Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Speculation mounts as President Abbas is reported to be considering resigning not only the presidency but also leadership of Fatah and the PLO. Abbas says an agreement was close with former PM Olmert. President Obama and PM Netanyahu meet in Washington, and former Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass says the silence after the meeting signals either broad agreement or disagreement. In Ha'aretz, former Israeli minister Ephraim Sneh says Abbas' possible resignation is the result of Israeli mistakes. The Media Line interviews Palestinian-American businessman Farouk Shami. In Bitter Lemons, Yossi Alpher says Netanyahu has shown that he understands Washington better than the Palestinians, but Joharah Baker argues that Abbas deserves credit for a firm stance. Aaron David Miller says that without the needed toughness to "crack heads," the Obama administration should not attempt Middle East peace-making.

Palestinian Authority’s Future Is in Question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The collapse of the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s negotiating partner, was raised as a possibility on Monday, as several aides to its president, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he intended to resign and forecast that others would follow. If the Palestinian leader steps down, does this mean the peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians are over?

As Netanyahu meets Obama, Israel ex-general offers Hamas talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Shaul Mofaz, a leading opposition politician in Israel whose former posts include both army chief of staff and defense minister, said Sunday he has a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace – and he's willing to talk to Hamas to secure it. "I will also speak with the devil, if it will bring peace to the state of Israel," Mofaz reiterated Monday during a visit to Sderot, which has often been the target of rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. "And if Hamas is chosen in elections to head the Palestinian Authority ... I am ready to speak with them."

Abbas may quit Fatah, PLO posts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas is considering resigning from his roles on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee, Palestinian officials said on Tuesday. The sources, who spoke on the condition that their names be withheld, also said that Abbas’ announcement last week that he will not seek reelection as president was a serious decision and not a political maneuver as analysts have said. Abbas is also waiting for the appropriate moment to announce his resignation from the PLO and Fatah governing bodies, the sources added.

Abbas: Peace deal was close under Olmert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were close to reaching a peace deal in the last round of formal negotiations, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday. Abbas claimed that the two sides were nearing a breakthrough in talks that were broken off last year when Israel launched its war on the Gaza Strip. The present Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, is simply uninterested he peace, he said.

Obama reaffirms 'strong commitment' to Israel's security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama held a private meeting on Monday night, during which the two discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions as well as stalled Middle East peace talks. "The president reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel's security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues," said a statement issued by the White House after the one hour and forty minute closed-door session concluded.

Blair: Abbas leaving office due to frustration over stalled peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, said Tuesday that he believed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' decision not to seek re-election was a reflection of deep frustration regarding the slow pace of peace negotiations. Speaking to Army Radio while on a visit to Jerusalem, Blair called Abbas a man of peace, and said he worried the decision would harm any chance of toppling Hamas' power in the Gaza Strip. "People are impatient to get into the negotiation regarding the Palestinian and Israeli states," Blair told Army Radio.

Weisglass: Something happened during White House meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Daniel Edelson - November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Attorney Dov Weisglass said the fact that reporters were not allowed in the Oval Office during Monday night's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, as well as cancellation of a briefing the Israeli leader intended to hold for reporters, was indicative of either a crisis or far-reaching understandings regarding the Mideast peace process.

US and Israeli leaders hold talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama has met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House as the US struggles to revive the Middle East peace process. The talks in Washington came amid heightened tension over Mr Netanyahu's refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the meeting was unusual. There were no photos, no press calls, and none of the public warmth Israeli leaders usually get from US presidents.

Farouk Shami: Palestinian Immigrant, Entrepreneur and Texas Gubernatorial Candidate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - (Interview) November 8, 2009 - 1:00am

FAROUK SHAMI is Palestinian-American immigrant who invented an ammonia-free line of hair care products which he parlayed into a fortune. Passionate about his adopted United States, Shami recently made news by turning his Farouk Systems into an all-American operation, building a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Houston, Texas, creating thousands of jobs for the local community. Shami is running for the office of Governor of the State of Texas. He was interviewed by The Media Line’s Felice Friedson. ***

How Will the Palestinians Survive without Mahmoud Abbas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

We must not forget that the Palestinian president – no matter who he might be – is an important figure not just for the West Bank, but for the entire Arab world. This is because the Palestinian President is the guardian of the most important cause – the Palestinian Cause – and therefore possesses exceptional [political] legitimacy in the Middle East's political arena. Therefore the issue that we are facing is one that concerns everybody.

Palestinian leaders foresee bleak future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

It must be assumed that the discussion at the somewhat reluctantly and hastily arranged meeting in Washington last night between Barack Obama, the US president, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, would have focused almost exclusively on the future of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Obama-Netanyahu talks see no result
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The latest attempt by the US president to salvage the Middle East peace talks appears to have come to nothing after his meeting with Israel's prime minister ended with only a brief statement from the White House. Binyamin Netanyahu left the White House on Monday after spending an hour and forty minutes inside with Barack Obama, without making the customary public appearance with his host. A brief White House statement said that the two leaders discussed a number of bilateral issues, including Iran and "how to move forward on Middle East peace".

Abbas isn't finished just yet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Sami Moubayed - (Opinion) November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The last thing Mahmoud Abbas needed was a pat on the back from his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, shortly after announcing that he would not seek another term as president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Succeeding Abbas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The latest visit of Mohammed Dahlan in Amman has triggered much speculation among pundits and politicians over what he is up to. Indeed, he is not an ordinary senior Palestinian official but a very controversial politician, one that many Jordanians and Palestinians accuse of taking a leading role in cracking down on Hamas.

From settlement freeze to baby steps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The Obama administration tried to jump start the Israel-Arab peace process and inject new energy into additional areas of US activity in the Middle East by instituting a settlement freeze in the West Bank. Regardless of the words Obama's people have chosen to soften the impact, this initiative has failed. The immediate fallout is the apparent resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and an inability to get final status negotiations moving again.

Credit where it's due
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Joharah Baker - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

With all the talk about Palestinian elections, President Mahmoud Abbas refusing to run and a possible unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, one thing remains constant--the undeterred growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it is these settlements that will render all of the above completely irrelevant if they are not stopped and dismantled in line with what they are: illegal.

The partner who had no partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

In announcing last week that he would not run for reelection as president of the Palestinian Authority, in effect Mahmoud Abbas is also stepping down from his unofficial position as leader of the dialogue with Israel-"our partner" as we say here.

Mr. President, take Mideast heat or get out of the kitchen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) November 10, 2009 - 1:00am

When Barack Obama receives his Nobel Peace Prize next month in Oslo, Norway, one thing seems clear: It won't be in recognition of his skill in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace. For much of the past year, the administration has wandered around the not-so-Holy Land without clear direction, an accurate understanding of Israelis and Palestinians, or an effective strategy. But all is not lost. The past 10 months could be, to use the president's words, a teachable moment, and with the right lessons learned, maybe, just maybe, the president could get back on track. The lessons:

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