Middle East

Mideast press deems US proposal fragile

Newspapers in the Middle East commented extensively on the US proposal to offer Israel defence and security guarantees in return for renewing a partial freeze on the construction of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Israeli responses ranged from hopeful to sceptical. Arab commentators were dismissive of the offer. The overall tone of comment was that the US proposal was no guarantee of progress in the talks.

NAHUM BARNEA IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT

A freeze for three months is neither here nor thereā€¦ The question is whether Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition... are ready to sign an agreement that would take Israel back to the 1967 borders... If so, we should tip our hats to them. They are brave people who do not flinch from changing their opinion from one end to the other, people who have seen the light. If not, they risk a bitter quarrel with the US administration.

Image caption Israel's construction freeze in the West Bank expired on 26 September

ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

The decision required from Netanyahu is clear: Accept the US proposal, freeze settlement construction immediately, and determine the border on the basis of the new security understandings with the United States - even if such a decision requires a different coalitionā€¦ Netanyahu must demonstrate leadership and say yes, loudly and clearly, to US President Barack Obama. Any other decision might damage Israel and undermine the slim chance that remains for an agreement with the Palestinians.

BEN KASPIT IN ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV

The prime minister talks in terms of football... At a certain stage Obama will begin to understand that it is more important for him to win the next elections than to defeat Netanyahu, and will let him go. Netanyahu does not dare think about the second possibility, that Obama might win another term... So we see Netanyahu the tactician, who wastes time and improvises false moves. The main thing is not to give away something real.

ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

...with Israel on board, in step rather than in friction with Washington and led moreover by a relatively popular government, it is [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas who should come under pressure to compromise - and to take positions that give his people, and ours, the opportunity for genuine reconciliation and a secure future.

PALESTINIAN NEWSPAPER AL-QUDS

If Netanyahu is setting the conditions, and receiving a prize for an illusionary, partial and limited settlement activity moratorium when he is the illegitimate occupier, then the Arabs and Palestinians should surely also present their own conditions, as they are the victims. They are also the ones who deserve to receive a prize, security guarantees and appreciation for their pro-active peace efforts.

ADIL ABD-AL-RAHMAN IN THE PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

The [Palestinian] leadership will not allow Netanyahu's government to deceive it and the Palestinian people. It will stand on guard to rectify any problem in the Israeli-US agreement so that any it should be strong enough to lead to a political settlement, because this leadership does not want a topsy-turvy agreement.

TALAL AWKAL IN THE PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

After the Palestinians had pushed the fanatical Israeli policy into a corner, the US administration is now throwing a rope to save Israel and putting the Palestinians and Arabs in an unenviable situation. After these assurances, do the Palestinians still have the alternative options they have been threatening to pursue if Israel continues to hinder the negotiations?

MUSTAFA AL-SAWWAF IN THE PALESTINIAN FILASTIN ONLINE

The US incentives to Israel are not new... the US administration has done its best to appease Israel in order to save face.

LONDON-BASED AL-QUDS AL-ARABI

What this means is that the Obama administration has completely surrendered to blackmail by the Israeli government... there are no guarantees that the negotiations will succeed in three months.

SYRIAN NEWSPAPER TISHRIN

Don't bet on a balanced US position towards the region... Why this hellish enticement to a government that is more like a Mafia gang? The USA still needs Arab trust in a balanced, objective and a fair US policy, not Israel's trust.

SUBHI ZU'AYTAR IN THE SAUDI AL-WATAN

This agreement will be the last nail in the coffin of talks between the Palestinians and Israelis, whether direct or indirect, particularly as it does not pay attention to halting settlement-building in Jerusalem.

MAZIN HAMMAD IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN

This proposal appears to be constructive, but is in reality a bribe which Israel is hesitant to accept; not because it refuses bribes, but because what is offered is usually not enough... If the Arab nation and the rest of the Islamic nation had any dignity they should never have allowed the situation to reach this level of laxity and submission.

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