Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In a new poll Palestinians express overwhelming support for a two-state peace agreement with Israel, and strong majority support for President Abbas and the PA, but with a substantial minority expressing sympathy for Hamas. US officials say negotiating talks are on track, although Palestinians and the Middle East Quartet continue to insist on a settlement freeze. In the Los Angeles Times, Aaron David Miller questions whether President Obama has the will to break through the Middle East stalemate. Israeli occupation authorities in Gaza announce they will longer deal with human rights groups, as a Palestinian is killed in a tunnel collapse and UNRWA calls for more aid to refugees. Arab and Israeli commentators continue to examine the fallout from the tripartite UN meeting and President Obama's subsequent speech.

IPI Poll: Palestinians Support 2-State Peace Plan, Fatah, Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Peace Institute
September 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The poll reveals major changes in attitudes since 2000, when Palestinians rejected compromises proposed at the Camp David summit with Israel, and the 2006 Palestinian elections, when Fatah was defeated by the Islamist Hamas party.

Palestinians want peace deal but don't reject Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Most Palestinians who want a state of their own would like to achieve it through a peace deal with Israel but there is still substantial support for the Islamist Hamas group which favors resistance, according to a new opinion poll. The survey by New York pollsters Charney research for the New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI) was carried out over the summer in Gaza, where Hamas rules, and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, under the authority of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement.

U.S. officials: Middle East talks on track
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen, Ben Smith - September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Reacting to the tepid response to this week's attempt by President Obama to jumpstart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, two senior U.S. officials made the case Thursday that critics are obsessing over marginal obstacles while the sides move slowly but surely toward the negotiating table.

Palestinians rule out talks until total settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Harvey Morris - September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership yesterday ruled out a future meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, unless he met demands for a total freeze on Jewish settlements, in a setback for President Barack Obama's troubled efforts to relaunch peace negotiations. Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister, told reporters: "No one is talking about a new meeting" between Mr Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president.

Toward peace in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Analysis) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Watching Tuesday's three-way meeting in New York between President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- and the administration's effort to spin it into a success -- reminded me that when breakthroughs in Arab-Israeli peacemaking come, they come with unforeseen and unpredictable urgency driven by big men and big events.

Think Again: Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Zahi Khouri - (Opinion) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

"Economic Peace Is Possible." No. Neither sustainable economic development nor peace is possible without political freedom.

Israel blocks rights groups from advocating for Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - September 24, 2009 - 12:00am

While the Israeli army's crossings into Gaza have gone into near-lockdown mode since Hamas wrested control of the coastal strip more than two years ago, Israeli human rights organizations have regularly stepped in to intervene, with some success. That is, until last week. On Sunday, a group of the most active human rights groups here were informed that the government-run body that controls access to and from Gaza will no longer deal with them.

Tunnel collapse in Gaza claims life of youth, injures two
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

A Palestinian youth died and two others were injured in a tunnel collapse on Friday morning beneath the Egypt-Gaza border, medical sources confirmed. Medics at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah identified the youth as 21-year-old Bassam Adel Mubarak from the An-Nuseirat area in the central the Gaza Strip. They said his body was brought to the hospital after it was dug out of a collapsed tunnel south of the Al-Brazili neighborhood in Rafah city. Two others were brought to the hospital with injuries, they were not identified.

Quartet supports Obama efforts, asks that settlement construction halt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The Middle East Quartet urged Israel to “freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth; and to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem” in a joint statement Thursday. The statement asked the Palestinian Authority to “continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism, and to end incitement,” and fully backed the tenuous re-start of talks initiated by US President Barack Obama.

Rahm Emanuel: Obama summit was not just a photo opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli and Palestinian leaders must move quickly to take advantage of this "unique moment" for making peace, following their meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said in an interview Thursday with Charlie Rose on American public television station PBS. The three-way meeting between Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not a photo op, Emanuel said.

What Obama needs to do for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Analysis) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

United States President Barack Obama failed at the New York summit. In Jerusalem, Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Hebron, his call for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was like raindrops streaming down an opaque window. Obama spoke of the critical importance of "solving this issue," as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas looked on with evident disinterest. Obama did not succeed in breaking through the walls of indifference, distrust and frustration of two peoples who know no other way of life but national conflict.

Palestinian refugee agency appeals for more aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA appealed on Thursday for more aid from international donors to help alleviate a "grave" financial crisis it faces as it marks its 60th anniversary. Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, UNRWA's chief was joined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's Queen Rania in appealing for more international assistance for the agency dealing with the humanitarian side of one of the world's longest running refugee situations.

Listen to Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eyal Gross - (Opinion) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian armed groups have launched about 8000 rockets and mortars into southern Israel since 2001. Since 18 June 2008, rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have killed 3 civilians inside Israel and 2 civilians in Gaza when a rocket landed short of the border on 26 December 2008. Reportedly, over 1000 civilians inside Israel were physically injured as a result of rocket and mortar attacks. We have taken particular note of the high level of psychological trauma suffered by the civilian population inside Israel.

In the shadow of an Israeli settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Martin Asser - September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

They are called the Seven Villages, situated north-west of Jerusalem where the West Bank hills fall away towards the Mediterranean. Though their inhabitants live within the Palestinian Authority's Jerusalem governorate, few get to visit Jerusalem - though the city was "like a mother to us" one man said. While Israelis in nearby Givat Ze'ev settlement bloc zip to Jerusalem by car in minutes, the Palestinian villagers need permission from Israel's military authorities.

Excessive American Kindness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The first conclusion one can draw from the tripartite summit which brought together Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas in New York, as well as from the US President’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly, is that US diplomacy, which promoted a climate of optimism during the past few months and expressed its desire to play an active and positive role in resuming peace negotiations on balanced bases, was quick to abandon such a role with the emergence of the first difficulties, and has retreated to a position of spectator of an imbalanced “arm wrestling match” which, if it were to begin, wo

Souvenir photo at the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

No concrete results were expected from the September 22 meeting held at the United Nations by US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This marks the end of phase 1 of Obama’s intriguing foray into Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

The Prospect for a Breakthrough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) September 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Although the Obama administration's efforts to resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have not, as yet, produced tangible results, the prospect for a breakthrough in negotiations may be closer today than it has been in many years. Notwithstanding the inherent skepticism about the prospect of real progress, the conversion of certain regional and international developments have altered the political dynamic and created a new set of opportunities for a negotiated settlement.

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