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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 11:57 GMT
Press split on peace hopes
Arab-Israeli press

Newspapers in the Middle East have mixed views of the chances of US President George Bush's visit to the region leading to a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Commentators in the Palestinian press are most optimistic that this could be a step towards a two-state solution, although they acknowledge that major efforts are required to bring this nearer.

Israeli writers are more sceptical - and this view is shared by the wider regional press, with a commentator in Iran regarding the visit as an opportunity for Mr Bush to launch a new anti-Iran campaign.

NAJI SHARAB IN PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS

I hope that the objectives of this visit will not be limited only to the reinvigoration of the negotiations. Its objectives should go as far as taking a clear position on settlements, construction of the wall, Israeli incursions, lifting the siege and reaching a final solution to establish a Palestinian state.

HAFITH AL-BARGHUTHI IN PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

We are all now looking forward to realising President Bush's vision based on the two-state solution. However, this vision requires additional serious efforts more than at any time in the past, because time does not serve those who advocate a peaceful settlement.

YAHYA RABAH IN PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

Mr Bush: Welcome to Palestine. Welcome to your first step towards establishing a Palestinian state.

MUSTAFA AL-SAWWAF IN PALESTINIAN FILASTIN

The real objective of Bush's visit was clear in his short statement after meeting Israeli President Shimon Peres and Olmert, regarding the protection of Israel's security and existence as a Jewish state.

ISRAEL'S JERUSALEM POST

President George Bush will likely urge the Palestinian Authority president to implement his responsibilities under the road map... And nothing will change. The most important thing Bush can do in Ramallah is to say to the Palestinians that if they want a state they must stop spewing hatred and glorifying terrorism.

ALUF BENN IN ISRAEL'S HA'ARETZ

Bush has come to reassert American hegemony in the region against the forces threatening it.

ARIK BACHAR IN ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV

Overall, the [welcoming] ceremony went according to the timetable. Now let us see Bush keeping his timetable for peace.

MUHAMMAD ALI BUZAH IN SYRIA'S AL-THAWRAH

Mistaken is he who bets on or thinks for a moment that Bush can, with the time left for him [as president], be a man of peace or a peacemaker.

HASAN NAFI'AH IN JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR

I have no illusions about a visit from which I do not expect any benefits for the Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims in general. On the contrary, I believe that the visit is more firm evidence of Bush's insistence on continuing to serve the Zionist project until the last moment of his life in the White House.

YUSUF AL-KUWAYLIT IN SAUDI AL-RIYADH

The US president, who is bound by internal pressures from Congress and the US people, needs the help of the countries of the region to make the end of his term in office brighter.

MUHAMMAD ALI IBRAHIM IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

No-one in the Middle East is relying on this tour. It will not bring peace to Palestine, nor will it achieve stability in Iraq or lead to the election of a president in Lebanon.

YASIR AL-ZA'ATRAH IN IRAN'S AL-VEFAGH

The Iranian issue represents the second part of the itinerary of Bush's visit. It seems very clear that the man is launching his new campaign after the shock caused by the intelligence report, to stress anew that Iran still poses a danger to the security of the region.

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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