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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 11:45 GMT
Press debates 'peace threat' poll

Arabic newspapers have warmly welcomed a recent EU survey suggesting that nearly 60% of Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.

Unlike Americans, Europeans have not been fooled by Israeli propaganda and see Israel for the aggressive state it really is, the papers say.

Reaction to the poll in Israeli papers, by contrast, ranged from angry rejection to calls for a change of policy towards the Palestinians.

Something is moving in Europe. Indeed, the optimists can say the De Gaulle "project" - of a Europe free to make its own decisions from the Urals to the Atlantic - is no mere pipedream... The most significant indication of this qualitative shift is what is happening within the context of public opinion and not in official circles... This transformation in the European mindset indicates the beginning of the collapse of the appeasement of Israel which has lasted for decades.

Al-Ba'th - Syria

The Zionists are angry because of what Europe said about them... It is odd that the Zionist killers are venting their anger on whoever reveals the truth about them to the world, yet they freely move about spreading whatever they wish - from misleading ideas to biased allegations - without censorship.

Al-Bayan - UAE

To be precise, this survey was not surprising in the light of the aggressive policies which Israel has practised for years, especially since Ariel Sharon came to power... The result of this survey should ring a alarm bell for Israelis. Those voices in Israel claiming that others are anti-Semitic should review Israel's aggressive policies instead.

Al-Ahram - Egypt

The significance of the poll is that it reflects a predominant European view that is free in its choices... It promises a major qualitative transformation. It is up to us to benefit from it by engaging in dialogue and cooperation with those other Europeans who miss the facts.

Al-Thawrah - Syria (commentary by Khalid al-Shahab)

This time round the US-Zionists are annoyed about the dissemination of the European public opinion survey which affirms that the Zionist entity is the greatest danger to world peace, and that the Americans, with their wars all over the place, are no model of security and are a threat to humanity.

Al-Vefagh - Iran (in Arabic)

The European public has not been fooled by Israel's powerful propaganda machine... Israel's outrage at the results of the poll was as hypocritical as it was futile. Europeans have rated the Jewish state below many "rogue states"... not because they are anti-Semitic, but because they have realized that Israel has been oppressing and repressing in violence and blood the legitimate aspirations of a nation fighting for its right to self-determination and independence.

Jordan Times

This arrow is one of many - if it is all right for Israeli pilots, journalists, and politicians to criticise the essence of the occupation and its policy, then why is it forbidden for others? Israel is an outcast state because it is the last occupying country in the world.

Al-Ayyam - Palestinian

Europe, two generations after World War II and the Jewish Holocaust, is not sympathetic to Israel. The old image of a people's state recovering from a terrible disaster and defending itself against greater forces has given way to the image of an oppressive occupying power that fights to hold onto land that doesn't belong to it. Instead of complaining about ignorance and anti-Semitism, Israel should be improving both its policies and the way they are reflected in public opinion.

Ha'aretz - Israel

It seems that whoever ordered the poll sought a certificate of approval for a very certain type of European foreign policy. But the reply Brussels received was... a boomerang in the face of those who financed it. The poll will be remembered as another landmark in the abyss towards which Israel-Europe relations are galloping, and another justification for keeping the continent from the political process it so eagerly wants to take part in.

Ma'ariv - Israel

Ironically, the same poll found that 81 per cent of Europeans thought the EU should become more involved in Middle East peacemaking efforts... Obviously, such polls confirm every Israeli instinct about the need to keep Europeans as far away from any position of diplomatic influence as possible. Memo to Europe: demonizing a democracy under attack is no way to win friends and influence people.

Jerusalem Post - Israel

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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