Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The PLO welcomes the Quartet statement and repeats its commitment to negotiations, but reiterates its call for a settlement freeze. International condemnation of Israel's new settlement plans grows. The corruption trial of a PA minister is again postponed. Palestinians continue to seek Security Council support, focusing on Portugal, Colombia and Bosnia. The European Parliament calls Palestinian statehood initiatives “legitimate.” A new report suggests the occupation is costing Palestinians about $7 billion a year. COMMENTARY: Charles Krauthammer claims the absence of peace is all the fault of the Palestinians. Barbara F. Walter and Andrew Kydd say the Palestinians are finally pursuing an intelligent foreign policy and have created a win-win scenario for themselves. Aijaz Zaka Syed says the debate over Palestinian membership shows that the UN is fundamentally undemocratic. Khalaf Al Habtoor says it's time for Arabs to wholeheartedly support the Palestinian statehood initiative. George Hishmeh says now that Israel has its new settlement announcements, maybe Pres. Obama can understand Pres. Abbas' perspective better. Shira Hetzog says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is too volatile to wait for the next US election for progress. Lara Friedman says the new Israeli settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem was entirely predictable. Steve Spiegel says poor Israeli, Palestinian and American strategies led to the UN imbroglio.

Palestinians: Quartet peace plan contains 'encouraging elements'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Associated Press - (Analysis) September 29, 2011 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian official said Thursday that the Middle East Quartet's proposal for renewing negotiations with Israel contained some encouraging elements, after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened top officials to discuss the matter. "The Quartet statement contains encouraging elements and we call on Israel to announce its commitment to the principles and points of reference it identifies," Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary general of the PLO, told reporters after the meeting.

Condemnation grows against Israel's settlement plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Pressure is growing against Israel as Russia and Turkey added their voices to the international condemnation against the recent approval of 1,100 housing units in East Jerusalem. "We are particularly concerned that decisions on such a sensitive matter should be taken at an extremely important time for the future of the peace process," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. "We are counting (on Israel) so that the construction projects in East Jerusalem are reviewed."

PA minister's corruption trial postponed again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The trial of the Ramallah-based government's Minister of Agriculture was postponed for the third time on Thursday, at the request of defense lawyers. Minister Ismail Daiq faces charges of corruption in public office at the newly instituted anti-corruption court in Ramallah. His defense lawyer has requested several delays of the hearing in order to give more time for preparation of the case, a Ma'an correspondent said. The hearing has been rearranged for Oct. 6, and is being presided over by judges Husein Obeidat and Bilal Abu Hantash and Izz Ad-Din Shahin.

Palestinians press Security Council members to back UN statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - (Analysis) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to leave for Colombia next week, in an attempt to convince officials in the South American nation to support a bid for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations Security Council. A Palestinian official speaking with Haaretz on Friday, said that "within the Security Council there are nine nations who had already recognized a Palestinian state, so the Palestinians expect those countries to support the [UN] proposal too."

Europe: Palestinian statehood bid 'legitimate'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
(Analysis) September 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling the Palestinian bid for statehood "legitimate." "The right of Palestinians to self-determination and to have their own state is unquestionable, as is the right of Israel to exist within safe borders", the resolution said.

Israeli occupation hitting Palestinian economy, claims report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Analysis) September 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza deprives the Palestinian economy of almost £4.4bn a year, equivalent to about 85% of the nominal gross domestic product of Palestine, according to a report published in Ramallah . As well as its detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, the "occupation enterprise" allows the state of Israel and commercial firms to profit from Palestinian natural resources and tourist potential, the report said.

Land without peace: Why Abbas went to the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Charles Krauthammer - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

While diplomatically inconvenient for the Western powers, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to get the United Nations to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state has elicited widespread sympathy. After all, what choice did he have? According to the accepted narrative, Middle East peace is made impossible by a hard-line Likud-led Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state and continues to build settlements.

A win-win strategy for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Andrew Kydd - (Opinion) September 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Everyone knows that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for statehood through the United Nations Security Council will fail. Even if the Palestinians get the nine votes needed , the United States will veto it. And yet the strategy is brilliant. Why? Because the Palestinians win even if they lose.

Some are more equal at the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Aijaz Zaka Syed - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama’s shameful turnaround over Palestine has exposed the ‘audacity of hope’ for what it is — a sham. More important, it has turned the spotlight on the world body and the crass hypocrisy that goes on in there in the name of peace and international diplomacy. Let’s face it. The world body has ended up as a plaything in the hands of world powers.

Standing firmly for Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Khalaf Ahmad al Habtoor - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Ever since Yasser Arafat passed away, the Palestinians have lacked a strong leader with the authority to speak on their behalf. His successor Mahmoud Abbas took a different approach on statehood in the belief the road to peace ran through Washington. And to that end, he has been unfailingly conciliatory, even on some of his people's basic demands. His statements were always designed to be non-inflammatory and whereas the Israelis and their American backers thought of him as a good guy, Palestinians themselves expected a lot more from him.

More snubs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Hardly a week has passed since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made an impassioned plea for full Palestinian United Nations membership at the opening session of the UN General Assembly session; the two loud opponents - the US and Israel - have been lambasted by Arabs, Israelis and even some Americans.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict too volatile to wait for U.S. election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Globe and Mail
by Shira Herzog - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Supported by the United States, Israel has always feared “internationalization” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over direct negotiations and rightly sees the majority of United Nations members as biased against it. Palestinians recognize their relative advantage in international forums but, until now, have been content with the familiar ritual of General Assembly resolutions critical of Israel. Now that Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has upped the ante and applied for admission through the Security Council, no one really knows what happens next.

Another (Predictable) Jerusalem Settlement Announcement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Lara Friedman - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

As the entire world now knows, yesterday an Israeli planning committee approved Plan 13261, Mordot Gilo - South (aka "Gilo Slopes") - a plan for large-scale settlement construction in East Jerusalem, adjacent to the settlement of Gilo (map, courtesy of Daniel Seidemann). This development was predictable (and predicted). Which is really the theme here.

The Three Competing Strategies That Led to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Steven L. Spiegel - (Opinion) September 30, 2011 - 12:00am

The controversial Palestinian request for UN membership is the culmination of three competing strategies pursued by the US, Israel, and the Palestinians over the last three years.

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