All the News of the World Comment on Ariel Sharon, Israel's new foreign minister
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THE ANXIOUS reaction in Israel and abroad to the appointment of Ariel Sharon as foreign minister clearly shows how problematic it is. Benjamin Netanyahu found it proper to name a man whose past, personality, and political positions should have prevented his appointment to the foreign ministership at this time. Anyone in charge of reaching an historic compromise between Israel and the Palestinians must be equipped with an open mind, a wide-ranging view of international and regional developments, and with generosity. Sharon's personality and political positions, at least as far as they are known, do not suggest that he is gifted with any of these characteristics.

Ha'aretz, Israel

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU'S appointment of the superhawk Ariel Sharon as his foreign minister could be another case where a conservative government made a policy switch that it would have denied a liberal regime. But this is only one of the two options that are sharpened by the elevation of the contentious, rumpled veteran of Israel's military and political wars. If Mr Netanyahu has decided that the Arab side is simply not ready to offer a peace satisfactory to Israel, then the recruiting of Ariel Sharon to the key cabinet position is one way that Mr Netanyahu can batten down the hatches for an approaching storm.

The Washington Post, US

THE QUESTION now is, what side of Sharon will we see in his new position as foreign minister? Will it be the pragmatic Sharon, who negotiated a surprisingly generous water-sharing agreement with Jordan and has developed good personal relations with Palestinian leaders? Or will the stubborn right-wing nay-sayer in his personality emerge, scotching all proposed compromises and thus killing off any possible way of reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians? If Sharon can rise to the task and pragmatically arrive at an agreement that will both be feasible and answer Israel's security needs, he will complete the last act in his phoenix- like career and ensure himself a place in the country's history, not as a defamed figure but as a great statesman.

The Jerusalem Post, Israel