Arab media outlets predictably received the reports of Israeli election results with little enthusiasm. Most newspapers addressed the new political reality as another step towards a dead-end in Israeli-Palestinian ties, with peace prospects diminishing.
The London-based Sharq al-Awsat wrote that three of the top four candidates do not lean in the direction of peace, while al-Hayat declared that "the far Right won third place." However, the most blatant among international Arab newspapers was al-Quds al-Arabi, which ran an op-ed by editor Abd al-Bari Atwan titled "Bidding illusions of peace farewell."
Israeli elections derail peace (al-Sharq al-Awsat)
Atwan wrote that the real contest in the latest elections was between those on the Right and those further on the Right. "Therefore, we shall find ourselves facing minor changes on minor issues and no more than that. We did not see a hawkish camp versus a dovish camp, or a struggle between Right and Left, as was the case in most past elections. Rather, we saw a struggle between two Likud factions, with one of them splitting under the name "Kadima" and the other keeping the historic name and maintaining a more radical agenda."
"Any Israeli government that emerges from these elections will be weaker in matters pertaining to securing positive steps in the peace arena, yet stronger when it comes to new wars – in the south, against the Gaza Strip; in the north, against southern Lebanon; and possibly even a strike against the (Iranian) nuclear program."
"The far Right's control in the Knesset and government will boost the obstacles faced by the peace process and support militant tendencies," he wrote.
'Press Israel'Palestinian newspapers also expressed their concerns over the future of the peace process. Palestinian daily al-Quds, published in east Jerusalem, estimated that there will be no progress on the diplomatic front, noting that "this does not constitute a new state of affairs, but rather, the continuation of the political paralysis that accompanied Ehud Olmert's government since the Second Lebanon War."
"It is clear that all the international initiatives will be shelved and rejected now," the paper wrote. "This requires the Arabs, the international community, and particularly Barack Obama's Administration to press Israel."
Meanwhile, Palestinian daily al-Hayat al-Jadida, affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, argued that the only difference between Israel's parties is their name.
"The essence is the same – killing, settlement, land confiscation, and the razing of homes," wrote the paper's editor, Hafez Barghouti.