Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times analyzes how resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became a top priority for Secretary of State Rice (1.) Also in the Times, an opinion by Roger Cohen urges the Bush administration and Israel to heed the vision of Palestinian PM Fayyad for coexistence and peace with Israel (2.) A Washington Post editorial examines the political realities that make success at Annapolis a remote proposition (4.) The Associated Press outlines the role of President Bush in this week's Annapolis meeting (6), while the Independent (UK) stresses the importance of the president throwing his full weight behind the meeting (13.) A Christian Science Monitor editorial looks at how the Annapolis meeting represents a chance for moderate forces in the Middle East to address rising forces of extremism and radicalism in the region (7.) A Los Angeles Times opinion by former Mideast negotiator Aaron Miller identifies what is needed to turn Annapolis into an event that sets into motion a serious Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking process culminating in Palestinian statehood (9.) A Financial Times (UK) editorial lays out 3 elements to making the Annapolis meeting a success (11.) The Times (UK) looks at how Hamas rule in Gaza is causing increasing Palestinian anger as the movement becomes more isolated (14.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) editorial commends the Bush administration for having reached the conclusion that it is worth taking the risks of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking (16.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Akiva Eldar identifies the importance of the American role at and post Annapolis as that of bridging the two sides, establishing a timeline for completing negotiations and establishing an implementation mechanism (17.)

For Bush, It's Not About Being There
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz - November 26, 2007 - 12:40pm

The opening of Tuesday's Middle East conference in Annapolis, seven years into the Bush administration, is a reminder of how little the traditional concept of brokering an Arab-Israeli settlement through an ongoing "peace process" has figured into President Bush's foreign policy. Another is Bush's near-absence from the Middle East during his presidency. He has traveled to the region four times, but two of those visits were one-day trips to Iraq, and one was for a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Bush, Olmert Said Hopeful On Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh, Amy Teibel - November 26, 2007 - 12:45pm

Hours before the opening of a high-stakes international conference on the Middle East, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope Monday that peace finally could be achieved. A senior member of the Palestinian delegation said an elusive joint statement on the contours for future talks was within reach.

The Middle East's Middle Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 12:49pm

An air of necessity, and thus possibility, lies over the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md. If Ben Franklin were there, as he was in Philadelphia to help 13 states draft a US Constitution, he might give the same advice to participants: We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Obstacles And Opportunity For Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by James Carroll - (Opinion) November 26, 2007 - 12:51pm

Obstacles abound. When representatives of more than 40 nations convene in Annapolis tomorrow, hoping to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there will be many reasons for pessimism. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas presides over a fractured people, with Hamas ready to spoil any agreement. Qassam rockets fired from Gaza remind Israelis what a hostile Palestinian state could do from the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is politically vulnerable to extremist figures on the Israeli side who want no concessions.

Annapolis Is Just The First Step
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - November 26, 2007 - 12:53pm

If Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice want to set the Annapolis conference to music, I have a suggestion: the chorus from Sugarland's latest country music hit: "Everybody's dreamin' big, but everybody's just gettin' by."

Success Or Not, Israel's Top 3 Eye Summit As Campaign Booster
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - November 26, 2007 - 12:54pm

By sending its top three leaders to the Annapolis peace summit, Israel is hoping to make a statement about the seriousness of its approach to peacemaking with the Palestinians. But a more complex reality lies under the surface of this diplomatic show. The big three -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni -- have much different notions about what can be achieved with the Palestinians and how best to go about it.

Give Annapolis A Chance To Succeed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 12:56pm

Pessimism is always the safe option when contemplating the chances of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Expectations are certainly extremely low ahead of the international meeting in Annapolis in the US on Tuesday. The Palestinian side is fragmented; the Israelis are wary; the Americans are distracted; the Arabs are sceptical. It is nice that the Brazilians and Senegalese are sending delegations. But it might be more useful if the Iranians or Hamas were in attendance.

The Middle East Summit: Mission Impossible?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Rupert Cornwell - November 26, 2007 - 12:59pm

This week will see George Bush make his first, and almost certainly his only, major attempt to bring an end to the world's most intractable conflict. As participants gather for tomorrow's Middle East conference in Annapolis, Maryland, the spotlight is on the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Saudis – but the most important consideration lies closer to home: how will President Bush fare in a belated attempt to play peacemaker.

High-stake Meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 1:02pm

President Bush probably saved his blushes when announcing that the Arab-Israeli conflict would not be solved in a day and a night at Annapolis, but that a full year would be needed — basically the rest of his term — for the US to try to broker a peace. Washington hopes that the two sides work toward the establishment of an independent Palestinian state before Bush leaves office and that the negotiations will be launched at the conference in Annapolis.

Bush Might Fail At Annapolis, But Give Him Credit For Trying
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 1:04pm

Many flaws have been identified in the organization of the Middle East peace conference this week at Annapolis, in the US state of Maryland. Arab officials, in particular, harbor deep-seated fears that their participation may be used as cover for a gathering that fails to achieve anything of substance toward settling the dispute at the core of the region's troubles, that between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

No Such Thing As A Free Summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) November 26, 2007 - 1:06pm

It is true that, to date, U.S. President George W. Bush has not exhibited a great deal of wisdom in his dealings with the Middle East. But it hard to believe that the leader of the superpower and his aides do not recognize the risk they have taken by holding the Annapolis summit. One doesn't have to be Henry Kissinger to appreciate that the summit cannot end in nothing - zero. The size of the achievement, or the depth of the failure, will be proportional to the delegation level in attendance and the number of hours of TV broadcasts, mostly to the Arab world.

The Price Of Arab Inclusion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 1:08pm

U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can chalk up an important achievement with the Annapolis summit that begins tomorrow: The Arab countries acceded to the American request and are taking part in the conference with a high profile, let alone taking part. Foreign ministers and not ambassadors will represent them. This decision's significance goes beyond Arab backing for the Palestinians, or a pat on the back for the American president, whose stature is eroding greatly in the region.

Israelis And Palestinians Try To Set Pace For Peace Talks As Bush Plans Speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper, Steven Erlanger - November 27, 2007 - 1:24pm

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators made progress on Monday toward completing a joint statement for the planned Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md., and President Bush appeared ready to paper over remaining differences between the two sides with his planned speech on Tuesday.

In Annapolis, Conflict By Other Means
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Report
by Robert Blecher , Mouin Rabbani - November 27, 2007 - 1:33pm

At an intersection in front of Nablus city hall, a pair of women threaded a knot of waiting pedestrians, glanced left, then dashed across the street. “What’s this?” an onlooker chastised them. “Can’t you see the red light?” Not long after, his patience exhausted, the self-appointed traffic cop himself stepped off the curb and made his way to the other side of the boulevard.

4 Main Issues That Divide Israel, Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - November 27, 2007 - 1:35pm

The clock is winding down on yet another U.S. president who's trying to broker an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has outlasted 10 of his predecessors and will be 60 years old on May 14, Israel's 60th birthday. The Bush administration has left the issue on the back burner for six years to concentrate on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has now invited Arab, Israeli and world leaders for a day of Middle East peace talks in Annapolis, Md., on Tuesday.

Annapolis: A View From Amman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Open Democracy
by El Hassan Bin Talal - (Commentary) November 28, 2007 - 3:52pm

The middle-east conference to be convened in Annapolis, Maryland on 27 November 2007 must, if it is to be effective, be conceived as a return to a peace-building process whose objective is to realise a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse.

The Annapolis Summit Has Already Affected The Arab World
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) November 28, 2007 - 4:09pm

 We expected the US-sponsored international peace summit in Annapolis, to trigger intra-Arab conflicts as usual. Interestingly enough, this meeting has healed wounds, some of which have been bleeding for years on various fronts. It is an odd phenomenon that contradicts all possibilities on the table. I have observed the following developments so far:

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