Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters explores some of the differences between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators working on producing a joint document in the lead up to the fall Mideast meeting (2.) the Associated Press examines further statements from senior Israeli officials expressing support for returning the Arab parts of occupied East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as part of a final peace deal (4.) A Boston Globe editorial urges ISraeli PM Olmjert to address the substantive issues needed to attract wide Arab attendance at the fall meeting, particularly since the Saudi offer for peace includes normalization for Israel with all the Arab world (5.) In a Star-Telegram opinion, Jewish Voices for Peace communications director Cecilie Surasky provides a personal example to illustrate the tactics used to stifle any dissent in the U.S. of Israeli policies (7.) In the New Republic, former top Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross outlines an achievable outcome for Secretary Rice at the fall Mideast meeting that would transform current realities between Israelis and Palestinians (8.) The Economist (UK) labels as dubious the current Palestinian Authority strategy to strengthen Fatah and weaken Hamas (10.) The Independent (UK) analyzes how two years of internal and external conflict, and deepening poverty.have resulted in a devastating deterioration in educational indicators across the Gaza Strip (11.) An Institute for Palestine Studies (Palestine) policy note by senior fellow Nadia Hijab takes a historical look on how the U.S. has only used its influence to bring about serious shifts in Israeli policy when it has perceived its vital interests to be at stake (13.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial by Akiva Eldar outlines why the timing is right for Israel to reach a final settlement with the Palestinians and Arabs on the establishment of a Palestinian state (14.)

Israel May Ok Division Of Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 8, 2007 - 1:38pm

Senior Israeli officials expressed support Monday for the transfer of Arab parts of Jerusalem to Palestinian control, offering a concession on one of the most contentious issues in the Mideast conflict. The offer appeared to fall short of Palestinian calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from key areas of the holy city. The officials spoke as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were to begin talks in Jerusalem to work out a joint document they hope to issue at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference next month. The meetings were closed.

The Stakes At Mideast Summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) October 8, 2007 - 1:44pm

THERE ARE many reasons to be skeptical about next month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md. The political frailty of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, the fractured condition of the Palestinian Authority, the six years President Bush wasted refusing to emulate Bill Clinton's attempts to broker an Israel-Palestinian agreement - these are only some of the most obvious grounds for doubting that anything of value will come from the conference.

Condi's Keys
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by Dennis Ross - October 8, 2007 - 1:54pm

Secretary of State Rice is planning to convene an international meeting in Annapolis sometime in November. While President Bush has spent little time during his tenure on Arab-Israeli peacemaking, he has embraced Secretary Rice's ambitious desire to use the Annapolis meeting to endorse a statement of principles on how to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Exam Failure: The Price Gaza's Children Are Paying For International Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - October 8, 2007 - 4:08pm

Unfailingly polite, and spotless in their uniforms of blue and white striped smocks, the teenage pupils from the UN Relief and Works Agency Girls' Preparatory A school in Al Deraj were initially shy about talking about why they had wound up in a remedial class. "We can't concentrate," said Kholoud Shehada, 15. "We have other things on our minds." What exactly? Kholoud paused before saying hesitantly: "My father is unemployed."

Some Dates Are Sacred
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Editorial) October 8, 2007 - 4:16pm

The Palestinians consider November to be unlucky, and justly so. Since the Balfour Declaration in November 1917, which recognized the establishment of a national home for the Jews in the Land of Israel, November bodes badly for them - in 30-year intervals.

Giving Them Something To Talk About
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 8, 2007 - 4:17pm

One by one, the Palestinian visitors entered the sukkah at the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's official residence last Wednesday. They entered cautiously and hesitantly, noting the decorative Israeli flags closing in on them from all sides. They promptly underwent an accelerated course in Judaism, as Olmert explained the four plant species used in the Sukkot rituals. The pictures, they knew, would certainly not improve their standing among the Palestinian public.

As Farmers And Fields Rest, A Land Grows Restless
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - October 9, 2007 - 1:37pm

As Israel’s Jews start a new year, the country finds itself in the middle of a fierce religious dispute about the sanctity of fruits and vegetables. In the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malahi, a man held a scroll of the Torah, which mandates shmita, a kind of sabbatical for the land which occurs every seven years. Rabbis are pitted against one another, the state and the religious authorities are in conflict, the Israeli Supreme Court is involved, the devout are confused and the cost of produce is rising.

Israeli Pm Praises Palestinian Leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Mark Tran - October 9, 2007 - 2:26pm

The current Palestinian leadership is committed to peace with Israel, the Israeli prime minister said today as senior figures discussed a possible division of Jerusalem. Ehud Olmert said he planned to make every effort to pursue peace with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, as he laid out his agenda.

Twin Mideast Peace Concerts Rouse Skepticism, Rancor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - October 10, 2007 - 1:28pm

It might sound like an inspirational convergence along the lines of John Lennon's antiwar ballad "Give Peace a Chance": twin concerts in which thousands of Israelis join thousands of Palestinians to call for an end to a demoralizing conflict that often looks as if it will go on forever. Except that this is the Middle East, where even a peace concert can become a raucous political battleground.

The Test Of Leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) October 10, 2007 - 2:13pm

The public mood regarding the US sponsored peace summit is quite negative. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are devoting time and energy to reducing expectations out of fear that the summit may not produce the agreement necessary to enable a genuine peace process to ensue. As we get closer to the summit it seems that public opinion on both sides is hardening with regard to concessions that are necessary to enable Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Forecast Poor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 12, 2007 - 2:16pm

As the Annapolis meeting approaches, Palestinians grow less enthusiastic over its prospects. One can think of a number of good reasons for this pessimism, primary among them the bitter experience Palestinians have had with such summits in the past, especially when sponsored by the US. The last such meeting, lest we forget, was the Camp David summit in 2000.

An Extraordinary Opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Galia Golan - (Opinion) October 16, 2007 - 12:50pm

Few are particularly excited by the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian conference; most may believe it will not or should not even take place. Yet this could be the most important and promising opportunity for a genuine peace process since the ill-fated Camp David II conference in July 2000. This optimism derives from both the unique constellation of circumstances in the region and the cumulative effect of developments within the Israeli and Palestinian publics.

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