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European Press Review: Tentative Steps to Peace in Middle East

European newspapers on Tuesday turned their attention to the Middle East peace process and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s meeting with President George W. Bush.


Can Israel and the Palestinians overcome the roadblocks to peace in the Middle East?

The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera commented on the "goodly package of proposals" that Ariel Sharon was bringing with him to the White House for his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush. There were signs of his willingness to push forward the peace process when he approved the release of four hundred and fifty Palestinians on Sunday.

The Austrian paper Kurier was of a different opinion arguing the Israeli government is still refusing to compromise on matters of substance. Jewish settler activity on Palestinian territory remains sacrosanct, irrespective of whether it breaks international law, the daily wrote. It said Bush must make Sharon see reason.

The French paper Liberation takes issue with United States policy towards Africa calling on it to intervene in Liberia. Memories of the fiasco in Somalia weigh heavily on U.S. policy in Africa, the paper wrote. And intervention by a former colonial power is invariably tinged with colonialism, it added citing another possible reason for American reluctance to get involved in the war-torn country. But the paper argued that Bush's policy of inaction in Liberia will cause more deaths than his controversial war on Iraq. Legitimate doubts and real risks are no justification for failure to come to the aid of a people in need, it concluded.