‘Bush’s speech will raise the level of violence’
"Bush’s speech not only doesn’t lower the level of violence, but I assess it will raise the level of violence because the Palestinian response will be to increase support for Yasser Arafat ... George Bush today, after this speech, is the most hated person among Palestinians. He is competing with Ariel Sharon for this title."
-- Ahmed Tibi, Israeli-Arab legislator and former adviser to Yasser Arafat.
"The mouth was President Bush’s but the hand that wrote the speech was Ariel Sharon’s hand … If the last two years killed the Oslo Accords, President Bush’s speech buries it in the annals of history. "
-- Israeli political commentator Nahum Barnea in Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s largest newspaper.
"The totally unbalanced speech will only complicate the situation. From this perspective, Bush’s speech may have been a huge step for Ariel Sharon, but apparently a very small step for the chances for peace."
-- Israeli political commentator Hemi Shalev in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
"The Arab world will not sleep tonight … He practically demanded the removal of Arafat, the symbol of Palestinian unity … The Palestinians have elected Arafat and they will elect him again. If the Palestinians re-elect Arafat, are they going to be punished?"
-- Mohamed el-Sayed Said, Washington bureau chief for the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
"The American president apparently understands what we know well: a Palestinian state in the current conditions will be quickly defined as a terror state and the United States itself will be forced to include it on its list of states that support terrorism."
-- Israeli cabinet minister Dan Naveh.
"Potentially a major leap forward in US Middle East diplomacy … [the speech] put [Mr Bush] firmly on the side of a new and very different Middle East, one with democracy at its core."
-- Wall Street Journal.
"The Israelis and Palestinians need a road map in which a concession by one will be followed by a concession from the other. On this point, yesterday’s speech left much to be desired."
-- New York Times.
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