Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times points out that Pres. Abbas' consideration of resignation constitutes a crisis for potential peace talks. Some Jewish Americans are making a coordinated effort to buy property in the occupied Palestinian territories. David Ignatius says the PA State building plan is the best hope for a better future, and the Christian Science Monitor argues that unilateralism on either side in the Middle East is implausible. Israeli warplanes reportedly attack Gaza. Former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei adds his voice to those expressing doubt about the future of a two state negotiated peace agreement. Ha'aretz says the prospect of a Palestinian declaration of statehood should rejuvenate the Israeli peace camp, and wonders if PM Netanyahu's intransigence is pushing Washington to embrace Palestinian positions, a concern also voiced in a Ynet editorial. The Jerusalem Post has competing editorials condemning and praising the emerging strategy of Pres. Abbas. Pres. Obama says Israel's ongoing settlement expansion could be "dangerous."

Mideast Peace Talks Hang in Balance Over Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 18, 2009 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Two weeks after the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, vowed not to run for re-election and hinted that he might resign, the Middle East peace process has sunk into a deep crisis amid urgent efforts to revive it.

Real Estate Shopping Is Used as Political Theater on Jerusalem’s Contested Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 18, 2009 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Dov Hikind, a member of the New York State Assembly, was in this disputed city on Wednesday looking for property to buy. He said he was most excited about a new apartment complex overlooking the Old City called Nof Zion. At noon, Mr. Hikind led a group of about 50 American Jews in laying a cornerstone for the next phase of Nof Zion, with construction scheduled to start next spring. “I want to buy here,” Mr. Hikind said. “I might make a deal while I am here this time.”

Ramallah's road map to statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Opinion) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Looking at this city, you can imagine what a Palestinian state could someday be like if folks got serious: The streets are clean, there's construction in every direction and Palestinian soldiers line the roads. A visitor sees new apartment buildings, banks, brokerage firms, luxury car dealerships and even health clubs.

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
October 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said its warplanes bombed two smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip and a building that it alleged was used to produce weapons near Gaza City early on Thursday morning. No injuries were reported in the strikes. The Israeli military spokesperson also said that it verified that the targets were accurately hit.

Ahmed Qureia: Two-state solution becoming hopeless
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel’s decision to build 900 settlement homes in Gilo is “another nail in the coffin of the peace process,” member of the PLO executive committee and Chairman of the Department of Jerusalem affairs Ahmed Qurei said Wednesday. The PLO official called the decision one “disrespectful” to the personal efforts of US President Barack Obama who has been attempting to revive the peace process since he stepped into office more than a year ago.

Analysis / Will Netanyahu's behavior push Obama into Abbas' arms?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The crisis surrounding the expansion of Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood is making waves all the way to China now. U.S. President Barack Obama, an amazing orator in his own right, was able to easily duck a question from a reporter from the conservative Fox network on the Jerusalem issue. But Obama did not want to hide his anger in diplomatic phrasings this time. There are at least three reasons for Obama to take out his anger on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Gilo affair.

Israel building Jewish homes with one hand, destroying Arab homes with the other
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The World Likud movement held a cornerstone-laying ceremony yesterday for the expansion of the neighborhood of Nof Zion, despite - or possibly because of - American pressure against building in East Jerusalem. The Jewish settlement is in the middle of the Arab village of Jabal Mukkaber. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem municipality razed two Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem yesterday.

Comment / Why has the left in Israel vanished?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Opinion) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The threats uttered against a possible Palestinian declaration of independence by our leaders Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Ehud Barak let the Israeli sanctimony (usually tedious and belabored) drop to the floor for a moment, like a woman's slip. It exposed the ugly skeleton of force that gives only us freedom of speech - we're permitted, you're forbidden. We are allowed to reiterate Israel's Declaration of Independence over and over. You are not allowed to do so with yours.

US-Israel relations: Is there a crisis?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Naama Lanir - November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The charged relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been topped with open outrage by the US administration over construction plans in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood. Does this unprecedented protest point to a serious crisis with Washington?

A wheelless cart before a lame horse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Zalman Shoval - (Opinion) November 18, 2009 - 1:00am

One should never underestimate the propensity of the Palestinians for shooting themselves in the foot, to wit, the situation Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has put himself in with regard to the peace process. True, this may not have been entirely his fault - mixed signals from abroad also had something to do with it, but Abbas seems to be bent on doing everything to get himself into an even deeper hole by adopting ever more intransigent positions. Then there was his zigzagging on the Goldstone Report, after first having asked Israel during the Gaza war to "smash" Hamas.

Rattling the Cage: Go for it, Abbas!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

What we're seeing now in the West Bank is something the democratic world has been awaiting for a very, very long time: a non-violent Palestinian independence movement.

Obama: Settlement expansion could be ‘dangerous’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

President Obama said additional Israeli settlement building "embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous." In an interview Wednesday with Fox News in China, Obama said Israel's decision to approve the construction of 900 new apartments on the outskirts of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo was not helpful to peace talks.

Moves against peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

It seems Israel is taking full advantage of the crisis in the peace process to push its anti-peace agenda. Razing houses in East Jerusalem and issuing tenders for another 900 settlement units in illegal settlements, these ones in Gilo, a particularly ugly housing estate near Bethlehem, the Israeli government is continuing to send the kind of unmistakable signals that really ought to leave this country exposed as the pariah state it is.

Few options left
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The declaration by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he does not wish to run for a second term if and when elections are held has shocked both Israel and the US. His presence at the top of the Palestinian Authority provided them with the cover they needed to pursue their own selfish policies: Israel to continue its colonisation enterprise in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the US to carry on with its longstanding capitulation to the demands of the powerful hardline Zionist lobby, which marches in lockstep with the right-wing Israeli government.

A disregard for law, and for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The news this week that the Israeli government has approved a further 900 new buildings in an East Jeru­salem settlement deals another hammer blow to the already waning peace process. Not only does the expansion of the Gilo settlement show a complete disregard for international law, it shows once again a preference for expansion over peace on the part of the Israel. In a speech to the Jewish Federation of North America a couple of weeks ago, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of the achievements of the Jewish people.

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