Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Fayyad suffers a heart attack but is expected to recover. Richard Cohen says it’s time for PM Netanyahu to stop stalling and make peace. Robert Wexler and Zvika Krieger say Pres. Obama's speech was misunderstood. Palestinians say some names for a new government have been agreed. Analysts say the Palestinian unity agreement is a consequence of the failure of negotiations. Russia expresses strong support for the deal, and Pres. Abbas defends it against US criticism. Netanyahu repeats Israel will not return to the 1967 borders. Israel arrests Jewish activists in the West Bank. Palestinians will be going into unknown territory by approaching the UN for recognition. Hamas repeats it will not recognize Israel. Ha’aretz urges Jewish Americans to support Obama. Nehemia Shtrasler says Netanyahu is not ready for any deal with the Palestinians. Aluf Benn looks at the impact that Netanyahu’s speech to Congress may have on his relationship with Obama, and The National says he may offer concessions. Palestinians condemn Netanyahu’s policies as “fraudulent.” Kadima leader Livni says that a two-state solution is good for Israel. An Israeli MK declares “Jordan is Palestine.” Amr Moussa complains Israel is “not serious” about peace. Gershon Baskin describes brutal Israeli responses to Palestinian nonviolent protests. Palestinians are divided over Obama’s policies. AIPAC advocates a hard line with Congress on the PA. The Arab News says UN recognition can only strengthen Palestine’s hand. Ghassan Khatib says the 1967 borders as a baseline are crucial for peace. Yossi Alpher says an Arab initiative at the UN in September, if handled properly, may be the last hope for progress. Hussein Ibish asks what really angered Netanyahu about Obama’s policy speech.

West Bank: Palestinian Premier Has a Heart Attack in Texas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, suffered a heart attack on Sunday at a hospital in Austin, Tex., where he was attending his son’s college graduation, a spokesman said. Mr. Fayyad, a heavy smoker, underwent tests showing a blockage in a coronary artery, and doctors performed a catheterization to open the artery, the spokesman said. He is expected to leave the hospital in two days. Mr. Fayyad has been prime minister since 2007 and has developed close ties with Western leaders.

Time for Netanyahu to ditch his do-nothing policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Every man has a father, and Binyamin Netanyahu’s is worth knowing. He is Benzion Netanyahu, born 101 years ago in what was soon to become Poland and living now in what has become Israel. He is a historian by profession, the author of a mammoth and well-respected book on the Spanish Inquisition and, most pertinent to today’s events, the former secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a militant Zionist leader whose credo, when it came to the Arabs, could be summarized as: Do nothing. Binyamin Netanyahu is doing precisely that.

Obama's Speech Was Misunderstood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Zvika Krieger, Robert Wexler - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The reaction to President Barack Obama's speech on Thursday has largely focused on one line: "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." News outlets from across the political spectrum ran headlines highlighting Mr. Obama's demand that Israel return to the "1967 borders," referring to Israel's boundaries before it took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 Six Day War.

Cairo: Some names for new govt selected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Several names have been agreed on for the new technocrat government being compiled by Fatah and Hamas officials in Cairo, a party member told Ma'an on Tuesday. From Gaza City, Fatah national relations official Diab Al-Loh assured that progress was being made in the now nearly three-week long wait for the announcement of a new government, following the signing of a unity deal on 4 May. Al-Loh said none of the names would be announced until the government was set, and meetings between all factions were concluded.

Palestinian unity arose from ruins of peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian unity deal, slammed by Barack Obama as an "enormous obstacle to peace," emerged after Hamas and Fatah agreed on the shared goal of a state on the 1967 lines and the failure of talks with Israel. "The recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace," the US president told delegates at the US-Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington on Sunday, demanding the Islamist movement recognize Israel, reject violence and respect all existing agreements with Israel.

Russia announces unequivocal support for unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Russia supports Palestinian unity efforts as a step toward regional stability, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavarov told Palestinian factional representatives in Moscow on Monday evening. The statement came at a meeting with seven faction leaders, many of whom recently refused to appoint members to a new technocrat government saying they were being left out of the reconciliation process and would prefer not to lend it legitimacy.

Netanyahu repeats Israel cannot return to '67 borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday again rejected U.S. President Barack Obama's vision of a Middle East peace deal based on the country's "indefensible" 1967 borders. Netanyahu, speaking to Washington's most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, said he planned to outline in a speech to Congress on Tuesday his own vision for an eventual peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "It must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines," Netanyahu said.

Army arrests Israeli activists in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's army says it has arrested several Israeli activists who broke into a disputed West Bank building to protest speeches by President Barack Obama and the Israeli prime minister in Washington. A military spokeswoman says the troops arrested about eight activists early on Tuesday after they holed themselves up in Beit Shapira, a building in the contentious city of Hebron. Israel sealed the building in 2006. Army radio broadcast one activist at the site yelling: "Tell Obama and (Netanyahu) that Israel won't give up its land."

Palestinian UN bid enters unknown territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama threw down a gauntlet this weekend: no vote at the United Nations, he asserted, would ever create a Palestinian state. The Palestinians hope to prove him wrong. But their planned bid for U.N. recognition this fall of a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem — territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Mideast war — enters largely unknown legal ground, and the Palestinians are still trying to work out how best to work the U.N. labyrinth.

Abbas defends unity deal against US criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dale Gavlak - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought Monday to defend his new unity government with the militant Hamas movement, saying criticism by U.S. President Barack Obama represented a "wrong understanding" of the deal. Abbas' comments followed talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Jordanian capital and were noted in a royal palace statement. They were his first remarks on major speeches the U.S. president delivered in recent days.

Hamas says not to recognize Israel as state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas will not recognize Israel as a state, Hamas Deputy Political Director Mousa Abu-Marzouk said here on Tuesday, according to Interfax news agency. Slashing the Palestine Liberation Organization's recognition of Israel, Abu-Marzouk said the move was a "historic mistake." Abu-Marzouk said Hamas was not going to participate in the transitional Palestinian government of national unity, but will help other Palestinian movements to form such a government. He said the transitional government would be technocratic, but not based on a parliamentary majority.

Netanyahu is not ready for any deal with the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - (Opinion) May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

There's nothing funnier than reading political pundits trying to get to the bottom of the fine points of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speeches. When he said "settlement blocs," did he mean the evacuation of all the rest? When he spoke of a "military presence" in the Jordan Valley, did he mean the Israel Defense Forces, or an international force?

U.S. Jews must support Obama's Mideast vision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

American Jews have been dragged over the past few days into the controversy between their government and Israel's government, and that is neither to their benefit nor to the benefit of the State of Israel. On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention and candidly laid out his ideas for a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu's Congress speech: Will it change his relationship with Obama or ruin it forever?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech Tuesday before the U.S. Congress will be the formative event of his term, if not his entire political career. A statement released by his bureau promises that the speech will "garner major international attention," alluding to a surprise. The speech, whose purpose is to curb international pressure on Israel, gives Netanyahu a rare opportunity to reboot his leadership. Just a few months ago, he appeared to be directionless. Now, people are hanging on his every word.

PA: Netanyahu's policies fraudulent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's AIPAC address Tuesday, saying that it reflects his "fraudulent policies, which are in contrast with all international laws and agreements." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's advisor Nimr Hammad said that Netanyahu's speech – and the apparent speech he will give before Congress later Tuesday – was a "clear challenge" vis-à-vis Washington's policies and vision.

Livni: 2-state solution good for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Give peace a chance: The two-state solution is good for Israel and is the only way to maintain a state that is both Jewish and democratic, Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni told the AIPAC conference in Washington Monday. The notion of two states, Israel and Palestine, is not just a slogan or a move that would be beneficial for other parties, such as the US president, Livni said. "It is not an anti-Israeli policy – it is vital for Israel’s interests," she said.

'Jordan is Palestine,' MK Eldad declares at embassy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A handful of Israelis marked Jordanian Independence Day on Tuesday by attempting to present the Jordanian embassy in Ramat Gan with a petition to make the country the official national homeland of the Palestinian people. The initiator of the petition, Arye Eldad (National Union) said that the petition "requests that King Abdullah declare Jordan as the national homeland of the Palestinian people. His father said Jordan is Palestine, Palestine is Jordan. Unfortunately Abdullah doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps on this."

Moussa: Israel 'not serious' about peace negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Egyptian presidential likely Amr Moussa said that the Israeli refusal to negotiate a peaceful settlement with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas is illegitimate. He said that the current Israeli leadership "is not serious" about negotiating with any Palestinian faction. Speaking to CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Moussa said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has to "take into consideration that the Arab world is changing," and that the new Arab leadership will not represent the old status quo. He said now is the time for the Israeli government to "seize this opportunity."

Meeting senseless aggression face-to-face
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

For months I have been hearing about disproportionate use of force by the army against weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh – a small pastoral Palestinian village northwest of Ramallah. Last week, I watched several YouTube videos filmed by activists in the village, providing vivid visual images of the forceful arrests of protesters by the army. I was disturbed because all of the clips showed how the demonstrations ended; none showed how they began. I was convinced that there must have been stone-throwing by the shabab in the village which provoked the violent army responses.

Palestinians at Odds Over Obama Peace Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians were left confused and divided over U.S. President Barack Obama after he made two major policy addresses on Israel, the Palestinians and the peace process in the space of four days. The Obama speeches – one at the State Department largely devoted to broader Middle East issues an a second in front of the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) left a trail of confusion for policy analysts and political figures, especially over the U.S. leader’s meaning when he called for negotiation a future Palestinian state to be based on “1967 lines.”

AIPAC Hits Capitol Hill With Hard Line Message on Palestinian Authority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

In a break from its stance in recent years, the pro-Israel lobby is pursuing a hard-line agenda toward the Palestinian Authority at its annual conference, as 10,000 activists prepare to carry its message to Capitol Hill. The lobbying agenda of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee traditionally includes two elements over the past several years — ensuring foreign aid to Israel and tightening sanctions against Iran in order to block its nuclear ambitions — that are once again being stressed this year.

Wary Netanyahu may offer concessions on West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - (Opinion) May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The first four days of the US visit of Benjamin Netanyahu have drawn much speculation of an open dispute between the Israeli prime ministerr and Barack Obama, the US president, over the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Barack blinks again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Barely 48 hours after he called for a “viable Palestine” on the basis of the 1967 borders and exchanged cold vibes and hot words with Benjamin Netanyahu, poor Barack Obama found himself doing what successive US presidents and leading politicians have always done: Offer obeisance at the altar of almighty AIPAC and sing endless hosannas to the “Great State of Israel.” The so-called historic speech of the US president on Thursday was seen as “too little, too late” by the Arabs. However, even that timid “audacity of hope” was apparently too much for Israel’s friends in the US establishment.

Losing sight of the 1967 borders means losing sight of two states
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama's long-awaited speech on the "Arab spring" and the Arab-Israel conflict has created controversy and spurred contradicting reactions in Israel, Palestine and the Arab world. The immediate and most prominent reaction was that of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who objected publicly to Obama's reference to the borders of 1967 as the basis for negotiations. This automatically made this part of the speech the most dramatic.

Beware the ides of September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama's two recent speeches on the Middle East, at the State Department and the AIPAC conference, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's response and related rhetoric, indicate that neither really understands that September at the United Nations is the only relevant arena they should be addressing. Meanwhile, Netanyahu picked a totally superfluous fight with the American president.

What was Netanyahu so enraged about?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama’s Middle East speech last Thursday did not break any particularly new ground on Israeli-Palestinian peace or Washington’s basic positions on negotiations. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his supporters reacted furiously. Why? The reasons are deeply illuminating.

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