Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters reports on the expanding Palestinian security crackdown in the West Bank (2.) Inter Press Service examines the recent remarks by Israeli PM Olmert linking Israel's future existence with the need for a Palestinian state, in the context of preparing the Israeli public for withdrawing from the occupied Palestinian territories (4.) The Associated Press looks at Israel's refusal to include occupied East Jerusalem in its partial settlement freeze as evidenced by the announcement of new settlement construction there (5.) Der Speigel (Germany) analyzes how converting the current opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace may depend as much on the neighboring countries as it does on the protagonists themselves (8.) BBC (UK) Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen senses an opportunity for a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement in 2008 despite the many obstacles to achieving one (9.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial comes out in support of voluntary settler evacuation through the 'compensation for evacuation' Knesset bill (11.) A Jerusalem Post (Israel) opinion by Gershon Baskin examines the likely repercussions of a failure of the post-Annapolis process (12.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) opinion by John Whitbeck urges the Palestinians to capitalize on Israeli PM Olmert's statements regarding the necessity of a two-state solution to Israel's survival by attaching a deadline to pursuit of such a solution (14.)

Policy Surge Key To Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by H.d.s. Greenway - (Opinion) December 4, 2007 - 2:06pm

IT OFTEN takes electric shock treatment to get the Middle East off its dead center of inertia. The lightning success of the first Gulf war in 1991 produced just that, unsettling all the old presumptions.

Mideast: Olmert Walks Razor's Edge In Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Peter Hirschberg - (Analysis) December 4, 2007 - 2:06pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has issued a dire warning to his people. Failure to reach a negotiated two-state settlement with the Palestinians, he has declared, will mean the end of the State of Israel.

Israel To Build Homes In East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - December 4, 2007 - 2:07pm

Israel said Tuesday it is seeking bids to build more than 300 new homes in a disputed east Jerusalem neighborhood, drawing Palestinian condemnations that the move is undermining the newly revived peace talks held last week in Annapolis, Md. A Housing Ministry spokesman said 307 units would be built in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Israel captured the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the area. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Bush: No Change In Iran Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Simon Jeffery, Mark Tran - (Special Report) December 4, 2007 - 2:11pm

George Bush today ruled out a change in Washington's Iran policy following the declassification yesterday of a US intelligence report that concluded Tehran had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. The US president denied the national intelligence estimate (NIE) - which said Tehran's determination to develop nuclear weapons "is less ... than we have been judging" - had undercut his administration's repeated assertions that Iran was building nuclear weapons.

Peace Talks Back From The Dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Speigel International
by Ralf Beste, Christoph Schult , Bernhard Zand - December 4, 2007 - 2:16pm

Peace in the Middle East has been but a faint glimmer on the horizon since the 2000 Camp David talks failed. But now, both the Israelis and Palestinians say they are once again committed to reaching an agreement. But it might depend on their neighbors. A Palestinian member of the Fatah Movement watches the Annapolis summit on television last week.

Analysis: After Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Jeremy Bowen - (Editorial) December 4, 2007 - 2:17pm

The sun was going down over Chesapeake Bay last Tuesday as the Middle East diplomatic circus left the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. The Israeli and Palestinian delegations headed for home, by way of Washington DC, and more meetings with President Bush. Since the summer, just getting to Annapolis and not letting the meeting become a disaster has been the main focus of American policy towards the two sides.

Israel Hedges On Annapolis Deadline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Australian
by Martin Chulov - December 4, 2007 - 2:19pm

ISRAELI leaders are refusing to commit to December next year as a deadline for squaring off peace with the Palestinians, claiming the time frame agreed to in the Annapolis summit was a guideline only. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni both raised Annapolis during lengthy addresses at a cabinet meeting yesterday. The meeting was the first since the pair returned from Washington with a commitment from US President George W. Bush to drive difficult negotiations towards a resolution late next year.

Bring Them Home, Gradually
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 4, 2007 - 2:20pm

Since the separation fence was built, thousands of settlers who live east of it find themselves in an unclear situation. Having to wait for a political settlement to determine the permanent border is nerve-racking for those who wish to lead a normal life. Polls show that some 20,000 settlers at least would at this point like to vacate communities east of the fence, if they receive enough compensation to buy a new home.

A Letdown Even To Skeptics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - December 4, 2007 - 2:23pm

Even those who had modest expectations for the Annapolis conference were disappointed by its results: an agreement to start negotiations and a statement that selectively reiterated parts of the roadmap that the parties had anyway failed to implement since it was introduced in 2003.

Two States Or One? Time To Choose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by John V. Whitbeck - (Opinion) December 4, 2007 - 2:24pm

Almost immediately after the hollow show in Annapolis, a ray of hope has appeared from an unexpected source — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In an interview published on Nov. 29 in the Israeli daily Haaretz, he declared, “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.”

Ehud The Semi-believer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg - (Analysis) December 5, 2007 - 4:49pm

Ehud Olmert has begun to fascinate me. Don't misunderstand: I am completely innocent of ever voting for him. I have no intent of committing such an act in the future. Had fate not put me in a country of which Olmert is prime minister at a moment that might be seized by someone else, an actual leader, to make peace, my interest in him would be purely as a literary figure, a character. I don’t mean that he is a tragic hero; precisely the point is that he lacks grandeur. He is Willy Loman with a vision: a glad-handing hack politician who was ambushed one day by a truth.

Palestinian Civilians As Political Currency
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jessica Montell - (Opinion) December 5, 2007 - 5:05pm

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but it does not have to be a death sentence. Hopefully, with the proper care, you will recover and continue with your life. Unless you live in the Gaza Strip.

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