Monitor: Comment on President Clinton's visit to Gaza this weekend

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DOES CLINTON promise that he will personally take up arms and defend Israel if the latest deal doesn't work out? Would that be the kind of promise he made when he pointed his finger at the American people and said, "I did not have sex with that woman."? Are the solemn promises of men such as Arafat and Clinton a stable foundation for peace? It is to be hoped the Israelis will do nothing this weekend to turn the opinion of Americans against them through any overt gesture of disrespect to the man who is still America's elected leader. But when it comes to matters of substance, the Israelis are right to be cautious.

Las Vegas Review Journal, US

THE PEACE process is still marred by the asymmetry of power between Israel and the Palestinians, and between the power of Israel's supporters in the States and those who support Palestinian rights. And it is true that Israel continues to be the beneficiary of a US double standard. And yet when the President goes to Gaza, his visit represents an important departure from the past and a breakthrough on which we can build for the future.

Jordan Times

THE WYE process is in a shambles. Never the less, when President Clinton travels to Gaza next week, analysts throughout the Middle East will debate the meaning and significance of the visit. It represents a major step in the developing US-Palestinian relationship. If the trip goes as planned, despite continuing Israeli efforts to obstruct the process, the US will be indicating that its effort to work with Palestinians can be independent from the attitudes and behaviour of the other party to the peace process. The President's visit to Gaza represents an important departure from the past and a breakthrough to build on for the future. Arab-Americans who have paid a price of 30 years will feel vindicated and strengthened. We will continue our struggle for Palestinian statehood and for Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands, somewhat freed of the taboos that have inhibited our efforts for so long.

The Daily Star, Lebanon