Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman meets with Secretary of State Clinton in Washington (1). The Christian Science Monitor features an op-ed by Norwegian foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Store (4). An Israli military court decides to release the jailed Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament in two months when his sentence ends (8). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas encourages peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation (9). Former President Jimmy Carter meets with Hamas officials, but fails to convince them to recognize Israel (10). A group of international human rights organizations hold a press conference decrying Israeli restrictions on Gaza trade (13), as the U.S. increases its pressure on Israel to end the blockade (14).

Remarks With Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United States State Department
June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Lieberman to the State Department today for his first official visit to Washington in his new role. Minister Lieberman’s visit gave me the opportunity to reaffirm the United States deep, unshakable friendship and bond with Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security is and will remain a cornerstone of our foreign policy, and I was pleased to have this chance to express that personally to the foreign minister. The United States has no greater ally in the Middle East and no greater friend than Israel.

Facts on Israeli Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Daniel Kurtzer - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Faulty analysis of the Israeli settlement issue is being passed off as fact. Charles Krauthammer’s column “The Settlements Myth,” which ran June 5 in The Washington Post, is one example. Here are the facts: In 2003, the Israeli government accepted, with some reservations, the “road map” for peace, which imposed two requirements on Israel regarding settlements: “GOI (Government of Israel) immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001. Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).”

Israel: Markets without borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

“Buying local” can help reduce a shopper’s carbon footprint. It can also unify warring neighbors – such as Israelis and Palestinians now working under the radar of big business and government officials to form organic-food co-ops. The goal: Avoid pesticides and circumvent the military closures, which keep most Palestinian produce from getting to Israeli markets. To do so, groups of Israelis buy produce directly from Palestinian organic farmers in West Bank villages and then sell it to a network of people in Israel who are interested in buying “green market.”

Peace for Israel requires a strong Palestinian Authority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Jonas Gahr Store - (Opinion) June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

In Cairo, President Obama made an eloquent plea for peace in the Middle East, with a two-state solution at its heart. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded last week with endorsement of a two-state solution in his speech. Mr. Netanyahu presented demanding and problematic prerequisites for the establishing of a Palestinian state, but the fact remains – the scene is yet again set for political negotiations on a final settlement between Palestinians and Israelis.

After Bibi’s Speech: A Shift To Quiet Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration now seems poised to ease its public pressure on Israel following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of a two-state solution to his country’s conflict with the Palestinians. Following Netanyahu’s much awaited June 14 speech addressing America’s concerns about the policies of his new government, Israeli diplomats said they sensed a new willingness within the administration to “find creative solutions” to the issue of Jewish settlement activity in the Israeli occupied West Bank that would allow some limited building to continue.

Barack the Zionist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Gershom Gorenberg - (Opinion) June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

It took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 10 days, but he has finally responded to President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo. On June 4, Obama challenged both Israelis and Palestinians to work toward a two-state solution. On Sunday, Netanyahu responded with an assent wrapped in so many preconditions as to render it virtually meaningless. Obama also demanded that Israel freeze the growth of its settlements in the West Bank. To this Netanyahu responded with defiant rejection.

How Long Can Israel Resist US Pressure?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Spiegel Online
by Christoph Schult - (Analysis) June 16, 2009 - 12:00am

As US President Barack Obama presses ahead with his Middle East peace intiatives, America's new tone and new modesty are going down well in the region. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is finding it hard to resist the pressure to compromise on the Palestinian question.

Israelis to free jailed Hamas speaker in August
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli prosecutors failed to persuade a military court on Wednesday to extend the prison term of the Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament, who is due to go free in two months. Israel detained Aziz Dweik and dozens of other Hamas politicians in the occupied West Bank in 2006 after gunmen from the Palestinian Islamist group abducted an Israeli soldier on the Gaza Strip border.

Abbas: Palestinians will resist peacefully
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian people can resort to peaceful resistance against Israel's occupation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday in Amman, Jordan. Speaking before members of the Kuwaiti Journalists Association, Abbas said while Palestinians are unable to resist militarily against Israel's occupation, they can resort to peaceful resistance, the KUNA news agency said. Abbas warned the Palestinians will not give up their cause, the report said.

Hamas rejects Carter plea to recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY - A senior Hamas official praised former president Jimmy Carter yesterday, a day after he met with the group, but said he failed to persuade the Islamic rulers of Gaza to accept international demands, including recognizing Israel. Carter visited Gaza on Tuesday and urged Hamas leaders to accept the demands to end an international boycott, which was imposed when the militant group overran Gaza two years ago.

US, Israel still butting heads on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matthew Lee - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration and Israel gave no ground Wednesday in their opposing views over Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory despite speculation the two sides might be nearing compromise. After talks in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held to long-standing positions ahead of a meeting next week between U.S. special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The settlement question is expected to dominate those talks.

Who Wants to Resolve the Palestinian Issue?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mamoun Fandy - (Opinion) June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

I know full well that the Israelis do not want a solution to the Palestinian issue, and perhaps this is what many are content to acknowledge. However, we are obliged to also ask: Do Arabs want a solution to the Palestinian problem? The behavior of many Arab states, and along with Hamas, the opposition movements, and the moderates, does not suggest that any of these parties want a solution to the Palestinian problem either.

Rights groups decry restrictions on Gaza trade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

A can of humous from Gaza is a rarity anywhere in the world, Oxfam spokesman Mike Bailey said as he added his voice to a group of 36 aid organizations, who along with the UN on Wednesday protested Israel's two-year-old "blockade" of the Strip. "I was in Gaza," Bailey said at a press conference which was symbolically held in a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warehouse in Jerusalem that supplies Palestinian refugees. As he held up a small can of humous from Gaza, he added, "I brought you something that only someone with an international passport can carry out."

U.S. ups pressure on Israel to end Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States has stepped up pressure on Israel regarding the Gaza Strip: Three weeks ago it sent Jerusalem a diplomatic note officially protesting Gaza policy and demanding a more liberal opening of the border crossings to facilitate reconstruction. U.S. and Israeli sources say the note was followed by a verbal communication clarifying that the Obama administration thinks Israel's linkage of the case of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of the crossings was not constructive.

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