Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu appeared to strengthen their domestic political standings. Abbas is accorded a hero's welcome in Ramallah. A new proposal from the Quartet, which is divided over the issue of Israel as a “Jewish state,” gets a mixed response. Israeli officials are considering their options in responding to the Palestinian UN initiative. Tensions are growing in the occupied West Bank. Israel and the Palestinians are lobbying for votes in the Security Council. Pres. Peres says Abbas is the best Palestinian leader Israel has ever dealt with. Israel's finance minister again threatens to withhold Palestinian tax revenues. A new survey suggests one third of Jewish Israelis don't consider Palestinian citizens of Israel to be Israelis.Even Israel is trying to restrain members of Congress from rushing to "punish" the Palestinians. The Israeli military says Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation remains strong. COMMENTARY: The CSM says Pres. Obama must rebuild his Middle East peace strategy. Akiva Eldar says Netanyahu's UN address was a campaign speech. Carlo Strenger says it's now up to Europe to save the two-state solution. Orly Azoulay says Netanyahu won but Israel lost at the UN. Susan Hattis Rolef says Israel needs a better plan than national suicide. Tariq Alhomayed says Obama's UN speech was diplomatically “bankrupt.” Manal Alafrangi says US pressure on the Palestinians will never end. Sharon Lipton says ultimately peace has to be negotiated. Rami Khouri says September 2011 will prove a turning point in the behavior of all parties. Barak Ravid says Abbas completely outshone Netanyahu at the UN.

Netanyahu, Abbas Emerge Unscathed at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Calev Ben-David - September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas emerged from their showdown at the United Nations buttressed domestically though no closer to peace talks.

Palestinians Roll Out Hero’s Welcome for Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Two days after seeking full membership for a State of Palestine in the United Nations, President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, returned to a hero’s welcome here on Sunday, telling supporters that they were part of a “Palestinian Spring” and that he would resume peace talks with Israel only if it stopped building settlements.

Plan for Mideast talks gets mixed reception
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM— With a Palestinian application for UN membership under consideration by the Security Council, a proposal by international mediators to renew peace negotiations has received guarded Israeli approval and a cool reception from the Palestinians. The Israeli government and Palestinian leadership are expected to respond to Friday’s proposal by the Quartet of Middle East mediators — the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia — in the coming days, but early signals suggest different approaches to the initiative.

Issue of Israel as Jewish state sank Quartet moves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Arshad Mohammed - September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The issue of whether and how to suggest that Israel should be a Jewish state ultimately sank diplomatic efforts to draft a substantive statement to revive peace talks, sources familiar with the matter said. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel and the Palestinians -- and their effective proxies in the negotiations, the United States and Russia -- remain too far apart on that issue and others.

Israel ponders response to Palestinian U.N. statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - September 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem— As Israel considers its reaction to the Palestinian drive for recognition of statehood at the U.N., officials are weighing calls for swift retaliation against fear that tough measures could be counterproductive. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is evaluating Israel's next step. But key members of his right-wing coalition are pushing for a firm response, which they say would discourage Palestinians from pursuing their strategy of gaining United Nations recognition or taking other unilateral steps away from the negotiating table.

Tensions over Palestinian UN bid spur new patrols in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Rebecca Collard - September 21, 2011 - 12:00am

As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas defends his bid for statehood at the United Nations, his people are defending their land. Amid rising tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank, who both lay claim to the land, a coalition of local and foreign activists have begun setting up neighborhood watch patrols to monitor key flashpoints. The project highlights a newfound Palestinian boldness on the ground that mirrors Mr. Abbas's determination at the UN – despite American pressure.

U.S., Palestinians race for votes at UN council
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Louis Charbonneau - September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The Palestinians' initiative to seek U.N. recognition as a state, which goes to the Security Council on Monday, faces an uphill struggle to secure the nine votes needed for approval. Without those votes in the 15-member body, the United States will be spared the embarrassment of having to veto the application, which would be a further blow to its floundering efforts to secure Middle East peace.

Peres: Abbas is the best Palestinian leader for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

President Shimon Peres said Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is the best Palestinian leader Israel could work with toward the goal of resuming the peace process. "I call on my friend, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who I respect and acknowledge as the best leader Israel will work with, to return to the negotiating table," Peres said Monday at a Rosh Hashanah ceremony with foreign diplomats. Peres pressed that peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is possible. "Let's decide the facts in the Middle East reality that is changing before our eyes," he said.

Steinitz warns of economic measures against PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK – Israel will weigh taking economic measures against the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pursue unilateral steps and refuses to return to the negotiating table, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. He spoke with the Post from a hotel lobby in New York, where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been staying since his arrival last Wednesday.

Study: One-third of Jewish Israelis say Arab citizens aren’t Israeli
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- One-third of Israel's Jewish population does not consider Arab citizens of the country to be Israelis, according to a newly released survey. The Israeli Democracy Index 2011 survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute also found that nearly 78 percent of Israeli Jews believe that a Jewish majority should be required for making critical decisions concerning not just peace and security, but also socio-economic issues and issues of governance. The survey showed that some 52 percent do not believe there is discrimination against Arabs in Israel.

Congress Moves To Punish Palestinians, But Even Israel Objects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Washington — A congressional drive to punish the Palestinian Authority for its statehood bid by cutting American aid is being greeted with enthusiasm by lawmakers of both parties. But the White House is giving the move a cold shoulder, and even Israel itself and its strongest supporters have serious reservations. The legislation being discussed in Congress would cut all or part of the nearly $600 million annual aid package if Palestinians move ahead with their plan to seek statehood at the United Nations.

IDF-Palestinian coordination remains effective, despite heightened tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Tomer Zarchin - September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian security forces has proven its effectiveness in the face of heightened tensions over the Palestinian Authority's application for membership at the United Nations last week. Large-scale demonstrations in PA-controlled towns were kept from spilling over into other areas of the territories that are controlled by Israel.

Obama veto of Palestinian statehood: What can he do after that?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

During his nearly three years in office, President Obama has tried a new type of American leadership in the Middle East, one that is more moral than muscular, less unilaterally assertive and more humbly collaborative. While he’s been mostly successful and consistent, all that may now be viewed in the region as meaningless if the United States effectively vetoes a request by the Palestinians for the United Nations Security Council to recognize their homeland as a state.

Netanyahu's speech of lies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Bertolt Brecht wrote, in his poem "The Necessity of Propaganda," "Even the hungry must admit that the Minister of Nutrition gives a good speech." (Translation from the German, Jon Swan. ) It must be admitted that Benjamin Netanyahu gave a good speech at the UN General Assembly. His English was polished, his hand gestures precise and his body language perfect. His propaganda was sweet as honey dripping from his lips. It improves from speech to speech. But the prime minister promised that this time he would feed us the truth, not another campaign speech. A test of this promise seems apposite.

Europe must save the two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Blog) September 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The speeches have been given, and each leader pandered to his audiences. Netanyahu scolded the UN for singling out Israel unfairly for decades, quoting the Lubavicher Rebbe calling the UN house of lies. This was obviously not meant to gain him friends in the UN, but to show how connected he was to Jewish tradition. He put the blame on failed negotiations completely on the Palestinians, emphasizing the destructive impact of radical Islam.

Bibi won, Israel lost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Orly Azoulay - (Opinion) September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won: He proved that on the American court, in an election year, political trickery and provoking the Jewish street in the US can make a president capitulate. In his speech at the United Nations, President Barack Obama wholly adopted the Israeli narrative and erased the Palestinian people’s hope. Netanyahu, even if he did not intend to do so, proved that the US can no longer serve as an honest broker in the Middle East; at least not during Obama’s current term in office.

So what’s your plan, Mr. Prime Minister?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Susan Hattis Rolef - (Opinion) September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Immediately after Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) ended his long and tedious speech at the UN General Assembly last Friday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described it in a Channel 10 interview as “extremely harsh incitement.”

Obama: A bankrupt speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The simplest way to describe Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations is that it was a bankrupt speech, laden with contradictions easy for the average observer, let alone a political specialist, to clearly identify, whether about the Arab situation or the Palestinian cause.

Pressure on Palestinians will never end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Manal Alafrangi - (Opinion) September 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The level of opposition by the United States and some western states to the Palestinian bid for statehood has been very depressing. There isn't even an attempt by US President Barack Obama to disguise the Israelisation of US foreign policy towards Palestine and Palestinians.

Peace negotiations best for Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Detroit News
by Sharon Lipton - (Editorial) September 26, 2011 - 12:00am

The tailwind of the Arab Spring appears to be propelling the Palestinians toward their own political revolution. On Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented a resolution requesting the admission of an independent state of Palestine to the United Nations. Many have explored the wisdom of a Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence, a diplomatic end-run that allows them to circumvent the negotiating table. If this is indeed the tactic chosen, there is one thing that must be made clear: both sides will suffer for this decision.

Israel-America is our new South Africa
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) September 24, 2011 - 12:00am

It remains to be seen what actually changes on the ground in the months ahead following the Palestinian initiative to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 Israeli-occupied territories as a U.N. member or observer state. The move could be a substantive gain for the Palestinian people, merely a symbolic victory, or a measurable setback if the United States and Israel translate their vindictive rhetoric into hard policies. While we wait for the impact of the U.N.

UN bid: Israel's political tsunami has arrived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barak Ravid - (Opinion) September 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Reactions to Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu’s addresses to the UN are clear illustrations of Palestine president’s ascent to political rock star status and Israeli prime minister’s increasing international isolation. Half an hour before Abbas went up to the podium at the UN General Assembly, Salva Kiir, president of the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, was giving his own speech. As he went on, a slow buzz began to spread throughout the hall.

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