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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 11:28 GMT
World press reflects on Arafat legacy

Papers across the world have marked the day on which Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is laid to rest.

While many celebrate his tenacity in defending his people's cause, others believe his passing can herald a new beginning.

Some wonder how history will assess his legacy.

With his departure, a new page is opened in the history of the Palestinian cause... Today, as we say farewell to the president and symbol Yasser Arafat, we say clearly that our people... will continue the march towards freedom and independence.

Palestinian - Al-Quds

Yasser Arafat, engineer and father of the Palestinian national project, never let go even for a second, and never ceased struggling for it. He stood stubbornly in the face of sickness... and bore what mountains cannot bear.

Palestinian - Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

Even while he was still alive, there were those who saw him as a Palestinian Moses - someone who led his people through the wilderness for 40 years but never reached the promised land... Without Arafat, the Palestinians would not have got as far as they did. But with him, and because of him, they were unable to get any further. The leadership that follows in his footsteps will also have to deviate from them, even as it bows under the weight of his memory.

Israel - Ha'aretz

Arafat was an historic missed opportunity. Instead of bringing peace, he led his people and us to a series of bloody tragedies... In any event, with the death of Arafat there is a need for a national assessment of the situation in order to examine the continuation of the Palestinians' road and of our road.

Israel - Commentary by Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Yediot Aharonot

In the end, Yasser Arafat harmed the Palestinian cause... His death now offers the Palestinians an opportunity to free themselves from the autocratic and corrupt structures of an apparatus which has become an end in itself.

Germany - Die Welt

As in every beginning, so here, too, lies a great chance... Arafat's death could prove more of a political liberation for his citizens than a burden.

Germany - Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Initially everything will become more difficult... The only hope for the conflict's gradual pacification lies with the USA, and this realisation leads one to think that there are no grounds for hope.

Germany - Berliner Zeitung

With all his limitations, abuses of power and murky handling of the levers of power, only Arafat evoked a certain consensus among his people, who might criticise him but would have no-one else in his place.

Spain - El Pais

The question is whether there are political leaders on both sides... who sincerely believe in the need for compromises and have the courage to impose them on two sceptical and frustrated peoples. Arafat said this was his goal. It now falls to others to achieve it.

France - Le Monde

Expecting that a new page will be opened by Arafat's death means thinking that the only obstacle to peace was Arafat. How wrong... Peace can only be possible by compromise on both sides.

Turkey - Hurriyet

Yasser Arafat's death gives both Palestinians and Israelis another chance to put an end to the confrontation which has lasted for more than 50 years. It is quite likely that this chance will be the last one.

Russia - Kommersant

Not only the Palestinian people but also the world cried over his death. The world is now awaiting anxiously. What will happen to Palestine without Arafat?

Indonesia - Media Indonesia

Even though Yasser has left the Palestinian people forever, his courage and good will have become eternal motivation for the Palestinian people to deal with Israel. Without Yasser, we fear that Israel will exploit the current situation in Palestine.

Malaysia - Utusan Malaysia

Freedom fighter, terrorist, or both, history will not dispute his battlefield nerve, nor his useful charisma and wit. But his legacy is not the proud Palestinian state of his people's aspirations.

Australia - The Sydney Morning Herald

Arafat was unable to build a completely sovereign state in the modern sense and departed from this world, which was extremely regrettable. But people believe that the Palestinian people can certainly follow in Arafat's footsteps, and continue to walk the road of peace. There will always be a day when Arafat's unfinished cause can be achieved.

China - Renmin Ribao

With tears and angry chants, Palestinians contended with the loss of the iconic, erratic figure who led them from a splintered Diaspora to the threshold of a state and left them stuck there, divided over the way ahead and in danger of fragmenting once again.

United States - New York Times

The terrorist that he was, Yasser Arafat took a different dimension to international politics by giving his compatriots a real and sovereign state on the historical ground of their ancestors.

Madagascar - Les Nouvelles

Yasser Arafat, loved as a freedom fighter and reviled as a terrorist... is dead. And even in the throes of death, he was as enigmatic as in life as rumours abounded about his condition in a Paris clinic... He nevertheless symbolised, like Mandela, the struggle of a tragic people dispossessed of their homeland through the machinations of countries like Britain.

South Africa - Star

The death of Yasser Arafat, historical leader of the Palestinians, marks the beginning of a new era in Middle East power politics... Now with the passing of Arafat, the world hopes that the Israelis should reopen talks with the new Palestinian leaders.

Uganda - Monitor

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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