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Europe

German Press Review: Criticism of Rantissi's Assassination

Germany’s papers on Monday on both sides of the political spectrum agreed that Israel’s liquidation of the Hamas leader is only going to spark more violence in the region.

It is highly improbable that Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, as well as his predecessor Sheik Ahmed Yassin a month ago, will deter terrorists, said the Stuttgarter Zeitung. The paper wrote the exact opposite is more likely: More people will flock to join the extremists and retaliation against Israel is sure to follow. Ariel Sharon believes that military force is the only way to deal with radical Palestinians. But the paper pointed out that in light of deadly revenge attacks on Israelis, his beliefs are dangerous illusions. The daily said the only way forward is through negotiations, but admitted that a Middle East peace looks further away than ever.

Bonn’s General-Anzeiger commented that Ariel Sharon prefers to view Arabs through a telescopic lens. Using the word killing instead of murder, Sharon says he is fighting terror. But the paper said that he is doing the exact opposite. Israel is just creating more ‘heroes’ and ‘martyrs’ among radical Palestinians who will carry out terrorist attacks on Israelis.

On the other hand, Berlin's Der Tagesspiegel wrote that the liquidation of Hamas leaders does lessen the danger of terrorism and weakens Palestinian opposition to negotiated solutions. But it added whether one endorses these actions or not, there is still the moral question surrounding them that must be asked.

Moral questions mean nothing to Ariel Sharon, wrote the Neue Presse from Hanover. Israel’s killing of the Hamas leader has caused an outburst of protest from Europe and the United Nations, it noted, adding that Prime Minister Sharon is under the protection of U.S. President George W. Bush, the leader of the only country that matters to him anyway. He writes his own rules and sets his own goals, according to the paper, and allows no place for compassion.

Die Welt out of Berlin acknowledged that the Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, was most likely a murderer. But it asked whether that is enough to legitimize not giving him a fair trial. International law says it is not. The daily pointed out that Israel needs to abide by international standards, especially since it is fond of saying it is the only democracy in the region. The killing of Rantissi will in all likelihood be followed by more violence between Israelis and Palestinians. The paper warned that we can only expect the worst to result from Sharon’s actions.

Dresden's Sächsische Zeitung asked if it makes sense to deal with terror and violence with terror and violence. Experience in the region shows that military might alone cannot stop terrorism, the paper said.