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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 20, 2003

June 20, 2003





**  Israel supporters back its "self-defense" because Hamas "doesn't want any peace."


**  Leftists allege Israel's "harsh reprisals" cause a "catastrophic boomerang effect."


**  Roadmap critics claim it would make the proposed Palestinian state "a mockery" and blame the U.S.' "double standards" for allowing Sharon to continue his "extremist policy."




Hamas will do 'everything to destroy' the roadmap, so there is 'no point in a cease-fire'--  Conservative papers joined Israeli writers in terming Hamas a "fanatical religious terror network" seeking to "wipe out both Israel and secular Palestinian rule."  Palestinian militants who declare "Israel must be razed to the ground" are "terrorists who deserve to die," according to Israel's left-leaning Ha'aretz.  Russia's reformist Moskovskiye Novosti labeled Hamas "incapable of compromising."  The Ottawa Citizen concluded, "Hamas is dedicated to killing every Jew it can, period." 


The 'growth of the Islamic movement' stems from Israel's 'overzealous revenge attacks'--  Arab and leftist dailies blamed the "rampant Jewish military" for punishing "the clandestine terror perpetrated by Palestinians with a form of state terror."  The UAE's business-oriented Al-Bayan judged "Sharon’s comprehensive terrorist war" was "pushing the Palestinians towards a huge wall of despair."  Austria's Der Standard agreed that Israeli operations are "no longer self-defense" but rather "murder, which cannot be justified."  Hamas and other militants are "part and parcel of Palestinian society," and thus should be part of Palestine's "unified national leadership," according to the West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam.     


Critics allege the roadmap 'primarily' aims to serve Israel's interests--  As an "irrelevant sideshow to the horrifying carnage," the roadmap is a "political failure."  Arab dailies blasted the roadmap for "describing resistance as terrorism" and making Israel the "dominant regional player."  Kuwait's independent Al-Rai Al-Aam added, "Arabs and Muslims are subjugated" under the roadmap.  South Asian dailies said the roadmap ignored Palestinian "aspirations."  India's centrist Hindu assailed its goal of a "Bantustanised Palestine permanently subordinated to Israel."  Pakistan's Jasarat predicted it would permit "mass Muslim killing in Palestine."


The U.S. is 'capable of pressing Israel'--  Suspicions regarding the U.S.' "biased approach" remained high.  An Indian daily opined, "America will see to it that peace or no peace Israel's national interest is not compromised."  Brazil's right-of-center O Globo agreed the U.S. has "taken Israel's side" when its role should be "exclusively that of a mediator."  Egypt's pro-government Al-Gomhouriya asserted the U.S. can "exert real pressure" on Sharon because "Israel totally depends on American economic, military and political support."



EDITOR:  Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 65 reports from 28 countries over 12 - 20 June 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.





GERMANY:  "Spiral Of Terror"


Josef Joffe noted in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (6/18):  "There will be no peace as long as the Hamas, Jihad, and the Al Aqsa terrorist groups do not want it.  Their worst weapon is their knowledge that no Israeli government can simply accept their murderous attacks.  So what can be done?  The question is easily raised.  The answer can be given only by the Palestinians themselves.  Evidence of this is the lost decade following the shaking of hands between Rabin and Arafat in the Rose Garden of the White House....  The terror against Israeli civilians must be stopped. This cannot be achieved by Israeli missiles but only by Palestinian efforts.  Before peace gets a chance, two 'civil wars' must be fought; the ones against those forces in the Israeli and Palestinian camp that know how to use their different veto weapons in such a successful way."


" A No Is A No Is A--Yes"


Charles Landsmann noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/17):  "The cease-fire in the Middle East will come.  If not today, then tomorrow, in any case, it will come soon.  The contradictory remarks of the Palestinian groups talking part in the talks are evidence that the decisive breakthrough has been achieved or is imminent.  We should not be fooled by ominous statements of militant Islamists.  Optimism seems to be appropriate.  And we should be grateful to the United States and Egypt.  Without massive pressure from the outside...not even talks among the Palestinian groups would have been possible.  The cease-fire...will be the basis for the roadmap, and it has almost an historic extent.  It is true that the Palestinians have not met all requirements, but there can be no doubt: It is now up to Ariel Sharon to stick to his commitments."


ITALY:  “Israel Dismantles Settlements, Abu Mazen Fails To Bend Hamas”


Elite, classical liberal Il Foglio held (6/20):  “Colin Powell arrives with report cards to be distributed to Israel and to the Palestinians, with more precise requests, and with promises that he would bring to the Quartet, which is meeting on Saturday in Aqaba to go to the rescue of the Road Map....  On one side--Israel--Powell will find outposts that have been dismantled with the same determination used by the Israeli army to defend itself from terrorism, without hesitating to engage in battles with the settlers who refuse to leave....  Most of all, Powell will find promises made in Aqaba and maintained.  On the other side, the Palestinian side, Powell will find nothing but the exhausting meetings among Abu Mazen, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.  (He will find) no commitment whatsoever, not even for a truce--which is, in fact, the commitment made by Abu Mazen in Aqaba.  (There are) only embarrassing statements about the fact that the terrorists promised Egypt...that they would carry out only local, insignificants attacks....   We must add to this alarming picture that Abu Mazen, who means well but has to deal with his weakness and his personal history, has proposed to put together a united Palestinian leadership, formed by thirteen organizations, including Hamas.  In sum, terrorists would sit at the same table with government leaders to decide about negotiations with Israel--a condition that ought to be unacceptable for all protagonists.”


“What Should Be Done With Yasser? His Exile To Hammameth Is The Latest Hypothesis”


Guido Olimpio remarked in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/18):  “The idea of sending Arafat away always comes back after an attack.  In fact, also last night, an ambush against an Israeli car caused the death of a girl....  Several Israeli ministers have repeatedly urged Sharon to carry out that final act: Arafat’s exile; but the Prime Minister, upon his intelligence’s advice, has always avoided that decision....  But now the Americans have decided to examine that possibility.  Should negotiations aimed at stopping terrorism fail...Washington will give its green light to that exile, because it would consider Arafat the secret director of maneuvers opposing the road map....  However, despite these rumors, the Palestinian leader (Arafat) continues to be the Palestinians’ point of reference.  Yesterday, causing a little political storm, Arafat announced that Marwan Barghouti, Intifada chief, will be released by the Israelis ‘within 48 hours;’ a release which could have been included in the negotiations to reach a truce with both Fatah and Hamas.  That news prompted the intervention of the Israeli high court....  Barghouti will not be set free because he is the architect of terrorism....  (However) Barghouti’s freedom could possibly convince them (Fatah and Hamas) to accept a truce.  However, even Israeli security services might have...proposed Barghouti...with an exchange...a reduction of his sentence or (even) release in return for an end of all violence....  (Meanwhile) U.S. (diplomatic) activity continues restlessly.  U.S. special envoy John Wolf, who is in charge of following the implementation of the road map to peace, is testing (the intentions of) both fighting parties.  Friday, Secretary of State Colin Powell will arrive in the region.  He will meet with Sharon and Abu Mazen, and will then go to Aqaba to attend the summit with UN, Russian and European Union members.”


“Sharon Rejects Hamas Truce”


Gian Micalessin remarked in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (6/17):  “The Egyptians didn’t make it. And neither did Abu Mazen. Getting a truce from Hamas appears more and more like a dream. And it could remain so. Yesterday, the Israeli PM...reaffirmed his willingness to continue striking against the fundamentalist groups....  The diplomatic defeat of the Egyptian mission took place when Hamas fundamentalists said they were not ready for a truce unless they had precise guarantees, first of all the end to Israeli reprisals....  In this situation, a last attempt might come from Colin Powell, expected to travel to Jerusalem before or after the meeting of the Quartet in Jordan on June 22. In the meantime, it seems that the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers from Luxembourg welcomed the White House’s suggestion to declare war on Hamas and they threaten to insert the political wing of the organization on the list of terrorist groups.”


“Hamas: Truce In Exchange For Safety”


Eric Salerno declared in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero (6/17):  “After some cautious optimism, yesterday, concern returned. The Egyptian mediators were not able to convince Hamas fundamentalists to lay down their weapons, not even for a limited span of time....  The Israeli PM...said that Israel does not want a truce because it would allow the militias to become more organized....  It seems that Hamas wants international guarantees for the safety of its leaders.”


RUSSIA:  "Truce Is Only Good For Terrorists"


Zakhar Gelman filed in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (6/18):  "A truce would virtually be a violation of the PA's obligations inasmuch as the Roadmap clearly provides for the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure.   A truce would be good for Palestinian terrorist organizations primarily because it would enable them to rest, regroup, and build up the reserves.  It would also boost the prestige of the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders in the eyes of the Arab world and the U.S. administration. But it would be bad for Israel, which has taken the initiative, pledging itself to destroy the terrorist infrastructure."


"Israelis Don't Believe In Roadmap"


Ary Baratz stated in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (6/17): "Few people in Israel believe in the new peace plan.   Even some cabinet members are strongly opposed to it.   The Israelis' view is that you can't come to an agreement with Palestine.  Over the seven years of 'peaceful negotiations' and the nearly three years of bloody Intifada, official Palestinian propaganda has raised a generation that is incapable of compromising.   The world's major powers can force Israel into a concession, but it won't appease the Arabs or stabilize the situation."


AUSTRIA:  "Not Justified"


Hans Rauscher opined in liberal Der Standard (6/17):  “Sharon’s government announces that Hamas has to be exterminated, Hamas declares that every Israeli, even civilians, even women and children and old people, are a legitimate target. The targeted killings of Palestinian leaders, be they members of Hamas, the Islamist Jihad, or Arafat’s Al-Aksa brigades, will be continued, says Sharon’s government. However, Israel is in the wrong. It is a fact that the Palestinian suicide attackers, who on purpose choose nightclubs, schools, and kindergartens as their targets, aren’t freedom fighters, but murderers. But by now, almost every time the Israeli army carries out one of its ‘targeted attacks,’ civilians, women and children die as well....  There is no way around it: This is no longer self-defense--it is murder, which cannot be justified by the crimes of the suicide bombers. It is a crime in itself.”


HUNGARY:  “Road Map Chances”


Liberal Hungarian-language Magyar Hirlap remarked (6/20):  "Could anybody with a rational mindset believe that the Palestinian society, which has been fighting [for its legitimacy] since its Genesis, is going to transform itself to a peaceful way of living within two years?  It would not only require a set of administrative measures but the complete restructuring of the system, as well as the trans-coding of an entire culture.”


POLAND:  “Spiral Of Aggression”


Marek Ostrowski opined in military weekly Polska Zbrojna (6/20):  “Does anyone still believe another new peace plan will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It seems that--in defiance of common sense--the majority of the public on both sides of the conflict trusts that only brutal force can achieve something....  To break this spiral of aggression something extraordinary is required. We should oppose the opinion of the majority that a desired objective can be achieved only through force; we should curb a natural instinct for revenge, and strive for a ‘courage of peace,’ which is more difficult than a ‘courage of war.’ And yet President George Bush in his recent speech called for a showdown with the terrorists from the Palestinian Hamas, and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar considered direct involvement of American troops in fighting terrorists in the Middle East. Though they may be logical and understandable to the public, such statements do not lead to breaking the spiral of aggression.”


“This Weird World”


Magdalena Nagorska wrote in center-left Zycie Warszawy (6/17):  “Egyptian mediators are negotiating with terrorists.  They plainly fawn over Hamas so that they will kindly stop killing Israelis. Hamas...says it does not intend to stop suicidal attacks; while declaring that Israel must be razed to the ground, it proposes insulting conditions, quoted with delight by media worldwide. No international organization cares to respond to this. Hamas terrorists have been upgraded to the rank of a player with which peace in the Middle East must be negotiated. Plans of super powers depend on their goodwill. The world accepts this absurdity with resigned silence. Apparently the principle that you do not talk with terrorists has become obsolete.”


PORTUGAL:  "Enroute To The Abyss"


In influential moderate-left Público, deputy editor-in-chief Nuno Pacheco argued (6/14):  "The optimism generated by the Aqba summit is gone....  This spiral of violence was more than predictable....  Hamas doesn't want any peace at all, and will do everything to destroy the process....  Sharon, for his part, doesn't know how to react except by firing off the cannons....  It is unrealistic to ask Abu Mazen to free himself of Hamas 'definitively', because not even democratic Spain has yet been able to free itself definitively of ETA.  But it is possible to ask, or even force, Ariel Sharon to create the conditions necessary for Hamas to see its maneuvering room and base of support drastically reduced."




ISRAEL:  "Quarter To Netanyahu"


Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/20):  "With full control over the Likud and wide public support, both for the road map and dismantling settlements, plus a friendly squeeze from Bush, Sharon has begun the inevitable showdown with the settlers....  The Americans are taking pictures, and they know exactly what we're building and what we're knocking down.  Sharon, of course, would like to drag the process out....  But meanwhile, he even walks around the Knesset building surrounded by an army of bodyguards, and it's not Arab assailants he's afraid of....  If I were a Palestinian leader, I would say to myself that this cocktail--Bush pushing and Sharon at the peak of his powers--is an opportunity that would literally be a crime to miss."


"Quiet, Please"


Hemmi Shalev observed in popular, pluralist Maariv (6/20):  "After months of antagonism against a domestic Palestinian hudna [interim cease-fire], Sharon and the Israeli defense establishment are being grudgingly dragged into the necessity to accept it.  Unlike Israel, the U.S. Administration has become convinced that without an internal cease-fire, Abu Mazen and Muhammad Dahlan stand no chance....  It isn't a mark of wisdom to be a pessimist, because in recent years Cassandras have turned out to be the most acute observers....  But...after 800 Israeli victims and three times as many dead among the Palestinians, one should perhaps try something else--give a chance to the hudna, rest a little with a feeling of quiet, even if it's phony.  Eventually, who knows, we'll start getting used to it."


"'No Fault' Doesn't Work Here"


Saul Singer held in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (6/20):  "There is a problem...with the neutral approach: it favors bullies....  There is nothing more demoralizing for Israel, and more encouraging for Hamas and other terrorist groups, than for the U.S., Israel's best friend, to say you can fight, but don't touch their leaders....  It is hard to overstate the damage caused by the knowledge that our only ally is setting limits on how we can fight back, and if we go beyond those limits then the blame for the conflict will shift to our shoulders....  The fact that having limited permission to hit Hamas is considered progress shows how far the U.S. has been from fully backing Israel's right to self-defense. Americans are right to want their country to act as an honest broker, but being honest does not mean being blind."


"Road Map To Perpetuating The Status Quo"


Meron Benvenisti wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/19):  "It's impossible to disconnect the road map, its formulas and definitions, from the political and military reality that exists in the occupied territories, and which it seemingly seeks to change.  This reality has two symbols: the outposts and the checkpoints.  Both are meant to paint the open areas of the West Bank in Jewish colors....  The road map won't lead anywhere because a solution based on the connection between territory and ethnic identity--which was applicable up to about 20 years ago--cannot be implemented and any attempt to implement it will only complicate the problem instead of solving it....  The only choice left is between a regime of a Jewish minority over an Arab majority without civil rights, or a multi-cultural governmental framework, usually referred to as a 'binational state.'  The road map and the rest of the plans based on 'separation' are simply dreams perpetuating the status quo."


"The Moloch Process"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/19):  "There are increasing indications that Sharon no longer rejects the notion out of hand, though only a few days ago it was depicted as a sham, which would leave Palestinian terrorists with their arms at their disposal and their infrastructure intact.   This cruel hoax, dubbed 'hudna,' doesn't even come close to Abbas's undertaking to eradicate terrorism and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure....  At the same time, however, Hamas counts on precisely the opposite of the Israeli government's wishful thinking. Hamas has no desire or intention to self-destruct....  While Sharon hopes for the best and terrorists plot for the worst, Abbas tries to have it both ways. He has vowed to stop terrorism, but he has also promised not to use force against the terrorists.  Herein lies the basic flaw of the entire process.  There is no neat way to avoid the issue and no shortcut in the struggle against terrorism....  Our government must not be tempted to overlook [the murder of a 7-year-old girl on a road inside Israel] as another small sacrifice on the road to peace.  That road isn't sacrosanct if it exacts such an awful toll. It's not a peace process if it demands, like Moloch, the sacrifice of a young child's life."


"The Chick And The Rooster"


Dov Goldstein maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv (6/19):  "The Palestinians view Abu Mazen as the representative of the Palestinian people's surrender to demands by foreign elements.  They are convinced that only Arafat faithfully and devotedly expresses their national aspirations.  No attempt to remove him from the scene is bound to succeed.  It would be met with the Palestinians' obstinate and resolute objection.  In that aspect, it is Hamas and Islamic Jihad--and not Abu Mazen and Dahlan--who are the natural representatives of the Palestinian people.  As opposed to the chick Abu Mazen, Arafat is a...vociferous and murderous rooster.  If he doesn't agree to a 'hudna,' there will be no 'hudna.'  If he doesn't agree to the road map, there will be no road map....  Israel buried him prematurely.  Perhaps it cannot live with him, but it is certain it can't live without him."


"End Of The Dream"


Yosef Harif maintained in popular, pluralist Maariv (6/18):  "It is clear that Abu Mazen, whom the Americans appointed Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, won't be able to withstand Arafat's pressure.  Thus, it will be no surprise if the road map initiative goes bankrupt soon.  The truth is that it isn't Bush's initiative, but that of Secretary of State Colin Powell....  Powell can send to the region inspectors to monitor the implementation of the road map, and create the impression that the initiative will bring peace, but those who follow what is happening behind the scene in Washington won't be surprised if it turns out that George Bush, who shared the spectacular vision at Aqaba, won't be enthusiastic about that initiative for long....  Even those who despaired of Sharon, like the settlers, can be convinced that his painful concessions will never satisfy the Palestinians.  If I am not mistaken, Bush, too, has started becoming convinced of it....  Slowly, we'll start perceiving Bush's withdrawal from the road map.  It seems that, like all his predecessors, he's in for a frustrating ending, in keeping with Kissinger's realistic description."


"No Halfway Cease-Fire"


Nationalist Hatzofe declared (6/18):  "It is very possible that under pressure from Egypt and other Arab countries, Hamas will agree to a hudna, however it must be ensured that it disarms at the same time.  There is no point in a cease-fire with this scum of the earth, if the hudna is not accompanied by an almost complete cleanup of weapons from the Palestinian cities....  Hamas, like other terrorist bodies, is interested in a period of calm in order to rearm, locate collaborators and be better prepared for the next battle.  As long as the issue of the 'right of return' is not closed, as well as the future of Jerusalem and the borders of withdrawal, there is no value to any understanding or agreement.  The very assent to express willingness to disarm and cease incitement is a great step towards normal and substantive negotiations.  Without this, any cease-fire will make a substantial contribution to the next round of the Intifada, both in weapons and in the preparedness of Palestinian terrorists.  Until an understanding on the above issues is reached, the security forces should continue in assassinating the planners of terror attacks at all ranks of terrorist command, not skipping over Sheikh Yassin, and trying again to reach Rantisi."


"Real Strategy Vs. Wishful Thinking"


Columnist Barry Rubin observed in the conservative, independent Jerusalem Post (6/17):  "It is nonsense to speak of a 'cycle of violence' when the victims of terrorism understand and repeatedly see that their eagerness to end the fighting, readiness to make concessions, and willingness to avoid confrontation has no effect whatsoever.  This point has already been reached as regards Israel....  By insulating Arafat from pressure, the Europeans in effect ensure that fighting continues and more people die.  Unintentionally, a U.S. policy that puts the emphasis on reducing the material pressure on Arafat and Abu Mazen, as well as the military pressure on Hamas and the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, would have the same effect.  The time has come for the U.S. to support consistently and in real terms Israel's self-defense against these forces.  Such a policy is based on recognition that only such methods can bring the Palestinian side to a real cease-fire and toward the barest possibility of a peace agreement.   Both President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have recognized that this analysis of the situation is accurate, but for diplomatic reasons they have not drawn the logical conclusion regarding what kind of policy is necessary."


"Truth Serum On The Tip Of A Missile"


Yoel Marcus wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (6/17): "It's hard to believe that now, 55 years after the establishment of the state and decades after signing peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, we are once again hearing threats of the kind made by Ahmed Shukeiri [the first chairman of the PLO] 40 years ago....  Unlike the PLO, which bills itself as a national liberation organization, Hamas is a fanatical religious terror network that is seeking to wipe out both Israel and secular Palestinian rule.  In the attempt on Rantisi's life, one may disagree with the timing and the method, but there is no question that the heads of an organization which has been killing our people indiscriminately for well over a decade are terrorists who deserve to die....  In this terror organization that willfully murders women and children, there is no difference between a political leader and a military leader, in the same way that Osama bin Laden doesn't run his operations in two separate tracks....  The government's determination to crack down on Hamas is legitimate as long as it is acceptable to Bush and strengthens Abu Mazen for the day that he lays down the law and confronts his own opposition."


"A Condemnation By 'Worried' Emperor Bush"


Deputy Editor-in-Chief Zuheir Andrawus held in weekly Arabic-language Kul Al-Arab (6/13):  "Bush, the White House hawks, the Pentagon and the State Department reject condemnation of the killings carried out by Israel. They only state their 'irritation' over Sharon sending Apache [gunships] to assassinate the Hamas political leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.  Terrorism is terrorism, blood is blood, and killing is killing.  It is impossible to differentiate between terrorism by armed organizations and the terrorism of a sovereign state....  The U.S. Administration has had, and will keep a policy of total support for Israel.  It will continue its double-standard policy in the region: Israel has the right to defend itself, whereas the Palestinians are a group of terrorists acting to fail the political process, because they hate peace--according to President Bush!....  Sharon wished to affect the so-called 'road map' peace plan by assassinating Abdel Aziz Rantisi....  We [this newspaper] support the eradication of all types and forms of terrorism; those who are insisting that others stop terrorism need to look in the mirror and ask about their country's practice--and that of their ally, Israel--on the issue of terrorism."


WEST BANK:  "The Deception Machine”


Hafez Barghouti commented in semi-official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (6/19):  "Could the Americans be so naive to repeatedly fall into Israeli lies regarding dismantling some settlements or releasing some prisoners....  Serious implementation of the roadmap must be accompanied by a monitoring mechanism on the ground. However, the dispatched American team is incapable of doing so even if it consisted of 100 members, simply because that team is overlooking Israeli repeated attempt to deceive and circumvent provisions of the roadmap....  There is a pressing need now for the Palestinians to intensify their political and public relations efforts in order to expose the Israeli lies before they are viewed by the rest of the world as reality.”


“Truce Does Not Mean Defeat”


Ahmed Majdalani contended in independent, pro-PA Al-Ayyam (6/18):  "The formation of a unified national leadership represented by the PLO’s executive committee and by other political forces will boost the confidence of all sides of the Palestinian political spectrum and would mean that participation in national decision-making will be open to everyone, and that there is no room for exclusion, domination or monopoly.  It would also mean that everybody will have an interest in the success of the political efforts for the sake of the supreme interests of the Palestinian people....  The concrete and living historical experience of our people proves, day after day, that we have no option other than dialogue and that there is no option other than the democratic option, which boosts intellectual political pluralism that has distinguished our people and their national movement.”


"Hamas Movement Crosses Threshold Of Perils"


Ashraf Ajrami commented in independent Al-Ayyam (6/16):  "In the wake of the bloody wave of violence in Palestine in the past few days, the discourse has now reverted back to talking about a hudna or a cease-fire between the Palestinians and Israelis. It seems that this development could not have happened without the heavy losses sustained by the two sides of the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to exploit the international circumstances--especially the U.S. position branding Hamas and other resistance movements as enemies of peace--in order to deal a strong blow to these movements. Sharon wanted to force the resistance movements to halt their armed operations or to force the Palestinian government to clamp down on these movements....  However, it seems that Sharon did not take into account the fact that although the U.S. supports Israel’s fight against the resistance factions, especially Hamas, the American administration is not prepared to jeopardize the whole political process....  Additionally, it seems that Hamas has started to soften its position. In a recent statement, Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, [Hamas spiritual leader], said that his movement is prepared to accept an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip as a basis to stop attacks against Israel....  Such a stand by Hamas will definitely have a positive effect, especially if the U.S. agrees to pressure Israel into halting all forms of aggression against the Palestinian people, including stopping Israel’s assassination policy and ending occupation and settlement activities.”


EGYPT:  “Peace Will Remain A Dream Postponed”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Morsi Attallah observed (6/19):  “It is no exaggeration to say that peace is difficult to achieve while Sharon remains head of the Israeli government....  A reading of Sharon’s biography in the book, ‘The Warrior’ written by David Chanoff...reveals a man who suffered a tortured childhood and was dominated by the conspiracy theory....  Sharon feels...he is still unable to record his name as a leader of Jewish history and that any step towards peace, will mean, as extremists imply, he is driving a large nail in the grave of the [Jewish] dream....  I believe that thirty months of Palestinian intifada have not only shaken Israel’s confidence in the Zionist dream, but also have shaken the man’s confidence in the use of force....  A man who led demonstrations against Rabin and plotted his assassination...cannot change over night....  His mentality does not allow a minimal Israeli commitment to the roadmap.  Even if he accepted the map, the acceptance would last only a few months and in order to avoid clashing with President Bush in the hope that Bush might become preoccupied with the American elections wherein Zionist lobby pressure will be overwhelming.”


“America And Hamas”


Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya senior columnist Mohamed Abul Hadid wrote (6/19):  “The greatest mistake of American that it is being dragged behind Sharon’s policy and deals with Hamas as a terrorist organization....  Hamas, as well as Fatah, Jihad and other Palestinian factions, are part and parcel of Palestinian society and have emerged in reaction to continuing Israeli occupation and coercive practices....  The difference between Hamas and likes of Al Qaeda’s is the difference between the sky and earth.  Hamas is a Palestinian-only group, not an international movement; it is a resistance movement against occupation....  It does not initiate aggression, but responds to aggression on Palestinian civilians...its sources of finance are legal....  It is self-armed....  Its leader, Sheikh Yassine, is a well- known Palestinian struggler...and Hamas was not party to the September 11 attacks and is not fighting American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq....  Israel is the party which ignited this situation in order to evade the roadmap and commits assassinations daily....  Someone must tell the American Administration and Europe the truth.”


“The Importance of Returning to the Choice of Peace”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram editorialized (6/18):  “The Sharon government should realize that the security of its citizens starts with the security of the Palestinian citizen....  Whatever the sacrifices, the cost of peace is still less than the cost of violence, which has exacerbated greatly.  Violence is a natural outcome of the lack of justice...and Israel’s insistence on defying the international will and opting for violence instead of peace....  It is time to put an end to the cycle of violence for which innocent people on both sides pay the price.”


“American Pressure On Israel Is Ability And Will”


Small circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya opined (6/18):  “While Egypt continues its effort to contain the explosive situation in the Palestinian territories, the Sharon government continues to pursue its extremist policy....  There are no signs of an imminent change in Sharon’s position....  Thus, the U.S. is required to make a firm decision to make the Sharon government feel the seriousness of the situation....  Secretary Powell’s visit on Friday will be a test of the seriousness of the American position. No one is convinced the U.S. is capable of pressuring Israel to prepare a suitable climate for the implementation of the roadmap, while Israel totally depends on American economic, military and political support. There is no doubt that the U.S. is capable of pressuring Israel, but the question is: does it truly want to exert that pressure?”




Anis Mansour wrote in leading pro-government Al Ahram (6/18):  “It is difficult to reason with someone who suffered injustice....  However, we ask Palestine and Israel to remember history, when Sadat and Begin agreed on a simple rule that ‘everything is negotiable.’ They sat on the negotiating table calmly; they differed, agreed, threatened, and then were joined by Carter.  But Egypt’s territories were regained...and Taba returned by international law...despite Palestinian attacks against Sadat....  Unless missiles are silenced in Palestine and Israel, there is no hope for a solution. The two countries that attacked Israel on the day of its birth were Egypt and Jordan, but now the three are living in peace, which is our wish for Palestine.  Those who love Palestine and its enlightened people beg them to stop [the violence] and negotiate.  There is or will be no other method or map for peace except on the negotiating table.”


"Struggle For Survival"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram columnist Dr. Abdel Atti Mohamed held (6/17):  “Political Islam as a phenomenon has re-emerged....  In the Palestinian territories, Hamas and Jihad made a show of power not only against Israel but also against the Palestinian Authority...  The main reason for this trend is a struggle for power...  It is a relentless goal, which has employed many tactics....  In the Palestinian territories, Hamas and other Islamic movements, with the appearance of the roadmap, felt threatened with disappearance....  Israel’s occupation is one of the traditional factors in the growth of the Islamic movement.  The cultural and political change demanded of the Middle East raise concern in the Islamic movement....  These groups are struggling for survival.”


JORDAN:  “Sharon Asks For A Truce”


Yaser Za’atreh contended in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (6/16):  “Sharon asks for a truce with Hamas.  Who would believe that this terrible ‘bulldozer’ would finally go down on his knees and ask for a truce....  In light of this, we must wonder: when the resistance movement is achieving all this and forcing the occupiers to retreat while it suffers from the lack of Palestinian consensus, why not support it fully so that it might force the enemy to retreat even more?”


KUWAIT:  “No Peace With Them”


Dr. Sami Nasser Al-Khalifa contended in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/14):  “In his attempt to assassinate [senior leader of Hamas Abdul Aziz] Al-Rantissi, Sharon has proven that any so-called ‘peace’ cannot be achieved unless the Palestinians surrender to the Zionist will, or Arabs and Muslims are subjugated under the new ‘Road Map plan'....  We have no choice but to resort to the Quran, because verses on Jihad mentioned in many Surras state that war should have one objective: boosting the Almighty’s religion. In other words, war means to fight [for] a divine project.”  


“The Burned-Bodies Dialogue”


Dr. Ayyed Al-Manna observed in independent Al-Watan (6/14):  “The religious and the political extremists on both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians are engaged in the burned bodies dialogue. The Palestinians attack the Israelis with explosive belts while the Israelis respond back by attacking the Palestinians using the Apache helicopters and tanks. What is the aim of this dialogue? As long as both parties have not reached the point of exhaustion, then the burned-bodies dialogue will be seen as the most effective means to achieve the final goal.” 


LEBANON:  “For The Intifada To Be Fruitful”


Samir Kassir observed in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar (6/20):  “Obviously, it is not enough to talk about possibility of releasing Fatah movement Secretary Marwan Barghouti and a number of Palestinians from Israeli prisons, however, the mere idea of talking about this the impression that there is a very serious intention to implement the roadmap....  Consequently, this means that the U.S. wants to make sure that the roadmap is implemented successfully...American pressures on the Palestinians are well-known, and their pressure on Arab countries are apparent as well--the real question is: what is the extent of the American pressure on the Israeli Government?....  During the last thirty years, U.S. pressures exerted on Israel were kept secret or behind the scenes....  This time, the only way that can help the U.S. to exert pressure on Israel is to deprive Sharon of using the Palestinian suicide operations as a justification for his policies and attitude.  Even if Palestinians find themselves having to stop the intifada, they should go ahead and do it in order to harvest political gains...and consequently implement the roadmap.”


“The Last Stop”


Sateh Noureddine held in Arab nationalist As-Safir (6/19):  “According to Lebanese instinct, a cease-fire will become effective soon in Palestinian areas...and it could be an ending of a phase...that paves the way for moving this conflict to other fronts that include Lebanon....  There is no doubt that the Palestinian and Israeli societies have expressed their exhaustion of the continuous blood-spilling and want to give their fighters a temporary time-out that...would comply with the American desires and their comprehensive regional plans....  However, Israel will deal with, and view calm at the Palestinian front as an opportunity to open the portfolio of its northern front and blow the dangers at this front out of proportion.  Israel will not find it difficult to draw the attention of the world towards Hizballah and to change its limited defensive strength into an element that can damage military balance in the region....  It is also not difficult to speculate that Hizballah will be dealt with and viewed like Hamas.”


MOROCCO:  "No Commitment On The Part Of Palestinians: Difficulties For Powell's Mission"


Mohamed Aouzal contended in semi-official, French-language Le Matin (6/19):  "Powell's mission is difficult in the framework of the escalation of violence in the region....  To reach the objective, Tel Aviv must cooperate with Mahmoud Abbas to create a favorable environment that would encourage the major Palestinian groups to put an end to violence."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Why No Objection to Israel’s WMD?"


Hassan Tahsin maintained in in English-language, pro-government Arab News (6/20):  "Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has spelled out clearly his reasons for accepting the Middle East road map with 14 reservations....  To accept peace on Sharon’s terms would make the proposed Palestinian state a mockery in the service of Israel’s security.  The most dangerous thing is that Israel is allowed to possess all kinds of weapons of mass destruction while Arab countries are denied these weapons under the pretext that Israel is under threat....  Israel has become a depot for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threatening the security of Arab, Asian and European countries....  According to one estimate, Israel possesses at least 100 nuclear bombs....  At least three international sources have confirmed that Israel had not only produced nuclear mines but spread them in various regions at different periods of the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially in Golan and Naqab during the military confrontation with Egypt in October 1973 and in January 1991.  The question is: Who can ask the international community to disarm Israel of its mass destructive weapons?"


"Crying Wolf"


Riyadh's English-language moderate Riyadh Daily (6/18):  "To begin with, Israel needs to publicly abandon its assassination policy against senior Palestinian militants.  The campaign is not only downright illegal, but is also of little military value, though it goes a long way in striking fear among the common Palestinians. As a first step toward a cease-fire, Israel would need to immediately denounce this doctrine of murder and thereby build some semblance of trust between the two sides. Washington's new peace drive in the region, through its emissary John Wolf, is a welcome step in pushing the stalled peace process forward.  But his efforts face the threat of being waylaid by Israel's persistent misuse of the global war on terror.  Wolf should comprehend the fact that Israel has got away with crying wolf for far too long and that the time has finally come to disregard this ruse altogether."


SYRIA:  "Winds Of Misleading"


Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (6/18):  "President Bush stepped up his criticism campaign of Palestinian groups, saying that the world should deal forcefully with them. He holds them responsible for violence without even saying anything about UN resolutions on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Even Secretary Powell called on the world to fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad, describing them as terrorists.  If Washington is deliberating mixing concepts, equating the criminal with the victim, describing resistance as terrorism, condoning Israeli assassination of Palestinian will it be able to reconcile its stand in support of Zionist terrorism with its officials' statements on establishing a Palestinian state?  Peace is far off in light of the US Administration's deception, maneuvering, ignoring of Palestinian rights, reversing facts and harping on combating alleged Palestinian terrorism without acknowledging the consonance of the Intifada with UNSC resolutions....  There is no need for security meetings between Palestinians and Israelis if Israeli practices torpedo security and increase the Palestinian people's sufferings and suspend their rights?  In fact all the security meetings and the US efforts to facilitate them make no difference since they do not address the fundamental issue, namely, Israeli occupation."


TUNISIA:  “What Are The Limits To The Nuclear Proliferation?”


An editorial by Noureddine Hlaoui in independent French-language Le Temps read (6/18):  "To avoid the possible irresponsible use of nuclear weapons, the whole world, in particular the great powers that possess this powerful weapon, has never stopped calling and working in order to stop the proliferation of this devastating wave. It is in this context that the U.S. is putting strong pressure these days on North Korea and Iran to stop the race to obtain the atomic weapon.  This important initiative raises many questions. Why did Washington close its eyes on the Indian and Pakistani efforts that have ended in the production of their own bombs?....  Why did the U.S. watch kindly over the finalization of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which could destroy the whole region of the Middle East?  Why does the U.S. insist on forcing some countries to accept the visits of the AIEA experts to check their installations while the Hebrew State continues to challenge and to reject with arrogance signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allowing the AIEA teams to visit Israel? It is the practice of the double standard policy that only the Zionist State benefits from....  The U.S. has the means to ensure respect of international law. It has in the recent past demonstrated that if it wants to, it can.  This is important for the stability of the whole planet.”


UAE:  "Similarities" 


Sharjah-based pan-Arab Al Khaleej declared (6/15):  "There is a great deal of similarity between the American occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine in style as well as in objectives....  In Palestine as well as in Iraq, occupation imposes itself, and the people's will is trying to emphasize its right to resistance to get their liberty back.  If both occupations complete one another and are connected in goals and strategies, then the resistance of both people is united in objectives as well."


"Sharon's War Against Peace"


Dubai-based business-oriented Arabic-language Al Bayan editorialized (6/14):  "The beginning of Sharon’s comprehensive terrorist war against the Palestinian people came to abort any hope for peaceful negotiations.  In fact, the war assassinated the hope of peace by pushing the Palestinians towards a huge wall of despair and disappointment....  If the Arabs do not move to save the Palestinian people, then their turn will come soon, according to a public agenda that aims to make Israel the only dominant regional player."




CHINA:  “Right Of Return Key To Peace”


The official English-language China Daily said (6/18):  “There is no easy way to go through the roadmap brought into force by U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this month, as it evades some of the most tough questions, one of which is the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.”


PHILIPPINES:  “Wall Of Distant Relatives"


The independent Manila Standard editorialized (6/19):  “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, says Robert Frost.  And it is not the wailing kind in Jerusalem because Israel is raising one that is 600 km long...presumably to keep out suicide bombers and terrorists.  This physical demarcation will certainly redraw whatever road map is being worked out between Israel and Palestine under the auspices of the U.S....  The greater part of humanity wants to see more settlement through peace than through arms....  For if there is any good use for fences, we are also told that a good neighbor is better than a distant relative.”


"War Locked"


Argee Guevarra argued in leading business-oriented BusinessWorld (6/18):  "While the road map rolls on a road show in the Red Sea, violence has not taken a vacation in Israel and Palestine. Suicide bombers continue attacking buses in almost every Jewish city and Israeli combat aircraft continue blasting to smithereens suspected Hamas hideouts....  In the meantime, President Bush stage-manages a moro-moro (farce) peace summitry with the parties to the conflict in the hope that the publicity generated by the negotiations would bring about a semblance of peace in the region.  Unfortunately, the actors in Bush's moro-moro appear no more than talking heads who discuss peace in abstract terms while the streets of Palestine and Israel flood with blood as Israel pursues its policy of state terrorism while Hamas mercilessly carries out more daring terrorist missions in Israel. The Road Map to Peace has thus become an irrelevant sideshow to the horrifying carnage taking place while the world watches helplessly in yet another biblical feature of fratricidal relations."


INDIA: "Peace As A Victim"


An editorial in independent Urdu-language Milap read (6/19):  "Although the renewed violence in the Middle East did not surprise anyone, it did shock the world community that expected progress after the recent visit of President Bush to the region and his meeting with Arab and Israeli leaders. Be it the Palestinian suicide attack or Israel's military operation, the real victim is peace. No peace efforts can make progress in an atmosphere of violence. Apart from the US, the international community, too, should help in resolving the problem. Also, it is necessary for both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with a broadminded approach."


"The Tragedy Of Palestine" 


Achin Vanaik declared in the centrist Hindu (6/18):  "Today, the most powerful national liberation movement anywhere in the world is that of the Palestinians. Yet, their struggle stands triply betrayed. It is being betrayed by the supreme `peacemaker', the U.S. It is being betrayed by the Arab and the Third World Governments....  Today's U.S.-sponsored `road map' is simply a repackaging of the old Oslo process, itself meant to culminate in the creation of a Bantustanised Palestine permanently subordinated to Israel. But because the President Bush, has, for the first time, formally declared support to the principle of a separate Palestinian state, he is being applauded for statesmanship and vision....  How ironic that Israel and the U.S., the only two foreign occupying forces in West Asia and guilty of inflicting unspeakable brutalities on the people of the region, are being hailed as genuine peacemakers! Amazingly, the U.S. has also been applauded for imposing an unelected leader of its choice on the Palestinians and for then pursuing another fraudulent 'peace process' through him!....  But the chances of this fraudulent U.S.-backed plan succeeding are low. Given Palestinian weakness, Mr. Sharon sees the concessions as too much. But he cannot openly oppose the U.S., which wants some settlement to stabilize its regional dominance. So his strategy is to play for time till the U.S. elections come along next year when domestic preoccupations become paramount and no presidential aspirant can afford being seen as tough on Israel. As for the Palestinians, rejecting the leadership of Abu Mazen is not enough. To succeed in their goal of eventually achieving a just and dignified settlement they must have a new political leadership that will, no matter how difficult, eschew violent retaliation against Israel's brutal colonial rule and seek to shift the political relationship of forces against Washington and Tel Aviv....  In the absence of such an emergent leadership, the most likely short-run development will be yet another defiant, courageous, yet desperate third Intifada."


"Peace Prospects Clouded" 


Nationalist Urdu-language Rahnuma-E-Deccan declared (6/18):  "The so-called roadmap as drawn by the US for peace in the Middle East is primarily meant for serving Israel's interests, with no considerations to the grievances or aspirations of the Palestinians. Most of its provisions impose such conditions that make the very concept of an independent Palestinian state meaningless and consequently unacceptable. It is this biased approach against Palestinians that helps the organizations like Hamas. It is foolish and ridiculous to expect Palestinians to welcome something that has nothing to do with their rights and aspirations. Then, why should Hamas be singled out for sabotaging the so-called peace efforts? Why not Israel? As long as Palestinians continue to be deprived of justice by the US and Israel, the situation is unlikely to change."


"Palestine:  New Bush Act" 


Cuttuck-based Oriya-language Samaja opined (6/14):  "There is no doubt that the U.S. wants to reinforce its presence in the region by keeping Israel in its fold.  The Iraq invasion has enhanced the Arab world's enmity against America.  In this circumstance, the U.S. has to play its cards carefully....  The U.S. seems to be obsessed with the idea that it has to act as an international policeman.  To play the role effectively it wants to establish its supremacy over as many countries as possible.  If Syria, Jordan and Iran come to accept its supremacy it will be a real victory for America....  In any case America will see to it that peace or no peace Israel's national interest is not compromised....  The equation being such, America's peace move remains suspect."


"Will This New Peace Effort Be Successful?"


Assistant Editor Semanthi Ghosh wrote in Influential Kolkata-based Bengali-language periodical Desh (6/12):  "The situation at the moment is that both Sharon and Abbas are under tremendous international and domestic pressure. The pressure within is not for releasing even an inch of land while the pressure from outside relates to arriving at a consensus inside the country at any cost, the first and essential step for the 'roadmap' project....  This is the 'iron logic' of the international 'roadmap' scheme...but is this at all possible to bring about? Or, is the mystery of the peace effort concealed inside this impossibility?.... Maybe, Sharon caught in a quagmire, is keeping his options of retraction this way. For, in case the decision of the 'national debate' goes against him, he will have no responsibility....  On the other hand, will the militants, who pooh poohed even Arafat, at all listen to the sweet words of compromise from Abbas?....  Maybe, because of this situation, the two leaders are promoting their message of goodwill in English instead of Hebrew or Arabic. This shield of the language is essential for them, as they cannot reach out to their countrymen with the complete dictum.  But, how long will they continue to hide?"


PAKISTAN:  "Accepting Facts Or Showing Bravery?"


Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat stated (6/20):  "Those who are suggesting that General Musharraf recognize Israel are not concerned with the fact Israel has control over the Muslims' first worshiping mosque at Jerusalem; for them the killings of Palestinians is not the killings of Muslims; for them these people live far away from Pakistan, wear different clothes and speak a different language.  So we have reasons to accept Israel.  And God forbid if Israel or America take control over Mecca and Madina, even then are we to maintain the same stance?  It is in the interest of the President not to recognize Israel and provide patronage to this illegitimate child of America and Britain."


"Relations With Israel?"


The Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times declared (6/19):  "Talking to a Pakistani independent TV news channel, General Musharraf said that Pakistan could seriously ponder the matter of recognizing Israel-- once the Palestinian crisis was resolved in the Middle East--in light of the collective decision taken on it by the Arab states. He correctly put a political gloss on the question and did not fall into the trap of eternal "scriptural" animosity towards the Jewish state....  General Musharraf’s view that Pakistan align its position with the Arab states is realistic in the sense that we have economically crucial relations with the latter that recognition of Israel might affect. Recognizing Israel after consulting with the Arab states is a realistic option....  The fact is that any Pakistani presence in Tel Aviv could force Israel to balance its relations with India and recognize Pakistan’s strategic importance in the area.  Together with Egypt, Jordan and the Central Asian states, Pakistan can become a counterpoise to the one-sided diplomacy of Israeli extremists.  So General Musharraf should be commended for raising the question at this juncture."


"Recognizing Israel"


The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer stated (6/19):  "Israel’s recognition is a very sensitive issue in view of Pakistan’s sentimental attachment with the Palestinian people, who were uprooted from their soil to create the Jewish State under an international conspiracy and are languishing in refugee camps in their own homeland over the decades....  The Pakistani people are mindful of their agony and misery and cannot ignore Israel’s brutalities against them.  They cannot obviously swallow any review of Pakistan’s position on the issue.  Foreign policy of a country cannot, however, be static and has to be tailored according to a given situation and national interests.  What is essential is that Israel must end its military oppression against the Palestinians, withdraw its troops from the Palestinian areas, scrupulously adhere to the ME peace roadmap and facilitate early establishment of an independent, secure and sovereign Palestinian State. Besides, Israel will have to eschew its aggressive designs in the Middle East and prove its intentions to live in peace and harmony with its neighbors to evoke consideration by the world community, including Pakistan." 


"A New Model Of American Terrorism"


Shahnawaz Farooqi opined in Karachi-based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat (6/18):  "The examples of American terror in Afghanistan and Iraq are not ever to be forgotten for centuries.  To add to this, Israel and America plan to kill each and every member of 'Hamas.'  This only goes to prove that a new history of mass Muslim killing in Palestine is about to be written, where conscience-less Arab leaders would be with America in their own interest."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Middle East Battle Lines Are Being Redrawn"


The liberal Sunday Independent commented (6/15):  "There are some important changes in the balance of forces in the Middle East....  Palestinian and Israeli death tolls are now running almost 50/50....  Second, Bush has shown more even-handedness in his criticism of Israeli counterattacks....  Both Bush and...Powell...have made it clear that they will not allow escalating violence to scuttle implementation of the road map.  But this week's suicide bombings by Hamas has hardened American attitudes...against Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups....  One hopeful sign amid the mayhem is that the political will of the international community--and the US in particular--seems to be stronger than before....  Syria and Iran and other countries that harbor Hamas are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they are harboring terrorists in a world that does not tolerate terrorism....  It is vital that suicide bombing by Palestinian militants and overzealous revenge attacks by the Israeli security forces are not allowed to relegate another peace plan to the Middle Eastern scrap heap."




CANADA:  "Strikes Against Hamas Will Actually Help Abbas"


David Warren observed in the conservative Ottawa Citizen (6/14):  "I would choose 'fight to the death' to describe the present tussle between Israel and Palestinian terrorism. Both cannot survive....  In the case of the West Bank and Gaza, there is also no hope for the creation of a Palestinian state until the terrorists are annihilated....  To Palestinians who want to have a state, and keep their terror militias, the kindest thing that can be said is: 'choose one.'....  Yes, the current Israeli offensive includes targeted assassinations of the entire Hamas leadership. This is unpopular even among many Israelis....  To them, and to their like in the rest of the world, there is a reciprocal relationship....  This is nonsense. As Hamas itself declared, the bus attack was planned well before the Israeli helicopters were dispatched against Mr. Rantisi....  Hamas is not dedicated to killing every Jew it can in response to Israeli attacks on the Hamas leadership. Hamas is dedicated to killing every Jew it can, period.  The targeted assassinations seem to be part of a larger mission of annihilation against Hamas....  Israel has hardly undermined the effort of Mahmoud Abbas to rein in the terror masters, since the Palestinian premier has publicly announced he has no such intention. He only asked for a "hudna" (temporary ceasefire)....  Nor is Israel creating an impediment to talks with the Palestinian Authority, but rather removing a major impediment--the organization that has vowed to sabotage them."


ARGENTINA:  "Israel: Peace, Too Far"


Oscar Raul Cardoso contended in leading Clarin (6/14):  "When the Middle East 'road map'--basically Washington's creation--was launched in March, everyone knew it was a fragile option....  The doubts surrounding it are simpler than many analyses of the situation. After all--now that the conventional war, not the real one, ended in Iraq--how much time and energy will Bush--a candidate in campaign for the 2004 elections--is willing or able to dedicate to the Middle East conflict, when things in the domestic front aren't at their best right now?   This is a permanent question when we take into consideration the 'road map', no matter what our speculations are. This new peace plan for the Middle East may live or die, but what we know for sure is that the present regional situation will change....  In many aspects, the development of the situation in Iraq and in Israel is almost symmetrical. In both, we smell political failure."


BRAZIL:  "Imbroglio"


Right-of-center O Globo stated (6/17):  "President Bush made a serious mistake to include Hamas on the list of U.S. international enemies--like the al Qaeda.  In this case, the differences are more important than the similarities.  Hamas is a monster with a unmistakable profile, born from the seeds of hate in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, where it has deep roots.  The al-Qaeda is a diffuse, exiled terrorist organization pledged to attacking American targets and citizens.  Moreover, Bush made another bad mistake.  By mixing apples with oranges, he tacitly took Israel's side in a dispute in which the U.S. role should exclusively be that of a mediator."


"Necessary Gesture"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (6/17):  "Of course Israel is entitled to defend itself from groups that have vowed to destroy the Jewish state. It is also obvious that the right to self-defense includes [taking] military action against extremists. The point is that Israeli repression and the so-called 'selective murder' of Hamas leaders were not--and never will be--able to provide security for Israel....  Instead of responding to each terrorist attack, Israel should unilaterally withdraw troops and settlements from the occupied territories at once."


"The Boomerang Effect Of Sharon's Policy" 


Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo editorialized (6/15):  "The Palestinian terrorist groups seem to be the only rational political players in the Arab-Israeli conflict: their actions are consistent with their purposes and produce the desired effects....  Tragically, they have on their side the policies implemented by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon....  The unprecedented harsh reprisals directed at the Palestinian population as a whole make it difficult to deny the accusation that Sharon's administration can be compared to those of Israel's worst enemies, as it punishes the clandestine terror perpetrated by Palestinians with a form of state terror. The catastrophic boomerang effect of the seemingly unchanging truculence of the old general does not go unnoticed any more--despite everything--even in Israel."


ECUADOR:   "Is The Peace Plan Failing?"


Quito-based center-left Hoy wondered (6/14):  "The peace plan for Palestinians and Israelis, announced by President George W. Bush, is on the brink of failure because of an escalation of violence during the last few days....  It is unlikely that Islamic extremist groups like Hamas will accept the plan, nor is it likely to see a change in the stubbornness of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  There is no room for conciliation between the call to destroy Hamas and attacking Zionist objectives in the occupied territories. Between these two extremes, there is no possibility for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority....  Palestinian Prime Minister, Abu Mazen, is overwhelmed by the situation. The urgent need for a mutual cease-fire to allow some hope for peace requires the participation of Yasser Arafat and recognizing his leadership; however, neither the Israeli Prime Minister, nor President Bush seem willing to do this....  After the war against Iraq on the pretext of destroying weapons of mass destruction which have not been found, the failure of the 'plan' would fan the flames that will reduce peace and stability in the region down to ashes."


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:  "Mamaguy By Israel?"


The sensationalist Newsday declared (6/12):  "The so-called Road Map, the initiative of U.S. President George W. Bush to broker a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, now seems destined to go the way of all previous attempts to bring this age-old conflict to an end....  In fact, Tuesday's attack by an Israeli helicopter on Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi in which a bodyguard and a bystander were killed may well spell the doom of the Road Map....  President Bush has issued the required ritual-like condemnation of the Israeli attempt to eliminate the Hamas leader, and the action may even help him to understand the recalcitrant and obstreperous nature of the Israeli leadership but, poor fellow, what can he really do to rein in the Sharon regime and the rampant Jewish military?....  In this entire situation, the Israelis know that they have it made, that they don't even have to listen to Bush.  They know that the $3 billion in aid they receive from the U.S. every year is untouchable....  Therefore, while they may find it convenient to go through the motions of another peace process...iIt seems to us that the Israelis are engaging in a huge mamaguy since we know there is no question of their voluntary withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza."


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