Monitor: The Middle East press considers the state of the Israeli- Palestinian peace process

All the News of the World

EVERY STEP in the Middle East peace process is surrounded by greater or less hesitation and confusion. The Israeli proposal to withdraw from 11 per cent of the West Bank and hand over to the Palestinian Authority, as provided in the Wye River accords, is no different.

The latest dispute concerns timing and phasing. But the length of time the withdrawal takes, and whether it is completed in September or October, cannot be considered major issues. Of far greater consequence is the clear determination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, to revive the process stalled by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. (Efraim Inbar)

The Jerusalem Post

BARAK'S ARROGANT, unfeeling treatment of the Palestinians was almost inevitable given the fact that he has spent his life as an "Arab fighter". His superior attitude flows from a perception that Israel has "defeated the Arabs". In his view, they are now suing for peace and he is ready to dictate terms. He has not reached the conclusion many Israelis came to long ago: that peace involves an exchange of almost all the land Israel occupied in 1967 for an end to belligerency and co-existence.

And because he does not understand that this is the sine qua non of the peace process, his overall strategy for dealing with the Arabs is deeply flawed.

The Daily Star, Lebanon

OSLO MARKED a very important departure for Arafat, since through that agreement he took a definitive step towards a solution to the conflict with Israel. Of course, it was a step built on a host of compromises, and it was anathema to the radical elements in the Palestinian camp. But Arafat was right to ignore his detractors that time and move ahead with the only offer on the table. Oslo has proved to be a powerful tool in the Palestinian's hands.

Through it they have bit-by-bit regained control of key areas of the occupied territories and have moved haltingly but resolutely towards the ultimate prize: a state of their own.

Middle East Times, Egypt

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