Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's call for the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state as a pre-condition for post-Annapolis peace talks is seen by some Israeli papers and a Jordanian commentator as reasonable and necessary.
But the demand horrifies the Palestinian daily al-Ayyam and other Arab papers who describe the concept as "racist" and a bar to the return of the Palestinian diaspora.
And an Israeli and Jordanian paper fear the move may derail the US-sponsored Annapolis peace conference.
ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST
In essence, Israel is demanding that the Palestinians end their double game. Without mutual recognition, there is no basis for negotiation. The Palestinians expect Israel to accept their existence and rights as a people. The Jewish people expect no less.
YEHIEL SHABBI IN ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV
The Arab states, the Palestinians and Israel's Arabs must understand that Jews also have "homeland" rights in Palestine. Israel must insist on its right to exist as a democratic Jewish state and in parallel it must enable the Arabs to realise their national right outside its sovereign territories.
The Israelis, not Palestinians, are making the vision of the Jewish state impossible... Avoiding a debate on the core issues in Annapolis is not an Israeli achievement. It is an escape from the main issues, stemming from political cowardice. Every additional round of futile talks is pushing Israel farther away from determining its borders and fate.
ABDULAMJID SUWAYLIM IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM
Israel is fully supportive today of the idea of a Jewish state with all its religious connotations and backward and fanatic content. This idea is based on purely racist dimensions. Israel is legislating racism when it talks about the Jewish nature of the state because this will not be fair to the millions of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories and diaspora.
ADNAN ALI IN SYRIA'S AL-THAWRAH
The impudence with which Israel is presenting this racist statement indicates the extent of international leniency in dealing with all that is proposed by Israel, even if it contradicts the simplest international contemporary principles and laws that do not allow any country, especially if it claims to be democratic as in the case of Israel, to confine its citizens to a specific race or religion.
The idea of the "Jewish state" is catastrophic. The Palestinian National Authority has to realise the danger of the ambitions of this enemy and its evil aims and to act to put an end to concessions. The Arab countries are also urged to adopt a firm stand that will cut off the road to a new disaster targeting the Palestinians and a new crime of the century represented by cancelling the return of refugees to their homeland.
MUHAMMAD NAJY UMAYRAH IN JORDAN'S AL-RA'Y
Olmert's government - alone - lowers the expectations of the conference's success and works on thwarting it in advance through the statements given by its members and other Israeli officials. The US Administration, the EU and other countries need to take better action to remove the hurdles that threaten the failure of the conference.
JAWAD AL-BASHTITI IN JORDAN'S AL-ARAB AL-YAWM
There is nothing that prevents the Palestinian negotiator from showing readiness to recognise Israel as a "Jewish state" based on international legitimacy and in conformity with it. The international community, represented in the UN General Assembly, has approved through the "partition resolution" the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.
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