Middle East News: World Press Roundup

President Obama delivers his historic speech to the Muslim world from Cairo (1) (3) (12). Senior Israeli officials accuse Obama of breaching alleged understandings on settlement growth reached with President Bush (2), as the issue of a settlement freeze remains tense (4) (5). Four are killed in the West Bank as Palestinian security forces clash with Hamas militants (6). A report issued by the World Bank finds that Israeli restrictions are holding up many of its projects in the West Bank and impeding Palestinian development (7). A Tel Aviv University poll finds that Israeli support for settlements in the Occupied Territories is at an all-time low (8).

Muslims Will Judge Obama by Actions More Than Words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - (Analysis) June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

It is too soon to tell whether President Obama’s 55-minute speech to the Muslim world from Cairo will be the balm to America’s broken relationship with Islam that White House officials hope. Some early signs are promising — and not just that several times someone in Mr. Obama’s audience in the domed hall yelled out, “I love you!”

Israelis Say Bush Agreed to West Bank Growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement “freeze.”

Obama Calls for Alliances With Muslims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Alan Cowell, Jeff Zeleny - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama pledged on Thursday to “seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world,” imploring America and the Islamic world to drop their suspicions of one another and forge new alliances to confront violent extremism and heal religious divides.

Obama Tugs at the Settlement Knot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Editorial) June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

By traveling to the heart of the Arab world today, President Obama is putting himself at a crossroads: He is raising expectations that America can coax Israel and the Arabs toward a comprehensive peace that has eluded them for more than 40 years. But can Obama deliver?

Some in Congress uneasy with Obama's Mideast policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Paul Richter - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Reporting from Washington and Jerusalem -- Key U.S. lawmakers whose support is crucial to the Obama administration's Middle East peace effort are showing signs of unease with the administration's aggressive approach to Israel. Though they strongly support the peace initiative, many say they want the White House to back off its demand that the Israeli government halt all growth in Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory. Some members of Congress are also unhappy that the Obama administration has gone public in its dispute with Israel.

Four die in Palestinian clash in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

hree Hamas militants and a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces died in the clashes, a Palestinian official has said. The clashes took place in the the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya. It comes days after six people died in a gun battle in the town between Hamas fighters and police. A Hamas spokesman in Gaza Strip said the operations against Hamas members had "killed all chances" for the success of the talks in Egypt aimed at reconciling Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

Israeli actions curb Palestinian growth - World Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Major projects and investments spearheaded by Middle East envoy Tony Blair and Western powers to promote economic growth in the Palestinian territories have had little effect, the World Bank said on Thursday. The international lending agency said in a report Israeli restrictions on the Palestinians was holding up many of the projects. It said efforts led by the U.S. government under former President George W. Bush to promote private sector investment had made little tangible difference.

Pollsters Find Israeli Public Less Supportive Of Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

In previous decades, an American president who pressured Israel to freeze settlement growth, as President Obama has done, would have riled large sections of Israel’s Jewish population. But public sympathy for settlers and the settlements is currently at an all-time low, adding a new dimension to the sometimes tense relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.

How Not To Protect the Jewish State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eric Yoffie - (Opinion) June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

During his recent visit to the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his demand that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state should be a precondition for talks aimed at achieving a peace settlement. While such a request might seem reasonable — after all, Israel is a Jewish state — it is actually a serious mistake.

Obama: Step by Step with the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ghassan Al-Imam - (Opinion) June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Europe sees in Obama another John Kennedy, and the United States sees in him Abraham Lincoln, who reconciled the country with itself after a bitter civil war, and then compares him to Franklin Roosevelt, the author of the "New Deal" who got the country out of its economic crisis in the thirties.

Obama in quest for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Rushdi Abu Alouf - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama discussed the quest for Middle East peace and Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions in Cairo with the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak today in this ancient seat of Islamic learning and culture before delivering a dose of “truth-telling” about the often fraught relations between Americans and Muslims.

Netanyahu Will Comply With US Demands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Analysis) June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will back down. Another week, another month, and he will give into American pressure and will be forced to accept the two-state solution and also agree to some sort of concessions on settlements. So far there has been no real negotiation between Israel and the Obama administration, just an exchange of declarations. There are no personal links between the Prime Minister's Bureau and the White House. Only after Thursday, following the "conciliatory address" of U.S. President Barack Obama to the Arab and Muslim world in Cairo, will the real discussion begin.

'We're launching a campaign against anti-Semitic Obama'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Raphael Ahren - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Some 130 protesters gathered in front of the American Consulate in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon to rally against U.S. President Barack Obama, who had just launched his Middle East tour, during which he is expected to reach out in friendship to the Muslim world. As more than a dozen local and international journalists looked on, the protesters chanted "No, You Can't" and waved posters saying "20 new 'settlements' by 2010 - Yes We Can!"

Hamas dismisses commanders on Iran order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal recently relieved two brigade commanders in the Gaza Strip on Iranian recommendations, Palestinian sources said Wednesday. The two officers, Bassam Issa and Imat Aakel, were removed from their positions following the recommendation of Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials who participated in the investigation of the perceived Hamas military failure during Operation Cast Lead.

Rabbi Aviner: Don't Bow Down to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Rabbi Levi Brackman, Rivkah Lubitch, Kobi Nahshoni - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

While Washington and Jerusalem seem to be on a collision course in recent days over the illegal construction of outposts in the West Bank, there are those who remain unfazed by the American pressure. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a prominent Religious Zionism leader, called on Israel on Wednesday to conduct "tough negotiations" with the US on the issue, and added that "yielding to pressure only breeds more pressure." Protest Rightists to circulate doctored photos of kaffiyah-clad Obama / Efrat Weiss

Tensions in J'lem ahead of Obama's speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Jerusalem will be listening intently along with the rest of the world to US President Barack Obama's speech Thursday in Cairo, hoping his outreach to the Muslim world does not come at Israel's expense. "Like everyone else we will be following the speech very closely," one senior official said Wednesday. While officials in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office did not see a draft of the speech, nor were they asked for their input, they were briefed on the overall content, the official said.

Eli Yishai vows to help expand settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - June 3, 2009 - 12:00am

On the eve of US President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Wednesday that he will respond to Obama's outreach to the Arabs by expanding West Bank settlements. In a meeting with leaders of Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria at his Jerusalem office, the Shas chairman said he invited them while Obama was in the region, because the US president's speech reinforced the need to consolidate Israeli society.

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