Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The outlines of a Palestinian state are emerging in the West Bank. The New York Times says direct talks are another serious chance for peace, and the LA Times says they are better than the alternative. Richard Cohen says both sides must make compromises. PM Fayyad apologizes for the disruption of anti-negotiation activities in the West Bank and says a self-sufficient economy is the next PA goal. Two thirds of Palestinians back negotiations with Israel. The PA issues a new document outlining the second year of state building. Israel is considering “goodwill” gestures to the Palestinians. Fayyad says PM Netanyahu must explain his understanding of a Palestinian “state” and that negotiations are at a make or break moment. The prominent rabbi who wished death on all Palestinians now says he understands the need for extending the settlement freeze. Israelis anticipate US military aid in the event of an agreement. Gershon Baskin looks at lessons from previous negotiations. The Forward looks at the new “Emergency Committee for Israel.” Ghassan Khatib warns that a pragmatic two state solution may become impossible. Yossi Alpher mocks the right wing Israeli version of a “one-state solution."

Outlines Emerge of Future State in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

As preparations intensify for a Palestinian-Israeli summit meeting in Washington on Thursday, the crude outlines of a Palestinian state are emerging in the West Bank, with increasingly reliable security forces, a more disciplined government and a growing sense among ordinary citizens that they can count on basic services.

New Chance for Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, will open talks on a two-state solution on Thursday in Washington. These will be the first direct negotiations between the two sides in 20 months, and there will be an early test of the two leaders’ seriousness of purpose.

Time stands still in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Say what you will about the Arab world, it's hard to earn its gratitude. President Obama went to Egypt and not Israel. He demanded that Israel cease adding new settlements in the West Bank. He treated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a chilling disdain. For all of that, though, Obama's approval rating in Arab countries has sunk. Unlike almost a fifth of Americans, the Arab world clearly knows Obama is no Muslim.

At least they're talking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

After nearly three decades of failed peace negotiations, Israelis and Palestinians are understandably dubious about the prospects for success of the latest round of talks, this one between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, starting in Washington on Thursday. President Obama had to drag the leaders to the bargaining table after a 20-month hiatus in face-to-face contact between the two sides.

Fayyad 'sorry' for response to anti-talks forum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad apologized Monday evening for the actions of Palestinian Authority security forces at a conference meant to protest the PLO's decision to return to direct peace talks. "As prime minister, I am fully responsible for what happened and I apologize," Fayyad said during a news conference celebrating the "home stretch to freedom" and the start of the second year of the Plan of the 13th Government. "As I feel sorry when I say that, I feel confident that it will never be repeated," he added calling "what happened on Wednesday ... obviously a big error."

Fayyad says self-sufficient economy PA's next goal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

A year into his two-year plan to build a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says the next goal is be a self-sufficient economy. Speaking at a presentation marking the midway point of his plan, Fayyad said recent growth was a result of foreign aid, but aid-dependency must be reduced to build an economy that can support statehood. The Ramallah-based prime minister explained that financial policy reforms and investment were required to achieve the aim of a democratic system that incorporates freedom of speech, civil liberties and a strong civil society.

Poll: Palestinians back negotiations with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Two-thirds of Palestinians are in favor of either direct or indirect negotiations with Israel, the results of a new poll released Monday finds. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion surveyed over 1,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza earlier this month, ahead of the resumption of direct talks in Washington on 2 September. Around one-third (31.7 percent) of Palestinians were in favor of resuming direct negotiations, while 31.1 percent favored continuing indirect talks.

Palestinian PM reveals more of state-building plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday announced the second part of his plan which aims at preparing national institutions for a possible declaration of a Palestinian statehood. In the second year of the two-year plan, which was first declared in August 2009, would focus on "continuing the rebuilding of the state's organizations." The newly-revealed part of the plan include spreading the basis of fairness, transparency, separation of powers and boosting security and order, Fayyad said in a news conference.

Israeli PM weighing "goodwill" gestures to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Gur Salomon - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to offer Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas several "goodwill gestures" in exchange for the Palestinian leader's approval of an Israeli renewal of construction activity in the West Bank, political sources said.

Fayyad: Netanyahu must explain his definition of 'Palestinian state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday forecast a "moment of reckoning" in the coming weeks when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is forced to explain what kind of state he has in mind for the Palestinians. The Palestinians are set to resume direct negotiations with Israel in Washington on Thursday. They will be the first direct talks in 20 months and are the result of painstaking U.S. diplomacy aimed at reviving the peace process. Fayyad has expressed doubt about whether Netanyahu is ready to offer the Palestinians a state on terms they could accept.

Rabbi Yosef gives PM breathing space on building freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Just hours before he takes off for the US for the start of direct talks with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received surprising political reinforcement from Shas even as it remains unclear how he will maneuver around the continuation of the West Bank settlement building moratorium demanded by the US and the Palestinians. Ynet learned that Shas is prepared to allow Netanyahu "breathing space" after the building freeze expires not to stick to his original promise to renew construction throughout the West Bank.

US may give Israel arms in exchange for concessions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz, Herb Keinon - August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel is looking into the possibility that it will receive an arms package as compensation from the United States in the event that it reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians that entails significant concessions, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Israel’s argument is that there is a need to compensate for security assets that would be lost under a deal that would necessitate a withdrawal from almost all of the West Bank.

Encountering Peace: The indefatigable peacemaker’s advice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) August 31, 2010 - 12:00am

There won’t be many more opportunities to make it work. That is the growing consensus. Even if the public does not sense it, there is a real urgency; we must move toward reaching an agreement. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolvable. There are solutions to all problems. In addition to the multiple rounds of Track I negotiations that have taken place since Madrid in 1991, there have also been thousands of hours of informal Track II negotiations in which a couple of hundred Israeli and Palestinian experts have participated and have reached understandings and “shelf agreements.”

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad signals make or break for two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, warned today that a "moment of reckoning" was approaching as Israel and the Palestinian Authority prepare to embark this week on their first direct negotiations for 20 months. Setting out his second-year plans to build the institutions and framework of a Palestinian state, due to be completed in 12 months, Fayyad said the talks "can and must" succeed or the chances of a two-state solution to the conflict would fade.

New Conservative Group Targets Democrats Working With J Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

With two months left before the midterm elections, a hawkish group is targeting several congressional Democrats who last January signed a letter sponsored by J Street, the dovish Israel lobby, pressing the administration to get Israel to loosen its blockade of Gaza. As the newly founded Emergency Committee for Israel airs attack ads against these congressional candidates, J Street is responding with a campaign of its own seeking to discredit the group as extreme and out of sync with the mainstream Jewish community.

The pragmatic solution may become practically impossible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The idea of the one-state solution keeps popping up, particularly when the two-state solution is undergoing difficulties. Maybe this is because people in the region are unable to imagine anything other than one- or two-state solutions. Recently, and in view of the serious difficulties facing the peace process as well as the evident drift toward radicalization and the political right in both Israel and Palestine, we have again begun hearing the idea of a one-state solution.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - August 30, 2010 - 12:00am

he idea of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seemingly never ceases to surprise and even entertain. It used to be official PLO policy, before the PNC adopted the two-state solution over 20 years ago. In recent years, with the two-state solution going nowhere, there has been a revival of interest in the one-state idea in Palestinian intellectual circles and even among some Palestinian citizens of Israel.

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