Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post gauges whether statements by President Bush regarding an Israeli-Palestinian settlement represent a shift in U.S. policy (1.) The Associated Press lays out U.S. expectations regarding Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a peace deal as articulated by President Bush during his visit (3.) The New York Times reports on deep Palestinian public skepticism regarding the Bush visit and its ability to achieve progress (4.) In Israel Policy Forum, MJ Rosenberg stresses the importance of concrete steps on the ground in order to transform Presidential rhetoric on Israel-Palestine to reality (5.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency parses the Bush summary of his Israel-Palestine during his visit for statements of substance regarding negotiations and a final settlement (7.) A San Francisco Chronicle editorial compliments President Bush on the clarity of his statements on Israel-Palestine during his visit and urges him keep up a sustained engagement (8.) The Independent analyzes the tougher-than-usual language employed by President Bush towards both the Israelis and Palestinians during his visit, particularly regarding the Israeli occupation (10.) The Economist (UK) is skeptical that President Bush can realize his two-state vision by the end of his presidency, instead setting a realistic goal of bringing peace closer and making it easier for the next administration to achieve (12.) A Guardian (UK) comment by Jonathan Steele is critical and skeptical of President Bush's ability and desire to effect Israeli-Palestinian peace (14.) Al JAzeera (Qatar) reviews the reaction of press across the Arab world to the Bush Mideast visit (16.) In Haaretz (Israel) Bradley Burston lays out how the Gaza disengagement initiated by former Israeli PM Sharon was meant to greatly diminish Palestinian statehood prospects (18.)

Bush Alters Stand On Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz, Jonathan Finer - January 11, 2008 - 2:21pm

President Bush said Thursday that Palestinian refugees should receive compensation for the loss of homes they fled or were forced to flee during the establishment of Israel and declared that there should be an end to Israel's "occupation" of lands seized in war four decades ago. Bush made his comments after becoming the first U.S. president to visit Ramallah, the West Bank city that is the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, in an effort to invigorate negotiations aimed at securing a peace accord before the end of his presidency.

Bush Ends Peace Mission Without Breakthrough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tabassum Zakaria - January 11, 2008 - 2:23pm

U.S. President George W. Bush wrapped up his mission to Israel and the occupied West Bank on Friday, emboldened enough to have predicted a peace treaty within a year but with no major breakthroughs for his efforts. Bush arrived on Friday evening in Kuwait, the first of five stops with Arab allies he hopes will aid the fragile peace process and help contain Iran's growing regional clout. Bush met Kuwait's ruler, who thanked him for his efforts to make progress on issues crucial to the Middle East.

Many Palestinians Offer A Bleak Opinion Of Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 11, 2008 - 2:26pm

President Bush did not come to this oasis city of beige hills, lush green plantations and ancient ruins on his visit to the Palestinian Authority on Thursday. Given the apparent antipathy of the local population, it is probably just as well.

Stairway To Paradise & Obama’s Religion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) January 11, 2008 - 2:31pm

At this point, it is far from clear if President George W. Bush’s visit to Israel and Palestine will have tangible results. Certainly his rhetoric was strong and Presidential rhetoric matters.

Bush Gets No Promises In Mideast Visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - January 11, 2008 - 2:32pm

President Bush completed two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Thursday without a firm public commitment from Israel to halt expansion of West Bank settlements or give the Palestinians a bigger role in policing the territory. Nor did the president make progress on a key Israeli concern that has stood in the way of peace talks for years: a halt in rocket attacks on southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the Gaza Strip.

Substance And Symbolism: Parsing Bush's Words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - January 11, 2008 - 2:34pm

Picking apart President Bush's summing up of his Palestinian-Israeli peace brokering is a a little like reading the fine print in the nutritional information on comfort food: there's empty puffery, to be sure, but also nuggets of substance. Bush, speaking Thursday at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, was summarizing two days of working meetings with the leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian governments, his first presidential visit to the region.

Mideast Plain Talk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
(Editorial) January 11, 2008 - 2:35pm

President Bush is making the obvious points on his trip to the Mideast. Any peace accord will oblige Israel to pull back settlements on the contested West Bank, and Palestinian leaders must rein in terrorist strikes.

Occupation Of Palestinian Land Must End, Bush Tells Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - January 11, 2008 - 2:37pm

President George Bush last night called for Israel to end what he unequivocally called its "occupation" of territory seized in 1967 and proposed "compensation" as a means of solving the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Israel's Bethlehem Settlement Seen As Obstacle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Tim Butcher - January 11, 2008 - 2:51pm

The Israeli settlement of Har Homa crowns a hill on the south-eastern approach to Jerusalem and towers over the birthplace of Jesus. It is built on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war - which makes it a "settlement" in the eyes of the world - and shot up the agenda when Israel announced recently that it planned to build 307 more homes there.

Welcome, Mr President, To The Misery You've Created
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Steele - (Commentary) January 11, 2008 - 2:53pm

It is a well-deserved irony for George Bush that his first presidential visit to Israel coincided this week with the storm of excitement produced by the unexpected outcome of the two New Hampshire primaries. Nothing could better highlight the irrelevance of the final year of the Bush presidency.

A Palestinian Exploration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) January 11, 2008 - 2:54pm

A few years after Lebanon gained its independence in 1943, the Palestinians were hit by what is known as the naqba - or 'catastrophe.' The Israelis seized more than half of their country and several Arab armies were unable to recapture the land. Thus, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees poured into neighboring Arab countries - including a certain small country barely managing its politics through a delicate sectarian system.

Arabic Papers React To Bush Tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al Jazeera English
January 11, 2008 - 2:57pm

Around the Arab world, newspaper editorials have reacted both positively and negatively to the US president's visit to the region. George Bush himself described his visit as an attempt to "nudge" forward a recently revived peace-process, while some of the papers on Friday expressed a different view. Although Bush spoke of Israel's "occupation" of territory it seized in the 1967 conflict, he was clear that any "mutually agreed adjustments" would still leave Israel with settlements in the West Bank.

Bush Tells Olmert: End The Occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 11, 2008 - 2:59pm

U.S. President George W. Bush implored senior cabinet ministers at a dinner yesterday evening to work to promote the peace process, telling them that the current situation cannot continue and efforts to achieve a peace treaty must be made.

Sharon, Savior Of The Settler, Killer Of Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - January 11, 2008 - 3:00pm

Genius in statecraft is often slow to reveal itself. Genius in strategy often masquerades as folly. Consider the case of Ariel Sharon. An opinion poll conducted ahead of the second anniversary of his devastating January 4, 2006 cerebral hemorrhage, showed that 26.8 percent of Israelis believe that Sharon's stroke was punishment for his expulsion of thousands of settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip less than half a year before.

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