Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaderships (1) (2) (4) (7), urging a swift resumption to peace talks and reiterating the U.S. commitment to peace based on two states (8). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeks agreement within the party to hold the Sixth Fatah Congress (5). A report by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din finds that Palestinians in the West Bank are facing an increase in attacks by Israeli settlers (11). Israel continues its refusal to accept a settlement freeze (14).

U.S. Envoy Reassures and Presses a Wary Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama’s Middle East envoy sought Tuesday to allay fears here of a fundamental breakdown in Israeli-American relations while alluding to abiding differences over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and the formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Can Mitchell, now in Israel, calm settlement dispute?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

US special envoy George Mitchell arrived here Tuesday, poised to fast-forward President Barack Obama's plan for change in the Middle East. But due to Israeli resistance to a key facet of that plan – freezing West Bank settlement growth – Mr. Mitchell's trip is looking likely to be a diplomatic marathon, requiring the patient persistence he cultivated in Northern Ireland. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is loath to implement a settlement freeze, and many in his right-wing constituency support settlements or live in them, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Obama set the right tone in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Freep
by Terry Ahwal - June 8, 2009 - 12:00am

The President’s speech in Cairo was inspiring, unprecedented, truthful and courageous. I have been waiting for this speech most of my life.

US envoy Mitchell meets Palestinian leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has held talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, as part of renewed US peace efforts. Mr Abbas's top negotiator said the meeting had been "positive" and called on both sides to stick to commitments made under the 2003 "roadmap". On Monday Mr Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He reiterated calls for a two-state solution, which the Israeli leader has refused to endorse. Mr Netanyahu is scheduled to give a major foreign-policy speech on Sunday.

Abbas Tries to Fix Palestinian Side Of Peace Puzzle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas chairs talks in Jordan on Thursday with factions of Fatah, seeking agreement to hold the first congress in 20 years of the fractured, weakened movement dominating Palestinian politics. Fatah needs to restore unity to overturn its shock 2006 election defeat by Islamist rival Hamas, and to ensure Abbas is firmly in the driver's seat for peace talks with Israel, which U.S. President Barack Obama wants to resume without delay.

Obama's Message Should Be Embraced
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Khalaf Al Habtoor - (Opinion) June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama's peaceful sentiments towards the Muslim world are viewed with distrust or cynicism by some in this region and, to a point, that's understandable. I'm not given to wishful thinking and I'm definitely not naïve, but if we truly want to move forward we should do so with open hearts and minds while resisting the temptation to tar this American leader with the same brush as his predecessor.

US envoy pushes Middle East agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

George Mitchell, the United States’s envoy to the Middle East, met senior Israeli officials yesterday in what appeared to be part of an unusually vigorous US bid to step up pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land. Although Mr Mitchell was understood to have focused on the settlements in his discussions in Israel, his visit may also have proved decisive before what is expected to be a major peace policy speech on Sunday by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

'U.S. won't abandon legitimate Palestinian aspirations'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. must create the conditions for the speedy resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Washington's envoy to the region said Wednesday in Ramallah, as he assured Palestinians that America would never abandon their "legitimate aspirations." "The only viable solution for this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met in two states," former U.S. senator Mitchell told journalists after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city.

Netanyahu failed to build bond of trust with Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Three weeks after Benjamin Netanyahu returned from his visit to Barack Obama, there is no longer any doubt that the prime minister has failed in his most important mission - to build a bond of trust with the U.S. president. The signs are clear: Israel and the United States are trading messages through speeches and headlines instead of through discrete consultations.

Loving Israel By Hating Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

I've got a home in that rock, just beyond the mountaintop - God gave Noah the rainbow sign No more water - but the fire next time. (Traditional spiritual of African-American slaves) It's become a fashion, here and abroad: Jews who are convinced that they love Israel more than the rest of us - and certainly better than the rest of us - have told anyone who would listen, that one way to express love of the Jewish state, is to revile Barack Obama.

Rights group warns of growing settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian farmers in the West Bank are paying the price for the government's efforts to evacuate illegal outpost in the region, data published by human rights group Yesh Din on Wednesday revealed. According to the organization, in recent weeks there has been an alarming rise in the number of attempts to uproot or damage trees in villages in the area, and the phenomenon is expected to expand if the security forces do not take action against the perpetrators.

Minister Yaalon rejects swift peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

An American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within two years may lead to the establishment of "Hamastan in the West Bank," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said during an event at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in honor of late journalist Ze'ev Schiff. The peace process may take up to five years, Yaalon said, adding that "instant peace" will fail because of realities on the ground.

The regional approach might get us there faster
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Avi Dichter - (Editorial) June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

We in Israel take pride in leaving "no stone unturned in the search for peace." However, now it seems, we are leaving unturned not a stone, but a large boulder. The Arab peace initiative, calling for comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world, has been placed on the table. It is backed by the leaders of all Arab nations and has been deemed "very impressive" by US

Mitchell told natural growth won't stop
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

While outwardly, US envoy George Mitchell tried to downplay tensions between Washington and Jerusalem, the settlement construction issue continued to be a central source of contention when Mitchell met with Israel's leaders on Tuesday. Mitchell, during a day of meetings that included four hours with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was told that Israel would not bring all settlement construction to a complete halt, even though this continues to be the US's stated position.

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