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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 January, 2005, 12:41 GMT
Press gauges eventful week for Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas occupies centre stage in the Middle East press at the end of a week which saw his election as the new Palestinian president.

Israeli papers urge Mr Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, to take firm action against those responsible for Thursday's attack on a Gaza Strip crossing which left six Israelis dead.

But the region's Arab papers believe Israel should be doing more to show its support for Mr Abbas as a partner in the Middle East peace process.

Abu Mazen is in an embarrassing situation. Yesterday, he received his first blow below the belt, and from his own men of all people - members of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades. The blow is especially painful because in recent days he has been conducting talks with Hamas in an attempt to achieve a ceasefire, and it is his men who are hurting him... If the security organs in the Gaza Strip do not act today with determination against the terrorists - and let there be no mistake, they are all known to the Palestinian Preventive Security Service - this means that Abu Mazen has already failed in his job in his first few days... He will lose all the confidence the Israeli leadership has in him... He will damage his status in the United States, and, in the end, the Palestinians themselves will be hurt.

Roni Shaked in Israel's Yediot Aharonot

It started as an optimistic week. The Palestinians called this a 'celebration of democracy' and were filled with pride that the whole world saw how Abu Mazen was elected the new president. This week, however, like so many in the past, ended in well-known fashion, Gaza-style. The explosive charges detonated at Morag on Wednesday and... the attack at Karni have proved again that Palestinian terrorism is detached from any positive event in the field - detached from any logic... This is the message directed at Abu Mazen: no man is ready to give up the intifada. Now, when all eyes are on him, Abu Mazen must decide whether he is going to respond firmly to this message or choose to ignore it and wait for the next explosion.

Amit Cohen in Israel's Ma'ariv

For the president to win the people's hearts, he must start with the people's concerns before he pleases any other foreign force.

Walid Abu-Bakr in Palestinian Al-Ayyam

Celebrations to mark Abu Mazen's official assumption of power are taking place today, and Israelis are continuing to kill us daily... We shall also continue to kill them as before the elections and before President Mahmoud Abbas was declared Palestinian leader. It is becoming clear that the road ahead for Abu Mazen is no bed of roses...

Husayn Hijazi in Palestinian Al-Ayyam

When Abu Mazen was giving his statement as the presidency was handed over to him and as he was stretching his arm out to Ariel Sharon for peace, three citizens were killed by the occupation's bullets. Today, Saturday, the assassination missions may abate, but there might be martyrs... If the Israelis had good intentions, Sharon's government should have announced from the outset of the elections that it had stopped its operations in Palestinian territory, but their operations have never stopped.

Hafez al-Barguthi in Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

The suicide operation was not a terrorist act, because it targeted an Israeli military checkpoint and all the victims were Israeli soldiers. There were neither civilians nor children among the victims. On the contrary, the Israeli army kills only defenceless civilians, and children in particular, while using its most sophisticated weapons to perpetrate these crimes.

Editorial in London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi

Abu Mazen's success is a unique chance not only for the Palestinians and the Israelis, but for the whole world, starting with the American taxpayer who bears the heaviest burden due to the persistence of the tragic conflict.

Adil Darwish in London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat

After waiting for a long time, Palestinians got a new leader after the death of President Yasser Arafat. Everyone started congratulating them and expressing their hope for the resumption of the peace process, except for Israel, which expressed its intention to destroy 300 houses in Gaza in order to drill a water channel on the Egyptian border... Choosing a second president for the Palestinian Authority is an important step to realizing the hopes of Palestinian people by establishing an independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital. But most of all, the president must be backed with action not words, particularly by Israel, which does not seem to be serious in finding a real partner for the peace process.

Editorial in Jordan's Al-Ra'y

Until now, Abu Mazen has not expressed his support or condemnation of the recent suicide operation... His silence may mean rejection of the military operation, but he might not be announcing his position now to avoid clashing with the organisations which promised to carry out the operation against Israel.

Zuhayr Majid in Oman's Al-Watan

While the international community has begun to harbour hopes for the resumption of the peace process after Palestinians succeeded in holding elections and Mahmoud Abbas became the leader of the Palestinian Authority... the Israeli occupation authorities are trying to create obstacles to hamper the peace process. After the Zionists initiated the building of the Israeli racist wall on Palestinian territory... it is now getting ready to build a tunnel under the Salah-al-Din crossing point.

Editorial in Saudi Al-Jazirah

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 bureaus abroad.

Abbas sworn in as new president
15 Jan 05 |  Middle East

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