Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters reports on expectations by the Palestinian government that formal negotiations to create a Palestinian state could be completed six months after the fall Mideast meeting (2.) The Forward looks at how Fatah and the Palestinian Authority are replacing Hamas-affiliated prayer leaders at mosques across the West Bank (3.) In the New Republic, Carnegie Endowment's John Judis comes to Congressman Jim Moran's defense regarding charges of anti-Semitism leveled against him as a result of comments in an interview he gave (5.) The Independent (UK) reports on the results of a telephone poll of Gazans taken yesterday on the issues of rocket attacks against Israel, Hamas, and a peace agreement with Israel (7.) The Guardian (UK) looks at how Palestinian youth in the West bank are using technology and the internet to overcome the restrictions placed on them by the Israeli occupation and culture (8.) A Jordan Times (editorial) urges the U.S. to use its influence with Israel to make meaningful gestures to the Palestinians in the lead-up to the fall Mideast meeting (10.) A Ynet/Yedioth News (Israel) opinion by settlement expert Dror Etkes addresses the discriminatory policy of the Jewish National Fund when it comes to leasing land to non-Jews (11.)





Abbas Sees Six-month Timeframe For Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - October 4, 2007 - 1:38pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's government said on Thursday formal negotiations to create a Palestinian state could be completed six months after a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference. Palestinian Information Minister Riyad al-Malki said the agreement would then be brought before the Palestinian people, both inside the Palestinian territories and abroad, for a referendum.


Fatah Fights To Keep Hamas Out Of Mosques
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Joshua Mitnick - October 4, 2007 - 1:42pm


He has been charged with no less a mission than ridding the local branch of the Palestinian religious authority of Hamas’s influence. But when a reporter arrives in his office, Hassan Hilali goes stiff. “I am only a simple man,” he apologizes, while dialing a superior to get authorization to talk. “I’ve only been in the job for a month.”


Mideast Negotiating Teams Get Orders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - October 4, 2007 - 1:44pm


The Israeli and Palestinian leaders brought their negotiating teams together for the first time Wednesday and instructed them to start work next week on a joint declaration that would pave the way for full-scale peace talks. The two-hour meeting at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's residence did not delve into the core issues of the decades-old conflict. That task was handed to the negotiators, who have just weeks to draft a document to serve as the agenda for a peace conference called by President Bush.


The Groups Who Cried Anti-semitism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by John B. Judis - October 4, 2007 - 1:45pm


Virginia Representative Jim Moran is no stranger to controversy. And he now finds himself in midst of another one--over what he said about Jews, Iraq, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in an interview in the September-October issue of Tikkun magazine. Moran's statements have been denounced as anti-Semitic by the officials of Jewish political and religious organizations and by members of Congress. These critics see Moran's statements as part of a wave of anti-Semitism--of which Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's book The Israel Lobby and U.S.


Politics: Mideast Meet Has Ambiguous Agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Khody Akhavi - October 4, 2007 - 1:47pm


As the George W. Bush administration prepares to host its much-publicised Middle East conference, Israeli experts gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss whether Washington's latest diplomatic attempts would pave the way for a solution to the long-moribund Palestinian-Israeli peace process. But with less than two months before the November meeting, which is to be held in Annapolis, the sentiment was anything but hopeful.


Palestinians Divided Over Future Under Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - October 4, 2007 - 1:48pm


Asked a routine question about the 2006 Palestinian elections yesterday, Khaled abu Ahmed slipped off his sandal and used it to beat his head several times to demonstrate his remorse for voting Hamas. "We wanted change and reform," he said. "We thought they would bring prosperity. We thought they were people who knew God. But, believe me, they don't know God."


Nablus' Online Link To The World
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Clare Simon - October 4, 2007 - 1:49pm


This is a tale of two cities. The first is Nablus in the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territories, a city of picturesque ancient buildings and winding alleyways - and fierce resistance to the Israeli presence. The second is virtual Nablus - a city of monitors, keyboards and cables where the residents of Nablus can experience a freedom they do not enjoy in real life.


No End To The Invective
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - October 4, 2007 - 1:51pm


It should be stressed, time and again, that the galloping anti-American feeling in the Middle East, if not elsewhere, stems not from the attitude towards the American people or their culture but the short-sighted policies of most US administrations in recent decades towards that region. Furthermore, the actions of a few Americans, whether academicians or media representatives, be they reporters or commentators, that are often mediocre, self-serving or shallow add oil to the fire.


‘in The Interest Of Peace’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Samir Barhoum - (Editorial) October 4, 2007 - 1:53pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unfortunately seem to have very different ideas about what the proposed November meeting in the US on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is about. Abbas wants that meeting to lead to the signing of a peace agreement in six months. Olmert, on the other hand, wants yet another process and is keen to emphasise, as he did yesterday, that the Annapolis meeting is “not a peace conference”.


Jnf's Blatant Hypocrisy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Dror Etkes - (Opinion) October 4, 2007 - 1:59pm


It appears that the High Court discussion over the insistence of the Jewish National Fund, which controls about 13 percent of land in Israel, on its right to continue its policy of refraining from leasing out land to Arabs will soon reach the final stretch. JNF's claims in response to the petition of Arab citizens, who it refuses to lease out land to, is that the land it owns is not national land, but rather, assets that were bought for their full price for Jews only, and therefore the JNF has the right to refuse to lease them out to non-Jews.


Ex-us Officals: Divide Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 4, 2007 - 2:02pm


Five former State Department and Pentagon officials are proposing Israeli and Palestinian capitals in Jerusalem and excluding Arab refugees from returning to Israel as part of an Middle East accord. In a six-page policy statement submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, they also suggested a series of peace conferences following the one she hopes to convene next month, probably in Annapolis, Maryland, near Washington. Hamas, which controls Gaza and about one-third of Palestinian-held land, has not met US terms


Idea Raised Of Two Capitals In Jerusalems
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Barry Schweid - October 5, 2007 - 2:14pm


Five former State Department and Pentagon officials are proposing Israeli and Palestinian capitals in Jerusalem and excluding Arab refugees from returning to Israel as part of an Middle East accord. In a six-page policy statement submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, they also suggested a series of peace conferences following the one she hopes to convene next month, probably in Annapolis, Md.


Lobbying Degree Zero
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Daniel Lazare - (Opinion) October 5, 2007 - 2:51pm


On March 23, 2006, John Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, published a lengthy article called "The Israel Lobby" in the London Review of Books. Their thesis: a group of pro-Israel activists and propagandists is actively manipulating policy in Washington to benefit the Jewish state at the expense of the United States' national interests.


Ok, Here We Go, The Israel Lobby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Prospectsforpeace.com
by Daniel Levy - (Blog) October 5, 2007 - 3:02pm


I have not commented thus far on the publication of the Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer book on the Israel lobby. The reason is simple – I agreed to review the book for Haaretz and so have waited for that to be published. Well the review came out yesterday in the monthly Haartetz book supplement and should be on the website any day (it is being delayed by the Succot holiday). I have though decided to post that review here below. (I will provide the Haaretz link once it’s available.)


Haidar Abdel Shafi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
October 5, 2007 - 3:05pm


IN THE spring of 1948, around March as he remembered it, Haidar Abdel Shafi found himself at nightfall, waiting, in a small mud hut by the side of the main road in Deir al-Balah. Around him stretched groves of olive and orange trees. Palestine, in those days, was a community of peasants and landowners; a man was judged by how many trees he had. Haidar's father had had none, preferring—as he told the astonished neighbours—to save money for schooling his six children rather than buy plantations.


Palestinians Struggle In Dire Straits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Martin Asser - October 5, 2007 - 3:07pm


Hassan is 53, but the lines on his face suggest a man at least 20 years older; when asked to describe what his life is like he uses a single word: "al-mawt" (death). He is a charcoal-burner in the blackened, smoke-filled valleys around Yabad, in the northern West Bank. It takes two weeks of low-oxygen incineration to make charcoal from the carefully packed mounds of citrus wood covered in cinders. The burners must constantly tend the mounds, applying wet straw to maintain the temperature for producing charcoal.


Boost Here, Squeeze There
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
by Hebron, Jenin And Nablus - October 8, 2007 - 1:54pm


THEY came for Omar Maswadeh at half-past midnight. They broke furniture at his home in the West Bank town of Hebron, blindfolded him, shoved him in a car. They kept him in solitary, hooded and with his hands tied, in the painful seated shabah position that Israeli courts have outlawed. Two days later they came for his brother Alaa and his cousin Yusri. After holding the young men for two to three weeks each, they charged them with membership in Hamas's “executive force”, a militia that the Islamist party created in Gaza but never actually managed to form in the West Bank.





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