Winds of Change?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

Twenty years ago, I wrote a book about the Middle East, and recently I was thinking of updating it with a new introduction. It was going to be very simple — just one page, indeed just one line: “Nothing has changed.” It took me two days covering the elections in Beirut to realize that I was dead wrong. No, something is going on in the Middle East today that is very new. Pull up a chair; this is going to be interesting.

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu speech aimed solely for Obama's ears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Analysis) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

It nearly made one feel sorry for Benjamin Netanyahu, watching him progress through his speech, through an ocean of right-wing rhetoric full of national symbols, until he uttered two words: "Palestinian state" (which were followed by a third: "demilitarized"). These two words were uttered like a rotten tooth pulled from its socket without anesthesia. In spite all this, he lived.

Netanyahu, Mideast peace and a return to the Axis of Evil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The prime minister's speech last night returned the Middle East to the days of George W. Bush's "axis of evil." Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a patriarchal, colonialist address in the best neoconservative tradition: The Arabs are the bad guys, or at best ungrateful terrorists; the Jews, of course, are the good guys, rational people who need to raise and care for their children. In the West Bank settlement of Itamar, they're even building a nursery school.

Gideon Levy / Why Netanyahu speech gives us cause for joy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The gate was not thrown open last night, although a narrow crack appeared, which in itself is noteworthy. Another small brick was removed from the barricades of the occupation: A right-wing leader said he supports Palestinian statehood. "Demilitarized, Demilitarized," he repeated; now all that remains are the utmost margins of the fantasizing, embittered right-wing, a group finally left isolated and abnormal. They are a dangerous contingent, but they are few.

Netanyahu Backs Palestinian State, With Caveats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday endorsed for the first time the principle of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but on condition that the state was demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognized Israel as the state of the Jewish people. In a much-anticipated speech meant in part as an answer to President Obama’s address in Cairo on June 4, Mr. Netanyahu reversed his longstanding opposition to Palestinian statehood, a move seen as a concession to American pressure.

Palestinians dismiss Israel plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinians have rejected the Israeli prime minister's conditions for a two-state solution, saying he has "paralysed" the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a major policy speech, accepted the creation of a Palestinian state but only if it was demilitarised. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman said his comments challenged Palestinian, Arab and US positions. But the US said Mr Netanyahu's stance was an "important step forward".

Will Israeli PM's reference to the 'S' word spell peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

For the first time in his long political career Benjamin Netanyahu managed to say "Palestinian state". That much is a result for Barack Obama, despite the qualifications that came with it. As the US President most eager since Jimmy Carter to make progress in the Middle East from day one of entering office, he found himself, by a painful historical irony, faced with an Israeli Prime Minister who did not, unlike his three predecessors, even accept a theory the notion of a two-state solution. On this Mr Netanyahu has bowed to the inevitable.

Salam Fayyad: The two-state solution needs action as well as words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Salam Fayyad - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

There is growing expectation that Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may soon endorse the two-state solution. His speech tonight outlining his government's approach to Middle East peace affords him an opportunity he should not miss. No doubt some will laud any change in his opposition to the two-state solution as a "breakthrough". But what does a genuine endorsement of it entail?

Let's applaud the change in US policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

One of the fascinating developments taking place before our eyes these days is the evolution of America's power and presence in the Middle East - though it remains to be seen if this is a truly constructive change in policy or merely a temporary cosmetic repackaging of failed old ways. Two important points should be noted: American power is a constant factor in the region, regardless of whether one likes or dislikes how it is applied; and public perceptions of the United States throughout the Middle East are not fixed in stone, but rather respond in tandem to evolving American policies.

A Change of Heart?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

WHAT to make of a speech on Sunday June 14th by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in which he reluctantly but explicitly articulated his acceptance of the idea of a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian territories? Local commentators have made much of the image of pulling teeth, suggesting that Mr Netanyahu spoke largely in response to pressure from the United States.

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