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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 12:43 GMT
Olmert speech puzzles press
Israeli-Palestinian Press

Newspapers in Israel are divided over Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's peace overtures to the Palestinians, with some praising his "courage" and "self-confidence".

Another daily argues however that his "defeat speech" will have "terrorist organisations" rubbing their hands with glee.

Palestinian commentators are puzzled by what they see as Mr Olmert's sudden change of tone, but also welcome a new "readiness to reinvigorate the political process".

EDITORIAL IN ISRAEL'S HAARETZ

After despairing and losing his way in the wake of the Lebanon war, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday presented a clear political strategy. The speech puts the resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians back at the top of Israel's national agenda. Olmert deserves praise for his decision to embark on a political initiative.

YUVAL STEINITZ IN ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

Prime Minister Olmert's speech at the grave of David Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker represents the ultimate burial of Israeli determination and the military and diplomatic triumph of Hamas... And so our cities are doomed and our citizens condemned to keep living under the growing threat of rocket fire from both the north and the south, until we recover our senses and return to our neglected culture of military resolve.

SIMA KADMON IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT

Olmert extended his hand in peace to the Palestinians yesterday. It is impossible to belittle his courage: The political plan he proposed is at total variance with the recommendations and warnings of the security establishment.

HAGAY HUBERMAN IN ISRAEL'S HATZOFE

Two moves Olmert made within two days have turned the State of Israel into a defeated state. The first was the ceasefire with the Palestinians and the second, his defeat speech in Sde Boker... The terrorist organisations can rub their hands with glee. Is it a wonder that they feel like dictating terms to Israel like stopping the targeted killings in the West Bank?

EDITORIAL IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS

Whoever listened to Ehud Olmert speaking about the Palestinians' current situation, and possible solutions, could not believe their ears. This was a new tone of voice for someone who used to make hard-line and ringing speeches... It is probably too early to judge this statement to see how serious it is but, nevertheless, it could be a new sign of a readiness to reinvigorate the political process that we have all been searching and calling for.

YUSOF AL-QAZAZ IN PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

The overwhelming majority of Palestinians either openly or secretly welcomes this formal Israeli invitation... Only a small minority that has become used to being outside the national consensus is breaching the agreement by launching rockets.

AHMAD DAHBUR IN PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

Olmert is enthusiastic about the ceasefire, not because he likes us but rather because he wants to calm the turbulent situation in which he finds himself, at least for a while. He hopes that the vacuum the lull will create will lead to Palestinian in-fighting, with our problems remaining unresolved.

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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The press in Israel
08 May 06 |  Middle East
The Palestinian press
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