Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post examines the challenges facing President Bush as he frames the Annapolis meeting in the context of a battle for the future of the Middle East against extremist forces (2.) An Orlando Sentinel opinion by ATFP executive director Rafi Dajani identifies realistic and achievable objectives for the Annapolis meeting in the context of establishing a Palestinian state (3.) McClatchy Newspapers analyzes the four main issues of Jerusalem, borders, refugees and security dividing Israelis and Palestinians (5.) In the New York Review of Books, senior Council on Foreign Relations fellow Henry Siegman identifies Israeli reluctance to define the contours of a future Palestinian state as the main obstacle to peace and warns of the consequences of a failure at Annapolis (6.) A Financial Times (UK) opinion by Gideon Rachman weights the opportunities and challenges for the Annapolis meeting and beyond while stressing the critical role of the U.S. in a future settlement (9.) A Telegraph (UK) opinion by Tim Butcher stresses the importance of political will by Israelis, Palestinians and the U.S. in reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace the parameters of which are well known (11.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by Linda Heard addresses the implications of a future shift in Israel's demography on the country's future (13.) In Haaretz (Israel). Washington correspondent Shmuel Rosner touches on the three main points of the just-issued Annapolis 'joint declaration' (14.)

Beyond Cynicism, Reason For Real Hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Orlando Sentinel
by Rafi Dajani - (Special Report) November 27, 2007 - 1:29pm

Few events in Mideast peacemaking history have been subjected to as much cynicism as today's Annapolis meeting. This is due to the perceived lack of planning in the lead-up to the meeting, mismanagement of expectations, and the reported gaps between Israelis and Palestinians over the text of a joint declaration at the meeting's conclusion.

Bush's Big Moment In Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Zev Chafets - (Opinion) November 27, 2007 - 1:37pm

THE MIDDLE EAST peace conference convened by the United States in Annapolis, Md., may or may not move the Israeli-Arab conflict closer to resolution (my money is on "may not"). But, whatever happens, there is already one winner: George W. Bush. This is Bush's bash. His name is on the invitation. The party is at his place. The guests are strictly A-list. Every

What The Annapolis Summit Lacks Is Willpower
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Tim Butcher - (Opinion) November 27, 2007 - 2:01pm

America puts on a good Middle East peace summit. It must be all the practice, but whether up in the hilly presidential retreat of Camp David, in the Rose Garden outside the White House or, as will take place today, in the grounds of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, you can be sure of a good show.

Annapolis And A History Of Abject Failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Gideon Rachman - (Commentary) November 27, 2007 - 1:39pm

Last time I visited Jerusalem, I sat down with a colleague and tried to see how many Middle East peace plans and conferences we could list. Within a couple of minutes we had scribbled down Venice, Madrid, Oslo, Camp David I, Camp David II, Taba, the Rogers plan, the Annan plan, the Reagan plan, the Tenet plan, the Saudi plan, the Mitchell report, the Geneva accord and the road map. I have lost the beer mat on which I was keeping the minutes of our discussions – so I apologise if I have missed some out. But you get the general point. The record is not encouraging.

Gaza Fears Israeli Push To Smash Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - November 27, 2007 - 1:40pm

Big Israeli armoured bulldozers, guarded by a stationary escort of tanks and armoured personnel carriers half-hidden in the adjacent sandbanks, were operating all along the exposed walk south on the Palestinian side of the hi-tech Erez terminal separating Gaza from Israel yesterday.

Short On Peace, Long On Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al Jazeera English
by Marwan Bishara - (Analysis) November 27, 2007 - 2:02pm

Hosted by the US president and supported by Arab, European and other foreign ministers, Palestinian and Israeli leaders are expected to re-launch their long stalled negotiations in Annapolis on Tuesday. Judging from its high attendance and low expectations, Annapolis is more likely to help three sitting ducks, Olmert, Abbas and Bush, than advance the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Threat To Israel From Within Not Without
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) November 27, 2007 - 2:03pm

Israelis are concerned about Iran's nuclear programme, which they believe is an existential threat. Supporting this argument they misquote the Iranian president as saying he wants to wipe Israel off the map. They are right to be worried but their concerns are misplaced. Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state may be in the balance but this has nothing to do with Iran.

Analysis / Four Quick Points On Israel-palestinian Joint Statement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - November 27, 2007 - 2:04pm

Timing: Promising to conclude the peace negotiations within a year is the headline of this document. It is a challenge that should not be taken lightly. Both sides remember that deadlines are not sacred in the Middle East, and were rarely met in similar occasions. Nevertheless, they will try to meet this goal, paying Bush for his vision (the Palestinians) and support (Israelis).

Gaza's Bleak Reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - November 27, 2007 - 2:05pm

Tzipi Livni says the world can be divided into two: The good guys, who came to Annapolis, the ones who want to make peace - and the bad guys, who oppose the conference and want to sabotage peace efforts. According to the foreign minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his friends in the Ramallah government belong to the good guys. The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, belongs to the bad guys.

Practical Steps Beyond Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Center For Strategic & International Studies
by Haim Malka - (Commentary) November 28, 2007 - 3:37pm

Israeli and Palestinian leaders seeking to resolve their differences in Annapolis may as well meet on the moon. Beyond the wide gaps on the core issues, the Annapolis framework ignores the harsh reality that Hamas is shut out of the process while poised to violently derail the entire effort. It is based on wishful thinking that so-called moderate Palestinian forces will be strong enough to overpower hardliners and enforce a final agreement. Though it has positive elements, the strategy is likely to fail. But progress is possible, and still within reach.

The Syrian Peace Track
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Baltimore Sun
(Editorial) November 28, 2007 - 3:43pm

Getting representatives from at least a dozen Arab countries to Annapolis today for President Bush's Middle East summit was no small feat considering America's reputation in the region and the unlikely prospect of substantive change in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could advance the peace agenda - and her diplomatic credentials - if she secures Syria's involvement in the process beyond the one-day meeting.

Israel, P.a. Agree To Strive For Accord By End Of 2008
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Barak Ravid - November 28, 2007 - 3:55pm

Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed Tuesday to immediately launch peace negotiations in order to reach an agreement by the end of 2008, President Bush said in his remarks at the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Prior to his prepared address, Bush read a joint statement agreed on by the sides during last-minute negotiations at the summit.

Us Turns To ‘coalition Of The Moderate’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Daniel Dombey - November 28, 2007 - 3:58pm

As almost 50 delegations assembled for the Annapolis conference on Tuesday, one question stood out. Why was the Bush administration, which had once scorned Bill Clinton’s efforts to broker Middle East peace, risking a high-profile attempt of its own, despite near to rock bottom expectations? “You can make the case that in an attempt to shoot the moon and get nothing, more violence resulted,” Ari Fleischer, then President George W. Bush’s spokesman, said in 2002 of Mr Clinton’s Camp David negotiations two years before.

Bush's Half-hearted Summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Der Spiegel
by Ulrike Putz And Gregor Peter Schmitz - November 30, 2007 - 5:45pm

It was an elegant setting for the luncheon hosted by the Israel Project one week ago. Guests at the National Press Club in Washington picked at salmon on a bed of salad, forks clinked gently against plates. The hostess spoke quietly of peace and understanding. But then David Wurmser showed up.

No More Time To Waste
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ami Ayalon - (Opinion) November 30, 2007 - 6:04pm

A motley coalition of cynics and extremists were quick to write off the Annapolis peace conference as a waste of time. The best way for Israel to prove them wrong is to show that it knows there is no more time to waste.

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