Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An article in the Economist finds that life is improving in the West Bank. Speculation continues regarding prospects for revival of a US-led peace process in the Middle East. Special Mideast envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to visit both Israel and the Palestinian territories this weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mubarak are scheduled to meet in Cairo. Senior Fatah member, Azzam Al-Ahmad, expresses reservations over Egypt’s proposal for Palestinian elections. The severing of ties between the Bank of Israel and Gaza banks has severe repercussion for disabled Palestinian laborers. Israeli Defense Minister Barak urges Israel's left to tone down its criticisms. Police forces of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reportedly demonstrated increasing cooperation.

Not as horrible as it was
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
September 10, 2009 - 12:00am

A COUPLE of brown sheep squeal and squirm as they are dragged into the backyard of the Alian family’s house in the Jalazun refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. A man slits their throats, spraying the wall with blood. Once the sheep are motionless, women silently start cutting the meat into neat portions to be distributed to the camp’s poorest families in honour of the family’s “martyr”, 15-year-old Muhammad, who was recently killed by Israeli soldiers.

Obama's impossible ambition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Benny Morris - (Opinion) September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama's efforts to revive the Middle East peace process are bound to fail because of the unbridgeable divide separating Israel's and Palestine's political goals. The minor problems are Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's unwillingness to partition Jerusalem and enable the Palestinians to constitute the eastern half of the city as their capital, and his reluctance to freeze the settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

U.S. Middle East envoy to visit Israel, Palestinian territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barrack Obama's special envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories this weekend in a bid to revive stalled regional peace talks, the State Department said on Thursday. "George Mitchell ... will depart the United States tomorrow night," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters. Mitchell's visit to the Middle East will begin on Sunday and last through Monday and Tuesday, Crowley said, adding that details were still being worked out.

Israel PM, Egypt president to talk peace in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Patrick Moser - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's hawkish premier heads to Cairo on Sunday for talks focused on a US-led push to revive the Middle East peace process amid charges that his settlement policies are harming the efforts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will "discuss the peace process and issues of mutual concern," a spokesman for the premier said. Netanyahu "is looking forward to a good meeting with the Egyptian president," the spokesman said without giving further details.

US Envoy to hold three days of talks with Palestinian, Israeli leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell is set to start three days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders Sunday in an effort to prepare the region for potential peace talks, the US State Department said.

Exclusive: Senior Fatah official concerned over Egyptian election plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Senior Fatah member and head of the party's parliamentary bloc Azzam Al-Ahmad echoed other members sentiments in his reservations over the Egyptian conciliation plan's treatment of the elections issue, he said in an interview Friday.

Pitfalls in US timetable for Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Sharmila Devi - September 10, 2009 - 12:00am

A rough timetable in the US push for Middle East peace is likely to emerge in the next few weeks after several months in which the administration has gone against some sceptical expectations and pressured Israel for a settlement freeze. Numerous pitfalls lie ahead, as always in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, but US resolve remains firm, said officials and analysts.

Israel stops money for Gaza’s disabled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - September 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Yunis al Masri was luckier than his two brothers in Gaza. Although the truck that ploughed into their car as they travelled to work in Israel 24 years ago killed Jaber and Kamal instantly, Mr al Masri survived with shattered bones, internal bleeding and brain damage. Today, aged 49 and after many operations, he has difficulty walking and problems remembering to do things. Any hope of working again was crushed in 1985 amid the car wreckage.

Abbas refusal to meet Netanyahu could scuttle tripartite talk plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Less than two weeks before the UN General Assembly is to meet, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains adamant in his refusal to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, potentially jeopardizing the Obama administration's plans to hold a tripartite meeting in New York on September 23 or 24. Abbas insists there will be no meeting with Netanyahu, nor a resumption of negotiations, unless Israel completely freezes settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Does Birthright-Israel have a hidden agenda?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Many of the young people who pass through the Jewish Enrichment Center in Lower Manhattan view it with great affection. It is often the first time they have come in contact with a Judaism that is engaging and accessible. The rabbis responsible for the center's educational and religious programs are charismatic and approachable people who, participants say, have had a large impact on their lives.

Barak to Left: Tone down criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Israel's leftist camp to tone down its criticism of his recent decision to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in the West Bank so as not to hurt the efforts to jumpstart the negotiations with the Palestinians. Ynet learned Thursday that one of Barak's senior advisors told Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer that the approval of building permits for projects beyond the Green Line was actually meant to advance the peace process.

Rattling the Cage: The mother of all missed opportunities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

So there's a stalemate in the peace process, so what else is new? Actually, there is something new. What's new is that the Palestinians in the West Bank are doing what we've dreamed the Palestinians would do for more than a century - and we refuse to see it. They've effectively stopped terrorism. They're building up their economy. They're enforcing the law. They're being trained by the Americans and they're cooperating with Israeli military and intelligence. They're arresting Islamic militants by the thousands, and they're not hesitating to shoot it out with them.

Fatah backs Egypt's plan for 'unity'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Fatah welcomes a new Egyptian proposal aimed at solving its dispute with Hamas, a high-ranking Fatah official said on Thursday. The Egyptian proposal has the support of the Hamas as well. "Fatah has welcomed and accepted the latest proposal," said Jibril Rajoub, the newly-elected member of Fatah's Central Committee, who said that the proposal would bring the two rival parties closer to signing a "national unity agreement."

Growing ties between Israeli, PA police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Away from the media spotlight on efforts to kick-start diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the two parties' police forces together with the IDF's civil administration are increasing their cooperation, and have implemented a series of confidence-building measures over the past two years. The cooperation has taken a number of surprising forms.

What Is Peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) September 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Israelis want peace but don’t believe it’s possible. That is the cumulative finding of a host of opinion polls, and it is critical to any effort by President Barack Obama to create a new momentum toward peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. For many Israelis, the peace with Egypt and Jordan has not appeared sufficiently beneficial, despite the added security it has brought, to pursue peace with the Palestinians or Syrians.

A Peace Process Momentum Plan to Move Quickly to Actual Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Samuel Lewis, Edward Walker - (Analysis) September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

After his major speeches in Turkey and Egypt, President Obama established his ownership of the Arab-Israeli issue. With countries in the region testing whether he has the wherewithal to deliver the goods, his challenge is to keep the momentum going forward on an almost daily basis with practical steps and leadership. The President needs to create a "peace process momentum plan" leading to negotiations by mid-fall, which recent reports suggest he is trying to do through his Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, who is traveling to Israel again at the end of the week.

Towards a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ziad Asali - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s blueprint for what he called “de facto Palestinian statehood” offers a new and important element to the quest for peace in the Middle East.

Build Palestine, and they will come
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Asali - September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s blueprint for what he has called “de facto Palestinian statehood” offers a new and important element to the quest for peace in the Middle East. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians hinges on recognition and security for Israel and freedom and independence for a Palestinian state. Fayyad’s model emphasizes the importance of the reality of the Palestinian state as a functioning entity, irrespective of international recognition and grand diplomatic gestures.

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