose the construction of the fence....  In this case, there is a pact of silence surrounding apartheid, Israeli style, giving us the impression that the governments of the entire world are powerless."


TUNISIA:  "The Challenge Of The Peace Of The Brave"


Editor Abdelmagid Haouachi wrote in independent French-language Le Quotidien (11/15):  "It is high time to put in place a dialogue instead of military confrontation, violence and destruction....  This option, articulated by Arafat at the advent of the new Palestinian government headed by PM Qarei, is privileging peace with the Israeli population....  It is a genuine political move made by the Palestinian Authority staffed with experienced leaders....  Such a clear-sighted move can by no means ignore the necessity of reaping the fruit of the strong Palestinian resistance which opposed the Israeli opponent and its hostile expansionist tendency."




CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "Positive Interactions Between Israel And Palestine Will Help Restart Negotiations"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (11/16):  "Recently, Israel's stance seems to have softened.  Israeli officials claimed that they would give the Qorei government a chance.  The Israeli Defense Department recently stated that it would remove blockades in most of the Palestinian cities in the West Bank.  Also, Israel announced that it would tear down some houses that had been built illegally in colonial settlement areas.  All these moves will help to alleviate the tense relations between Israel and Palestine....  Although Israel and Palestine have initiated some cooperation on security issues, they still have many differences, which cannot be resolved in a short period of time.  Nevertheless, as long as Israel and Palestine can maintain a political dialogue, unnecessary clashes can be avoided.  This provides Israel and Palestine a glimmer of hope after the heavy rainstorm."


PHILIPPINES:  "A Glimmer Of Hope"


The independent Manila Times declared (11/15):  "There are signs that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is beginning to relent but it's too soon to say if there would be any change in his draconian policy of peace with security.  Sharon is willing to meet with Ahmed Qurei, the new head of the Palestinian government, to restart the peace process....  However, Qurei continues to be skeptical. Qurei thinks that Sharon is in tactical retreat on account of six events. The first is the European Commission poll that showed 60 percent of all Europeans consider Israel the greatest threat to world peace....  The second is...Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon...told Israeli journalists that the army is against the hardline treatment of Palestinian civilians....  The third is the proposal by the moderate Shinui abandon the settlement in Netzmarim in Gaza....  The fourth is the rally in memory of Yitzak Rabin...that drew 100,000 people....  They carried streamers that read: 'Leave the territories, save the country' and 'Sharon go home'.  The fifth is the Geneva accord....  The key provisions of the...accord concern the right of return, sovereignty over Jerusalem, and the Jewish settlements....  The last is also an unofficial peace plan...[that] 90,000 Israelis and 60,000 Palestinians have signed....  These are the pressure points on the Israeli leadership."


INDIA:  "Right Step By UN"


Cuttuck-based Oriya-language independent Samaja held (10/31):  "The U.S. should now understand that it couldn't protect its ally that has violated international law by building a wall in the Palestinian territory.  The General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted to stop this illegal move by Israel and the UN Secretary-General has been asked to see that certain portions of the wall erected in Palestinian territory are demolished immediately....  Though late, the UN has acted in the right direction.  But it is quite possible that puffed with America's support Israel will ignore the UN directive.  One may only hope that the UN reaction will have some impact on America's autocratic disposition."


PAKISTAN:  "Passage of Russian Resolution"


Lahore-based populist Urdu-language Khabrain held (11/21):  "By approving the Russian resolution, the UNSC has ratified the roadmap to Mideast peace....  The major impediment in its implementation is Israel's inflexible attitude and policy....  Israeli intrangisence has reached such levels that despite the UNSC resolution and criticism by President Bush, it continues to build the fence....  Now that the UNSC has ratified the roadmap, it must use its authority to get it implemented as well."




CANADA:  "Another Mideast Chance"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (11/19):  "Once again, Israelis and Palestinians have an opportunity to reach a ceasefire of their own, one they must grasp if there is to be any meaningful progress toward peace in the Middle East, and an end to the seemingly endless round of violence....  Mr. Arafat continues to wield considerable power. But as Mr. Sharon himself acknowledges, Mr. Qureia is a more skilled politician than his predecessor and has a record as a moderate. And both sides are under increasing pressure at home and abroad to produce something constructive at the negotiating table....  Mr. Sharon has insisted in the past that the militant groups be disarmed and dismantled as a necessary condition for talks. But if Mr. Qureia is able to persuade the militants to stop their terror attacks--and there is no guarantee that he will, even with Mr. Arafat's apparent backing--the Israeli government should take that as a cue to come to the bargaining table. And it should stay there even if there are further suicide attacks and sniper killings. Terrorists should not be handed a veto over peace talks. Similarly, the Palestinian side must acknowledge that Israel has a right to defend its citizens, and that the only way to prevent military retaliation is a negotiated settlement that can be enforced."


BRAZIL:  "Walls Or Bridges"


Center-left Jornal do Brasil maintained (11/17):  "In the most sacred Islamic month, the Ramadan, and the most Jewish day, the Shabat, two bombs almost simultaneously were exploded in two places bordering two Synagogues in Ankara, Turkey....  If we look for the reasons of such attitudes we will find out that they have the same objectives preached by Osama Bin Laden, who wishes to transform the Arab world into Islamic republics and supercede the powers of the laic world by the power of religion, or else, of fundamentalist fanaticism.  The greatest damage of such attacks are undisputedly the human loss, but the greatest risk to the democratic world resides in the legitimacy of such measures of force that rulers adopt to defend its citizens whenever they are the target of those fanatics. I'm talking about the wall that is being built by the Israeli government....  In the Jewish philosophy we learn that bridges are more desirable than walls.  Bridges unite people and territories; walls split and discriminate people....  We regret the construction of the wall, however we can't forget that it may be demolished by a future Israeli ruler democratically elected....  The wall may even be demolished by the current government as soon as peace reigns again or trust between Israelis and Palestinians is obtained."


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