Middle East

Middle East press doubtful about peace talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) hosts an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (3rd R) and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (2nd R) at the State Department in Washington
Image caption US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat to Washington

Press commentators in the Middle East are largely pessimistic about the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which began in Washington on Monday at a dinner hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attracts some praise from the left-wing daily Ha'aretz for his release of Palestinian prisoners prior to the talks, and a Palestinian paper expresses "hope" for peace and stability, but many fear that "nothing good" will come out of the talks.

JEFF BARAK in English-language JERUSALEM POST

It's hard to get excited about yesterday's start of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington. First of all, we've been there, done that numerous times - to little positive effect - since the signing of the Oslo Accords in the White House Rose Garden two decades ago. And secondly, yet again, neither side seems particularly anxious to reach an agreement.

EITAN HABER in centrist Israeli daily YEDIOT AHARONOT

The basic assumption is that nothing good will come out of the talks. But Israeli history has already proved to us more than once that a lack of hope and despair sometimes lead to desirable solutions.

KALMAN LIEBSKIND in centre-right Israeli newspaper MA'ARIV

I am worried about the negotiations that start today... because I know who is conducting them... There is a big difficulty in relying on a prime minister who lies to the public and the Knesset without any problem.

EDITORIAL in left-of-centre Israeli broadsheet HA'ARETZ

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lately shown the first signs of statesmanship. His decision to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, like his decision to free 104 prisoners, can testify to this: that the prime minister has finally internalized the need to extract Israel from the diplomatic stalemate he decreed on it in the years of his first and second terms.

EDITORIAL in pro-Fatah Palestinian newspaper AL-QUDS

The success or failure of this phase of negotiations will show in the first round, and more quickly than many people imagine. Although we hope they will succeed in achieving peace and stability, hope is one thing and the expected reality is another.

HANI AL-MASRI in pro-Fatah Palestinian newspaper AL-AYYAM

If the advocates of negotiations do not manage to exert pressure on Israel, they hope the world and the United States will understand the Palestinians' endorsement of new options, including turning to the UN.

ADNAN ABU-AMIR in Hamas-run Palestinian newspaper FILASTIN

United States and 'Israeli' efforts to treat Gaza as an excommunicated entity in an attempt to increase its isolation... are backfiring. Isolating Gaza is only strengthening Hamas's grip.

EDITORIAL in Qatar's daily with close ties to ruling family AL-RAYAH

The side the US is asking to make difficult concessions must not be the Palestinian side because it has nothing to offer after accepting the establishment of a Palestinian State on 22 per cent of the historical area of Palestine. This is a fact the administration of US President Obama must keep its eyes on.

EDITORIAL in UAE's privately-owned, pro-government AL-BAYAN

The path towards Palestinian rights agreed by the majority of Palestinians and their legitimate representatives is now clear: it is a Palestinian state within the borders of lands occupied in 1967. This is the minimum for Palestinians to accept a political solution and to sit at the negotiating table.

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