Palestinians hope Obama will push for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is hoping US President Barack Obama will exert pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at their meeting Monday to accept the two-state solution and halt settlement construction in the West Bank, a PA official in Ramallah said on Sunday. The official said that the Palestinians would not return to the negotiating table as long as Netanyahu remained opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Likud ministers ready to resist PA state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would not be able to advance the formation of a Palestinian state, due to the wide majority against it in the Likud faction, MKs who oppose a two-state solution said Sunday. They said that unlike the fight against the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, when only 15 MKs out of 40 dared challenge then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, this time around, two-thirds of the Likud faction would defy a potential effort by Netanyahu to withdraw from parts of Judea and Samaria.

Fatah, Hamas agree on joint Gaza force
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Moving closer to reconciliation? Egyptian sources reported Sunday night that Fatah and Hamas were able to reach agreement on the establishment of a joint security force in the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian MENA news agency reported that the groups reached understandings on the formation of the joint force, and that the agreement on the matter as well as on other issues will be signed on July 7th.

Mitchell associate: Obama won't rush to press Bibi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama will not rush to press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their upcoming meeting, a close associate of Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell said Sunday. "No winning strategy begins with a punch in the nose," the source said, adding that Netanyahu can expect a "business-like meeting, highlighting the common" between the two countries. Meanwhile, former Bush Administration official Elliott Abrams estimated that the first minute or two of Monday's meeting may determine the chemistry between both leaders.

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu's problem will be the Palestinians, not Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Analysis) May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The impression one gets on the eve of the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama is that there has never been so much hype before. The media have employed typical hyperbole, describing it as a "clash of the titans" and speaking of a historic turning point in U.S.-Israel ties, and possibly in the Middle East at large.

Netanyahu unlikely to back Palestinian state in Obama meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Mazal Mualem, Barak Ravid - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to state support for the establishment of a Palestinian state when he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, an aide to the prime minister said. However, in a bid to soften edgy relations with Washington, Netanyahu will propose that joint teams draft a new road map for the Palestinian peace process and a new strategy on Iran.

Israel, PA hold secret meetings over renewing peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have launched discreet contacts recently regarding a renewal of negotiations, Haaretz has learned. The meetings come despite the PA's public position to the effect that negotiations will not be resumed until Israel freezes construction in West Bank settlements. President Shimon Peres on Sunday said that Israel is interested in renewing peace talks with the Palestinians immediately. Peres met with Jordan's King Abdullah on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

New Jordan Valley settlement to be built
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

A new settlement will be built in the Jordan Valley for the first time in 26 years, Army Radio reported Monday morning. The new construction is set to take place in Maskiot, where 10 families evacuated from the former Gaza settlement of Shirat Hayam now live in trailers. A tender was issued recently to build 20 new residential units, and according to the report, construction was due to commence immediately. An adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the move at Maskiot proved Israel was tightening its hold on the West Bank.

Obama to Discuss Possible Settlement Freeze and Iran Strategy with Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Joyce Karam - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the prospect of an Israeli settlement freeze and ease Israeli concerns on the US strategy towards Iran.

Palestinian security forces must aspire to serving the state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Mohammed Najib - (Opinion) May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas' military takeover of the Gaza Strip in mid-June 2007 was a significant turning point in the job, role, views and priorities of the Palestinian Authority's security apparatuses in the West Bank. For the first time since their creation in 1994, they found themselves fighting to defend the Palestinian regime from an internal threat.

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