Middle East News: World Press Roundup

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphatically reiterates the Obama Administration’s call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity (1) (3) (6), while an Israeli government spokesperson announces that “natural growth” expansion of settlements will continue (3) (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington this afternoon (7) (15). A report issued by Amnesty International accuses Israel of violating the laws of armed conflict during the Gaza war and of breaking the ceasefire with Hamas (13). A special Israeli police unit kills a senior Hamas military commander in Hebron (14).

Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Clinton Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration reiterated emphatically on Wednesday that it viewed a complete freeze of construction in settlements on the West Bank as a critical step toward a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Speaking of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions.” Talking to reporters after a meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, she said: “That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly.”

Backers of Jewish Settlements Put Squeeze on Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Supporters of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he steers between a government coalition that supports continued building in the area and President Obama's demand that it stop.

Key Lawmakers Are Opposing Israeli Policy On Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

For the first time in America’s decades of jousting with Israel over West Bank settlements, an American president seems to have succeeded in isolating the settlements issue and disconnecting it from other elements of support for Israel.

The politics behind the West Bank settlement fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Globe and Mail
by Patrick Martin - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Hoping to satisfy the demands of Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war this week on two dozen Jewish settler outposts he considers illegal in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This already battered hillside trailer park is one of them. Givat Assaf (“the hill of Assaf”) is situated a few kilometres northeast of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. The small cluster of about 18 caravans was erected in April, 2001. Its synagogue, paved lanes and quaint road signs lend the community an aura of permanence.

Israel rejects US call over settlement work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel will continue to allow some construction in West Bank settlements despite US calls for a freeze on its work, a government spokesman says. Mark Regev said the fate of the settlements should be decided in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. His remarks appear to be a rebuff to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said all such activity should cease. Her comments came hours before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was due to meet US President Barack Obama.

Obama Draws Line on Israeli Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama has drawn a line on Israeli settlement expansion before he meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as part of his urgent quest to revive peace talks. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Obama made it clear, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited here last week, that he wants "no natural growth exceptions" to his call for a settlement freeze.

Abbas pushing pan-Arab peace with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president will be pushing President Barack Obama on Thursday to facilitate peace with Israel through a larger solution to the Middle East conflict. Top Palestinian officials traveling with President Mahmoud Abbas said he was working to repackage a 2002 Saudi Arabian plan that called for exchange of Arab land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war for normalized relations with Arab countries.

Obama should lay the parameters down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The inconclusive meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, has confused rather than assuaged their audiences in the US and overseas. The interpretations have been varied, ranging from one end of the political spectrum to the other. It was surprising, but probably intentional, that the meeting which lasted two-and-a-half hours, more than double the originally allotted time and a good part of it limited to the two leaders, had no joint statement.

Pressure on Abbas rises before visit to US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, might be forgiven for thinking he is in a rare position of strength as he prepares for his first visit with Barack Obama, the US president, today in Washington. There is certainly unusual agreement between Mr Abbas, who is also president of the Palestinian Authority, and Mr Obama on what, at least in the short term, is required to relaunch a serious peace process.

Disturbing figures that undermine peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would not halt settlement construction in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan, he was, in effect, proclaiming his flagrant defiance of the will of the international community. And, for the first time in years, the US is at one with the majority of the world’s governments which see Israeli colonies in occupied Palestinian and Syrian land as the main obstacle to regional peace.

Closer to statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

It used to be that the first visit by a new Israeli prime minister to Washington was a walkover. The Americans would swear their support and tell those concerned in the region that Israel would always be top dog. The message was clear: anyone wanting to stay on Washington's good side must be nice to Israel too.

Netanyahu letting settlers keep the upper hand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Analysis) May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The trend is clear. In a few weeks Israel will be asked to take the first steps in removing the outposts in the West Bank. The settlements are not necessarily topping the Obama administration's agenda, but the Americans have been insistent enough that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to show a willingness to act on the ground. Netanyahu's stance before his party colleagues in the Knesset on Tuesday, where he suggested that the Iranian nuclear program is more important than the future of the outposts, marked the start of an effort to prepare the ground for a move.

Amnesty: Israel repeatedly breached rules of war in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Amnesty International has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the rules of armed conflict during its recent offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians," the human rights watchdog said in its annual report.

Israelis say Hamas man acknowledged plan to take another soldier prisoner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 26, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli security forces have apprehended a Hamas operative whom they say planned to capture Israeli soldiers and smuggle them into the Gaza Strip to be used in future prisoner swaps, the army said on Sunday. An army spokesman said Israeli troops and intelligence agents arrested Gamal Abu Duabah, a 21-year-old Gaza resident, on September 21 after he attempted to infiltrate Israel from Egypt.

Abbas to present peace plan to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

In his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to propose the establishment of a supervisory committee, which would work under the Middle East Quartet in order to ensure that both Israel and the Palestinians are complying with their commitments. According to Israel Radio, in a meeting in Washington on Wednesday night, Abbas said that he will present Obama with new ideas connecting the Road Map plan and the Arab League peace initiative.

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