Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Christian Science Monitor examines the various stumbling blocks facing Israeli and Palestinian leaders as they attempt to launch a post-Annapolis peace process (1), while the Associated Press looks at how the planned Israeli expansion of the Har Homa settlement remains the largest of these stumbling blocks (3.) A Washington Post editorial urges Israeli PM Olmert and Palestinian president Abbas to seize control over the process of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and not allow themselves to be sidetracked by issues that arise (6.) A Forward editorial equates the lobbying of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem against any sharing of Jerusalem in a final peace settlement with the Palestinians, with opposition against any emerging Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement (7.) The Los Angeles Times looks at one Palestinian landowner's attempt to resist Israeli settlers' attempts to seize his land, emblematic of the larger picture of Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land for the settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank (8.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) editorial urges Israel to re-assess its long-standing policies towards achieving security and replace them with serious engagement with the Palestinians (11.) A Jordan Times (Jordan) editorial offers mixed reviews of the Palestinian negotiating team's response to post-Annapolis Israeli settlement expansion (12.) In Miftah (Palestine), Joharah Baker analyzes the significance of the issue of Israeli settlements to both Israelis and Palestinians (13.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Amira Hass ponders whether the continued dispossession of Palestinian land will lead to another round of Israeli-Palestinian violence (15.)

Har Homa Crisis / Waiting For Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - December 28, 2007 - 2:45pm

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow in an attempt to solve the so-called settlement crisis that has plagued negotiations since the Annapolis summit late last month. The Palestinians are upset over a tender by the Housing Ministry for the construction of 307 housing units in the southeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, on the Palestinian side of the Green Line.

Mideast Talks Already Tangled A Month After Annapolis Summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - December 28, 2007 - 3:08pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet Thursday amid rising tensions over whether the promises of peace they made a month ago in Annapolis, Md., can be fulfilled. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders have quickly met a variety of roadblocks in the process they had pledged to relaunch last month at the summit under US auspices, buoyed by the attendance of other Middle East players.

Abbas, Olmert Put Aside Settlement Fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Josef Federman - December 28, 2007 - 3:12pm

Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed Thursday to put aside a dispute over Israeli construction in a Jerusalem neighborhood and get down to work on a final peace agreement, according to participants at the meeting. The two-hour meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to break an impasse that has clouded renewed peacemaking, and cleared the way for a visit by President Bush next month. It was the first summit between the two leaders since they relaunched peace talks at a U.S.-hosted meeting last month.

Israel's Olmert Balks At Full Settlement Halt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - December 28, 2007 - 3:15pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert balked on Thursday at committing to a total freeze in settlement activity, a key demand of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for advancing U.S.-backed peace talks. But the leaders agreed during their two-hour meeting to press ahead with negotiations that have been paralyzed since Israel announced plans to build hundreds of new homes in an area near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim.

Beware Of Barak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Antiwar
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 3:18pm

Israeli "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak is definitely the most dangerous politician in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad can only dream of having the powers – political and military, conventional and non-conventional – that Barak already possesses. Netanyahu and other far-right Israeli politicians say what they think and are earmarked as extremists, so they are under permanent scrutiny. Barak is more extreme than Netanyahu, but he's an extremist in disguise.

Middle East Bog
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 3:20pm

IT'S BEEN one month since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Annapolis to launch the first Middle East peace negotiations in seven years. When they meet again today, they will have cause to reflect on how much can go wrong when the world's most notoriously difficult "peace process" is taken over by official negotiators, government bureaucrats and military commanders. Far from beginning to hammer out the two-state settlement that Mr. Olmert and Mr.

A West Bank Struggle Rooted In Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - December 28, 2007 - 3:25pm

From his hilltop farm, Daoud Nassar can see the sun rise over the Jordan Valley and set in the Mediterranean, an arc that spans the territorial breadth of his people's conflict with Israel. He also can see the neighbors whose rival claim has drawn the idyllic 100-acre plot deeply into that fight. The only large Palestinian property to occupy high ground in this part of the West Bank, it is ringed by expanding Jewish settlements and coveted by the one perched on the nearest hill, 800 yards away.

Glimmers Of Mideast Peace Rise From Ashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Star
by Oakland Ross - December 28, 2007 - 3:47pm

Where would the Middle East be without another war? No one knows, because every passing year seems to bring with it a new armed conflict, and 2007 was no exception, producing a brief but bloody outbreak of fraternal killing that has sharply divided some 3 million Palestinian people, while plunging the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip into even greater depths of misery. Paradoxically, however, the five-day shootout that splintered Palestinians this past June also ignited the first glimmers of peace this region has known in seven years.

Israel Needs To Act Like A Partner, Not A Policeman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 3:52pm

Israel's accusation that Egypt is not doing enough to control its border with Gaza and stem the flow of weapons into the Hamas-controlled territory is nothing short of absurd. The suggestion that Egypt is secretly colluding with Hamas in Gaza is laughable, not least of all because of the long-standing animosity between the Egyptian regime and Islamists.

Negotiating Solutions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 3:54pm

It is fine that the Palestinian delegation to the bilateral negotiations with Israel should refuse to negotiate anything other than a freeze on settlement building. It is a shame that the Palestinian side should have granted Israel the diplomatic victory of Annapolis before such a principled stand could be reached.

Declaration Of Fatigue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yonatan Yavin - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 3:59pm

Many decades from now, when Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs, will be living side by side, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be comforting each other over their fathers’ folly and stubbornness. When the cursed regional “situation” will stabilize, and a Jew will sit down for coffee with his Arab neighbor, both of them will rub their eyes with amazement and ask: What was the commotion all about?

The Right To Explode In Anger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - December 28, 2007 - 4:01pm

The negotiations over the future of our land, from the sea to the river, and the two peoples living in it, are proceeding along two parallel channels. It has been that way since the Madrid and Oslo talks for 17 years now. One channel is between the Palestinians and Israelis - such as Tuesday's meeting in Jerusalem between chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The other is being conducted between the Israelis and themselves. Will the only genuine point of contact between these two channels be another explosion of blood, as occurred in 1996 and 2000?

Challenges 2007-2008: Gates Led Realist Resurgence In ‘07
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:26pm

2007 will likely go down in U.S. history as the year in which the balance of power in the long-running struggle between hawks and realists in the administration of President George W. Bush shifted decisively in favour of the latter.

Building Roadblocks To Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 4:27pm

More roadblocks have sprung up on the Middle East road map to peace since the grand reunion organized by U.S. President George W. Bush at Annapolis just a few weeks ago, and where Israeli and Palestinian leaders promised to work toward a peaceful settlement of the 60-year conflict.

Backward, Christian Soldiers, Marching As To Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Daoud Kuttub - December 28, 2007 - 4:40pm

During the run-up to the 1998 Christmas celebrations, U.S. president Bill Clinton, along with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, visited the Palestinian town of Bethlehem to light up the Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity. With that symbolic visit, and the understanding that Mr. Clinton was showing to the needs of the region, Palestinians of all faiths had high hopes that the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict might soon end. It didn't.

2008, When We Need To Start Keeping Our Promises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Kimche - December 28, 2007 - 4:46pm

Ring out the old, ring in the new," wrote the renowned British poet, Lord Tennyson. "Ring, happy bells, across the snow; The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true... Ring out the thousand wars of old, ring in the thousand years of Peace."

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