Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad delivers a speech calling for unity, institution building, and an independent state within two years (1) (2). The Hamas-affiliated speaker of the Palestinian parliament is released from an Israeli prison after serving the majority of his three year sentence (4). Israel authorizes the building of 300 new homes in an existing West Bank settlement (4) and reportedly is formulating plans to "legalize" 60 homes at a currently unauthorized West Bank outpost (5). The Italian foreign minister urges a halt to Israeli settlement expansion (7), as the U.S. State Department clarifies that a full settlement freeze must include Jerusalem (8). In an op-ed for The Daily Star ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish urges the creation of a real American coalition for Middle East Peace (10).





Palestinian Premier Sets 2-Year Statehood Target
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday called for the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years, a timeline he said is possible if Israel upholds its existing commitments and Palestinians "roll up their sleeves" and concentrate on building government and civic institutions. In comments directed as much at the Islamist Hamas movement as at Israel, Fayyad said competing Palestinian factions need to take advantage of international support for the creation of a Palestinian state, something the Obama administration is pushing as a priority.


Palestinian premier seeks stronger institutions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Monday that Palestinians can make a stronger case for ending Israel's occupation by building up self-governing institutions that would strengthen global support for a Palestinian state. He set a goal of establishing an independent state within two years. "I call upon our people to unite around the project of establishing a state and to strengthening its institutions . . . so that the Palestinian state becomes, by the end of next year or within two years at most, a reality," he said in a speech to a university audience.


Netanyahu’s Gambit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


The syndrome is clear: since 1992 every Israeli hawk, once elected prime minister, turns into a dove. Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert all shifted radically to the left after taking office. What you see from here is not what you see from there, said one of them. And what any reasonable person sees after he enters the PM’s claustrophobic chamber in Jerusalem is that occupation is futile. That is why Rabin went to Oslo (1993) and Barak went to Camp David (2000). That is why Sharon pulled out of Gaza (2005) and Olmert offered a withdrawal from the West Bank (2008).


Israel released Palestinian parliament speaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


The Hamas-affiliated speaker of the Palestinian parliament was freed Tuesday from an Israeli prison after serving the bulk of his three-year sentence. Abdel Aziz Duaik is the most senior of dozens of Hamas politicians arrested after Gaza Strip militants loyal to the group captured an Israeli soldier in June 2006. The soldier, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, will mark three years in captivity on Thursday.


Israel authorises 300 new settlement homes - report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel has authorised construction of 300 new homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, Israeli Army Radio said on Tuesday, defying U.S. calls for a halt to settlement growth. The station said 60 of the 300 homes slated for the Talmon settlement in the West Bank have already been built and that Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who oversees West Bank operations, had approved plans to construct another 240 units there. The Defence Ministry had no immediate comment, saying it was checking the report.


Report: Israel plans to legalize, expand outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


The Israeli government has formulated plans to legalize 60 existing homes at an unauthorized settlement outpost in the West Bank and allow the construction of 240 other residences, an Israeli group said Tuesday. Such a move would flout a U.S. demand for a settlement freeze. It would also bolster the claim by Palestinians that the unauthorized outposts are intended to permanently seize land they want as part of their future state.


Bibi: Preoccupation with settlements waste of time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


The preoccupation with the issue of the settlements is a 'waste of time' and hinders progress towards peace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. Netanyahu arrived in Italy on Tuesday on his first trip to Europe since being elected, visiting Rome and Paris to sound out regional allies about his qualified endorsement of a Palestinian state.


US: Settlement freeze includes Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


The US demand that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank must cease includes East Jerusalem, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday. In response to a question from Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper, State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said, “We’re talking about all settlement activity, yeah, in the area across the line,” he said, referring to the 1948 armistice line, or Green Line.


Unnatural Growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewcy
by Moshe Yaroni - (Opinion) June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


"Israel will not freeze settlement construction for natural growth, despite intense pressure from the Obama administration to do so," The Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2009. The argument that “natural growth” is crucial to Israel's well-being is utter nonsense. Here are a few facts.


Create a real American coalition on Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


For years now, my colleagues and I at the American Task Force on Palestine have argued that advocates of a two-state resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict need to form a real, functioning national coalition in the United States to support this goal. President Barack Obama has put a great deal of his political credibility and capital on the line in pursuit of negotiated resolution, forcefully articulating what all parties must do to build momentum toward this goal.


Abbas offers olive branch to Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday ordered his security forces to release most members or supporters of Hamas in a goodwill gesture to his rival movement before the renewal of inter-factional talks. Azzam Al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah team to Cairo reconciliation talks, said that the release process is expected to complete during the coming 24 hours and will include all Hamas activists "except the people who pose a public security threat and still have trials underway."


Outpost Watch: Obama's future minefield - and Netanyahu's
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Analysis) June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


The following is the first phase of a project aimed at helping monitor outposts and clarify the potential difficulty in countering them for the sake of peace. The data is based in large part on extensive research conducted over years by the Peace Now organization, augmented with and cross-referenced by information from settlers and Haaretz correspondents. The accompanying map of outposts is under construction. It is, as is the lists of outposts below - and the outposts themselves - a work in progress.


Olmert offered to withdraw from 93% of West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn, Barak Ravid - June 22, 2009 - 11:00pm


Former prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the Holy Basin area of Jerusalem would be under no sovereignty at all and administered by a joint committee of Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, the former prime minister told Newsweek magazine in an interview in the current issue.


Encountering Peace: Dressing up the Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


OK, Binyamin Netan-yahu said the magic words "Palestinian state," now what? I want to give our prime minister the benefit of doubt and say that he even meant it; at least that is what he told US President Barack Obama. Where do we go from here? How do those words become transformed into reality? Let's try to imagine.





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