Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Several articles feature more reactions to the first meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama earlier this week (1) (2) (4) (8) (9) (10) (11) (14). The head of Israel’s security services says there is no security reason to finish construction of the West Bank separation barrier (3). The United Nations probe of the Gaza war will continue without Israeli approval (5). A new Palestinian government is sworn-in in Ramallah, despite objections from both Hamas and Fatah (6). Israeli West Bank settlement representatives meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak (15), while U.S. Secretary of State Clinton reiterates the Administration’s call for a halt to all settlement construction (17).

Netanyahu's Broader Stance Earns Early U.S. Favor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

During his first turn as Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington in 1996 with a chip on his shoulder and a long list of things he said he would not do -- from slowing the expansion of Israeli settlements to meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It was the start of a famously testy relationship with President Bill Clinton, characterized by public fights, haggling and ultimately a drop in support for Netanyahu in Israel.

Upping the Ante on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Opinion) May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Binyamin Netanyahu's friends liken him to a good poker player. They explain, for example, that before the Israeli prime minister plays the card marked "Palestinian state," he wants an American commitment that this state will be demilitarized.

Israel: 'No need to finish' W Bank barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

The head of Israel's security service has said there is no security reason for continuing construction of Israel's barrier through the West Bank. Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told a parliamentary committee that Israel had enough capabilities to prevent attacks from the Palestinian territory. Since building began years ago, Israel has maintained that it is a security measure to keep out attackers. Palestinians reject this, seeing it as a land grab.

New leaders face old problems in Mid-East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jeremy Bowen - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

When you are dealing with a conflict that has gone on for a very long time, it is wise not to infer too much from a single meeting between two men who are new to their jobs. But new leaders usually have a better chance of changing things than they do after they have been bruised and battered by a few years in office, so it does not do to be too cynical either. Before the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu there were predictions of a rift between them.

Prosecutor: Gaza Probe Goes on Without Israeli OK
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Former international prosecutor Richard Goldstone said Wednesday he will go ahead with his U.N. investigation into possible war crimes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Gaza even though Israel has withheld its approval. Goldstone said the U.N. investigators would enter Gaza through Egypt if necessary, but they had wanted to visit Israel first to assess what happened there.

Hamas, Fatah object as Abbas swears in new cabinet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a replacement caretaker government on Tuesday evening, with Salam Fayyad to stay on as prime minister. The parliament bloc of Abbas' own Fatah movement said it would refuse to support the new government, though two Fatah-lawmakers were sworn in Tuesday. Two other Fatah-affiliated lawmakers tapped for the new government, Rabiha Diab and Issa Qaraqe refused Abbas offer to join the government. Fatah Deputy Ashraf Jum'a confirmed his party would boycott Fayyad's government because it was “formed in an illegal way,” and without consulting Fatah.

US to push Israel on Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Vita Bekker - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel’s relations with the United States, its chief ally and patron, appeared this week to have entered a new era. Israeli commentators yesterday said that Monday’s White House summit between Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Barack Obama, the US president, further signalled that the US’s Middle East approach is significantly shifting from its years-long alignment with Israeli interests.

The slapdown that was heard round the world
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

In the wake of Benjamin Netanyahu’s first meeting with Barack Obama, his allies were quick to declare victory. When the US president announced something resembling a finite timetable for diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear programme, their reading goes, Israel recorded a triumph. Those observers must have been watching a different press conference from the rest of us. What was strikingly apparent is how far apart the two men are in their plans to achieve both Middle East peace and a conclusion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Not budging
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Obdurate and unconcerned about the opinion expressed by the president of his country’s staunchest ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood his ground in Washington, insisting that he supports self government for the Palestinians, but not mentioning one word about a state for these people under decades of Israeli occupation.

Washington makes a sensible turnaround
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The meeting in the White House Monday between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted significant differences as well as deep convergences in the two countries' approaches to two major sources of tension and conflict in the Middle East - the Iranian nuclear program and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The convergences are well known, but the new gaps are an important element to watch in the coming months.

Obama should force Israel to act
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

For decades, the chasm between words and deeds has been the root cause of the continued nonexistence of a Palestinian state and the Israelis’ ability to treat international views on the matter with contempt. There have been floods of fine words about Palestinian rights and Israeli abuses but nothing has ever been done and the words have remained only that — words without action.

Saudis pushing Obama for new Mideast plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn, Barak Ravid - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States expects Israel to make concrete concessions to the Palestinians before U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Cairo on June 4, an American official said during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week. The cabinet is due to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip this Sunday, and one concession the U.S. would like to see is for Israel to decide at this meeting to ease its restrictions on imports and exports of goods to Gaza. It also wants Israel to ease restrictions on movement in the West Bank.

The distance between Gaza and the West Bank is growing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH - It's hard not to be impressed by the optimism about the Middle East that the White House is radiating. A brief visit to Ramallah, however, makes one wonder about the basis for it.

The newlywed game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Those who attended Monday's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States President Barack Obama at the White House formed the impression that while there was no lovefest: The conference was a businesslike encounter between two people whose lives have compelled them to work together.

Yesha heads, Barak meet on settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Heads of the Yesha Council met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday to discuss mitigations for the Palestinians and the freezing of construction in settlements. During the meeting Barak said that illegal outposts must be evacuated. "If this is not done trough negotiations, it will be done with swift and firm enforcement," he stated. The defense minister stressed that "law enforcement cannot be compromised. A sovereign, viable state must enforce the law and exercise its authority over its citizens."

Palestinians say were promised Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama's new peace plan for the Middle East continues to unravel, ahead of it official presentation in Cairo, on June 4. Official Palestinian Authority sources told Ynet Wednesday that following Jordan's King Abdullah's visit to Washington, as well as other visits to the US capital, they were given the impression that any new American peace plan would call for establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Clinton: Palestinians deserve 'viable state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear on Tuesday that President Barack Obama's administration expects not only Israel and the Palestinians to uphold their commitments, but also Arab nations and other countries. In her meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton stressed Washington's backing of the two-state solution. She also emphasized the White House's demand that Israel halt all construction in West Bank settlements, viewed by the US as impeding peace efforts.

'Obama calls for demilitarized PA state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Amid much speculation over US President Barack Obama's upcoming address to the Muslim world, reports published on Wednesday outlined the details of his Middle East peace plan, which are said to include a demilitarized Palestinian state. The US president's initiative, which was formulated in consultation with Jordan's King Abdullah II during the two leaders' recent meetings at the White House, reportedly does not significantly stray from the pan-Arab peace initiative proposed in 2002. Rather, it bolsters certain details within the Saudi-proposed plan.

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