October 30th

Netanyahu: Iran nuclear draft a `positive first step`
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday offered cautious praise of a U.S.-backed, United Nations-drafted deal to curb Iran's contentious nuclear program. Netanyahu called the deal "a positive first step" toward denying Tehran the means to make nuclear weaponry. U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell held talks Friday with Netanyahu in Jerusalem as part of an intense and ongoing bid to revive broken-off peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Palestinian anger over Jerusalem is affecting Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The pattern repeats itself: A relatively marginal Jewish organization calls upon the public to hold prayers on the Temple Mount to mark Yom Kippur, Sukkot or, as was the case this week, "Rambam Day" (commemorating Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon's visit to the Land of Israel in the 12th century). These announcements win a great deal of attention in the Palestinian and Arab media, of course.

Abbas: Netanyahu hasn't changed since last stint as PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is deeply suspicious of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is losing faith in his intentions to reach a peace agreement, Israeli officials have told Haaretz. "I know Netanyahu is pragmatic and everyone tells me he has changed," Abbas reportedly told the officials recently. "But I don't see it. I fear it's the same Netanyahu of 1996. How much longer can I still give him credit?" Abbas reportedly said he missed former prime minister Ehud Olmert, with whom he had "almost closed [a deal]."

Report: Abbas fears violence without change in Israeli tactics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly told Israeli officials that without movement in the peace process, he fears conditions in the region will rapidly deteriorate, the daily newspaper Haaretz reported Friday. Haaretz reported that Abbas feared the “descent into violence,” and noted there was a window of “two to three weeks” in which changes must take place in order to stabilize the area.

Mitchell to meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Special US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell returned to Jerusalem on Thursday night to attempt a second round of peace talk initiation, the US State Department said. Mitchell's arrival comes two days in advance of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's planned visit; he will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Officials called Mitchell's trip preparatory, and said he met with Israeli army minister Ehud Barak.

Plan B for Abbas - Palestinian unity or bust
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi, Douglas Hamilton - (Analysis) October 29, 2009 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas has no intention of going down in history as the man who legitimised the permanent and possibly fatal division of the Palestinian independence movement. But he has called an election for January that could be a nail in the coffin of Palestinian unity, assuming his Islamist political rivals in control of the Gaza Strip are serious about their threat to ban the vote on their territory. The outcome of an election held in the West Bank but not in the Gaza Strip would be "worse than the two Koreas", said Zakaria al-Qaq, an expert on national security issues.

Bashing Human Rights Watch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Scott MacLeod - (Opinion) October 30, 2009 - 12:00am

As a founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert L. Bernstein is a distinguished moral voice. So he stunned the human rights community last week when he leveled a devastating attack on the work of the organization he also chaired for two decades. He accused Human Rights Watch's Middle East division of giving Israel the "brunt" of its criticism while it "ignored" other countries in the region. The powerful denunciation in a New York Times Op-Ed article was swiftly endorsed by other eminent figures, including Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel.

October 29th

Hillary Clinton to Embark upon Uphill Mideast Mission
Media Mention of Hussein Ibish In Xinhua - October 29, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to visit Israel and the West Bank this weekend. This will be her second visit to the region since Barack Obama entered office as U.S. president some 10 months ago. Coming at a time when relations between Israel and the Palestinians show no outward sign of improvement, analysts see Hillary's visit to be a tough mission and do not expect it to achieve much. A NEGATIVE BACKDROP

Israel is unlikely to yield
Media Mention of ATFP In Gulf News - October 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Top aides of the Obama administration have this month been quietly stoking the peace process fire, raising expectations that the American president, whose popularity remains relatively high, may now be willing to go beyond gentle rapping Israeli knuckles. The ball started rolling when Barack Obama's National Security Advisor General James L. Jones addressed the Fourth Annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine on October 15.

The New York Times looks at how Palestinian women's soccer teams are fighting for both gender equality and national independence. The Boston Globe calls on Israel to stop provocative excavations in Jerusalem. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the city must serve as a capital for both states and calls for reconstruction in Gaza. Numerous articles examine the significance of the first annual conference of the new pro-peace, pro-Israel organization J Street. Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon says he will avoid visiting Europe for fear of arrest, and Israel's ambassador to the UN says the Goldstone report will remain a problem even if an internal investigation is launched. Seth Freeman argues that greater cooperation between the IDF and extremist settlers shows the growth of religious-nationalist politics in Israel.

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