Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post reports on the trip by President Bush to Israel/Palestine and statements he made regarding progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2008 (2.) The Christian Science Monitor reviews reaction in Israel to the Bush visit (5.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency examines statements made by President Bush to the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships regarding a Palestinian state, settlements and security (7.) The Financial Times (UK) reports on the words of caution President Bush offered the Israelis regarding undermining Palestinian security measures and West Bank checkpoints (9.) The Guardian (UK) looks at how the issue of Israeli settlement expansion in parts of the occupied territories continues to create difficulties with the Palestinians and with American policy (10.) The Times (UK) examines statements by President Bush regarding the issue of the contiguity of a future Palestinian state (12.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial is critical of Israeli policies in Gaza preventing humanitarian and medical cases from seeking treatment outside the territory (14.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by George Hishmeh analyzes the motivations behind the Bush Mideast visit (17.)

Bush Predicts Completion Of Mideast Treaty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz - January 10, 2008 - 4:22pm

President Bush said Thursday that a Palestinian-Israeli peace treaty could be signed within a year, but that the subsequent creation of a Palestinian state will take longer and require both sides to make "painful political concessions." Those include, he said, an end to the Israeli "occupation" of Arab land seized in a 1967 war, a recognition by the Palestinians that some disputed territory will remain with Israel, and compromise over the status of Jerusalem, a city which both sides claim as important to their identity and faith.

Bush Urges End To Israeli Occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller, Matt Spetalnick - January 10, 2008 - 4:24pm

U.S. President George W. Bush, hardening his tone towards Israel on Thursday, urged an end to "the occupation" of the West Bank and pushed for a peace treaty to be signed within a year to create a Palestinian state. The United States rarely uses the politically charged word "occupation" to describe Israel's hold on lands captured in a 1967 war. It is a term Palestinians seeking a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip employ frequently to describe their plight.

On Mideast Trip, Bush Hopes To Propel Historic Israeli-palestinian Peacemaking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - January 10, 2008 - 4:40pm

The patriotic tunes that greeted President Bush as he arrived in Israel Wednesday for the first time in his presidency set the tone for a historic visit. But given the laudatory remarks of Mr. Bush and his Israeli counterparts on the airport tarmac, the visit seemed focused on celebrating and strengthening the US-Israel relationship, throwing into question whether Bush would be equally welcomed Thursday in the West Bank.

Bush Urges Peace As Part Of Broader Mideast Vision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - January 10, 2008 - 4:43pm

The thorny question of Israel's West Bank settlements has dogged President Bush's overarching message during his eight-day tour of the Middle East: Democracies must unite to confront terrorism. In language that is unusually blunt considering his warm relations with Israel, Bush has made clear his frustration with Israel's failure so far to deal with outposts, or unauthorized new settlements.

In Exclusion, Hamas Counts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mohammed Omer - (Opinion) January 10, 2008 - 4:44pm

Leaders from the Palestinian party Hamas that won the elections in Gaza two years back have inevitably not been invited to meet Bush. The U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organisation. Hamas took control of Gaza by force from the Fatah party headed by Abbas in June last year, about a year and a half after it swept the polls in January 2006. As Hamas leaders and supporters see it, Bush's talks with Abbas can count for little if they are kept out. And so with Abbas's talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just ahead of Bush's visit.

Bush Cautions Israel On Undermining Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - January 10, 2008 - 4:45pm

George W Bush on Thursday cautioned Israel not to undermine the authorities and security forces of a fledgling Palestinian state, as he sought to reassure Palestinian leaders that the US will act as an even-handed mediator in the Arab-Israeli peace talks launched last year.

Bush Fails To Gain Concessions On Settlements From Olmert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory Mccarthy - January 10, 2008 - 4:47pm

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, last night refused to rule out further settlement building in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, highlighting the deep gulf between Israel and the Palestinians that confronts George Bush on his first visit to Israel and the West Bank as president. Against a backdrop of bristling security that accompanied the presidential visit, the Israeli prime minister said the US and the Palestinians knew there was an Israeli "moratorium" on new settlements and on the new expropriation of Palestinian land in the occupied territories.

Differing Opinions Fail To Dent Israel's Love Affair With Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - January 10, 2008 - 4:48pm

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, declared last night that Israel reserved the right to expand existing Jewish settlements in Arab East Jerusalem and in parts of the West Bank that it hopes to retain in any final peace deal.

Bush Sees Middle East Deal In 2008 - But Warns Israel Over "swiss Cheese" Solutio
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Philippe Naughton - January 10, 2008 - 4:51pm

President Bush declared today that a Middle East peace treaty would be signed before he leaves the White House in January next year - but warned Israel against a "Swiss cheese" solution for the borders of an independent Palestinian state. “I believe it’s possible - not only possible - I believe it’s going to happen, that there’ll be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office. That’s what I believe," Mr Bush told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah after meeting Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President.

The Evil Decree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 10, 2008 - 4:55pm

The scene shown Tuesday night on television was one of the most harsh and shameful seen here in recent times: a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, Ahmed Samut from Khan Yunis, and a nine-and-a-half-year-old girl, Sausan Jaafari, of Rafah, as they entered the Erez crossing alone, after being torn from the arms of their weeping parents. The two children have heart conditions and need urgent surgery to save their lives. Wolfson Medical Center in Holon agreed to care for them, as part of their Save a Child's Heart program that saves the lives of children around the world.

Palestinians Believe Bush Won't Pressure Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoav Stern - (Analysis) January 10, 2008 - 4:58pm

U.S. President George W. Bush was not the bearer of big news for the Palestinian people when he spoke in Ramallah after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. Apart from a broad presentation of his vision for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Bush spoke inarticulately about his concerns over Israeli settlements, said his convoy managed to get through Israel Defense Forces checkpoints without delay and suggested the Palestinians abandon United Nations resolutions, because they were of no help to them in the past.

The Case Of The White Bird
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - January 10, 2008 - 5:00pm

Tzipi Livni, as her name indicates, is the white bird of Israeli politics (Tzipi is short for Tzipora, “bird”, and Livni comes from Lavan, “white”). As against the hawk Binyamin Netanyahu, the vulture Ehud Barak and the raven Ehud Olmert, she was seen as the immaculate feathered friend. In public opinion polls, she has enjoyed a remarkable popularity. She trumps all the other politicians in the governing coalition. While the rating of the two Ehuds — Olmert and Barak — was going down, hers was on the way up.

A New Two-way Street Called Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) January 10, 2008 - 5:00pm

The objective of the US president is to rally the Arab neighbours of Iran against the latter's nuclear ambitions These are not the best of times for George W. Bush. The unpopular US president, a lame duck to boot, should not even consider venturing abroad, certainly to areas such as the turbulent Middle East where America's image has hit rock bottom during his tenure. The blame is attributed to his administration's policies which have wrecked havoc in the region and yielded little to brag about.

U.s. Expectations For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 11, 2008 - 3:24pm

The U.S. expectations President Bush set out Thursday for negotiations and a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, following two days of separate meetings with leaders on both sides: _A peace agreement can and should be complete within the year. _Bargaining must be serious, "starting right now." Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should continue their regular summit meetings.

U.s. Seen In Policy Retreat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Khaled Moussa Al-omrani, Adam Morrow - (Analysis) January 11, 2008 - 3:37pm

Recent months have witnessed several notable political reorientations in the Middle East, involving Iran, the Gulf states, Egypt and Lebanon. Several experts say the changes reflect a shift in Washington's regional strategy following recent U.S. policy setbacks.

Bush Calls For Fund To Compensate Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - January 11, 2008 - 3:42pm

US President George W. Bush on Thursday called for a compensation fund for Palestinian refugees as he set out what he said was the “point of departure” for negotiations on a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians this year. At the end of two days of meetings in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Mr Bush sought to highlight his sympathy with the Palestinians more than on previous occasions and to dispel scepticism over the US’s readiness to lean on Israel.

George Bush Drinks In The Last-chance Casbah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
January 11, 2008 - 3:49pm

GEORGE BUSH flew in to a fanfare of bugles and cynicism at the start of his tour of the Middle East this week. The cynicism, it must be said, is not misplaced. Although he said in Jerusalem that he detected “a new opportunity for peace”, he has waited too long to make his first visit as president to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Even if he did everything right in his final year, he does not have time to realise his “vision” of a free Palestine alongside an Israel at peace with its neighbours.

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