Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Negotiations proceed despite violence but have not made any obvious progress. Special Envoy Mitchell says the parties are tackling tough issues, that the goal is full normalization in the region and that the US is actively pursuing Israeli-Syrian negotiations. The struggle over Silwan highlights tensions in Jerusalem. Israel bombs targets in Gaza. Pres. Abbas meets with Sec. Clinton and says there is no alternative to the talks. Ari Shavit says division of the land may precede a final status agreement. The US reportedly wants borders set in three months. PM Netanyahu reportedly tells Abbas his policy on settlements is unchanged. Yaakov Katz says Hamas is trapped between wanting to disrupt the negotiations but avoid major Israeli retaliation. Jeremy Bowen warns against excessive optimism. Jewish Americans are divided over Israeli artists' boycott of settlements. Zuheir Kseibati takes a dim view of negotiations. The Jordan Times says settlement building may kill the talks. John Whitbeck proposes an alternative model for two states. Ghaith Al-Omari explains his reasons for hopefulness.

Amid Shelling, Mideast Peace Talks Drag
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner, Mark Landler - (Analysis) September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians shifted to home turf here on Wednesday, amid a rain of mortar shells on southern Israel and with no sign that the two sides had broken an impasse over Israel’s moratorium on the construction of Jewish settlements. In a gesture to the Israelis, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, traveled to Jerusalem for a two-hour meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at his official residence, and Mr. Netanyahu returned the favor by welcoming him with a Palestinian flag.

Israelis, Palestinians already broaching tough topics in talks, envoy says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - (Analysis) September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM - Israeli and Palestinian leaders are delving very quickly into some of the most difficult issues dividing them, the U.S. special envoy to the region said in an unusually upbeat report Wednesday, even as Israeli fighters bombed a smuggling tunnel and Palestinian militants launched mortar rounds into southern Israel.

How Israeli-Palestinian battle for Jerusalem plays out in one neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - (Analysis) September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Jerusalem — The second round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks under way culminates tonight at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to arrive for further face-to-face negotiations on core issues. The meeting’s unusual location underscores Jerusalem’s emergence as not only the thorniest obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace but a defining battleground for sovereignty.

Mitchell: Obama seeks Mideast normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

US envoy to the Mideast peace process George Mitchell said Wednesday that Palestinian and Israeli leaders were tackling the tough issues up front during talks in Jerusalem. Mitchell spoke with reporters following a trilateral meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mitchell himself.

Second strike in 24 hours hits Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

An agricultural tools warehouse and an open area in the Rafah tunnels district were the sites of two airstrikes by the Israeli army on Gaza Thursday morning, witnesses said. An Israeli military statement on the strikes said the targets were "two weapons storage facilities in the northern and southern Gaza Strip" and added that the "attack is in response to the nine projectiles fired into Israeli territory over the last 24 hours."

U.S. sees progress in Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Arshad Mohammed - September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States said on Wednesday it believed Israel and the Palestinians were making progress towards resolving a dispute over settlement building that threatens to sink their newly-launched peace talks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to his official residence, shaking his hand as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looked on approvingly, a day after the three met in Egypt.

Abbas: No alternative to peace talks, we will continue efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Offering a positive note after two days of inconclusive Mideast peace negotiations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he sees no alternative to continuing the talks in search of a peace deal with Israel. "We all know there is no alternative to peace through negotiations, so we have no alternative other than to continue these efforts," Abbas said, speaking through an interpreter during a welcoming ceremony for visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U.S. confirms intense efforts to restart Israel-Syria peace efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel, Barak Ravid - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Special U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell confirmed at a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the United States is making intense efforts to restart negotiations between Israel and Syria. Mitchell said U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed on the results of these efforts. Mitchell said Washington did not consider the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations a barrier to Israeli-Syria talks. On the contrary, he said, the two tracks could help each other.

Plan B for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

On October 5, 1995, prime minister Yitzhak Rabin presented the Oslo 2 accord to the Knesset. In the speech he made on that momentous occasion, Rabin pledged that in the final-status agreement, Jerusalem would remain united, the settlement blocs would remain part of Israel and the security border would be the Jordan Valley. He also said Israel would not return to the June 4, 1967 lines and that the Palestinians would run their own lives in the framework of an entity that would be less than a state.

Clinton meets Abbas in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah Thursday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting is part of intensive discussions between Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. officials in the past two days in the region. An official from President Abbas' office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Abbas and Clinton will dedicate their talks to pushing forward the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations earlier this month.

Report: US wants borders set in 3 months
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Washington is trying to circumvent the obstacle posed by the settlement freeze in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and has devised a compromise which will allow the sides to make progress on other issues. The London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested a compromised according to which Israel will prolong the settlement freeze by three months and the time period wil be used by both parties to reach an agreement on the border issues.

PM to Abbas: We'll continue building in settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

During their meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel plans to resume construction in the West Bank settlements once the moratorium expires on September 26. A senior Palestinian official reported that following the meeting Abbas threatened to quit the direct peace talks if building is resumed in the settlements

Hamas stuck between peace talks and the IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yaakov Katz - (Analysis) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas is on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand it has made a strategic decision to increase its terror attacks against Israel – 10 rockets were fired into Israel on Wednesday – in order to torpedo the peace talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On the other hand, Hamas does not want to go too far with its attacks, to the point that Israel will feel compelled to send two IDF divisions into Gaza and carry out Operation Cast Lead II.

Tight lips as Middle East peace talks rumble on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jeremy Bowen - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

With talks now well under way, the Americans are working hard to stop information leaking out of the conference rooms. The statements that have been released are bland, positive without minimising the problems ahead. We are told that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are "getting down to business", tackling the tough issues upfront.

Artists fight over Israel: The sequel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ami Eden - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Big-time Hollywood Jews sent a strong message last year to artists protesting Israel: Don’t mess with Tel Aviv. What’s the buzz these days following the release of a sequel of sorts aimed at the West Bank Israeli settlement of Ariel? It’s complicated.

The Cage of “Silent” Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

In light of the carrot and the stick policy used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her attendance of the sessions to launch the negotiations on the Palestinian-Israeli track, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas picked up the signal again, seeing how his team is still the sole one concerned about the stick and threatened with “unpredictable consequences” if the negotiations were hindered. At the level of the carrot, Washington believes it allows both sides to come up with “creative” exits for the discontinuation of the settlement freeze predicament at the end of the month.

Undermining line of argument
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, and Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, were in Sharm El Sheikh to mediate between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Unfortunately, and although talks are set to continue in Jerusalem, judging from the public statements made after the meetings, US mediation is spectacularly failing. Settlements, Mitchell told reporters, are a "politically sensitive issue" in Israel, so he urged Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader, to "take steps" to "facilitate the process".

Two states and one Holy Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by John V. Whitbeck - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The Declaration of Principles so optimistically signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 proclaimed as its goal a "historic reconciliation" between the two peoples. Today, even optimists seem to hope only for a definitive separation of the two peoples behind high walls and fences.

Finding an optimist in the Middle East peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from PBS
by Sal Gentile - (Analysis) September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S.-mediated talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials moved to Jerusalem on Wednesday, a symbolic gesture designed to lend credibility to the budding peace process. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have worked. Islamic militants are still lobbing mortars, and Israeli jets are still bombing tunnels. An expiration date on a settlement moratorium looms, and there seems to be little hope for a breakthrough.

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