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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 03/07/2014



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Violence escalates in Jerusalem

Palestinians clashed with police in East Jerusalem on Wednesday. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


Riots broke out in East Jerusalem on Wednesday after the body of a dead Arab teenager was discovered.  The Palestinian protesters claimed the killing was revenge for the deaths of three Jewish youths. Commentators view the surge in popular anger as a severe setback for the peace process and urge both sides to calm down.

El País - Spain

Anger can destroy all progress to date

The enormous rage felt by the people on both sides gives the Middle East conflict a dangerous twist, the left-liberal daily El País fears: "And that is the new and dangerous aspect in this situation. Because the fact that there was a battle of words yesterday between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, or that missiles were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip and the Israel air force attacked the area is - unfortunately - nothing new in the permanent dispute between the two sides. But the people's anger over the deaths and their decision to go on the offensive introduce a new factor that could further endanger the complicated peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Asking both sides to calm down when emotions are running so high may seem an impossible undertaking. But it is the only rational approach in a situation with unpredictable consequences." (03/07/2014)

The Irish Times - Ireland

Abbas must make his choice

The killing of the three Jewish youths is a major setback for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and poses a dilemma for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times comments: "The deaths of the three youths leave Abbas with the impossible choice of decisively breaking with Hamas, and losing credibility in a Palestinian community that has long yearned for unity of its leadership, or sticking with Hamas, and forgoing what looks like indefinitely any prospect of talks. Netanyahu's keen awareness of that reality and eagerness to further twist the screw, suggests that, in truth, he has little interest in dialogue. [Tuesday's] funerals were burying hope." (02/07/2014)

Corriere del Ticino - Switzerland

Isil a threat to Israelis and Palestinians

The Israelis and Palestinians would do well to stop fighting each other and instead join forces against the new threat posed by the Isil jihadists, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino comments: "Both sides know that al-Qaeda's cruel successor - the Isis fanatics - would have no problem finding supporters in Palestine. ... This is the new factor in the old and never-ending Middle East crisis. The Israeli government, which must increasingly defend itself against a terrorism controlled from abroad, knows this. And the Palestinian government, which is all too familiar with Hamas' tendency to resort to violence, should be equally aware of this. Without a willingness on both sides to reach out to each other, a standstill [in the peace negotiations] is once again certain. And with it further bloodshed." (03/07/2014)

Dnevnik - Slovenia

Obama's failure in Middle East

Barack Obama's Middle East policy has failed and this is evidenced by more than just the fact that his special envoy for peace negotiations threw in the towel and resigned last week, the left-liberal daily Dnevnik comments: "Martin Indyk, Obama's negotiator in this conflict, concluded that Iraeli Prime Minister Netanyahu won't cede any ground and gave up on the peace process last week. Perhaps the Palestinians would have had to cede a little ground too and for example agree to a one-state solution with full human and civil rights along the lines of the South African model to bring down Israel's apartheid regime. ... But right now just another gateway to hell is opening up in the Middle East ." (03/07/2014)


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Le Nouvel Observateur - France

Sarkozy casts himself as victim

France's former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday denounced his arrest and questioning as a conspiracy on the part of the government and judiciary. The liberal weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur doubts he'll be successful with his claims: "This defence strategy isn't new. It consists of shifting the legal proceedings into the political realm and creating an affair within the affair, in effect 'an affair of state'. It means confusing the public and telling supporters exactly what they want to believe. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi perfected this tactic for many years, presenting himself as a victim of judges in 'red robes', who, he claimed, were motivated by political objectives. Such a strategy could also work for Sarkozy. But on two conditions: his backing by the party militants and grassroots supporters must not be eroded, and the UMP leaders must join ranks behind him. The first is possible, the second is far from certain." (02/07/2014)

Diário de Notícias - Portugal

At least French justice works

In an interview on Wednesday former French president Nicolas Sarkozy rejected the allegations of corruption he faces and criticised the "political instrumentalisation of the judiciary". The developments at least show that equality before the law still applies in France, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias comments approvingly: "Sarkozy has broken his silence to claim that he is the target of a campaign aimed at his political downfall. ... This accusation is a dangerous undertaking that demonstrably can be just as counter-productive as the actual manipulation of the judiciary. The future will show whether the one thing or the other was done in France, although whatever the case, it's not a good sign for democracy. Another matter entirely is equality before the law. In this respect it speaks volumes that the judiciary launched an official investigation against a former head of state at all - also because of the seriousness of the accusations against Sarkozy." (03/07/2014)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland

Peace in Ukraine impossible without Poland

The foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France met in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss a new ceasefire in Ukraine. Why Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski wasn't invited is a mystery to the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: "An important chair at the table was missing: that of Poland's chief diplomat. It's not just a question of politeness, but also of reasonableness. ... Of course nothing bad has happened - yet. The ministerial meeting in Berlin was not a second Munich [when Britain, France and Italy agreed to the annexation of the Sudeten Land in the German Reich, without the presence of Czechoslovakia]. But you can't help thinking about such things when the Old Continent starts negotiating alone with the Kremlin. In any event, not inviting Poland - which has been defending Ukraine's cause for years - can only weaken Europe. Until now the EU has spoken to Russia with one voice." (03/07/2014)

Der Tagesspiegel - Germany

Germany right to be cautious on drones

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen spoke out in favour of buying drones for the German armed forces but specified that the German parliament should decide whether the drones are to be armed. The minister's cautious approach is justified, the liberal daily Tagesspiegel believes: "Particularly regarding ethical decisions, caution is not necessarily a sign of weakness. On the contrary, meticulous examination shows a sense of responsibility. Barging ahead can take you down the wrong path entirely. The US's use of (combat) drones is a scary case in point however you look at it, both ethically and legally. ... The army will get drones that can be fitted with weapons. But parliament will decide if and when to do so. The fact that the drones will be part of a European project - and will only be leased - is also the right approach, and fully in keeping with a strategy of defence." (03/07/2014)

Sözcü - Turkey

Iraq crisis threatens Turkish unity

Since the advance of the radical islamic Isis militia the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan has been regarded as an island of stability in northern Iraq, encouraging the hopes of many Kurds for independence. The crisis in Iraq could mean not only the collapse of Iraq and Syria but also of Turkey, the Kemalist daily Sözcü fears: "Just three weeks ago our Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was saying that Iraq is not in a state of chaos. Now he says the crisis is on our doorstep. At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the time is right for an independent Kurdish state. The deputy chairman of the [Turkish governing party] AKP, Hüseyin Çelik,shares his view, saying: 'If a state of Kurdistan is established in northern Iraq, they are our brothers.' By the looks of it, at some point in the future a Kurdistan will be proclaimed part of the Turkish federal system too." (03/07/2014)

Svenska Dagbladet - Sweden

Scandals don't hurt Sweden Democrats

Despite several scandals the approval rating of the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats (SD) remains stable at around ten percent. The party will also emerge unscathed from media reports according to which the party leadership for years covered up the fact that one of its high-ranking members served a prison sentence, the conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet predicts: "Firstly only a very limited number of parties want to restrict immigration here in Sweden. ... Secondly, the SD voters distrust journalists more than most people. Many don't believe critical reports and see them as a smear campaign by the mainstream media. ... The SD is the only party that represents the anti-immigration mood in Sweden. Stopping its sympathisers from voting for less immigration would take a far bigger scandal than simply the revelation that someone in the SD has a criminal past." (03/07/2014)


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Handelsblatt - Germany

Bulgaria must do its homework

After last week's bank run the EU's promise of financial aid has calmed the crisis in the Bulgarian bank sector and among its customers. Nonetheless the situation shows how unstable and unpredictable Bulgaria still is seven years after EU accession, the liberal business paper Handelsblatt comments: "The corruption in this country of seven million inhabitants is immense, the government under Socialist Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski is ineffective and the judiciary is completely biased. Many Bulgarians doubt that the early elections at the start of October will bring a solution. And Europe? It looks away. ... Yet Europe may pay a heavy price for this ignorance. Bulgaria is basically an experiment to test whether the EU can establish a durable, socially responsible market economy in a parliamentarian democracy. ... Before any further EU expansion those countries that are already members like Bulgaria must finally do their homework." (03/07/2014)


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The Daily Telegraph - United Kingdom

Burqa ban undermines human rights

By upholding the ban on full veils in France the European Court of Human Rights has betrayed the principles based on the experiences of the two world wars, Muslim author Shelina Janmohamed complains in the conservative Daily Telegraph: "In the race to ban the niqab, which has come to symbolise all that the far right hate, the French government, and now European Court of Human Rights, are leading the charge to give away the rights that were born out of the wars that were the ultimate manifestation of the hatred of others. If the court truly has integrity in its own provenance, it should be upholding rights, not pandering to the same kind of hatred that Europe has seen previously. This week's ruling signifies a worrying shift to a view that says human rights are not universal and there is a margin for discrimination." (02/07/2014)

Wiener Zeitung - Austria

Europe needs a debate about its spirit

At the start of his country's six-month EU presidency Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called in a speech before the European Parliament on Wednesday for people to recall the values of the European Union: "We must rediscover Europe's spirit" he said in Strasbourg. The state-run liberal Wiener Zeitung praises this appeal for a higher vision: "The debate over Europe's spirit offers the chance to overcome the pervasive and paralysing pragmatism of the present order and give Europe a future once more. For that to happen, however, as many European politicians as possible must join in Renzi's appeal. At the moment deficit rules, bank regulations and complicated budget controls define everyday life in Europe. This has nothing to do with spirit; they're just bureaucratic regulations. Brussels must free itself from the grip of bureaucracy. A debate about the European spirit has the potential to do this." (03/07/2014)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia

Estonians will soon be boozing in playgrounds

The general ban on drinking alcohol in public places was lifted in Estonia on Tuesday. This amendment will leave the door wide open for drinking in public, journalist Britt Rosenberg writes in the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht: "The law legalising drinking in public places was celebrated from the moment it came into effect. In the tram a rather drunken man sat down beside me, holding a dirty wine bottle in his hand . ... To be clear: the new law does not allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages in all public spaces - and certainly not on the public transport system. But once a restriction has been eased, public acceptance of such behaviour follows suit. Soon schnapps lovers will be claiming their 'right' to drink in schoolyards and playgrounds." (02/07/2014)


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Právo - Czech Republic

Underdogs shine at Fifa World Cup

The narrow victories at the Fifa World Cup, sometimes after 30 minutes of extra time or even penalty shoot-outs, prove that the so-called underdogs have caught up with the pack, the former Czech national player Miroslav Kaldec comments in the left-leaning daily Právo: "There are no real underdogs any more. All the teams can run, are well-trained in tactics, put their all into the game and do a good job of needling the favourites. Nowadays, it's true, they all have good coaches. Many copy the German team Borussia Dortmund, which took unknown players and built up a team that counts among the best in Europe. This example shows that anything is possible. Costa Rica and Algeria came as a surprise to me. No one even expected them to get through to the last eight, and Costa Rica is now into the quarter finals. The favourites on paper no longer have such an easy time lording it over the smaller teams. At the end of the day, as was the case in the duel between Brazil and Chile, it's small things like the width of a goal post that separate victory from defeat. We should get ready for more surprises." (03/07/2014)

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