What the US papers say

The US papers continue to cover the crisis in the Middle East in great detail, with most featuring the latest developments on their front page. However, the overall tone appears to be fairly balanced with most papers going out of their way to give a detached view. While treading a fine line, most remain firmly behind President George Bush and his peace-keeping efforts, urging him to stay involved in the region

The Washington Post

Leads on the front page with the story of human suffering at the Jenin refugee camp but a second story also features Mr Bush’s declaration that the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is a “man of peace”.

New York Times

A long piece that starts on the front page and continues inside details the impact of the suicide bombings on the Israeli community. Also covers Mr Bush’s praise of secretary of state Colin Powell’s efforts in the region.

The LA Times

Also leads on the Jenin refugee camp and UN condemnation of Israeli actions. A leader inside says: “the regional prognosis is as grim as at any time since the resumption of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis 20 months ago” but urges America to stay involved. It also calls for other countries in the region to get involved in the peace process. “Although the United States is the main outside force in the Middle East, other nations and regions will have to help,” it says.

Chicago Tribune

“President Bush aimed to put the best face on US peacemaking efforts Wednesday, but the administration’s failure to achieve even a cease-fire in the Middle East substantially complicates its broader aim of a global war against terrorism,” says the paper.

USA Today

Also covers the Jenin allegations and Mr Bush’s defence of Mr Powell, but its coverage is tucked away on page eight. “President Bush defended on Thursday the results of secretary of state Colin Powell’s recent mission to the Middle East, even as leading Democrats were poised to exploit what they say was one of the administration’s worst weeks on foreign policy,” it says.

The piece on Jenin, as elsewhere, takes the form of a long feature detailing the scenes of wreckage. “The smell of death rose from the pit they had dug in the rubble. They lifted their father’s remains, piece by piece, and laid them in a plaid blanket. Then someone from the Palestinian Red Crescent sealed the bundle in a white body bag and took it away for burial.”

Boston Globe

The Israeli pullout from Jenin dominates the front page, with a long piece examining the consequences. “Left behind were scenes of death and destruction that the United Nations envoy to the Middle East called ‘horrifying beyond belief,” reports the Globe.