Middle East News: World Press Roundup

President Bush wants an outline for a Palestinian State by the end of his term(1). President George W. Bush is drawing fire for his forthcoming trip to Israel (2) while the ongoing negotiations stalemate is negatively affecting both Mahmoud Abbas' and Ehud Olmert's support (7). The IMF praises the Palestinian Authority's moves toward fiscal sustainability(5). Finally, M.J. Rosenberg discusses the necessity of diplomacy in his weekly column for the Israel Policy Forum.

Bush Meets Abbas, But Palestinians Criticize Plans For Trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg - April 25, 2008 - 5:48pm

As he prepares for his second trip this year to the Middle East, President Bush is facing mounting criticism from some Palestinians who are upset that he will go to Israel for its 60th birthday celebration without marking the flip side of that event: the flight of Palestinians from their homes.

U.s. Jews Create New Lobby To Temper Israel Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Neil A. Lewis - April 25, 2008 - 5:55pm

Several prominent American Jews have formed a new pro-Israel lobby as an alternative to traditional organizations that, they assert, often impede progress in the Middle East because of their generally reflexive support of Israel. Officials of the new group, called J Street, say they believe the best way to bring security and peace to Israel is to help political candidates who support that country but will occasionally question some of its policies like maintaining or expanding settlements in disputed territories.

Bush Tells Palestinian Leader Peace Is Possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz - April 25, 2008 - 5:57pm

President Bush sought to assure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday that a peace agreement with Israel remains possible, as he began to accelerate his personal diplomacy in advance of his second trip to the Middle East this year. "The thing that I'm focused on, and you are, is how to define a [Palestinian] state that is acceptable to both sides," Bush said. "I'm confident it can get done."

Imf Praises Pa For 'bold Reforms,' Strides Toward Fiscal Sustainability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
April 25, 2008 - 5:58pm

The International Monetary Fund on Friday praised the Palestinian government for what it calls 'bold reforms' and said it was making strides toward fiscal sustainability. The agency's report Friday praises President Mahmoud Abbas' government for freezing public sector hiring and wage increases and reducing utility subsidies. But it says the deficit remains high. The Abbas government has promised international donors to try to reduce spending, and especially the government payroll.

Israeli Ex-soldiers Expose Abuse Of Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - April 25, 2008 - 6:11pm

Doron Efrati was assigned to the Kfir Brigade, part of an infantry battalion that was especially created to serve in the West Bank following the outbreak of the second intifada. He figured if he was going to be drafted anyway, he would agree to serve in the Israeli-occupied territories, "to see what really happens, and maybe to change things," he says. "But I didn't succeed."

Olmert And Abbas Lose Support Over Stalled Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Sheera Frenkel - April 25, 2008 - 6:16pm

Israeli and Palestinian leaders were pursuing diplomatic initiatives on three fronts yesterday as both fought for their political survival. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, both suffer from discontent in their ranks and low poll ratings that have refused to recover as US-brokered peace talks fail to make significant progress.

Dreams And Reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) April 25, 2008 - 6:17pm

As readers of this column know, I often refer to the organizations which constitute the Israel lobby as the "status quo" lobby. I do that because, frankly, I view it as advocating very little beyond the status quo. Its entire raison d’être seems to be to ensure that everything stays just the way it is.

Yes, It Is Apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Sarid - (Opinion) April 25, 2008 - 6:18pm

The anchorwoman was clearly shocked: I don't have time now to respond to what you have said, she told the former U.S. president, allowing Jimmy Carter to make a narrow escape from her clutches. Then she added that she did not want to imagine what would happen to him if he bumped into her colleague from the security affairs desk in Channel 2's dark alley. And the pundit sitting there, sunk in deep thought as always, nodded his heavy head, confirming: He's lucky, the bastard, that we didn't gang up on him and cut him to shreds.

Four Sides, One Shelf
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) April 25, 2008 - 6:20pm

Before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signs away the entire Golan Heights, he would do well to think about Jerusalem. After Israel gives Mount Hermon to the Syrians, how will it convince the Palestinians to let Har Homa remain in Israeli hands? How will the Palestinians - the weakest of all Arab sides - be able to concede the most valuable of assets to Israel?

Israel Firm On No Talks With Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
April 28, 2008 - 6:09pm

Israeli government officials reiterated Friday there will be no talks with Hamas leaders despite the group's declaration of a six-month truce. Unidentified sources told Ynetnews the declaration from the Israelis followed four rocket attacks into northern Gaza from the Palestinian territories. Israeli officials said the attacks showed that talks would be futile, the sources said.

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