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Review of the Arab press

AMMAN, Jordan, June 28 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for June 28:

Arab newspapers continued to comment Wednesday on the repercussions of the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian fighters, criticizing the double standards in which the world is dealing with the issue. The Palestinian al-Quds said in its editorial few realize the kidnapped soldier was now "protecting Gaza," adding that for the first time, the area was not witnessing assassinations, bloodshed, air strikes and rockets. "Perhaps for the first time, the residents of Gaza are taking a holiday on the beach without fear of a missile," the mainstream daily said. It thanked the Israeli soldier for having opened the "windows of the closed prisons for the world to see our tortured women and children living in prison camps without the basic needs." The Jerusalem-based paper insisted the Israeli soldier was kidnapped within the laws and traditions of legitimate resistance in an "open war against the Palestinian people." It called for the release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli camps if the Israeli soldier is to return safely to his family, saying this was a legal and just demand for a people living under occupation.

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Egypt's al-Ahram said it was ironic for Israel to mass its forces around the Gaza Strip to try to rescue the kidnapped Israeli soldier while it continuously and systematically kidnaps and assassinates Palestinians and holds thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of women and children. The semi-official daily complained the big countries involved the Palestinian-Israeli conflict allow the Israeli occupation forces to do as they please without punishment, pressure or protests. It said the international community's position only fuels the despair of the Palestinian people and makes them feel "there is no value for justice in international relations." The mass-circulation daily argued that when a Palestinian operation against Israel happens, Israel reacts disproportionately and finds those to give it justification to carry out more violent aggression. "The essence of the problem lies in the Israeli occupation and its criminal aggressive acts against the Palestinian people," the Egyptian paper stressed. "And any Palestinian reaction to that is a result that cannot be avoided so long as this occupation is the core of all evil in the region."

Bahrain's Akhbar al-Khaleej blasted Western powers for "mobilizing" for the sake of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by the Palestinian resistance, saying that some Arab countries were also pressuring the Palestinians to release him. It complained that no one uttered a single word of protest for Israel's "daily massacres" or when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicly declared assassinating Palestinian leaders. "No conscience was moved when Israel announced its plan to invade Gaza, or when the enemy's forces kidnap Palestinians from their homes," the pro-government daily protested. It argued the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier was a legitimate act of resistance protected by international law in resisting occupation, adding the Palestinian demand for Israel to release Palestinian women and children prisoners in return for the soldier's freedom was a "minimum right." The detention of women and children, it said, is an international crime and the world, if it had any conscience, would have demanded that Israel release them immediately and to stop its "terrorism against the Palestinian people instead of mobilizing its efforts to pressure the Palestinians."

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Qatar's al-Watan blasted what it said was the international moves to protect Israel's occupation every time the occupation's security is shaken with a resistance act in self-defense. The pro-government paper said the world has allowed the Israeli occupation to kidnap, kill and raid in violation of international laws, yet forbids self-defense for the Palestinians. "The Israeli occupation forces raided Jericho Prison, blew it up and kidnapped four Palestinian resistance leaders, yet we did not see the rebelling world we see today move. In fact, it blessed, with its silence, the Israeli terrorism," it opined. The Palestinians, it said, have the right to question justice, human rights and self-determination that the international community speaks about. "Where are these headlines for the Palestinian people? Where is the issue of 10,000 kidnapped Palestinians held in Israeli jails?" it asked. It predicted the international reaction to the kidnapped Israeli soldier will provide an incentive for the Israeli forces and leaders to carry out massacres and genocide under the pretext of finding the soldier.

In line with the frenzy of the World Cup frenzy and the Palestinian question in the Arab world, Jordan's independent al-Ghad published a cartoon showing a soccer game between Israel and Palestine with the international community as an unfair referee. The cartoon shows a referee, with "U.S." and "U.N." printed on the back of his shirt," sitting on the barrel of an Israeli tank, calling for a direct kick for Israel in the Palestinian goal. Inside the tank sits a man with a military helmet dressed in an Israeli flag shirt pointing his gun towards the Palestinian goal. Five men, dressed in red shorts and black-and-white checkered shirts (resembling the Palestinian head-dress) stand unarmed in front of tank with their hands covering their sensitive parts. A nervous-looking goal keeper in the back stands on the side of the goal bars before the Israeli team's tank shoots into his net.

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