Gulf Press Questions US Role as Honest Broker
Gulf newspapers on Saturday condemned Washington's pressure on the Palestinians in their peace talks with Israel and questioned US President Bill Clinton's role as an honest broker.
"Taking his lead from Israeli policies, Clinton is trying to break the bones of the Palestinian negotiators by stepping up pressure on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to isolate him on the international scene," said Qatar's Al-Raya, which is close to official circles in Doha.
It charged that the US president was "trying to win sympathy from Israeli public opinion at the expense of the Palestinians ahead of the US elections" in November.
"Any solution based on immediate interests and which does not guarantee the return of Jerusalem (to the Palestinians), will not bring a just and lasting peace," the paper warned.
Al-Ittihad in the United Arab Emirates said the EU should take over the role of peace broker.
"It's time for the United States to step aside and allow the European Union to take up, at least in part, the role of impartial mediator," it said, although Israel sees the EU as pro-Arab.
In Saudi Arabia, Okaz newspaper said that "putting the peace process back on track should have the accord of both parties rather than be brought about by threats and pressure".
"We cannot allow the rights of the Palestinians over Jerusalem, along with those of the Arabs and Muslims, to be wronged or that an unacceptable solution be imposed," it said.
In an interview on Israeli TV broadcast Friday, Clinton praised the "courageous" efforts of Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the marathon Camp David peace summit and said the US embassy could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He also warned Arafat against going ahead with a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood on September 13th - DUBAI (AFP)
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