Press welcomes Mid-East summit (BBC) 02/03/05 12:51 GMT)
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Egypt´s announcement of a summit meeting between the Israeli and
Palestinian leaders in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh next
week has been met with cautious optimism in the regional press.
While largely welcoming the summit, some Israeli commentators can´t
help thinking it will be used by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
as a good photo opportunity for the folks back home.
Palestinian commentators are also upbeat, although one expresses the
fear that pessimism could return if there is no substantial progress.
Fifty-two months after the outbreak of the second intifada, in
October 2000, the official declaration of its end will come at the
quadripartite Sharon-Mubarak-Abdullah-Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]
summit. The summit will convene in Egypt and will mark the renewal of
reconciliation and normalisation between Israel and the Arab world.
The end-of-the-intifada summit constitutes above all a great personal
victory for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who until recently
was called an arch-murderer and Palestinian blood drinker by Arab
public opinion. His determined stand against Arafat has proved itself
and yielded results for Israel.
Editorial in Israel´s Yediot Aharonot
From Sharon´s point of view, the official invitation to Egypt - for
the first time in his four years in power - marks the end of
international isolation. If the leaders of the Arab world are hosting
Sharon, he will be a welcome guest in every capital. But Sharon is
less concerned today with his global image and is, as usual, busying
himself with internal survival. The photo-op with Mubarak, Abbas and
Abdullah will illustrate to the people at home that Sharon is
Commentator in Israel´s Ha´aretz
What will happen on Tuesday at Sharm el-Sheikh? An historic
opportunity or a photo-op? Anyway, the prime minister has nothing to
lose. For Sharon, this will be an heroic comeback. Sharon is in no
state of euphoria. If Shimon Peres is like a balloon full of plans
and fantasies sailing in the sky, Sharon is the boy holding the end
of the string on the ground. There will be terrorist attacks,
mishaps, crises and fiascos. Sharon knows this well. On the other
hand, why not bring aboard Mubarak and Abdullah; whoever wants to
join is invited (barring [Syrian President] Bashar Assad, of course)
so that it will be possible later to accuse them all or at least
share responsibility with them.
Commentator in Ma´ariv
He who knows President Mubarak knows that he abhors predestined
failures. Mubarak´s initiative to hold a quadripartite summit at
Sharm el-Sheikh leads straight to the final statement: both sides,
Sharon and Abu Mazen, will declare a mutual commitment to a
ceasefire. There will be no negotiations and no political
discussions. Mubarak, the mediator, will declare that the evacuation
of Gaza is only the first stage of the roadmap. At night the four
leaders will go back to dealing with the refuseniks who wait for
Commentator in Yediot Aharonot
Egypt´s offer to host an Israeli-Palestinian summit next week can be
seen in the context of a general warming of relations with our
southern neighbour and of an Egyptian bid to regain a leadership role
in the peace process. Since Egypt appears, of late, to be espousing
policies geared to promoting peace between Israel and the PA under
Mahmoud Abbas, from our vantage point it is going the right way.
However, we have seen previous summits in the very same venue, which
failed to live up to the hype.
It is worth recalling that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
consistently refrains from visiting Israel or from hosting an Israeli
premier anywhere in Egypt except for Sinai. We would feel far more
upbeat had he not been so stinting in manifestations of elementary
congeniality and simply done more to build up our collective
confidence in his intentions. The simplest and quickest step he can
take is to return his ambassador to Tel Aviv.
Editorial in Israel´s Jerusalem Post
The Palestinian people hope that the Israeli government will be
flexible and positive towards legitimate Palestinian aspirations at
the Sharm summit. This seems to be the aim of the Egyptian leadership
and President Mubarak in allowing Sharon to make an historic visit to
Editorial in Palestinian Al-Quds
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit will be part of a series of regional and
international activities which the Palestinians will seek to mould
into the implementation of the roadmap. But short term optimism could
turn into pessimism in the long run.
Commentator in Palestinian Al-Ayyam (© BBC MMV 02/03/05)
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