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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Olmert US trip engages press
Israeli-Palestinian press

Newspapers in Israel and the Palestinian territories take both positives and negatives from the results of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks in Washington with President George W Bush.

Some Palestinian commentators believe that domestic and foreign pressures on the US president could benefit the Palestinian cause.

Most Israeli commentators are upbeat over the talks, however one argues that Israel's unilateral border plan - or "convergence plan" - is over-ambitious and calls for "a settlement based on mutual agreement". The perceived Iranian nuclear threat also receives mention.

Editorial in Palestinian Al-Quds

Israel is trying to kick the ball back into the Palestinian court to add to the pressure on the Hamas government and find a way out for negotiations with President Abbas. This issue is extremely dangerous, and we should deal with it with the utmost seriousness, especially considering our explosive internal situation, which serves Olmert's objectives.

Basam Abu-Sharif in Al-Quds

[Olmert's visit] comes at a time when the situation is complex and when the clock is ticking for President Bush to leave the White House after two terms in which he failed to achieve decisive results in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel-Palestine.

Umar al-Ghul in Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

The reality of the American situation forces President Bush and his administration to act prudently, faced with the abyss of the Israeli position, because of the fear of a negative reaction from its allies, especially the Europeans.

Hani al-Masri in Palestinian Al-Ayyam

We have to face the bitter truth with courage and frankness. Olmert's plan is the only plan in town and will remain so for a time that will be long unless we see tangible and positive developments on the Palestinian scene.

Hani Habib in Al-Ayyam

The Bush administration has a clear excuse for not supporting the convergence plan since it is not fully supported in Israel, including within the government. Right-wing parties oppose any pullout and there is even widespread opposition within the centre-left.

Nahum Barnea in Israel's Yediot Aharonot

Olmert has a good reason to feel better this morning. He leaves Washington with most of what he wanted. The Bush administration is adopting Olmert's plan on condition that it emerges only after exhaustively examining the possibility of negotiations with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]. This is a very far-reaching gesture by the Bush administration to Israel's prime minister.

Aluf Benn in Israel's Ha'aretz

For Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, there were many good reasons to be satisfied with his first meeting with US President George W Bush. Bush warmly adopted Olmert's initiatives for an extensive withdrawal in the West Bank, terming them 'bold ideas'... Olmert's aides were quick to qualify that he was not placing any hope in peace negotiations with Abbas, and that this was ultimately breathing space in which to gird for a unilateral process.

Editorial in Yediot Aharonot

There is nothing, nothing, nothing more important now for the people of Israel and the Jewish people than the discussion of Iran's nuclear plans. If in that room in the White House Bush and Olmert decided in their tete-a-tete to lift a finger, to do something in order to prevent the making of an Iranian bomb, this would perhaps be the most important journey ever by an Israeli prime minister to Washington.

Yosef Harif in Israel's Ma'ariv

The prime minister has begun to understand that his convergence plan is not popular and could encounter big difficulties when the day for its implementation comes. In the light of much resistance at home and abroad and the deep fissures in the plan, Israel should strive for a settlement based on a mutual agreement.

Daniel Pipes in Jerusalem Post

Middle Eastern issues will likely play an unprecedentedly important role in the US mid-term elections less than a half-year away... The cross-party continuity of policy of the past will end, replaced by a major shift whenever the White House changes hands from one party to the other. As the political consensus breaks, Israel will be the loser.

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 bureaux abroad.





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