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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 10:26 GMT
Abbas win kindles press hopes

Palestinian papers comment extensively on the election of Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, with one editorial saying all Arabs must now envy Palestinian democracy.

Another notes that, despite the hope the election has brought, Mr Abbas faces a "heavy and thorny burden".

Israeli papers also warn that the real work for Mr Abbas is only just beginning, with one arguing that he must reform the Palestinian Authority before he can make "any significant progress" with Israel.

At last, the Palestinian people have come first... and are standing together with the great practising democracies. Maybe our military and political struggle is not liked by some, but our Palestinian democracy is liked by everyone, friend as well as foe. Today, the Arab peoples are feeling envious of the Palestinians.

Palestinian Al-Ayyam

Our people are waiting for the new president to fulfil his promises, especially the right of return and the prisoners' issue. Undoubtedly, the people will support the president they has given their trust to as long as he adheres to the national fixed positions and the promises on which he was elected... The elections are a test for Israel and its wish to achieve peace. We hope that it will not reject again the Palestinian hand extended to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.

Palestinian Al-Quds

What is waiting for you, Abu Mazen, is a heavy and thorny burden... You are the hope of the honest, simple, poor and truly nationalist people. We congratulate you.

Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

We think the jihadists should mix their ideology with a little bit of politics so as to give any cease-fire a chance... The Palestinian people is crying to the world with one voice: 'Let Israel and its armies leave the occupied Palestinian territories so that the democratic state can be established.'

Palestinian Al-Quds

Those who cast their votes yesterday have not only elected a new president but also a new period in their national project. This choice will be complete next May with the parliamentary elections, which will reflect the depth of the change in the Palestinian political map.

Palestinian Al-Ayyam

Abu Mazen is a democratically elected president and has international legitimacy that Israel's government cannot just cancel out. From this morning it will be more difficult for Abu Mazen and Israel to play the game 'you first', which they were busy with in recent months. Neither side will be justified in avoiding their responsibilities, they will no longer have someone else to blame for any failure. From this morning, a Palestinian victory is not necessarily a defeat for us, or vice versa.

Israel's Yediot Aharonot

From today Abu Mazen is no longer in an election campaign, he cannot sell his people slogans and statements. He will have to establish a new, strong government, to appoint a minister of interior with power, and remove the men of Tunis who still uphold Arafat's outlook.

Roni Shaked in Israel's Yediot Aharonot

Make no mistake: He may wear a suit, he may not jump on tables or shout that a million martyrs will march to Jerusalem, but his demands on Israel are no different than Arafat's were.

Danny Rubinstein in Israel's Haaretz

The real test for Abu Mazen begins today... The screaming refuseniks of the extreme right, like those of the extreme left, who are united in their opposition to the separation and disengagement, will do everything so that Abu Mazen continues along Arafat's path. Their work is easy. Hamas will strengthen them. The work of the Zionist majority, that wants a democratic, Jewish state and therefore separation and disengagement, will be much more difficult.

Ben-Dror Yemini in Israel's Maariv

Despite the success of the election process, the road is still long before the Palestinians can call themselves a democracy. In Israel the talk is mainly about reforming the security apparatus, but the Palestinian Authority needs a massive overhaul of all its institutions, including those that are not directly connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Therefore, before he... tries to improve the situation with Israel, Abu Mazen needs to put his own house in order. He says he intends to do both things simultaneously, but in reality the obstacles in the Palestinian arena prevent him from achieving significant progress with Israel.

Amit Cohen in Israel's Maariv

Abu Mazen, like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, will be judged by his ability to realise the will of the majority - the life breath of democracy - to give maximum consideration to a majority that will express its opposition in peaceful ways. The Palestinians' challenge is many times greater: to institute law and order under occupation, in conditions of poverty and despair. If Abu Mazen succeeds where his predecessor Yasser Arafat failed and lowers the temperature, the occupation will be exposed in all its nakedness.

Akiva Eldar in Israel's Haaretz

There are numerous obstacles in Abbas' way, as he is expected to rule through consensus. The external elements, such as Iran, Syria and Lebanon-based Hezbollah, see any arrangement with the Jewish state as a threat to their playing field. The last thing they want would be to see the Israeli-Palestinian issue resolved and thus disappear from the regional agenda. The positive indicators that Abbas can draw upon are an increase in public support for a political solution, increasing opposition to terrorism inside Israel's 1967 borders and an overall sense that something is going to change. These three factors were smothered by Arafat.

Arieh O'Sullivan in Israel's Jerusalem Post

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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