- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 22, 2001

Jordan Times
Shared religious values
AMMAN, Jordan At a time when the whole world has been severely injured by violence, terror and the consequent sense of immense insecurity, and while the threat of more violence and even war looms, the fact that the three monotheistic religions, of which this land is the cradle, celebrate almost simultaneously their holiest feasts should not be viewed as a simple coincidence.
Instead, one should consider how and why so many in the community of mankind have recklessly strayed from the true values of our religions peace, compassion, love, respect for the other, justice and righteousness and taken the path of inhumanity, hate and evil.
Israel is an entity whose existential ideology is based on religion. And again it is in the name of religion that ultrafanatic Orthodox Jews have been allowing the most outrageous violations of other people's rights.
The essential values of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are basically similar. None of them tolerate deviation from the course of what is right, correct and honest, and none tolerate killing and hate.

London Guardian
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
LONDON For Yasser Arafat, a moment of personal reckoning is at hand. After a three-month slide into open warfare with Israel the hapless Palestinian leader tried to call a halt on Sunday night. Israel must cease its attacks, he said in a televised address.
It was necessary, meanwhile, to establish a "complete cessation of all armed activities" by Palestinians. That Mr. Arafat's position has become desperate, even untenable, was rudely underlined by yesterday's blunt reactions to his appeal. Few appear to have been really listening to him.
Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, certainly does not believe what he hears. More precisely, he does not want to. Since taking office last March, the Likud leader's entire thrust has been to weaken, divide and destroy the leaders, symbols, confidence, coherence and infrastructure of the Palestinian state.
In failing to curb the most excessive violence, Mr. Arafat has fed and watered his opponent's abiding, lifelong hostility. Mr. Sharon responds, as so often before, by launching new provocations. At the other end of the spectrum, the response to Mr. Arafat's TV special was just as predictable.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other rejectionist groups flatly spurned any renunciation of violence. After a lifetime's work informed by courage and vision, [Mr. Arafat] is now obliged to watch while the compromises and collaborations of the past 10 years are exploited or [undone] by the unyielding Mr. Sharon.

Al-Akhbar
The U.S. Security Council veto
CAIRO Washington's resort to the veto in the U.N. Security Council against a resolution demanding that Israel stop massacring unarmed Palestinian people could only be termed participation in this barbaric aggression.
This aggressive American stand toward the Palestinians and the Arabs substantiates news agency reports that the butcher [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon has gotten the green light from President Bush to commit horrific crimes against the Palestinian people.
Thus, Bush is not satisfied with supplying Israel with the most advanced killing machines; he has also agreed on using these weapons against the Palestinians to deny them the means of living in the occupied territories.

NRC Handelsblad
Bin Laden has vanished
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands Where is Osama bin Laden? Is he dead? Is he trapped? Has he escaped? One way or the other, he has vanished.
Despite claims of victory from the new Afghan leaders, the war aims of the United States have been only partially realized. Overthrowing the regime in Kabul was not the only thing Washington aimed for after September 11. The expulsion of the Taliban was the precondition to realize the main object: The liquidation of al Qaeda and bin Laden.
The goal preceding the main target has been realized. Yesterday 19 prisoners of war, former mercenaries for al Qaeda, were shown to the press.
But their superiors can be found nowhere. Spiritual leader [Mullah Mohammed] Omar of the Taliban is missing. Bin Laden hasn't been caught either. Neither dead nor alive, to cite President Bush.
The war in Afghanistan may be over for the Americans, [but] the battle against terrorism is not even halfway done.

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