Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Lara Friedman and Hagit Ofran counter popular arguments for opposing a full Israeli settlement freeze (1). The Los Angeles Times speculates on how public disagreement with Israel will impact President Obama’s image (2). On Ibishblog.com Hussein Ibish examines the role of outrage in politics (5). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak voices his optimism about peace talks (6). The AP looks at the Gaza Strip, two years after Hamas took power (7). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces that he will free all Hamas prisoners before the renewal of inter-factional talks (11).





Top 5 Bogus Excuses for Opposing a Settlement Freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
June 18, 2009 - 11:00pm


A settlement freeze is good for Israel and good for peace. Settlements are bad for Israel. They constitute a burden to Israel's security services. They create points of friction between Israelis and Palestinians. They drain Israel's financial resources. They create a false impression that Israelis are not interested in a two-state solution.


Tussle with Israel puts Obama credibility on the line, observers say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Paul Richter - June 19, 2009 - 11:00pm


President Obama's public quarrel with Israel over the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is developing into a test of the U.S. leader's international credibility, say foreign diplomats and other observers. Obama and his senior aides have insisted for weeks that the Jewish state completely halt the expansion of its settlements. But now, with U.S. and Israeli officials apparently close to an agreement on the issue, it is widely expected in Israel and the Arab world that the administration will give ground and support at least some growth in the 120 communities.


Opinion: Fictions on the Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Tony Judt - (Opinion) June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary). I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary).


The Obama World Order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from New York Magazine
by Michael Tomasky - (Editorial) June 18, 2009 - 11:00pm


It’s a long-held piece of Washington conventional wisdom—and, unlike most long-held pieces of Washington conventional wisdom, this one actually happens to be true!—that Democratic presidents tend to be more interested in domestic policy, while Republicans like making foreign policy.


Outrage is not a Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) June 20, 2009 - 11:00pm


A recent exchange with several people for whom I have respect and affection regarding the question of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian national strategy and interest raises a crucial point that needs much more serious examination in the conversation among Arab-Americans and their supporters regarding the role of outrage in political life. It boils down to this: being upset is not a strategy, and outrage, however moral, is not a political program.


Israel's Barak sees chance for peace progress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Cynthia Johnston - June 20, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday he saw a chance to advance peace talks with Palestinians and that a policy speech by Israel's premier, dismissed by Egypt as flawed, was a major step forward. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed -- with tough conditions -- the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in a policy speech a week ago, but Cairo said the proposal fell short of the Palestinian state Arabs seek.


Gaza's 2 years under Hamas: order and absurdity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Steven Gutkin, Karin Laub - (Analysis) June 20, 2009 - 11:00pm


AZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Two years after Hamas seized power, the Gaza Strip is a jumble of absurdities: an economy sustained by smuggling through tunnels, a civil service that gets paid on condition it doesn't work, and a population no longer fearful of gangs but feeling muzzled under the thumb of Hamas. Under a border closure enforced by Egypt and Israel, the U.N. says, shampoo can come in but conditioner can't. Nor can toys, candy or footballs.


Lawsuit brings murky West Bank land deals to light
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - June 19, 2009 - 11:00pm


OFRA SETTLEMENT, West Bank (AP) — It reads like a standard real estate contract between a Zionist institution and an Israeli couple. But it offers a rare glimpse into the bureaucratic smoke screen that helps ensure a strong Jewish presence on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.


Thank God Obama favors the 'old' Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Leon Hader - (Opinion) June 18, 2009 - 11:00pm


In July 2006, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travelled to Lebanon in an effort to bring an end to the war raging there between Israel and Hizbullah. At the time, she tried to market to reporters in Washington a somewhat odd spin on the violence taking place, not only in Lebanon but also in Iraq and Israel and Palestine. "What we're seeing here is, in a sense, the growing - the birth pangs of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we're pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East," Rice explained.


Netanyahu: No foreign troops in PA territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


The international guarantees Israel is seeking to ensure that a future Palestinian state remains demilitarized does not mean the introduction of foreign forces, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet at its Sunday meeting.


Abbas to free all Hamas prisoners ahead of unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Jack Khoury - June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


In a goodwill gesture to his political rivals Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security forces to release all prisoners belonging to the Islamist organization before the renewal of inter-factional talks. Representatives of Abbas' Fatah faction, which has been the dominant player in Palestinian politics since the inception of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will meet with Hamas officials later this week in an attempt to hammer out an agreement on national unity.


Luxury Palestinian mall signals transformation of 'terror capital'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


The skies lit up over Jenin last month, and it wasn't tracer bullets or flash bombs but celebratory fireworks, set off to mark the occasion of the opening of Hirbawi Home Center, a new luxury establishment on the city's outskirts. The five-story building near the Jalame checkpoint cost $5 million to build, says its owner, and it is filled with deluxe, foreign-made products seen mostly in the pages of newspaper supplements.


Abbas, get off your high horse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


The "anger" of Mahmoud Abbas directed at Benjamin Netanyahu is tantamount to a child who threatens his parents that unless they buy him an ice cream, he won't go with them to the circus.





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