With 'all hell' breaking loose, is Abbas looking for an exit?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

When the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks of being under "unbearable pressure" from foreign partners, that can be a prelude to retreat. That was the phrase he used a year ago to explain why he'd joined a new round of talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against his own better judgement. Those talks, demanded by the Obama administration, went nowhere.

Palestinian statehood bid: Why Hamas has stayed on sidelines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ahmed al-Dabba - September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

As the Palestinian bid for statehood comes to a head this week at the United Nations, Hamas remains split on whether to support the controversial move. The Islamist movement has long sought a Palestinian state, and its backing would be crucial for any such state to function. But amid a four-year rift with the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas appears to be hedging its bets. A failure for Mr. Abbas could pave the way for Hamas to expand its influence in the West Bank, where it has long been suppressed by Israeli and PA security forces.

A UN showdown the Palestinians can't afford to lose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Claude Salhani - (Opinion) September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The Middle East is going to war again this week - thankfully this time it's only a public relations war as Israelis and Palestinians take their case and their cause before the UN General Assembly. The outcome of this new escalation in the 62-year conflict, however, could lead to a new round of violence as bloody as any of the military conflicts of Arabs and Israelis in the past.

Thousands rally in Ramallah to back Palestinian statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of Palestinians flocked to Yasser Arafat Square in central Ramallah on Wednesday for a rally in support of the Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership. The square was dominated by a huge sign with the words "UN 194" on it, in reference to the Palestinian attempt to become the 194th member state of the international body. The sign was flanked by portraits of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and his successor Mahmoud Abbas, who will on Friday formally submit the Palestinian request to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Israel and America are on the wrong side of history
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Gareth Evans - (Opinion) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Shortly before Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination by a right-wing Jewish extremist in November 1995, I met him in Tel Aviv. I was visiting Israel as Australia's foreign minister to argue the case for rapid implementation of the Oslo peace accords - all the way through to negotiated acceptance of Palestinian statehood. I concluded my pitch by saying, with perhaps a little more cheek than was appropriate, "But of course I'm preaching to the converted." Mr Rabin's response is etched in my memory.

Obama and Israel: why 'leading from behind' won't work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week, Susan Rice, America's ambassador to the UN, met with Jewish pro-Israel groups to update them on the extensive range of initiatives this Democratic administration is undertaking to block Palestinian aspirations at the United Nations. Two senior US envoys were in the Middle East with the same purpose (leaving America's post Arab Awakening efforts to constructively reset relations with the region in further free-fall).

Quartet powers trying to 'buy time' ahead of UN confrontation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Tanqi Quemener - September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- The PLO was coming under mounting pressure to drop a bid for UN membership of a Palestinian state as diplomats worked frantically behind the scenes to head off a looming clash. Both the United States and the Europeans appeared to be working to buy more time, with President Mahmoud Abbas determined to press ahead with plans to submit a formal application to UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday. US President Barack Obama was to meet Abbas on Wednesday, just hours after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a US official said.

Political war between Israel and Palestinians enters critical stage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The political war between Israel and the Palestinians enters its critical phase today, with the start of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Both sides are hoping that the battle will remain there, in New York, rather than moving to the checkpoints and settlements of the West Bank. Violence in Ramallah and in Psagot, in Nablus and Yitzhar, would cast a shadow over the peace process and call into question the extent of the Palestinian Authority's control of the territory - control that is very important for the PA to demonstrate at this time.

U.S. should recognize Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Memory is short and forgetfulness is often deliberate, but 23 years ago the UN General Assembly decided to move its session from New York to Switzerland so that Palestine Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat could deliver a speech. The reason: U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz refused to issue Yasser Arafat an entry visa to the United States.

Palestine progress seen up in air with U.N. bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from USA Today
by Oren Dorell - September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

In the past two years, Palestinians who live in the West Bank have seen economic growth that would be the envy of other nations. The Israeli checkpoints that aim to stop terrorists but make travel difficult have been reduced by half. And there is an explosion of construction projects ranging from industrial parks to the first planned city in modern history in a territory that fails to treat much of its sewage.

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