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Tuesday, 18 May, 1999, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
World media hails Israel's 'political earthquake'
Playing chess under a posrter of Barak
The right wing is reported to be weaker than ever
Ehud Barak's dramatic landslide victory has been heralded as a breakthrough in Middle East politics by newspapers around the world.

Israel Elections Special Report
The Jerusalem Post says the entire Israeli political landscape has "dramatically shifted".

In an editorial called "The tie that was broken", the newspaper says the right wing has been left weaker than it has been for decades.

The New York Times calls the election result "a political earthquake for Israel and the Middle East" and "a resounding call for a revival of the languishing Israeli-Palestinian peace effort."

But it also notes that Mr Barak has provided few details on how to achieve his stated aims.

Another New York newspaper, Newsday, says the United States is expecting a much easier personal relationship between Mr Clinton and Mr Barak "than was possible with the often abrasive Netanyahu".

"Those who know Barak well expect him to be tough-minded and cautious but to proceed with determination on all the open issues including the Palestinian homeland, Lebanon and Syria," it said.

Tough problems at home

The beaming face of Mr Barak waving to his supporters also dominates the European front pages this morning.

In France, Liberation's banner headline asks the question - "And Now, Peace?"

The paper says the new prime minister will not be able to content himself with finding a peaceful compromise with the neighbouring Arab people. He will also have to reconcile the tribes which make up his own country.

Madrid's El Pais writes that Barak's victory is great news for the Palestinians, who are confident that the new prime minister will be more receptive to their demands.

The paper also believes it will be good news for the European Union, which had lost a leading role in the region as a result of its continuous disagreements with Mr Netanyahu.

'Peace and security'

In the UK, the Daily Telegraph says Mr Barak's triumph will raise peace hopes while The Independent sees it as a huge vote for change.

The Times believes the Middle East is poised on the edge of a new era.

In its editorial, it describes Mr Barak's victory as a sensation, and says he has succeeded in recasting himself in the image of the former Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995.

It says Mr Barak has adopted a position on a future Palestinian state and negotiations with Syria, which is not significantly different in substance from Mr Netanyahu's.

According to The Times, this has re-established the Labour's credibility as a party that can deliver Israel both peace and security.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
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Audio
Jerusalem Correspondent Hilary Andersson: "Netanyahu's record on trial"
Audio
Jeremy Bowen: "A lot of the issues revolve around personality"
Video
Hilary Andersson: "Netanyahu's nightmare has come true"
Audio
The BBC's Paul Adams: "Large numbers have been out to cast their vote"
Video
Jeremy Bowen: "The campaign has become a referendum on Mr Netanyahu's character"
Audio
Listen to Binyamin Netanyahu's resignation speech
Video
BBC Jerusalem Correspondent Jeremy Bowen: "Labour supporters are already starting to celebrate"
Audio
Ehud Barak: "This is Israel's first step towards unity"
Video
BBC Jerusalem Correspondent Jeremy Bowen: "Here, they asked for change, and this is what they're getting"
See also:

15 Jul 99 | Israel elections
11 Nov 99 | Israel elections
18 May 99 | Middle East
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