Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Donor states reaffirm the Palestinians are ready for independence.In bringing the resolution of the conflict back to the UN, Palestinians are returning it to its roots. Palestinian officials say a US government document presented last week persuaded them they had no other option. Intensive diplomacy to avoid a confrontation continues. A new poll suggests most Palestinians support the UN gambit but fear its consequences. AP notes that Palestinians have done much to create the infrastructure of their state in spite of the occupation. The US and European states are reportedly urging Israel not to take any drastic measures in response. Israel's UN ambassador says it's unclear there's a majority in the Security Council requiring a US veto, and Portugal remains undecided. Israel fears even a nonmember UN observer Palestinian state could use international legal enforcement mechanisms against it. Settlement expansions anger Palestinians, but are not enough for settlers. COMMENTARY: Tom Friedman says Israel is become totally isolated and gives its friends no means to defend it. Aaron David Miller says the UN controversy is a distraction from the real problem, which is the inability to reach a peace agreement. Israel's UN ambassador says Palestinians should return to negotiations with Israel. John Hughes says Israel needs a peace deal more than ever. Yossi Sarid says Jewish Americans shouldn't be more “patriotic” than Israelis. Jeff Barak says PM Netanyahu is gambling with his country's future. Afshin Molavi says the UN gambit will bring the Palestinians no closer to independence. Raghida Dergham says Palestinians would be wise to avoid the Security Council and instead seek support in the General Assembly. The Daily Star says anyone who claims to support peace but opposes Palestinian statehood at the UN is "either a coward or a liar." Wendy Chamberlain says the US should understand the real threat of a Security Council vote is not to Israel but to its own standing and interests in the broader Middle East.

Donor Nations: Palestinians Ready for Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Donor nations on Sunday reaffirmed the Palestinian Authority's readiness for statehood based on new reports from key international financial institutions and the United Nations. The backing from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.N. and the donors as world leaders started arriving for high-level meetings at the General Assembly should give a boost to the Palestinians as they press their bid for U.N. membership as an independent state.

Palestinians Turn to U.N., Where Partition Began
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Neil MacFarquhar - September 18, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS — The original two-state solution designed to establish separate countries for Jews and Arabs anticipated the day that both would seek United Nations membership. “When the independence of either the Arab or the Jewish State as envisaged in this plan has become effective,” begins a paragraph deep in General Assembly Resolution 181 from November 1947, then “sympathetic consideration” should be given to the application.

WEST BANK: U.S. envoys' paper emboldens Abbas to go before U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Analysis) September 17, 2011 - 12:00am

A paper special U.S. peace envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross presented to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday that was supposed to sway him away from going to the United Nations was what caused Abbas to take a final stand in favor of going, according to Nabil Shaath, a member of Abbas’ Fatah Central Committee. Abbas told the Palestinian people on Friday that he is going to the Security Council to ask for membership in spite of strong U.S. objections and attempts to have him change his mind.

High-stakes diplomacy to avoid UN showdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- Top Palestinian and Israeli leaders held talks in New York amid frantic diplomatic efforts to avoid a showdown over a Palestinian bid to seek full UN membership as a state. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak held an unannounced meeting a day ahead of the UN General Assembly, which is being dominated by a Palestinian bid for UN recognition that the United States has threatened to veto.

Poll: Palestinians support UN bid, fear consequences
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A majority of Palestinians support the bid for Palestine's membership of the UN, but expect a negative backlash, according to the results of a survey released Sunday. While 84 percent of Palestinians support the bid, 87 percent believe the US will react negatively, and 90 percent think Israel will respond by worsening the conditions of Palestinians, the September study by Ramallah-based research institute Near East Consulting said.

Palestinians build state, but restricted by Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
(Analysis) September 18, 2011 - 12:00am

HEBRON, WEST BANK — The Palestinians will be able to make a strong case that they have built the foundations of a nation when they ask the U.N. this week to recognize an independent Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel occupied in 1967.

U.S. to Netanyahu: Don't sanction Palestinians following statehood bid at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States and several European countries have been urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to take drastic punitive measures against the Palestinians after they ask the United Nations to recognize their state. Netanyahu, who is under heavy pressure from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon to respond strongly to the Palestinian Authority, has decided at this point to wait until the significance of the Palestinian move becomes clearer to commit to any course of action.

Prosor: Security Council vote on PA state bid unclear
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli envoy to UN says Portugal undecided on resolution vote, key to US efforts to vote down bid without using veto. Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor on Monday said that it was still unclear if the UN Security Council would vote to recognize a Palestinian state because Portugal remained undecided on the issue.

Palestinian Options at U.N. Lead to Legal Threat to Israel's Military
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Joe Lauria - (Analysis) September 17, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS—If the Palestinian Authority succeeds in winning even an incremental upgrade of its status at the U.N, it could subject Israel's military to international courts for actions in Palestinian territory—as well as allow Palestinian control of its Israeli-patrolled air space and national waters off Gaza. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he would seek full U.N. membership through the Security Council. If the U.S. vetoes that effort, as it has vowed to do, the Palestinians have a second option for membership: go to the General Assembly.

Building Boomlet in Jewish West Bank Brings Joy to None
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson, Arieh O'Sullivan - (Analysis) September 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Meir Rubinstein pulls out a directive from Israel’s Defense Ministry that brought to a halt of construction of 210 apartments last year. The mayor of Beitar Illit, the most populous Jewish community in land acquired by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, Rubinstein says he needs to build at least 1,000 units a year just to keep up with demand. “There was a freeze for the past five or six years. Twice there was an approval for 300 units so instead of 6,000 apartments – every year we need 1,000 flats – we got just 600, just 10%,” Rubinstein told The Media Line.

Israel: Adrift at Sea Alone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) September 17, 2011 - 12:00am

I’VE never been more worried about Israel’s future. The crumbling of key pillars of Israel’s security — the peace with Egypt, the stability of Syria and the friendship of Turkey and Jordan — coupled with the most diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history have put Israel in a very dangerous situation.

Palestinian bid at U.N. distracts from the real crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 16, 2011 - 12:00am

(CNN) -- Rarely has so much time, energy and attention been devoted to an issue less consequential than this month's Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N.—an episode characterized by hyperbole and muddled thinking on the part of just about everyone. The real crisis -- the one that is really worth worrying about -- is the improbability of a conflict-ending agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abbas' U.N. fantasy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ron Prosor - (Opinion) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," the heroine falls down a rabbit hole into a confusing fantasy world. Writing today, Carroll might have placed Alice in the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans this week to seek U.N. recognition of statehood. If Alice was perplexed by the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts, it would be interesting to see her reaction to a president whose mandate has long expired applying for statehood over territory, part of which he is too afraid to visit.

An Israel in trouble makes a peace deal more urgent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by John Hughes - (Opinion) September 16, 2011 - 12:00am

If the dramatic upheaval taking place throughout the Arab world is to have a constructive outcome, a critical necessity is peace between Arabs and Israelis. On this issue, the world is now at crunch time. The choice is clear: New descent into the senseless antagonism and violence that has bedeviled the Arab- Israeli relationship for decades, or a two-state agreement providing security for Israel and a sovereign homeland for Palestinians.

Dear U.S. Jews, please don't let Netanyahu deceive you
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Sarid - (Opinion) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

What follows is an emotional and perhaps late appeal to Israel's friends in America, particularly the Jews among them, who see themselves as people looking out for own welfare. Don't bring us ill instead of good. Don't let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman deceive you.

Playing a dangerous game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jeff Barak - (Opinion) September 18, 2011 - 12:00am

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu makes his speech to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the week in New York, he will be facing a much tougher audience than he experienced when addressing the Houses of Congress in Washington on his last trip to the United States.

UN vote adds little to 20 years of failure in Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Opinion) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's momentous decision to seek statehood at the United Nations has been interpreted in many ways: a bold, decisive move to force Israel's hand and level the playing field in future negotiations; a risky diplomatic gambit that will achieve little in the face of a certain US veto and will fuel tensions in an already volatile environment; a watershed moment in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. Mostly, however, the move is an acknowledgement of failure.

Palestine at the United Nations: Sidestepped by both Friends and the World's Major Players
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) September 16, 2011 - 12:00am

No party is in an enviable position in the current battle over the Palestinian state at the United Nations. Everyone is embarrassed, and some even find themselves caught up in a costly dilemma.

Cowards and liars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The bid for Palestinian statehood, due to be presented this week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, seems to have taken some world leaders by surprise. It is difficult to see how. For more than a decade, successive United States presidents have voiced their keenness on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush, then finally Barack Obama have taken turns delaying a formal application for statehood under the guise of wanting to gain more favorable conditions through a continuation of peace talks.

U.N. Palestine vote: Time to exhale
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin - (Opinion) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas early this week will likely fulfill his longstanding vow to introduce in the U.N. Security Council a resolution to recognize Palestine as the 194th member state. No one should be the least bit surprised.

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