Middle East News: World Press Roundup

CBS News reports on Israeli settlers' angry reaction to President Obama's call for a settlement freeze (1), while the Reform rabbinate backs Obama's stance (6). ATFP Senior Fellow Ghaith al-Omari is featured in an article about the changing attitude in Washington towards Mideast peace (2). Palestinian police arrest 36 Hamas activists in the West Bank (4). Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (6) (8) before flying to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leadership (11). Israeli President Shimon Peres says it is time to move into phase two of the Road Map, establishing a Palestinian state with provisional borders (13).

Obama's Stance Infuriates Israeli Settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CBC News Today
by Mark Phillips - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Like everything else in the Middle East, there are two opinions of the work going on in Israel's West Bank settlements. The Palestinians call it Israeli expansion - another land grab. The Israelis call it "natural growth," to accommodate growing families. Whatever it is, President Obama says it has to stop. No more construction, period. "This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve piece," Mr. Obama said last week in Cairo. The settlers are furious, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

Pro-Palestinian Advocates Sense Winds of Change in Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Changes in America’s policy toward the Middle East conflict are sending positive vibrations throughout the small and struggling pro-Palestinian advocacy community.

Bottom line for Palestinian entrepreneurs: Reinvent the economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

nder pressure from visiting US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, Israeli cabinet ministers mulled easing a siege on the Gaza Strip that was designed to weaken Hamas. Amid US-Israeli disagreement over the Gaza blockade, West Bank settlements, and other issues involved in restarting the peace process, there is one point both sides agree on: The promises to boost the Palestinian economy during the recent round of talks stretching the final year of the Bush administration have produced insufficient results.

Palestinian police arrest 36 Hamas supporters as Fatah widens crackdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Canadian Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian security forces arrested 36 Hamas supporters, many of them professors and students, the Islamic militant group said Thursday, signalling a widening crackdown by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian police spokesman Adnan Damiri confirmed that arrests were made, but would not say how many persons are held. The arrests come less than two weeks after a pair of deadly shootouts between security forces and Hamas militants in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya left nine people dead, including four police officers.

A sign of optimism for Palestinian freedom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
by Mustafa Barghouthi - (Opinion) June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Throughout decades of struggle for Palestinian freedom, there has been little cause for optimism. Today, I am optimistic.

US envoy backs 'Palestinian aspirations'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The US is seeking a "early conclusion" of peace talks leading to Palestinian statehood, its special Mid-East envoy said after talks in Ramallah. Former Senator George Mitchell was speaking to reporters after meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town. The US is experiencing unusual tension in relations with Israel over its opposition to Palestinian independence. He said meeting both sides' aspirations was the "only viable solution".

Reform rabbis back Obama on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Eric Fingerhut - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The Reform rabbinate is backing President Obama's position on Israeli settlements. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, which represents nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, said it believes the president's call for a stop to all Israeli settlement activity and his "outspokenness" on the issue is "in the best interest of the United States, of the State of Israel, and of peace."

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.

Obama proving true to his word
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Francis Matthew - June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Very few expected US President Barack Obama's speech to Muslims to lead to action on the Middle East so quickly. Only a week after Obama set out a whole new philosophy on how America would like to approach Muslims, George Mitchell, his special envoy to the Middle East, is already travelling in the region and looking at how to find a way forward in the Palestinian peace process.

Real hope for peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Whatever one may think of Barack Hussain Obama's speech in Cairo last week, there was no doubt it was historic and unprecedented for an American president. By any measure he was eloquent and charismatic and sounded genuinely eager for a new beginning with the Arab and Muslim world.

Mitchell calls for ‘peace’ with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

The US envoy George Mitchell called today for Arab states to take “meaningful steps and important actions” to make peace with Israel, after talks with the Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abul Gheit. Mr Mitchell arrived in Cairo from Israel and the Palestinian territories, reiterating Washington’s position that a Palestinian state was the only viable answer to the Middle East conflict. “We are working hard to achieve our objective, a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel,” Mr Mitchell told reporters.

More than Hamas’s rhetoric must change
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Opinion) June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Just over a month ago, Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, referring to Barack Obama’s commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace, declared: “I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period.” Reading between the lines of the New York Times interview where he delivered this remark, Meshaal’s position was far less flexible than his statement of intent. Still, there is something interesting about Hamas’s recent rhetoric.

Peres calls for Palestinian state with provisional borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
December 31, 1969 - 8:00pm

Israel and the Palestinians should move onto the second stage of the road map peace plan, which stipulates the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders, President Shimon Peres said on Thursday. Peres made the comments during a meeting with the European Union's chief foreign policy official, Javier Solana, with whom he discussed the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Netanyahu's speech: Yes to road map, no to settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn, Barak Ravid - June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will announce in his foreign policy speech scheduled for Sunday the adoption of the road map and the "two-state solution" for settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to sources close to the prime minister. The sources said the speech will "revolve around the road map." Netanyahu will present a few conditions for the implementation of the road map, above all a Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. He will also demand that the future Palestinian state be demilitarized.

Obama to Mubarak: Netanyahu fears peace moves will ruin coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

During his recent visit to Cairo, U.S. President Barack Obama relayed to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that any cessation of settlement construction and acknowledgment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders will result in the collapse of his coalition government. Arab sources say Mubarak was not impressed and retorted it was Netanyahu's choice to form a right-wing coalition and he could therefore not repeatedly use that excuse for doing nothing.

Knesset speaker: Bibi doesn't believe in 2-state vision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not believe in the two-state vision, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday, days ahead of Bibi's much anticipated speech. Speaking during a West Bank tour, Rivlin said that the Arab-Israeli conflict must be resolved before going ahead and addressing the Palestinian question.

Rattling the Cage: Imagine Palestinian settlers in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Analysis) June 10, 2009 - 12:00am

People want to know: What is the big deal about the settlements? Houses, neighborhoods, towns - are they hurting anybody? Do they kill anybody? How can anybody compare settlements to Palestinian terror or to Iranian nuclear weapons? How can anybody believe that Jewish families living in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace?

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