Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells his cabinet that construction will continue in existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, despite calls from President Obama to halt all settlement activity (1) (8). Other reports suggest Israel might be willing to dismantle “outpost” settlements (12) (16). An Israeli government panel backs a new bill that would ban Palestinians in Israel from commemorating the Nakba (3). French President Sarkozy says that a Palestinian state is vital to a larger Mideast peace (5). Recent Israeli restrictions severely impact Gaza fishermen (11). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington later this week (14) (17) (18), as speculation continues about Obama’s role in the peace process (8) (9) (13).

Construction to Continue in Israeli Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that construction will continue in existing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, despite a call by President Obama for it to be stopped, according to an Israeli official. Netanyahu has not commented publicly on the settlement issue since returning from meetings with Obama and other U.S. officials last week.

U.S. Delegation 'Skeptical' That Netanyahu Will Advance Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid, Nadav Shragai - May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

A U.S. Congressional delegation in Jerusalem said on Sunday that it was “skeptical” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would be able to move the peace process with the Palestinians ahead. The five-person delegation from the sub-committee on the Middle East was headed by Congressman Gary Ackerman from New York, who is considered one of Israel’s greatest friends on Capitol Hill. The delegation met with President Shimon Peres and other senior officials in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority.

Anger over Palestinian Nakba ban proposal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli campaigners and left-wing lawmakers have condemned moves to ban Israeli Arabs from marking the Nakba - the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation. On Sunday a government panel backed putting the bill, proposed by the party of far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, before the Israeli Knesset. A Labour minister opposed it; Hadash, a mainly Arab party, called it "racist". Some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the 1948 war after Israel declared independence.

Israel admits Tube advert map 'mistake'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's tourist ministry has admitted to a "mistake" over adverts on the London Underground after complaints that they "wipe Palestine off the map". The ads include a map which campaigners say shows the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip - as well as Syria's Golan Heights - as integral parts of Israel. The ministry said that in general, maps should not be used on billboards. But it denied a Transport for London statement that it had asked for the offending posters to be removed.

Sarkozy says Palestinian state vital to Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Creating their own state is a "legitimate right" for Palestinians and necessary for Middle East peace and Israeli security, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the UAE state news agency WAM. "No one would think seriously about peace in the Middle East without giving the Palestinians a state they have been persevering for years. It is their legitimate right," he said ahead of a formal visit to the United Arab Emirates. "The best guarantee for security of Israel is setting up an independent, democratic, modern and viable Palestinian state."

Is Hamas reassessing its strategy?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - (Analysis) May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Four months after the Gaza war, Hamas seems to be reassessing the wisdom of firing rockets at Israeli civilians -- at least for now. Although there is no formal cease-fire, fewer than a dozen attacks have hit Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza periphery since April, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says the current lull serves the "Palestinian interest."

Jerusalem is not on the table, says Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Australian
by John Lyons - December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

ISRAEL and the US now appear to be on a collision course after the announcement yesterday by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would continue expanding its existing settlements. Mr Netanyahu told the first cabinet meeting since his meeting with US President Barack Obama that Israel would not begin new settlements on the West Bank but that it would allow "natural growth" in existing settlements.

Obama and Cautious Optimism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Diana Mukkaled - May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Since his election, Israel has been keeping a watchful eye on the position and actions of President Barack Obama. Israeli politicians and analysts have often expressed serious concerns about Obama's statements on the peace process based upon the two-state solution, and his demands that Israel abide by this option. Obama's strategy in the Middle East is based upon criticizing his predecessor George Bush, and putting forward a different approach with regards to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite Difficulties, Obama Administration to Intensify Role in Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Joyce Karam - May 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is planning to intensify its engagement in the Peace Process by taking an active role in resuming negotiations and mobilizing regional support for its efforts.

Time for action on illegal Israeli colonies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

We are being assured by world leaders that they agree Israeli colony expansion must be stopped. They say the expansion of colonies in the Occupied Territories is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East and the creation of a viable independent Palestinian state. But the question is, what are they doing about it? Nothing really. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed yesterday to continue the construction of homes in Jewish colonies in the West Bank, less than a week after US President Barack Obama called on the Israeli government to halt such actions.

Palestinian fishermen hemmed in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

At the helm of his fishing vessel, Naheth Abu Ameera, 49, apologised for not being able to show his guests a haul. By way of explanation he reached down and picked out a tiny sardine from the net strewn on the side of the deck. “This is what we got this afternoon. We’ll have to wait until tonight to get any kind of catch.” Even then, however, the skipper did not expect a good haul. Ever since Israel’s war on Gaza ended on Jan 22 and Gaza’s 3,500 fishermen could take to the sea again, the Israeli navy has restricted fishing to within three nautical miles (approximately 5.5km) of shore.

Israel would forgo outposts to expand settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

Israel is prepared to dismantle nearly two dozen wildcat settlement outposts in the West Bank in the next few weeks if the US drops its objections to continued building in existing, government-sanctioned settlements, Israeli officials say. The defence minister Ehud Barak will bring this proposal to senior American officials during his visit to Washington next week, the Israeli officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal has not yet been officially submitted.

Obama wants to reset the Middle East agenda; Israel must listen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ellen Laipson - (Opinion) May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama and Premier Benjamin Netanyahu made it through their first official meeting with no apparent harm done to US-Israel comity. But their careful language about shared threat perceptions and deep historic ties did little to disguise the obvious: there are interesting and difficult challenges ahead as Israel and the United States, separately and together, approach the enduring quest for peace and security in the Middle East.

PA: Settlers can become Palestinian citizens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Interview) December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

Perhaps it is a small coincidence that key Fatah figure Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala), who heads the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel, decided to present the Palestinian position a few days before his boss, President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), talks to United States President Barack Obama about those negotiations.

The never-ending evacuation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - (Editorial) December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

Maoz Esther is an extremely flexible outpost. In effect, it's part of the unwritten agreement between the settlers and government. Every time the Americans apply pressure, the police get orders, start moving their equipment, and hundreds of policemen evacuate the tiny outpost. Their lives at risk, they dismantle four tin huts, two tents and one wooden building containing toilets and showers.

Barak to offer US compromise on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

Israel will dismantle the 26 illegal outposts in the West Bank within a matter of weeks in return for the resumption of the 'natural growth' of existing settlement blocs. This is the offer Defense Minister Ehud Barak will present to the US administration during his visit to Washington next week. The deal was agreed upon in a late-night meeting Sunday between Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas to press Obama on 'natural growth' of settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday he would focus on Israel's refusal to stop the building of settlements when he holds talks with US President Barack Obama later this week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed US calls on Sunday for a full settlement freeze and said he would not accept limits on construction within Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Obama meeting: Second round in a long bout
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) May 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The long-awaited Obama-Netanyahu meeting has finally taken place. If this was a boxing match, one would probably have to score the latest round in the White House as a tie.

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