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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Palestinian anger and disappointment
Israeli soldiers roundup Palestinians in Ramallah
Palestinians say Bush's views mirror Sharon's agenda
In the West Bank and Gaza, ordinary Palestinians are reacting to President Bush's statement on the Middle East with disappointment and anger.

Generally, people are dismissing the speech as being identical to the agenda of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and saying it offers the Palestinians no incentive to commit themselves to Mr Bush's ideas.

Ahmad Abul Auf is a 50-year-old Palestinian living in Gaza city.


Bush has misjudged us. Palestinians are stubborn, They do not do what their own leaders tell them to, let alone some distant head of some empire

Walid Massar
"They are asking us to change our democratically elected leader. Why not demand Sharon goes? He is elected, but he is also blocking the way to peace," he told BBC News Online.

"As a Palestinian living in Gaza, I know only too well that change and reform of the Palestinian leadership is absolutely essential. It has been desperately needed for years.

"But as a Palestinian, I must also refuse when a foreign government demands this change of us.

"They do not really want reform or the type of change that would ease our suffering. They just want a Palestinian leader they can deal with in terms of security," he said.

No progress

"It was an exercise in saying nothing," Walid Massar, a radio station manger in Ramallah told BBC News Online.


Either Bush sees the situation through a prism so biased that that it allows him to see only the Israeli view, or he simply has no idea what is going on here

Salah Jawwad
"The speech contains no plan and offers us nothing, and by the way, is a great failure for Arab diplomacy."

Walid argued that President Bush had misjudged the Palestinians terribly.

"Palestinians are stubborn, They do not do what their own leaders tell them to, let alone some distant head of some empire.

"As far as the Israelis are concerned, it brings them nothing either. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade are not going to change their ways at all. None of this changes or moves anything forward," Walid said.

'Biased view'

Saleh Abdel Jawwad is professor of political science at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah.

He has for years been an outspoken critic of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, but does not back the calls for reform and a change of leadership in the terms that President Bush does.

"I am astounded. Either Bush sees the situation through a prism so biased that that it allows him to see only the Israeli view, or he is simply ignorant and has no idea what is going on here, on the ground," Mr Jawwad told BBC News Online.

"His ideas bear no relationship to the life we are leading.

"Bush is making demands of Palestinians whilst not even acknowledging the invasion and the destruction and that is going on here.

"He is asking nothing of the Israelis, not even that they restrain or stop their current operations."


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