Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times provides a wrap-up of the re-launched peace process resulting from the Annapolis meeting (1.) A Boston Globe opinion by ATFP executive director Rafi Dajani identifies the achievements at Annapolis that lay the groundwork towards progress in achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace (3.) The Washington Post examines skeptical Mideast reaction to the Annapolis talks (5.) The Christian Science Monitor looks at how different observers on Israel-Palestine stresses the importance of an active U.S. arbitration role in a future negotiation process (7.) A Forward opinion by New America and Century Foundation senior fellow Daniel Levy urges Israel to reciprocate to the Arab consensus over peace based on an end to the Israeli occupation begun in 1967 (9.) McClatchy newspapers reports on how experience is tempering Israeli and Palestinian public reaction to Annapolis (10.) A Guardian (UK) editorial finds that Annapolis has changed the environment of Arab-Israeli peacemaking in significant ways (12.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by George Hishmeh analyzes the Syrian attendance at Annapolis and its impact on the Lebanese presidential election crisis (14.) In a Haaretz (Israel) interview, Israeli PM Olmert equates the demise of the two-state solution with Israel's future existence (16.) Also in Haaretz, an opinion by Aluf Benn looks at why the American role in Arab-Israeli peacemaking as essential (17.)

Palestinian State Crucial For Israel, Olmert Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Rebecca Harrison, Ori Lewis - November 29, 2007 - 4:53pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said after peace talks in Washington that failure to negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians could threaten Israel's long-term survival. A day after Israel and the Palestinians formally relaunched negotiations, Olmert's comments appeared in Thursday's Haaretz newspaper on the 60th anniversary of the passing of a U.N. resolution to partition British-run Palestine between Jews and Arabs -- a two-state solution that still eludes them.

Annapolis Talks Prompt Much Doubt, A Few Jokes, In Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Ellen Knickmeyer, Scott Wilson - November 29, 2007 - 4:55pm

A day after their leaders announced a new push for peace, Israelis and Palestinians returned Wednesday to a familiar and deadly routine, deeply skeptical over the timetable set for the talks and whether an end to the conflict is achievable at all in the current political climate. In cafes and blogs in the Arab world, the Annapolis conference prompted little more than wisecracks. Commentators made much of a linguistic coincidence: In Arabic, "ana polis" means "I am the police."

Arabs Return From Summit Uneasy And Skeptical
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman - November 29, 2007 - 4:56pm

This week's Middle East conference in Annapolis, Md., has highlighted Arab unease over the ability and will of a weak U.S. president to deliver peace. At the same time, it has stoked fears that Israel has scored a public relations coup while refusing to concede on such core issues as Palestinian refugees and the fate of Jerusalem.

In Mideast Peace Process, How Big A Role Will Bush Play?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Howard Lafranchi - November 29, 2007 - 4:57pm

After President Bush's high-profile speech Tuesday at the Annapolis meeting on Middle East peace and Wednesday's scheduled Rose Garden appearance with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, there are still questions about just how involved the United States will be in the relaunched negotiations. How intense a role will Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has logged more than 100,000 miles this year addressing the conflict, now play? Will the administration name a special envoy to monitor progress in specific areas?

Grasp The Promise Of Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) November 29, 2007 - 4:58pm

Even the most hardened of Middle East cynics could be excused for momentarily feeling a fluttering of hope after witnessing the scenes at this week’s peace conference in Annapolis, Md.

Still Waiting For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Leader - (Special Report) November 29, 2007 - 5:03pm

Serious negotiations do not normally take place at international conferences. They happen before or after them. If negotiations beforehand have been fruitful, a conference is a venue to publicise and formalise what has been agreed, or sometimes to settle one or two very difficult matters beyond the competence of the advance teams. On that test, Annapolis has not been a success. Palestinians and Israelis could not agree on a detailed joint document to put before the meeting.

Robert Fisk: A Different Venue, But The Pious Claims And Promises Are The Same
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - (Opinion) November 29, 2007 - 5:07pm

Haven't we been here before? Isn't Annapolis just a repeat of the White House lawn and the Oslo agreement, a series of pious claims and promises in which two weak men, Messrs Abbas and Olmert, even use the same words of Oslo. "It is time for the cycle of blood, violence and occupation to end," the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday. But don't I remember Yitzhak Rabin saying on the White House lawn that, "it is time for the cycle of blood... to end"?

Time To Abandon Sectarianism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) November 29, 2007 - 5:07pm

The presence of a senior Syrian official at the Annapolis meeting that launched a new round of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations has had a positive effect on the desperate search in Lebanon for a leader to assume the presidency after it was unceremoniously vacated last Friday. The attraction was not in the focus of the conclave but in at least one participant.

Peace Talks Are Likely To Fail, Just As The 'road Map' Did
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) November 29, 2007 - 5:09pm

The Annapolis conference on Tuesday was full of lofty rhetoric, intriguing new promises, a few bold commitments, and a tantalizing cast of characters - alongside plenty of rehashed rhetoric, rigid positions, and regurgitated, failed diplomatic mechanisms. It left us with as many questions as answers about whether this was a serious Arab-Israeli peace-making endeavor, or a hoax garnished with Chesapeake Bay clam cakes.

Olmert To Haaretz: Two-state Solution, Or Israel Is Done For
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn, David Landau, Barak Ravid, Shmuel Rosner - November 29, 2007 - 5:11pm

"If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz Wednesday, the day the Annapolis conference ended in an agreement to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.

When The Party’s Over: From Annapolis To Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Sadie Goldman With Jason Proetorius And Ipf Staff - (Opinion) November 30, 2007 - 4:57pm

The only certainty at the outset of the Annapolis conference on Tuesday was that few predicted positive results.  

After Annapolis, Abbas Faces Hamas Challenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi And Adam Entous - (Analysis) November 30, 2007 - 5:09pm

A U.S.-backed push for a future Palestinian state hinges on President Mahmoud Abbas doing what may seem impossible -- getting Hamas Islamists to give up the Gaza Strip and disarm. Abbas has done little to explain how he expects to achieve such a feat, either through new elections or militarily. He and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert launched their peoples' first formal peace talks in seven years this week with the goal of forging a deal next year to create a state in Gaza and the West Bank, together home to 4 million Palestinians.

All Options Open Against Israel After Peace Meet: Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 30, 2007 - 5:14pm

Hamas warned on Thursday that all options were open for the Islamists against Israel after a US conference that revived peace talks and five days in which troops had killed 12 militants in Gaza. "All options are open to answer any crime, expecially after the Annapolis conference, which gave the Zionists a green light to commit more and more crimes against our people," said a statement from the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing.

Much To Be Modest About
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
(Editorial) November 30, 2007 - 5:41pm

BETTER than nothing. For now, that is the most that can be said of the new Arab-Israeli “peace process” George Bush inaugurated in Annapolis on November 27th. After weeks of negotiation, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations did at the last minute approve 437 words for the American president to read out, but this was the sort of declaration that makes the phrase “lowest common denominator” sound generous.

President Bush Is The Only One Capable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
(Editorial) November 30, 2007 - 5:55pm

Rest assured that Bush, more than any other American President, means what he says. This has been his problem with most countries of the world, including us Arabs. Despite the problems his frankness has caused him, it has been a good trait on occasion.

Big Turnout, Small Result
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
December 3, 2007 - 4:18pm

THEY almost didn't make it, but in the last hour Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, agreed on a joint statement. Four months of preliminary talks had failed to produce what Mr Abbas and Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, had hoped to brandish at this week's peace summit in Annapolis: an agreement to predetermine some aspects of the final-status deal that would ultimately create a Palestinian state next to Israel. In the end, Ms Rice had to settle for less, but the Palestinians and Israelis did agree two things.

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