Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: In her new memoir, former Sec. Rice says peace was very close in 2007. Pres. Peres and EU foreign policy chief Ashton defend Pres. Abbas against criticisms by FM Lieberman. A World Bank agency is going to insure some Palestinian investments. Occupation forces close two offices in occupied East Jerusalem they claim were being used by Hamas. Palestinian officials say they're unaware of any new US proposal to restart negotiations. Former US peace envoy Mitchell says deadlocked negotiations could lead to violence. The ADL and AJC press Republicans not to attack Pres. Obama over Israel. Quartet officials say they're making another push to restart talks. The Palestinian stock exchange is performing much better than its peers under uncertain conditions. COMMENTARY: The LA Times says both the California and Israeli-Palestinian experiences show that textbook issues should be debated between scholars and not politicians. Lally Weymouth interviews Jordan's King Abdullah. Ha'aretz says PM Netanyahu must treat Abbas as a genuine partner. Jonathan Freedland says Netanyahu has no vision for peace. Kapil Komireddi says Indian-Israeli friendship should not be marred by anti-Muslim sentiments. Salman Shaikh says Hamas needs to find friends outside Damascus. Dan Rothem looks at the difficulty of drawing an Israeli-Palestinian border. Shlomo Brom says the Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange will have limited ramifications.

In memoir, Rice says 'historic peace' nearly reached
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (Ma'an) -- In Condoleezza Rice's new memoir, No Higher Honor, the former US secretary of state claims a "historic peace deal" between Israel and the Palestinians was once close at hand in 2007. In the memoir, Rice says Israel's then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was ready to make "an extraordinary offer" to President Mahmoud Abbas, Newsweek Magazine reported Tuesday citing an advance copy.

Peres, Ashton defend Abbas after attack by Israeli FM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres came to the defense of Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday after Israel's far-right foreign minister called the president an obstacle to peace. "Abbas and Prime Minister (Salam) Fayyad are serious leaders that want peace and are working to prevent violence and extremism in our region," said Peres in public remarks.

World Bank agency insures Palestinian investors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A World Bank fund announced on Monday it will give investment guarantees to a Palestinian consortium to help inject $15 million into date palm farms in Jericho. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency -- established 14 years ago to attract investment into the West Bank and Gaza -- will provide $4.8 million in investment guarantees to support Palestinian contributors to the Nakheel Palestine for Agricultural Investment Company's date farms.

International envoys seek to restart Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — International mediators will sit down with Palestinian and Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday in the hope of finding a formula to restart the deadlocked peace talks. But in a telling commentary on the beleaguered state of peacemaking, they will be huddling separately with officials from each side and will not be meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Palestinian official: no new U.S. proposals for resuming peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian negotiator on Tuesday denied reports that the United States presented new proposals for resuming peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. Saeb Erekat, the negotiator, said the Palestinian leadership received no offers from the Obama administration regarding Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Erekat also stressed that the settlement construction must be completely suspended, not partially.

Former U.S. envoy: Mideast peace stalemate could lead to West Bank violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States' former special envoy for Mideast peace warned recently that the continued impasse in diplomatic contacts between Israel and the Palestinians is liable to ignite violence on the West Bank. In a lecture delivered last week at London's Chatham House, George Mitchell stressed that the Shalit release deal strengthened Hamas, and weakened Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Jewish groups: Don't slam Obama over Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC), two of the most prominent Jewish-American organizations in the United States, on Sunday issued a joint “pledge” calling on Jewish and Israel groups not to criticize President Obama’s record on Israel. The "National Pledge for Unity on Israel," aims to promote bipartisan support for Israel while preventing the Jewish State from becoming a wedge issue in the upcoming campaign season.

Quartet officials coming to restart peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Quartet officials will take yet another stab over the next two days at kick-starting the stalemated diplomatic process, meeting separately in Jerusalem with Israeli and Palestinian representatives in an effort to convince the latter to agree to a direct meeting. The Quartet officials – expected to include Quartet envoy Tony Blair, US envoy David Hale, Helga Schmid from the EU, the UN’s Robert Serry, and a Russian representative – are scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

IMPERVIOUS: Palestinian exchange rides regional upheavals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from KippReport
October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian stock exchange has proved resilient in the face of regional political upheaval, but is still heavily undervalued because of the territory’s reputation for violence and strife, the bourse’s CEO said on Monday. Since the start of the year, the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) has fallen just 1.5 percent, against drops of up to 40 percent in some neighbouring markets, such as Egypt, chief executive operator Ahmad Aweidah said in an interview.

A textbook case of politicization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week we wrote about California's decision to require teachers and textbooks to include positive messages about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in their lessons. We opposed that law — not because we think schools shouldn't teach about the contributions of people of all sexual orientations (they should!), but because we're concerned about the continuing politicization of California's classrooms.

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Egypt, Syria and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Lally Weymouth - (Interview) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

LW: How do you see Egypt’s future? KA: I went to Egypt after visiting the U.S. in May. I had a message from the administration for General Tantawi. [Mohammed Hussein Tantawi is head of Egypt’s military ruling council.] WP: How did your visit to Egypt go? KA: With Tantawi — fantastic. We had a very good meeting. WP: It is astounding that Tantawi did not take President Obama’s call for hours the night the Israelis were trapped in their embassy in Egypt.

Netanyahu must treat Abbas as a genuine peace partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Monday that the Israel Defense Forces' top officers are crafting a proposal to mitigate the damage to the Palestinian Authority's status caused by Hamas' success in freeing over 1,000 prisoners. In addition to the release of Fatah prisoners in the Shalit deal's second stage, the IDF recommends significant gestures that will allow PA President Mahmoud Abbas to present accomplishments to the Palestinian people. One proposal considers handing over empty lands to the PA (lands that remain under Israel's security authority under the Oslo Accords ).

Gilad Shalit has been brought home to an Israel that has no plan for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The posters are still up, showing the face of Gilad Shalit, the boy soldier freed last week after five years hidden in the dark. "How good it is to have you back home," runs the slogan, appearing on the side of shopping malls in Tel Aviv and on lampposts in Jerusalem. Shalit's return has enabled Israelis to walk with an unaccustomed spring in their step, despite their fear that the price was dreadfully high.

India and Israel: a friendship deepened by prejudice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Kapil Komireddi - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

In 1974, the New York Times journalist Bernard Weinraub described India as "the loneliest post in the world" for Israeli diplomats. Having voted against the creation of Israel at the UN in 1947, India held back from establishing full diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv until 1992. For decades, Israel's presence in India was limited to an immigration office in Mumbai.

A chance for Hamas to find friends outside of Damascus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Salman Shaikh - (Opinion) October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

In mid-March Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, spoke to Bashar Al Assad to express his concern about the Syrian regime's crackdown on popular protests spreading across the country. Mr Meshaal had been asked to do so by key supporters at a private meeting at his home in the Syrian capital a few days earlier.

Difficult Truths on Borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Zvika Krieger - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

For Palestinians, a two-state solution is the only realistic way to achieve independence and realize the dream of a sovereign, viable Palestinian state. For Israelis, a two-state solution is an existential imperative, less the emerging Arab majority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River force Israel to choose between its Jewish and democratic characters.

Short-lived ramifications
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Shlomo Brom - (Opinion) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The exchange of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, after years of campaigning and negotiating is a dramatic event that deeply affects Israeli public opinion and probably also Palestinian public opinion. Naturally, there is a tendency to look for broad and long-term implications of this recent development.

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