President Obama welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's acceptance of the goal of establishing a Palestinian state (1), while the reception across the Middle East is much cooler (8) (9) (13). Israeli officials are allegedly negotiating with Washington on the terms of a settlement freeze (4) (11), as the European Union defers an upgrade of trade relations with Israel, pending a full settlement freeze (2). President Obama strengthens his call for an end to the two year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza (5). A poll of U.S. voters shows a decline in overall support for Israel (7).

E.U. Defers Upgrade Of Israel Trade Ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

European Union officials said Monday that they would delay any improvement in trade relations with Israel after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered conditional support for a Palestinian state in an address Sunday night but did not declare a freeze on Israeli settlements.

Poll Shows Dip in American Voters’ Supporting Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

American voters’ support for Israel has dropped 20 percent in the past nine months, a new survey found. Some 49 percent of American voters call themselves supporters of Israel, down from 69 percent last September, according to the poll conducted for The Israel Project. The number of voters who called themselves undecided rose during that same period, and the number of Palestinian supporters remained steady at 7 percent. The number of Israel supporters hit a low of 38 percent immediately following the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, with an equal rise in undecided voters.

U.S. could yield on settlement freeze, says government source
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. administration is prepared to show flexibility on construction in West Bank settlements, a government source in Jerusalem says. The Americans will apparently not demand a full freeze on construction, but will agree that projects now underway can be completed, Israeli officials say. A week from Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet with U.S. special envoy George Mitchell in Paris to discuss the details.

Blair: Don't Rule Out Right Of Return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The return of Palestinian refugees to Israel should not be ruled out as a subject for negotiation, Tony Blair said in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent policy speech. In his speech at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday, Netanyahu endorsed the concept of a demilitarized Palestinian state for the first time, but he attached new strict conditions, including a demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state before negotiations even begin.

Israel: one step forward, two steps back
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu came within a hair’s breadth of endorsing the two-state solution and a sovereign Palestinian state. In a speech on Sunday night, he outlined what he called his “vision for peace”. It came as the Israeli prime minister was under immense pressure from the United States to freeze settlements and accept a two-state solution for Israel-Palestine. Yet Mr Netanyahu refused to do the former and paid only lip service to the latter.

Netanyahu's speech badly received across the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Paul Woodward - June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

“The truth is that in the area of our homeland, in the heart of our Jewish Homeland, now lives a large population of Palestinians. We do not want to rule over them. We do not want to run their lives. We do not want to force our flag and our culture on them. In my vision of peace, there are two free peoples living side by side in this small land, with good neighbourly relations and mutual respect, each with its flag, anthem and government, with neither one threatening its neighbour’s security and existence,” said the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

Analysis: Why was PA reaction to Netanyahu's speech so harsh?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority leadership's hysterical, hasty and clearly miscalculated response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday night is likely to boomerang because it makes the Palestinians appear as "peace rejectionists." The PA, perhaps, has every right to be angry with Netanyahu's statements. However, its leaders should have been more careful in choosing the right words to express their sentiments.

Netanyahu pushes one right button
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

As a speech, it targeted headline writers with perfect accuracy. The words “Netanyahu”, “Palestinian” and “state” duly appeared in the same sentence, without the word “not”. But nothing in Sunday’s speech by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, suggests he believes that freedom for the Palestinians, in their own state, on their own land, is the key to peace and the long-term security of Israelis.

PM insists life in W. Bank won't freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

A day after US President Barack Obama repeated his demand for a cessation of settlements, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli settlement policy, which will not expand the territory of Jewish West Bank locales, but at the same time enable the Israelis living there "normal life" until a final agreement is reached, including expanding infrastructures in accordance to natural growth.

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