Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Wall Street Journal features an op-ed on the peace process by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (1). Controversy continues over planned Israeli expansion in the E1 area of East Jerusalem (3). Saree Makdisi questions how language is manipulated in order to absolve Israel from its responsibilities (5).With the Gaza blockade on construction materials some Gaza residents are building homes out of mud (6). A recent poll finds that an increasing percentage of Israelis view President Obama as ‘pro-Palestinian’ (7). Quartet envoy Tony Blair expresses his optimism that, with cooperation from all sides, a peace deal could be reached ‘within the year’ (9). The Media Line interviews Congressman Keith Ellison (11).

How to Achieve Israeli-Palestinian Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Hosni Mubarak - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama's seminal address in Cairo marked a turning point in America's relations with the Muslim world. His message was clear and incontrovertible: It is issues of politics and policy, not a clash of values, that separate the Muslim world and America. It is the resolution of these issues that will heal the divide. The ambitious agenda outlined by President Obama must now be followed by forward-looking steps in order to chart a new course in America's relationship with the Arab and Muslim world. I look forward to working with the president to achieve that objective.

The Two-state Chimera
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the sixth Israeli leader to concede the expression "Palestinian state." It was a first for Mr. Netanyahu, but the caveats drained it of any significance. Besides, events in a soon-to-be nuclear-capable Iranian theocracy - some now say thugocracy - where elections were rigged in favor of a president who despises the United States and sees no room for Israel in the Middle East, dictated geopolitical prudence.

Israeli Plan to Annex Lands East of Jerusalem Stokes Palestinian Anger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Luis Ramirez - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angered many Palestinians, in his recent speech, when he proclaimed Israel's intentions to keep Jerusalem as the united capital of the Jewish state. The Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as the capital of their own future state, but Israeli plans to annex lands east of the city and expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, could preempt that possibility. Shepherd Mohamad Mussa Mashhur lives on a dry, barren hilltop, within a few meters of power lines. However, a kerosene lamp is what his family depends on for light.

Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" seems to rely on the certain knowledge that the Palestinians will never agree. This demand is of recent vintage. How recent? In 2006, after Hamas won the Palestinian elections, Israel demanded that the West insist on three conditions before dealing with it. Now known as the Quartet Conditions, they are still in effect today: "Hamas must recognize Israel, forswear terrorism and accept previous Palestinian commitments."

The language that absolves Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Saree Makdisi - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

On Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that -- by categorically ruling out the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state -- ought to have been seen as a mortal blow to the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Monday morning, however, newspaper headlines across the United States announced that Netanyahu had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, and the White House welcomed the speech as "an important step forward."

Gaza mud houses are answer to a prayer for the homeless
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

With no cement or construction materials being allowed by Israel or Egypt into the Gaza Strip, residents are starting to build homes out of mud, using earth excavated from smuggling tunnels that provide an uncertain lifeline to the outside world.

More Israelis see Obama as 'pro-Palestinian': poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Israelis increasingly view US President Barack Obama as pro-Palestinian as Washington has begun ramping up pressure on the Jewish state to halt settlement growth, a poll found. Only six percent of Israelis view the newly elected president as pro-Israel, while 50 percent believe he is pro-Palestinian and 36 percent see him as neutral, according to the poll published in the Jerusalem Post.

Palestinians: Don't start talks 'from scratch'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The chief Palestinian negotiator said Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must resume peace talks from the point where they ended under Israel's previous, more moderate government. Ahmed Qureia told reporters at his office just east of Jerusalem that talks cannot "start from scratch," but Netanyahu wants to restart the process at the beginning.

Mideast peace deal could happen 'within year': Blair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

A Middle East peace deal is possible "within the year," but only if all sides agree to peaceful negotiations, international envoy Tony Blair says in comments to be aired Friday. The former British premier said there was a "great sense of hope and expectation" in the region after US President Barack Obama's recent speech on relations between the West and the Islamic world. "If President Obama gets the right partner, on the Israeli side but also on the Palestinian side, his determination to do this I have no doubt about at all," he told interviewer David Frost.

Israeli police humiliate Palestinians in video
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli border guards have posted videos online in which they humiliate Palestinians, including ordering a young man to sing and slap himself, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported on Saturday. In one video clip posted on YouTube the man is ordered to repeatedly slap himself in the face while chanting "I love the border police" as off-screen border guards laugh and cheer him on. "Say one hummus, one ful (fava beans), I love the border guard," the off-screen voice says. The Hebrew and Arabic phrase rhymes.

Congressman Ellison: ‘We Need to Support Peace, Not Partisan Politics’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - June 18, 2009 - 12:00am

United States Congressman Keith Ellison was recently referred to by President Obama in his Cairo speech as the nation’s first Muslim representative to swear the oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran. Representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Mr. Ellison has made the Middle East a priority, traveling to the region on a number of occasions since entering Congress in 2007. Below is a complete transcript of The Media Line’s June 7th interview with the congressman. Ellison: I was as surprised as anyone when I heard the President refer to my swearing in.

West Bank road trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

A visit to the West Bank two days after the prime minister's Bar-Ilan speech leads one to conclude that the ideological about-face implicit in Benjamin Netanyahu's consent to a Palestinian state has not upset the people living where this state is supposed to arise. The settlers listened to Netanyahu, but were more interested in his promise to enable them to have "a normal life." Furthermore, they wondered if this would translate into Defense Minister Ehud Barak's signature on delayed building permits.

Arab world sees settlement row as test of Obama's credibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

The clash on the settlements between the Obama-Clinton administration and the Netanyahu-Lieberman (and Barak) government is not some petty haggling over expanding a kindergarten in Ofra or adding a balcony in Ma'aleh Adumim. It's an argument on the legal status of the West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods and the sovereignty issue in the territories.

Report: Hamas to present new list of prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - June 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian and Egyptian sources estimated Friday that the Hamas organization might soon relax its conditions and present a new list of prisoners for an exchange deal with Israel, which would secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has been invited for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017