Obama to Confront Israeli Settlement Surge in Netanyahu Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Jonathan Ferziger - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

On a West Bank plateau overlooking the desert road to Jericho, crews are building cottages and paving streets for a new neighborhood in Maale Adumim, Israel’s biggest settlement. A town of 35,000 with a suburban-style shopping mall, Maale Adumim is one of about two dozen settlements Israel is expanding in the face of demands from U.S. and European leaders to halt construction. The push has helped increase the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to create a state, by 40 percent in the last seven years to almost 300,000.

In Bethlehem, Pope Benedict XVI makes strongest call yet for a Palestinian homeland
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Pope Benedict XVI held his hands out wide to greet a crowd of applauding Palestinian refugees in the afternoon sun. Behind him stood the most striking symbol of Israel's occupation: a paint-spattered military watchtower rising above the tall, concrete wall that presses on Bethlehem.

Pope calls for end to hostilities that led to Israel's barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Standing near a towering concrete wall at the edge of the West Bank, Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called the Israeli-built barrier a stark reminder of the deadlocked Middle East conflict but declared that walls could be taken down. "First, though, it is necessary to remove the walls that we build around our hearts, the barriers that we set up against our neighbors," he said during a stop at a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to overcome mutual mistrust and "break free from the cycle of aggression."

Pope Criticizes Israel On Palestinian Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Pope Benedict XVI criticized Israel's construction of a security barrier through the West Bank and urged a loosening of restrictions on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a day of speeches and symbolic appearances that amounted to a running critique of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. From a morning address alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to a late-afternoon visit to a refugee camp, the pontiff used a full day in the occupied West Bank to highlight some of the main issues on the Palestinian agenda.

Obama’s Jewish Backers May Be in the Middle as U.S.-Israel Tensions Rise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - May 13, 2009 - 12:00am

As tension builds between the new Obama administration in Washington and the new Netanyahu government in Jerusalem, two of President Obama’s closest Jewish allies may find themselves increasingly in the middle. Lee Rosenberg, who campaigned on behalf of Obama, was confirmed as president-elect of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at its recent national conference. And Alan Solow, an early Obama supporter, was recently elected chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Obama To Offer Broader Regional Thaw for Israeli Nod to Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - May 13, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama will seek to revive the moribund Middle East peace process in his first official meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, offering a new regional initiative that aims to bridge increasing differences between the new governments in Washington and Jerusalem. The new approach takes the 2002 Arab peace initiative another step forward by making clear that normal ties between Israel and the wider Arab world need not await the end of negotiations on the Palestinian issue.

Fatah unrest scraps new gov't plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The swearing-in ceremony for the new Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad scheduled to take place on Tuesday has been postponed by several days due to widespread objection within Fatah regarding its makeup. Fatah is demanding control over the appointment of its members to the cabinet rather than the current arrangement, which grants Fayyad sole power.

Poll: 58% of Israeli Jews Back Two-State Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Some 58% of Israel's Jewish public backs the "two states for two peoples" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Smith Institute poll commissioned by Ynet revealed. The results are based on a representative sample of 500 respondents from the adult Israeli population. According to the poll, which was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled trip to Washington, 37% of Israeli Jews are opposed to the two-state solution, while five percent of those surveyed had no opinion on the matter.

Michael Oren, Ambassador, or, this is how the occupation ends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) May 11, 2009 - 12:00am

I was reading an Etgar Keret book of gently hallucinatory short stories when I got the news. It fit right in. The Foreign Minister, who was now Avigdor Lieberman - himself nothing if not an Etgar Keret invention - had approved the choice of Michael Oren as Israel's next ambassador to Washington.

New West Bank roads jeopardizing chances for peace accord
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - May 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian interest in the intentions of the new Israeli government tends to focus on one small area in the West Bank, Ma'aleh Adumim and its environs, particularly the area known as E1 linking the settlement to East Jerusalem. Earlier this month Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad participated in mass Friday prayers against land expropriation in the area, and the Palestinian media was full of reports of Israeli settlement plans in Ma'aleh Adumim and E1.

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