Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In their first meeting yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells President Obama that he wants to restart peace talks, but refrains from endorsing a Palestinian state (1). While President Obama addresses the Prime Minister’s major concern s regarding Iran (2) (4). Palestinian officials voice disappointment in the lack of progress produced by this first meeting (3), and other commentators speculate on the future of the peace process (7) (8) (9) (10). Fatah and Hamas end Egyptian mediated talks in Cairo without an agreement (6).

Israel's prime minister tells Obama he wants to restart peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama at a White House meeting Monday that he wanted to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians, but he stopped short of embracing the U.S. view of a fully sovereign Palestinian state. The Israeli leader said he wanted Palestinians to govern themselves, but without "a handful of powers that could endanger the state of Israel." Netanyahu has long insisted that any Palestinian state forgo the common trappings of statehood, including its own military, control over its borders and authority over electronic communications.

Obama Tells Netanyahu He Has an Iran Timetable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg - May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama said Monday that he expected to know by the end of the year whether Iran was making “a good-faith effort to resolve differences” in talks aimed at ending its nuclear program, signaling to Israel as well as Iran that his willingness to engage in diplomacy over the issue has its limits. “We’re not going to have talks forever,” Mr. Obama told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel after a two-hour session in the Oval Office. The president added that he did not intend to foreclose “a range of steps” if Iran did not cooperate.

Palestinians Discouraged by Meeting's Outcome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, May 18 -- Palestinian officials on Monday said they were disappointed that a round of U.S.-Israeli talks in Washington produced no clear progress on the removal of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank or other issues they feel are crucial to rejuvenating stalled peace negotiations.

Emphasis Differs for Obama, Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Scott Wilson - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday outlined the shared goals of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and of achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But within those broad areas of agreement were significant differences in tone and terminology that exposed their divergent approaches toward achieving peace in the Middle East.

Obama presses Netanyahu over two-state plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama has urged visiting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a Palestinian state. After their first talks since both took office, Mr Obama restated his support for a two-state plan and said the US would be "engaged in the process". He also said Israel had an obligation under the 2003 "roadmap" to stop Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Mr Netanyahu said he was ready to start peace talks "immediately" but refrained from endorsing a Palestinian state.

Palestinians end talks in Cairo without deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Rival Palestinian factions ended talks in the Egyptian capital Monday without bridging internal rifts that have undermined prospects for peace negotiations with Israel, participants said. Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who has mediated for nearly a year now without visible success, had expressed frustration at the continuing impasse, they added.

Bibi gets his first date thrill, but what about the relationship?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Analysis) May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

With a presidential pledge to hang tough on Iran under his belt, Benjamin Netanyahu could be forgiven for thinking Barack Obama was an easy first date. Wait until he hears about what happens when the relationship gets serious. The Israeli prime minister walked away from his first leader's summit with the U.S. president with a tangible prize: a commitment to a timetable on Obama’s bid to use diplomacy to persuade Iran to end its nuclear weapons program.

Middle East status quo likely to remain
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Mohammad Akef Jamal - (Opinion) May 18, 2009 - 12:00am

On face value, US-Israeli relations appear to be at an all-time low. Strong points of disagreement between the two countries are threatening to rise to the surface. The two new administrations do not seem to agree about which issue needs to be dealt with first in the Middle East - the Palestinian conflict or the Iranian nuclear controversy. The US has urged the new Israeli far-right government to accept a 'two-state' solution and work for the creation of a Palestinian state, which is a continuation of the former Bush administration's agenda that was not put into practice.

Polarized region, elusive peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama may be the right man to facilitate Middle East peace, but given the current climate, achieving anything of worth toward that goal would be nothing short of a miracle. Obama strongly backs a two-state solution and is proactively reaching out to the Muslim world. Moreover, unlike his predecessor, he’s not an ideologue who has to nurture a right-wing evangelical base and he has displayed a willingness to listen to all sides. Of course, it is almost a given that any American president is going to lean in Israel’s favor and Obama is no exception.

Obama, Netanyahu, and two states for spoiled brats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the Obama White House, the first such meeting since both men came to power, has been widely billed as a key indicator of the Obama administration's intentions in the realm of Mideast policy. "What may be Israel's most intransigent government ever elected," The Economist suggested this week, "is scared stiff that an American administration may squeeze it until its pips squeak." Fevered conjecture over the talks has tended to center on whether and how the prime minister will say aloud five of the world's most anemic magic words: two states for two peoples.

Kerry tells Netanyahu: Mideast peace is not a one-way street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn, Natasha Mozgovaya, Mazal Mualem, Barak Ravid - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ending a three-day trip, met Tuesday with U.S. lawmakers who were expected to question him on his refusal to endorse the cornerstone of international Mideast policy, the creation of an independent Palestinian state. U.S. Senator John Kerry, a Democrat and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, said following talks with Netanyahu that he was encouraged by a number of things the Israeli leader said. Kerry said he had stressed to Netanyahu the importance of Israel moving

Obama to Netanyahu: New Mideast initiative soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the U.S. will soon present a new peace initiative to include Arab nations alongside Israel and the Palestinian Authority in peace negotiations. The two met at the White House yesterday, including one hour and 45 minutes with no one else present. Obama pressed for a two-state solution to the Mideast conflict, but failed to win a public commitment from Netanyahu on Palestinian statehood.

Shin Bet chief: Peace unlikely while Hamas rules Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Amnon Meranda - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin went before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday and briefed its members on various matters concerning the fragile armistice with Hamas, terror threats and the Iranian threat. "If the Palestinian Authority were to hold general elections now, it is highly likely that Hamas would win," he said. Shifting his attention to the PA's efforts to fight terror, Diskin noted that despite recent achievements, "Most of the (terror) preventions are ours."

Hamas: Obama's statements misleading
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas announced that it was not encouraged by US President Barack Obama's statements in his meeting Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Obama's statements and messages of hope are meant to mislead global public opinion regarding the continued existence and conduct of the racist and extremist Zionist entity," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on Tuesday. Obama informed Netanyahu during their meeting that he intends to promote a new regional peace initiative for the Middle East.

PM praised, chided after Obama meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 19, 2009 - 12:00am

A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama, the Israeli political arena was split, with left-wing MKs blasting Netanyahu's insistence on refusing to utter the phrase, "two-state solution," and warning that Israel's relations with Washington were headed for an impasse. The prime minister's colleagues on the Right, however, were pleased that Netanyahu hadn't "capitulated" and expressed optimism regarding bilateral relations with the US.

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