Israeli actions curb Palestinian growth - World Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Major projects and investments spearheaded by Middle East envoy Tony Blair and Western powers to promote economic growth in the Palestinian territories have had little effect, the World Bank said on Thursday. The international lending agency said in a report Israeli restrictions on the Palestinians was holding up many of the projects. It said efforts led by the U.S. government under former President George W. Bush to promote private sector investment had made little tangible difference.

Some in Congress uneasy with Obama's Mideast policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Paul Richter - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Reporting from Washington and Jerusalem -- Key U.S. lawmakers whose support is crucial to the Obama administration's Middle East peace effort are showing signs of unease with the administration's aggressive approach to Israel. Though they strongly support the peace initiative, many say they want the White House to back off its demand that the Israeli government halt all growth in Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory. Some members of Congress are also unhappy that the Obama administration has gone public in its dispute with Israel.

Obama Tugs at the Settlement Knot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Editorial) June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

By traveling to the heart of the Arab world today, President Obama is putting himself at a crossroads: He is raising expectations that America can coax Israel and the Arabs toward a comprehensive peace that has eluded them for more than 40 years. But can Obama deliver?

Obama Calls for Alliances With Muslims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Alan Cowell, Jeff Zeleny - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama pledged on Thursday to “seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world,” imploring America and the Islamic world to drop their suspicions of one another and forge new alliances to confront violent extremism and heal religious divides.

Muslims Will Judge Obama by Actions More Than Words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - (Analysis) June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

It is too soon to tell whether President Obama’s 55-minute speech to the Muslim world from Cairo will be the balm to America’s broken relationship with Islam that White House officials hope. Some early signs are promising — and not just that several times someone in Mr. Obama’s audience in the domed hall yelled out, “I love you!”

Israelis Say Bush Agreed to West Bank Growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement “freeze.”

Pollsters Find Israeli Public Less Supportive Of Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

In previous decades, an American president who pressured Israel to freeze settlement growth, as President Obama has done, would have riled large sections of Israel’s Jewish population. But public sympathy for settlers and the settlements is currently at an all-time low, adding a new dimension to the sometimes tense relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.

Baker’s Ghost in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Editorial) June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

I hope President Obama has been reading James Baker in preparation for his speech Thursday to the Muslim world. It was in the time of the former secretary of state, two decades ago, that the United States last had a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s what Baker told the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee — the pro-Israel lobby — on May 22, 1989: “For Israel, now is the time to lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel.”

Rabbi Aviner: Don't Bow Down to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Rabbi Levi Brackman, Rivkah Lubitch, Kobi Nahshoni - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

While Washington and Jerusalem seem to be on a collision course in recent days over the illegal construction of outposts in the West Bank, there are those who remain unfazed by the American pressure. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a prominent Religious Zionism leader, called on Israel on Wednesday to conduct "tough negotiations" with the US on the issue, and added that "yielding to pressure only breeds more pressure." Protest Rightists to circulate doctored photos of kaffiyah-clad Obama / Efrat Weiss

Eli Yishai vows to help expand settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

On the eve of US President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Wednesday that he will respond to Obama's outreach to the Arabs by expanding West Bank settlements. In a meeting with leaders of Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria at his Jerusalem office, the Shas chairman said he invited them while Obama was in the region, because the US president's speech reinforced the need to consolidate Israeli society.

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