Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Secretary of State Clinton insists that the US position on an Israeli settlement freeze has not changed after a firestorm of criticism from Palestinian and Arab officials and media regarding her comments earlier this week in Israel. The Christian Science Monitor interviews and This Week in Palestine profiles Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who complains Israel is being allowed to set the agenda for peace. Jewish settlers seize control of a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli military officials claim Hamas rockets could reach Tel Aviv. The BBC explains that the occupation has forced Palestinian artists in Jerusalem "underground." Fatah co-founder Sakher Habash dies at 70. The PLO is considering all factions running on the united ticket against Hamas in Palestinian elections announced for January.

Clinton Denies Easing Pressure on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Struggling to stem protests from the Arab world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday reiterated that the Obama administration still wanted Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements, even if it regarded Israel’s compromise offer as “unprecedented.” Arab officials expressed alarm that the United States seemed to be easing pressure on Israel after Mrs. Clinton said in Jerusalem on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal of restrained settlement building was better than anything previous Israeli governments had offered.

In face of Arab anger, Clinton amends view on Israel's offer to curb West Bank growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Karen Deyoung - November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to soothe Arab uneasiness Monday over weekend statements she made praising the Israeli government's offer to "restrain" growth in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying it "falls far short" of the Obama administration's hopes and is "not enough."

Interview: How Salam Fayyad plans to save the Palestinian dream
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - (Interview) November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian elections are scheduled to be held in less than three months, but the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Salam Fayyad, isn't concerned about running for office. Rather, he's set his sights on a longer-term platform: establishing a Palestinian state by 2011 – a goal he outlined recently in a clear, well-organized booklet titled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State."

Palestinian PM criticizes Clinton for letting Israel set peace agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit here this weekend, Palestinians are reacting with frustration over what appeared to be a shift in the Obama administration's policy toward Israeli settlement growth in the West Bank. Although Secretary Clinton had previously insisted that the US wanted a total freeze on West Bank settlement expansion, she said during her meetings here this weekend that Palestinians should return to negotiations without preconditions – and lauded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's steps toward limiting settlement growth as "unprecedented."

Palestinians downbeat despite US backtracking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinians remained pessimistic about the likelihood of relaunching peace talks with Israel despite US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's attempt to clarify earlier remarks about settlements. During a visit to Morocco, Clinton told Arab leaders that Washington remained opposed to all Israeli settlement activity after she had praised an Israeli offer to ease construction as "unprecedented" during a visit to Jerusalem.

A Stalemate Looms in Obama's Mideast Peace Effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

The Obama Administration's bid to relaunch an Israeli-Palestinian peace process is falling apart faster than you can say settlement freeze — in no small part because President Obama began his effort by saying settlement freeze. On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found herself struggling to persuade skeptical Arab foreign ministers to see the silver lining in Israel's "No, but ..." answer to the U.S. demand that Israel halt all construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Settlers take control of East Jerusalem home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli settlers arrogated the home of the Al-Kurd family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Tuesday, residents of the area said. About 30 settlers were seen entering the house and throwing the family's furniture into the street. The settlers have refused to leave the building and Israeli police blocked members of the Al-Kurd family from entering the area. Witnesses also reported heated arguments between police and Palestinian residents.

Personality of the Month: Dr. Salam Fayyad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from This Week in Palestine
November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Born in Nablus in 1952, Dr. Salam Fayyad remembers his early school years in Tulkarem, when doing well at school was not the main thing (as it continues to be today), it was the only thing. Well, almost the only thing. Back then, after-school street football was also a daily routine and a prominent item on his agenda.

MI chief: Hamas missiles can strike Tel Aviv
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip possess in their military arsenal a missile that is capable of striking Tel Aviv, the army's top military intelligence officer told a parliamentary panel in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The head of Military Intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces, General Amos Yadlin, told the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee on Tuesday that Hamas has recently tested a missile capable of reaching targets at a distance of 60 kilometers.

ANALYSIS / PA fury over U.S. policy on settlements paid off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

The statements and condemnations of the Palestinian Authority, which is insisting the U.S. change its stance regarding a settlement freeze, appear to have paid off. In Israel on Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance on limiting settlement construction and calling for a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. However, in Morocco Monday, she sought to tone down her statements.

U.K., France want Israel, PA to probe Goldstone war crimes claims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

A joint French-British UN initiative would call on Israel and the Palestinians to hold immediate, independent investigations into war crimes allegations stemming from the war in Gaza, as part of a bid to send the Goldstone report back to Geneva and out of the hands of the Security Council or the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The proposal comes before the United Nations General Assembly is scheduled Wednesday to deliberate on the Goldstone report on the war in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

US view on settlement 'unchanged'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Washington has not changed its stance against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. She has been meeting Arab foreign ministers in Marrakech in Morocco. On Saturday, Mrs Clinton urged the Israelis and Palestinians to restart talks as soon as possible. This appeared to endorse an Israeli position that talks could start before a settlement freeze which the Palestinians are demanding. On Saturday, she met Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a new US drive to restart the peace talks.

Jerusalem artists go underground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Jerusalem has played host to a two-day arts festival with a difference as part of Palestinian attempts to celebrate the city's year of being Capital of Arab Culture. The BBC Arabic Service correspondent in the city, Ahmad Budeiri, joined the audience. A group of about 100 specially invited guests gathered at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate for the evening's programme to begin.

Obama betrays hope created by Cairo speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Craig Nelson - (Opinion) November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

It’s official: forget Cairo. Fold up the speech and throw it in the bin, or put it in that already bulging folder marked “Bad Faith & Broken Promises”. That seems to be the unintended but unavoidably obvious message of the about-face by the US president Barack Obama and his decision last weekend to press ahead with Israeli-Palestinian talks despite Arab and Palestinian demands that Israel halt West Bank settlement construction first.

Palestinian revolutionary dies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Sakher Habash, the Palestinian revolutionary and intellectual who died on Sunday after a stroke aged 70, devoted the greater part of his life to the Palestinian struggle. Known by his nom de guerre Abu Nizar, Habash was a founding member of the Fatah Party and although he supported the Oslo process of talks with Israel in the mid-1990s, he never rejected armed resistance. Violence, he argued, was a legitimate way for Palestinians to struggle for their rights. To the end, like his lifelong compadre Yasser Arafat, Habash donned the revolutionary uniform.

PLO Factions to Run on One Ticket against Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Kifah Zaboun - November 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat-Well-informed sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat that PLO factions are studying a proposal by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to run in the forthcoming presidential and legislative elections as one list to confront Hamas, which achieved a sweeping victory in the previous elections four years ago, when it won majority seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC].

Need for US-sponsored Arab-Israeli deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ghassan Rubeiz - (Opinion) November 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians and Israelis are locked in a relationship of deep mistrust. A credible outside force must intervene to break up an enduring cycle of despair. In the foreseeable future, there seems to be no Middle East miracle cure, spontaneous recovery, inspiration, powerful leadership or any of those signs of self-generated breakthroughs.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017