Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The parliament of the PLO convenes in the West Bank for its first meeting in more than 10 years. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met in London today with US Envoy George Mitchell but failed to come to an agreement on a settlement freeze. The U.S. government is reportedly considering an Israeli proposal for a Palestinian state with 'temporary' borders. Palestinian Authority sources say that President Abbas is open to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the meeting of the United Nations next month. The BBC looks at the dilemma faced by Palestinian workers employed in Israeli settlement construction.

Palestinian Leader Maps Plan for Separate State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, unveiled a government program on Tuesday to build the apparatus of a Palestinian state within two years, regardless of progress in the stalled peace negotiations with Israel. The plan, the first of its kind from the Palestinian Authority, sets out national goals and priorities and operational instructions for ministries and official bodies. Mr. Fayyad said it was meant to hasten the end of the Israeli occupation and pave the way to independent statehood, which he said “can and must happen within the next two years.”

PLO to pick new leaders at landmark meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Wednesday began its first meeting in more than a decade in the occupied West Bank to replace leaders who have died. During the meeting in the territory's political capital of Ramallah, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) will pick six new members of the 18-strong PLO Executive Committee headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Abbas vows to reform PLO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to reform the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and expressed solidarity with Lebanon and Syria on Wednesday at an emergency session of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Ramallah. Abbas called for the PNC meeting in order to appoint new members to fill vacant positions on the PLO’s high-ranking Executive Committee.

US said to be weighing "temporary" Palestinian borders formula
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an – US President Barack Obama’s administration is considering an Israeli proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state with “temporary borders” an Israeli newspaper said on Tuesday. The plan also includes guarantees and a timetable for a final peace agreement that includes permanent borders and addresses other core issues including the fate of Jerusalem. The Haaretz report did not indicate what the “temporary borders” of the state would be. Palestinian officials have not commented on the report.

Netanyahu, Mitchell fail to reach deal on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell failed to reach an agreement on the issue of West Bank settlements during a meeting Wednesday in London, according to spokespeople for the two men. However, Netanyahu and Mitchell did make progress in their meeting, the spokespeople said in a joint message afterward, adding that the two agreed on the need to begin meaningful diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with the aim of reaching a regional peace agreement.

U.S. mulls Peres plan for Palestinian state with interim borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The American administration is said to be studying President Shimon Peres' plan for the establishment in the near future of a Palestinian state with temporary borders, with guarantees and a timetable for a permanent agreement that will include solutions on all core issues. Peres presented the plan to U.S. envoy George Mitchell as well as senior Palestinian officials and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He also discussed it with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni.

Palestinians: Abbas open to meeting with Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas is open to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations next month. The meeting would be the first between the two leaders since Netanyahu took office in March. Earlier, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said "there is a possibility" that a three-way meeting may be held between Abbas, Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in September.

Israel and US discuss settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has met US envoy George Mitchell as part of a renewed drive to reach a deal on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The US has been pushing for a complete end to Israeli construction in the hope of kick-starting stalled peace talks. The meeting in London followed talks with UK PM Gordon Brown, when Mr Netanyahu rejected any construction freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. He demanded again that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Israel opens door to West Bank compromise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the US are within sight of a compromise deal on halting settlement construction in the West Bank and paving the way to a resumption of political negotiations with moderate Palestinian leaders. Widespread indications that Israel will agree to a partial freeze on settlement construction were reinforced yesterday when its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped a "bridging formula" on settlement building would be reached. Mr Netanyahu will hold detailed negotiations in London today with the US presidential envoy George Mitchell.

Dilemma of Palestinian settlement builders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

"I feel like a slave," says 21-year-old Palestinian Musanna Khalil Mohammed Rabbaye. "But I have no alternative," he says, as he waits among a group of sun-beaten men in dusty work boots outside the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim. The phrase comes up again and again as the labourers try to explain why they spend their days hammering and shovelling to help build the Jewish settlements eating into the land they want for a future state of Palestine. Mr Rabbaye wants to be a journalist and is trying to fund his studies.

Barack Obama on brink of deal for Middle East peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ewen Macaskill - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Barack Obama is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month, according to US, Israeli, Palestinian and European officials. Key to bringing Israel on board is a promise by the US to adopt a much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. The US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the United Nations security council to expand sanctions to include Iran's oil and gas industry, a move that could cripple its economy.

US takes on Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear programme in one massive gamble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ewen Macaskill - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration's approach to two of the world's most intractable and dangerous problems, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear programme, is to link them together in the search for a solution to both. The new US strategy aims to use its Iran policy to gain leverage on Binyamin Netanyahu's government.

PLO holds poll amid criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is facing claims it is no longer relevant as members of the legislative body prepare to vote on members for its executive council. The Palestinian National Council (PNC) convened in Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday to elect six new members to its executive committee. But the PNC, the highest legal body for Palestinians, is facing criticism from Palestinian factions who say the body has failed to represent the Palestinian people. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have refused to join until the organisation is reformed.

Peace plans come and go. Obama may have to try a wholly new approach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Surely the heart should give a cheer at the hints and signals that suggest Barack Obama will stand before the world next month, either at the UN general assembly or the G20 in Pittsburgh, and launch his own bid for Middle East peace. We have told ourselves for so long that a solution is possible – that everyone knows the contours of an eventual agreement between Israelis and Palestinians – that the urge is almost overwhelming to believe it is within reach.

One-state solution is a blueprint for a nightmare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The continued failure of the Mideast peace process and the escalation of violence from the second intifada to the Gaza war have led many to think that the two-state solution is pedestrian, unimaginative and inhuman. Many Palestinians and a small but vocal group of Jews back Edward Said's claim that a one-state solution with full right of return for all Palestinians must be endorsed. This, they say, would finally lead to absolute and full justice.

Pressure Israel by acting first
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad is certainly doing his best to dominate the headlines ahead of his Israeli counterpart’s visit to Europe. As Benjamin Netanyahu met with Gordon Brown to discuss faltering peace talks yesterday, the world was atwitter over the Palestinian prime minister’s stated intention to declare a “de facto” Palestinian state within two years. For an Israeli premier under pressure from both the United States and at home and attempting to overcome a resurgence of anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe, Mr Fayyad’s announcement could not have come at a worse time. That, of course, is the point.

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