JERUSALEM Nov 27 U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed a joint statement at the Annapolis peace conference that they hope may lead to a full peace agreement before the end of 2008.
Following are reactions to Bush's announcement.
AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN, RIGHT-WING ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER:
"What I found important in Olmert's speech is that he spoke of 'security and peace' and demanded a halt to rocket attacks against Sderot, while Bush spoke of 'peace and security'. I am not sure there will be an agreement or even negotiations ... what is important is whether after Annapolis the direction will be to dismantle (Jewish settler) outposts or Hamas. We hope it will be Hamas. I demand determined action in Gaza."
SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL SAMI ABU ZUHRI:
"Abbas has committed a crime by pledging to follow the road map ... Resistance will continue against the occupation by all means. We have heard too many false promises ... Bush has failed to deliver anything for the Palestinians during his presidency ... He is completely biased towards Israel."
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STENIMEIER
"I had eye contact with Arab colleagues during the speeches. ... The Arab world certainly appreciated how respectfully Olmert ... addressed the suffering of the Palestinian people."
AHMED YOUSSEF, AIDE TO HAMAS GAZA LEADER ISMAIL HANIYEH:
"It was a waste of time ... What we see can only be a farewell party for George Bush and a hopeless attempt to portray him as a great leader."
ZALMAN SHOVAL, ISRAELI RIGHT-WING OPPOSITION LIKUD PARTY:
"Abu Mazen has really no control and no authority and if you listened to his speech today he didn't give an inch on his quite extreme demands on Jerusalem, borders and so on ... The chances of anything coming out of this are quite slim."
DANNY DAYAN, SPOKESMAN FOR JEWISH SETTLER GROUP YESHA:
"The transparent attempt to complete negotiations within a timeframe that will allow George Bush to get the Nobel Peace Prize will lead to a catastrophe. Expectations will rise and when they are dashed, the resulting frustration will bring only violence. George Bush is telling the world that the pieces should be picked up by his successor. A Palestinian state would be a threat to the very existence of Israel."
ISRAELI-ARAB LAWMAKER AHMED TIBI:
"The Israeli right-wing has nothing to worry about yet, because nothing has yet been agreed on the actual creation of the Palestinian state. We have seen previous promises for an agreement that have not been met."
FAHMI ZARIR, SPOKESMAN FOR FATAH:
"Annapolis is a step in a long path of difficult negotiations. We support our leadership and we trust it ... We reject normalisation and coexistence as long as there is occupation. Israel should withdraw from our territories. All of us in Fatah stand behind President Mahmoud Abbas."
ELI SHANI, RESIDENT OF ISRAELI TOWN OF NETANYA:
"I think that the problem of Israel is not Abu Mazen. It's the Hamas, it's Iran, and the Hamas and Iran is not in Annapolis so I don't know how can it help us."
RAMALLAH RESIDENT AFIF BARGOUTHI:
"Bush talks with an attitude of strength: 'You must do as I say, otherwise I won't give to you.' Our hopes are great that the Palestinian delegation won't fulfil his goals in helping Israel take what is left of our land."
MOHAMMED ZALLOUN, HEBRON BUSINESSMAN:
"This is a failed piece of theatre that has been played out many times in the past. When I watch TV I wish Israeli and Palestinian leaders would change their rhetoric."
ISRAELI STUDENT HILA DRECHLER IN TEL AVIV:
"I think it is good that our government is willing to attend the conference in Annapolis and I hope something will come out but unfortunately I am not sure we will have a solution in the near future."
RAMALLAH RESIDENT RAED FAYEZ, 35:
"This is the strongest speech I have heard from Abu Mazen ... Abu Mazen didn't compromise."
PALESTINIAN ACCOUNTANT NIDAL MOUHTASIB, 28, IN HEBRON:
"Both sides expressed readiness to make concessions. I hope peace will come."
(Reporting by Jerusalem Newsroom, Editing by Sami Aboudi)