Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tells the Quartet that continued peace talks with Israel are conditioned on its acceptance of previous agreements and the freezing of settlement growth (1). British Foreign Secretary David Miliband affirms that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state (2). A Jordanian sponsored summit of Arab foreign ministers meets to discuss a unified Arab position towards peace (3). A recently released poll shows that a majority of American Jews show strong support for a more assertive U.S. role in Mideast peace efforts (6). Reema Ali gives her perspective on the issue of a settlement freeze (7) In the New York Review of Books David Hare examines the development and significance of the West Bank separation barrier (8). MJ Rosenberg urges President Obama to endorse the Arab Peace Initiative (9).

Abbas to Quartet: Israel must commit for talks to resume
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made peace talks with Israel's new government conditional on it committing to previous agreements and freezing Jewish settlement growth, aides said on Friday. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas conveyed that message directly to the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

'Jerusalem should be capital for the Palestinians and Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Jordan's King Abdullah II pressed on Britain the need for "serious negotiations" between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and the Palestinians over a two-state solution on Thursday, in a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary. David Miliband, speaking at a joint press conference following the meeting, expressed Britain's concerns at Israeli plans to demolish scores of houses in East Jerusalem, leaving around 1,500 Palestinians homeless.

Arab FMs to discuss Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
April 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Jordan will host a "consultative" meeting of six Arab foreign ministers on Saturday to discuss the Middle East peace process, a senior official said on Thursday. The top diplomats of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon in addition to Jordan and the Arab League will hold talks in Amman ahead of a planned visit to Washington by King Abdullah II, a key US ally. "It will be a consultative meeting to coordinate an Arab position towards peace," the official told AFP.

Soccer, a Link to Normalcy For West Bank Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Like any soccer match among 6-year-olds, the gang behind the village school brought as much structure to the game as a swarm of bees. But Omar Abu Hamad, coach of the champion Wadi al-Nees Blue Eagles of the Palestinian Football Association, was already scouting his next generation of players -- including the speedy sons of two of his current stars. If all goes well, he said, this village of 800 in the occupied West Bank will continue to produce a punch-above-its-weight squad for Palestinian league play, and contribute to a Palestinian national team worthy of the world stage.

Christians mark Good Friday in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Hundreds of Christian clergymen, worshippers and pilgrims are marking Good Friday at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christian tradition says Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Brown-robed Roman Catholic friars filed into the ancient church after its doors were unlocked this morning. Pilgrims knelt to kiss a stone believed to mark the spot where Jesus' body was placed after he was crucified. Processions following Jesus' footsteps through the alleys of Jerusalem's Old City are planned for later in the day.

American Jews Approve of Obama's Handling of Arab-Israeli Conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
April 9, 2009 - 12:00am

A new survey of American Jews shows strong support for a more assertive American role in Middle East peace efforts, even if that means exerting greater pressure on Israel to reach a compromise with its Arab neighbors. The poll released by J Street - a Jewish-American political action group that describes itself as pro-peace - has some good news for President Barack Obama.

Elliott Abrams and the Politics of Fait Accompli
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Reema I. Ali - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

In an open editorial in the Washington Post edition of April 8, Elliott Abrams argues that the proposition that expansion of settlements by Israel on lands which are to constitute the future Palestinian state as an impediment to peace is a fallacy. He claims that such a request is designed only to create tension between the ultra-right government of Israel and the U.S. administration since according to him these settlements are already there and are part of the realities on the ground. Israel has created rightly or wrongly a fait accompli on Palestinian lands.

Wall: A Monologue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
(Editorial) April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

All right. Let's be serious, let's think about this. Please, please: consider the state of affairs, consider the desperation, consider the depth of the despair. A country has reached a point at which 84 percent of its people are in favor of building a wall along its borders.

Obama: Endorse the Arab Peace Initiative Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) April 7, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama returns from his first overseas trip even more popular (i.e., powerful) than when he left. It is not only that his predecessor set the bar so low. Barack Obama (and First Lady Michelle Obama) were the most impressive figures to represent the United States abroad in at least a good half century.

Colonial values rule again in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

For years, pro-Israeli zealots and other fanatics in the United States who run out of arguments quickly revert to their fallback position that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East - and thus should be supported against Arab dictators. There is some truth to this argument, but not compelling integrity. Israel is indeed a domestic democracy for its Jewish citizens, and most Arab countries are not convincingly democratic.

Obama to keep the ball rolling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Barrack Hussein Obama hit the jackpot during his visit to Turkey when he was introduced with stress on his rarely used middle name to the Turkish parliament and, in response, the visiting American president assured the legislators that the United States is not at war with Islam. Likewise, Turkey’s recently acquired role, as a much-needed bridge for some feuding Middle Eastern nations, won high praise from Obama, a gesture that contrasted sharply with the failed US policies during the Bush administration.

Missing a Historic Opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Khaleej Times
(Editorial) April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

That the change of guard in Israel and the rise of radical Zionists like Avigdor Lieberman to power is bad news for peace process cannot be overemphasised. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, himself renowned for absurdly unreasonable views, couldn’t have made a more disastrous choice when he picked up Lieberman as his foreign minister.

All he did was kill an Arab
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Julian Soufir wants to be let out. He doesn't even understand why he's being kept at the Abarbanel Mental Hospital. He says he's recovered and feels fine. His doctors say he has made progress and should be released in a few months. But he already wants to be put in less restrictive conditions and immediately afterward be granted parole. After all, Passover is the holiday of freedom and all he did was kill an Arab.

Blair: Netanyahu will back establishment of Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

International Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair said he estimates Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will promote the establishment of a Palestinian state.  

Deputy FM: Obama's Ankara speech did not favor Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) said Friday that U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Turkey earlier this week did not include any support for the Annapolis peace process, Army Radio reported. Ayalon denounced calls which interpreted Obama's reference to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation launched in Annapolis in 2007 as a warning against the policies of Israel's government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statement that the new government was not bound by Annapolis understandings.

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