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Obama-Netanyahu meeting crucial to Middle East

Mr Netanyahu and Mr Obama had a tense White House meeting in May
Mr Netanyahu and Mr Obama had a tense White House meeting in May

Today's meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington is crucial to the future of the Middle East, according to the region's press. The peace process, the Iranian nuclear issue and the restoration of relations between Turkey and Israel are said to hinge on the summit.

The press in Israel urge their prime minister to take decisive action to restore Israel's international standing and repair relations with the US. One newspaper noted that it was in the interests of both Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu to secure at least superficial progress.

Palestinian opinion expressed concern that the meeting might simply be a public relations stunt to boost the standing of the respective leaders. Papers in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan were sceptical about the likelihood of real progress on the peace process, saying that the meeting was likely to focus on repairing ties between Israel and Turkey.

AMNON ABRAMOVICH IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARANOT

Netanyahu is a wise, realistic man who realises what's at stake. Here we have the nuclear Iran, there we have demographic-political processes, in the midst of it all there's the occupation, and coming up from behind we have rapid erosion of the State of Israel's legitimacy. Netanyahu realises that he must take action. He knows he must do it now.

EDITORIAL IN ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

Netanyahu will undoubtedly seek to be reassured of US backing for Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, no longer taken for granted in Jerusalem ... The meeting also presents a welcome opportunity to push for progress in talks with the Palestinians - progress that the prime minister has made clear Israel needs, as it seeks to guarantee its Jewish, democratic future alongside what it must be certain would be a peaceful, stable Palestinian state.

ALUF BENN IN ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

Obama and Netanyahu will try to gauge each other's political strength ... Obama needs a breakthrough to show the world that America is not lost. Netanyahu wants to reverse Israel's growing international isolation. This is the basis for an understanding ... Netanyahu will not announce an extension of the [settlement] freeze two-and-a-half months in advance ... Obama will make no promises he would find difficult to keep.

EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington in what some sources have described as a decisive summit in which a breakthrough in the peace process will be discussed ... Soon we will know whether this meeting was a crucial meeting or a public relations stunt.

ALA AL-RINAWI IN PALESTINIAN FILASTIN

The meeting between [Palestinian Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad and [Israeli Defence Minister Ehud] Barak was a public relations coup for Netanyahu in advance of his meeting with Obama. Netanyahu will also claim that the siege on Gaza has been eased and that he has prevented the construction of 60 houses for settlers in Jerusalem.

EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

Although it is too early to predict the outcome of talks between Obama and Netanyahu regarding the Palestinian problem, early signs do not provide cause for optimism ... But there will be important results for other hot issues in the Middle East, at the forefront of which is the Iranian nuclear programme.

KLUVIS MAQSUD IN LEBANON'S AL-SAFIR

President Obama wants to relieve tension and normalise Turkish-Israeli relations ... Any breakthrough in the peace process and resumption of negotiations between the Palestinian National Authority and Israel will not be achieved because the US administration is still incapable of making Israel admit it is an occupation force in the Palestinian lands.

MUHAMMAD KHARRUB IN JORDAN'S AL-RA'Y

The Iranian nuclear issue and attempts by Washington to mend relations with Ankara will top the agenda, rather than the peace process ... There will be a joint US-Israeli invitation to the Palestinian National Authority to enter into direct negotiations after "proximity" talks have achieved their media purpose.

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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