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IN THE PRESS

An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2011-09-24

Palestinian recognition: new era or impasse?

The Independent's Robert Fisk rages that Obama is "pathetic" in his support for Israel. Jerusalem Post journalist Caroline Glick says no scenario within the UN allows Israel to win. And Al-Akhbar journalist Houssam Kanafani says Abbas's move to request statehood has become a trap. Palestine is the focus for Friday 23rd September 2011.

Are Palestinians on the verge of a new era or in an impasse? A demand for statehood goes ahead with a US veto in the UN Security Council on the cards. Robert Fisk in The Independent says “the facts continue to prove that the US administration remains a tool of Israel”. The journalist describes Barack Obama as a “pathetic president” speaking only of the troubles the Israelis face. “A Martian listening to him would think that the Palestinians were occupying Israel rather than the other way around”. Fisk also questions the proximity of US-Israel ties by asking “how come the US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, took the flight to New York from Tel Aviv for the statehood debate on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own aircraft?”

The Bahrain paper Gulf News headlines: “US veto at UN will kill all hopes of peace”. It says: “it should be clear that the Palestinians already have a state, and have done for many years. The issue is not statehood but international recognition”. And comments that the United States came into being without asking anyone’s permission when it rejected British overlords. The paper describes Washington’s “total lack of commitment to the peace process as one of the worst disappointments of the Obama administration”.

A cartoon in the International Herald Tribune, meanwhile, shows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying to Obama: “We should give up and not fight?!! What kind of policy is that?” and Obama replies somewhat forlornly “… my own”.

Columnist Caroline Glick in The Jerusalem Post describes events as “surreal”. They are being seen, she says, as a sort of OK Corral with a winner and a loser. However, she argues “there is no scenario in which Israel wins at the UN”. Glick slams the Netanyahu government for refusing to consider a strategy for victory outside the hostile confines of the United Nations. She adds that if there is no quick US veto, a long, drawn out period of deliberation will hang over Israel’s head like a Sword of Damocles.

Houssam Kanafani, a journalist writing in the left-wing Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, says that while the move by Abbas is meant to pressure Israel to resume peace talks, it has become a trap for him that could spark a third intifada. The journalist argues that Abbas could get out of the trap if there is a long period of deliberation on Palestinian aspirations for statehood leading to a compromise.

And Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s foreign minister and chairman of the Ad Hoc Liaison committee for the Assistance of the Palestinian Authority, writes in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times that Palestinians are fully capable of running a state, the main obstacle is the occupation.

The other main story in today’s world press is the global financial downturn and fears of a double dip recession. The Wall Street Journal Europe leads with the headline: “Economy enters danger zone” alongside a picture of the International Monetary Fund’s Managing-Director Christine Lagarde. The Guardian leads “British PM tells Europe: act now to save global economy”. And, still with the UK press, the Daily Telegraph says: “World on brink of new economic crisis”.

By Nicholas RUSHWORTH

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