Monitor: Middle East comment on the swearing-in of Ehud Barak as Israel's Prime Minister

All the News of the World
BY REINCARNATING the Labour Party as One Israel and creating an ideologically and numerically broad coalition, Ehud Barak seemed to embody his promise to the voters to be an agent of change. But given the promising foundations he constructed, Barak's emerging cabinet is an extreme disappointment. When Israelis voted for change, they were not seeking mediocrity, insecurity, retreat, and megalomania. The global impression Barak projects by these appointments is not of a leader who was searching for the best people for each job, but for ways to keep potential rivals out of positions of influence. Barak seems to regard his own cabinet and the Knesset not as instruments of governance but threats to be divided and conquered.

Jerusalem Post, Israel

ARAFAT IS awaiting the "new saviour", Barak, who some gullible Arab leaders believe will send the "larks of peace" hovering over the Middle East. But Barak is not going to act in accordance with Arafat's wishes. Certainly, he will not accept Arafat's "conception" of the peace process. Indeed, Barak has made it amply clear that his approach to "peace" with the Palestinians doesn't differ substantially from that of Netanyahu. The Palestinians must raise their voices against this sell-out. They must start to take action to depose this leadership of Arafat using electoral means. Arafat's "presidential term", after all, has already expired, and it is time the Palestinians elect a new leadership.

Palestine Times

ADVICE TO new ministers: Your commitment to Israel's fate must always take precedence over your loyalty to Barak. Be not afraid, my servant Jacob! If you have the feeling that something foul is afoot, leak that information to the Fourth Estate, the media, which is the last bastion in the Israeli democratic system of checks and balances. Because, even if you act as submissively as Bibi's ministers did you will still be unable to shirk your responsibility. Beware of turning yourselves into mere lackeys. (Yoel Marcus)

Ha'aretz, Israel