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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 13:18 GMT
Middle East press split over 'Geneva accord'

The Middle East press has given a mixed reaction to the alternative peace treaty to be signed in Geneva on 1 December. The treaty, known as the Geneva accord, was drafted in secret by a group of left-wing Israelis and unofficial Palestinian negotiators during the last two years and calls for a two-state solution.

While some Israeli newspapers hail the accord for taking a different approach from the official governments of the two sides, the Palestinian press gives a more pessimistic reaction.

The key element of the Israeli-Palestinian understandings, which are due to be formally presented on Monday at a ceremony in Geneva, is the effort to fundamentally change the state of the relationship between the two peoples. That is what distinguishes the draft document... from the approach of both peoples' current leaderships, who are dealing with the conflict from a crisis management perspective rather than from a genuine desire to resolve it...

Ha'aretz - Israel

I know very well why I joined the Geneva initiative: because I feel that every day that passes without change, pushes Israel another centimetre toward the abyss. Because an irreversible political and human reality is being created here that scares me and no one in the current government is offering a solution for it... And mainly because we the Israelis... are only living parallel to a life that we could have lived. We see the land that was promised to us only from the opposite side...

Ma'ariv commentator David Grossman - Israel

The Geneva document is not the first unofficial Palestinian-Israeli initiative to be declared to cause political and organisational argument... We do not want this argument to get to where it got yesterday when people [who supported it] were accused of treason... Why is this kind of position [needed] when opinion and counter opinion are still legitimate and unshackled?

Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah commentator Basim Abu-Samiah - Palestinian territories

There is a Palestinian national interest in standing beside Israeli peace advocates and enhancing their power by addressing Israelis on the street with realistic peace statements...

The political role that the Geneva document has is superior to any other considerations...

Al-Ayyam commentator Samih Shbayb - Palestinian territories

All of a sudden, there is life and vitality flowing through the veins of the peace process... There are contacts here in Palestine, negotiations in Madrid and London... and a celebration today in the Swiss capital [sic] [on the launching of] the document carrying its name [Geneva]...

We can barely find anything new on the surface regarding the stances and policies of the official powers.

Al-Ayyam commentator Talal Okal - Palestinian territories

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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28 Nov 03  |  Middle East

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