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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Editorials from the Hebrew Press 19-Dec-20

**Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press 19-Dec-2006

[Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

The Jerusalem Post writes: "The fundamental choice is not between Hamas and Fatah, or even between terrorism and negotiations, but between continuing a war to destroy Israel and accepting a peace in order to build their own state. So far, the Quartet has done the right thing by forcing the Palestinians to make such a choice, in the form of its three conditions for international assistance: ending terrorism, accepting Israel's right to exist, and accepting previous agreements. This steadfastness has put Hamas in its current bind, and must continue... For years, the international community thought it was advancing the cause of peace by refraining from pressing the Palestinians to choose peace - in the belief that it was Israelis who needed the pressing. That mistake has led Palestinian belligerency and radicalization to sink in deeper than ever, despite the trend of Israeli moderation."

Haaretz comments: "Suspicions of game-fixing in Israeli soccer come as no surprise. For too long now, there has been talk of the involvement and association of criminal elements with those who are involved in the sport. The possibility that a goalkeeper in the Premier League and players in the National League are suspected of fixing a match must be investigated in depth, so that we will know whether this is an isolated incident or a plague that has infiltrated every area of the sport... The good name of the sport and the reputation of the athletes who play it are now in danger. The burden of proof is on the players and others involved in soccer, who must excommunicate all those who have any connection with match-fixing. The fact that the fans are not surprised with the latest developments is proof in and of itself of the extent to which they lack trust in the country's soccer players. After the courts convicted a number of soccer referees of match fixing in recent years, the sport now faces veritable bankruptcy in terms of the trust of fans. All this requires a serious investigation, in addition to enforcement and supervision, and punishment that will act as a deterrent. All these in unison may ensure the return of fair play."

Yediot Aharonot suggests that, "We live in the age of grey leaders and 2007 does not bode well in this regard: Bush, Blair, Chirac, Merkel, Prodi, Putin, Benedict XVI, Mubarak Assad Jr., and Olmert - none of them sets our imagination on fire."

Hatzofeh accuses Defense Minister Amir Peretz of voicing renewed concerns for Israel's weaker socio-economic strata even as he argues for increased defense spending, because he is concerned over his political future ahead of the Labor Party's internal elections.

Yediot Aharonot, in its second editorial, believes that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to spurn recent Syrian peace overtures - because, "Peace with Syria is not comfortable for the Americans right now" - underscores Israel's dependence on the US.

Yediot Aharonot, in its third editorial, laments the passing of pianist Pnina Saltzman.

Yediot Aharonot, in its fourth editorial, comments on a local soccer-match-fixing scandal.


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