Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli police arrest an American-born Jewish terrorist accused of killing both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, while a commentary in Ha'aretz says that if he had confined his attacks simply to Arabs he would not have been caught. Secretary of State Clinton seemingly softens the US stance on an Israeli settlement freeze, while Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas insists this is a precondition for resumption of negotiations. Reuters analyzes his options, and The National looks at a future without Abbas. The Washington Post says the Jordan Valley could be a sticking point in any future talks. James Wolfensohn, former head of The World Bank, says that the PA's two-year state building plan is "a very smart move." Raghida Dergham lays out a strategy for Palestinians to advance the Goldstone report through the UN General Assembly rather than getting buried in the Security Council. In the Guardian, Hussein Ibish argues that the PA state and institution building plan complements Palestinian diplomacy and constitutes an effective program of practical resistance to the occupation.

Israelis Arrest West Bank Settler in Attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israeli police said Sunday that they had arrested a 37-year-old American immigrant, a West Bank settler, and charged him in an array of killings and terrorist attacks over the last 12 years, including the murders of two Palestinians, the bombing of a leftist Israeli professor’s home and the maiming of a 15-year-old boy who belongs to a community of Jews who believe in Jesus.

Clinton Asks Abbas to Return to Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Mark Landler - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to restart Middle East peace talks, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton failed Saturday to persuade the Palestinian leader to accept an Israeli proposal that would slow but not stop the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinians say new U.S. approach imperils peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian officials on Sunday criticized the United States for what one called "backpedaling" on demands that Israel stop settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, saying the Obama administration's change of approach on the issue damaged the likelihood of a peace agreement. "If America cannot get Israel to implement a settlement freeze, what chance do the Palestinians have of reaching agreement" on the even more complex set of issues involved in final peace talks, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a written statement.

Jordan Valley may be hurdle in peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The backhoes are busy on housing plots for this new Israeli settlement in the Jordan Valley, and young families, under army guard and toting M-16s, have begun cultivating dozens of acres of land with dates, olives and other crops. To the south, a water pipeline from Jerusalem has let veteran farmers double the land irrigated for date trees to 9,000 acres, with a second pipeline and more farmland expansion planned.

Did Clinton's Middle East message backfire?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

MARRAKESH, Morocco - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's message on Israel-Palestinian peace talks this weekend was not notably different than what President Barack Obama himself said in New York in September at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. But the prevailing perception and coverage in the wake of Clinton's meetings in Israel and Abu Dhabi Saturday is that the U.S.

Abbas dilemmas as US backs Israel on talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Sawafta, Erika Soloman - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's rejection of an Israeli settlement freeze as a condition for peace talks puts Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a spot. As Abbas faces an apparent shift in the Obama administration's diplomatic strategy and comes under U.S. pressure to relaunch peace negotiations suspended in December, here are some of the scenarios that could play out: ABBAS TALKS NOW

Fayyad condemns "terrorist" settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday condemned an attack during which Israeli settlers shot a Palestinian and injured four others in occupied East Jerusalem. Five relatives, three of them over 60 years old, were hospitalized after right-wing Israelis attacked the Salah family, shooting one, in a bid to take over their home in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa on Friday.

U.S.-born Jewish terrorist suspected of series of attacks over past 12 years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The authorities have arrested a resident of the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel for suspected murder and a role in a string of murder plots, according to details of an investigation revealed Sunday after a gag order was lifted.

Settlements are fertile ground for Jewish terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The parade of the self-righteous got underway Sunday night: Yaakov Teitel was described as a "foreign element," "wild thorn" and "rotten apple." Even if he acted alone, spoke and hallucinated in English, even if he was mentally disturbed, as his attorney claimed, it does not change the fact that Jack the Ripper from the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel - contrary to his predecessor in London - acted on ground that was fertile like no other.

Israel releases Hamas MP
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel on Sunday released Hamas Member of Parliament Hatem Qafisha after a year in detention, allowing him to return to his home in the West Bank city of Hebron. The 49-year-old Palestinian was greeted by members of his family and officials of the Islamist movement Hamas, including Parliament Speaker Aziz Duwaik. Duwaik himself was only released in June after spending three years in Israeli prison, while Qafisha has spent a total of 10 years behind bars in several stints.

‘Fayyad’s Two Year Plan is a Very Smart Move’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - (Interview) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

James L. Wolfensohn, a former head of The World Bank, served as the first Mideast envoy of the Quartet, the entities sponsoring the Road Map peace plan: the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. While Mr. Wolfensohn’s experience and reputation in world finance is unparalleled, his service as the Quartet’s first envoy provides an expertise very few can match. He speaks with Felice Friedson, President and CEO of The Media Line.

Obama yet to deliver on Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jeremy Bowen - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

When he travelled to Cairo at the beginning of June this year being president must have seemed much easier than it does now. He gave a speech there, in a grand lecture theatre at the university, that was intended as a key foundation stone for his presidency. It was supposed to begin to repair the damage done to America's standing in the Muslim world, and especially in the Arab Middle East by his predecessor. Most importantly of all, it was to accelerate the president's push for Middle East peace.

Rips in the Peace Camp’s Big Tent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The first national conference of J Street, the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby, convened October 25 in Washington, D.C., with all the understated reserve of a new iPhone launch or the christening of the Queen Mary. Gathered in a swank hotel a short walk from the White House, some 1,500 activists from across the country sat through hours of speeches by big-shot politicians and diplomats, earnestly debated tactics and philosophy, handed out awards over chicken dinners and jabbered excitedly in the corridors.

US credibility damaged by reversal on Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Paul Woodward - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

In a speech in Cairo that was widely applauded across the region last June, the US president, Barack Obama, boldly declared: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." Five months later Mr Obama's resolve appears to have withered. He sent his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, to deliver news that Israel was only too eager to hear.

Analysts look ahead to a peace process without Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, is on another mission to persuade Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate peace. But she may have to continue in the future without Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, who twice last week reportedly said he was considering not running for a second term if and when new Palestinian elections are held. With Washington apparently softening its position on an Israeli settlement construction freeze as a precondition for talks, Mr Abbas may feel he has been backed into a corner and can ill afford to back down.

So that the Goldstone Report Does not Get Buried at the Security Council
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

A third mistake lies in wait for the Palestinian Authority if it does not pay heed to the dynamics of the interests shared by the five permanent members of the Security Council, represented by their unwillingness to allow the Goldstone Report to reach the council hall at this juncture.

Support the boycott-Israel campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

A new dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is emerging as an effective means of peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land: boycotting Israel. Some four years ago, a loosely connected group of Palestinian activists and civil organisations launched an international appeal calling on citizens and corporations to join the boycott Israelcampaign to protest the occupation.

Palestinians must prepare for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

In an article last week, Ahmad Samhi Khalidi derisively dismissed the plan of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to build the infrastructural, administrative and economic framework of a Palestinian state in spite of the occupation.

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