Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In lengthy meetings with PM Netanyahu, Sec. Clinton is attempting to restart peace negotiations and may be offering security inducements. Former PM Sharon, still in a coma, is being moved home. Pres. Abbas tells Israelis peace is more important settlements. The Fatah official who has been conducting them says talks with Hamas are pointless. Palestinians commemorate the death of Pres. Arafat. A Palestinian man had been arrested in the West Bank for blasphemy. Ha'aretz says Netanyahu used his US trip to embarrass Pres. Obama, and that a split within Fatah further threatens Palestinian unity. Israeli bureaucracy causes chaos at checkpoints. Kadima leader Livni calls the Netanyahu Cabinet “schizophrenic.” A senior Republican expresses concern about aid to the Palestinians. David Horovitz says the settlement issue has trapped all parties. George Hishmeh says Obama can still achieve peace. Ezzedine Choukri Fishere says the Arab Peace Initiative is still important, Marwan Muasher calls it not only relevant but desirable, Amre Moussa says the Arab League is still committed to it and Nabeel Shaath looks at its genesis, development and present status.

Netanyahu and Clinton in Extended Talks on Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - November 11, 2010 - 1:00am

In a marathon day of meetings in New York on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton worked to salvage peace negotiations that stalled last month over Israel’s refusal to extend a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank. Neither American nor Israeli officials offered details of the talks, although a blandly worded joint statement issued afterward made clear that there had been no breakthroughs.

In Coma, Ariel Sharon Is Moved Home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Ariel Sharon, who had a major stroke while prime minister of Israel nearly five years ago and has since been in a coma in a hospital room, was moved on Friday to his ranch in the Negev Desert, hospital officials told Israel Radio. A former close aide, Raanan Gissen, said in an interview that Mr. Sharon’s sons had been in discussion with Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv about the move. An elevator and other equipment had been installed at the family ranch to accommodate his arrival and long-term care.

Lengthy Clinton, Netanyahu meeting fails to revive Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - November 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over a seven-hour period Thursday in an unusually lengthy but apparently unsuccessful attempt to rekindle moribund Middle East peace talks. No breakthroughs were reported. Clinton and Netanyahu's offices issued a joint statement reiterating the two sides' diplomatic boilerplate on peace efforts.

WEST BANK: Abbas tells Israelis peace more important than settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - November 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called on Israelis to choose peace over settlements, urging them not to waste this opportunity. “To the Israeli people I say: Making peace is more important than settlements,” said Abbas as tens of thousands of Palestinians from all over the West Bank rallied at his headquarters to mark the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, founder of Fatah movement.

Fatah official: Talks waste of time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The gap between Fatah and Hamas is very big despite the recent commitment to continue talks in Damascus, head of Fatah's unity talks delegation Azzam Al-Ahmad told the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper Thursday. Outlining the basic divisions, Al-Ahmad said both sides claimed to be in charge of the legitimate security service, with Director of the PA's General Intelligence Majed Faraj and Fatah Central Committee member Sakher Bseiso holding firm on the belief that security services in the West Bank are "complete and legitimate and cannot be restructured,."

Abbas talks peace process at Arafat memorial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinians will not accept Israel's construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land, President Mahmoud Abbas told a crowd attending a memorial for late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Thursday in Ramallah. "We don't want settlements on our land for they are illegitimate from the beginning. We all are sure that Jerusalem is the Palestinians' capital and the refugees will return," he said to the tens of thousands gathered at the site dedicated to the construction of the Arafat Museum.

Clinton offers Netanyahu security pledge on peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 11, 2010 - 1:00am

NEW YORK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Israel's security requirements would be fully taken into account in any peace deal with the Palestinians. In a move that could allow Netanyahu to persuade his governing coalition to back a new freeze on Israeli settlement construction, Clinton and the visiting Israeli leader ended a marathon round of talks in New York with a strong declaration of Washington's "unshakable commitment to Israel's security and to peace in the region."

Palestinian held for Facebook criticism of Islam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Diaa Hadid - November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

QALQILIYA, WEST BANK — A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down. The case of the unlikely apostate, a shy barber from this backwater West Bank town, is highlighting the limits of tolerance in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority — and illustrating a new trend by authorities in the Arab world to mine social media for evidence.

Netanyahu exploited his U.S. trip to embarass Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to the United States this week damaged Israel diplomatically, undermined the country's relations with the U.S. administration and showed Netanyahu up again as a rejectionist who does nothing but look for excuses and delays to avoid making decisions.

Bureaucracy causes chaos at West Bank checkpoints
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Though a Defense Ministry unit was set up five years ago to oversee checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank, these checkpoints are still run by no fewer than six different agencies, and no single body coordinates their work, Haaretz has found.

MESS Report / Fragile Palestinian unity threatened by Fatah split
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Thousands of Palestinians filled the plaza in front of Ramallah's Muqata government complex to mark six years since Yasser Arafat's death yesterday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed efforts at reconciliation between his Fatah faction and its traditional rival Hamas, then in the next breath rallied the crowd against Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.

Livni: Government suffers from political schizophrenia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

"I heard (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman say that whoever thinks peace with Syria can be achieved is a political hypochondriac. If we're already talking in psychiatric terms, I think a government that says this one day and then talks of peace with Syria and the Palestinians the next day – this is a government of political schizophrenia," Opposition Chairperson Tzipi Livni said Friday. During a meeting with residents of the Menashe Regional Council, the leader of the Kadima party said the government "is not being truthful with the public or with itself."

Senior Republican against US aid to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON - The likely next head of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee said she is against handing out $150 million in direct aid to help the Palestinian Authority close its budget deficit. On Wednesday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the new assistance to the Palestinian Authority and called for other donor countries to step up aid. Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary of State Clinton meet for more than seven hours. PM says he's still serious about reaching peace deal with Palestinians; reports about planned east Jerusalem construction surface during meeting

Editor's Notes: Now we’re all up a tree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - (Opinion) November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

With this week’s new public American- Israeli argument over building plans in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, the “peace process” has truly descended beyond tragedy and into bankrupt farce.

Six Years After His Death, Divided Palestinians Laud Arafat as Unifying Figure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Benjamin L. Hartman - November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Six years after he died in a Paris hospital, leaving behind a failed peace process and a Palestinian government plagued by inefficiency and corruption, Yasser Arafat remains the object of veneration by Palestinians, even as they are divided between nationalist and Islamic factions. Construction on a museum dedicated to his life and containing many of his personal effects – including the black-and-white keffiyeh he turned into a symbol of Palestinian nationhood – has begun in the Muqata compound in Ramallah, where Arafat spent his last years besieged by Israeli troops.

Obama can still do it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Though obnoxious, Benjamin Netanyahu is no dummy.?After all, the Israeli prime minister knows that since he got away with something the first time, he might as well take another shot at it the second time. His victim on both occasions was Joe Biden, the ever-smiling American vice president.

Happy to be proven wrong
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ezzedine Choukri Fishere - (Opinion) November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

It was chilling in Jerusalem in January 2002, and not only because of the weather. The sandbags, the metal detectors, the security guards with their visible guns at entrances to restaurants, malls, hospitals; almost a guard for every door. This was a country seized by a deep sense of threat and disillusionment. In the West Bank, a second winter of heavy repression closed and terrorized villages and towns. Those who had to leave their homes for work, an errand or a family visit, couldn't know when, if, they would come back. This was a whole nation denied hope, and grounded.

Not only still relevant, but desirable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Mazal Mualem - (Opinion) November 12, 2010 - 1:00am

We come in peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Amr Hamzawy - (Opinion) November 10, 2010 - 1:00am

The turmoil in the Middle East must be brought to an end. A serious path leading to a strategic deal has to take place. In this, we should not follow delusions, yet we should seek a just settlement for all. We seek real solutions that address the core problems of our region. There will be no peace in the region unless we tackle its problems with an honest, futuristic and comprehensive approach.

Genesis, development and present status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Nabeel Kassis - (Opinion) November 10, 2010 - 1:00am

It was in early 2002 that the idea of an Arab peace initiative was born. After the failure of the Camp David negotiations, the end of the Clinton presidency and the election of Ariel Sharon, the intifada was raging, turning into a violent confrontation. Israeli settlement policy, Hamas' suicide bombings and Israeli bloody attacks, incursions and siege threatened to destroy the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Early efforts to save the day, including the Sharm al-Sheikh summits and the Mitchell report, did not bring any relief.

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