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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-11-11

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

Papers round on Netanyahu

STRONG-WORDED editorials castigated the reaction of the Israeli government to the detention of two Israelis on suspicion of spying.

The papers were united in their condemnation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to bring the two suspects home, irrespective of whether they were Mossad agents or not, "because every Israeli citizen is important to us".

Simerini said that Netanyahu's threat, at a time when Israeli President Ezer Weizman had sent his right-hand man to Cyprus to calm things down, added to the confusion. He said the Israeli PM had "acted rashly and unpredictably, in a way that was incompatible with Weizman's effort to smooth over relations".

"The Israeli PM must show respect to neighbouring countries like Cyprus that has never harmed Israel. He should not interfere in our country's internal affairs and issue naked threats."

Alithia's editor, referring to Netanyahu in his daily column said: "With such provocative, arrogant and also idiotic statements, you cannot promote good relations between Cyprus and Israel. Good inter-state relations are built on mutual respect."

He added: "This case has confirmed what we had first pointed out. The signing of the military agreement between Turkey and Israel cannot but affect Cyprus-Israel relations, and underestimating its significance was and continues to be a serious mistake."

Haravghi took the most hardline stance, describing the activities of the two suspects as "a hostile act, irrespective of whose behalf they had been collecting information on". It was very likely that the spies' activities had been dictated by the Turkey-Israel military agreement, the paper said.

More questions were raised by Netanyahu's "cynical and provocative statement, which, in itself, undermined the prestige and institutions of the Cyprus Republic". It criticised the condescending way in which the Israeli PM had said he would bring back the suspects, and accused him of behaving like a "regional policeman".

Phileleftheros criticised the Ministry of Justice and Public Order's decision to issue a statement on Sunday saying that no links had been established between the two suspects and the Israeli government.

How could the ministry rush to say that the Israeli government was not involved before the investigations had even begun. How could it be so sure, it asked. It hinted that the government was playing down the role of the Israeli government even though the Israeli press spoke of "a new gaffe by Mossad".

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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