International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 13, 2003

June 13, 2003





**  Israel's "short-sighted" and "counter-productive" attacks only undermine Abbas.


**  Arab papers accuse the "killer Sharon" of trying to "assassinate the roadmap."


**  Only the U.S. can apply the "necessary pressure" to halt the "spiral of violence."


**  The roadmap "may not survive," leading to a renewed "Palestinian-Israeli war."   




Abbas needs 'time and assistance, not missiles'--  Sharon's military escalation "could not have played better into the hands" of roadmap opponents.  Israeli attacks cannot defeat terrorism and only give Hamas a "huge propaganda profit," wrote Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz.  The "completely shattered" roadmap will now give way to a "vertiginous succession of attacks and reprisals," allowing radicals to "control the Palestinian scene" according to Italy's left-leaning La Stampa.  Tunisian and Syrian dailies wondered if Sharon aimed to "cause...a Palestinian civil war," while Turkey's intellectual Cumhurriyet stressed, "Abbas is totally incapable of taking action against Hamas" without "serious steps" from Israel.     


The 'terrorist assassin Sharon' seeks the 'destruction of the roadmap'--  Hardline Muslim writers stressed Sharon's "hostility towards peace," noting the "clear Israeli effort to impede" the roadmap.  Egypt's leading Al-Ahram accused Israel of seeking to "bring back the state of war between the two sides"; Tunisia's independent Le Temps added, "The end goal of the Zionist state is war."  Several papers agreed with a West Bank daily that Israel wanted to "provoke" the Palestinians to provide a "pretext for further killing, repression and destruction."  A center-right German daily concluded, "There can be no peace with Sharon."


To save his 'ambitious peace plan,' Bush must undertake 'direct, drastic intervention'--  A French writer echoed global opinion by urging Bush to "go beyond the usual condemnations" and "apply the necessary pressure" to both sides to salvage the roadmap.  Arab dailies blamed U.S. "silence" for emboldening Sharon's "Machiavellian inclinations."  Euro outlets urged "concrete measures" from the U.S. to stop the "absurd strategy of Israeli reprisals."  Beirut's centrist Al-Anwar termed the U.S. the "lone actor capable of restoring order."


The roadmap is 'floundering' as there is no hope of a 'viable Palestinian state'--  Conservative papers demanded a "vigorous counterterrorist campaign against Hamas and its allies" to prevent the roadmap from being tossed into the "junkyard of peace initiatives."  The Jerusalem Post assailed the U.S.' "blatant hypocrisy" in believing that "Hamas is an organization worth protecting," while Brazil's O Globo highlighted Palestinian extremists' "capacity to blow up" the roadmap.  Israel's pluralist Yediot Aharonot warned against optimism as "poverty, unemployment, hate and fanaticism" dominate Palestinian thinking.


EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 94 reports from 35 countries over 10 - 13 June 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Roadmap In Tatters"


The conservative Daily Telegraph opined (6/13):  "America and its allies could use their new prestige to push Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, with the goal of ending the second intifada and setting up a Palestinian state.  George W Bush had already endorsed the idea of Palestinian sovereignty....  The map is in tatters even before the American monitors have arrived.  It did not require much clairvoyance to foresee trouble.  Given Bill Clinton's failure at Camp David in 2000 and the trauma of September 11, Mr Bush can hardly be expected to involve himself as deeply as his predecessor. Publication of the road map may have seemed opportune to Western leaders, but the conditions for its successful implementation simply did not exist."


"Roadmap In Reverse"


The left-of-center Guardian declared (6/13):  "For the moment, the road map, on which all hopes of a settlement are pinned, still lies on the table in Aqaba, largely disregarded if not unread. If the two opposing sides continue in this way for very much longer, the map may have to be filed in the already voluminous library of failed Middle East peace plans....  In Washington there was talk of turning Palestine into a protected trusteeship or even deploying a US or NATO intervention force to separate the combatants. Despite all the earnest hand-wringing, such high-risk, costly ventures will have few takers.  Mr Bush also seems to have very little new or constructive to say. Analysts suggest that the very vagueness of the Aqaba pact, and Mr Bush's studied, even proud ignorance of nuance and detail, are now proving to be its undoing.  If Mr Sharon is not forced into line soon, Mr Bush may back off, passing the Middle East buck to lowlier officials rather than risk a personal humiliation. That may be the very outcome Mr Sharon is aiming for."


"Bush's 'Road Map' Takes A Turn For The Worse"


Tim Hames commented in the conservative Times (6/12):  "President Bush’s strategy for the Middle East has received a very serious setback....  The White House always knew that for its initiative to succeed it needed time and a period of relative calm.  Events have gone horribly astray.  Unofficially, Colin likely to pin much of the blame on Mr Sharon.  The real fear in Washington now is that Mr Abbas might fast become irrelevant.  The short-term priority for the United States...will be to seek ways of buttressing Mr. Abbas and to prevent Israel conducting such an intense military campaign in the West Bank or Gaza Strip as to cut off the peace process completely.


"Not On Target: The New Palestinian Leader Has Been Undermined"


The conservative Times commented (6/11):  "President Bush clearly believes that the helicopter strike against Dr Rantisi...was inconsistent with Israel’s larger objectives and is therefore 'deeply troubling'....  The strike against a symbol of Hamas violence will be popular with the Right and is meant to show that the road map will not weaken Israel’s resolve. It will, however, make it hard for Mr Abbas or any Palestinian to push ahead with talks or to sideline Mr Arafat who continues to have a malign presence in the Palestinian administration. The road map commits Mr Abbas to confronting violence head-on and to having meaningful negotiations with Israel. The effect of the raid could be to hamper both."


FRANCE:  "Violence Takes President Bush By Surprise"


Jean-Louis Turlin held in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/13):  “After having once more called for an end to the financing of international terrorism on Wednesday, President Bush is not in a good position to give lessons to Ariel Sharon. Neither is he in a position to put on Mahmud Abbas the same kind of pressure he put on Arafat. President Bush is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and the question is whether the Americans will be left with no other choice but to engage militarily, as former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk believes.”


"Iraq And The Middle East: Dangerous Connecting Vessels"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/13):  “President Bush is facing instability not only in Iraq but also in the Middle East. While the two situations are not similar, they have become communicating vessels....  Before launching his troops in Iraq, President Bush made the connection between the two situations...explaining that success in Iraq could open the way to the creation of a democratic Palestinian state....  While President Bush can still count on American popular support when it comes to Iraq, on the Middle East his position is slightly more complicated. His criticism of Israel after its attack on Radisi elicited criticism in the U.S. The question now is whether President Bush will be able to remain firm with his Israeli ally. Because as with Iraq, with the Middle East force is not enough. And without a peaceful solution for the region it will be difficult to speak of success for the U.S. Especially since the situation in Afghanistan is far from settled.”




Patrick Sabatier editorialized in left-of-center Liberation (6/12):  “One week after the hopeful words pronounced at the Aqaba summit, the Road Map...has become almost illegible, covered in the blood stains of Palestinian terrorist attacks and Israeli counter-attacks....  The spiral of violence that began with the attack in Erez on Sunday means that Mahmoud Abbas’ promise of a cease-fire is impossible.  If Abbas is the weak link in building peace, it is the builder himself, George W. Bush, who is in fact the target....  If he wants to save what is left of his peace initiative, Bush will have to go beyond the usual condemnations and reprimands and use the considerable means that the U.S. has to apply the necessary pressure.”


"The Inadmissible Eye For An Eye"


Charles Lambroschini wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/12):  “George W. Bush, who thought that his military victory in Baghdad would bring about political success in Jerusalem, is discovering the sad truth: not enough blood has been shed for both sides to accept each other....  Yet there was hope when President Bush committed himself to endorsing the Road Map...and the Arab world rallied to the American plan....  Today everything has fallen apart....  George Bush is forced to acknowledge that in the game of poker that is the Middle East conflict, he has lost his joker.  Without the Road Map, the American giant is nothing more than a bound Gulliver.”


"Bush: Back Against the Wall"


Bernard Guetta told listeners on state-run France Inter radio (6/12):  “Politically speaking the first victim of the violence is George Bush.  One week exactly before the outpouring of blood, George Bush had risen to the occasion by organizing and presiding over the summit in Aqaba.  He did what he promised he would not do when he took office, which is to become personally involved in the conflict in the Middle East.  He did this because he had no choice, faced with the uncertainties of the post-war situation in Baghdad.  Almost everyday an American soldier dies in Iraq.  It is not yet Vietnam, but several weeks down the road the U.S. press will say that the occupation of Baghdad resulted in more victims than the war itself.  The U.S. needs to be successful with regard to the Middle East in order to justify its intervention in Iraq.  George Bush needs this success even more with the primary elections just around the corner and the slump in the domestic economic situation.  After yesterday’s events he cannot stand by and wait.  His very credibility as well as that of the U.S. is at stake....  But what can he do without Europe, Russia and the UN?  For George Bush the hour of truth has arrived.”


"Israel And The Roadmap To Nowhere"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/11):  “In the Middle East one thing is certain: hope never lasts for very long....  Israel has gone back to its policy of targeted assassinations even if it means triggering an angry reaction from the U.S. and Europe....  There is no doubt that Hamas is opposed to any sort of peace plan with Israel and that Rantisi is an extremist. But by hitting him as it did, Israel cuts short any hope of peace and embarrasses its American ally. Because as President Bush said yesterday, the attack undermines the Palestinian Prime Minister's efforts to put an end to local terrorism....  Once again the peace process has been taken hostage by the extremists....  But President Bush has for the first time since coming to power committed personally to the peace process. The hour of truth has come to find out how far he is ready to go with his commitment."


GERMANY:  "Bush Must Pass The Test"


Wolfgang Koydl stated in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/13):  "Thus far, President Bush has intimidated everybody who thought he could intimidate the U.S. president.  Even now, he will not give up that easily since he clearly knows what is at risk.  He should no longer only threaten Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas to turn the thumbscrews.  He must use them and gradually turn them around.  This means that Sharon will have to clear illegal settlements in the occupied regions and raze them and not only a few abandoned ones and some rusty observation towers.  The Palestinians must see that Sharon is serious about it.  And Abbas will have to hunt and capture the murderers in his own ranks, instead of pinning his hopes on good words, cease-fires, and negotiations.  The Israelis must realize that Abbas is serious about it.  The risks that both men are now running are depressingly high. Abbas and Sharon did not exaggerate when they said that they are risking no less than a civil war among their own peoples....  But this is the only path to peace, since the alternative would be unacceptable."


"Appeal To Reason"


Ernst Cramer argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (6/13):  "It is clearly the Arab side that must be blamed for the re-emergence of the slaughter in the Holy Land.  Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other groups are working hand in hand.  Nevertheless, George W. Bush's urgent appeal to the Israeli government to show restraint is understandable and correct.  The use of military weapons in hunting individual terrorists will result in the fact that innocent people will be killed.  This is not only inhumane, but also counter-productive.  In addition, experience taught us that massive military attacks are unable to defeat terrorism. The opposite is the case.  In order to create peace, Israel must show that it is the wiser side."


"Bush's Responsibility"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau argued (6/12):  "The prospects for creating quiet in the Middle East were never be as good as they were a few days ago....  Within 24 hours...all hopes seem to have been dashed and all indications are that the spiral of violence will now turn even faster....  But there will be no progress if we simply wonder who is to blame for the latest escalation.  What we need now is a U.S. president who is aware of the historic dimension of the obligations he placed on the Palestinians and Israelis.  Otherwise, Bush will, in the end, feel confirmed that it would have been better to lay back in this conflict....  But restraint is a matter for pessimists."


"Questions To Sharon"


Business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf stated (6/12):  "The question is whether Ariel Sharon's strategy can lead to the hoped for goal.  But after two and a half years of intifada the question was answered long ago.  It is 'no.'  That is why other questions must now be raised.  Does the premier really think that Mahmoud Abbas has a real chance to urge Hamas, Jihad, or the Al Aqsa brigades to renounce violence, as long as their leaders are in Israel's cross hairs?  The answer is also 'no.'  Yesterday's suicide attack provides the macabre evidence.  Why then is Sharon undermining  the good intentions, which Abbas obviously has?  Why is he provoking acts of revenge?   We must speculate:  Does Israel's premier look for an alibi to correct the roadmap?  Is he, for domestic reasons, giving in to the radical lobby of settlers?…  In Aqaba, Sharon promised to make concessions that are even painful for Israel.  A week later, we must remind him of his promise."


"There Can Be No Peace With Sharon"


Center-right Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of Essen editorialized (6/12):  "Who is to blame for the new escalation of violence?  When hands were shaken in Aqaba, three men were present: Sharon, Abbas, and Bush.  But there can only be peace if all three want it.  Bush will risk his reputation as the most powerful man in the world if he is unable to implement his roadmap.  Abbas is risking his job--and possibly his life--if his controversial handshake does not soon result in an improvement of the living standards of his people.  And what about Sharon?  With the attack on Hamas leader Rantisi, he sent a signal of new violence.  Rantisi may be a fanatic criminal, but the attack to kill him at this moment was inevitably also considered an attack on Bush's initiative.  It is becoming increasingly clear that there can be no peace with Sharon."


"Attack On Peace"


Dietrich Alexander argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (6/11):  "In any case, this command action was shortsighted and counter-productive.  It will play into false hands, the hands of Palestinian extremists.  Indirect victims are Palestinian Premier Abbas and U.S. President Bush who is risking his reputation....  The Aqaba declaration is only one week old, and Palestinian leader Abbas needs time and assistance, not missiles.   Actions like this one will teach a lesson to the unteachables, who will now mobilize the Palestinians with new arguments and use them as tools.  But Abbas stands alone without the support of his people and in open hostility with Yasser Arafat who has been put out of the way....  Abbas is backed only by Washington's benevolence and the praise of the world, but this is too little for peace  Abbas will have to tackle the radicals in his own camp, but it would be better if he used violence to disarm them than the Israelis.  This is a tightrope act which will determine the future of the Palestinians and the one of their premier but also the future of the road map."




Inge Guenther noted in both left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau and Berliner Zeitung (6/11):  "Thus far, any clearly-targeted liquidation of prominent Hamas leaders has always resulted in blood in Israel.  This is only one reason why the failed attack against Rantisi seems to be totally counter-productive.  But the timing makes the entire incident even more questionable.  Now of all times when the concerted will for de-escalation can pave the way for the newly developing peace process.  Of course, Hams is certainly the biggest obstacle on the 'roadmap to peace.'  But what would have been the price for the Sharon government if it had backed Palestinian Premier Abbas for a few weeks, giving him the chance to urge part of the militants to negotiate peace?  Instead, a new military escalation and the early end to the political process are now looming.  In any case, the consequences are incalculable.  There is only one who could straighten things out:  George W. Bush.  He must put his foot down to prevent the nice speeches from Aqaba from fading into a cheap peace spectacle in hindsight."


ITALY:  "Terrorism, The Koran And Welfare Are The Weapons Used By Gaza Sheik"


Magdi Allam concluded in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/13):  “The truth is that Hamas aims at power exactly like Arafat has always done.  The only difference is that the Islamists now have the upper hand.  Their suicidal killers are seriously affecting not only the fate of peace, but also that of Arafat.  The elderly leader, the symbol of the Palestinian movement, has de facto allied with his former enemies in the hope of re-conquering power from his current rival, Abu Mazen.  The three-party suicide attack last Sunday--by Hamas, Al Fatah and the Islamic Jihad--symbolized the alliance of terror between Islamists and lay nationalists.  It is Hamas’ major tactical achievement so far.  It has never been as evident as now that the Islamists control the Palestinian scene.”


"A Peace Force"


Bernardo Valli wrote on the front page of left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/12):  “In these moments, after the latest umpteenth flow of blood, which risks sinking an already very thin hope for dialogue...once again, it comes naturally to wonder why a ‘peace force’ contingent, such as those already deployed in many parts of the world, cannot be used for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Where is the presence of interposition forces more necessary and indispensable than in the Middle East?...  Sovereign states should also impose their reason when and where the latter is swept away by human passions.”


"Bush:  'The World Should Cut Off Money To Terrorists' "


Paolo Mastrolilli reported from New York in centrist, influential La Stampa (6/12): In only twenty-four hours, the violence has put at risk his (Bush’s) new peace Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh....  The blow suffered (by the U.S.) is quite serious due to the fact that it comes immediately after President Bush’s first personal involvement in the Middle East.  And the embarrassment becomes even stronger, if one considers what happened only the day before.  In fact, Tuesday, after the failed Israeli attempt to kill Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the (U.S.) President had criticized Sharon....  The White House...was troubled by the timing of the raid against Rantisi.  Some diplomatic sources had talked about ‘a slap in the face’ for Bush, and others suggested that it (Israeli raid) had been a move to worsen the rifts inside the U.S. Administration about how to manage the peace process.  Obviously, Washington’s reaction did not at all justify the bombing in Jerusalem, but the timing decided by Hamas increased the embarrassment of the White House, which only the day before had criticized Israel of complicating the fight on terrorism and consequently the implementation of the Road Map.  Therefore, in only a few hours, President Bush personally experienced all the tricks and traps of the Middle East.” 


"Israeli Raid Fails, Hamas Leader Survives Missile Attack"


Gian Micalessin wrote in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (6/11):  “The Israeli attempt to kill one of Hamas’ top leaders concluded with a sensational fiasco and at least two innocent victims....  The failed Israeli attack risks sinking the hopes resulting from the Aqaba summit.  Palestinian PM Abu Mazen was among the first to condemn the Israeli military reprisal, assessed as an attempt to disrupt peace negotiations....  Abu Mazen asked Washington to adopt immediate measures to prevent ‘the deterioration of the situation.’”


AUSTRIA:  "False Start For Middle East Peace Plan"


Helmut L. Müller commented in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (6/13):  “Appeals for peace from the White House and photo shoots at summit negotiations are apparently not enough to make the dreadful reality in the Middle East take a turn for the better. President Bush is going through this sobering experience right now--his ambitious peace plan is already about to fail, before it has even started properly. Only a direct, drastic intervention by the super power in Israel and Palestine that would make both sides accede to the ceasefire could reverse the current development....  Old patterns of thought and behavior are surfacing again with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon. He gave his new partner Abbas no time and space to strengthen his position with his people and try and tackle the terrorist problem in his own way. Sharon ignored Washington’s warnings, he did not show the least restraint after new attacks on Israelis, and provoked exactly the opposite with his attack on Hamas leader Rantisi: The Palestinians are enraged, Abbas’ position is weakened even further, the radicals again have the upper hand. With his ruthless reaction at a crucial time, Sharon has slammed shut the ‘window of opportunity’ in the Middle East.”


"Deadlock In The Middle East"


Markus Bernath commented in liberal Der Standard (6/12):  "June 11 is going to go down as the ‘Black Wednesday’ in the history of the Middle East conflict: The missile attack on Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz Rantisi was followed by a suicide attack in Jerusalem, which was in turn followed by another, this time lethal, attack on a Hamas functionary. Less than one week after the Middle East summit in Aqaba, the head of the Israeli government, Ariel Sharon, and the militant Palestinians have twisted the spiral of violence even further. The 'targeted’ attempt to kill Rantisi does not signify a change of course in Israeli policy, Sharon announced--and that is exactly the problem....  The principle of the ‘Roadmap’ has already been broken, as a roadmap for peace can only mean that the conflict is transferred from the battlefield into the political arena. ‘Politics’ here would mean that the Israeli government gives the new Palestinian Premier Mahmud Ababs the chance of dealing with the Hamas problem himself....  However, Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem seems to prove Sharon right: the act of terrorism would probably also have happened if Israel hadn’t fired five missiles on Rantisi’s car the day before. Abbas is not yet capable of stopping the extremists. The roadmap might commit Israel ‘not to take any actions that undermine trust’--but in one issue, it meets Sharon halfway: by remaining totally silent on the ‘targeted killing’ of Palestinian terrorists."


BELGIUM:  “The Spirit Of Aqaba Is Already Dead And Buried”


Philippe Berkenbaum wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (6/12):  "What really happened since Aqaba?  First, the U.S. President, after having spectacularly given the impression to at last commit himself to exerting pressure to force a resumption of dialogue, returned home without leaving anything else than words behind him. Those who were hoping for more concrete gestures than his mere and brief visit to the region soon understood that they would have to wait for a long time.  As for the new Palestinian Prime Minister, although he is apparently really willing to make progress, he turns out to be unable to establish the least authority on the most extremist members of his population....  Even if he really wanted it, Mahmoud Abbas would sign his own death warrant if he genuinely tried, with his very limited resources, to confront those who derive their glory from the blood that is shed by suicide bombers....  But did Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon really need to authorize the Israeli Army to continue its targeted killings at the very moment when the resumption of the peace process required one to avoid these kinds of acts?  By trying to kill the Hamas’ number two, the Israeli Government has at least proven one thing: that nothing has changed for it since the beginning of the second Intifada. The Israeli right derives its legitimacy from the violence thanks to which it establishes its authority.  As long as the Israelis, who enjoy a genuine democracy, do not decide to really give peace a chance, this violence will unfortunately continue.”


DENMARK:  "Sharon Must Abandon Occupied Territories"


Centrist Kristeligt Dagblad judged (6/11):  "It is crucial, both for the Palestinians and the Israelis that Sharon starts to accept that the occupied territories are a hindrance to the peace process. Clearly, this would be a late stage to make this realization, but not too late."


IRELAND:  "Bush Criticises Israel For Attack On Hamas Chief"


The center-left Irish Times remarked (6/11):  "In his strongest criticism of Israel since taking office, US President George Bush said yesterday he was 'troubled' by the Israeli helicopter attack against a senior Hamas figure in Gaza and directed his top aides to complain to the Israeli a flat rejection of the argument frequently put forward by Israel--and before now accepted by Washington--for attacks on the occupied territories....  Some Israeli politicians questioned the wisdom and timing of the attack, saying it endangered the US-backed road map and served only to boost Hamas' popularity among Palestinians. The White House clearly believes the escalation of violence has previously undermined the US-brokered impetus towards peace on which Mr Bush has staked his personal prestige."


PORTUGAL:  "Untying The Knot"


Fransisco Sarsfield Cabral declared in respected center-left Diário de Notícias (6/12):  "The most fragile position belongs to Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen....  Sharon has possibilities for making peace because he is not suspected of being soft towards the enemy.  But Sharon might just be playing a tactical game....  A little while from now, he could say: I really would have liked it, but as you can see, peace is just not viable....  It's up to Washington.  Is Bush sincerely committed to peace?  He has to give that idea now, in order not to alienate the Arab world even further.  But in November 2004 there are elections in the U.S....  In addition to the Jewish 'lobby', many of Bush's supporters are Protestant fundamentalists horrified by the presence of Muslims in the 'Promised Land.' Only a miracle will untie the knot."


ROMANIA:  "Tragic And Cynical"


Cornel Codita said in financial Bursa (6/13):  “No matter how tragic and cynical it might seem, we can say that in the Middle East, the so-called 'fruits of anger' are only now beginning to ripen. Despite all appearances, problems in the region are much more complicated than they were 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. And the solution, no matter how rational it may appear to be, will not win the battle with those who advocate violence. Because the latter are not just a handful of 'extremists' or 'enthusiasts' anymore, but they have now become a large mass of people who believe in the struggle with all their heart.  That is why they do not hesitate to choose death as the only response for the Israeli’s so-called 'eye for an eye' policy."


SPAIN:  "Bush's Hour"


Conservative La Razon declared (6/12):  "Israel and Palestine are hostages of their own extremists...but at some point there has to be an attempt to break the vicious circle, and nowadays, there is only one power in the world--the U.S.--able to do it....  Only a firm American position...will be able to end the absurd strategy of Israeli reprisals, that not only hasn't been able to stop the Intifada, but has eliminated, morally and materially, the PLO."


"The Brutality of an Eye for an Eye Torpedoes the Road Map"


independent El Mundo observed (6/12):  "The Road Map, as imperfect as it is, is the only path that has sufficient international support to be able to lead to a dialogue and able to bring peace to the region.  The Israeli and Palestinian governments should suppress their most radical elements in order to get the plan off the ground.  Revenge is the worst of all choices."


SWITZERLAND:  "Israeli Missiles Aimed At Abbas"


In influential center-left German-language Tages-Anzeiger, Astrid Frefel held (6/11):  "At the Aqaba summit Sharon announced his support for the Roadmap.  In doing so, he committed himself not to do anything that would further undermine the level of trust between the parties to the conflict. With yesterday's attack on Abdel Aziz Rantisi he has, in an intentional, calculated manner, violated that commitment.  The missiles were aimed at Rantisi but they actually hit Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas.  Now it appears Abbas has no chance of convincing Hamas to accept a cease-fire, which gives Sharon justification he seeks for not taking any more steps toward peace."


TURKEY:  "The Roadmap Shatters"


Ali Sirmen observed in social democrat-intellectual Cumhuriyet (6/13):  "Only a week later, the roadmap has been completely shattered.  It comes as no surprise, since the roadmap itself was doomed to fail because of fundamental uncertainties on both sides.  President Bush's priority in the Middle East is the fight against terrorism, yet he ignores the fact that Israel's occupation itself is a kind of terror.  The roadmap also fails to comprehend the fact that Abbas is totally incapable of taking action against Hammas unless Israel takes some serious steps first....  Sharon's power stems from his acts of retaliation, which only serve the cause of war, not peace. Sharon's policy is making Hamas even stronger than before....  It remains a far-fetched idea to produce peace in the Middle East, as the implementation of the roadmap and the foundation of a Palestinian state by 2005 seem very unlikely."




ISRAEL:  "The Rantisi-Abu Mazen Missile"


Zvi Bar'el wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/13):  "The war on the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is no longer just a battle against terror organizations.  It is being fought in a context, and that context is the road map.  Hence the timing of the assassination attempt cannot be dismissed as inconsequential.  Timing, in this case, is everything....  Is that the end of the road map?  Not necessarily.  Palestinian Authority officials believe that America now understands better than before that Israel is the neighborhood bully, and it would be a tactical error to release Israel from responsibility if the Palestinians decide to halt the process.  The best outcome, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, is that America will start supervising not only the implementation of the road map, but also the finer points of what Israel is up to, including how it fights terror."


"What Were Bush And Sharon Thinking?"


Gerald M. Steinberg contended in conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (6/13):  "During the Oslo process, passivity in the face of Palestinian terror and incitement led to failure and President Bush has repeatedly declared that his administration will not allow itself to be trapped in a rerun.  Pious words counseling restraint in the face of violence should have been a nonstarter in this White House.  Nevertheless, in the excitement of orchestrating a new round of summit meetings these unpleasant realities were forgotten.  In failing to plan and coordinate responses to the inevitable terror attacks, Bush and Sharon, and their advisers, acted with unbelievable negligence.  There is no indication that they devoted any time or thought in planning for this scenario....  The damage cannot be reversed, but Bush and Sharon can prevent a repetition.  High-level consultations between Jerusalem and Washington must begin immediately.  If the Bush administration wants to influence Israeli responses to terrorism, it must use its resources and influence to force an end to Palestinian terror."


"After The Map"


Editor-in-Chief Amnon Dankner maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv (6/13):  "The option of an international administration with a massive international presence, which would assume responsibility for security, build the Palestinian economy and society, stop the incitement, rebuild the educational system and a democratic, non-corrupt political system, looks good superficially, except for one problem: Israelis are very concerned about complications of the situation resulting from the international military presence, principally about the possibility that it wouldn't be able to protect Israel from Palestinian terror....  But even after we pointed out some of the difficulties, this idea deserves a serious public debate that has not yet taken place in Israel.  A proposal in this spirit that was raised by Martin Indyk a few months ago has not received serious consideration--unfortunately.  Indeed, if the road map is really floundering on the way to the junkyard of peace initiatives, and if we are truly returning to our situation of recent years, alternatives should be seriously tried out, instead of putting up...with an awful situation that will only get worse."


"Hamas Crimes, Sharon Sins, Bush Mistakes"


Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote on page one of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (5/12):  The crimes of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim and the Popular and Democratic Fronts are not the only elements in the imbroglio created in the last few weeks.  Less than their contribution, but nonetheless serious, were the sins of Ariel Sharon and the mistakes of George Bush....  One of Bush's mistakes is connected to the [Israel/West Bank] fence.  Instead of supporting it in principle as a temporary shock absorber...and instead of insisting the fence not be too far east of the Israel/West Bank line, the [U.S.] Administration opposed it in its entirety....  Bush's second mistake was giving into the Palestinian include the outpost evacuations as part of the first phase of the road map, instead of making do with security and relieving the suffocating pressures on the Palestinian population....  Bush's approach, since 9/11 and apparently again after Wednesday, will slightly increase Israel's maneuverability against the terrorists but unlike the past it will have to consider the negative impact of its moves on Abu Mazen and his colleagues.  That does not necessarily guarantee balanced decision-making."


"Words Are Redundant"


Chief Economic Editor and senior writer Sever Plotker opined in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot  (6/12):  "Everything that can be said has already been said.  The Palestinian-Israeli war was renewed this week in all its intensity.  In all its blood.  In all its dead.  In all its crazy routine.  In all its awful cliches.... back, bigger than ever.  Abu Mazen has shrunk.  The Aqaba summit has shrunk.  President Bush has shrunk.  Dahlan, where is Dahlan?  Who cares where Dahlan is?  Welcome to the desert of reality.  Can dialogue be held with Hamas?  No.  There is no talking to a terror organization....  Bush too cannot compel Hamas to stop terror.  And the all-powerful Bush also cannot compel Sharon to stop the assassinations.  The cause and the effect, the effect and the cause, it is all jumbled.  Who remembers who started?  A cease-fire?  Between whom and whom exactly?  The Palestinian Authority does not exist.  What does exist in Palestine is poverty, unemployment,  hate, and fanaticism.  The man in the street imbued with hatred who has nothing to lose except his life, which in any case is worth nothing.... The government of Israel, as far as formulating foreign policy and security policy, does not exist.  For three years now there has not been, up there, any exhaustive and serious discussion on the strategic goals of Israel's foreign and security policy.... There is now a real option that the three-year war will turn into a 30-year war.  There is also the option of it ending.  Implementing this requires leadership that does not turn its head back to see the faces of the people, because the people are bewildered, furrowed in wrinkles.  Leadership that makes others follow.  Where is it?"


"Americans Fear Abu Mazen Is Further Weakened"


Senior columnist and chief defense commentator Zeev Schiff wrote on page one of independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/12): "The U.S. Administration is now less interested in Palestinian terrorism and more in the question of why Ariel Sharon broke his promise, as they see it, to Secretary Powell.  When Powell visited Israel last month, Sharon promised him not to carry out 'targeted assassinations' as a punishment, but only in life threatening situations that could be called 'ticking bombs'....  American sources believe Israel does not understand that after the Aqaba summit, new circumstances have been created.  Sharon's Palestinian partner Abu Mazen is weak, and has now been weakened further....  The Administration thinks he should be shown consideration in view of current circumstances, which have become more difficult after the terrorist acts and the Israeli reaction."


"No Turning Back"


The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/12):  "The terrorist organizations had no reason to heed Abbas's toothless calls and every reason to continue their attacks....  In truth, a policy of Israeli retaliation only serves Abbas's immediate purposes, not least because they absolve him of the responsibility--and the domestic political fallout--for taking on Hamas.  It might be argued that this is a responsibility of which Abbas had better discharge himself.  But that argument doesn't wash as long as Abbas doesn't confront Hams head on.  The task now is not to cower from Hamas' threat of retaliation, as if retaliation is what these people do.  The task is to strike at Rantisi and his cohorts again, truly to drive the organization underground, and to create the conditions in which Abbas, if he is sincere, can assume the responsibilities he made his own at Aqaba.  Until that point is reached, there can be no turning back."


"The Missile Aimed At Hamas Hits Abbas And Bush"


Zvi Bar'el contended in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/11):  "When the Palestinian Authority is fending off attacks from the Palestinian public for being 'an Israeli-American project,' Israel could not have played better into the hands of the opponents to the road map....  The PA has only one answer to the question why Israel decided to eliminate Rantisi now and not several months ago, when there was no dialogue with the PA and when there was no Israeli commitment to the road map--Israel wanted to stop the peace process....  Not only the Hamas has raked in a huge propaganda profit from the assassination attempt.  Another winner is PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, who can 'prove' that his claims against Israel are true: it is Israel that is shattering the road map, as some of his aides said Tuesday.  Syrian President Bashar Assad is also pleased with the situation in which the PA, Jordan and Egypt, look as though they have fallen into the net cast by Israel and Washington."


"Justified But Unnecessary"


Alex Fishman stated in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/11):  "The assassination attempt on Rantisi did not sabotage the peace process because there is none.   Nothing real, in fact, has yet begun....  Delaying the operation in Gaza, in light of an American request, did indeed bring about the festive opening to the Aqaba summit on time.  But Hamas, led by Rantisi, made the summit's results into a joke.  Israel learned that the PA was in no hurry to handle security matters.  Not only that....  A trap began to take shape: Hamas agrees not to hit civilians, but it is allowed to hit soldiers, while Israel is not allowed to respond in the territories....  The Israeli security establishment believes that despite the fact that Rantisi remains alive, the message was conveyed sharply and clearly.   That for a short time Hamas will go wild, and then Rantisi will very quickly seek some sort of arrangement with the PA because of the threat hanging over his head....  Now there will be some sort of break in the talks between Israel and the PA, there will no doubt be a certain halt in contacts for a hudna [temporary cease-fire]...the threads that were beginning to come together will unravel.  And this is the problem: never, in the Middle East have talks begun from the same position they left off.  They always begin in a worse situation.  And it doesn't matter if they were stopped for two days or two years.  The mutual suspicion is always larger and legitimacy to hold the talks is always smaller.  In the case before us, our partners too--Abu Mazen, Dahlan and the new PA officials--will return to the talks a bit weaker....  Is this what we want?"


"We, Too, Are Deeply Troubled"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post opined (6/11):  "President [Bush] apparently believes that, by taking out Rantisi, the [Israeli] government is somehow harming the chances for peace.  To this we can only comment that we were unaware the U.S. believes that Hamas is an organization worthy of protecting.  We would also point out that Rantisi is an enemy of the U.S.  Ahead of the U.S. operation to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime, Rantisi called on the Iraqis to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq....  This of course brings us to the blatant hypocrisy of the U.S. when considering Palestinian terrorists....  The only thing 'political' about a killer like Rantisi is that he orders others to do the dirty work for him.   While the U.S. can take out anyone related to al-Qaida, it expects Israel to protect bin Laden's Palestinian counterparts in the terrorism business....  Like Bush, the Jerusalem Post, too, is deeply troubled by Tuesday's attempt to take out a mass murderer of our fellow citizens.  We are troubled because Rantisi has lived to murder another day.  We wish the air force better luck in the future in carrying out its mission of safeguarding the lives of Israeli citizens from the murderous likes of Rantisi."


WEST BANK:  "Bush And His Vision”


Hafiz Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (6/13):  “President Bush said he would invade Afghanistan. And he did. He also said he would invade Iraq. Again, he did. Before that he declared his vision regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state and later reiterated the same determination in Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba summit by asserting that he does what he says....  Bush promised in Aqaba that he was willing to cooperate with President Arafat as much as the latter was willing to support the roadmap....  Now, it is incumbent upon the United States to rise up to its responsibility, especially during these critical moments. President Arafat has done so much through his statements and repeated calls to support a cease-fire, reflecting a Palestinian desire in removing any obstacle in the way of achieving this goal....  We are not asking Bush for a new invasion. We are just asking him to free the West Bank and Gaza Strip from occupation.”


"Assassination Attempt Against Rantissi"


Samih Shbeib opined in independent, pro-PA Al-Ayyam (6/13):  “Maybe one of the most significant outcomes of the Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba summits was the mutual understanding of the American and Palestinian sides to each other’s point of views....  The assassination attempt against Rantissi was an Israeli effort to sabotage this American-Palestinian understanding....  It is hard to predict what Sharon would do next in order to further disrupt the American-Palestinian understanding, evade Israel’s obligations toward the roadmap, and inflame chaos within the Palestinian people. But despite Sharon’s unpredictable actions, there is no doubt that the situation is in dire need for a direct American intervention, especially after the assassination attempt against Rantissi and the suicide bombing in Jerusalem. The American credibility is now being tested. The United States can either leave the situation in the lurch, allowing Sharon to do whatever he wants or take actions to restrain him and open the way toward implementing the roadmap.”


"The Path Of Violence Has No End"


Independent Al-Quds opined (6/12)  “The unfortunate cycle of violence and counter-violence between Israelis and Palestinians this week will probably continue indefinitely unless an effective international intervention takes place.  The cycle of violence is a proof that Israel wasn’t serious when it accepted the roadmap....  Such an acceptance was nothing more than a political maneuver aiming at achieving specific goals and that its real position is to maintain occupation and settlements and dodge all peace initiatives, including those presented by the United States.”


"President Bush:  I’m Troubled"


Mohammed Yaghi commented in independent Al-Ayyam (6/12):  “President Bush could not think of any phrase to express his feeling about the crime that was committed by Israel in Gaza last Tuesday except ‘I’m troubled,’ which does not carry much of any political connotation.  In other words, he did not really condemn the crime; instead, he was concerned that such an operation would not contribute to Israel’s security....  Seven innocent civilians were killed and dozens others injured and President Bush had nothing to offer to the Palestinian people more than expressing concern.”


"We Want Action, Not Speeches" 


Semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an op-ed signed by the political editor of the Palestinian official news agency, WAFA, (6/12):  ”Many Palestinians were astonished when they heard President Bush talking about the suffering of the Palestinians, emphasizing the need for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.  They found it hard to believe, so much so that they thought the American president was up to some kind of maneuver or conspiracy....  However, the Palestinians decided to give him a chance to prove his good intentions and willingness to translate them into actions on the ground.  So what has happened?...  Since the Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba summits, the Israelis have carried out actions aimed at coercing and humiliating the Palestinians as well as tightening the siege and restrictions against them....  The objective was to provoke the Palestinians into carrying out an operation that Israel could use as a pretext for further killing, repression, and destruction....  With the terrorist, brutal, gratuitous killing committed by Sharon yesterday in the heart of Gaza and Jabalya, he placed the American administration in a major predicament.  It is no longer acceptable that the American administration, which is now fully involved in the peace process and which seeks to implement the roadmap, give in to the blackmail of the 'Israeli ally.'  What, then, should be done?  What is the remedy?  How can the American administration deal with an enraged bull [Israeli PM Sharon] that nothing can stop, one that possesses the highest levels of destruction technology?  The answers are left to the U.S.”


ALGERIA:  "Discussions Under High Pressure"


Business-oriented French-language La Tribune contended (6/10):  "Admittedly, what was at stake in Bush’s tour in the Middle East, so widely promoted in the media, was not the signature of agreements, premature in this first step of the peace plan, but declarations with political and symbolic value-added, in order to put the process itself on rails....  This is a test for the United States, whose image has so much deteriorated, with a head-of-state determined to win a second mandate and conduct a peace-process in the Middle East, which is judged strategic for the American national security....  As for anti-terrorism cooperation, which has become the leitmotif of the White House since September 11, Bush made the following remark: ‘People are scared by terrorism in the Middle East, not only in Israel.’ In the framework of the discussion of the peace process, for the United States, it is above all a matter of preventing a distinction between resistance and terrorism.”


EGYPT:  "Attempts To Destroy Peaceful Settlement"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s unsigned editorial read (6/12): “Violent acts on either sides push the other to commit horrible reactions....  They cause frustration to spread among public opinion.  They can lead to the shackling of international, especially U.S., efforts to reactive the peace process.  The operation committed by Palestinian resistance was non-traditional because three military factions were allied and losses were major.  The Israeli army’s ‘small missile war’ against Rantissi was no less dangerous....  All these operations aim at the destruction of the roadmap and seek to bring back the state of war between the two sides.  This should be dealt with seriously.”


"Good Morning"


Said Sonbol observed in aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar (6/12): “Simply stated, the attempt to assassinate Rantissi aimed at the assassination of the roadmap--a roadmap accepted, apparently, by Sharon only under American pressure....  President Bush was troubled by this operation....  But this is not enough.  That America was satisfied with only talking about the roadmap and did not try put a mechanism in place for its implementation--that is the problem.”


"Violence Will Not Settle Matters"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram opined (6/11):  “Scarcely had a few days passed after the Aqaba summit raising hopes for achieving peace and stability in the region, than violence between the Palestinian and Israeli sides reappeared....  This deterioration confirms that the dispute is complicated and the solution is not about celebrations and statements but about serious steps  including true and courageous sacrifices from both sides...especially as the U.S. has a strong desire to achieve peace....  Clearly, the roadmap is in danger of collapse if it is not implemented seriously and without amendments.  As Egypt warned, the only way out of the cycle of violence is actual involvement in measures to achieve peace, not violent acts and assassinations of Palestinian leaders, which ignite Palestinian reactions and [so] the cycle of violence continues....  Sharon’s government has not changed its methods and despite a symbolic elimination of illegal settlements, it has not taken real steps to implement the roadmap.  Without resolution of the Palestinian issue, the region will never enjoy peace or stability.”


"Aggression Does Not Equate To Struggle"


Aggressive pro-government Al Akhbar Editor-in-chief Galal Dowidar maintained (6/11):  “Ending the bloodbath in Palestine is not the responsibility of the Palestinian factions, but of the killer Sharon and his extremist government.  The Israeli occupiers, who commit murder, demolition of houses and destruction of land, are responsible for calm.  It is strange that the Bush administration, biased with international Zionism, equates Israeli killers and occupiers to Palestinians fighting to liberate their land. Washington has a duty to be fair and credible in its goals and principles which should be in harmony with international legitimacy with a Palestinian right of self-determination...and right-of-return.”


JORDAN:  “Attempting To Assassinate The Roadmap”


Urayb Rintawi wrote in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (6/11):  “Israel’s assassination attempt against Abdul Aziz Rantisi was nothing but an attempt to abort the roadmap and this opportunity to achieve just and lasting peace....  Israel would not have gone this far in its insane war against the Palestinian people and in its bloody targeting of the peace process and with it Palestinian rights and lives, had it not been for America’s silence about these crimes and the encouragement that the extremist and blood-thirsty right-wing Israelis receive from the U.S. administration.  Washington placed the war criminal on a pedestal, and it is up to it alone to bring him down from it, if it really wants to give peace a chance.”


“An Attempt To Assassinate Rantisi Or The Peace Efforts?”


Mohammad Amayreh commented in semi-official, influential Arabic-language Al-Rai (6/11):  “Right from the beginning, we said that it is difficult to be reassured by Sharon’s promises or by his intentions towards implementing the roadmap.  The Israeli army, yesterday, tried to assassinate one of the Hamas leaders in Gaza.  This assassination attempt, for which Israeli helicopters were used, was undoubtedly sanctioned by Sharon.  Even though the Israeli government categorizes this attempt as part of combating terrorism, the outcome contradicts everything that was agreed upon, including the truce or ceasefire agreement and the promise to grant the Palestinian prime minister the opportunity to deal with the Palestinian factions to try to convince them to stop the so-called ‘violence’.  This assassination attempt, which is not the first of its kind, constitutes a clear Israeli effort to impede the implementation of the roadmap.  It is a crime to be added to Sharon’s already full record of bloody crimes against the Palestinian people and their combatant forces.”


LEBANON:  "The War Of Impossible Targets"


Rafiq Khoury said in centrist Al-Anwar (6/13):  "Let us see what the war can do:  Other than more victims and more suffering, it can score additional points upon the tomb of the road map....  It will marginalize the Palestinian Authority...that cannot really discard the commitments it took upon itself at the Aqaba Summit, but at the same time it is suffering Hamas' war which is not its own war, and suffering Sharon's retaliation...who seems determined to put obstacles in the path of Palestinian statehood.  Over and above these problems, the horizon for solutions seems to be totally closed...and all are waiting for what President Bush will do while he sees his project in the region going to ruin."


"American Jewry's Moment Of Truth Now"


The moderate, English-language Daily Star declared (6/13):  "No one knows where, exactly, the road map will take Israelis and Palestinians.  But any fool can see that the current course will only lead to an ever-expanding circle of hatred and violence....  For a variety of reasons, the lone actor capable of restoring order by becoming a forceful and objective arbiter is the United States....  The reverse side of this slippery coin, though, is that the Bush administration cannot play its proper role in the Middle East so long as it fears being stabbed in the back at home.  Only one party can provide the necessary cover to keep Capitol Hill and the American electoral system from punishing the president for trying to do the right thing:  The American Jewish community has to be the quarter from which the call comes at last for Washington to put its foot down squarely in the Middle."


"Every Palestinian Became 'Hamas' And The 'Islamic Jihad'"


Aouni Al-Kaaki wrote in pro-Syria Ash-Sharq (6/12):  "The suicide operation that took place in Jerusalem is not only a reaction to the failed attempt to assassinate Rantisi because this is an unacceptable simplification of an operation that is considered the highest form of suicide operations.  In fact, the issue reflects Israel's inability to digest the idea of peace in the first place....  Basically Sharon does not want the road map in spite of the fact that it is in Israel's interest:  He wanted to maneuver so he accepted the plan, but continued his policy of killing, assassination, and destruction....  Seeing the situation, every Palestinian became 'Hamas' and the 'Islamic Jihad' and every Palestinian became a military leader who takes decisions to launch operations."


"Challenging Bush"


Sahar Baasiri opined in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (6/11):  "Ariel Sharon has his own understanding of the roadmap and the commitments it entails.  He synchronized between dismantling unlicensed settlements and continuing the policy of assassinations....  Perhaps Sharon thinks that the Bush Administration is ready to understand his 'understanding' of the roadmap and his efforts to balance between doing what the roadmap requires and trying to sabotage it at the same time....  There is no doubt that what Sharon is doing is a play.  His decision to dismantle unlicensed settlements is only like smoke to cover his decision to continue killings and assassinations....  What Sharon really did is target...President Bush's peace efforts."


"A Burnt Road Map And Several Roads"


Rafiq Khoury thundered in centrist Al-Anwar (6/11):  "Nothing is more dangerous than the assassination attempt in Gaza except its timing....  Rantisi was missed, but the missiles burned the road map which is in the hand of Mahmoud Abbas, and left his government among the wounded. The Israeli missiles also hit the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, and its shrapnel reached the walls of the White House....  Now, Bush is troubled, and Arab leaders are worried and Abou Mazen is embarrassed and angry.  No one can do anything except ask the U.S. to exert pressure on Israel and try to save the dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Resistance Factions....  Sharon only wants the roadmap in order to end the idea of resistance and its weapons, then he wants to close the road towards establishing a viable Palestinian state."


MOROCCO:  "The Two Sides Share Equal Blame"


Government-owned RTM Radio opined (6/12):  “The Israeli assassination attempt was designed to undermine the roadmap, and Hamas’s retaliation was a further blow to the prospect of a ceasefire days before the head of Egypt's intelligence service was expected to travel to Israel to help broker such a deal.  President Bush, who described Hamas’s reaction as a terrorist attack did not use such hard words against the Israeli response....   Assassinations on both sides--and the two sides share equal blame--will complicate matters and make it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to deal with terrorist attacks.  The roadmap has a long way to go and too many challenges to face unless the U.S. exerts real pressure on Israel.” 


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Murderous Policy"


Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily declared (6/11):  "Israel's attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Abdulaziz Al-Rantissi in Gaza yesterday is the most glaring illustration of Tel Aviv's intent to blow up the newly launched peace process.  It is also vivid from the attack that Israel has not dropped its dreaded and much-condemned assassination policy despite the unveiling of the Road Map, as lately as last week....  If the Road Map has indeed to see its full course, it is time that the world addresses Israeli terrorism with the same fervor that it does in other parts of the world.  A selective look at terror would only undermine the international community's global war against terror."


"Will Rantissi Declare The Demise Of The Roadmap?"


Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh concluded (6/11):  "Israel cannot settle its dispute with the Palestinians with assassinations and the demolishing of homes....  Israel will claim that what it has done with Al-Rantissi previously has achieved success in its attempts to hunt Palestinian leaders whose views do not agree with her.  But its action has enhanced a conventional wisdom among Palestinians that Israel is an enemy....  By the same token, perhaps the attack was directed to Abu-Mazen personally as an acceptable leader to Israel, some Palestinian factions and the U.S. What this means, it means that undermining of the roadmap was not an action of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations, but was the action of top Israeli planners.  The U.S. must stop such criminal actions in order not to classify her as well as an enemy."


"The Bloody Maneuver"


Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialized (6/11):  "Yesterday's events in Gaza raise a question about Sharon's seriousness about the peace plan.  Sharon's past records are full of bloody incidents.  But yesterday's attack came at a critical moment.  The trustworthiness of the American and Israeli governments is at stake here.  The American reaction must come in the form of clear and transparent answers to all the questions. It also should be quick before all the roads that lead to peace get blocked and occupied Palestinian lands go back to showers of blood."


SYRIA:  "Israel Should First Commit To The Basis Of Peace"


Izziddin Darwish commented in government-owned Tishreen (6/12):  "The issue of committing Israel to the bases of peace is the decisive element. It is the first peace....  Sharon's attempt to assassinate HAMAS leader al-Rantissi comes within the framework of Israeli schemes to torpedo peace moves...but this effort, which was designed to plant unrest among Palestinians and cause a Palestinian civil war, was doomed to failure....  The strange irony is that that the Sharon government will persist in killing, terrorizing and building settlements, while demanding the Palestinian Authority strike at Palestinian nationalist groups without holding dialogue with them. The goal behind this, as claimed by Israel, is to reach peace. But will this convince anybody?"


"Assassinating Peace"


An unsigned editorial in government-owned Tishreen said (6/11):  "The terrorist assassin Sharon has failed yesterday in assassinating Dr. Abdul-Azia al-Rantissi, a prominent Hamas figure....  Doesn't this Israeli escalation mean a direct military assault on the Sharm al-Sheikh and Aqaba meetings and their outcomes? Doesn't this prove that the Sharon government is serious in torpedoing any peaceful endeavor--even though it is within its minimum limits and takes into consideration Israel's security demands and reservations on the Roadmap which is produced by the International Quartet, and whose implementation is exclusively assigned for the US Administration?....  Undoubtedly Israel endeavors, through Sharon's extremist government not only to assassinate the nationalist Palestinian cadres, but to assassinate all the peace efforts and to silence any talk about peace....  No one believes that the US Administration needs additional information about Israel's policies. It is certainly most cognizant of them due to its strategic alliance with Israel and their continuing consultations on all details.  If Israel persists in occupation, organized terrorism, assassination of Palestinian political cadres and nationalist figures using most lethal US arms, how could we talk about peace?"


TUNISIA:  "A Foreseeable Escalation"


Chokri Baccouche, Editor-in-Chief of independent French-language Le Quotidien, stated (6/13):  "The tragic events which have shaken the Middle East over the last 48 hours were foreseeable and represent, in the eyes of observers, a logical consequence of the execrable and desperate situation prevailing on the ground.The Aqaba Summit, which put face-to-face American President George W. Bush, Israeli PM, Ariel Sharon and the Palestinian PM Abu Mazen was, at the end, just another forum for sweet talk and promises. In fact, as soon as the paper lanterns went off, the real intentions of the Sharon became clear. His attempt to assassinate Abdelaziz Rantissi--Hamas' movement leader--elucidates once again that Ariel Sharon is not ready to give up his policy aimed at liquidating Palestinian leaders....  Sharon's misdemeanor has torpedoed the efforts invested to implement peace in the region. Sharon hit hard the Road Map project...whose implementation seems to fall within the realm of utopia....  The international community, headed by the United States, should be more involved in the peace process and must not be content with vague expressions of condemnation of such acts of violence."


"Who Sees Any Interest In Torpedoing Peace?"


Noureddine Hlaoui, Editor-in-Chief, held in independent French-language Le Temps (6/12):  "Successive dramatic events took place yesterday in the Palestinian territories and Israel, where during a short lapse of time, 24 people, Palestinians and Israelis, were killed....  In fact, at a time when all parties where calling for appeasing of tensions, notably Mahmoud Abbas' attempts to obtain a cessation of attacks on the part of resistance movements who are frustrated and desperate after much equivocation by the Israeli government, Sharon chose that precise time to launch his pernicious attempt to assassinate a prominent Hamas leader. Despite virulent criticism by the international community, particularly by the United States, Sharon proceeded with his arrogant determination aimed at liquidating people he judges 'threatening' to Israel's security....  It is clear that both the Palestinians and Israelis are pointing fingers at each other and claiming that it is rather the other party who is resuming this new cycle of violence, but, who sees any interest in torpedoing peace?....  Will President Bush manage to resist the Machiavellian inclinations of Sharon, this fierce enemy of peace?"


"The Reasons Of A Zionist State"


Raouf Khalsi opined in independent French-language Le Temps (6/11):  "Why did Israel chose this precise timing of hope raised by the Road Map to launch an attack on Hamas spokesman Rantissi? And why did they target Rantissi, in particular, a person who tried last Monday to leave the lines of communication open with the Palestinian Authority on a potential truce? There is no doubt that Israel, faithful to its habits, does not waste any time in citing, as a pretext, the risk of the rupture of inter-Palestinian negotiations by Hamas, a resistance movement that considered that Abu Mazen made too many concessions during Al-Aqaba Summit. Yet, Rantissi himself has tried to moderate his position, raising at the same time "new elements", which, according to him, must be examined to justify the adjournment of negotiations....  Pretexts as usual, there is reason to fear the Israeli stubbornness to torpedo the peace process....  The end goal of the Zionist State is war. Bush Jr., instigator of Al-Aqaba and probably of a new Camp David of dupes, will witness the rebellion of Sharon, who is evidently 'genetically' incapable of talking peace."


"What Is Israel After?"


Nourreddine Achour, Editor-in-Chief, wrote in independent Arabic-language As-Sabah (6/11):  "It has become evident that Sharon is preparing for a new phase in Israel's relations with the Palestinians. So after having murdered active resistance members...and after exerting a lot of pressure on the American Administration to limit the role played by Arafat, it seems that Israel is looking for the expansion of the scope of the Palestinian-Palestinian differences....  In fact, just following the Sharm-el-Sheikh and Al-Aqaba summits, a concealed clash between different Palestinian resistance factions and PM Abu Mazen have started to take shape, tolling the bell for a kind of a civil war....  Will the Bush administration show its commitment to implement the Road Map during these difficult moments?"


UAE:  "Israel's Assassination Attempt"


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej declared (6/11):  "There is no solution with these assassins.  After 55 years of 'attempting' them, it is time for the concerned people in Palestine and the Arab countries to stop these 'attempts' and 'tests' that might lead to the surrender of the whole region, not only Palestine, to those 'Nazis' and all who support them and cover up for their massacres."


"Who Will Stop Sharon"


Abu Dhabi-based pan-Arab Akhbar Al Arab editorialized (6/11):  "The government of Sharon will not miss an opportunity to emphasize its hostility towards peace and its insistence on burying any chance for this process (peace).  The obligation of the international community is to express its refusal of this government's hostile and immoral behavior."




CHINA:  "The U.S. Continued Its Efforts To Promote The Road Map"


Wu Jianyou observed in official intellectual Guangming Daily (6/11):  “Media indicate that Bush’s Middle East tour was a turning point in the Palestine-Israel peace process and provided a chance for Palestinian-Israeli talks which had floundered for 2 years.  However, it is not realistic to expect a dramatic change in the Middle East peace process.  There are two points that we should think about: firstly, the complexity of the issue and its protracted nature; secondly, Arafat’s role in the peace process.”


JAPAN:  "Trial Of Peace"


Liberal Mainichi editorialized (6/13):  "Wednesday's suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem put the U.S.-backed 'road map' peace plan at risk. But it is not just Israel and the Palestinians but the U.S. and the rest of the international community should share the hardship of this emerging crisis. Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas accepted the 'road map' plan at the recent Aqaba meeting initiated by President Bush in the face of continued concerns over 'unstoppable' acts of terrorism.  Only one week later, such concerns became a reality in the form of a suicide bus bombing. Palestinian acts of terrorism and Israeli retaliatory military strikes have only created feelings of hatred, desperation and helplessness on both sides. But the ultimate end of this 'road map' peace plan is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the guarantee of Israel's national existence. The world community should convince that peace will come if the two warring sides that if they overcome mutual hatred." 


"A Grave Threat to 'Road Map' Peace Plan"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Jerusalem correspondent Tohma observed (6/12):  "What appeared to be a suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem on Wednesday in retaliation for an Israeli military strike against a Hamas leader threw cold water on the spirit of peace shown at the Aqaba meeting. The prospects for peace appear to have receded." 


INDONESIA:  “Israel-Palestine Spoil Roadmap To Peace”


Leading independent Kompas observed (6/13):  “The peace process in the Middle East was again spoiled by both the Israelis and Palestinians through violence. Israel provoked it with an attempt to assassinate a Hamas leader and the Palestinians retaliated with a suicide bombing....  [President] Bush strongly deplored the bombing in Jerusalem that took many lives...and the attempt to kill the Hamas leader....  He also said he does not believe Israel’s attack will help maintain security in Israel....  Therefore, the world’s support is needed so that the Roadmap, which set a target of the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2005, will not be abandoned.  Failure to implement the Roadmap will only add chaos in the Middle East.”


INDIA:  "Roadmap Rage" 


The nationalist Hindustan Times opined (6/13):  "Probably the only thing that will prevent the roadmap from going the way of all those peace plans of the past is the enthusiasm of President George W. Bush....  Bush apparently made the mistake of not having a follow-up mechanism to maintain the momentum he achieved at Aqaba, leaving the Arabs and Jews to work out their own confidence-building measures....  So much will now depend on how aggressively Mr. Bush uses his Texan-style diplomacy to din some sense into both Arabs and Jews. He could start by telling them that they share a neighborhood with little space, and even less water, and that clenched fists can't shake hands."


PAKISTAN:    "In Al-Quds It Is Poetic Justice"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer asserted (6/13):  "Surpassingly sad though the loss of life in occupied Al-Quds is, only feeble minds and myopic eyes would be surprised over the incident last Wednesday.  This was something that was waiting to happen with an obvious certainty.  Washington seems to have an inexhaustible capacity to beguile itself and pat itself on the back after every misconceived decision it makes.  Only the smug authors of the roadmap would have convinced themselves that it would lead to some paradise on earth.  What happened in Al-Quds is, in fact, the only destination that roadmap could possibly lead to....  The suicide bomber pays the price in advance.  This cannot be said for tanks vomiting death on a mass scale.   The correct advice that should issue from Washington to Tel Aviv is to make friends with your neighbors."


"Middle East:  Roadmap For Peace And Israel's Aggressive Attitude"


Pro-Muslim League-N Urdu-language Pakistan contended (6/13):  "As the serious efforts for peace in the Middle East continue, Israeli helicopters attacks on Palestine and the response by Palestinian jihadi organization Hammas are regrettable.  But Israel's aggression and military action in Gaza and refugee camps are more condemnable.  President Bush's expression of concern over the Israeli action proves that America, too, considers Israel responsible for the escalation in the violence."


"U.S. Peace Plan"


Karachi-based right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat noted (6/12):  "The U.S. has only expressed its concern over the latest Israeli rocket attack on a Palestinian leader.  However, this attack has given credence to the presumption that the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Prime Minister himself are not interested in the establishment of peace. They are more interested in crushing the resistance movement of Palestinians, after which the Palestinians would be forced to accept the political charity of the U.S. and Israel."


"ME Peace Prospects"


Dr. Rashid Ahmad Khan stated in the center-right national English-language Nation (6/11):  "The Middle East Roadmap for the resolution of the longstanding and highly complex problem of the Arab-Israel conflict has a number of serious snags; and there are also numerous obstacles in the way of its smooth implementation. Even the U.S. authorities and western quarters are only cautiously optimistic about its success.  President Bush has termed it as only a beginning with a new opening in search for peace in the region. But there are some new realities or, as US Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell put it, 'new conditions", which raise the prospects of its success. It has been unanimously sponsored by the U.S., EU and Russia.  For the first time Israel has accepted the right of the Palestinians to have their own state in the land that they have been living in for centuries.  All the influential Arab states have supported it.  This is very crucial, because the Palestinians and Palestinian Authority are heavily dependent upon the financial assistance from the oil rich Arab States.  The OIC has not opposed it. Last but not least, the initiative has been announced at a time when the international community has rejected the use of violence as a tool for gaining political objectives.  Both Israel and the Palestinians would, therefore, come under increasing pressure from their friends and supporters to make peace and take the road of reconciliation instead of war and confrontation."


"Roadmap Eclipsed"


The centrist national English-language News declared (6/11):  "The chances of any success of reining in militant groups are further diminished by the recent targeted killing incidents.  One of the demands of the Palestinian Prime Minister was an immediate halt to such serial assassinations, as these instead of weakening or breaking the vicious circle further strengthened the cause of the militant groups.  The onus of making the roadmap a success, however, lies more on the United States and Israel than the Palestinians, especially as Palestine President Yasser Arafat is out of the scene now.  Cosmetic steps such as dismantling very few newly-built settlements or of uninhabited settlement posts are, for one, against the spirit of the roadmap and will further create hurdles in the path to peace.  Since Washington enjoys the status of being a main player and has influence over Tel Aviv, it must ensure that honest efforts and concrete steps are taken to settle the issue, which has been simmering for a long time."




SOUTH AFRICA:   "Blow To Peace"


The liberal Star commented (6/13):  "The most recent killings in the Middle East are shocking, the more so because there was real hope that peace was on the horizon....  What happened...has indeed been a severe blow to President Bush's plans to establish a road map to peace.  But even a severe set back cannot and must not mean an end to these efforts.  The involvement of Washington is crucial, although it might well be part of the problem.  But more important is that the Israeli and a Palestinian leadership should realize that the alternative to accommodation is ongoing turmoil."


"Don't Give Up On Peace"


Balanced Business Day opined (6/13): "While...President...Bush does not seem to be getting anywhere with the latest peace plan...that does not mean he should stop trying.  The US is probably the best-placed power that can keep the two sides talking and, like a hostage negotiator, Bush must keep going until the situation is defused.  Permanently....  The world must ensure that the people of Palestine secure their legitimate rights."


"Middle East Crisis"


The liberal Mercury held (6/13):  "Part of the problem is that Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas does not have the security apparatus to rein in the terror groups....  He cannot deliver his side of the bargain, which gives extremists on the other side every pretext for military action.  The road map is a world initiative--the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations itself.  It ought not be beyond the capacity of that line-up to assist with creating an effective Palestinian security service."


UGANDA:  "Don’t Exclude Arafat"


The government-owned New Vision editorialized (6/13):  "Barely a week after hopes were renewed for peace in Israel and Palestine, it has all gone up in flames with fresh escalation of violence....  It is easy to see why Israel wants to eliminate Rantissi. As the head of Hamas, a very militant group, he has vowed to leave no Jew on land he deems to be exclusively for Palestinians. Of course he is wrong. Both Jews and Palestinians have a legitimate historical claim to the land that their ancestors have lived on, in various arrangements, over thousands of years. Rantissi is not a single individual. He is a representative of a large constituency. The challenge is to appeal to this constituency, and bring it round to moderating its stand. The best placed individual to guarantee that by appealing to all sides is Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. Abbas is a fine fellow, but he lacks the kind of legitimacy that Arafat has with Palestinians and others who have a genuine concern that Israel and Palestine accommodate each other."


"Honesty And Tolerance Will Make Roadmap A Success"


The Muslim weekly Message stated (6/12): "The road map peace plan...calls for a number of steps to be taken by both Israel and Palestine to end the current wave of violence and move rapidly to a final end of this conflict on the basis of two states living side by side....  It must be noted that the Palestinian Authority has fully accepted the roadmap and Israel has conditionally approved it in the cabinet session.  The final status is then to be negotiated. This includes deciding issues of Jerusalem, boarders, settlements and refugees. However, the roadmap does not spell out the parameters for any of these issues.  This ambiguity is a potential serious pitfall of the roadmap....  The Palestinians have no significant negotiating leverage other than their willingness to engage in violent resistance to occupation. This resistance has included both legitimate resistance according to International law and illegitimate resistance like terrorism.  It is logical to ask the Palestinians to cease all violence except as self -defense in response to direct aggression in exchange for meaningful political process.  I however fully support the right of Palestinians to engage in non-violent resistance during the road map process....  I hold it strongly that if the road map is implemented in good faith, there is no doubt that peace will finally prevail. The United States should not allow Israel to impose unilateral parameters on the final status....  This is the time for President Bush to show that his country is serious because the US is viewed as an un-honest broker in the Muslim World and must demonstrate its even handedness before acting as a true broker in the negations."




CANADA:  "Hamas Vs. Peace"


The conservative National Post declared (6/12):  "We find it bizarre that Mr. Bush would upbraid Mr. Sharon for his attack on Mr. Rantisi. As the United States itself has shown, targeted assassinations are now an accepted part of the Western counterterrorist arsenal....  The peace process may not survive this week's violence. But even if it does, it is clear negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel will have to be conducted in parallel with a vigorous counterterrorist campaign against Hamas and its allies. Such a parallel strategy may prove impossible--because Mr. Abbas' constituents will be too stirred up in support of Hamas to make continued negotiations practicable. On the other hand, if a majority of Palestinians still support a group that seeks to exterminate innocent Jews and that rejects the state of Israel's existence, perhaps the time is not yet ripe for peace anyway."


“Roadmap In Tatters”


The centrist Winnipeg Free Press editorialized (6/11):  "In the eyes of the Palestinians and the Israelis, it is only Palestinians and Israelis who have only their interests at heart. Mr. Bush has an agenda, Europe has an agenda, the Arabs have an agenda in which Israel and Palestine play just a part. International efforts are useful and must continue. They will play an important part in any ultimate peace. But ultimately, peace will be agreed on--or not--by Israelis and Palestinians looking out for themselves, not playing the roles assigned to them in agendas of their international mentors or in the dreams of foreign statesmen.”


ARGENTINA:  "The Urgency To Avoid Violence Before It Jeopardizes The Road Map"


Ines Capdevila held in daily-of-record La Nacion (6/12):  "In less than a week, a vertiginous succession of attacks and reprisals took place, as in the past three years. This time, it was not only Palestinian attacks, Israel's reprisals and tens of civilian casualties; it was also a matter of timing. Violence jeopardized the plan with the best chances in years of bringing peace to the Middle East, precisely when it had kicked off. But it's not necessarily dead....  The attack against Hamas may have been a concession to the ultra right wing....  But he also made clear that he would continue with his political moves to advance the peace process....  Otherwise, Sharon would be placing White House support at stake, and he would also risk moving away from Bush, who hates failures in international politics--and particularly in one situation in which he's personally involved--and he would be isolating Israel like never before, leading his country to a blind cycle of violence and economic crisis."


BRAZIL:  "Almost Agonizing"


Right-of-center O Globo opined (6/12):  "Israel's attack against the Hamas leader was a serious mistake.  It's now more difficult for the Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas to fulfill the promise of disarming activists and restraining terrorism....  The suicidal-attack against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem confirms the homicidal intolerance of Palestinian extremists and their capacity to blow up the peace initiative.  It's now easier to Prime Minister Sharon to forget his share in the commitments made in Aqaba....  Thus, the roadmap for peace--in which President Bush has invested warlike credibility and diplomatic capital--is running the risk of ending up, like previous plans, in the garbage can....  Unless Bush makes an special effort to save the most serious diplomatic initiative of his administration."


"Peace Under Attack"


An editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo said (6/12):  "The new cycle of violence that has erupted in the Middle East dims the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians....  In order to make the current [peace] initiative work where others have failed, the U.S.--strengthened in the Middle East after the victory in Iraq--must exert diplomatic pressure on both sides, especially on Ariel Sharon. If Israel does not moderate its actions and give Abu Mazen an opportunity to negotiate with radicals on his side, the plan is destined to fail."


"First Test"


Right-of-center O Globo noted (6/10):  "The Peace accord signed last Wednesday in Aqaba by Palestinian and Israeli leaders has no value to Palestinian armed groups. Against the Israeli occupation they recognize only one arm: Brutal force....  [Last Sunday's] attack infuriated the Israeli government, of course.  But not to the point of burying the peace initiative sponsored by the U.S., European Union and Russia.  Prime Minister Sharon even made a point to show he is disposed to fulfill his share: Despite the violence he demanded dismantling Jewish settlements in the West Bank.  But as we know his patience doesn't last long.  Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas is facing the greatest challenge....  If the Palestinian Prime Minister fails that will be the failure of another peace plan.  To pass to another stage the attacks must stop.  If the dialogue fails the alternative is repression. But Abbas fears provoking a civil war in the territories....  The USG is giving signs it's aware of the Palestinian leaders' difficulties.  National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice, in a TV program, suggested Arab neighbors should help Abbas to deal with the militants if they want peace.  It's a good advice; the Prime Minister's position is still too fragile for the size of the commitment he took over."


MEXICO:  "No Possible Defense Against Suicide Attempts "


Old-guard nationalist El Universal maintained (6/12):  "Yesterday's attempt in one of the best guarded areas of Jerusalem demonstrates the vulnerability of the Israeli society, as well as the inability of Israeli authorities to prevent these actions.  In other words, there is no possible defense against the strategy of fanatic suicides.  This is demonstrated by the 36 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.  Therefore, the only way out would be the fulfillment by Israel of UN resolutions ordering the withdrawal from occupied territories….  The current Israeli strategy has not worked for more than three decades, isn't it about time to try other ways to reach the expectations of security and tranquility of the Jewish people?"


"Peace Utopia Between Palestinians And Israelis"


Eugenio Anguiano wrote in old-guard nationalist El Universal (6/11):  "Just a few days after the spectacular meeting President Bush held with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen the roadmap has begun to sink….  Extremist on both sides are torpedoing the agreement.  The two problems are: on the Israeli side the resistance to stop and abandon the colonization of Palestinian territories...and on the Palestinian side the resistance of Hamas and other organizations to accept Mazen's commitment--even though the Intifada has caused over 3,500 deaths, there is a long list of Palestinian women and men ready to die in terrorist attacks.  The drama is not the existence of thousands of extremist Israelis and Palestinians, but the millions of Israelis and Palestinians who are hostage to the radicals on both sides."


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