Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits Jerusalem in an effort to diffuse tensions over Israel’s policies toward Iran. Meanwhile, US envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, then with Palestinian President Abbas, to discuss the peace process, declaring that “everyone must take steps, some of them difficult, some of them controversial.” Prominent American Jewish leaders speak out about their July 13 meeting with President Obama. In Congress, Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ed Royce (D-Calif.)are soliciting signatories to a letter to the Saudi king asking him to “step forward with a dramatic gesture toward Israel.” As the IDF refutes claims that it is planning to evacuate outposts in the West Bank, settler activists announce their intent to build 11 more.





Gates' Israel visit aims to ease tensions over Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates promised Israeli leaders Monday that American overtures to Iran are "not open-ended" and said the Obama administration is ready to press for tougher economic sanctions if diplomacy fails to halt what the two allies say is Iran's progress toward building a nuclear weapon.


Why Won’t Obama Talk to Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


IN his global tours and TV appearances, President Obama has spoken to Arabs, Muslims, Iranians, Western Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Russians and Africans. His words have stirred emotions and been well received everywhere. But he hasn’t bothered to speak directly to Israelis.


US-Israeli talks make 'progress'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu say talks about reviving the regional peace process have made "good progress". There was no mention of Israel agreeing to halt settlement construction, a key demand the US has made of its ally. Mr Netanyahu has previously rejected such a freeze, saying "natural growth" of settlements must be allowed. Mr Mitchell is one of several senior US officials in the region pushing for a comprehensive Middle East peace deal.


Jewish leaders seek more pressure on Palestinians, Arab states
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


Any good therapist will tell you: There’s pressure that hurts and there’s pressure that heals. Two weeks after President Obama promised more of the latter, establishment Jewish groups are still squirming -- complaining that the pressure on Israel is unrelenting, while pressure on Arabs and the Palestinians has yet to kick in. Jewish leaders, who reached out to JTA to describe in greater detail their White House meeting with the president on July 13, say they see progress, but are concerned that an imbalance persists.


Congressional letter to Saudi king gathering signatures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


A letter urging Saudi King Abdullah to "assert a strong leadership role" in the Middle East is gathering signatures in the House of Representatives. The AIPAC-backed letter, circulated by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Ed Royce (D-Calif.), expresses disappointment with the Saudi government's public reaction thus far to President Obama's Cairo speech, noting that the Saudi foreign minister recently said that his country could not "take any step toward normalization before the return of all Arab land."


US Urges Concessions in Mideast Peace Drive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Monday appealed to Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states not to shy away from difficult or controversial steps towards peace in the region. Amid a flurry of US diplomatic activity across the Middle East, Mitchell told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas that Washington is doing "everything we can to achieve a comprehensive peace.


Obama Gives Unsettling Tough Love to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Celestine Bohlen - (Opinion) July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


President Barack Obama, who vowed to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process at the start of his term, has begun with a direct and public challenge to Israel’s latest plan to build new settlements in East Jerusalem. It’s a risky move, which has already provoked a sharp rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But it is crucial, and had to be done.


Mitchell tells Palestinians no deal yet with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi, Ali Sawafta - July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday he was still working on a deal with Israel to halt West Bank settlement activity so peace talks can resume. "We are discussing the issue but we didn't conclude an agreement yet with the Israelis," a senior Palestinian official quoted Mitchell as saying over a working dinner with Abbas.


The Reason They Won't Help Abu-Mazen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


In the Arab world, you must be annoying or a source of troubles to get care and attention. But if you respected the rules, did not cause clamor, or caused deaths and explosions, then no one would care about you. Therefore it is not surprising when the Somalis seek to host Al-Qaeda organization and hijack ships in their search for attention and support.


The “Usefulness” of the Palestinian Cause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - (Opinion) July 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


If one were to place side by side Israel’s decisions and stances regarding the conflict with the Palestinians since Benjamin Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister six months ago, the features of an unmistakably organized campaign to do away with what remains of the rights of Palestinians would plainly appear.


Settlement deal will likely test all sides
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


It may well be a “discussion among friends”, in the words of George Mitchell, the US envoy to the Middle East, but Israel’s continued settlement building in occupied territory is shaping up to be a crucial issue that will test the leaderships of all players involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


Israel, U.S. claim 'progress' in settlement dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the top U.S. Mideast envoy said they made progress Tuesday on their dispute over West Bank settlements, but offered no sign of a breakthrough at a meeting in Jerusalem. President Barack Obama's envoy, George Mitchell, has been pressing Israel to halt all construction in settlements built on captured land claimed by the Palestinians, stressing that such a gesture would improve prospects for a peace deal. But Netanyahu says limited construction must be permitted to allow "natural growth" in the existing settler population.


'Obama is a racist,' settler rabbi tells protestors in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


The Yesha Council of settlements organized a demonstration in which some 1,500 rightists gathered near the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday to protest the Obama administration's demand for a total freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Among the speakers at the demonstration was Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, the head of the Nir yeshiva in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. "Obama is a racist," Waldman told the assembled crowd. "If he continues with his actions, he will bring about the disintegration of the American superpower."


'IDF has not received orders to evacuate outposts'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Tuesday that the IDF has not received orders to prepare for the evacuation of outposts in the West Bank. "At this point we have not received concrete directives to evacuate any particular outpost, excluding illegal ones," Ashkenazi said. Ashkenazi added that "wherever possible" police officers will be responsible for evacuating civilians from outposts.


Daughter of Gaza doctor vows to return home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Daniel Edelson - (Interview) July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


The seventeen-year-old daughter of Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, Shadar, who was badly injured after an IDF shell hit her family home and killed her three sisters during Operation Cast Lead, recently moved to Canada with family. In an interview to Ynet she recounted the difficult moments and spoke of her family's loss. "I miss my sisters and there are moments I can't stop the tears and I suddenly start crying," she said. Al-Aish is certain she will return to Gaza, but in the meantime she enjoys the quiet life overseas.


Netanyahu Meets Special Envoy Mitchell in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US special Mideast envoy George Mitchell in Jerusalem Tuesday. The meeting is part of a round of meetings being held by Mitchell and other top US administration officials in the region this week. The Prime Minister's Office stated that the meeting was positive and that the two discussed various issues concerning the political process and not just the settlements issue.


Mitchell to Abbas: 'Still a gap' on Israel Settlement Activity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


US Middle East envoy George Mitchell told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday he was still working on a deal with Israel to halt West Bank settlement activity so peace talks can resume. "We are discussing the issue but we didn't conclude an agreement yet with the Israelis," a senior Palestinian official quoted Mitchell as saying over a working dinner with Abbas in Ramallah.


Settlers completing 11 new outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Settlers planned to complete the construction of 11 outposts in the West Bank ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's scheduled meeting with US envoy George Mitchell early Tuesday morning, in response to American pressure to freeze settlement activity. Activists on Sunday announced that they wished to "put an end to the White Papers," and called for assistance in constructing the 11 outposts, an allusion to the 11 settlements established in the Negev during the British Mandate.


'Obama unlikely to present peace plan'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Recent talks with US envoy George Mitchell have left Israeli officials with the impression that - contrary to expectations in some circles - President Barack Obama is not going to unfurl his own regional peace plan. Rather, according to these officials, the administration is aiming to create a positive dynamic that will lead to the relaunching of a Palestinian-Israeli diplomatic process, but this time with more regional players on board.





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