Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times says the confrontation over settlements reveals deeper US-Israel rifts, and calls the administration's attitude "refreshing." Tom Friedman says peace is considered a necessity by the US but a hobby by Israel. Arab leaders consider their options. The Christian Science Monitor says PM Netanyahu faces growing challenges on many fronts. Politico reports on deep divisions within the administration. Israeli settlers have taken over the front of a Palestinian home. A new poll shows Israelis concerned about their international reputation. At the urging of the PA, the Arab League reiterates commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative. Israeli officials are concerned the US may impose a settlement. David Landau says Israel is sliding towards McCarthyism and racism. Gideon Levy says Israel should thank Pres. Obama for acting like a true friend. Alon Pinkas says Obama is pro-Israel. PM Netanyahu denounces attacks against Pres. Obama by his allies in the Israeli media. Israeli posters call for the elimination of the Haram al-Sharif. The PA fires hundreds of Hamas-linked educators. The BBC says the US is considering not vetoing a UN resolution on Jerusalem.

Rift Exposes Split in Views on Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

When Israel announced new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem at the start of a visit this month by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for the timing and expressed regret at the embarrassment. Mr. Biden accepted his explanation, and the two sides seemed prepared to move on.

Arabs Weigh Alternatives as Peace Stalls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab states should prepare for the possibility that the Palestinian-Israeli peace process may be a total failure and prepare alternatives, the secretary general of the Arab League said on Saturday. The official, Amr Moussa, did not specify what the alternatives might be. But one possibility is a revival of an initiative first proposed eight years ago under which Arab states would normalize ties with Israel in exchange for concessions on territory.

Mr. Obama and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

After taking office last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel privately told many Americans and Europeans that he was committed to and capable of peacemaking, despite the hard-line positions that he had used to get elected for a second time. Trust me, he told them. We were skeptical when we first heard that, and we’re even more skeptical now.

Hobby or Necessity?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) March 27, 2010 - 12:00am

If you think this latest Israeli-American flap was just the same-old-same-old tiff over settlements, then you’re clearly not paying attention — which is how I’d describe a lot of Israelis, Arabs and American Jews today.

Fierce debate on Israel underway inside Obama administration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tense visit to the White House last week, an intense debate inside the Obama administration about how to proceed with Netanyahu to advance the Middle East peace process has grown more heated, even as Israeli officials are expected to announce they have reached some sort of agreement with Washington as soon as tonight.

East Jerusalem house is a home divided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

A tiny brick house. A disputed neighborhood. And a Solomon-style court ruling that has placed two sets of strangers -- with nothing in common but hatred -- under the same flat roof. Since December, Israelis have resided in the front part of a house where Palestinians have long lived. All that separates them is a bedroom wall, a sealed door and, lately, the police, who visit regularly to break up the fights.

After US dustup, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces growing challenges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

On the eve on Israel's Passover holiday, which celebrates liberation from oppression, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked so mired in his mounting, multi-faceted crises that he might need a miracle to survive them.

On Passover, Israel concerned over world standing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Nearly one out of every two Israelis thinks the country's international standing is poor following Israel's most serious crisis with the United States in decades, according to a poll published Monday on the eve of the Passover holiday. As Jews around the world were making last-minute preparations for the spring festival — which marks the biblical story of the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt — a poll in the Maariv daily showed increasing concern following the open rift between the governments of the world's two largest Jewish centers.

Arab League still backs peace initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Arab League voted at its annual summit to continue backing an initiative that would give Israel land for peace. The renewed support for the Arab peace initiative announced Sunday in Libya came despite efforts by Syria and Lebanon to convince the league to withdraw from peace efforts. Continued Israeli building and building approvals in eastern Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of a future state, has angered league members.

Binyamin Netanyahu's efforts to heal rift marred as Barack Obama branded 'disaster for Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, tried to smooth over a breach in relations with the US today, speaking out against unnamed confidants who described Barack Obama as pro-Palestinian and Israel's "greatest disaster". Netanyahu made his first public comments after a fraught visit to Washington last week, where he held a long but low-key meeting with Obama that ended with significant disagreement.

US 'may not veto UN resolution on Jerusalem'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar's foreign minister. The official said the US would "seriously consider abstaining" if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC. US officials in Washington have not confirmed the report. There are no concrete plans at present to table such a resolution at the UN. But it is likely that the US is considering how to maintain pressure, and a UN resolution would be one way, says BBC state department correspondent Kim Ghattas.

President’s demands do not constitute radical change in US policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Alon Pinkas - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama is pro-Israel, even though he does not shower Israel with love on a daily basis, as was the case during 16 years of pampering under Clinton and Bush. In addition, the president does not mutter at every opportunity how deep America’s commitment is to Israel’s security and qualitative advantage; yet when it comes to all the parameters that count, Obama is pro-Israel.

Israel should thank Obama for acting like a friend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

If Israel had a real peace camp, if the silent majority had broken its sickly silence, if more Israelis approached the situation as a collective rather than individuals yearning for the next holiday or car, if more Israelis refused to accept blindly the deceptions of Israeli diplomacy and propaganda, Rabin Square would have been filled with demonstrators yesterday. Among the banners and flags, one sign would have stood out in this hour of risks and fateful decisions: "Thank you, friend." Thank you, Barack Obama, friend of Israel.

PA purges Hamas-linked educators
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank has over the past two years fired hundreds of school teachers and imams suspected of being affiliated with Hamas, Palestinian sources in Ramallah disclosed on Sunday. The firings are seen in the context of the PA’s efforts to prevent Hamas from taking control over the West Bank. The teachers and imams have threatened legal action against the government on the grounds that their dismissal was “politically motivated.”

J’lem posters call for 3rd Temple
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Abe Selig - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

While tensions continue to simmer around the Temple Mount after riots in and around the capital’s Old City earlier this month, a new campaign calling for the construction of the Third Temple atop the holy site has made its way to the sides of 200 Egged buses in the city, which now sport posters featuring a picture of a rebuilt temple on the Mount, and nothing else.

PM: Remarks about Obama inappropriate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The cabinet convened on Sunday for the first time since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from his tense visit to Washington. At the opening of the meeting, the prime minister asked to soften tone toward US President Barack Obama. "I have been hearing inappropriate remarks in the media recently with regards to the American president and his administration. Even when there are disagreements – these are disagreements among friends, which are based on a longtime relationship and tradition," Netanyahu said.

Israel is sliding toward McCarthyism and racism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Landau - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

"In every generation a man is to consider himself as if he personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt." That is the central message of the Haggadah, of the seder night and indeed of Passover itself - the Festival of Freedom. The message isn't necessarily confined to the experience of the Hebrew slaves, who were delivered from bondage. The entire epic of the Exodus is meaningful. Our generation, in particular, the generation of renaissance and occupation, might do well to consider the narrative from the Egyptian perspective.

Israel fears Obama heading for imposed Mideast settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama's demands during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Tuesday point to an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians in less than two years, political sources in Jerusalem say. Israeli officials view the demands that Obama made at the White House as the tip of the iceberg under which lies a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward Israel.

PNA urges Arabs to maintain peace offer with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

he Palestinian National Authority (PNA) said Sunday that Arabs should maintain the Arab peace initiative with Israel. The Arab peace initiative "is still the strategic choice of the Arab League (AL)'s summit" that is wrapping up on Sunday in Libya, said Nabil Abu Rdineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. However, he added that the Palestinians "will be committed to any other option the summit takes."

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