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U.S. editorial excerpts -7-.

NEW YORK, June 29 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the U.S. press:

USE RESTRAINT, ISRAEL (Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles)

ONCE AGAIN, ESCALATING VIOLENCE threatens to derail any hope of a breakthrough between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a depressingly familiar theme in a depressingly familiar struggle, prompting a depressingly familiar response: These latest horrors should not be allowed to affect the prospects for peace.

Make no mistake: The frustration that triggered the Israeli military's incursion into Gaza on Wednesday is understandable. The Israeli public was aghast to see Palestinians react to the Israeli pullout from Gaza last year by electing the terrorist group Hamas in January. Then, on Sunday, Palestinian militants linked to Hamas attacked an Israeli military outpost, killing two soldiers and taking a third hostage. The Palestinians holding the soldier in Gaza are demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for information about his condition.

But there is a broader agenda to this act of violence. Hamas is split between hard-liners who continue to reject Israel's right to exist (a position that has cost the Palestinian government much of its international support) and more moderate elements who understand that Hamas needs to alter its ways now that it is in power. Some Hamas leaders have even been negotiating with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the more moderate Fatah party on an agreement that would implicitly recognize the fact, if not the right, of Israel's existence. Radical Hamas leaders also may have worried about Abbas' earlier talk of putting the question of Israel's right to exist to Palestinian voters in a referendum.

For these more intransigent leaders of Hamas, any accommodation with Israel is unacceptable. They must be ecstatic at Israel's retaliatory incursion into Gaza. Regardless of whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government is justified, the Israeli military's destruction of vital infrastructure in Gaza - and its detainment of several Palestinian cabinet ministers and lawmakers in Ramallah - runs the risk of further radicalizing the Palestinian population and further marginalizing more moderate voices within the Palestinian government.

(June 29)
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 3, 2006
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