Yediot Aharonot maintains that "In order to infuse content into the Fayyad Plan, the Palestinian Authority must abandon the comfortable corner from which it looks upon international pressure, especially American, on Israel and soften the preconditions that it had set for resuming negotiations."
Ma’ariv asks: "Is Abu Mazen capable of achieving peace? Indeed, to date, he has not responded to Ehud Olmert’s grand proposal." In reply, the author concludes that "It is not clear. Abu Mazen did not reply to Olmert’s proposal because he knew that Olmert was a lame duck and his Government’s days were numbered. Olmert’s proposal was certainly an excellent starter from Abu Mazen’s perspective. What is better suited to him is the Geneva accords. In principle, with wide international sponsorship, with explicit adoption by the Arab League and more incentives, the Palestinians could come to an agreement with Israel which includes the division of Jerusalem (what is Arab to the Arabs, what is Jewish to the Jews and a special arrangement for the Holy Basin), with a very limited right of return (a couple of tens of thousands over a twenty year period), but with all the territory, including the Jordan Valley, in their hands. And we haven’t yet started to discuss security arrangements. It is very doubtful that there is a partner for such an agreement on the Israeli side."
Yisrael Hayom, attempting to sketch the Israeli intelligence community’s assessment of the Palestinians’ intentions towards the proximity talks, maintains that it [the intelligence community] believes that "The Palestinian Authority wants successful talks, but does not believe it possible. According to it, success of the talks means, moving to direct negotiations within three months, with agreement on an Israeli withdraw to the 1967 Green Line, with slight territorial exchange. They want it to be even less than what was offered by Ehud Olmert. Even though Abu Mazen is interested in the talks’ success, he is not willing to demonstrate any flexibility. What Olmert offered him in 2009 was not sufficient for him, and certainly now, he senses international backing, especially from the US. In other words, since he will not show any flexibility about anything he previously agreed to, the chances for the success of the proximity talks are close to nil."
The Jerusalem Post comments on reports of Egyptian-US negotiations on a nuclear free Middle East, and notes: "Considering the fact that Israel is, reportedly, the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear capability, this would mean that the US had agreed to discuss with Egypt putting pressure on Israel to disarm itself of nuclear warheads." The editor states that "The dangerous impression being created is of a nuclear-capable Israel being equated with a nuclear-capable Iran – an approach that fails to make the distinction between Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, and Iran, a despotic regime run by rapacious Shi’ite fanatics that openly persecutes homosexuals, promotes misogyny, brutally puts down political protest and shammed its last elections," and concludes: "The Obama administration should be commended for attempting to reach out to the Muslim world, but it should not be blinded to its own and its allies’ interests when the response, as with Iran, is ruthless and uncompromising. And it must stop at nothing to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons."
Haaretz commends Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai for stating that the secular public, which pays most of the taxes used to fund the Ultra-Orthodox educational system, even though it does not teach the core curriculum, is in effect funding and nurturing entire communities of separationists and ignoramuses, who, upon graduation, lack the necessary tools to integrate into society and the economy, and states that "Huldai spoke the truth: Education is vital for democracy, and he justly fears for its welfare. Israel must stop this dangerous socioeconomic erosion immediately."
[Anat Kurz, Ben Caspit, and Dan Margalit wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]