an area of the map for world news.
February 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 2)
from 11 newspapers in 11 countries
Tempo (independent weekly), Dec. 17-23: Will the
Palestinian-Israeli problem lead to peace or war if [President
Yasser] Arafat is removed?...It is feared that if the Palestinian
Authority is not in Arafat’s hands..., the Palestine-Israel
conflict will worsen and will finally end in armed conflict
or even an open war... [that] will easily trigger involvement
of other Middle Eastern countries.
Panama City La Prensa
(independent), Dec. 14: Yasser Arafat...now isn’t recognized
by Israel as a valid spokesman. Much was promised [by Arafat],
but very little was done to control...the extremist Palestinian
organizations. This reality can be interpreted as a lack of
good faith by Arafat, but it can just as well be thought that
he doesn’t have the power to make them obey.
Cairo Al-Akhbar (government-owned),
Dec. 12: While the Palestinian president is exposed to enormous
pressure to prevent his people from acting in self-defense,
Israeli occupation forces continue to strike at Palestinian
civilians....The Israeli government has put in motion a plan
to undermine the Palestinian Authority, seeking to eliminate
Palestinian resistance leaders and then depose President Arafat
himself. They do all this, and then they ask Arafat to help
them take aim at what they call Palestinian militants so that
Israel can recognize him as the leader of the Palestinian people
and be sure he is qualified to sit with Israeli negotiators
at the table. This begs the question: What would they be negotiating?...Arafat’s
Athens Kathimerini (conservative),
Dec. 8: If Arafat cannot guarantee the safety of his people,
why would he guarantee the Israelis’ safety? If the West continues
to pressure Arafat to help Israel, it will endanger his future,
as well as the possibility of finding a formula to keep Israelis
secure, while also finding a solution for the Palestinians.
Singapore The Straits Times
(independent), Dec. 14: Israel should be persuaded to
allow Mr. Arafat more time to neutralize, as best as he can,
the most destructive elements in the Palestinian resistance.
He should get credit for trying. Poor man—it is hard enough
getting his police to arrest hotheads when police stations are
under Israeli fire; it is doubly grating when his efforts are
trivialized by Israel as a sham....[Arafat] needs the understanding
of the United States now more than ever.
Oslo Aftenposten (conservative),
Dec. 11: It is uncertain whether Arafat will allow himself
to be replaced by his many “crown pretenders”..., whom he has
consciously played off against each other. Many people have
had their fingers burned in writing off the legendary Palestinian
leader. In any case Israel faces the basic problem of the conflict:
3 million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, and most
of them are ready to fight [the Israelis].
Dhaka Daily Star (independent),
Dec. 12: A frustrated Ehud Barak called Arafat a terrorist.
Is he talking about the man he supped with just a year ago at
Camp David in the benign presence of President Bill Clinton?
Did Tony Blair have long meetings with a terrorist only a few
weeks ago? Or did Arafat briefly retire from terrorism and has
now returned to it...? As one perceptive diplomat said, “the
world’s leaders no longer feel accountable for the language
Mexico City Proceso (liberal
newsmagazine), Dec. 9: Arafat is trapped between two fires.
Even though for the international community, he is the No. 1
interlocutor in the Middle East, his leadership and his capacity
to control the situation have begun to be seriously questioned—even
though many recognize that he is the only person who can prevent
a civil war among Palestinians.
Tel Aviv Ha’aretz (liberal),
Dec. 17: Despite all his faults, Yasser Arafat is the only
leader with whom there is still any chance at all of coming
to a peace settlement. This is not a guess or a wish, but rather
an assessment that is based on the fact that Arafat, though
he has been considerably weakened of late, remains the only
one among the Palestinians who is managing to maintain the prestige
that any leader needs to lead his people to concessions.
Havana Juventud Rebelde (newspaper
of the Communist Youth Union), Dec. 14: Perhaps Sharon’s
alarming arrogance and his tendency to ignore Washington can
explain why Washington has continued to ratify Arafat’s leadership.
But its weak recognition fails to hide the double nature of
a policy based on unconditional support for Israel. The consequences
of that support will be unavoidable.
— Marina Menéndez Quintero
New Delhi Hindustan Times
(centrist), Dec. 4: [Arafat] is powerless to progress
on the diplomatic front unless the international community—read
Washington—puts pressure on Israel to make necessary concessions
for a viable Palestine. The reason is simple: Unless and until
a Palestinian state is born, Arafat cannot turn on the militants;
he will need all the popular Palestinian support he can muster
to wage what can amount to an actual civil war.