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Friday, December 29, 2006

Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press - Dec 27, 2006

Information Department, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem

(Government Press Office)
27 December 2006

Haaretz - Ma'ariv - Yediot Aharonot - Globes - Hazofe - Jerusalem Post -

Haaretz writes: "Reducing the number of checkpoints in the West Bank so that Palestinians can live normal lives, go to work, do their shopping, visit relatives, go to school and even (as in Hebron) cross the road without having to make a kilometers-long detour, should not have to be considered a "gesture" to Mahmoud Abbas, but rather something that should have been done a long time ago. The Defense Ministry, focused on security issues, has had plans for removing checkpoints, but apparently the leadership capable of implementing them was not to be found. In the absence of a determined leadership, it is the brigade and battalion commanders who are determining how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looks in daily life; every checkpoint and roadblock and dirt pile and concrete cube is another brick in the wall of hatred. Reducing the number of checkpoints is a gesture not to the Palestinians, but to ourselves."

The Jerusalem Post writes: "At considerable risk to his own people, despite the objections and warnings of many of his own security chiefs, and in defiance of recent grisly experience, Prime Minister Olmert is trying to encourage PA Chairman Abbas to step up to the peacemaking plate. As Israel's intelligence chiefs seek to make sense of the overtures from Damascus, it is grimly ironic that all the evidence from a people that was supposed to have entered into a peace partnership with Israel a full 13 years ago is of determined and violent hostility at all costs. Olmert's rival has, to date, failed to show the public will to remake that mindset. He may never get another chance."

Yediot Aharonot believes that the current government is among Israel's strongest and may finish a full four-year term. The editors suggest that the government's strength stems - paradoxically - from its weakness: Since none of its members is interested in early elections, none will rock the boat however much noise they might make.

Hatzofeh calls for reforms in the provision of services for mentally retarded Israelis who are religiously observant.

[Sever Plocker and Haggai Hoberman wrote today's editorials for Yediot Aharonot and Hatzofeh, respectively.]


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