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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 14:36 GMT
Mid-East press mulls Yaalon remarks

Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon's off-the-record press briefing in which he criticised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's uncompromising attitude towards the Palestinians meets with approval in both Israeli and Arab newspapers.

Elsewhere in the Arab press, Mr Sharon comes under fire over the continuing plans for a security wall in the Palestinian territories.

Deafness to what Yaalon is saying, or attacking his remarks, both miss the point, which is to prevent Israel's actions and blunders from adversely affecting the prospects of achieving peace and security.

We should pay greater heed to the chief of staff's words of warning than to the procedure of their utterance.

Haaretz - Israel

Moshe Yaalon is one of the least-complicated people to sit on the chief of staff's chair. His mouth and heart are equal.

The stigma he acquired, as eater of Arabs for breakfast, missed the point: Yaalon entered the current war against terrorism as an uncompromising enemy of Arafat, and as one who was trying to give the government the widest possible room for political action. Then he realised that when the government has room, it does its best to close it.

Yediot Aharonot - Israel

The clock, so it transpires not for the first time, is working against us. Whoever listened to Yaalon's statements could have got the impression that as far as he is concerned, the 90th minute is upon us and what is left now is injury-time.

Yaalon's briefing is not political criticism of government policy, but a cry over its reluctance to decide, over its refusal to see the deteriorating reality.

Maariv - Israel

The essential issue in Yaalon's criticism of the Israeli Government... is not about his moderate stance, but is rather related to internal Israeli considerations. Yaalon was interested in making public his disagreement at the political level.

Al-Ayyam - Palestinian

Gen Yaalon announces the failure of the use of violence!

The furious reaction of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to the statements by Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon reveal the extent of Sharon' s narrow-mindedness and his violence-oriented attitude towards the Palestinian conflict.

The lack of tolerance showed by Sharon over the observations made by the general, and Sharon's remarks that the statements were very dangerous... make us more convinced that Sharon is the most right-wing and extremist man in Israel's history.

Al-Ray - Jordan

Building the separation wall will only increase the suffering of the Palestinian people, and escalate feelings of tension, frustration and every danger that can result from it. No-one can predict its consequences and its magnitude.

Al-Quds - Palestinian

Sharon's walls may separate more than 60,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem suburbs from the city centre. This wall can also separate tens of thousand of Palestinians in the north and south of the West Bank. However, these walls could strangle the Zionist entity and transform it into a ghetto that is isolated from the rest of the world.

Akhbar al-Arab - UAE

What does the butcher Sharon want? ... He wants to continue building the racist wall which is swallowing half the lands of the occupied West Bank, and at the same time continue his terrorist campaign against Palestine. His excuse to the international public is... that he is working towards combating what he terms as Palestinian terrorism.

Al-Bayan - UAE

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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