May 20th

Obama misses another chance to lead for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

At times, it seemed that Barack Obama thought that the Middle East did not include Israel or the Occupied Territories. "The United States opposes the use of violence and repression against the people of the region," the US president said last night. But there was not a word about 17 Palestinians killed earlier this week by Israeli security forces. "We support a set of universal rights," Mr Obama said." Whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus; Sanaa or Tehran." If Gaza or Ramallah had been mentioned, more explanation would have been needed.

ZOA to AIPAC: Withdraw Obama invite
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The Zionist Organization of America urged AIPAC to rescind its invitation to President Obama after he called for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the basis of 1967 lines, saying Obama is the most hostile U.S. president ever to Israel. "We urge AIPAC to rescind the invitation for President Obama to speak and we urge friends of Israel and enemies of Islamist terrorism to contact your Members of Congress to fight against Obama’s anti-Israel policy," said the ZOA's statement Thursday. ZOA President Morton Klein added, "President Obama is the most hostile president to Israel ever.”

Mid-East: Obama and Netanyahu to hold Washington talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Mr Obama has said a future Palestinian state must be based on the borders that existed prior to the 1967 war. He said "mutually agreed swaps" would help create "a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel". But Mr Netanyahu said the pre-1967 borders were "indefensible". An estimated 500,000 Israelis live in settlements built in the West Bank, which lies outside those borders. The settlements are illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

A substantial shift toward the Palestinian position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Robert Satloff - May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

US President Obama did a great service in sketching out a new paradigm for American engagement with the Middle East in his State Department "winds of change" speech this afternoon, in which he raised the goal of reform and democracy to a top-tier US interest. Nevertheless, after critiquing Arab regimes that have used the Arab-Israeli conflict to distract their peoples from the important business of reform, he undermined the potency and effect of his own message by unveiling a new -- and controversial -- set of principles guiding US efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The speech that signals a Washington-J'lem collision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seemed on a collision course following Obama’s speech Thursday night where the president called for a return to the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed-upon land swaps. Netanyahu’s position, which he highlighted in an unexpectedly negative response to the president’s speech, is that the 1967 lines are indefensible.

State Department statement separates J’lem from Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

On the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to Washington, the State Department issued a bland announcement of a visit to the region by US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, in which it distinguished between Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank. In a “media note” to the press on Wednesday, the State Department released a two paragraph statement on “Deputy Secretary Steinberg’s visit to Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank.” The wording, however, led some to wonder: Isn’t Jerusalem inside Israel, and does this odd wording presage a subtle change of US policy?

Livni: PM is jeopardizing Israel's relationship with US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday for "harming the relationship" between Israel and the US. "Netanyahu spoke about consensus," Livni said, "and if there is a consensus in Israel, it's that the relationship with the US is essential to Israel, and aprime minister that harms the relationship with the US over something unsubstantial is harming Israel's security and deterrence." Livni added that such a prime minister should resign. "I am saying this loud and clear."

Construction of 1,550 Jerusalem homes OK'd
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Next crisis with US underway? The Interior Ministry's district committee for construction and planning approved Thursday evening two major plans for some 1,550 housing units in contentious Jerusalem neighborhoods. The construction plans for Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev, both located beyond the Green Line, were given the go-ahead as President Barack Obama was delivering his major Mideast policy speech. Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's departure to Washington Thursday evening, the government secretary ordered the committee to proceed with the touchy session.

Behind the scenes: Obama snubs Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The cold relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have noted a new drop in temperature following Obama's Mideast policy speech, and according to the New York Times, tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are at an all-time high. Obama has reportedly told close aides and allies that he does not believe Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu's Israel is on course to become a pariah state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zeev Sternhell - May 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to Washington at what may be the last chance to turn the establishment of a Palestinian state from a global anti-Israel campaign into a joint Israeli, American and European project. The establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is today a necessity, just as Zionism was a necessity. And about half of Israeli society apparently agrees with Western public opinion and Western governments on the principle that Palestinian Arabs have the same right to independence and sovereignty as do Israeli Jews.

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