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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 September 2005, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Gaza raids preoccupy Mid-East press
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Some papers say Sharon's position has been weakened by the raids
The escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip only a fortnight after Israel's military withdrawal provokes both anger and speculation in Sunday's Israeli and Palestinian newspapers.

The Palestinian press accuses Israel of demonstrating a lack of commitment to peace by launching a series of air raids in the region.

Two Israeli newspapers suggest that the violence may damage the standing of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and favour his rival for leadership of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Commentary in Palestinian Al-Quds

What the Israeli authorities have been carrying out, and the raids they have been launching since the day before yesterday, can only be described heinous attacks... After announcing the period of calm on 9 February, the Israeli Government has proved that it is far from committed to this calm.

Editorial in Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

Amidst the comprehensive celebrations following the great Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip comes this dangerous and bloody explosion following an armed demonstration organised by the Hamas movement in Jabaliyah... Friday 23 September 2005 turned out to be a sad day, when the blood of the innocent was profusely shed and parts of their bodies scattered everywhere.

Commentary by Uzi Benziman in Israel's Ha'aretz

It remains to be seen what will happen on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip: is this weekend's eruption of violence a spasm left over from previous violent relations, or is it the harbinger of a new winter, colder than in the past? In any case, it does not destroy the basic principle behind the evacuation: reality required giving up Gaza. This will probably not be the conclusion reached by Likud central committee... When the cannons are firing, tempers flare. Benjamin Netanyahu can be expected to take advantage of the tempestuous mood for his own purposes.

Editorial in Israel's Hatzofe

One day before the Likud central committee meeting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stands in his full political and security nakedness. A week after the applause at the UN it transpires that there is no more ridiculous sentence than "The disengagement will improve our security situation", that Sharon and his poodle [Defence Minister Shaul] Mofaz uttered all last year... The weekend's events play into the hands of Netanyahu and the detractors of the disengagement.

Commentary by Nahum Barnea in Israel's Yediot Aharonot

Even if Sharon loses control and deals Gazans a hard blow, as he threatened on the eve of the disengagement, even if he rains artillery on them he will find it difficult to change the mood at the Likud central committee.

Commentary by Amit Cohen in Israel's Ma'ariv

Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazin spoke at the Muqata'ah in Ramallah and he even hinted which side according to him is responsible for the explosion in Gaza? The problem is that this appears only between the lines. The Palestinian Authority should have stormed Palestinian public opinion mercilessly... Hamas is the one that dictates the agenda in the Gaza Strip. If the new president is incapable of entering a verbal confrontation, what are the chances that he will declare a real struggle against these organisations?

Editorial in Israel's Ha'aretz

Now that the withdrawal is complete and the border crossings have become de facto international ones, Israel must treat attacks launched from the PA like attacks from any other country - which becomes an enemy state the moment such an action happens. Assertive security dialogue with the PA is the main weapon Israel should use, without compromise or concessions.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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See the remains of the school destroyed in raids



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