Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In Salon.com, former Israeli UN speechwriter Gregory Levey warns that the growing alliance between Likud leader Netanyahu and Israeli-Russian billionaire Gaydamak could result in an erosion of Israeli democracy and right-wing policies promoting wider regional Mideast war (2.) The New York Times examines how the recent Israeli strike against Syria has brought to the surface the differences in the U.S. administration between the more hawkish elements favoring military action and the more pragmatic favoring diplomatic solutions (3.) The Guardian (UK) reports on the recent seziure of Palestinian land around Jerusalem by the Israeli army in order to apparently build more settlements (6.) In the BBC (UK) Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen examines the many challenges facing the fall Mideast meeting, primary among them the consequences of excluding Hamas (8.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by Rami Khouri argues that for the fall Mideast meeting to meet any standards of success it must address the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians equally (10.) In Miftah (Palestine) Joharah Baker examines the successful process by which Israel is able to transform policies that initially are opposed to internationally to permanent facts on the ground (12.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial by Amir Oren analyzes how the American leadership is convinced that a far-reaching and significant Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian occupied territories as part of a compromise with moderate Mideast regional forces, is important to achieve (14.) A jerusalem Post (ISrael) opinion by Gershon Baskin urges the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships not to be swayed by hardening public opinion in the lead up to the fall meeting, instead focusing on the main principles of an agreement that he lays out (15.)

Israel's Rising Right Wing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Salon.com
by Gregory Levey - October 10, 2007 - 1:33pm

One of this year's nominees for Israeli TV's "Man of the Year in Politics" award doesn't speak Hebrew. He has vast wealth and a shady past. He was once a circus worker. He isn't even a politician, at least not yet.

Abbas Wants Return To Pre-1967 Borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - October 10, 2007 - 1:42pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday laid out his most specific demands for the borders of a future independent state, calling for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Abbas' claim comes as Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are trying to hammer out a joint vision for a future peace deal in time for a U.S.-hosted conference next month.

Pressure In Israel For Missile Defense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - October 10, 2007 - 1:44pm

The firing of a long-range Katyusha rocket into Israel from Gaza on Sunday has ratcheted up concerns here for the increased threat of missiles against the Jewish state. The weapon of choice of Palestinian militants in Gaza has been the Kassam rocket, which has relatively poor aim and short range, but has nonetheless caused damage and killed 14 Israelis and injured hundreds more, according to an Israeli government tally.

Israeli Army Orders Confiscation Of Palestinian Land In West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Conal Urquhart - October 10, 2007 - 1:49pm

The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday. The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Palestinian Goes To Court To Challenge Arms Sales To Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
October 10, 2007 - 1:52pm

A Palestinian man today launched a High Court challenge to the legality of the Government’s grant of export licences for arms sales to Israel. Saleh Hasan, who claims Israel uses military equipment bought in Britain to repress Palestinians in violation of their human rights, has travelled to London for the case before Mr Justice Collins, expected to last two days. His counsel, Michael Fordham, QC, told the judge that the issue raised was one of significant and “wide public interest”.

Mid-east Diary: Summit Prospects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Jeremy Bowen - October 10, 2007 - 1:53pm

Another Middle East peace summit is coming up in the United States, but there are risks in holding summits on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and one of the main parties to the conflict, Hamas, is being excluded.  At the moment, the summit looks likely to start in Annapolis, Maryland, on 15 November. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are having regular meetings about it. They are trying to produce an agreed document about the future. Mr Abbas wants more detail. Mr Olmert wants something pretty vague.

Israel Allows 3,500 Palestinians To Stay In Wb
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Deutsche Presse Agentur
October 10, 2007 - 1:57pm

The Israeli government has granted official residency status to 3,500 Palestinians who in the last decade entered the West Bank on Israeli-issued visitors’ visas but never left, Palestinian officials said Wednesday. Israel however did not grant official residency status to another 1,500 Palestinians residing illegally in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

So That Annapolis Will Not Be A Failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) October 10, 2007 - 2:04pm

The November Arab-Israeli peace-making meeting that US President George W. Bush has called for replays several similar moments in the past quarter-century, when gatherings were convened but did not achieve their full promise - at Madrid, Camp David, Taba and Oslo, among others. Will this year be any different? I hope so in my heart, but I do not think so, to judge by current political realities.

The Need For Bravery And Frankness Before The Peace Option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) October 10, 2007 - 2:05pm

Of course, the Syrian government has the right to make the recovery of the Golan Heights a priority, whether through peaceful negotiations with Israel or liberating the area through armed resistance. Certainly, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is right when he said, "I'm the president of Syria and not the president of Palestine, and I have to work for the interest of my country.

What Israel Wants, Israel Gets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Joharah Baker - (Opinion) October 10, 2007 - 2:06pm

There is a consistent thread, a pattern, which designs Israel’s policies in the Palestinian territories. Any scrutinizing observer will notice how Israel first pitches an idea to the public – however preposterous – then allows the Palestinians and the international community to absorb it before putting it into action. This way, policies and measures are less shocking and seem more acceptable once the dust has been allowed to settle.

The Right Of The Link
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eliezer Yaari - October 10, 2007 - 2:08pm

In her article "The right and the return" (Haaretz, October 3), Ruth Gavison discusses what is again becoming the watershed in the interrupted dialogue between the Palestinians and Israel. At issue are historical rights, and in this case Israel's unwillingness to recognize the Palestinians' right of return. As in all the previous rounds, this watershed will end the diplomatic discussions aimed at an agreement. Gavison proposes an alternative definition for "the right of return": "the desire to return," which she says Israel would recognize.

Islam Is The Enemy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) October 10, 2007 - 2:11pm

Lamb, cucumber and tomato salad, yogurt, baklava. That is what President George W. Bush ate in the White House, or at least read on the menu last Friday at the Iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast, in the company of dozens of guests. In recent years continents have shifted from their positions, Europe has sunk and the Middle East has officially become central to American policy.

Mideast: November Talks Must Be Inclusive, Urge U.s. Graybeards
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - October 11, 2007 - 2:25pm

To succeed, next month's Israeli-Palestinian conference here should establish and endorse the contours of a permanent peace accord and secure the participation of Arab states that do not currently recognise Israel, including Syria, according to a letter sent Wednesday to President George W. Bush from a bipartisan group of eight former top U.S. policy-makers.

Talk Grows In Israel About Splitting Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 11, 2007 - 2:30pm

Jerusalem, the perennially divided city, is again becoming a central point of contention as Israelis and Palestinians prepare for the first serious peace discussions in years. Last Monday, one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s closest allies, Haim Ramon, brought the issue into the open when he suggested in an interview that Israel would be willing to cede some parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

Hamas Seeks Fatah Talks, Hints At Giving Up Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-mughrabi - October 11, 2007 - 2:31pm

Hamas said on Wednesday it would hold reconciliation talks with the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and hinted it might be ready to cede control of the Gaza Strip, which it seized in June.

A Guide To A Successful November International Conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Frederic C. Hof - (Special Report) October 11, 2007 - 2:35pm

President Bush has announced an international meeting devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be held in the fall, presumably mid-November, and likely in Washington, D.C. This is a potentially important step in moving the stalled peace process forward, especially given the recent appointment of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Quartet’s Middle East envoy.

Us Silent On Israel Grab Of Arab Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 11, 2007 - 2:40pm

The United States refused to immediately comment Wednesday on Israel's decision to confiscate Arab land near Jerusalem, one day before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to head to the region. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that Washington had not yet determined what its official reaction would be. "(I'm) still looking into it," he said. "I want to understand better the facts on the ground from our people in the field." "As soon as I have those, I'll be happy to provide you with a reaction."

Awaiting American Arm-twisting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) October 11, 2007 - 2:44pm

One cannot help but feel dubious about the chances of success at next month's "meeting" in nearby Annapolis, home of the American Naval Academy, to lay the groundwork for a final Palestinian-Israeli settlement. The reasons are many and, in major part, the key players are three lame-ducks. But, should these leaders chose, they can capitalise on this weakness and perceivably come up with reasonable "principles" for the much-awaited settlement that can be supported by all, if the participants in the conference endorse the document.

Clinton Steps Away From Pro-israel Lobby On Measure To Rein In President
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 12, 2007 - 1:06pm

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has built a reputation for strictly adhering to the pro-Israel line, but she now appears, for the first time, to be supporting legislation that is opposed by pro-Israel lobbyists. Clinton announced last week that she would co-sponsor an amendment, proposed by Virginia Democrat Jim Webb, that would require the president to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran.

Far Right Israelis Get Boost From Senator
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Marissa Brostoff - October 17, 2007 - 10:43am

A Republican presidential candidate is backing a controversial right-wing campaign to oppose the current peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback announced on Wednesday that he was supporting “The Israeli Initiative: The Right Road to Peace,” a plan proposed Rabbi Binyamin Elon, chairman of Israel’s right-wing National Union Party.

Bipartisan Foreign Policy Leaders On Annapolis Conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Prospectsforpeace.com
by Daniel Levy - (Blog) November 1, 2007 - 2:29pm

Below is the full text of a letter just released to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as part of an effort supported by the U.S./Middle East Project, Inc., the International Crisis Group, and the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program. The letter is signed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lee H. Hamilton, Carla Hills , Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, Thomas R. Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, Theodore C. Sorensen and Paul Volcker. It is an initiative that I am very involved with and keen to encourage.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017