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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Media post mortem on Camp David
Palestinian demonstrators
Palestinians will be pleased that Arafat made no concessions
Israeli and Palestinian media were quick to blame the other side for the failure of the Camp David talks, with warnings that an historic opportunity had been missed.

"The peace is not dead, but it's not alive either. Paraphrasing the movie, it's a dead peace walking," Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper said.

"What happened last night was not a breakdown, nor the end. It's an admission that you can't put an end to a 100-year war with a slam dunk."

Palestinian media saw the talks as an opportunity squandered by Israel.

"We, of course, are not lamenting the failure of a summit, in which the Israeli side sought to liquidate us and our people's rights," Voice of Palestine radio said.

"We lament the loss of a historic opportunity which could have been seized to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region had it not been for Israeli intransigence."

Arafat the victor

The radio also praised Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's role in the talks.

He was "the creator of the epic of steadfastness and defiance from Beirut to Camp David", it said, and could now expect "a huge public and official welcome" on his return.

Some Israeli commentators agreed that Arafat had come out of the talks in a strong position.

Ha'aretz said that he was the only victor of the summit.

"The fact that President Bill Clinton more than implied that Arafat was to blame for the summit's failure will not hurt him among his people or undercut his standing in the Arab world, perhaps the contrary," it said.

But it warned Arafat not to seek confrontation.

"If Arafat wants, the door remains open," it said.

"If he chooses confrontation, he'll hand victory to the fanatics and demagogues of Israel. And he won't get another Ehud Barak."

Stark warnings

In the rest of the Middle East, reactions were a shade more gloomy.

There were stark warnings from Lebanon's pro-Syria daily Ad-Diyar.

"The question of Jerusalem will be the detonator of a fresh Jewish-Arab conflict which will break out very soon," it said.

In Syria itself, Al Baath argued that "intifada" was the only language Mr Barak could understand.

Conflict prevented

But Egypt's Al-Ahram said that by standing up to unreasonable pressure, the Palestinians had prevented a conflict.

"US and Israeli pressure will not lead to a just peace, but will result in an unjust settlement that will soon cause an outbreak of the conflict again," the newspaper said.

Another Syrian daily, Teshreen, said there was no hope for peace unless Israel recognised the UN resolutions on Jerusalem, borders and the return of Palestinian refugees.

"It is impossible for these negotiations to lead to even the most basic results in the future if Israel continues to ignore Security Council resolutions," it said.

Libya thanks God

The strongest condemnation of the US and Israeli positions came, not surprisingly, from Libya.

"The failure of Camp David-2 induces us to thank God, because the new American-Zionist plans against the Arabs have failed," Libyan TV quoted a JANA news agency commentator as saying.

"The objective behind these plans was to destroy what was left of the Arab nation."

"This failure of Camp David-2 must be a lesson to the Arabs, a lesson which makes them aware of the Zionist objectives in having talks with him...

"This requires that the Arabs look for another means to confront this Zionist plan before it makes them perish for good."

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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