Middle East

Abbas, Blair under fire ahead of Palestinian UN bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Image caption Mahmoud Abbas will formally submit the application for Palestinian statehood on 20 September

The movement to get Palestinian statehood recognised at the UN appears to cut little ice in the Middle Eastern press, even among papers inclined to support the Palestinians.

President Mahmoud Abbas comes in for some criticism, as many feel his campaign would backfire on Palestinian aspirations. His speech on 16 September proposing his plan is firmly rejected as "hollow" by an Israeli paper. But a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian paper also says it cannot agree with what it called a move to "restore the rights that should not be begged for".

A Palestinian Authority-owned newspaper also questions the legitimacy of Tony Blair's role as envoy for the Middle East Peace Quartet of the US, UN, EU and Russia. It says he only represents the position of the US, which plans to veto the statehood bid.

But a UAE paper sees the bid in a more positive light, on the grounds that it has had the effect of isolating Israel for the first time.

ALON PINKUS IN ISRAEL'S CENTRIST NEWSPAPER MA'ARIV

A Palestinian state will not be established in New York. The hollow, false talk about 'renewing the negotiations' conceals the truth of the last two years: there can be no real negotiations when the Palestinian minimal demands are nowhere close to the maximal proposals the current government is capable of proposing… Both sides have reached a rare agreement: there is no partner to negotiations on the other side.

DAN MARGALIT IN PRO-NETANYAHU NEWSPAPER YISRAEL HAYOM

Abu Mazin [PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas] demanded of Israel a map of borders. No way. A generous proposal was presented to him in 2008 by Ehud Olmert, and he fled to Ramallah and did not return in 2009. A final border is like a present, and there are no free presents.

ADIL ABD-AL-RAHMAN IN PALESTINIAN [NATIONAL] AUTHORITY-OWNED NEWSPAPER AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

[Quartet envoy Tony] Blair cannot be trusted with [the mission of his position] because he lies as much as he breathes. A man who assumes UN, political, moral and fair responsibilities should be different from Blair, the godfather of wars on the Arabs, Muslims and weak peoples. This should make the Quartet discuss the prospect of replacing him as its representative because he harms its parties as he is the representative of the United States only.

BANAFSHE GHOLAMI IN HARD-LINE IRANIAN PAPER IRAN

Willingly or unwillingly, by limiting their goals to [merely] membership within the UN, the leaders of [Palestinian] self-rule authority are confirming the right of the Zionists to have a country with a Jewish identity. It is an issue which has been opposed by all Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad

ISMAEL HANIYAH'S POLITICAL ADVISOR, DR. YUSUF RIZQAH, IN HAMAS-RUN FILASTIN

[The UN] resolution would require force to implement it and to restore the rights that should not be begged for from a world ruled by the United States and Israel.

HAMZAH ABU-SHANAB IN PALESTINIAN FILASTIN

President Abbas tried in his speech to emerge with minimal damage by going to the Security Council, although he knows that the US administration will use the veto right. He also focused on the return to negotiations, which was another indication that the man will not abandon his usual course.

EDITORIAL IN JORDAN'S WIDELY-CIRCULATED AL-DUSTUR

It is no longer reasonable nor acceptable for Washington to use the veto power to frustrate the establishment of the Palestinian state. Not only is this American stance against human rights, the right to self-determination and the just Palestinian cause, but it also constitutes a blatant rejection of its role as a mediator to resolve the Arab-Zionist conflict.

EDITORIAL IN UAE'S INDEPENDENT AL-BAYAN

Today, we are seeing Palestinian diplomatic activity that has never been seen before with the isolation Israel is experiencing in the region and the whole world.

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