Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Inter Press Service examines a letter sent to President Bush by eight top former U.S. policy-makers identifying success at the fall Mideast meeting as being the setting of the contours of a final peace agreement and the participation of Arab states (1.) The Forward analyzes the evolution of Israeli statements regarding occupied East Jerusalem in the lead up to the fall meeting and the role of the U.S. in that evolution (3.) Israel Policy Forum presents the full report of a study group it commissioned to produce a guide for a successful fall meeting (5.) The Associated Press looks at comments by the Palestinian lead negotiator on the issue of land swaps with Israel as part of a final peace settlement (6.) The Guardian (UK) reports on statements made by Palestinian president Abbas regarding the amount of occupied territory Palestinians expect to be returned to them in order to establish a Palestinian state (8.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by George Hishmeh highlights the importance of an active U.S. role during and after the fall Mideast meeting in offsetting he weakness of the Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. leaderships (10.) Israel's influential Reut Institute think tank examines recent trends in the international community in favor of a 'one state' solution (13.)

Palestinians Set To Trade Away Parts Of West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - October 11, 2007 - 2:37pm

The Palestinians are ready to yield parts of the West Bank to Israel if compensated with an equal amount of Israeli territory, the lead Palestinian negotiator said in an interview yesterday. Ahmed Qureia, a former prime minister who has dealt with five Israeli prime ministers during 14 years of failed peacemaking, is trying again with No. 6, Ehud Olmert.

Abbas Lays Out Territorial Demand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Conal Urquhart - October 11, 2007 - 2:41pm

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, insisted yesterday that Israel must give up 2,400 square miles of territory under its control for a Palestinian state, as he set out his demands before a US-sponsored peace conference next month. The area is the sum of territory of the West Bank and Gaza which Israel conquered in 1967, and which the Palestine Liberation Organisation has argued should be set aside for a Palestinian state.

Hamas Ready For Talks With Rival
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
October 11, 2007 - 2:43pm

The Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, has said it is ready to hold reconciliation talks with the rival Fatah group of President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas leader Ismail Haniya hinted Hamas might be willing to relinquish control of Gaza, which it seized from Fatah in June, in a statement on its website. Mr Haniya said his group's control of the coastal territory was "temporary". Mr Abbas has ruled out reconciliation with Hamas until it gives up the Gaza Strip and submits to his authority.

Legitimate Expectations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) October 11, 2007 - 2:57pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has laid out his clearest vision yet for what he expects any final agreement with Israel to give Palestinians. There is nothing truly new in it: as expected, it simply outlines the traditional Palestinian demands for a complete end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sovereignty over the natural resources of that land as well as its borders, and a just resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

Splintering As A Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Meron Benvenisti - (Opinion) October 11, 2007 - 3:01pm

Take note of the collection of items that were published on a single day this week: negotiating teams discussing a declaration of intentions that will be presented at the Annapolis conference; the prime minister's deputy reiterates his plan to remove "neighborhoods on the edge" of Jerusalem from the city's municipal borders, and causes a stir; the Knesset Finance Committee discusses a draft law that will permit the Jewish National Fund to lease land only to Jews; and the firing of a Katyusha rocket from the Gaza Strip leads to a noisy debate about the issue of taking control of ar

Gaza Banks Out Of Cash As Israeli Banks Halt Business
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner, Taghreed El-Khodary - October 12, 2007 - 12:57pm

Gaza’s banks have run out of cash, an economic adviser to Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, said Thursday. The cash shortage followed a decision by Israeli commercial banks to halt all business transactions with Palestinian bank branches in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. “People responded by withdrawing their deposits,” said Ala al-Araj, the adviser to Mr. Haniya. The spate of withdrawals brought about the cash shortage.

Accord Needed Before Mideast Conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mark Lavie - October 12, 2007 - 1:04pm

President Bush should not convene his planned Mideast peace conference next month if Israel and the Palestinians have not achieved an agreement in advance, a Palestinian negotiator said Thursday. Israel has been pressing for a vaguely worded document that would gloss over the toughest issues still outstanding _ borders, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. Palestinians prefer a detailed preliminary agreement with a timetable for creating a Palestinian state, though it is not clear if they would refuse to agree to less.

Palestinian Students Continue To Face Exclusion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Conal Urquhart - October 12, 2007 - 2:02pm

The Israeli army is continuing to bar Palestinian students from Israeli universities, in spite of an order from the Israeli high court that it relax its restrictions. The army was asked to explain its policy in March 2006, but it has so far asked for delays on seven occasions. The delays mean that Palestinian students will miss the start of the Israeli term on October 15.

One Reason For The Absence Of Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
October 12, 2007 - 2:08pm

TWO months ago Heftsiba, an Israeli construction firm, went bust. One reason for its woes was a court order last year to freeze work on a big housing project on an Israeli settlement just inside the West Bank. The land, it turned out, had in effect been stolen from private owners in a neighbouring Palestinian village, Bilin. Yet after the bankruptcy, the same court ruled that the apartment blocks—and their prospective buyers, who had broken in and occupied them at the news of Heftsiba's impending collapse—could stay.

Peace Virus Is Back
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Gadi Baltiansky - (Opinion) October 12, 2007 - 2:26pm

Lately, a new epidemic has been threatening to attack Israel’s public discourse. A peace conference, an agreement with the Palestinians, ceremonies with the US president – diseases from the past we thought we had already overcome. We got used to the comfortable life of no partner, no negotiations, and no hope; and suddenly, the peace virus is approaching again. The cure that was found for it is rather simple: A dismissive hand gesture; let that bothersome mosquito flies away from here.

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