In their first reactions to Monday's meeting in Texas between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian papers are sceptical that any progress has been made. One editorial complains that Israelis and Palestinians are subject to different standards.
Israeli commentators continue to focus on the perceived differences between the two leaders, with one remarking that "Bush is from Mars, Sharon is from Venus".
Despite the positive points in the statements made by George Bush during his meeting with Ariel Sharon, he ignores the fact that the whole West Bank and Jerusalem are occupied territories subject to resolutions 242 and 338... It is strange that he asks his Israeli host to refrain from expanding the Maale Adumim settlement, while requiring the Palestinians to acknowledge the creeping settlement reality.
Editorial in Palestinian Al-Quds
The discord between Bush and Sharon shows that the latter will not succumb to the former. Thus, any solution in the region must not depend on US pressure on Israel but rather on the regional leaders themselves. Egypt could play an important role in this that might start with deploying its forces on the Egyptian- Palestinian border.
Hani Habib in Palestinian Al-Ayyam
The discussions at the Bush farm highlighted the gap between Israel, where there is still a debate over the withdrawal from Gaza, and the rest of the world, which is already anticipating the next withdrawal. The talk about terrorist infrastructures on the Palestinian side is barely heard, if at all... That gap is worrisome. It raises the question of why Sharon even bothered to make the trip. What did he expect to achieve there?... Bush is from Mars, Sharon is from Venus.
Aluf Benn in Israel's Haaretz
Above all the US president made clear that friendship is an important thing. The problem is that his interest now is to show the Arab world and Europe that he is not in Sharon's pocket.
Orly Azulay in Israel's Yediot Aharonot
When senior Israeli and US officials speak about settlements they often speak in code language the public isn't able to decipher... Israeli officials insist that there is an understanding with the US on the permissibility of building inside the existing construction lines, though US officials deny any such understanding exists... When it comes to the settlements, neither Israel nor the US has any great interest in crystal clarity. That much, at least, was obvious from listening to Bush and Sharon's words on the matter.
Herb Keinon in Israel's Jerusalem Post
The far-reaching implication of the statements made at the president's ranch was that now Sharon has adopted Bush's territorial vision. 'Israel's position', the prime minister announced, is that the blocs will remain in Israel's hands in any future arrangement. Therefore, when the time comes, the dispute that emerged from the statements by the two will be about the definitions and sizes of those blocs. Bush followed reality and successive Israeli governments since Yitzhak Rabin, who recognized that a Palestinian state will succeed the Jordanian kingdom as the authority in the West Bank.
Editorial in Israel's Haaretz
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