Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announces that the Palestinian Authority intends to create a de facto state by 2011. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues his diplomatic meetings in Europe, meeting earlier today with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. An Israeli airstrike on a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt kills three Palestinians. The US State Department announces that it is approaching an agreement on the renewal of negotiations between Israel and the PLO. Fatah proposes a three-month truce with rival Hamas. The Independent looks at how the West Bank town of Nablus is flourishing under eased Israeli restrictions.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says time is running out for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority intends to bypass failing peace talks and establish its own de facto state within two years, Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister, said. Speaking on the eve of talks in London today between Binyamin Netanyahu and Gordon Brown, his Israeli and British counterparts, Mr Fayyad said that the idea was to “end the occupation, despite the occupation”. He told The Times in an interview: “After 16 years [of failed peace talks] why not change the discourse?

Settlement issue looms over Netanyahu's Europe trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a four-day trip to Europe on Monday, during which he will meet in London with US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell to try to firm up an agreement for fast-tracking peace talks with the Palestinians.

Brown 'optimistic' on Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he is "more optimistic" about Middle East peace after talks with with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. After the Downing Street meeting, he stressed that Britain was a "true friend" of Israel. But he stressed that it was necessary to remain "realistic" in efforts to secure lasting peace. Mr Netanyahu said a demilitarised Palestinian state was needed if this is to be attained. Mr Brown has repeatedly called for a freeze on Israeli settlement building, warning that the issue is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. US pressure

Israeli airstrike kills three in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

sraeli airstrikes overnight on a smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah killed two Palestinians and injured nine others. According to medical sources Nael Ali Batiniji, 22, and Mansour Ali Batiniji, 32, and Ibrahim Batiniji 24, arrived dead at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. The three were brothers. Rescue workers were still searching for more bodies in the rubble of the tunnel. The medics also said nine injured people were taken to hospitals in ambulances after the strike.

Fayyad unveils plan for de facto state by 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled his plan to establish a de facto state within two years on Tuesday. Fayyad’s plan is to build up the apparatus of a state in the West Bank and Gaza even before Israel has withdrawn its forces from Palestinian land. He said the Palestinian Authority wants to take “positive steps … despite the occupation.” “This is on the path to freedom,” he said at a Ramallah news conference on Tuesday.

Evicted Palestinians camp by home taken by settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jihan Abdalla - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Fresh dates and chicken soup were served up at dusk on the sidewalk in the well-heeled suburb of Sheik Jarrah this week, as the evicted Palestinian al-Ghawi family spent another night camped outside their former home. Their stone house in Arab east Jerusalem, in a district of consulates and trendy restaurants, is now home to Jewish settlers, who moved in as they were being kicked out on Aug 2. The furniture and belongings of the seven-member family were tossed on the street. Their neighbor offered shelter.

Palestinian PM: We'll form de facto state by 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority intends to establish a de-facto state within the next two years, despite failing peace talks, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Tuesday. "We have decided to be proactive, to expedite the end of the occupation by working very hard to build positive facts on the ground, consistent with having our state emerge as a fact that cannot be ignored," Fayyad told the Times of London. "This is our agenda, and we want to pursue it doggedly." According to Fayyad, the idea would be to "end the occupation, despite the occupation."

Hamas: Only breakthrough in Shalit deal is German mediation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

German involvement in mediation over a prisoner swap for the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit has advanced the negotiations but a breakthrough is not imminent, Hamas said on Tuesday. Hamas, the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip, wants to trade Shalit for hundreds of jailed Palestinians. Israel long balked at freeing some of the prisoners but local media have recently reported progress.

U.S. says nearing renewal of Israel-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that its Middle East envoys are approaching an agreement on renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters that tomorrow's meeting in London between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell may not yield a breakthrough, but that the process aimed at forming a framework for renewing talks is close to bearing fruit.

PM wants US to pressure Saudis on normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell to pressure the Saudis into opening diplomatic channels and opening its skies to Israel as a leading condition towards normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states. If this is done, the Israeli government will be able to reach an agreement on freezing construction in settlements according to American demands.

Fatah proposes 3-month truce with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are renewing a wave of mutual arrests following the deadlock reached in talks meant to bring the Fatah and Hamas delegations together in Cairo. Fatah and PA sources said Hamas security forces arrested three Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip, and that PA security forces have arrested 12 Hamas men in Hebron. The current round of arrests indicates the many difficulties faced by the Egyptians in their attempt to get the rival Palestinian factions to convene around the negotiations table.

Nablus: a template for peace, or Netanyahu at his most cynical?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The shopkeepers in Nablus, the West Bank's toughest town, are smiling for a change. But no one knows for how long. Dubbed "the mountain of fire" by Palestinians for its part in the revolt against the British mandate during the 1930s, Nablus is usually known for its violent uprisings, choking Israeli clampdowns and prowling Palestinian gunmen extorting protection money.

Meridor: We won't return to the line of 1967
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

"Surely, nobody expects [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu to offer more than what [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert offered [to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]," Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor [Likud] told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday.

An unusual sighting in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daoud Kuttab - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

I had to rub my eyes a few times to be sure that what I was seeing was real. The setting: downtown Ramallah. The event: International Youth Day. The participants were wearing white T-shirts with logos on the front and back and dark red hats. Palestinians from all over the West Bank were participating in the event organized by a network of youth NGOs called "We are Palestine." The theme this year was "We will be as much as we can dream."

Israel speaks with one voice; Arabs must do the same
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mustapha Karkouti - (Opinion) August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

There is a peacemaker in the White House and now we know what Israel is doing about it. Since his first and only meeting with the US president in May, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to derail Mr Obama’s efforts even before he announces his long-awaited peace plan for the Middle East. Mr Netanyahu has failed so far but there is no guarantee that he will not succeed in the future.

Hamas-Fatah talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt continues its efforts to mediate between Fatah and Hamas; Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has publicly upbraided them for their destructive divisions; yet Fatah and Hamas refuse to put their dispute aside and work together for the Palestinians’ common good.

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