“Israel is seeking to force the new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, to do what its own security forces are unable to accomplish”

Arab Pundits See Terror Attacks Aiding Sharon

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By Jefferson Morley

washingtonpost.com Staff

Monday, May 19, 2003; 4:40 PM

Israeli extremism, not Palestinian extremism, is ultimately to blame for the string of suicide bombings in the last two days in Israel and the occupied territories.

That is the rough consensus in the English-language online media in the Middle East. The attacks, while almost universally condemned, evoke no sympathy for Israeli government outside of Israel itself.

The most frequent media criticism of the five attacks mounted against Israeli civilians and soldiers by the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas is not that they harmed civilians but that they harmed the prospects of the diplomatic proposal as the “road map.” More than one online pundit said the attacks gave Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon an “excuse” to reject the terms of the so-called road map, the international peace plan which calls for a cessation of Palestinian terror and cessation of Jewish settlements.

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