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Europe

European Press Review: No Geneva Pact

The majority of European papers lamented the Israeli and Palestinian leadership’s lack of acceptance of an alternative peace plan put forth in Geneva.

France’s Le Monde commented that the so-called Geneva Initiative was drawn up by Israelis and Palestinians who were more lucid and more courageous than their leaders, but it had already been rejected by Israeli's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the basis of fear, the paper added. "It’s as if official Israel and the national Palestinian movement are afraid of confronting their camps with the compromises involved for peace." said the daily.

London’s Independent reflected that the point of the Geneva Accord was not that it was about to be embraced as the basis for a settlement by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. The hostile reactions on the part of Sharon and the militant Palestinian factions respectively, graphically demonstrated how far away any peace agreement actually was.

Italy’s La Stampa reported that the true strength of the Geneva Initiative was the fact it illustrated that a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians was possible. The philosophy of the 40-page plan was not to describe a simple process and the important steps to take, as in the Oslo Accords and the so-called Road Map for peace. With the Geneva Pact, the serious problems were addressed, accompanied by proposed solutions, opined the paper.

Meanwhile, Washington had had reservations about Europe’s plans for a separate defense force, arguing that such a move could undermine NATO. But in the Financial Times’ view, the plan was good news for those who thought that the European Union should focus more on its military capabilities than institutions. Europeans should convince the US, the paper wrote, by enhancing military capacity. And for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his commitment to EU defense would help dispel the image that he was George W. Bush’s lackey, said the paper.

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