Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Tensions continue over a proposed Israeli settlement freeze (1) (14). Israel pledges to compensate the UN for damage caused by shelling its facilities during the Gaza war (2). Israel’s Defense Minister approves the transfer of weapons to the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank (3). Israeli authorities plan to deport the activists who attempted to break the naval blockade of Gaza last week (4). Israeli President Shimon Peres is set to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo this week (5). Hamas and Fatah trade accusations of misconduct (7) (8). At a conference in Aspen this weekend, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says that Jews would be welcome as full citizens of a future Palestinian state (10).

Israel's settlements in West Bank present a major hurdle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Opinion) July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

This sprawling, well-manicured Israeli settlement -- with its rows of red-tile roofs, palm trees and air-conditioned shopping mall -- could almost pass for Orange County. Except the guards in this gated community sometimes pack automatic weapons. Settlements such as the city-sized Maale Adumim, about four miles east of Jerusalem in the West Bank, are viewed by much of the world as illegal because they are built on land seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War. Many Israelis see Maale Adumim as part of their country.

Israel to compensate U.N. for Gaza property damage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Gabriela Baczynska - July 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel has pledged to pay compensation for material damage it caused by shelling U.N. property during its Gaza offensive more than six months ago, a U.N. official said Friday. A U.N. inquiry said in May that Israel's armed forces damaged U.N. property on seven occasions during the December-January offensive, including an incident involving a U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in Jabalia. UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd said in Warsaw that Israel had indicated it would pay compensation for where U.N. buildings had been destroyed.

Palestinian forces to receive weapons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's Defense Minister has approved the transfer of 1000 Kalashnikov rifles to the Palestinian Authority security services in the West Bank. The transfer of the weapons has been delayed until the Israeli army completes ballistic tests, a standard procedure conducted on all weapons transferred to the Palestinian Authority, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday. The tests will allow Israel to identify the weapons in the event they are used in terror attacks against Israeli targets, the paper said. The report said Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the deal several weeks ago.

Israel to deport Gaza boat activists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel on Monday deported a former U.S. congresswoman, a Nobel peace prize laureate and other activists who were arrested and jailed after trying to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli navy commandeered their boat last week as it tried to sail from Cyprus to Gaza. It was the latest in a series of trips by activists trying to bring attention to the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the territory after the Islamic militant Hamas seized power there two years ago.

Peres to meet Mubarak in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

The office of Israeli President Shimon Peres says he is to head to Egypt for a working meeting with President Hosni Mubarak. Peres' office says the one-on-one meeting will take place in Cairo on Tuesday. The two leaders will discuss the latest diplomatic developments in the region and ways to promote a regional peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations to have signed a peace agreement with Israel.

Netanyahu changes tack on Palestinian peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

For the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday referred to a "two-state solution" in reference to efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. "We have achieved a national agreement on the formula of two states for two peoples," said the prime minister during the weekly cabinet meeting of the Israeli government.

Hamas accuses Fatah of spying for Israel in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)
July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

The de-facto prime minister of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, alleged Monday that his security forces had unveiled a spy network in the Gaza Strip that served Israel through the Ramallah- based administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "In recent arrests, the security services were able to dismantle several security cells that chanelled dangerous but false information to Ramallah and then to the Israeli occupation," Haniyeh told reporters in Gaza.

Fatah Spokesman: Hamas Monitoring Mahmoud Abbas’s Movements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali Saleh - July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

Fatah spokesman Fahmi Zaarir revealed that Hamas detainees have confessed to monitoring the movements of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and gathering information on his security detail. Zaarir informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a group of arrested Hamas cadres confessed to monitoring senior official’s convoys, including that of President Mahmoud Abbas. Zaarir refused to go into detail, but stressed that this issue is related to the security apparatus.

Music event puts global spotlight on Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

It is not often Palestinians get a chance to see best- selling international artists up close and personal. Once a year, however, the Palestine International Festival offers exactly such an opportunity, and, judging by the packed outdoor venue at the Ramallah Cultural Palace on Friday, it is an opportunity people are keen not to miss.

Fayyad: Jews can be equal citizens in Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday said that Jews would enjoy freedom and full civil rights in a future Palestinian state, according to a report in the Aspen Daily News. "Jews, to the extent they choose to stay and live in the state of Palestine, will enjoy those rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the state of Israel," Fayyad said in response to a question from former CIA director James Woolsey at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival.

The difference a "comedian, actress, activist and dancing gimp” can make
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Deema Dabis - July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

"I think that the biggest difference I make is that I actually show people that a disabled person can be members of society. "They look at me and they go woah, she walks funny but she seems to have all this power and she has no fear and her eyes are always looking straight ahead, she doesn't look down,” said founder of Maysoon’s Kids, Maysoon Zaayid. “I want people to think that hey, if I can do that, there is hope for my kid.”

Hamas arrests Palestinian woman for not wearing headscarf
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas security forces detained a Gazan journalist at a beach over the weekend because she was not wearing a headscarf. Asma al-Ghul, who writes for the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam, said she was at the beach near the Shati refugee camp with a mixed group of friends when men in civilian clothing asked her why she was not wearing a headscarf. When she asked them who they were, they showed her Hamas security forces identity cards. She said that when questioning her, the men accused her of "laughing out loud" and walking around the beach without a male escort.

Lieberman has become irrelevant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Opinion) July 6, 2009 - 12:00am

It's been 100 days since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government was sworn-in, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's impact on foreign policy has been negligible. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been handling ties with the U.S.; President Shimon Peres has been in charge of dealing with the Arab world and Lieberman and his office have faded into irrelevance.

Israel seeks Arab response for settlement building freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

The Barack Obama administration is continuing its efforts to draft a comprehensive agreement for freezing West Bank settlement construction and normalizing relations between Israel and the Arab states. Meanwhile, Israeli officials told U.S. envoy George Mitchell in recent weeks that Jerusalem is willing to temporarily freeze settlement construction, but that the move would be conditioned on substantive steps from the Arab side, as well as guarantees from the United States.

Israeli doctors to train Bil'in protesters in first aid at site of disputed security fence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ilana Strauss - July 5, 2009 - 12:00am

Physicians for Human Rights will be offering a first aid course on July 11 near the security barrier at the West Bank village of Bil'in for protesters to help them deal with injuries they incur in almost weekly confrontations with what the group's doctors call an aggressive Israeli occupation. "In a way, they are going to risk themselves," said Ron Yaron, director of the international group's occupied territories department, who explained the need for medical assistance in the West Bank.

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