Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a controversial policy speech accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state but rejecting a settlement freeze (1), eliciting strong reactions from all sides (4) (5) (6) (9) (10) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18). The Washington Post examines how President Obama’s stance on an Israeli settlement freeze has been shaped over time (2). Newsweek interviews former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (4). A report released today by three international aid groups finds that Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank is increasing (7). The Independent features an op-ed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on what Israel and the Palestinians must do to advance peace (8).

Netanyahu Backs Palestinian State, With Caveats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday endorsed for the first time the principle of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but on condition that the state was demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognized Israel as the state of the Jewish people. In a much-anticipated speech meant in part as an answer to President Obama’s address in Cairo on June 4, Mr. Netanyahu reversed his longstanding opposition to Palestinian statehood, a move seen as a concession to American pressure.

Obama's Friends, Aides Help Shape Stance on Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael D. Shear - June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama's close friends and key advisers have helped him shape the toughest line against the continued expansion of Israeli settlements since the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The result has been a confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that has surprised the Israeli government and many analysts. Netanyahu is preparing to make a major speech tomorrow in which he is expected to respond to the new American pressure.

Mideast Peace Can Start With a Land Swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The White House publicly welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech yesterday giving qualified support to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Nonetheless, there remains a gap between Mr. Netanyahu and the Obama administration over the expansion of settlements. Fortunately, there is a way to bridge that gap.

Olmert’s Lament
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Kevin Peraino - June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

As the sun rose over New York City on Thursday, June 4, Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister of Israel, lay anesthetized on a Manhattan operating table. A cancerous tumor on his prostate had recently grown in size. His doctors had "all kinds of suspicions" about it, Olmert explained when we met at his house outside Jerusalem shortly before the surgery. Olmert, 63, looked terrible. He told me he hadn't been working out lately. He had put on a paunch, his eyes had a glassy quality and he had a persistent cough. I asked whether he was feeling any symptoms. "I sometimes feel tired," he said.

Will Israeli PM's reference to the 'S' word spell peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

For the first time in his long political career Benjamin Netanyahu managed to say "Palestinian state". That much is a result for Barack Obama, despite the qualifications that came with it. As the US President most eager since Jimmy Carter to make progress in the Middle East from day one of entering office, he found himself, by a painful historical irony, faced with an Israeli Prime Minister who did not, unlike his three predecessors, even accept a theory the notion of a two-state solution. On this Mr Netanyahu has bowed to the inevitable.

A Change of Heart?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

WHAT to make of a speech on Sunday June 14th by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in which he reluctantly but explicitly articulated his acceptance of the idea of a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian territories? Local commentators have made much of the image of pulling teeth, suggesting that Mr Netanyahu spoke largely in response to pressure from the United States.

Report highlights increasing Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli bulldozers arrived at the rust-coloured fields of Ras al-Ahmar early in the morning on the day when Barack Obama, a few hundred miles to the south in Cairo, gave his closely watched speech to the Muslim world. Within minutes, the bulldozers had demolished 15 shacks – the homes of Palestinian farmers and their families – as well as 30 animal pens and 18 traditional ovens, implementing eviction orders given by the Israeli military a week earlier.

Salam Fayyad: The two-state solution needs action as well as words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Salam Fayyad - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

There is growing expectation that Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may soon endorse the two-state solution. His speech tonight outlining his government's approach to Middle East peace affords him an opportunity he should not miss. No doubt some will laud any change in his opposition to the two-state solution as a "breakthrough". But what does a genuine endorsement of it entail?

Palestinians dismiss Israel plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinians have rejected the Israeli prime minister's conditions for a two-state solution, saying he has "paralysed" the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a major policy speech, accepted the creation of a Palestinian state but only if it was demilitarised. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman said his comments challenged Palestinian, Arab and US positions. But the US said Mr Netanyahu's stance was an "important step forward".

Call to shun Netanyahu over speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

World powers should isolate the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he unveiled tough terms for a Middle East peace accord, an aide to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said today. In a major policy speech yesterday, Mr Netanyahu responded to weeks of pressure from Washington by finally giving his endorsement, with conditions, to the establishment of a demilitarised Palestinian state.

To alleviate suffering
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Once again the hot summer months are upon us, without any solution in sight for the Palestinian tragedy and the continued suffering of Palestinians crossing the King Hussein Bridge, which is the only exit and entry point for the West Bank. While there is no doubt that the real solution to this tragedy is the end of the occupation, genuine efforts must be exerted to ease the sufferings of individuals and families crossing the bridge.

Let's applaud the change in US policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

One of the fascinating developments taking place before our eyes these days is the evolution of America's power and presence in the Middle East - though it remains to be seen if this is a truly constructive change in policy or merely a temporary cosmetic repackaging of failed old ways. Two important points should be noted: American power is a constant factor in the region, regardless of whether one likes or dislikes how it is applied; and public perceptions of the United States throughout the Middle East are not fixed in stone, but rather respond in tandem to evolving American policies.

Gideon Levy / Why Netanyahu speech gives us cause for joy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The gate was not thrown open last night, although a narrow crack appeared, which in itself is noteworthy. Another small brick was removed from the barricades of the occupation: A right-wing leader said he supports Palestinian statehood. "Demilitarized, Demilitarized," he repeated; now all that remains are the utmost margins of the fantasizing, embittered right-wing, a group finally left isolated and abnormal. They are a dangerous contingent, but they are few.

Netanyahu, Mideast peace and a return to the Axis of Evil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The prime minister's speech last night returned the Middle East to the days of George W. Bush's "axis of evil." Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a patriarchal, colonialist address in the best neoconservative tradition: The Arabs are the bad guys, or at best ungrateful terrorists; the Jews, of course, are the good guys, rational people who need to raise and care for their children. In the West Bank settlement of Itamar, they're even building a nursery school.

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu speech aimed solely for Obama's ears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Analysis) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

It nearly made one feel sorry for Benjamin Netanyahu, watching him progress through his speech, through an ocean of right-wing rhetoric full of national symbols, until he uttered two words: "Palestinian state" (which were followed by a third: "demilitarized"). These two words were uttered like a rotten tooth pulled from its socket without anesthesia. In spite all this, he lived.

Rightists in response to Bibi's speech: We'll build more outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Many settlers took a sigh of relief after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday in which he made no mention of evacuating settlements. But Monday morning, right-wing activists announced that they were planning on building dozens of new outposts in the West Bank. "This is the appropriate Zionist response to Netanyahu's speech and (US President Barack) Obama's speech. The goal is to build new outposts and expand the existing ones," the rightists said in a statement.

Likud members say PM gave in to US pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address drew varied remarks from both left and right-wing officials Sunday. Rightists responded warmly to his attitude towards the settlements, but were apprehensive about his support of a Palestinian state. MK Danny Danon said other members of the Likud would work to strike the words "Palestinian state" from the address. "I will attempt to cause this sentence, which was said under American pressure, never to come into being. The speech was brilliant, but Netanyahu has given in to American pressure," he said.

PA: Speech dealt deadly blow to peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Many Palestinian leaders expressed disappointment following a much-anticipated speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday. An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Ynet that speech "dealt a deadly blow to the peace process". "Netanyahu's speech was a right-wing speech that destroyed the basis for negotiations when it talked of a unified Jerusalem, removing the refugee issue from the talks and recognizing a Jewish state. This is a speech that is about setting terms," he said.

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