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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Israeli fence divides Mid-East press

Comment in the Israeli and Arab press continues to reflect polarized opinions on Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank and the roadmap project in general.

Some Arab commentators complain of US unwillingness to force Israel's hand, but there is also some common ground, with suggestions from both sides that Israeli Government policy could spark a return to violence.

The Palestinians have only themselves to blame for the construction of the security fence. It is the direct result of the outrageous campaign of terror they waged against Israel's civilian population, which took such a heavy toll in Israeli lives. If the fence will help keep the Palestinians out of Israel in the years to come, so much the better.

Former Defence Minister Moshe Arens in Haaretz - Israel

The roadmap is billed as a peace process. Like other processes that preceded it in this region, it is rapidly becoming another protection racket. Israel and the US are betting that this protection racket can turn into a real peace process. It will not happen unless the Palestinian Authority is held, for the first time, to its commitments by Jerusalem, with Washington's backing.

Jerusalem Post - Israel

Don't say you haven't been told: The way the Israeli Government is managing its moves will bring back suicide bombers to our streets, restaurants, clubs and buses. Only when the Palestinian people are convinced of the sincerity of Israel's intentions will they cut off the oxygen supply to the terrorist organizations.

Meir Bleich in Maariv - Israel

Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to return to violence? They have refused to cooperate with them on violence and in curbing it, so what do they want?

Al-Sharq al-Awsat - London

The Zionists are lying to the world when they claim that the objective of the security wall that they are building is to protect themselves from Palestinian attacks. The objective of building this racist wall is far from reality.

Al-Bayan - UAE

If the US continues to treat the Israeli cancer with Panadol tablets, it will never stop spreading. It is either the roadmap or the security wall. Either its construction is stopped or the truce is wrecked.

Al-Watan - Qatar

Despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority has implemented most of its commitments in the first phase of the roadmap, Sharon's government has refused to do so. At the same time, Washington has not done much to exert pressure on Sharon's government to fulfil its commitments.

Al-Ahram - Egypt

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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