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Europe

Middle East Road Maps

Editorialists in Germany reflect on the future of the Middle East and the world since the end of hostilities in Iraq and the lack of support for Chancellor Schröder's reforms among trade union leaders.

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The best of the German press, digested for you daily.

With war declared virtually over in Iraq, writes Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung, Americas's credibility depends on a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's this, and not Baghdad, that will decide the fate of the Middle East, says the paper.

But it won't do to simply invite the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to the White House. As long as there's no substance to the peace process, such an act of symbolism would only make Abbas -- who has says he rejects terrorism -- and the Intifada appear to be Washington's puppets.

The Berliner Zeitung agrees, and writes that Abbas needs time. More importantly, the peace plan won't work without Israeli concessions, it says.

But Iraq remains an issue, comments the Saarbrücker Zeitung, turning its attention back to a country where clashes continue. Washington is in a paradoxical situation. On the one hand it is seen as a bearer of freedom, while, on the other hand, it will want to ensure that Islamic fundamentalists don't one day win free elections in Iraq. President Bush would be wise, therefore, says the daily, to take advantage of the end of fighting to make a new beginning at the United Nations.

Berlin's left-leaning taz stresses that as long as the U.S. maintains its role as absolutist, international police force, relations with Europe will be difficult. This will only change, it writes, if either Europe gives in to America, or America rethinks its policies and its underlying neoconservative ideology.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, meanwhile, looks toward Libya and another Arab leader who has long been considered a troublemaker by Washington, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Now that Libya has finally accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, in which a plane exploded over a Scottish town in December 1988, the country my be welcomed back into the international community, it writes.

After another year of May Day demonstrations in Germany, the Leipziger Volkszeitung takes a bite out of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's social and economic reform package, Agenda 2010. Schröder need not have bothered trying to get support from the trade unions for Agenda 2010, the paper writes. There are days in the year when it's a worker's good right to forget sad realities and dream of a better world in which to work.

And the southern German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung concludes that, the chancellor must have realized from yesterday's May Day protests that the union bosses won't be backing him.