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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 13:58 GMT
Mid-East press deplores Maher attack

Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian newspapers have roundly condemned the attack on Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher by a group of angry Palestinians during his visit to al-Aqsa mosque.

But a London-based pan-Arab paper welcomes the incident as a warning to Arab leaders.

An insolent attack.

Al-Wafd - Egypt

Maher's visit to Israel and his statements at the news conference were only meant to eliminate the suffering of the Palestinian people and realise their hopes for their legitimate rights. Peace-hating extremists reject that.

Al-Akhbar - Egypt

Egypt's diplomatic efforts will still continue in order to resume negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Al-Ahram - Egypt

Maher was the subject of a lowly and cowardly attack by some foolish and cowardly Palestinians.

Al-Jumhuriyah - Egypt

The cowardly attack... was an assault on the Palestinian people and al-Aqsa Mosque. The big sister [Egypt], which is stepping up international efforts to support our people and trying to open gaps in Israel's stubborn stance, deserves nothing but thanks and appreciation.

We apologise to Arab Egypt, and its foreign minister, for what these fools did. We believe that Egypt, which has been and continues to be a big sister for all, will bear with these small games.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah - Palestinian (commentary by Hafith al-Barghuthi)

Most probably, without detailed accusations, Sharon's security [forces] allowed this incident to happen so that Islamic figures visiting Al-Aqsa would have to rely on Israeli security even within the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah - Palestinian (from commentary by Adli Sadiq)

The attack... is a criminal and stupid act. The group that perpetrated this sinful assault does not belong at all to the Palestinian society.

Al-Quds - Palestinian

Two years ago exactly, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher returned from a failed visit to Israel... Yesterday's visit was meant to remove the bitter taste of the previous one, but after the grave incident on Temple Mount, the visit will be remembered... as a "punishment visit".

Ha'aretz - Israel

Every Israeli official says how he gnashes his teeth over Egypt's anti-Israeli activities in the international arena. And here comes a group of good-for-nothings and accuses a senior Egyptian official, in the holiest of Islam's holy places, of being a party to murdering Palestinians.

Yesterday's abnormal incident on Temple Mount has no political repercussions. It is a frenzy act. The guilty will be caught, and Cairo-Ramallah relations will go on being good... The importance of the incident will remain in the small details: the intolerable act of marginal radical groups going into a frenzy and doing something that 1,000 wise men would not succeed in mending.

Ma'ariv - Israel

Perhaps the shoes which Palestinians hurled yesterday will be a warning, and enter history as a response by Arabs to the daily disasters and setbacks of their people... Therefore, our thanks to the shoes and thanks to their owners.

The shoes... were a lesson to all Arab leaders and their representatives, who have been heedless of the Arab masses, their demands and sentiments. They only listen to the US administration and its offensive demands to normalise relations with the Jewish state, work for its interests and cover its terrorist policies.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi - London-based

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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