Middle East News: World Press Roundup

At Arafat memorial, Pres. Abbas reaffirms Palestinian determination for statehood, lays out strict conditions for talks. French leaders voice doubts about Israeli interest in peace. Hamas may sign Egyptian reconciliation proposal by end of the month, and Fatah leaders say the scheduled election may be postponed. Israeli settlers go on tree felling spree, build fences to keep Palestinians off of their own land in the occupied West Bank. The Guardian highlights the plight of Palestinian student Berlanty Azzam deported by Israel from the West Bank to Gaza and the implications of this practice. Reports suggest Pres. Obama asked PM Netanyahu at their meeting to take steps to bolster Abbas in light of his possible resignation. Numerous commentaries argue that the peace process is hopelessly deadlocked. Ameen Estaiteyeh says that ATFP deserves more recognition as a pro-Palestine, pro-peace organization. The Media Line interviews ATFP President Ziad Asali.





At Arafat Memorial, Abbas Pushes Independence Fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 11, 2009 - 12:00am


RAMALLAH, West Bank — Thousands of Palestinians turned out Wednesday for a rally here on the fifth anniversary of the death of the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and to show support for his successor, President Mahmoud Abbas, who recently expressed an intention to retire. The question mark hovering over his political future is shaking up Palestinian politics and places yet another block before any new peace talks. But Mr. Abbas, 74, spoke of a starting a new political battle and of perseverance in the pursuit of an independent Palestinian state.


Israeli and French Leaders Meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - November 11, 2009 - 12:00am


PARIS — After meeting for 90 minutes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France announced in a joint statement on Wednesday evening that they had agreed to work toward “immediately reviving the peace process” in the Middle East and discussed international efforts to stop Iran from enriching uranium.


Obama's Middle East Strategy Stalls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Meredith Buel - November 11, 2009 - 12:00am


From the beginning of his administration, U.S. President Barack Obama said resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a top foreign policy priority. After nearly 10 months of diplomacy, however, the peace process appears to be stalled and no negotiations are on the horizon. Some Middle East analysts say the failure to make progress is due, at least in part, to missteps made by the Obama administration.


In Paris, Benjamin Netanyahu finds growing European doubt on Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Robert Marquand - November 11, 2009 - 12:00am


Paris - Europeans, and the French in particular, strong backers of Washington's efforts to broker a Mideast deal, are starting to register frustration with the White House's handling of Israel-Palestinian relations.


Abbas sets out strict peace talk program at Arafat memorial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Ramallah – Ma’an – "I will make decisions as the situation develops," President Mahmoud Abbas told thousands marking the fifth anniversary of Arafat's death on Wednesday, referring to his political future and role in the Palestinian Authority. Speaking from the presidential compound in Ramallah, Abbas laid out for the assembled crowd the parameters of his political program, which seemingly leaves little room for movement unless progress comes from other sides.


Dweik: Hamas will sign Egyptian proposal by end of month
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Ramallah – Ma’an – Hamas will sign the Egyptian reconciliation paper by month's end, Dr Aziz Ad-Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and member of the Hamas bloc said Wednesday. Dweik gave an interview on Al-Jazeera Arabic announcing that Hamas leaders had secured Egyptian guarantees that they would take into account Hamas' reservations on the issue, and would list them on the sidelines of the reconciliation paper, which would be signed by both parties.


Fatah official: Palestinian elections likely to be deferred
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Most of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week took place in private, and it centered mainly on the Palestinian issue. This is what Netanyahu told the people he briefed after the meeting.


Netanyahu told Obama: Peace talks must yield deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Most of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week took place in private, and it centered mainly on the Palestinian issue. This is what Netanyahu told the people he briefed after the meeting.


Palestinians say dozens of trees cut down by settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Palestinian farmers from the West Bank village of Burin, located near the settlement of Yitzhar, discovered Thursday morning that dozens of their olive trees were cut down. Akram Amram of Burin told Ynet that at around 5:30 am he had discovered 97 uprooted olive trees on his land. "I am not embarrassed to admit that when I discovered the massacre which took place on my land, I cried," he said. "These trees are more than 60 years old and I raised them just like I raised my kids."


Yesh Din: Settlers build fences to keep Palestinian landowners off their own land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - November 11, 2009 - 12:00am


Settlers have prevented Palestinians from cultivating almost 400 dunams of their farmland by fencing off the area and the authorities have done nothing to stop them, two Palestinian farmers charged Wednesday in a High Court petition filed by the Yesh Din human rights organization.


Fragmenting Palestinian land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ben White - (Opinion) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


A young student deported from the West Bank to Gaza is just the latest victim of Israeli efforts to sever ties between the territories Ben White guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 November 2009 11.00 GMT Twenty-one-year-old Palestinian student Berlanty Azzam was seized by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank last month. Bound and blindfolded, she was forcibly deported to the Gaza Strip. Berlanty was in her final semester at Bethlehem University in the West Bank, and was returning from a job interview in Ramallah.


Amid Growing Crisis, U.S. Asks Israel for Action To Boost Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Facing a political crisis in the Palestinian Authority, the Obama administration has privately presented Israel with a list of measures it should take to bolster embattled leader Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas’s recent decision not to run again for the P.A. presidency was one of the main topics discussed in a November 9 meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Perfect Storm: Wide Gaps, Weak Leaders, Elusive Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Aaron David Miller - (Analysis) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s threat to withdraw from Palestinian Authority politics — an act that could have grave consequences should he make good on it — is only the tip of a large iceberg threatening to sink the very structure of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.


Obama must get tough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Like most of his predecessors, US President Barack Obama has failed to come up with a logical approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, now in its 62nd year. Many optimists on both sides of the great divide had believed that he would this month take his first, tough step towards bringing the two sides to agree on the outlines of a settlement.


Abbas’ move signals end of Oslo phase
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


In the midst of discussions regarding possible scenarios following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision not to run for president, few have paid attention to the larger picture. Abbas’ refusal to run for a second term as president of the Palestinian Authority signals a clear end of the Oslo phase in which he, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres were key players.


MIDEAST: The 'Unknown' Fight the Illegal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jerrold Kessel, Pierre Klochendler - November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


"Make sure your father gets this," the municipal inspector tells a ten-year-old boy at the gate of the concrete house in an alleyway in the Al-Bustan quarter of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood right under the shadow of the walled Old City. "This" is a court-approved demolition notice, "No. 59". It's for a house under imminent threat of being torn down by the Israeli authorities because it does not have the requisite building permit. The demolition notice is headed: "To Unknown Addressee".


A Palestinian Response to David Suissa
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Journal
by Ameen Estaiteyeh - (Opinion) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


David Suissa thinks that what is needed now “more than anything today is not a J Street but an A Street,” “an Arab organization that would…rally peace-seeking Arab moderates to the cause of peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state” (November 5, 2009, We Need ‘A Street,’ Not J Street). Perhaps he should take a look at the work of the American Task Force on Palestine. (ATFP). It is precisely the “pro-Arab, pro-peace” group he imagines does not exist, and performs exactly the work he should learn is, in fact, being done.


Washington Insider: "Politics always interferes with policy"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Michael Friedson - (Interview) November 12, 2009 - 12:00am


Dr Ziad J Asali, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, in conversation with Michael Friedson, executive editor of The Media Line News Agency. Dr. Ziad J. Asali is the president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, an organization that in a few short years has made a strong presence in Washington and Capitol Hill speaking on behalf of the Palestinian people. Dr. Asali was interviewed at The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem by The Media Line’s Executive Editor Michael Friedson.





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