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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2005, 15:47 GMT
Arabic press anger at al-Jazeera 'plot'
Arabic Press

Newspapers in the Arab world have reacted with a mixture of anger and disgust over allegations that US President George W. Bush suggested bombing the popular Arab television station al-Jazeera.

The White House has dismissed the claims that Mr Bush was talked out of the attack by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The allegations were reported by the UK's Daily Mirror.

A commentator in the pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat makes much of the fact that al-Jazeera is based in a major US ally in the Gulf region, Qatar.

"If the Daily Mirror story is true about the US president holding discussions with Prime Minister Tony Blair about bombing al-Jazeera, whose headquarters are in Qatar, then this is truly a scandal," writes Sa'd Bin-Tiflah.

The Americans do not have the manners of guests
Columnist in Al-Hayat

"It is a scandal because the two countries which consider themselves symbols of democracy and are advocates of it internationally, can think of attacking a media institution of a friendly country like Qatar," he adds.

A columnist in another influential pan-Arab daily, Al-Hayat, calls on the leader of Qatar to reconsider his nation's hosting of US forces.

"Reports that George Bush considered bombing al-Jazeera TV of Qatar, which is its ally, are undeniably true. The British government did not deny it but prevented papers from publishing the secret document regarding Bush and Blair's discussion on the matter," Jihad al-Khazzan writes.

"I hope Prince Hamad Bin-Khalifah [Al Thani] reads in between the lines just as I did. I also hope that after this, he will review the hosting of US forces, at what is the largest base in the Middle East, because it is clear that the Americans do not have the manners of guests."

'Sick thinking'

The Israeli Arab Sawt Al-Haq wal-Hurriyah praises what it sees as al-Jazeera's "daring, professional coverage of the US aggression against Iraq, the city of Fallujah and Afghanistan".

"Even merely thinking about bombarding an information medium, regardless of what it is, is a blatant violation of all noble values, and shows time after time the ugly face of those who contemplate such sick thinking," the papers editorial argues..

"While we express our full solidarity with al-Jazeera and salute its employees and management we call on our Arab and Islamic nation to rebel against everything that is American."

Another Israeli Arab paper, Al-Sinnarah, says "Bush's plan... is yet further proof of the low moral level and the excessive madness of this human being".

"As to the disclosure that the Bush administration violated international law and the rules of friendship by moving prisoners to secret prisons across Europe without notifying their governments and airport authorities - this proves to whoever needs proof the extent of the scorn for international law. It is an unprecedented act of piracy"

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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