Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Roger Cohen says a settlement freeze is a test of Israel's character. A majority of Palestinians support peace talks. Pres. Obama tells the UN Palestine can be a new member state, Arab governments should support the PA and Israel should extend the settlement moratorium. The Israeli delegation is not present. Jordan's King Abdullah warns about the dangers of not achieving a peace agreement. Parts of Jerusalem are closed in anticipation of protests. Pres. Abbas speaks to Palestinian Americans in New York. The Israeli Navy kills a Gaza fisherman. Settlers say they are ready for a burst of construction, but the Israeli government says it will be restrained. Israelis condemn remarks by Bill Clinton about Russian immigrants. Ha'aretz says the Israeli government should stop funding zealots in Jerusalem. Libby Lenkinski Friedlander praises Palestinian nonviolent protests. Former PM Olmert urges international trusteeship for holy places in Jerusalem. A Likud minister says Israel should give the PA control of more of the West Bank. The Independent interviews Gideon Levy. The National says now is the time for peace.

A Test of Israel’s Character
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

At a dinner hosted by American Jewish leaders for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, I was seated with a senior U.S. diplomat to my left, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization to my right, and Abbas opposite. It was like listening to a rousing peace overture as an ominous leitmotif of disaster keeps returning with ever greater insistence.

Survey: Palestinians Believe Peace Talks Are Best Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
(Analysis) September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

A new survey shows a majority of Palestinians believe peace negotiations are the best way to achieve their goals. The survey released Thursday by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center showed 53 percent of those polled said peace talks were the best strategy.  That compares with 26 percent who said violent resistance is the best method, and 16 percent who supported non-violent resistance.

Obama calls on Arab nations to support peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Christi Parsons, Paul Richter - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama on Thursday pushed Arab nations to provide more political and financial support for the Middle East peace effort, warning that they should not risk the failure of the latest initiative if they truly seek an independent Palestinian state and stability across the region. Obama deplored efforts — assisted by some Arab and Muslim countries — to isolate or "delegitimize" Israel.

UNITED NATIONS: Israel's absence during Obama speech draws attention
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Blog) September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama's call Thursday in an address before the U.N. General Assembly for Israel to extend its West Bank construction moratorium got little reaction from the Israeli delegation. That's because they weren't there. As Obama spoke about the importance of supporting U.S.-brokered peace talks, television cameras panned to empty chairs at Israel's U.N. desk.

The Daily Show is listening to King Abdullah. Is anyone else?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Tom A. Peter - September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

"hipness" points count in politics, the international standing of Jordan’s King Abdullah II is about to go through the roof: Tonight he'll be appearing on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” And King Abdullah is pretty cool to begin with. He’s married to Queen Rania, one of People Magazine’s 50 most beautiful people. Before becoming king, he appeared as an extra on Star Trek. An amateur race-car driver, he also personally drove President Barack Obama to the airport when he visited Jordan prior to being elected. Obama later joked: “I won't tell you how fast [Abdullah] was going.”

Jerusalem remains on lockdown following clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Checkpoints were erected at the entrances to several Jerusalem neighborhoods on Friday, with soldiers preventing residents from leaving the areas in several cases, witnesses said. Hundreds of police and border officers were deployed around the Old City, with 3,000 in total across East Jerusalem, officials estimated. Israeli Police Commander in Chief Dudi Cohen reportedly decided to maintain the state of alert declared Friday morning in the city, extending it through the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Palestinian-Americans reassured by Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas met with Palestinian-Americans from across the 50 states on Thursday, for an hour-long meeting where he reasserted his position on a resumption of settlement construction. "I will say this once in front of you, if they want negotiations, then they will continue with settlement freeze otherwise the negotiations will stop, and we are sorry to waste the opportunity," Abbas told assembled guests.

Israeli navy kills Gaza fisherman - Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli navy fired on a Palestinian boat off the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, killing a fisherman, the territory's Hamas administration said. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that naval vessels shot at a fishing boat after it approached the limits of waters where Israel, which keeps Gaza under blockade, permits Palestinian maritime traffic. "We fired warning shots to turn them back, and when they did not respond, we fired at the boat," the spokeswoman said. "We are checking the claim that there was a casualty."

Israel plays down scope of future settler projects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - (Analysis) September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Israel urged the Palestinians on Friday not to abandon recently resumed peace negotiations over the imminent expiry of a West Bank settlement moratorium, saying any new construction projects would be limited in scope. The scheduled end on Sunday of the 10-month partial halt to building in Jewish settlements has drawn Palestinian threats to quit the talks sponsored by U.S. President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly called on Israel to extend the freeze.

Israeli leaders condemn Clinton immigrant comments
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Aron Heller - September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli leaders have sharply criticized Bill Clinton over comments the former U.S. president made this week calling Russian immigrants in Israel an obstacle to peace. Clinton, who is generally a well-loved figure in Israel for his efforts to broker a Mideast peace deal in the 1990s, also said at a round-table group this week in New York that the most recent arrivals in Israel have the hardest time agreeing to share the land with the Palestinians.

The government must stop funding zealotry in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The circumstances under which a private security guard fired at demonstrators in Silwan in East Jerusalem, killing a local man, Samar Sirhan, still need to be clarified. The police are investigating the guard's version of events, that he had to fire at people throwing stones who were endangering his life. Presumably the police will also look into the rules of engagement the security company gives its guards, and whether it properly trains them to deal with such situations.

Israel's Palestinian partner is ready and waiting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Libby Lenkinski Friedlander - (Opinion) September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

For most Israelis, who have had little or no interaction with Palestinians for at least the past decade, the "Palestinian partner" remains an abstract concept. As a result, we spend a lot of time seeking a clear definition of what that ideal partner for ending the occupation would be: Who would be acceptable? What is the ideal profile? As a civil society worker, I have a face for the Palestinian partner that I want to see, in the abstract and in flesh and blood. I have met him.

Settlers plan burst of quick, 'light' construction as freeze nears end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

As settlers prepare to resume construction in full force on Monday, in an effort to preempt a possible last-minute extension of the settlement freeze, the star of the day is "light construction" - cheap, environmentally friendly methods that enable building a house in two months or less. Monday is expected to be a big day for contractors, after nine months of no work. There are an estimated 2,000-2,200 housing units in the territories that have all the necessary approvals in order to begin construction.

Settlement construction to be resumed, limited
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Only two days are left before the end of a 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction in the West Bank, and the Israelis and Palestinians have yet to reach a compromise which would allow the peace talks to continue. The American administration is leading hectic efforts to come up with a creative solution, as representatives of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continue the talks in Washington. US President Barack Obama on Thursday called on Israel once again to continue the building freeze.

Rightist MKs slam Obama remarks at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Rightist Knesset members slammed American President Barack Obama Thursday over his remarks during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Responding to the president's call for an extension of the West Bank settlement freeze, Likud MK Danny Danon said "Obama is invited to turn on CNN Sunday and watch the bulldozers resuming construction in Eretz Yisrael." "A person who presents the freeze as a condition for peace is completely detached (from reality,) and will apparently not get to be a partner for peace in the Middle East," he said.

'Palestine new UN member in 2011 if talks succeed'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jordana Horn - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

In his address to the UN General Assembly Thursday, US President Barack Obama called for a continuation of the settlement freeze and expressed the hope that by next year, current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will have resulted in “an independent, sovereign state of Palestine. “We believe that the moratorium should be extended. We also believe that talks should press on until completed,” Obama said, adding later that “now is the time for this opportunity to be seized, so that it does not slip away.”

Olmert urges ‘int’l trusteeship’ for Holy Basin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel should agree to an international trusteeship in Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, should allow non-Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state, and should offer to solve the Palestinian refugee problem within the framework of the Arab peace initiative, former prime minister Ehud Olmert urges in an op-ed article in today’s Jerusalem Post. “If [Israel] takes a clear stance on these issues and presents them as its position for the negotiations,” Olmert writes, it would “transform the atmosphere” surrounding the direct talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Eitan urges ‘partial territorial agreement’ to boost talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

In a proposal aimed at giving positive momentum to Israeli- Palestinian direct talks following the imminent end of the 10-month settlement freeze, Likud Minister Michael Eitan is urging the two sides to try to reach a “partial territorial agreement” in the next few months, under which Israel would transfer authority and security responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority in the overwhelming proportion of the West Bank, while Israel would resume building in the major settlement blocs.

Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Johann Hari - (Interview) September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Gideon Levy is the most hated man in Israel – and perhaps the most heroic. This “good Tel Aviv boy” – a sober, serious child of the Jewish state – has been shot at repeatedly by the Israeli Defence Force, been threatened with being “beaten to a pulp” on the country’s streets, and faced demands from government ministers that he be tightly monitored as “a security risk.” This is because he has done something very simple, and something that almost no other Israeli has done.

For peace, there may be no time like the present
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) September 23, 2010 - 12:00am

When the moratorium on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank expires is somewhat unclear. Some say it ends on September 26; others at the end of the month. What is absolutely clear, however, is that the moratorium must be extended.

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