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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Press reflects Middle East turmoil
Mid-east

The ongoing crisis involving Israel and its Lebanese and Palestinian neighbours continues to dominate the regional press, where there is little optimism it can be resolved speedily.

The Arabic-language press is split over the way to tackle the crisis, with both support for and rejection of a united Arab initiative to help resolve it. One commentator suggests using oil as a lever.

In Iran, it is suggested that Israel's offensive is part of a long-term agreement with Washington to expand Israel's power.

And in Israel, commentators are also at odds, with one comparing Israel to the neighbourhood bully, while others support the government offensive.

COMMENT IN LONDON-BASED ARABIC DAILY AL-QUDS AL-ARABI

The resistance led by Hezbollah is considered by some Arab countries as illegal. However, no Arab government or leader has had the courage to carry out such an operation like the shelling of Haifa and Nahariya... We do not expect the Saudi government to use the oil weapon the way it was used by the martyr King Faisal but we expect it to at least reduce its daily production by a few barrels to protest against US support for Israel's aggression.

COMMENT IN LONDON-BASED ARABIC DAILY AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

[Yemeni] President Ali Abdallah Salih has called for an Arab League summit to discuss the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and Palestine... but convening an Arab summit to deliver more speeches is a waste of time.

COMMENT IN EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

Israel is continuing its comprehensive aggression against Lebanon and has not stopped attacking the Palestinian people. At the same time, the [UN] Security Council failed to take a resolution demanding Israel stop its aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples. In such a situation, there needs to be a concrete Arab stance towards the various parties, paving the way for an effective Arab move in the coming stage.

COMMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA'S OKAZ

Between the hammer of the raging Israeli bull, encouraged by the silence of the world, and the collusion of big powers which ignore the fate of the Arabs, comes the voice of reason from Riyadh, Cairo and Amman attributing to everyone their responsibilities... It is a call for more reason and wisdom before it is too late. Is there someone who is listening?

COMMENT IN SYRIA'S AL-THAWRAH

The current Israeli government has failed to learn the lessons from the its predecessors in Lebanon. It has failed to learn the lessons from the brave Lebanese national resistance... For Israel this was an opportunity to send out various messages it has long sought to deliver at home and abroad as a result of its acute domestic political conflicts.

COMMENT IN LEBANON'S AL-ANWAR

The facts are clear: The decision by the US and French governments and other European states to evacuate their nationals, as well as the UN call for its employees to leave, is a clear indication that the situation will worsen in Lebanon. These states and the international organisation are well aware of the issues because they are the ones who make events and take decisions in Lebanon, in the region and throughout the world.

COMMENT IN IRAN'S CONSERVATIVE HAMSHAHRI

Although Israel enjoys America's full political support, public opinion does not support its recent attacks since it is unreasonably targeting innocent people. The international community is gradually reaching a consensus against Israel. The recent stances of Russia, Italy, Spain and France show that the international community won't take sides with Israel. Arabic governments also have to answer to public opinion. Hezbollah defends Lebanese human dignity, and in a full-scale war that has been triggered by the Zionists, it will defeat Israel.

COMMENT IN IRAN'S CONSERVATIVE JAM-E-JAM

[George W] Bush and [former Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon agreed two years ago on a project to shape the Middle East and increase the security of the Zionist regime, with Hezbollah and Palestine as two problematic elements which had to be eliminated. Today's atrocities of the Zionist regime in Lebanon and Palestine are the beginning of that project.

COMMENT IN IRAN'S HARDLINE KAYHAN

The Americans and Israelis are badly confused after realising their big Middle East plan has rebounded on them. If Iran was alone until recently, the triangle of Iran, Syria and Lebanon gradually formed and after that, Hamas turned this triangle into a square. After the establishment of the principled government of Iraq it has turned into a pentagon. This pentagon forms the new Middle East coordinates.

COMMENT IN ISRAEL'S LEFTIST HA'ARETZ

Every neighbourhood has one, a loudmouth bully who shouldn't be provoked. He's insulted? He'll pull out a knife. Spat in the face? He'll draw a gun. Hit? He'll pull out a machine gun. Not that the bully's not right - someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction! The real appreciation is for the strong who don't immediately use their strength. Regrettably, the Israel Defense Forces once again looks like the neighbourhood bully. A soldier was abducted in Gaza? All of Gaza will pay. Eight soldiers are killed and two abducted to Lebanon? All of Lebanon will pay. One and only one language is spoken by Israel, the language of force.

ISRAELI TRANSPORT MINISTER SHAUL MOFAZ IN YEDIOT AHARONOT

The world must understand: Hezbollah is al-Qaeda, [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah is Bin Laden. Nothing less. Hence it must be clear that no Hassan is immune. Not out of revenge but out of a wise reading of reality. Israel will not rest and will not fall silent until the soldiers are returned home healthy and in one piece and until order and calm return to the northern border - this time for the long run.

EDITORIAL IN ISRAEL'S ENGLISH-LANGUAGE JERUSALEM POST

This situation presents the international community with an opportunity to play a constructive role. Rather than constantly fending off resolutions that make matters worse, the US, France and the UK should introduce a UN Security Council Resolution that condemns the aggression against Israel from Lebanon, supported by Syria and Iran, and explicitly recognises Israel's right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. By all rights, such a resolution should also recognise the extraordinary efforts Israel has taken to minimise the loss of civilian lives in Lebanon, despite Hezbollah's attempt to maximise such losses by placing its missiles in civilian areas. Such a resolution would put the full burden where it belongs, on the aggressor, thereby deterring such reckless attacks in the future.

COMMENT IN ISRAEL'S CENTRE-RIGHT MA'ARIV

The call by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora for a ceasefire generates a mixture of hope and fear. Hope that his statement expresses the beginning of the end of the terror of Hassan Nasrallah who is under great international and inter-Arab pressure; fear this is an exercise in deception aimed at easing IDF pressure without recognising Israel's legitimate rights... If Siniora's statement was on behalf of Nasrallah it is worthy of consideration, if not, it is worth throwing away.

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 bureaux abroad.




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