Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The U.S. and Israel remain divided on the issue of a settlement freeze (1) (2) (13), as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak begins meetings with U.S. officials in Washington (4). A clash between Hamas and Palestinian security forces over the weekend leaves six dead in the West Bank (3). Ex-Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters visits a Palestinian refugee camp and urges Israel to remove the West Bank separation barrier (8). Quartet envoy Tony Blair voices his optimism on the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough in the coming weeks (9). American officials oppose Israeli plans to build a new hotel near the Old City in Arab East Jerusalem (12). Israeli settler council accuses U.S. of using “political terror” (14).

Israel and U.S. Can’t Close Split on Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Thirty Israeli couples are on a waiting list to move into the Kfar Tapuah settlement, which teems with children on the hilltops south of Nablus. Some on the list grew up here. But there is not an apartment available for sale or rent, or even a stifling trailer to be had. If Israel built all the housing units already approved in the nation’s overall master plan for settlements, it would almost double the number of settler homes in the West Bank, according to unpublished official data provided to The New York Times.

Obama Talks of Being ‘Honest’ With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Obama Talks of Being ‘Honest’ With Israel By HELENE COOPER WASHINGTON — President Obama indicated on Monday that he would be more willing to criticize Israel than previous administrations have been, and he reiterated his call for a freeze of Israeli settlements.

6 Die as Palestinian Authority Forces Clash With Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority forces clashed with Hamas militants in the West Bank early on Sunday, leaving six dead in the bloodiest such encounter in two years. The violence erupted days after the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, assured President Obama in Washington that his troops were imposing order on the area. In Gaza, Hamas reacted by arresting Fatah activists and hinting of further revenge.

Israeli Minister's Visit Aims To Calm Settlements Dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak began a round of meetings with top U.S. officials yesterday in a bid to head off an increasingly sharp dispute between the United States and Israel over the expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory.

Democrats pressure Barack Obama on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

As President Barack Obama prepares to depart for his first trip to the Arab world, the administration’s escalating pressure on Israel to freeze all growth of its settlements on Palestinian land has begun to stir concern among Israel’s numerous allies in both parties on Capitol Hill.

Obama's Full Interview With NPR
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Steve Inskeep, Michele Norris - (Interview) June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Steve Inskeep: And I'll just say to you formally, Mr. President, welcome to the program. President Barack Obama: Thank you so much. Michele Norris: We're so glad you could join us, or we could join you, in this case. If you want to improve relations with the Muslim world, do you have to change or alter in some way the strong U.S. support for Israel?

Obama Hopeful on Mid-East Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama has told the BBC he believes his country can help to get serious Middle East peace negotiations back on track. Mr Obama's first interview with a UK broadcaster comes on the eve of a trip to the Middle East and Europe. On Iran, he said he hoped to see progress by the end of the year, through "tough, direct diplomacy". But he said, rather than imposing its values on other countries, the US should act as a role model.

Ex-Pink Floyd Rocker Wants Israeli Wall Down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The legendary rocker and co-founder of Pink Floyd says he would give a concert in a flash if Israel's West Bank wall is torn down. Roger Waters made the promise Tuesday during a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp that is hemmed in by the separation barrier's tall slabs of cement. The 65-year-old co-wrote Pink Floyd's iconic "The Wall" album and performed music from it in 1990 at the site where the Berlin Wall once stood. Waters had harsh words for the West Bank barrier, which Israel says was built as a defense against Palestinian militants.

Blair Sees Possibility of Israeli-Palestinian Breakthrough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by David Sapsted - June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

There could be a breakthrough in diplomatic moves to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians within a few weeks, Tony Blair, the UN’s special Middle East envoy, predicted yesterday. The former British prime minister told a committee of British MPs that the month of June would be “critical” to efforts to find a way forward.

No More Room for Excuses in Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) June 1, 2009 - 12:00am

It would be easy to dismiss Fatah’s crackdown on Hamas members in the West Bank as yet more factional infighting. Since the collapse of the Palestinian government and the ousting of Fatah from the Gaza Strip, the two sides have been in constant conflict. It seems that every time Hamas needs to score political points it cracks down on Fatah, and every time Fatah needs to show it is tough on terror it arrests Hamas members.

Border Control/Nothing Natural About it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The myth of "natural population growth" doesn't impress Col. (res.) Shaul Arieli, nor do the stories about little children from good Jewish homes who are left without a kindergarten. Arieli, who in the late 1990s served as deputy military secretary to former prime minister and incumbent Defense Minister Ehud Barak, did the calculations and found that one third of Israelis living in the territories (not including East Jerusalem) settled there during the Oslo years and another third after the peace process was suspended.

U.S. Demands Israel Halt Construction in East Jerusalem Market
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Washington is furious over the Interior Ministry's anticipated approval of a plan to build a new hotel in East Jerusalem, just 100 meters from the Old City's walls. The plan, which would see the demolition of a wholesale market and kindergarten, is slated to be approved today. In conversations with Israeli officials, senior American officials have made it clear that they want Israel to freeze all plans for expanding the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, and especially in the Holy Basin - the area adjacent to the Old City.

Obama: U.S. will be 'honest' with Israel on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States will be more blunt in raising objections to Israel's settlement policies in the Palestinian territories than previous administrations, President Barack Obama told a U.S. radio network in an interview on Monday. "Part of being a good friend is being honest," Obama told National Public Radio. "And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests.

Yesha Council: US using political terror against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Settler leaders launched a harsh tirade against the Obama administration on Monday following the increased US pressure on Israel over the dismantling of illegal outposts and freezing of construction in the settlements. "The Americans are employing political terrorism against the State of Israel," Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan said. "Not only is the Obama administration renouncing the commitments made by President George W. Bush in April 2004 – it's looking as if they regret President Truman's decision on May 14th 1948 to recognize Israel's independence."

Man killed, another injured in Jerusalem shooting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

An armed man opened fire in central Jerusalem early Tuesday morning, shooting to death an Arab man and wounding a Jewish man. The shooter was arrested following a police pursuit. Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the motive for the pre-dawn attack is not clear. The Arab who was killed was later identified as 33-year-old Amjad Abu Hader of the Shuafat neighborhood, located in northeastern Jerusalem. The wounded man was evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in serious condition.

Obama is right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Danny Rothschild - (Opinion) June 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The American president’s viewpoint on the Israeli-Arab conflict is refreshing and interesting. As one who is not committed to any one of the parties to the conflict, Barack Obama utters axioms that we must understand, even if we don’t like them.

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