Middle East News: World Press Roundup

ATFP provides two original translations, first Mohammad Daraghmeh’s piece on Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Palestinian diplomacy (1), and second, Hassan Khader's article on the Palestinian Left (2). An agreement on a proposed Israeli settlement freeze remains elusive (8) (15) (16). A report issued yesterday by Amnesty International finds that Israel inflicted 'wanton destruction' on Gaza during the war in January (5) (7). Veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross is appointed to the U.S. National Security Council (4). German Chancellor Angela Merkel demands Israel cease settlement construction in the West Bank (11). Tensions increase between Fatah and Hamas in the West Bank after President Abbas' allegation of an assassination plot by Hamas militants (12).

ATFP Translation: The Palestinian Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Quds
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - (Opinion) July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Over the last few weeks, we witnessed three speeches by three leaders at three universities: United States President Barack Obama and his speech at Cairo University, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his speech at Bar Ilan University, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his speech at al-Quds University.

ATFP Translation: What does it mean to be a Palestinian leftist?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Khader - (Opinion) June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

I have been reading newspaper accounts over the past few days about a conference in Ramallah entitled "Experiences of unifying and activating the left in Palestine and the world." I recall the memory of a young woman from the cold and distant north who asked me during the Beirut civil war thirty years ago what was preventing the unification of two large leftist organizations. I instantly responded: stupidity.

Growing Gulf Between U.S. And Israeli Jews on Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

He swept to power with the support of 78% of American Jews. But has Barack Obama become the bane of Israeli Jews? A gulf between American and Israeli Jews was evident even before Obama moved into the White House. Just a third of Israelis would have endorsed him had they been allowed to vote, polling indicated, while almost half would have chosen John McCain.

Some See Extended Olive Branch For Israel In Ross Appointment to NSC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The promotion of Middle East adviser Dennis Ross to a senior White House position may open the door to a more positive tone by the United States toward the Israeli government, experts believe.

Amnesty details violations in Gaza assault
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Vita Bekker - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Amnesty International on Thursday accused Israel and Hamas of having committed “serious and extensive” violations during Israel’s assault in the Gaza Strip and urged the international community to boost its support for a United Nations inquiry into the alleged war crimes. In its 119-page report, the London-based human rights group also called on Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, to fully co-operate with the UN probe headed by Richard Goldstone, an ex-chief prosecutor at the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Israeli troops wound four Palestinians in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli soldiers shot and wounded four Palestinian youths on Wednesday while firing at protesters throwing stones at Israeli civilian vehicles, an Israeli military spokesman and medics said. Two of the wounded were in serious condition in an Israeli hospital, and two others were listed as moderate in a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus, an Israeli military source and Palestinian medical officials said. A Palestinian official said all those who were shot were boys younger than 16. The Israeli spokesman had no details on their identities.

Amnesty says Israel ‘wantonly’ destroyed Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Amnesty International said today that Israel inflicted “wanton destruction” in the Gaza Strip in attacks that often targeted Palestinian civilians during an offensive in December and January in the Hamas-run enclave. The London-based rights group, in a 117-page report on the 22 days of fighting, also criticised movement Hamas for rocket attacks on Israel, which it called “war crimes”.

Fayyad meets Washington officials in push for settlement halt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Bethlehem - Ma’an - Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was in Washington this week meeting with high-level officials in an effort to push the American administration to act on its request that Israel halt settlement construction. Fayyad met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, National Security Advisor General James Jones, as well as Congressional leaders.

'U.S. can't get Arabs to commit to normal Israel ties'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Matthew Lee, Cnaan Liphshiz - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. administration has not been successful in securing commitments from Arab countries to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, a senior source in Jerusalem said Wednesday. The source said U.S. President Barack Obama's recent meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not produce a commitment to encourage the other Arab states to begin normalization. "In such a situation, the Americans can't continue demanding gestures only from Israel, such as the demand that Israel freeze settlement construction," the source said.

Without any tricks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shaul Arieli - (Opinion) July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The repeated demands by Barack Obama and the Europeans for a freeze on settlement construction reveals that Benjamin Netanyahu's promise - that Israel will neither build new settlements nor expropriate land for the benefit of the settlements - is nothing more than an effort to throw sand in the public's eyes.

Merkel: Settlements endanger two-state deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that Israeli settlement building in the West Bank stop, saying it endangered efforts to achieve a two-state solution with the Palestinians. "I think it is now important to get commitments from all sides and that includes the issue of settlement building," Merkel said in a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament. "I am convinced that there must be a stop to this. Otherwise we will not come to the two-state solution that is urgently needed."

Abbas: Hamas hoarding weapons in plot to assassinate PA officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority has intelligence indicating Hamas is planning to attack its officials, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday. Abbas' statement follows the announcement made earlier this week by the PA, in which it confirmed that members of a Hamas cell were arrested, and later confessed to plotting to carry out attacks against Palestinian Authority officials and institutions before July 7th – the date Fatah and Hamas are expected to sign a reconciliation agreement.

The one-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yigal Sarna - (Opinion) July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

One of these days, an American president will tell us: One state. After three more premiership terms, during which Netanyahu will return to power time and again in the wake of resounding failures, President Eduardo S. Gonzales will arrive here from Washington. The son of Cuban immigrants, Gonzales will stand up on top of the Masada, and with Elie Wiesel and China’s president by his side declare his unequivocal support for one state. Yet Bibi, boasting great experience and shaking because of his age, concerns, and anxiety, will insist: Only two states.

Agreements must be honored
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Dov Weissglass - July 2, 2009 - 12:00am

On May 1 and 16, 2003, during discussions of Israel’s reservations in respect to the Road Map initiative, it was agreed that there will be no construction at Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, with the exception of existing communities. These words were uttered, agreed upon, and documented in the records of the talks kept at the Prime Minister’s Office. I’m sure that an efficient search will reveal the parallel American records.

Wexler: Israel will freeze settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel would lose nothing, and potentially gain everything, by agreeing to a temporary moratorium on construction in the settlements for a short period of time, Congressman Robert Wexler, a close political ally of US President Barack Obama and a stalwart Israel supporter, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Wexler, on his third visit to Israel since December, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell met in New York and decided that the discussion over settlement construction would continue.

Settlers hope PM won't yield to US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Settlers leaders on Wednesday promised to lobby against any concessions that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might consider making to the Americans on the issue of settlement construction, when he meets with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell in the next few weeks. "We have two weeks to work with," said Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. He added that the council was seeking a meeting with Netanyahu.

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