“Abbas should resign,” “humiliation to the Palestinian people,” “Zionist terrorism broadcast live,” these are some of the headlines that read on the front pages of newspapers across the Arab world on Wednesday which vented their anger at Israel’s operation in Jericho to arrest terrorists involved in the assassination of minister Rehavam Zeevi.
“The Israeli army broke into the Jericho prison and arrested Saadat and his friends,” reported the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi.
The paper’s editor-in-chief, Abed al-Bari Atoun, condemned Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ inertness and called on him to resign and dismantle the Palestinian Authority.
“Logic says that after the break-in to the Jericho jail in this manner chairman Abu Mazen (Abbas) should not have just cut short his visit to Europe, return to Ramallah, resume his duties and manage the crisis, but rather to call a press conference, announce his resignation, dismantle the Palestinian Authority, and announce that international agreements are no longer respected by Israel and international players,” Atoun wrote in the editorial entitled “The third intifada is on the way.”
'We will never believe British, American slogans'
“The break-in to the jail with the cooperation of two major countries of the Quartet, which is monitoring the peace process and the implementation of the Road Map for peace, is a direct humiliation to him (Abbas) and his government,” the editorial continued.
“If Mr. Abbas knew in advance of the intension of his allies in London and Washington to withdraw their monitors from the Jericho jail then what happened is a tragedy, and if he didn’t it’s a bigger tragedy… Mr. Abbas had to boost security at the prison and equip his men with heavier weapons to defend themselves and the prisoners,” Atoun said.
He added: “We never have and will never believe British and American slogans about the violation of international agreements and human rights. Not only because these two countries contradict their preaching in Iraq but also because they proved their unprecedented double standards and hypocrisy in the Jericho jail affair.”
The London-based Arabic-language Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat heralded the arrest of Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the main suspect in Zeevi’s murder, with the headline: “Saadat in Israel’s hands.”
Al-Hayat, which is also circulated in London, summed up Tuesday’s event as follows: “(Acting Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert opens his election campaign with violating international law, humiliating the Palestinian Authority, and threatening Hamas.”
Newspapers in the Arabian Gulf used a tougher language to condemn Israel with the Qatari daily al-Watan saying Israel “kidnapped” Saadat, and the UAE’s al-Khaleej branding the operation as “Zionist terror broadcast live and the world looks on.”