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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Press focuses on Rafah killings

Arab and Israeli papers focus on international reaction to Israel's killing of protesters in the Gaza Strip.

In Israel, there is dismay at the damage done to the country's reputation by images of Palestinian suffering in what one writer calls the "PR game".

Arab commentators - writing before the UN resolution condemning Israel, which the United States did not veto - focus on what they see as Washington's tolerant attitude towards the Israeli operation in Rafah.

It does not matter who pulled the trigger and hit dozens of innocent Palestinian civilian demonstrators. It does not matter what were the circumstances of the mishap that led to the killing and wounding of so many. The blame will fall on Israel, its government and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

Ze'ev Schiff in Israel's Ha'aretz

The longer the IDF remain in this area, the greater the number of mistakes and mishaps will be... The fighting will continue and intensify... until international pressure forces the IDF to get out. The hourglass of legitimacy [for the Rafah operation] is running out.

Alex Fishman in Israel's Yediot Aharonot

Luckily we have the Americans, who are doing all we are doing, only with much more explosives [in Iraq]. The Americans, however, can afford this - we cannot... The IDF must now act cautiously on all fronts.

Ben Kaspit in Israel's Ma'ariv

Photos from the battlefield are rarely beneficial to any army on the offensive... No spokesman can compete with a picture of a child killed by fire from an IDF tank. The PR game is over for Israel.

Arieh O'Sullivan in Jerusalem Post

When senior officers declare seriously that the demolition of houses in Rafah is "in the interest of local residents"... we must ask ourselves as Jews and Zionists: Have we lost the basic ability to distinguish between good and bad, between morality and cruelty, between truth and "truth"... Have we been eyeless in Gaza? And what are we doing there anyway?

Israel's Yediot Aharonot

The sights of Rafah are too difficult to bear... Is there some "original sin" that lies at the foundation of the Zionist enterprise? Those who initiated the Rafah operation, and those who are executing it, should know that their actions will inevitably lead to questions being raised about this heresy.

Meron Benvenisti in Israel's Ha'aretz

In Rafah, Palestinians ventured to assume that the enemy has a minimum of moral standards and respect for life to understand peaceful expression... Every drop of our blood is a curse on the invaders of Palestine and on the US administration that encouraged the killing and endorsed the fascist generals.

Adli Sadiq in Palestinian Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah

The massacre that the Israeli government admitted it carried out against a peaceful march of unarmed Palestinians clearly shows the extent of its bloodshed... Thus, the Israeli government revealed its true face to the world. It no longer cares about Arab and international reaction, especially when there are some in the US who show understanding for its aggression.

Palestinian Al-Quds

This is the scene of Israeli terrorism in Rafah. This is the [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon that loves only blood, death and destruction... The source of terrorism and killing is in Washington and the Bush administration that supplies the cover, support and insurance for the Sharon government to carry out massacres and demolitions.

Abdallah Awad in Palestinian Al-Ayyam

It is the United States' disregard for Arabs' rights which has killed peace.

Ahmad al-Hajj Ali in Syria's Al-Thawrah

This is how the Israeli "rainbow" emerged over Rafah: With spectrums of torture, death and destruction.

Mazin Hammad in Qatar's Al-Watan

Israel will not answer to calls and will not give in to condemnation. It does not understand the language of peace. We must use the language it understands with force, so that it learns that it could pay a high price for its hideousness and racism.

UAE's Akhbar al-Arab

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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