Tensions grow in the Middle East in advance of Pres. Obama's speech tonight. Mustafa Barghouthi says the world should welcome Palestinian unity. A Likud MK says if Palestinians move toward statehood, Israel should annex large chunks of the occupied territories. Jackson Diehl accuses Pres. Abbas of “setting the stage for another conflict.” Abbas is taking major risks for Palestinian national unity. DM Barak says PM Netanyahu must take bold steps towards peace. The LA Times says the US must persist in trying to achieve a peace agreement. Netanyahu has reportedly abandoned the idea of presenting new peace initiatives. Israel plans more settler housing units in a key and hotly-contested area of occupied East Jerusalem. A Fatah official says his party is ready for elections. Analysts say Netanyahu’s US trip is not likely to accomplish much. Palestinians blame Israel for the impasse. Israel arrests six Palestinians in the West Bank. PM Fayyad will reportedly not be retaining his position in a new government. Ari Shavit Says Netanyahu must clearly accept the 1967 borders. Gideon Levy says Israel must own up to Palestinian suffering. The Israeli government will host a discussion on settlement expansion while settlers announce plans for more outposts. Israeli officials warn European recognition of Palestine would lead to violence. Yariv Oppenheimer says Israel’s mainstream must unite against the extreme left and right. Larry Derfner says the status quo keeps getting worse. Daniel Barenboim writes about his peace concert outreach in Gaza. D. Bloomfield says Israel is no longer a high priority issue in Washington. Karma Nabulsi says more refugee protests are likely. Elliot Jager recalls how David Ben-Gurion dealt with US leaders. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says there are no prospects of conflict between Egypt and Israel. George Hishmeh says US diplomacy has failed. Michael Jansen says Palestinian nonviolent resistance won’t work with Israel. Raymond Helmick and Nazir Khaja say Israeli Palestinian peace is essential for Middle East democracy.

Mofaz: EU support for Palestinian state will lead to violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Shaul Mofaz, met with ambassadors of the European Union in Israel and told them that the EU's function is "to break the freeze" and encourage direct negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. Mofaz added that the EU should not back a Palestinian unilateral declaration of state as this would only engender "another round of violence"

'Non-violent resistance does not work with the Israelis'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Protests commemorating Nakbeh in the Palestinian territories and the countries surrounding Israel demonstrated, once again, that the phony “status quo” is untenable. The “status quo” is false because Israel has long relied on its military superiority to impose stasis on the Arabs while it carries on with its drive to colonise territory slated for the Palestinian state and to ethnically cleanse Palestinians living there.

Missing the boat to Palestine peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

There is no doubt that US President Barack Obama and, certainly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have to date missed the boat launched during the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa with promises of more glorious days for the Arab world. How long will American and Israeli leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand without appreciating the golden opportunities roaring above, now that democracy and freedom are being slowly and hopefully firmly established in some of these Arab countries?

Egypt, Israel and the prospects of war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week, Egyptian armed forces stopped demonstrators demanding the liberation of Jerusalem and trying to cross the Sinai desert from continuing their advance to the border with Israel, while also preventing the demonstrators from advancing toward the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

What Would Ben-Gurion Do?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Ideas Daily
by Elliot Jager - (Opinion) May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

How would David Ben-Gurion handle himself if he were the one scheduled to meet Barack Obama on May 20 and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress a few days later? That hypothetical question has been aired frequently by Israelis in the run-up to Benjamin Netanyahu's pending appointments in Washington. It was exactly 50 years ago that Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), a founding father of Israel and its first prime minister, met with President John F. Kennedy. The encounter provides some useful background on the limits of personal charisma and the constraints on Israel's freedom of action.

Nakba day: we waited 63 years for this
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Karma Nabulsi - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

It was the moment for which we had all been holding our breath for decades – for 63 years to be precise. Palestinians everywhere watched the unfolding scene transfixed and awed. The camera followed the movements of a small group of people advancing from the mass of protesters. They were carefully making their way down a hill towards the high fence that closed off the mined field separating Syria from its own occupied territory of the Golan that borders historic Palestine, now Israel.

Washington Watch: Is Israel drifting out of focus?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by D. Bloomfield - (Opinion) May 18, 2011 - 12:00am

When AIPAC convenes what it boasts will be another record-setting gathering of the faithful next week at the Washington Convention Center, some of the lobby’s most valuable assets will be locked out. The usual sources will again proclaim the lobby’s power, but none so convincingly as its adversaries. The seemingly endless parade of AIPAC-haters who bloat the blogosphere are invaluable to enhancing the lobby’s aura – and stimulate AIPAC’s donors and delegates.

Rattling the Cage: Two cheers for Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) May 18, 2011 - 12:00am

There’s a way out of this frogmarch to pariahhood. If Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to pick up the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas where they left off under Ehud Olmert, the Palestinians wouldn’t have us on the run like they do now. If Netanyahu agreed to give up the equivalent of the land we colonized in 1967, the world would cheer, and the wind would go out of the sails of the Palestinian demand to return to the land we rightly fought for in 1948.

Don’t let the radicals win
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yariv Oppenheimer - (Opinion) May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

In one sense, Israel’s leadership should be grateful to the hundreds of protestors who invaded the Golan and illustrated to all of us what Israel faces ahead of the Palestinian UN move in September. In the face of settler insistence to cling to the Greater Israel vision and Palestinian demands (endorsed by small parts of Israel’s Left) to turn the territories and Israel into one state, lacking a Jewish majority, the mainstream of Israel’s society must unite and earnestly promote the two-state vision.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017