Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian officials indicate they are still open to a compromise at the UN, saying "We don’t need a vote right away. We see this as the beginning of a process.” Diplomats continue to search for a compromise at the UN, as Pres.Abbas insists he will apply for full membership on Friday. Ha'aretz reports an “Israeli source” says the US asked Abbas to go to the Security Council in order to buy more time for compromise. Palestinian Monetary Authority Governor Jihad al-Wazir says the PA could collapse if the US withdraws aid. Saudi Arabia promises to give the PA $200 million. Rep. Joe Walsh introduces a bill to the House saying if Palestinians go forward with a statehood bid, Israel should annex the occupied territories. Abbas says he's willing to meet with PM Netanyahu in New York. FM al-Malki says negotiations can resume only with clear terms of reference. Palestinians seek to reconcile institution-building with the UN initiative. The UK says it faces a “difficult judgment” at the UN. COMMENTARY: The LA Times says a vote at the UN won't change anything and the parties must return to negotiations. Justin Martin says criticism of Israel on American campuses should be protected, not banned. Walid Awad says if Abbas presses the Security Council, the PA will likely collapse and the PLO reemerge in a different form. The Wall Street Journal says the US should respond to the Palestinian UN initiative by cutting funds to the UN. Natasha Mozgovaya says Pres. Obama is going to pay a heavy price no matter what decision he makes at the UN. John Heilemann says Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it, though many people don't understand that. Gershon Baskin says almost the whole world accepts Israel's right to exist. Robert Fisk says Palestinians can't achieve statehood this week at the UN, but the peace process could be killed. George Semaan says Palestinians have no choice but to turn to the UN. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians are trying to introduce a new paradigm by “internationalizing” the peace process. Hussein Ibish says a last-minute compromise is still possible and is in all parties' interests.

Palestinians may delay vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by MJ Lee - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States is working on a last-ditch plan to head off a vote on Palestinian statehood this week by having Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submit a letter for recognition to the United Nations Security Council without actually holding a vote, CNN reports.

Diplomats Scramble as Palestinians Plan to Apply for U.N. Membership on Friday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Neil MacFarquhar, Steven Lee Myers - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday that he would present an application for Palestine to join the United Nations immediately after he addresses the General Assembly on Friday, as diplomats worked frenetically to try to limit the fallout from the application. Mr. Abbas told Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary general, that he was determined to move forward. “I think it has dawned on everybody that they cannot convince us not to go,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian delegation. “Most people are discussing what is next.”

Abbas meets UN chief Ban Ki-moon; Netanyahu calls on PA to renew talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - (Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday that he was determined to ask the Security Council to accept Palestine as a full UN member. Abbas said he would in fact be seeking full recognition for a Palestinian state and would initiate this on Friday after his speech to the UN General Assembly. The United States and Israel claim this move could lead to a disaster.

Al-Wazir: PA could collapse if US withdraws aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Daniel Bases - (Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A formal call for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week could bring severe financial strains, even a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the territories' top banker told Reuters on Monday. The United States, a major source of financing and aid for the Palestinian Authority, opposes a unilateral call for statehood. Washington has warned of repercussions if President Mahmoud Abbas calls for statehood on Friday, when he is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly.

Saudi Arabia donates $200 million to the PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will pay $200 million to the Palestinian Authority, the official Palestinian news agency said on Monday, funds that will ease a financial crisis faced by the authority as it prepares to apply for full UN membership this week. Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf called Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to tell him his government would transfer the funds, the WAFA agency reported.

Joe Walsh To Palestinians: Stop Statehood Bid Or Israel Will Annex West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Joshua Hersh - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK -- A Republican lawmaker has introduced a resolution warning Palestinian leaders that Israel would be within its rights to annex the West Bank if they do not drop their bid for statehood at the United Nations this week. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) introduced the resolution as a way of urging Palestinian leaders to pull back from their plans to seek formal recognition for their state at the U.N. General Assembly meetings, which take place this week, according to his spokesman, Justin Roth.

Abbas says willing to meet with Netanyahu during stay in New York
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Fox News on Monday that he was willing to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their mutual stay in New York. Abbas, who is currently in New York holding meetings in preparation for the UN vote on Palestinian statehood told Fox News, "I will meet any Israeli official any time," although he added that “there is no use if there is nothing tangible." Abbas also included a message to U.S. President Barack Obama in the interview. “You promised me a state by September 2011. I hope you will deliver,” he said.

Malki: Talks can't resume until Israel accepts PA's terms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki on Tuesday responded to Israeli calls for an immediate resumption of peace talks, saying that Israel must accept the PA's list of terms before negotiations can restart. "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has to accept all terms of reference and stop settlement activity including [in] east Jerusalem, to enter negotiations immediately with [a] timeframe not to exceed six months [and] with international guarantees to make any negotiations serious and credible," Al Jazeera quoted Malki as saying in New York.

Palestinians seek state and trappings of a state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - (Analysis) September 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians got long awaited access to a global institution this month. "I've got a three-piece spicy chicken box with fries," beamed Shadi, an office worker in Ramallah, as he sat back and licked his lips. Kentucky Fried Chicken became the first major fast food franchise to open here. Ramallah has a "Stars And Bucks", mostly frequented by the latter, rather than the former. But no McDonald's. Not even Wimpy. In the week Palestinians take their quest for statehood to the United Nations, it obliged me to ask Shadi one simple, if facetious, question: today KFC, tomorrow a state?

Palestine UN bid difficult, says Nick Clegg
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Joe Churcher, Sam Lister - (Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Britain faces a "difficult judgment" over whether to back Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, Nick Clegg said today amid reports of a coalition split on the issue. The Deputy Prime Minister said there had been "debates" at the top of Government over the position to adopt but said it would be unhelpful to air them in public. Diplomatic efforts are under way to persuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to table a Security Council statehood bid - which is opposed by the US and Israel.

Face-off at the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The looming United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood is not a cause for celebration — for Palestinians or anyone else. It is merely further evidence of the utter stalemate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which once promised to deliver a two-state solution but which during the last few years has deteriorated into a depressing morass.

Anti-Israel speech should be protected, not banned, on American campuses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Justin D. Martin - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli legal group sent more than 100 US college and university presidents a letter this month, warning them to crack down on anti-Semitism and terrorist activities. Seems reasonable enough. But the letter, drafted by the Israel Law Center, contains suggestions that come perilously close to stunting First Amendment protections for unpopular speech.

Is Abbas going for broke?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Walid Awad - (Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Soon after his inauguration as president of the United States, Barack Obama embarked on important visits to capitals of Arab and Muslim nations. He made speeches in Cairo and Istanbul to try and persuade Arabs and Muslims to alter their negative views of the US and its policies in the region. To an extent, he succeeded. American flags were raised and even embraced by Libyan demonstrators, and US flags are no longer burned when Arab masses demonstrate to demand freedom and liberty.

The Palestinian Statehood Gambit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
(Analysis) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Are Palestinians entitled to a state? Before certain readers erupt at the mere suggestion that Palestinians may not be so entitled, we'd note that the Kurds—one of the oldest ethnic groups in the world—don't have a state. Neither do the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Uighurs and Tibetans of China, the Basques of Spain, the Chechens of Russia or the Flemish of Belgium. The list of peoples with plausible claims to statehood is as long as the current number of U.N. member states, if not longer.

Capitol Letter / Obama is stuck between a veto and a hard place
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Blog) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

As President Barack Obama prepares to address the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, many recall what he said to the body last year when he devoted over a quarter of his speech to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. One particular phrase drew much attention: "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations - an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel."

The Tsuris
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from New York Magazine
by John Heilemann - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The last time Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu shared each other’s company, you could say that the encounter did not go well—if by “not well” you mean abysmally. This was on May 20, the day after Obama gave his big speech on the Arab Spring, in which he unleashed a tsunami of tsuris by endorsing the use of Israel’s 1967 borders “with mutually agreed [land] swaps” as the basis for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Encountering Peace: Maybe the whole world isn’t against us?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

This morning, I heard a conversation on the radio between Israeli journalist Yaron Dekel and Israeli lyricist Yoram Taharlev, who in the 1970’s wrote the song “Ha’olam kulo negdeinu” – “The whole world is against us.” "The whole world is against us it’s a very old refrain, that our fathers taught us, both to sing and to dance... The whole world is against us, never mind, we’ll cope. They don’t care for us... and we don’t care for them..."

Why the Middle East will never be the same again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians won't get a state this week. But they will prove – if they get enough votes in the General Assembly and if Mahmoud Abbas does not succumb to his characteristic grovelling in the face of US-Israeli power – that they are worthy of statehood. And they will establish for the Arabs what Israel likes to call – when it is enlarging its colonies on stolen land – "facts on the ground": never again can the United States and Israel snap their fingers and expect the Arabs to click their heels. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East.

Journey from Oslo to New York after 20 Years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by George Semaan - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

All the efforts to prevent the Palestinian authority from heading to the United Nations to ensure the proclamation of the state were expected to fail. The Israeli prime minister who kept knocking on Europe’s doors among others after he knocked on the United States’ doors to thwart this step maintained his position. He wants unconditional negotiations. This is the same position that froze the talks over a year ago, and the one that foiled all the American efforts to activate the settlement and reach the promised Palestinian state.

A new paradigm
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

With this week's start of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian leadership can rightly say that it has begun to reap fruit from its decision to take the Palestinian cause to the international community. The Palestinian people and leadership have suffered for too long from the inattention of the international community, which insisted on leaving Palestinians and Israelis to their own devices to solve their problems. For the Palestinians, this was equal to leaving their people at the mercy of the brutal Israeli occupation.

Last-minute deal could avert a collision course at the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) September 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The insistence by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he will present a request for full UN membership for Palestine in its 1967 borders to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the General Assembly meeting later this week - although telegraphed months in advance - has sent shock waves through international relations, and Israeli and US domestic politics as well.

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