Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Arab press despair as Israel votes

Israeli Arabs put up banners discouraging voting
Some posters have been urging Israeli Arabs not to vote

The Arabic press contains widespread scepticism that the general election in Israel will offer any impetus for change in regional relations, irrespective of the result.

Opinion polls suggest that there is little to choose between the incumbent Kadima party, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and the right-wing Likud, led by Benjamin Netanyahu. One commentator in the UAE expressed concern that this would provide the far-right Avigdor Lieberman, whose popularity has soared recently, with a decisive role in the formation of a government.

Commentaries in Jordan, Syria and the UAE feared that the election would see the appointment to power of Israeli "extremists". One Palestinian writer said that the victory of the Israeli right would "push Palestinians to stand by Hamas", while another questioned how the new US administration would handle the situation.

Basim Abu-Samiyyah in Palestinian daily Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

The Israeli right that is crawling to power will reveal the weakness and double standards of the international community. It will also push us Palestinians to stand by Hamas.

Rajab Abu-Surayyah in Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam

The Israeli elections might demonstrate the reality... that Israel is a right-wing state par excellence. This will form a challenge to the new US administration, made up of Democrats who dream of a global policy that starts by solving the thorny Middle East conflicts.

Id Abu-Sikkah in Syria's Al-Ba'th

It is expected that Israel's policy will go from bad to worse, because those who will control it are fiercer than [the previous administration] who snapped at the bodies of children, women and old men in Gaza.

Ali Qasim in Syria's Al-Thawrah

Extremism will be the winner and peace, which Israelis have not yet been able to accept, will remain the loser for quite some time.

Mazin Hammad in Qatar's Al-Watan

Regardless of who will win, the differences between the right, left and centre [of Israel's politics] are not clear for those who closely watch the election from outside. They all pounce on Palestinian blood.

Rashid Hasan in Jordan's Al-Dustur

The victory of extremists, with [Likud Party leader Benjamin] Netanyahu in the lead, would mean that the situation - i.e. the settlement and the so-called peace process - will return to square one... The Israeli state was built on massacres and genocides committed by Zionist gangs... Therefore, it is not strange if extremists win.

Abd-al-Wahab Badrakhan in the UAE's Al-Ittihad

The horrible Avigdor [Lieberman] will have a decisive role as he will be the one who decides and controls whoever will lead the government after elections. The emergence of the Lieberman phenomenon... represents an inclination to extremism in [Israeli] society.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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