Monitor: International response to progress made in the Middle East `Wye two' agreement

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The Independent Culture
WE MAY be seeing signs that Arabs and Israelis are making a difficult journey from denial to recognition of the national identity and rights of one's non-Zionist or non-Arab neighbours. This is a long journey, characterised by small, occasional movements forward, interspersed with patches of violence. In the service of the same quest for the truth, we in the Arab world should more diligently explore the qualitative change that is taking place in Israeli society vis-a-vis recognition of the Palestinian national reality.

(Rami G Khouri)

The Daily Star, Lebanon

BY HISTORIC standards, the diplomatic confrontation that Mrs Albright (and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt) helped break this time barely registered on the political Richter scale. It is wise to take advantage of the momentum generated by the breakthrough. But it is even wiser to anticipate the obstacles ahead.

The Washington Post, US

A PALESTINIAN state will be established in due course - a truly contentious issue. There are the emotional and religious and territorial issues of Jerusalem, a problem which may take Solomon to solve. For now, however, Barak must move ahead. Next should come talks and a peace deal with Syria. Damascus is historically the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East. Syria has its own reasons to make a peace deal with Israel and end that terrorist threat for ever. Israel must pursue that possibility immediately.

Bangkok Post, Thailand

AS ALWAYS in such agreements, there was deadline bargaining on several issues, like the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released, the wording of the commitments on settlements and a Palestinian declaration of independence. But there was no breakdown in trust between the two sides. This augurs well for the difficult bargaining ahead over issues like Jerusalem, the future of Jewish settlements, the nature and boundaries of a possible Palestinian state and any return of Palestinian refugees.

The New York Times, US