"The Roadmap Is Long Overdue"

March 18, 2003

Jordan Times

Editorial, March 16:

"George Bush's surprise announcement ... on Friday that he will unveil the 'roadmap' for Middle East peace was long overdue, but nonetheless welcomed ...

"Less uplifting was the fact that ... Mr Bush said he will unveil the roadmap once ... Abu Mazen takes over as Palestinian prime minister with 'real authority'. With this statement, Mr Bush implied two unfortunate, but real, things: that the US, not the Quartet [US, Russia, EU and UN] decides what to do with the roadmap; and that the US, not the Palestinians, decides what powers their premier should have."

New York Times

Editorial, March 15:

"There are many reasons to doubt prospects for Middle East peace ... [But] the appointment of ... Abu Mazen, could prove the turning point ... [He] has been a persistent voice of reconciliation and the most important Palestinian to denounce the intifada. His powers remain unclear, and Mr Bush is right to insist that they entail 'real authority' ... Washington would be wise to invite [him] soon to the White House so it can publicly open the door it shut in Yasser Arafat's face."

Ben Caspit

Ma'ariv, Israel, March 16:

"Mr Bush delivered [the roadmap] to 'sacrifice' Israel for Tony Blair's sinking public support ratings, without causing [Israel] any real damage ...

"Mr Bush is under pressure from three directions ... First ... his re-election campaign is slated to begin in 10 months and now is not the time to fight with the Jewish contributors. Second, the Pentagon hawks ... have explained to him that the Palestinians are scoundrels and that Mr Arafat needs to be sent to hell ... Third, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell have been pressing him ... to invest in the Israeli-Palestinian track out of a sober diplomatic world view."

Uzi Benziman

Ha'aretz, March 16:

"[Israeli] ministers like Effi Eitam and Avigdor Lieber man ... do not believe Mr Bush is sincere in his intention to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian entanglement ... In their eyes, the only effective way to quash Palestinian terror is by ... military force ... In their opinion, the American administration will not deal with the dispute here in the near future. It is concentrated entirely on the assault on Iraq and its implications."

Jerusalem Post

Editorial, March 16:

"The unamended road map ... goes down the same dead end of Oslo, which was to set deadlines for concrete Israeli actions linked to vague and reversible Palestinian commitments ... The push for a democratic Palestine combines the old 'land for peace' concept with the new democracy-based framework. 'Land for peace' was based on the idea that if Israel produced the land, Arabs would produce peace. That model failed miserably ... The roadmap as is [also] does not demand nearly enough of the Palestinians or of the Arab states." Jerusalem Times

Editorial, March 13:

"The roadmap was supposed to have been published last year but the US, its author, kept postponing it as a result of requests from Israel and now says the roadmap and the entire Palestinian-Israeli conflict may have to wait until the US finishes with Iraq. This may mean the Palestinians have to wait for decades."

Gulf Times

Editorial, Qatar, March 15:

"Ahead of a probable attack on Baghdad, the US president sought to deflect criticism over Washington's Middle East policies by delivering a statement on the Palestinian issue ...

"Cynics will have their suspicions strengthened when they recall that Mr Bush's original public commitment to a two-state solution came ... just days before the US intervened in Afghanistan. Arabs will inevitably conclude that whenever Washington wants to appease moderate Arab opinion ahead of a war with a Muslim country it raises hopes for a settlement of the Palestinian problem."

More Information on Israel, Palestine, and the Occupied Territories
More Information on the "Peace Process"

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