Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian financial woes increase, threatening the institution-building program. US-Palestinian relations have deteriorated significantly. Concern about a Palestinian UN initiative is growing, Hamas has no clear position on it, and the EU remains divided. European diplomats say Palestinians have told them that they do not plan to approach the Security Council for full UN membership. Egypt tightens security after attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Israeli intelligence recommends an urgent return to peace talks with the Palestinians. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says the US and its allies must work quickly for a compromise at the UN and keep funding the PA. The Forward also says compromise is essential. Both Ha'aretz and the Jerusalem Post say Israel and Egypt must quickly repair their relationship. The National says attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Egypt show Israeli policies are stoking extremism. Joseph Dana thinks the Netanyahu government is about to collapse. Osama Al Sharif says Israel needs to adapt to new regional realities. Adel Safty thinks Palestinians are well positioned for success at the UN. The International Crisis Group issues a new report on Israel and Palestine. Prince Turki al-Faisal says US-Saudi relations would be badly damaged by US opposition to Palestinian statehood.

Reports See Fiscal Woes Undermining Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — With the Palestinian Authority seeking United Nations membership and statehood recognition this month, two new reports say Palestinian public institutions are gaining traction, but there is trouble on the economic front — growth has slowed amid a fiscal crisis. In a report to be delivered next week, the World Bank says that while Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has made substantial progress in building strong state institutions, “the onset of an acute fiscal crisis, accompanied by declining economic growth,” may undermine those achievements.

Cash crisis risks Palestinian state building-W.Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Progress made by the Palestinians in building institutions for statehood could be undermined by a fiscal crisis caused by a shortfall in foreign aid, the World Bank said on Monday. In a report released just a week before the Palestinian leadership goes to the United Nations to press its claim for statehood, the World Bank said Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian economy must be lifted to allow sustained reform.

Obama and Abbas: From Speed Dial to Not Talking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - September 9, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — Among the very first foreign leaders President Obama called after entering the Oval Office on Jan. 21, 2009, was the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The last time the two men spoke was in February, when Mr. Obama failed, in an awkward, 55-minute phone conversation, to persuade Mr. Abbas not to go to the United Nations to condemn Israel for building Jewish settlements.

In Seeking Statehood, Palestinians Stir Concern
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - September 10, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Less than two weeks before Palestinians plan to defy the Obama administration by requesting membership and statehood recognition at the United Nations, there is a growing fear that the Arab-Israeli conflict is entering an explosive new phase. A Palestinian decision to shift its statehood quest toward international legal and political pressure on Israel, combined with Israeli fear and truculence at a time of regional upheaval, has many predicting disaster, especially after the storming of Israel’s Cairo embassy and the expulsion of its ambassador from Turkey.

News Analysis: Hamas leaders oppose UN bid, official position still undecided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - September 9, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- As the countdown has started for submitting a request to the United Nations to demand full membership for the state of Palestine later this month, leaders of the Islamic Hamas movement said they are against the bid, but the movement's official position is still undecided. In a previous interview with Xinhua on Wednesday, Yousef Rezqah, an aide to the deposed premier of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip said his movement opposes the attitude to approach the UN for recognition, "because Hamas believes that rights are grabbed and not begged."

E.U. Divided by 'Palestine' Bid at U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Judy Dempsey - September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

BERLIN — It is a rare moment of truth. After years of advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Europeans will have to decide whether to support the Palestinian bid to become a member of the United Nations. Over the coming days, the Palestinian Authority will finalize the text of the resolution it will present this month to the United Nations. The Palestinians want their status upgraded from “observer” to full membership but might have to settle in the end for “nonmember state,” similar to the Vatican.

Abbas Will Go to U.N. General Assembly for Statehood Bid, Diplomats Say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had informed the EU of his decision not to turn to the UN Security Council on September 20 to request that Palestine be accepted as a full member of the organization, senior diplomats told Haaretz. Abbas, who realizes that the United States will exercise its veto power at the Security Council, has instead decided to turn to the UN General Assembly, whose resolutions are less binding, in order to seek the support of the European Union member states in the vote.

Egypt cracks down after Israeli Embassy attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Joel Greenberg - September 10, 2011 - 12:00am

CAIRO — Israel scrambled its diplomatic staff out of Egypt early Saturday after protesters tore down a wall and broke into the Israeli Embassy. As thousands more protesters torched police vehicles and clashed with security forces, an Egyptian commando squad rescued six embassy guards trapped inside the building. Israeli officials who tracked events during the night described tense hours in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with President Obama and the chief of Egyptian intelligence while monitoring events over a direct link to the besieged guards.

Israeli intelligence urges return to peace talks with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In recent weeks the Foreign Ministry, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad have distributed a number of documents stating that a return to negotiations would tone down tensions and anger against Israel. The documents, issued ahead of the expected UN vote on a Palestinian state, also state that while changes in the Arab world could be a threat to Israel, they also represent opportunities for Israel to improve its diplomatic standing. "All the documents recommend progress vis-a-vis the Palestinians," a source close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

A United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous. Yet with little time left before the U.N. General Assembly meets, the United States, Israel and Europe have shown insufficient urgency or boldness in trying to find a compromise solution. The need for action is even more acute after alarming tensions flared in recent days between Israel and two critical regional players — Egypt and Turkey.

The Sword of September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

September is here. Hanging over the head of world diplomacy like the Sword of Damocles, the month has taken on a new and foreboding meaning this year: It’s the time when the Palestinians plan to ask the United Nations to, in one form or another, elevate their national aspirations. Even many Palestinians think this is a bad idea, and we agree.

Time for Israel to put out the fire with Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
(Editorial) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The storming of Israel's embassy in Cairo is the climax of the public protest in Egypt against Israeli policy, especially against the killing of Egyptian soldiers during Israel's response to the terror attack near Eilat last month. It's natural for the events to raise deep concerns about the future of the peace agreement between the two countries.

Editorial: Keep the peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Shortly after thousands of incensed demonstrators forced their way into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo over the weekend, both Egypt and Israel issued statements reaffirming their commitments to the 1979 peace treaty, the first to be signed between an Arab country and Israel.

Cairo shows Israel rallying extremism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Petrol bombs and stones were met with tear gas and armoured cars on Friday night. Street riots have become familiar scenes in Cairo since January 25. This time it is Israel, not the old regime, that is the focus of the rage, but the threat to Egypt's stability is the same.

Diplomatic disasters incline Israel towards belligerence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Joseph Dana - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

During his press conference on Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared developments in the Middle East to the events of the First World War. He was speaking just hours after the dramatic removal of Israeli embassy staff in Cairo following riots by Egyptian protesters.

Israel needs to adapt to new regional realities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In a fast changing Arab world, Israel is yet to comprehend that it can no longer pursue a self-serving agenda of bullying neighbours, denying Palestinians their national rights and taking Washington’s blind support for granted. The Arab Spring signifies a historical milestone in the region’s political evolution, with far reaching effects on the future.

Palestinians have the advantage at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In the Art of War, the oldest military treatise in the world, Chinese writer Sun Tzu states: “ All warfare is based on deception.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Israel and Palestine after the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Crisis Group
(Editorial) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In diplomatic lexicon, September 2011 is shorthand for a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, ensuing Israeli and U.S. retaliation and, in fine, a train-wreck. There are legitimate fears about the fallout, but obsession with what will happen at the UN and the disproportionate energy invested in aborting it are getting in the way of clear thinking. This could well produce a cure more lethal than the ailment.

Veto a State, Lose an Ally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Turki al-Faisal - (Opinion) September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States must support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations this month or risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world. If it does not, American influence will decline further, Israeli security will be undermined and Iran will be empowered, increasing the chances of another war in the region.

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