The Egyptian Gazette, Cairo, July 30: Although denying that military action against Iraq is imminent, both the U.S. and Britain are turning up the heat on the Arab country, reeling under more than a decade of inexorable sanctions. A few days ago, British Prime Minister Tony Blair renewed his unswerving backing for the anticipated assault, the declared aim of which is to oust President Saddam Hussein.
Windfall for America
Until new pretexts emerge, the recent debacle of talks between the U.N. and Iraq in Vienna seems to have come as windfall for pugnacious America. Both sides failed to reach an agreement on the return of international arms inspectors to Iraq. Further talks between Iraq and the U.N. may yield a way out, but only if the U.S. stops hurling threats and accusations at Iraq.
The Iraqis understandably want to see their cooperation with arms inspectors for years rewarded. They need -- and must be allowed -- to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As things are ominously standing now, their tribulations are set to deepen, courtesy of impetuous American militarism.
The Jerusalem Post, July 28: In a stunning and inexplicable reversal of policy, Israel decided last week to begin transferring funds to the Palestinian Authority. Acting under intense pressure from the United States, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the Treasury to hand over NIS 200 million, or approximately 10 percent of the PA's frozen assets.
Steady cash flow
And so, just several weeks after it justifiably criticized the European Union for continuing to support Yasser Arafat despite the violence, Israel itself now joins the list of those propping up his terrorist regime with a steady cash flow. By agreeing to join the dubious list of those financing the PA, Israel has effectively conceded the moral high-ground. Sharon is now playing along with the fiction that the PA is a partner with whom business can be done, even as the terrorism continues.
Haaretz, Tel Aviv, July 29: There have been mounting reports in recent weeks of the dire humanitarian situation in those areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that are under Israeli control. Since the intifada's violence began, the government has adopted recommendations from the defense establishment to use economic pressure as a means to weaken the power and influence of the top echelons of the Palestinian Authority.
Lack of food
However, Israel cannot ignore its moral, political and legal responsibility for the fate of the three million people under its control. The government of Israel and its citizens cannot avert their eyes from the reports of a lack of food, medical services and shelter. The suicide bombings forced Israel to impose a curfew and siege on the civilian population in the West Bank. But no security argument cannot be allowed to delay, for even one day, the transfer of food and medicine to Palestinians, and assistance to rebuild their homes.
Le Temps, Geneva, July 29: On Sunday in Paris, Lance Armstrong won his fourth consecutive Tour de France, without suffering and without struggling. A breathtaking victory, almost degrading for the other riders.
It was an exceptional exploit that deserves worldwide recognition and limitless admiration. Unfortunately, times are difficult for sport and especially for cycling. Dragged through the mud for four years by its own competitors, the sport has built new walls around itself. Walls as high as the lies told about doping. Walls of doubt that are, today, hard to destroy.
Armstrong's performance is not immune from this. Because of his difficult childhood, his recovery from testicular cancer, his return to competition stronger than before and stronger than the others, the American is the source of a myriad of discussions. His success seems too perfect to be true, his physical improvement too marked to be natural. He suffers from this, stressing over and over that he has no secret except hard work and a will -- a result of his illness -- not to do anything by half measures. In the past, Lance Armstrong would have been a model, a legend a hero...
The public mistrust that he meets today tarnishes not only his image but, in a certain sense, the whole future of the sport. For it urgently needs to renew its legends. It cannot live forever on the glory of its past.