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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

April 17, 2003

April 17, 2003





**  The U.S.' "intimidation campaign" against Syria aims to "calm the Israeli-Palestinian front."   


**  Washington should prod its "protégés in Tel Aviv," not try to "remodel the Middle East." 


**  The "liberation of Iraq" could allow a "fresh start" in the peace process.


**  As the war's "principal victor," Israel will only offer the Palestinians "crumbs."




The U.S. focus on Syria helps 'relaunch the roadmap'--  The U.S. is using threats to force Syria, "Israel's staunchest opponent," to reduce its "influence on radical Palestinian elements."  Tel Aviv's left-leaning Ha'aretz argued this would diminish the danger to Israel and bring it "closer to another peace agreement."  Muslim writers stressed instead that the "Zionist lobby" is "prodding the U.S.-led Coalition to attack Syria," which Pakistan's centrist Dawn declared would severely damage "America's relations with the Arab-Islamic world."


Washington must 'exert not only subtle but also public pressure on Israel'--  PM Sharon's "conciliatory tones" resulted from "U.S. pressure," with dailies agreeing that investing "energy, persuasion and stamina on the Israel-Palestine question" will create more "peace dividends" than threatening Syria or Iran.  But the U.S.' "unfair attitude" means it won't expend any effort to "convince Sharon to give up impossible strategies," says Brazil's right-of-center O Globo.  Observers were "pessimistic" the U.S. would undertake a sufficiently "radical change of emphasis and policy" to persuade "a very skeptical Israeli government" to accept the roadmap.


'Now is the time' to bring 'peace with dignity to the Middle East'--  The "liberation" of Iraq, Abu Mazen's PM appointment and Sharon's "softening" all "herald a change for the better," as the "fundamental changes in the region" mean this may be a "new era" for the peace process.  The West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam said the "fierce American storm blowing violently in the region" makes it necessary to avoid a government that "follows a losing path, unable to face this storm."  Norwegian and South African papers saw a "glimmer of hope" for a "safer Israel next to a more viable, independent Palestine." 


PM Sharon's 'concessions' are only a 'PR deception'--  The planned peace with the Palestinians is "nothing but a farce" because the U.S.' recent actions have given Israel enough of a "free hand" that it "does not even need to pretend to support the Oslo process."  Leftist observers from Israel and the West Bank alike predicted Sharon will entangle the roadmap in "endless and barren arguments dooming it to oblivion."  Arab papers blamed Sharon's "intransigence" and "impudence" for Israel's "attempt to avoid peace."  Conversely, right-wing Israeli papers opposed the roadmap, urging the world to place the "primary burden of statehood and peace on the Palestinians, where it belongs."


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This survey was based on 60 reports from 30 countries over 12 - 17 April 2003.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date. 




BRITAIN:  "Don't Hold Your Breath"


Jonathan Freedland opined in the leftist Guardian (4/16):  "For once the outlook seems almost sunny.  In a conflict where a change in prospects is usually from bleak to bleaker, the Israeli-Palestinian struggle has suddenly begun sprouting apparent green shoots of possibility.  Perhaps after a season of war, pray the optimists, this could be the season of peacemaking in the Middle East.  It'd be nice to think so.  But--and this might be good advice for our prime minister - it's best when gazing at the Middle East to put aside the rose-colored spectacles.  For there is every reason to be skeptical, rather than hopeful, about the intentions of both the Israeli and the U.S. administrations....  This administration will do little or nothing for Israeli-Palestinian peace this side of next year's presidential elections....  And this is about more than the crude (and often mistaken) assumption about the Jewish vote....  But more important is the 'iron triangle' within the Republican Party.  It consists of Jewish donors, ideological neocons and critically, the Christian right.  It is this group--which stands to the right of the American Jewish community--which Bush would be reluctant to offend.  Put simply, the message from Washington is: don't hold your breath.  The White House will put no pressure on Israel until the Palestinians are deemed to have made the grade on internal reform--and that judgement is not coming soon."


"Bush's Next Move"


The leftist Guardian said (4/15):  "What is the Bush administration up to?  Even the gloomiest observers of Washington's hawkish neoconservatives do not believe Abrams tanks are about to deploy to Syria.  Colin Powell's warning of economic and diplomatic measures is nearer the mark.  The US is making hay while the post-war sun shines.  Mr. Assad is vulnerable because of the loss of illegal Iraqi oil imports and a mounting sense of regional isolation.  The US and Britain agree he would be taking risks if he allowed Arab fighters or weapons across his border or sheltered senior Iraqis--though UN backing for the war would have made such demands easier to enforce.  The US also wants Syria to rein in political support for groups like the suicide -bombing Palestinian Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese Shi'ite organization Hizbullah.  That could help calm the Israeli-Palestinian front--though only if Mr. Bush follows Mr. Blair's urgent advice and exploits new opportunities in Jerusalem as well as Damascus."


GERMANY:  “Sharon’s Maneuvering”


Sillke Mertins noted in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (4/17):  “The fear of terrorism is safeguarding Ariel Sharon’s power and popularity for the time being.  But the economic weakening that goes along with the ongoing political crisis could break his back.  A general strike and protests against cuts in all sectors are the harbingers of a massive social conflict in Israel.  Sharon may withstand the revolt of the Palestinians but not the intifada of the Israelis.  It is time for one of his aides to tell him:  ‘It’s the economy, stupid!’  And the only way out of the economic misery leads via the seized headquarters of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.”           


"A  Fire Still Burns"


Right-of-center Nordwest-Zeitung of Oldenburg contended (4/17):  "The end of the military operations in Iraq cannot obscure the fact that a fire is still burning at the powder keg in the Middle East.  The Islamic leadership is suspicious of an American-British protectorate....  But as if this were not dangerous enough, Ariel Sharon is pouring oil into the fire.  In a patronizing way, the Israeli premier does not recommend a military strike against Syria, but as far as the economy is concerned, he would not mind the United States turning the thumbscrews.  Again the hawk in Jerusalem is pursuing his own interests which will make peace even more fragile.”


"No Turnabout"


Erik-Michael Bader judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/15):  “If Israel’s Premier Sharon had really declared his willingness to clear the Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we could speak of a sensational change....  But it is simply not imaginable that an Israeli government would ever be willing to give up all its 200,000 settlers in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank.  According to the Israeli point of view the ban laid down in international law not to settle on occupied territory is not valid in this case, since it does not consider this territory the occupied territory of another state.  Israel considers the annexed eastern Jerusalem, including the surrounding with the 200,000 settlers part of its own territory.”


"Tightrope Act In the Middle East"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg opined (4/15):  “With a look to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld are trying to call Syria to reason.  In their search for legitimacy for the military strike in the Gulf, the allies promised to intensely push the search for a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict after the end of the war.  Following the swift ouster of the Iraqi dictator, the Americans and the British must now keep their promise in order to turn a military into a political victory.  But without Syria’s concessions, the solution of the conflict will hardly be possible....  It is no coincidence that we suddenly also hear more conciliatory tones from Israel...but Ariel Sharon would certainly not have been willing to make compromises without U.S. pressure....  But U.S. mediation attempts will be successful only if the United States is able to convey a picture of an ‘honest broker.’  The Arab world watches the ‘protector’ of the hated Israel with great skepticism.  Only if the Americans exert not only subtle but also public pressure on Israel, will the Arab world be willing to get involved in a peaceful solution of the Mideast conflict.”


ITALY:  "Domino Effect In The Middle East"


Arturo Gismondi commented in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (4/15):  “Ariel Sharon has beaten all those who are interested, one way or the other, to the roadmap for peace in the Middle East--the United States, Europe, Russia, the Palestinians--by hinting to the concrete prospect of a quick beginning of negotiations guaranteed by the international community.  This is an important development, since Sharon has outlined in a precise fashion to his interlocutors the concessions that Jerusalem is ready to make....  Sharon’s interview with Haaretz is the first ‘domino effect’ of the war in Iraq, capable of changing the immobile scenario of the Middle East....  Palestinian extremists will have to do without the protection, and the money, of Saddam Hussein.  Israel can now look to the future with more optimism. Also because its other merciless enemy, Syria, suspected of hiding mass destruction weapons and giving shelter to Saddam’s top collaborators, has excellent reasons to be careful and to control the mortars and the rockets of the Hezbollah at the border with Lebanon.”


AUSTRIA:  “This Hyper-power Is Capable Of Anything”


In mass-circulation Kurier,  Walter Friedl asked (4/16):  “Is this just a warning or already the overture to another war in the Middle East? No one outside the neo-conservative circle around US President Bush knows how exactly the American threats against Syria should be interpreted....  But let’s not give in to illusions: If Bush decides to go wild and Blair stresses the partnership for moderate Islamic regimes, the pattern is somewhat reminiscent of the good cop-bad cop scheme. Both have the same goal: Establishing a new order in the Middle East. Whoever doesn’t fit in will have to go. And it is certainly no coincidence that these states are the declared enemies of Israel.  Apart from the safeguarding of national interests (oil), all that activity in Washington has another goal: To strengthen Israel at the expense of the Arab world. The planned peace with the Palestinians is thus nothing but a farce.”


"Arafat Has Shot Himself In The Foot"


In liberal Der Standard, Gudrun Harrer opined (4/15):  "Palestinian President Yassir Arafat is opposed to the new Palestinian cabinet suggested by designated Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who is not a ‘Zionist agent,’ but an old companion of Arafat’s. As soon as this cabinet exists, the--meanwhile no longer new--‘roadmap’ for the Middle East, which the EU, the UN and Russia have been bragging about in the USA for months, will finally be published. This was promised by US President George Bush himself. And now Arafat is doing everything to prevent the cabinet and the roadmap. He has shot himself in the foot here....  Dov Weisglass, head of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s cabinet, was supposed to call on Bush’s Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Monday in order to present Israel’s reservations regarding the roadmap: He was able to nonchalantly point out that nothing can be done as long as Arafat is still around.”


“Another War In The Middle East?”


In centrist Die Presse, Gerhard Bitzan wrote (4/15):  "As happened with Iraq last year, suddenly all sorts of allegations against Damascus turn up: Syria produces chemical weapons, Syria is a warmonger, Syria supports al Qaeda, Syria is a stronghold of terrorism....  However, the US is facing more of a struggle with Damascus than it did with Baghdad. Not on a military level, but on the level of international politics, an attack would meet with utter incomprehension. After all, Syria has not broken any UN resolutions for years, as Iraq has. It might be light-years away from democracy, but it does not have a slaughter regime like the one in Baghdad. At the same time, Syria is Israel’s staunchest opponent in the region, and this seems to be the true reason for the increased attacks. It would be too great for Israel if, in the course of the big spring-cleaning, Syria, too, would be put in its place. However, all of this can surely not be a reason for war.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Warning To Arafat"


Pavel Masa commented in center-right Lidove Noviny (4/17):  "An American commando team detained Abu Abbas in Baghdad and it is important to note that he had to return to Baghdad after Syria refused him entry to its territory. Abbas's case has become warning message to Palestinian extremists including Arafat. After they lost one of their main sponsors--Saddam Hussein--they are confronted with the prospect that Syria under U.S. pressure will gradually start sacrificing them. Palestinian Premier Mahmoud Abbas, who is attempting to eliminate the influence of Palestinian extremists and head towards a peace with Israel, can be satisfied. And if the Americans manage to find in Baghdad a live witness of Arafat's participation in past crimes and evidence about his financial machinations at the expense of the Palestinian people, the Premier could really celebrate."


IRELAND:  "US Turns Its Attention To Syria"


The center-left Irish Times stated (4/16):  "The United States has turned its attention to Syria after securing military control over Iraq....  This is a signal of what is to come and a sharp reminder that a wider regional agenda underlies Washington's Iraq campaign....  Syria's role is deeply bound up with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That gives it a real obligation to play its hand responsibly....  The Bush administration has had a constant ideological sympathy with Mr Ariel Sharon's government in Israel, which has been strengthened by the outcome of the war. While Mr Bush has pledged to devote as much attention to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement...this would involve a radical change of emphasis and policy towards Israel--a readiness to put pressure on it to make major concessions for peace. This looks unlikely in the light of the US presidential election next year, in which Mr Bush will rely on Jewish and Christian fundamentalist votes to win another term. Pressure for a peace agreement will have to come from the other members of the 'quartet'."


NETHERLANDS:  "Shockwave"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad editorialized (4/14):  "The Americans are using the momentum to put pressure on Syria....  However, it would reflect political overconfidence if the United States would immediately push through to Syria.  It would also diminish the opportunities which the end of this Iraq war offers to help find a solution for the problems in the region....  Sharon has rightly so emphasized the importance of the opportunity now that another phase has begun....  Israel and the Palestinians, particularly Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas' administration, should be judged by their actions.  No more suicide attacks followed by the unavoidable counterattacks on Palestinian villages and cities.  Only then will serious talks be possible. There is immense mutual suspicion and hatred; both parties will have to make painful concessions...but if there is a chance to break the spill of mutual violence then now is the time."


NORWAY:  “Hope And Fear”


Christian-Democratic Norwegian-language Vaart Land held (4/16):  “Instead [of pursuing a war against Syria] the mighty U.S. and U.K. must gamble on a fresh start in the Middle East, and a fresh start can only be about a better relationship between Israel and Palestine. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said that the outcome of the war gives possibilities for big changes, but he does not give any concrete promises or admissions. The peace process is more ruined than Baghdad, but in this quiet week it is possible to see a glimmer of hope. Can it grow stronger?”


"Shock And Relief Over Baghdad’s Fall”


In newspaper-of-record Aftenposten, Per A. Christiansen commented (4/12):  “For now it is unclear to what degree President George W. Bush will try to pressure a very skeptical Israeli government to accept this so-called ‘roadmap’ for peace. Especially Bush’s nomination of the strongly Israel-friendly retired General Jay Garner as acting leader in Iraq has for now weakened the Arabs’ hope that the U.S. meant it seriously.”    


PORTUGAL:  "From Enlargement To 'Pax' Americana"


Editor-in chief Rui Teixeira Santos wrote in centrist weekly Semanário (4/17):  "What we saw [in Iraq] was...the pragmatism of a surviving people....  The renaissance of Islam proclaimed in Cairo and Damascus is ending in the pragmatism of a new order for the Middle East, where peace means dividing the water of the Golan Heights among everyone, and where the collaborationism of Syria and Iran will mean, at last, the recognition of a Palestinian state, but also of Israel and its vital interests as a peaceful nation and viable state."


"Who's Next?"


Vital Moreira vituperated in influential moderate-left Público (4/15):  "It is to be feared that instead of forcing its proteges in Tel Aviv to put an end to Palestinian humiliation (and in fact the systematic violation of a dozen United Nations resolutions), Bush and his team are already planning for their next 'preventive' victim, if by chance there happen to be countries so senseless that after the crushing of Iraq they dare to incur the wrath of the new lords of the world."


SWEDEN:  "A Window Of Opportunity Has Opened"


Conservative Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (4/15):  "The liberation of Iraq has, at last, opened slightly the window of opportunity in the Mideast. In addition there are signals from Washington, that indicate that President Bush would be willing to open it completely....  The toppling of the Iraqi dictatorship might be an impulse for the building of democracy in the Arab world. The creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel would no doubt facilitate such a process.  Ariel Sharon, who until now has only redeemed the negative expectations put on him, now has the chance to go down in history with a different posthumous reputation. Whether he can make himself take it, however, is another matter."


TURKEY:  “Who Is Next?”


Soli Ozel noted in mass appeal Sabah (4/17):  “Despite the strong warnings, a US military operation against Syria is unlikely.  The Bush administration is currently going through the list of measures in an orderly fashion, and at the same time calling on the Damascus regime to ‘read correctly’ the consequences of the Iraq war.  Washington clearly is asking the Syrian administration to end support for terrorism and to work for a lasting settlement with Israel.  The policies pursued by Syria will shape future developments in the region....  Another important factor to watch carefully is US policy about the Israel-Palestine issue in the Bush administration’s new Middle East plan....  Considering the approaches to the Middle East ‘road map’ from both the US and Israel, we can draw a pessimistic conclusion.  The way Washington sees the road map tells us that the Israeli administration will not face any pressure for peace, at least in the near future.  In other words, peace and stability in the region are still far in the distance.”




Hasan Cemal observed in mass appeal Milliyet (4/17):  “It is absolutely the best for Turkey when and if Syria is freed from the Baath dictatorship and its support for terrorist organizations is ended....  A peace between Palestine and Israel can also be made possible if the US exerts enough pressure on Sharon, especially after the normalization process of Iraq and Syria.  Such a development might have positive effects for change in Lebanon as well as in Iran....  The current situation in the Middle East is in the process of a transformation.  It means a certain amount of instability.  Yet the current situation was also inherently unstable.  Therefore, Turkey should refrain from siding with the status quo and instead encourage the change.”




ISRAEL:  "Between The Settlers And Bush"


Zeev Schiff commented in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (4/16):  "Anyone who holds to principles that include the end of the occupation that began in 1967, in Bush's words, does not intend for the hundreds of Israeli settlements to remain in Palestinian territory as if they are a part of Israel.  Sharon understands this just like he understands that Bush and [settler leaders] represent totally opposing positions.  It is impossible to realize both their expectations....  At this point, [Sharon] does not want a confrontation with either Bush or [the settlers]....  The expansion of settlements means only one thing: the continuation of the occupation and the rule over another people, if not over all of it then over most of it. All the word games will not whitewash this fact. The inevitable result of the continued occupation, even via settlements and outposts, will be an increase in terror and its reinforcement by external radical elements. And if the terror attacks resume after the Iraq War, how has it helped the struggle against terror?"


"U.S. Adopting Saudi Plan"


Orly Azolai-Katz wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/16):  "The disagreement between Israel and the U.S. over the 'road map' is getting sharper.  Tuesday for the first time, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the 'road map' would also be based on the Saudi initiative for a peace agreement in the Middle East, which consists mainly of a return to the June 1967 borders....  Up until Tuesday, Administration officials refrained from mentioning the Saudi initiative in their discussions about the U.S. 'road map.'  Now the U.S. wants to have Saudi Arabia participate in the peace process in exchange for quiet cooperation on its part in the war against Iraq.  In the past Israel already rejected the Saudi initiative, which turned out to have been formulated in cooperation with the Americans, and which was adopted by the Arab League....  Government sources in Jerusalem said last night that Israel would not be able to accept the American demand that the 'road map' be based on the Saudi initiative."


"How To Deal With Syria"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/15):  "The Syrian provocation is also to be seen in its ties to organizations hostile to Israel--Palestinian (Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front - General command) and Lebanese (Hizbullah).  The global U.S. campaign against terror is also aimed at these groups and the countries that provide them shelter.  If the United States succeeds in forcing Iran and Syria to cease their support for these organizations that are trying to harm Israel inside its borders, in the territories and overseas, it would be another substantial contribution--following the removal of Iraq from the circle of hostile countries--to Israel's security.  The situation that has emerged on Israel's northern front--from the moment the Iraqi threat was neutralized, thus eliminating the eastern front--justifies opening a diplomatic, not a military, campaign....  Renewing the Israeli-Syrian talks...could thaw the tension between Washington and Damascus and bring Israel closer to another peace agreement that would have an impact on the contacts with the Palestinians.  The price Israel would have to pay, a withdrawal from the Golan, should not deter the Sharon government."


"Sharon Was Brainwashed"


Nationalist columnist Hagai Segal declared in popular, pluralist Maariv (4/15):  "Judging by the depth of his fresh concessions [in his April 13 interview with Ha'aretz], Sharon is more worthy of contempt than of anger.  He is neither 'pragmatic' nor 'moderate'--and certainly not a 'De Gaulle,' as commentators have been praising him.  He is a tired person....  Today, the idea of the establishment of a Tanzim Palestinian state on the ruins of Jewish communities sounds even crazier than two or three years ago, when 760 [Israeli] victims of the Intifada were still alive.  It could only be compared with the establishment of a new Ba'ath government in liberated Baghdad and the restoration of Saddam's statues at the Americans' expense....  In his next interview with Ha'aretz, [Sharon] might even sing new melodies about Jerusalem."


"A Window Has Been Opened For Us"


Arik Bachar wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (4/15):  "Even with all the uncertainty that has enveloped the Middle East after the completion of the American project to eradicate the Iraqi regime, one can determine with near certainty that if Israel does not make a substantive change in its political and military positions, someone on Israel's team is going to fail to recognize the fact that indeed there are fundamental changes in the region.  The eastern front that threatened Israel for years no longer exists, in practice....  There are encouraging signs that Abu Mazen’s assumption of his duties as the first Palestinian prime minister truly does herald a change for the better.  If this new, yet still inchoate situation does not warrant new Israeli thinking, then we probably will never find good reasons to think about how our situation has improved in the last 50 years....  Even if the international pressure, with American support, reaches Israel only after all of the other countries in the area have learned their lesson, arrive it most certainly will.  That is a good reason for the Prime Minister to think seriously and not only to contemplate in a newspaper interview about dismantling settlements and about meaningful Israeli gestures that will promote a more pragmatic leadership among the Palestinians, showing that Israel is capable of thinking outside its traditional box when a new reality begins to take shape around it."


"What Sharon Says"


Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (4/14):  "Polished statements [by Ariel Sharon in his April 13 interview with Ha'aretz] and the initial reactions to them--whether enthusiastic or condemnatory--will not be the judge of Sharon's determination 'to make every effort,' as he said, 'to reach real peace'....  But...what is the Prime Minister doing to help Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbs] establish the government that Sharon wants so much?  What gestures has he made?  Has he ordered a reduction in house demolitions, armored raids, the waves of night-time arrests, the closures?  In addition, Sharon's future 'painful concessions' echoed through the air Sunday.  But a careful examination of what he said shows that while the future he refers to is far off and still unseen, in the visible present, the prime minister has no intention to concede anything or to be pained....  There is a gnawing concern in reading Sharon's words, given the way his government has been dealing with the Palestinians, that the prime minister is raising 'the issue of stages,' as he called it, as a means of undermining the road map by entangling it in endless and barren arguments dooming it to oblivion."


"A Dove Named Arik"


Nahum Barnea stated in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/14):  "Those who made do with reading the headline [of Sharon's April 13 interview with Ha'aretz] reached the conclusion that Sharon is ready for far-reaching concessions.  Those who went to the trouble of reading the small print found that it balanced out the large print.  For more than two years Sharon has been contorting himself like a juggler on this tightrope....  Sharon is just hanging on and not going anywhere.  Sharon's conditions for negotiations on an agreement are: a different Arab leadership, fighting terrorism, a list of reforms, a complete cessation of incitement, and the dismantling of the terror organizations.  These are conditions that vast majority of Israelis agree with wholeheartedly.  The problem is with the agreement itself.  For the handful of Bantustans that Sharon is offering the Palestinians, it is doubtful if in the long term there will be any leaders willing to make the effort.  Sharon has not become more moderate, but more extreme....  Turning a concession on the right of return into a precondition for negotiations is a wonder pill guaranteed to torpedo any agreement.  Or, at least, to torpedo the 'road map.'"


"Speak, Mr. President"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post opined (4/14):  "The road map is so obsessed with placing equal blame and making equal demands of both sides that it is hard to see how it can be satisfactorily amended. There is also little point in amending it, since that would mean going back for another lowest-common-denominator document from the UN and the Europeans, which would not turn out much better.  What should be done instead is to supplant the road map, just like the road map supplanted Bush's June 24 speech.  Turnover is fair play.  Bush, not the Quartet, is the ultimate interpreter of his own speech.  And the essence of that speech was to place the primary burden of statehood and peace on the Palestinians, where it belongs.  The issues of blame and burden are not quibbles; they spell the difference between another failed round of 'peace' diplomacy and a viable attempt to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Bush should say simply that he has confidence the people and government of Israel are ready for peace the moment the Palestinians and the Arab world demonstrate they are ready to live with Israel.... If Bush wants the fruits of a new Middle East, he cannot get it using a failed diplomatic playbook."


WEST BANK:  "Israel's Real Test"


Independent Al-Quds opined (4/14):  "It is now clear that Israel, which has done everything in its power to postpone the publication of the road map until after the U.S. aggression against Iraq and wagered on the time factor, is trying once again to set preconditions to the Palestinians under new slogans and pretexts. Sharon pointed out the need for a new Palestinian leadership, the enactment of several reforms, a total halt to incitement, and quashing terrorist organizations as a condition for reaching an agreement. This is an old position on which Sharon only bestowed further intransigence....  Therefore, we maintain that the public relations deception by Israel and its prime minister by talking about painful concessions and the readiness to attain a peace agreement amid a plethora of conditions and dictates cannot conceal Israel’s attempt to avoid peace and its renewed wager on the time factor.”


"Sharon's Statements Should Be Taken Seriously; Let's Put Sharon To The Test"


Ziyad Aby Zayyad urged in independent Al-Quds (4/14):  "Despite the lack of confidence which makes each side doubt any statement or positive the other side, it is high time to get rid of our doubts, put aside sentiments and emotions, and seriously listen to the other side’s statements.  I read Sharon’s remarks to Ha'aretz very carefully.  He expressed readiness to compromise on some parts of the West Bank and said that he decided to exert every effort to attain a settlement, that ultimately a Palestinian state will be established, and that he believes that Israel should neither rule over other people nor run their affairs because it doesn’t have the capabilities to do so and because this constitutes a heavy burden on the Israeli public and inflicts vast moral and economic harm on it. These statements--and I mentioned only part of his remarks--should not be taken lightly but rather seriously. The Palestinian side should grasp these statements and invite Sharon to the negotiating table to sit together once under an international umbrella, primarily the Quartet’s.”


"The Palestinian Government Is ‘Fateh-Parliamentary’ But..."


Hani Al-Masri opined in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/15):  "We are in need of a national, political, rational, democratic, professional and technocratic government, one that is an apparatus within the PLO [and] is not an alternative to the historical and legitimate leadership of our people. We don’t need a government that takes a foolish position of standing against the fierce American storm blowing violently in the region at this time. But we are also in no need of a government that follows a losing path, unable to face this storm.”


"Abu Mazen Government: Double Mission"


Rajab Abu Sarieh wrote in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/15):  "As the Palestinians try to work out final details regarding the formation of the new government, a reading of the initial formation of this government indicates that it is going to be a technocratic one, able to deal transparently with the internal situation....  This reveals keenness to integrate important Palestinian institutions by separating between the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.”


"The Road Map: Illusion And Reality”


Gazi Al-Khalili contended in independent, pro-Palestinian Authority Al-Ayyam (4/13):  "Many recent American statements have confirmed that while the ‘Road Map’ will be declared after the formation of the new Palestinian cabinet, it will not be imposed on the parties, stressing that the American administration will wait to hear from both sides. This means that it is very possible that the game of stalling and prolonged negotiations will resume, which basically means abolishing the whole plan. This is exactly what Sharon needs in order to impose his own plan of continuing settlement activities and dividing the Palestinian areas into cantons isolated by separation walls.”


EGYPT:   "Post-Fall Plots"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram contributor Fahmy Howeidi commented (4/15):  "With the fall of Baghdad, the first Arab capital in the 21st century has fallen....  The worried voices in many Arab capitals are saying if foreign intervention under the pretext of democratization can be repeated in any other country, there should be rapid political reform, whether to abort the foreign intervention plots, or to absorb the anger of the public, which emerged to retaliate from the symbols of power, rulers' houses, and statues of the one leader....  Despite the diversity of predictions on the form of the new Middle East, Israel's share is the clearest so far.  Israel had a role in mobilization, planning and implementing thee war....  General Gay Garner...was nominated by Rumsfeld and supported by Sharon because of his relationship with the extremists in Tel Aviv....  Two of the group that are nominated to run Iraq are former CIA chums Woolsey...and Kerny, as well as former VOA director Riley who will run the Iraqi TV 'Haaretz.'  Jewish organizations in the U.S. established good relations with Iraqi opposition...and some Israeli companies have already planned airlines between Tel Aviv and Baghdad."


JORDAN:  “Stop Asking For New Glories”


Jamil Nimri remarked in independent, mass-appeal Arabic-language Al-Arab Al-Yawm (4/15):  “During this war, the Arab people stood against the invasion, except for the one people who actually fell under that invasion, for they wanted to get rid of what they were suffering from....  After this recent shock, would it be right to ignore those methods of domestic rule that are justified on the pretext that they confront foreign intervention?  Would inflaming emotions with fiery, high-noted pan-Arab and Islamic speeches and feeding hopes of regaining the glory of the nation justify ignoring the oppression and corruption and stepping on of individual citizens....  We do not want any single leader to decide to drag us into confrontations.  Only governments elected by elected parliaments would decide such a thing, so that people can bear the responsibility, whether negative or positive....  Commenting on the objectives of imperialism and Zionism in our region and for our people is masked idleness that seeks to exempt us from holding ourselves accountable for what we are in.  Is it logical that a regime would wage two destructive useless wars?”


LEBANON:  "All Roads To A Better Future Lead Through Palestine"


The English-language moderate Daily Star (4/16):  "No one who understands such matters had any doubts that once the United States lead an invasion of Iraq, the former would prevail.  What remains to be seen is whether U.S. President George W. Bush is willing to invest the same amounts of effort, money, time, and politico-diplomatic capital in a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  He has enough advises to know by now that whatever goals have been achieved in Iraq will not matter very much--or for very long--unless he unties the Gordian knot at the core of the region's problems: Israeli occupation of Palestinian land....  Washington's plans for the region will sink or swim in Palestine and nowhere else....  The riddle is not insoluble but the damage incurred by failing to act now will be irreparable....  The beauty of the Palestinian issue is that an equitable agreement can help further a host of worthwhile objectives across the region, including genuine democratization, economic growth, open markets and increased stability.  The unfortunate corollary to this capacity for good, however, is an unstoppable propensity to block these and other ambitions if the status quo is allowed to persist.  The choice of which route to follow is Bush's for the taking."


"The American Campaign Frees Israel's Hands"


Joseph Samaha wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir (4/16):  "Now that the war has already taken place, and Washington has indicated that it...wants to reassemble the Middle East starting with its campaign against Syria...consequently we can talk about the Israeli benefits....  It will be no exaggeration to believe that the torrent of American positions against Syria provides Israel with a political coverage to do what it can to complete the U.S. strategic plans in the Middle East; i.e., the U.S. might ask Israel to do what it does not want to do 'in person.'   Therefore, we can conclude that the U.S. recent positions have 'liberated Israel' and has given it a free hand."


"The Great Zionist Dream And The American Warnings Campaign"


Charles Ayoub noted in independent, non-sectarian Ad-Diyar (4/15):  "Washington is leaning on its power and is not taking justice into consideration.  It is using its double standard policy with excessive impudence:  On one hand, it supports Israel, which is an invader, with money and weapons.  On the other hand, it invades Iraq barbarically and threatens Syria without any justification....  The U.S. is standing naked without any credibility....  It owns nothing but the weapons of power and destruction....  America is being led by Zionism.  There is no independent American decision and President Bush is not the decision maker....  The Zionist lobby is behind the American campaign against Syria....  The truth is that Israel is the country that owns WMD while Syria does not.  Washington talks about Syria and ignores Israel....  The current American policy is what is really dangerous for international stability.  Bush, Powell and Rumsfeld are implementing the Zionist dreams....  America will eventually be destroyed by Zionism."


MOROCCO:  “U.S. Accusations Against Syria, Difficult Stability In Iraq And Post-War Uncertainty”


Semi-official French-language Le Matin held (4/16):  “Having won the war in Iraq, the U.S. now wants to be more involved in the future of the Middle East.  Settlement plans made by George W. Bush and his advisers are that after Iraq, Syria will be the next target of the American strategy....  The intimidation campaign against Syria is aimed at neutralizing Syrian support to Hamas and Hezbollah Islamic movements, and reducing Damascus’s influence on radical Palestinian elements in order to relaunch the ‘road map’."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Syria War For The Following Reason"


Abha's moderate Al-Watan noted (4/16):  "Syria was also able, to a great extent, to disturb Israel domestically through the Palestinian Intifadah, which has been going on for more than two years, by allowing organizations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to operate and support the Intifadah....  But in the Syrian case Washington understands, along with its closest ally London, that statements by the American leaders are no more than throwing dust in the eyes in order to harvest elsewhere.  It is no longer a secret, especially now that Iraq's occupation has coincided in a naked way with a revitalization of the roadmap."


"Partial Towards Israel And Against Peace"


Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazirah declared (4/15):  "The American campaign will not have an impact on the existing facts in the region, accordingly it will not assist in stabilizing the peace, as long as it aligns with Israel, and at the same time is attacking the countries which are complying with the peace process. Lagging behind the Israeli agenda means that the key countries are limiting their visions to the region, according to the Israeli conception, which is contrary to the aim of all regional countries looking for a comprehensive and upright peace....  Syria will not yield to any pressure, to subjugate itself for Israel, since Israel itself is occupying Syrian as well as several other Arab countries' land."


"Israel And Campaign Against Israel"


Riyadh's moderate Al-Jazirah editorialized (4/15):  "Israel entered the tension line between Syria and the US, in the hope of arousing the conflicts, and to see another Arabic country is torn down by the American military planes. By entering among the tools of this campaign, Israel aims to press Syria to accept dealing with Israel's incomplete presentation for peace, and hoping also for Syria to get such a strike, as well as to remove all efficient authorities in the Arabic world away from the Arabic-Israeli conflict's arena, to keep its stolen Arabic properties and rights. Peace and stability in the region will not work out, if dealing with the region's countries will go through the method of accusations, to pass on definite schemes, lacking the upright and comprehensive peace principles. Under no such circumstances and threats with the next Arabic generation accept these settlements."


"Sharon's New Ploy"


Makkah-based conservative Al-Nadwa opined (4/14):  "What Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister declared yesterday, that he is ready to remove some of the Jewish settlements from the west bank in order to solicit a peace settlement with the Palestinians, is merely a new trick, to go around the American and British efforts, which the American President and British Prime Minister promised to carry out to move the peace process forward in the Middle East after ending the war on Iraq. What Sharon is proposing, is no more than maneuvers to exploit the nature of the current phase, to which all attentions are directed now on the Middle East, seeking a political peace settlement after ending the war. Sharon's signals are no more than misleading signals for the international community to avoid putting any pressure on him that might lead to a final settlement for one of the most complicated crises in the world."


"Sharon's Impudence"


Jeddah's moderate Okaz declared (4/14):  "Israeli Prime Minister Sharon remained silent for long time and when he finally spoke, he spoke the language of the infidel. He is taking advantage of the recent chaos and disorder in the world to score some goals of his own. He is using his agents in Washington to fill the U.S.' heart with hatred against Saudi Arabia, employing the same old story that Saudi Arabia is supporting terrorist organizations. In his first press conference after the war, he impudently links Saudi Arabia with other countries that are allegedly supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia is not surprised, because we have a just cause and we take solid stands, which we will continue defending, and because we would not expect anything less than such lies from Sharon and his gang. We are hopeful that the U.S. is aware of all the Zionist false accusations. It should not come as a surprise to the entire world, that Zionist lobbies are targeting US-Saudi relations, because such coalition creates an obstacle for Zionist plans. However, we remain as eager to maintain this coalition, as we are protective of our just cause. We will not pay any attention to Sharon's impudence."


TUNISIA:  "American-Israeli Objectives Behind Threats Towards Syria"


Editor-in-chief Noureddine Achour observed in independent Arabic-language As-Sabah (4/15):  "The issue of chemical weapons is a pretext; when used, it brings the theoretical support of American general opinion and that of the western world....  It seems that Washington's requests to Syria represent strategic goals, including forcing Syria to withdraw its forces from the Lebanese territories and to dislocate the organization of Hizbollah militia.  It also aims to reach arrangements with Lebanon that would guarantee the 'right' of Israel to profit from South Lebanon waters and to find a solution to the Golan Heights. These arrangements would allow Israel to place this area out of the reach of Syria's sovereignty, perhaps even by deploying 'international' forces on it.  Hence, what the American administration is going to achieve this time is neither linked with oil nor with democracy, but with saving Israel from its own complexes and fears... In the case of dismantling Hizbollah militia, the strike will be binary, as it will also target the last remnants of Iranian control outside of its territory."


UAE:  "An Arab Role"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al-Khaleej editorialized (4/16):  "The earthquake in Iraq created an unbalanced situation, but there is a chance to reunite all that have been scattered, also there are abilities and capabilities from which they can benefit.  The Arabs must realize that Syria is not the only target, and that protecting it is protecting what remains on a long American-Zionist list, regardless of the violent and brutal attacks....  Otherwise, the imprisoning of Arabs that began in Palestine and continued to Iraq will not be limited to any borders."




AUSTRALIA:  “Priorities In Middle East”


An editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald read (4/16):  "With the dust yet to settle on the expeditious capture of Iraq, the rattling of American sabers at neighboring Syria is untimely and unsettling. It fuels suspicions that the United States led the pre-emptive strike against Iraq while concealing its real intentions. Critics can legitimately celebrate Iraq's liberation from decades of tyranny while questioning the consequences for international order if the world's only superpower chooses gunboat diplomacy to create its own domino effect. As pressing as the US may regard the bringing to heel of Syrian excesses, the investment of energy, persuasion and stamina on the Israel-Palestine question is more likely to pay peace dividends.”


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Winners And Losers In The War On Iraq"


Sunanda Kisor Datta-Ray stated in the independent English-language South China Morning Post (4/15):  "With so much contention, the U.S. will probably do what it would have done anyway--install its own pro-consul.  The objection is that the nominee, retired General Jay Garner, is a leading light of the same military-industrial complex that favors Mr. Chalabi.  It is also strongly pro-Israel.  Israel's role can only be guessed at.  It was Israel that whispered to the Americans that Syria was sending military supplies to Iraq.  It was Israel that suggested Saddam Hussein might be in Damascus.  What needs no guessing is that Israel does not even need to pretend now to support the Oslo process.  President George W. Bush's road map for Palestine probably fell far short of the original vision.  The Palestinian Authority will have to be grateful for whatever crumbs the Israelis throw it.  Indeed, after the devastation of Iraq, Palestinians are the real losers in the war.  Israel is the principal victor."


JAPAN:  "Arab World Concerned About Postwar Crisis"


Liberal Asahi observed (4/15):  "As Iraq comes under the control of U.S./UK troops, post-Saddam 'waves of change' are expected to sweep the Middle East and Arab region. As things stand, the U.S., having demonstrated its overwhelming military might in the war in Iraq, is expected to hold sway over the region, probably setting its sights on Syria and Iran as its next (military) targets. As the balance of power between the U.S.-Israel group and the Arab world is fast crumbling, the outlook for Middle East peace appears to be more distant."


INDONESIA:  “The U.S. Now Pressing On Syria”


Christian-oriented Sinar Harapan commented (4/15):  “The allegations that Syria possesses weapons of mass destruction and harbors Saddam’s regime leaders constitute a form of pressure that could justify Washington to attack Syria if it refuses to comply with the will of Bush and his friends. We find the allegations unfair....  The U.S. methods to develop unfair partial foreign policies in the Middle East for momentary interests are very dangerous and will only bring about more failures....  The root of the problem is the U.S. unfair attitude in handling the Israel-Palestine conflict. Support for a fair settlement there could very likely end the various conflicts and political upheavals in the Middle East.  All in all, those threats indicate that the multilateralism era has ended and has been replaced with U.S. unilateralism.”


MALAYSIA:  "Syria Next?"


Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times editorialized (4/17):  "The Bush Administration’s sabre rattling over Syria shows that occupying Iraq was only the opening shot in its attempt to reshape the Middle East.  Syria is accused by the US of accepting fleeing Iraq officials, developing WMD and sheltering anti-Israeli militant groups such as Hezbollah. In going after Syria, the US is doing what the Israelis had all along wanted--to neutralize a powerful backer of the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and their rights. Syria has denied developing WMD and instead has accused the US of double standards in turning a blind eye to Israel's possession of WMD.  Washington cannot hope to impose a lasting peace in the Middle East with military might alone, even after deposing Saddam Hussein.  Having tasted blood in Iraq, the hawks are now gunning for Syria. It is hard to see how there can ever be peace until the warmongers, whether in Washington or Tel Aviv, are reined in."


"Israel Pressuring The U.S. To Go After Syria."


Government-influenced Malay-language Berita Harian opined (4/16):  "There is no doubt that all the pressure Syria has been receiving from the U.S., stems from Israel’s insistence that its powerful ally help remove all threats to its country.  What is puzzling is why the U.S. becomes dumb when it comes to the weapons of destruction owned by Israel.  Instead U.S. President George W. Bush is most willing to send military aid so that Israel can continue its terrorizing and killing Palestinians, destroying their property and confiscating their lands.  Bush then accuses Palestinian ‘warriors’ of committing acts of terror towards Israelis.  In the tense confrontation with Damascus, the U.S. is being supported by Britain.  What are the intentions behind Bush and British PM Tony Blair’s maneuvering in the Middle East?  Do they want Israel to reign supreme in the region once the U.S. manages to crush all the Arab nations?  We hope, as voiced by Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, that the U.S. does not make an attempt to destroy the sovereignty, independence and freedom of yet another Arab country."


"Peace, Too, Must Be Won"


Editor-in-Chief Abdullah Ahmad maintained in the government-influenced English-language New Straits Times (4/15):  "Israel has not been quiet, solidifying and posturing its invulnerability.  Now is America's moment in the Middle East, indeed in the universe. George W. Bush, the swaggering world policeman and his loyal associate, Tony Blair, have everything; they have won the war, now they want to win the peace, too.  They may get their wish.  They must turn their energy to the creation of a secure Palestinian state as they pledged.  They have to deliver it, the sooner the better, otherwise the AngloAmerican interest in the Islamic world will always be imperiled....  That is why the reconstruction and renewal of post-war Iraq must be handled by the UN. If this unfortunate conflict is ever to have a happy ending, the country must be spared the shame of having been held captive by a foreign power. The war in Iraq must mark only the end of the beginning of a sustained and determined campaign to bring peace with dignity to the Middle East."


INDIA:  "Sharon Softens" 


The centrist Statesman held (4/17):  "Ariel Sharon is giving out interesting signals--he has told an Israeli newspaper that a Palestinian state is inevitable, and that he would be willing, for the sake of peace, to remove some Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza strip. This softening of stance is welcome, although qualified by the readiness to give up only 'some' settlements in occupied areas. Sharon may be treading carefully to prepare Israeli public opinion for some concessions to the Palestinians--he realizes these are inevitable to placate the Arab world, inflamed by the Iraq conflict. Washington needs to show some compensating moves--and defining an early Israeli position for negotiations is a good move....  It may be time for a bold move to impose a final settlement, broadly in the form of West Bank, Gaza, and bits of Jerusalem for the Palestinians, in return for impeccable security guarantees for the Israelis. The Americans could persuade the Syrians to stop sponsoring Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Washington and London need to 'win hearts and minds' in West Asia in order to secure their own interests; facilitating a satisfactory settlement of the Palestinian problem would certainly go a long way."


"Victory For Israel"


Hyderabad-based right-of-center English-language Newstime declared (4/14):  "It was Israel that whispered to the Americans that Syria was sending military spares to Iraq.  It was Israel that suggested that Saddam, his sons and his high command...were in Damascus....  No wonder the Israelis, with full American backing were so anxious to foist on Yasser Arafat a Prime Minister who would curtail his authority.  The Palestinian Authority will now have to be grateful for whatever crumbs the Israelis throw it.  Indeed, after ravaged Iraq, the Palestinians are the real losers in this war. Israel is the principal victor."


PAKISTAN:  "And Now, Syria's Turn"


Populist Urdu-language Khabrain noted (4/15):  "It seems as if one of the several motives for the U.S attack on Iraq is providing protection to Israel....  America's threat to Syria is a moment of concern for the international fraternity.  Where will this trend of the U.S. targeting other countries on mere accusations end?  Will a single human being be left on earth by the time America sees its final victory? These questions demand answers if there is to be peace on the face of this earth."


"Warning To Syria"


The Karachi-based independent national Dawn opined (4/15):  "One never thought America would turn its attention on its next Arab target so soon. The situation in Iraq is still fluid. But the heat is already being turned on Syria....  At times, Bush administration officials have denied that they had a list that they would pursue after the Saddam regime was toppled. Secretary of State Colin Powell was among those who recently denied that the US had any such plans. Yet, the recent spate of threats to Damascus suggests that the hawks once again are trying to sideline the moderates led by Powell....  These charges are in addition to the allegation of Syrian support to "terrorists". Which is the Israeli-American euphemism for those fighting for Palestine's freedom. Is the stage now being set for another drama of death and destruction in another Arab country? This time the "coalition" could even include Israel, which already is there--though behind the scenes--in the Iraqi war....  One only hopes the Bush administration is aware of what the outcome for America's relations with the Arab-Islamic world will be if the Zionist lobby succeeds in prodding the US-led coalition to attack Syria."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "After Saddam"


Afrikaans-language Rapport declared (4/13):  "The biggest challenge in coming months will however be to install successful and credible transitionary Iraqi government...a prerequisite being that the UN plays a meaningful role...without which a future government in Iraq will always labor under the suspicion of being a puppet of Washington....  A formidable task awaits Pres. Bush to try and regain trust of Arab world...the key being...apart from Iraq...a speedy answer to the Israeli-Palestine question....  Should Bush manage to install a credible government in Iraq and a safer Israel next to a more viable, independent Palestine, it can start a new era.  Even the biggest critics of Bush should give him a fair chance (to accomplish this)."


CANADA:  "Shielding Iraq From Profiteers, Proselytizers"


Jim Travers commented in the liberal Toronto Star (4/12):  "To spike that fearful notion, to convince Arabs that Bush's road map to Middle East peace doesn't detour through Iran and Syria, Washington needs help. Despite its deep antipathy to a body steeped in bureaucracy and often-futile debate, the U.S. needs the logistical support and diplomatic legitimacy only the United Nations can provide to relief operations and to a new government."


BRAZIL:  "Positive Agenda"


Right-of-center O Globo opined (4/15):  "With Saddan Hussein's fall and Iraq in ruins, it's valid to ask to where is the Middle East going, now that as everything indicates the U.S. has arrived to stay.  It's important to note that the region's future depends on the result of internal disputes in Washington--at the White House and the Congress. What trend will prevail in President Bush's administration?  In case the most bellicose wing of Bush's government prevails--i.e., that of Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Defense Deputy Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz--there is the risk of the American military action be extended to Syria and Iran.  That's not an auspicious possibility and fortunately not a likely one.  The use of force to overthrow Saddam Hussein is per se a resource of questionable efficiency as a an instrument of stabilization. To use the same method against other autocratic regimes in the Middle East would be an extremely fearful, even senseless adventure.  The Bush administration could help repair the damage caused by his unilateral impetuosity if it used this moment to try to solve the Palestinian-Israeli issue.  Rather than sending troops to Syria, he should exert economic pressures on the Damascan government to stop to logistically financing and supporting terrorist groups--and start negotiating again with Israel over Golan's destiny and other areas.  The Arab world sees the war as a brutal U.S. recourse to guarantee oil, supply and strengthen Israel's position.  A way to change this bad impression would be to convince Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to give up impossible strategies such as the settlements.   Hasn't Sharon himself asserted that the Iraq war has 'opened prospects of great changes?' The new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas is already trying to form a government that may please Bush's demands.  As one sees, there is a positive atmosphere to channel the forces unleashed by the military action." 



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