Monitor

All the News of the World International comment on the current situation in the Middle East
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The Independent Culture
NETANYAHU IS trying frantically to appease hardliners by freezing withdrawal from the West Bank and reneging on the commitment to release political prisoners. Predictably, the Palestinians have responded with further violence. Given Mr Arafat's poor health, and with militant groups like Hamas ridiculing the peace process, their frustration is understandable. But it would still be wiser to observe restraint while the sands run out for an Israeli prime minister who has been catastrophic for hopes of a Middle East settlement. Israel's next government might not do more for peace; but it could not do less.

Straits Times, Singapore

NETANYAHU SHOULD not blame the Palestinians when his fanatic foreign minister makes reckless statements calling on Jewish settlers to grab Palestinian lands, and threatens to annex the West Bank if Arafat declares his state. It is obvious that Israel's commitment to its agreements with the Palestinians will have to be carried through if the peace process is to be served. The US is sending a clear message to Israeli leaders that there can be no turning back, and that the Israeli premier will have to make a choice.

Jordan Star

NETANYAHU PUT the latest accord on hold, in part because of Arafat's continued insistence on declaring a Palestinian state in May. Clinton's visit has come at a timely moment for him; dogged by impeachment he will enhance his reputation by being seen to be trying to rescue the accord. For all three leaders the visit is a good thing; but whether it will ultimately solve any of their problems remains open.

Gulf Times, Qatar

THE HISTORIC meeting in Gaza was rightly regarded by Netanyahu as fulfilling Israel's requirement for a public Palestinian reaffirmation of the path of peace and coexistence with Israel. But the government is also correct in insisting that the Palestinians abide by their other commitments made at Wye, particularly regarding security cooperation, before handing over any more Israeli territory.

The Jerusalem Post, Israel

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