Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: There is extensive coverage of the ATFP Sixth Annual Gala. Hard feelings persist after the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap. Many Palestinian prisoners are released but are not free. Pres. Abbas will visit Egypt. Abbas is interviewed by Ma'an TV. Palestinians are considering "other options" if their UN bid fails. Israel may be considering a partial settlement freeze to restart talks. Hamas gains from the prisoner swap are likely to fade. Changes in Security Council membership are unlikely to bolster Palestinian options. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff says the prisoner swap throws Hamas a political lifeline. Ray Hanania says it makes no sense to get mad at the wrong people. Deborah Orr asks why Israeli lives are valued more than Palestinian ones. Nathan Guttman looks at pro-Israel outreach to African-Americans. JJ Goldberg says the prisoner swap deal was wise. Tariq Alhomayed says there is a stench of hypocrisy about Hamas' stance on the prisoner swap. Bilal Hassan says the Palestinians need to coordinate more with Arab leaders. Ahmed Othman asks if Abbas is planning to return to negotiations. George Hishmeh says US military aid to Israel may be impeding the peace process. The Daily Star says the Quartet must make Israel comply with international law.

Inside the tiny Washington group that is 'mainstreaming Palestine'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Josh Rogin - (Blog) October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Tonight, when Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad comes to Washington to speak at the annual gala of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), he will be endorsing an organization that is punching well above its weight in the U.S. policy debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian PM Fayyad: Time is not right for serious peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday that Palestinian-American relations are currently strained, and that many Palestinians are very disappointed with the yields of diplomacy, but he stressed that the Palestinians are committed to the peace process. "We want to see an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967. We want the Palestinian people to live with dignity. Fayyad said the Palestinians are committed to resolving the conflict, but that "the conditions are not right to resume talks."

Conditions not ripe for dialogue with Israel: Fayyad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from FOCUS News Agency
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians are not ready to resume dialogue with Israel as sought by the Mideast diplomatic Quartet, Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday, AFP reported. "Our own assessment is that the conditions are not ripe at this juncture for a meaningful resumption of talks," he said at the annual gala for the American Task Force on Palestine, a pro-Palestinian lobby.

Palestinian Leader Says Time ‘Not Ripe’ for Mideast Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Nicole Gaouette - October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said there is little chance for a prompt renewal of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis that the Obama administration seeks. “My own assessment” is that “conditions are not ripe at this juncture for a meaningful resumption of talks,” Fayyad told a Washington audience yesterday. He made his remarks as the U.S. and its allies in the so- called Quartet -- the United Nations, the European Union and Russia -- are trying to restart talks between the two sides to head off a Palestinian push for statehood recognition at the UN.

Palestinian PM Fayyad says the time 'not ripe' for talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has said that the time is not ripe for resuming "meaningful" talks with Israel. He said the problem was not a lack of talks but the absence of the right "terms of reference" for a peace deal. The Quartet of Middle East negotiators - the UN, EU, US and Russia - had called for direct talks to take place later this month. They will hold separate talks with the two sides next week.

Palestinian PM: Conditions ‘not ripe’ for peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Ben Birnbaum - October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says that circumstances are “not ripe” for peace talks with Israel, arguing that the international community’s focus on getting Israelis and Palestinians back to the table is misguided. “Let me be frank with you: My own assessment is that conditions are not ripe at this juncture for the resumption — a meaningful resumption — of talks,” Mr. Fayyad told attendees of the American Task Force on Palestine’s annual gala late Wednesday.

Palestinian PM dismisses peace talk chances
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestine's Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has dimmed Western hopes that a flurry of diplomacy next week could restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by saying that "conditions are not right" to get back into talks. The declaration by one of the most prominent Palestinian moderates is a blow to the international Middle East Quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN, and its envoy Tony Blair, who arrives in Jerusalem next week in an attempt to breathe new life into a badly faltering peace process.

Fayyad: time not ripe for Israeli-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The time is not right for meaningful Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday, saying they are only likely to produce a blame game rather than a settlement. The so-called Quartet of Middle East peace mediators has failed to meet its own goal of bringing the two sides into direct talks, instead scheduling separate meetings with them on Oct. 26 in the hope of eventually bringing about negotiations.

Hard Feelings Test Hope in Israel-Hamas Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Just off the bus in Gaza after six years in an Israeli prison, one of hundreds traded to Hamas for an Israeli soldier, Wafa al-Bass declared her next goal: abduct more Israeli soldiers. Others who returned said they could not feel satisfaction until the thousands of remaining Palestinian prisoners were freed. Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit, a captive of Hamas since 2006, saluted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an Israeli air base Tuesday after his exchange for Palestinian prisoners. More Photos »

For Palestinians released in Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, freedom is relative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Rebecca Collard - October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Of the roughly 100 former Palestinian prisoners released in the West Bank and East Jerusalem yesterday, half will remain under Israeli security restrictions that include limits to their movements and regular check-ins with Israeli authorities. The restrictions were part of the deal reached by Israel and Hamas that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. Mr. Shalit and 477 of the prisoners were released Tuesday.

Abbas to visit Egypt, discuss reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Egypt on Saturday, officials said, after a meeting of his Fatah party said movement on a stalled reconciliation agreement with Hamas was "necessary". Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman told official news agency WAFA that the president would travel to Egypt to discuss implementation of the deal reached on May 4 and brokered by Egypt but which has yet to be carried out.

Abbas: We ended chaos but independence eludes us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas measured out his achievements but lamented the "failure" to grasp the ultimate prize of a Palestinian state, in a TV interview that aired on Wednesday. "I managed to end the security chaos but I still can't achieve independence," Mahmoud Abbas told Ma'an TV in Jordan on Monday. Abbas reflected on his five-year presidency, describing the last half-decade as "tough." "I had to start from zero and work hard on security and safety in the Palestinian territories," the president said.

Palestinians plan "other options" if UN bid fails
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians want the Security Council to decide on their bid for full U.N. membership soon so they can pursue "other options," the Palestinian U.N. envoy said, repeating charges that Washington is procrastinating to avoid a vote. Riyad Mansour, in comments to a Palestinian newspaper, did not say what the Palestinians would do once their bid for U.N. membership reached its conclusion. It is widely expected that the bid will fail because of U.S. opposition.

Netanyahu agrees to partially freeze West Bank construction in bid to resume talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's willing to freeze government construction in West Bank settlements as well as all construction on government land there. In return, he needs an agreement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resume direct peace talks. According to a senior Israeli official, Abbas has not yet responded, but he has been threatening to resign if there is no diplomatic progress in the next three months.

Hamas Gains From Prisoner Swap Likely to Fade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

On the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and other Hamas officials greeted some 280 freed prisoners on Tuesday, giving each a long embrace amid a cacophony of horns honking and masked gunmen struggling to keep order as friends and families crowded into the ceremony.

Palestinian Chances at UN Will Worsen After Council Elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Flavia Krause-Jackson - October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians seeking membership in the United Nations won’t be able to count on the newly elected Security Council members to better their chances. When the 193-country General Assembly today picks five countries to replace a third of the 15-member body on Jan. 1, support for the Palestinians will drop by one as Guatamala, running unopposed, succeeds Brazil in the Latin American seat.

Shalit deal throws Hamas a lifeline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Tuesday showed that after nearly four years, Hamas has reared its head in the West Bank. It's doing so with Israel's help: The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal has in many ways thrown Hamas a life preserver. The organization, whose civilian and military infrastructure has almost completely disappeared from the West Bank in recent years - and support for it has tumbled - has been clever enough to register its first significant achievement since the Hamas government in Gaza was established in January 2006.

Yalla Peace: Getting mad at the wrong people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ray Hanania - (Opinion) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

PLO representative Maen Areikat reportedly announced last week that he was “distancing” the PLO office from the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) because the latter group does not support the Palestinian push for statehood at the United Nations.That’s the buzz in the Palestinian world this week. Palestinians rarely make news, but when they do, it is usually about some internal squabble that most of the people who can influence the future of Palestine disregard. It’s typical of the problems Palestinians face and raises questions about issues that often are not openly discussed.

Is an Israeli life really more important than a Palestinian's?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Deborah Orr - (Opinion) October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

It's quite something, the prisoner swap between Hamas and the Israeli government that returns Gilad Shalit to his family, and more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to theirs. The deal is widely viewed as a victory for Hamas, the radical Islamist group that gained power in Gaza after years of frustration at the intractability of the "peace process". Conversely, it is being seen by some as a sign of weakness in Israel's rightwing prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Christian Backers of Israel Reach Out to Blacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Once known for their work together on civil rights, African Americans and Jews have experienced decades of contention over a range of issues since the 1960s. But now, some in the pro-Israel community see an opportunity to reconstitute a black-Jewish alliance centered on Israel. With the coming of age of a new generation of black religious and social leaders, pro-Israel advocacy groups are reaching out to enroll African Americans in support of Israel, often in a religious setting.

Why Deal To Free Gilad Shalit Was Smart
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

You didn’t have to be a great lover of Israel to get choked up at the sight of Gilad Shalit walking unsteadily into the sunlight of freedom October 18, after five years of being locked in a hole somewhere in Gaza. At the same time, you couldn’t miss the anguished second-guessing that dominated public discussion of the deal, both in Israel and pro-Israel circles here in America.

The people are in trenches while the leaders are in the hotels!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli Prime Minister, and likewise the Palestinian leaders, took part in a race to secure pictures with the prisoners released on Tuesday; Netanyahu did so with the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and the Palestinian leaders did so with the released Palestinian prisoners, in what was a clear trade in human commodities, and the future of our region.

Palestine and the Arabs: An inescapable relationship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - (Opinion) October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab-Israeli conflict is an ever-present strategic issue for any Arab state or regime, regardless of its [political] trend. This has resulted in the emergence of popular anti-Israeli [political] movements; some are Palestinian, whilst others are Arab. These movements represent a tool in the struggle against the Israeli challenge. The majority of them are military [Fedayeen] movements, whilst some are political movements, whether via the Oslo Accords or via the political framework of the Palestinian Authority.

Et tu, Bibi?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

As Israeli staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was held captive for more than five years by Palestinian fighters in Gaza, was heading back to Israel via Egypt, he expressed hope that his safe return home would pave the way for peace in the Middle East. In a jarring interview on Egyptian television, he declared: “I really hope that this deal advances peace and not more military conflicts and wars between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Make Israel comply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) October 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The international media focused Tuesday on the prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinians, highlighting the theme of an end to a five-year saga. The release of more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees and prisoners is certainly a welcome sight, but one must remember that around 10,000 more such cases remain.

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