Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Christian Science Monitor looks at how recent more moderate statements by Hamas regarding negotiating with Israel are impacting efforts to exclude the group and increasing calls for Palestinian reconciliation (2.) The Washington Post examines the determination of Secretary Rice to achieve a breakthrough in Mideast peace efforts during the last 14 months of the Bush administration (4.) The Forward reports on the backing of Senator Brownback, a Republican presidential candidate, for an Israeli right-wing campaign to oppose the current Israeli-Palestinian peace process (6.) The Independent (UK) reports on warnings by the Israeli Likud party about returning any part of occupied East Jerusalem to the Palestinians (8.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by Rami Khouri assesses why the current peace momentum is unlikely to succeed due to its coming too late and too hastily (9.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Shmuel Rosner argues that the setting of a time for the fall meeting was a mistake that will have serious consequences (12.)

Egypt Helps Bolster Prospect Of Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Lee Myers - October 17, 2007 - 10:36am

Egypt expressed unusually strong support on Tuesday for the Bush administration’s efforts to hold an international conference this fall to begin negotiating peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Egypt’s leaders, including President Hosni Mubarak, have criticized aspects of the effort, but after meetings here with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said he believed that the administration was determined to have meaningful talks.

Rice Draws On 'spiritual Passion' In Push For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz, Scott Wilson - (Editorial) October 17, 2007 - 10:37am

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice broke away from her diplomatic meetings here to sit down with the top religious leaders -- Christian, Jewish and Muslim -- of this holy city Monday night. According to people present, she heard about the failure of Israeli authorities to recognize the Greek Orthodox patriarch, a top Muslim cleric's lack of access to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque and other complaints.

Palestinians Launch First Census In A Decade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Rebecca Harrison - October 17, 2007 - 10:39am

Palestinians launched their first census in a decade on Wednesday, visiting thousands of homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the hope of boosting their bid for an independent state. About 1,000 officials spread out across towns in Palestinian territories, drawing blue and red numbers on homes and offices ahead of a head count in December. The colorful markings will be used later to help count communities more easily.

Jerusalem Is Ours, Warns Likud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - October 17, 2007 - 10:48am

The right wing Israeli opposition party Likud led by Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday warned the government against compromising on the status of Jerusalem in current talks with Palestinian negotiators. Zalman Shoval, head of the foreign affairs department of Likud, said yesterday that the issue of Jerusalem should "not be on the table in any way" at the planned international conference in Annapolis, Maryland later in the yea—the basis of which he sharply criticized.

Editorial: A Mountain To Climb
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) October 17, 2007 - 10:53am

The Palestinians have longed for a state for nearly 60 years. Arabs and Muslims have also wanted one. So has most of the world. And now suddenly, so do the Americans. At least that is what they say. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that it is time to establish a Palestinian state and that it is not only in the interest of Palestinians and Israelis, but in US interest as well.

Id Al-fitr Lost Amid Gaza Strip Closure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - October 17, 2007 - 10:55am

UNRWA, the UN organization that helps Palestinian refugees, was unable to keep its promise to give students at its schools in the Gaza Strip NIS 100 each with which to buy clothes for the Id al-Fitr holiday. Why? Because Israel would not allow it to bring the cash into the strip.

One Mistake In The Fall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - October 17, 2007 - 10:56am

We can start from the end: It was a mistake. Not necessarily the decision to convene an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Annapolis or a "meeting," as the Americans insist on calling the event, but the early announcement of the planned timetable.

Gop Candidates Use Jewish Forum To Knock Bush’s Push For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 18, 2007 - 5:24pm

In an appearance before Jewish voters Tuesday, all five Republican presidential candidates expressed skepticism about the Bush administration’s current push for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The event, hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, featured the leading contenders for the GOP nomination: Rudy Giuliani, Sam Brownback, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

Gates In The Lion’s Den
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - (Blog) October 18, 2007 - 5:35pm

Monday night’s speech by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the ultra-hawkish Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) must have deeply disappointed most of his audience, particularly when it came to his brief discussion of Iran. While Gates repeated the adminstration’s mantra that “all options are on the table,” the degree to which he emphasized diplomacy and omitted any mention of the growing list of charges by other U.S. military and administration officials regarding Tehran’s alleged “proxy war” against U.S.

Rice Wins No Firm Mid-east Vows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
October 18, 2007 - 5:38pm

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ended a Middle East tour without firm commitments to a conference on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But she said the talks, due to be held in the US by the end of the year, still had a "reasonable chance of success". Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of holding up a joint document with the Palestinians. He said time was running out and the Palestinians could opt out of the conference without the document. The Israelis are pushing for a more general framework.

Peace And Archaeology In The Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Prospect
(Special Report) October 19, 2007 - 4:20pm

The sign caught my eye: It held far more than the intended meaning. It hung on a corrugated metal fence in the antiquities park that faces the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, and it said:

Palestinians Pessimistic On Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Sharmila Devi - October 19, 2007 - 4:40pm

As a series of high-profile international visitors, including Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair, traipse through the Holy Land, Palestinians are looking on with a mixture of indifference and despair. The US secretary of state and former British prime minister are spear-heading efforts to prod Israel and the Palestinians towards meaningful peace talks and reform of Palestinian institutions and economy.

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