Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Uncertainty continues to characterize the Palestinian strategy at the UN. Reuters says the bid is poised between miracle, muddle and mess.Domestic pressures are shaping the attitudes of all parties. The US is working with both sides on security preparations for reactions on the ground. Palestinians in the West Bank and at the UN vent anger against the US and Pres. Obama. Pres. Abbas seems to be gaining in popularity among Palestinians. Former Pres. Bill Clinton gives a very negative evaluation of PM Netanyahu's performance regarding peace. The UN bid in some ways seems to be fizzling out. UK and French divisions highlight Europe's disunity on Palestine. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says Obama was right to defend Israel at the UN, but needs to take bold moves to salvage the two-state solution.Keith Ellison says the US should support Palestinian statehood. Fareed Zakaria says he's all for Palestinian independence but the UN initiative will not bring that closer to reality. Aaron David Miller says during the election season, it's wise for Obama not to take risks on Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Bernd Debusmann says Obama was pandering for election purposes. James Verini says even the Israelis know Palestine is a state. Carlo Strenger says Israel is approaching the day where it will be internationally regarded as South Africa used to be. Kadima leader Tzipi Livni says Netanyahu must reengage negotiations immediately. Raghida Dergham says Abbas launched a “civil Intifada” at the UN. Husam Itani says Arabs feel wounded and insulted by Obama's speech. The Arab News says Obama has “once again betrayed the Palestinians.” Hussein Ibish says Obama's UN speech was good politics but weak diplomacy, and that in practice UN nonmember state observer status wouldn't help Palestinians get ICC prosecutions against Israeli officials.

Uncertainty clouds Palestinian bid for UN membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Jared Malsin - September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will submit Palestine's application for membership to the Security Council on Friday, but uncertainty surrounds the fate of the UN campaign. Palestinian officials say Abbas’ current strategy means that the membership bid will remain in the arena of the Security Council for some time, without a climactic vote that many Palestinians had come to expect.

Miracle, muddle or mess possible for Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Arshad Mohammed - (Analysis) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - There appear to be three possible outcomes to the Palestinian plan on Friday to seek full U.N. membership: a miracle, a muddle, and a mess. The miracle would be if diplomats dream up a document that may persuade the Israelis and Palestinians to talk peace after nearly a year of impasse and acrimony. The muddle would be if the Palestinian letter requesting full membership simply sits in the U.N. Security Council's inbox, ushering in a period of limbo while diplomats try to coax the parties into negotiations.

Domestic Politics Produce Three-Way Collision at United Nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Calev Ben-David, Indira A.R. Lakshmanan - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The collision this week over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations has been coming since Israel and the Palestinian Authority hit an impasse in negotiations a year ago and U.S. President Barack Obama was unable to get them back to the bargaining table.

U.S. Makes Security Preparations for After Palestinian Bid at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Nicole Gaouette - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.S. has laid the groundwork for maintaining security in the aftermath of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN, including the possibility of violence. The effort includes discussions with Gulf countries, planning with Israeli and Palestinian security forces, and aid to ensure the Palestinian Authority can pay its personnel. The U.S. has made clear its intent to block a Palestinian request for United Nations recognition. To avoid needing to exercise its veto power, the U.S. has been working with Israel to persuade members of the Security Council to abstain from voting.

Palestinians vent anger at U.S. over statehood issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Sheera Frenkel - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian protesters burned effigies of President Barack Obama and stomped on U.S. flags Thursday in one of the largest recent displays of anti-American sentiment here, sparked by the United States' pledge to veto any request for U.N. membership for a Palestinian state. Gathered outside the residence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who's expected to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Friday, the protesters denounced Obama, whom they accused of siding with Israel in the lengthy impasse over peace negotiations.

Palestinian delegation reacts angrily to Obama's UN speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

New York, Asharq Al-Awsat – The feeling amongst the members of the Palestinian delegation to the UN in New York ranged from resentment to outright anger following the speech given by US President Barack Obama yesterday. As for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s speech to the UN, this was received with praise and applause from the Palestinian delegation.

Abbas stands to gain from UN gambit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK — The drama over the Palestinians' bid for U.N. recognition is still unfolding, but President Mahmoud Abbas appears to have won new respect at home for standing up to the United States and moving their decades-long quest for statehood back to the center of the world stage. Recognition of Palestine — even in a possible watered-down form, since full U.N. membership is blocked by a certain U.S. veto — won't bring the Palestinians true independence anytime soon. It might not even be enough to improve their hoped-for leverage in future border talks with Israel.

Bill Clinton: Netanyahu killed the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Josh Rogin - (Analysis) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Who's to blame for the continued failure of the Middle East peace process? Former President Bill Clinton said today that it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- whose government moved the goalposts upon taking power, and whose rise represents a key reason there has been no Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The downgrading of the Palestinian UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Distinct similarities are beginning to emerge between the “freedom flotilla” that was supposed to set sail for Gaza from Europe this summer with “1,500 activists in 15 ships,” and the Palestinian’s unilateral statehood bid that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to launch Friday at the UN. Both were accompanied by sound and fury and expectations of what these “dramatic, historic” steps would signify. Both were accompanied by nightmare predictions, here and abroad, of the damage that would be caused to Israel, and of how it would further isolate our already badly isolated country.

Cracks appear between Britain and France as Palestine vote looms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Stephen Foley, Donald MacIntyre - (Analysis) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

A Franco-British rift was looming last night after David Cameron failed to line up behind President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to give the Palestinians enhanced status at the United Nations.

The Palestinians' Bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Last year, President Obama’s speech to the United Nations was full of promise and determination to advance Palestinian statehood through negotiations with Israel. This year, his address was about lowering expectations and a dispiriting realpolitik as the president spoke of how “peace is hard” and vowed to veto the Palestinians’ bid for statehood if it came to a Security Council vote.

Support the Palestinian Bid for Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Keith Ellison - (Opinion) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States should support the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations. The Palestinian people deserve a state now. As the current debate unfolds, I am reminded of what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1965: “The time is always right to do what’s right.”

Zakaria: I oppose the Palestinian U.N. bid for practical reasons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Fareed Zakaria - (Opinion) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

I am opposed to the Palestinian effort at the United Nations because I think that it is going to get them nowhere. This is not the time for romantic gestures. This is the time for them to do something that will actually help them get a Palestinian state - a goal that I support.

The Do-Nothing Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Analysis) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Governing is about choosing. And a much-diminished American president has made his choice. Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking isn't and shouldn't be Barack Obama's top priority. Getting reelected is. And that means carefully husbanding his eroding political currency and expending it on matters domestic and economic. Despite all the kerfuffle at the United Nations this week, the last thing he needs to do is pick an unproductive fight with Israel or the Republicans on an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been dead for some time now.

The US elections and pandering to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Bernd Debusmann - (Opinion) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

So much for charges from conservative contenders for the 2012 U.S. presidential elections that Barack Obama is not pro-Israel enough -- the president just won seals of approval from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and the U.S. lobby that usually reflects their views. If the elections, as some predict, will include a contest on who loves Israel most, Obama can use their praise to good effect. How much it will contribute to his legacy is another matter.

U.N.convenient Truth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by James Verini - (Analysis) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

In 1988, Abba Eban, perhaps the finest diplomat and one of the sharpest minds Israel has ever produced, got up before a distinguished crowd in London to give an address with the predictable and yet absurd title, "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East." Predictable not just in itself, but because Eban and other Israeli leaders had delivered countless such addresses in the 40 unpeaceful years since the country's creation; absurd because his remarks, which concerned Palestine, came a year into the First Intifada.

A dangerous erosion of Israel’s international standing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Blog) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

In 1955 Ben-Gurion coined his saying “Um-Shmum”, the expression of disdain against the UN that was followed by: “It doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, but what the Jews do”. This may have been charming when Israel was a young country, and when Dayan’s not wearing a tie was seen as refreshing chutzpah. The disdain for the international community is now turning into Israel’s tragedy and failure with the Palestinian bid for UN recognition.

Netanyahu weakens Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tzipi Livni - (Opinion) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Regrettably, remaining at an indecisive junction prompts Israel to slide uncontrollably down a slippery slope. What we argued ever since the government was formed has turned - to my regret as an Israeli citizen - into a fact known to all: The diplomatic impasse is leading to diplomatic isolation. This diplomatic isolation undermines Israel’s security and its ability to defend itself. The attempt to avoid decisions creates a situation whereby the world decides for us, and not in our favor.

Abbas and a ‘Civil’ Intifada in International Bodies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The traditional rules of the ‘peace process game’ changed this week in New York. This is taking place in the wake of the stances taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. While the Palestinian bid for full membership at the United Nations is the form they have taken on, the essence of Abbas’s position essentially involves foreclosing the ‘peace process’ in its anesthetic capacity. The Palestinian-American relationship is now in a different phase, as Abu Mazen has persisted in his pledge to seek membership for Palestine at the Security Council, where the U.S. veto lies in store.

The Wound and the Insult
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama is deepening the Arab disgruntlement, as the wound inflicted by the announcement of his intention to use the veto right against the Palestinian state project was accompanied by an insult carried by his adoption of the worst that is featured in the Israeli tale.

Et tu Obama?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States was presented with a historic opportunity this week to demonstrate it believes in what it preaches and it blew it. President Barack Obama’s UN address on Wednesday will go down in history as one of the most disgraceful examples of a US leader’s self-serving groveling before Israel and abdication of leadership.

Obama at the UN on Israel-Palestine: Good Politics, Poor Diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

If you'd wanted to gauge how strained relations between the Obama administration and the Palestinian leadership have become, all you'd need do is watch the shaking heads of the Palestinian representatives at the United Nations General Assembly during the U.S. President's speech there on Wednesday. Obama reiterated the American commitment to a two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestine, both established U.S. policy. Rhetorically, however, his speech recognized most of the core elements of the Israeli narrative but virtually none of the Palestinian one.

Could a U.N. Upgrade Help the Palestinians Prosecute Israeli Officials?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Slate
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) September 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Would a Palestinian state recognized by the United Nations have the right to bring legal action against Israel and Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court or the U.N.'s own International Court of Justice?

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