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Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Media peers into summit "abyss"
Clinton, Arafat, Barak in doorway
All smiles on Day One but who will make the first move?
Israeli papers led their coverage of the Camp David summit with the weighty responsibility borne by all three of the main protagonists.

"A great deal depends on President Clinton, the patron of the meeting," said a commentary in the independent daily Ma'ariv.

"His resolve will carry a lot of weight. Barak and Arafat have come to the summit extremely limited in their ability to compromise."


The abyss is enormous

Ma'ariv
Failure to agree at the summit would be the easy option for both Israel and the Palestinians, another Ma'ariv writer added.

"We have tried, the leaders will tell their people, but the gaps are too wide, the abyss is enormous. The Israeli and Palestinian publics will accept it with understanding, even with a measure of relief."

An editorial in the Jerusalem Post worried about the coalition crisis at home.

Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak facing tough talks
"Israel is in a situation it has never known before: As the prime minister negotiates halfway around the world over the most important issues facing the state, he lacks a majority of the Knesset backing his government," it said.

Arm wrestling

Meanwhile, the liberal daily Ha'aretz said Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat made good use of the two minutes of press time awarded them.

"Bill Clinton led the two into his office in the bungalow, with Barak and Arafat competing over who would follow. 'You first,' the prime minister shoved the Palestinian leader. "No, you first," Arafat pushed back," the paper said.

"Barak won in the first round of arm wrestling at the Camp David summit. He outflanked him from the right, shoved Arafat aside, and entered the presidential bungalow second."


The Camp David summit is a plot against the Palestine question

Hamas
The Palestinian paper Al-Quds, published in Jerusalem, attacked Israeli politicians for walking out of the coalition and creating more obstacles to peace.

"These ministers and deputies could have waited at least until the negotiations produce an agreement unsatisfactory to them to resign or withdraw from the coalition government afterwards," it said.

A course of capitulation

An editorial in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Arab al-Alamiyah said Arafat was deluding himself if he thought he could return with his aims achieved and described him as a capitulationist.

Yasser Arafat
Will Yasser Arafat be smiling after Camp David?
"The settlement might perhaps be achieved had President Arafat gone to Washington bearing in mind the fact that Israel as a whole is an illegal entity based on murder, rape, and crimes."

"It might perhaps be achieved if he has the courage to put all the international resolutions on the negotiating table, from the partition resolution to Resolution 242.

"But he is doing the exact opposite."

A Hamas spokesman interviewed by the London-based Quds Press, agreed.

"It is obvious that the Palestinian Authority is pursuing a course of relinquishment and capitulation. So we are not exaggerating when we say that the Camp David summit is a plot against the Palestine question," Ibrahim Ghawshah said.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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