Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The West Bank city of Nablus sees signs of renewed economic growth (1) as Israel begins to relax restrictions on movement for Palestinians (9)(13). Tensions between the EU and Israel continue during a visit by the German foreign minister (2). Six months after the cessation of the war in Gaza, the outlook for the area remains grim (3)(7). Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad rules out a total withdrawal from the Golan Heights during a discussion about possible talks with Syria (4). Egypt claims progress in negotiations for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (8)(10). Israel may permit a specially trained Palestinian counterterrorism unit to operate in the West Bank (12).

Signs Of Economic Life Return To West Bank City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Peter Kenyon - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Nablus is stirring to life after Israel recently eased restrictions on movement in and out of the embattled West Bank city, site of some of the heaviest fighting during the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, from 2000 to 2005. The main Israeli checkpoint is now open to Palestinian traffic, and signs of economic life are emerging. But the people of Nablus have learned more than once that economic revitalization and greater freedom can be fleeting

Judenrein! Israel adopts Nazi term to back settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Hosting the German foreign minister this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used an especially tainted term to condemn the Palestinian demand that Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank be removed. "Judea and Samaria cannot be Judenrein," a Netanyahu confidant quoted him as telling Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Asked how Germany's top diplomat responded to hearing the Nazi Holocaust term for areas "cleansed of Jews," the confidant said, "What could he do? He basically just nodded."

Gaza war rubble will take a year to clear - UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian workers will need one year to clear a half million tonnes of concrete rubble from Gaza Strip districts bombed and bulldozed by Israeli forces during their winter offensive, the United Nations said on Thursday. The United Nations Development Programme was beginning its rubble removal project six months after the 3-week war ended on Jan. 18, with still no idea of when organised reconstruction could begin, said the UNDP's Jens-Anders Toyberg-Frandzen.

Israel must keep much of Golan: Netanyahu aide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel is ready to withdraw from areas of the Golan Heights, but it will not give up large parts of the occupied territory in any peace deal with Syria, a top aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. National Security Adviser Uzi Arad also said in an interview with Haaretz newspaper published on Friday that as part of a statehood deal that settles the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel should be granted NATO membership.

Israel backers must support a settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by John Friedman - (Opinion) July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

The Jewish community in America has always supported Israel. We have raised funds, walked in solidarity, visited whenever possible and prayed for the safety of the Jewish state since its very inception. “Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel” is a comment made sincerely by many. But surely, if we stand with Israel, if we want what’s best for the Jewish state, we must be honest -- we must tell the leadership of our spiritual home the truth. And the truth is, President Obama is right when he says that settlement building must stop.

A cleansing battle over settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Eric Fingerhut - July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

J Street and The Israel Project are firing shots at each other after the disclosure that The Israel Project was advising its activists to say that the removal of Jewish settlements would be a version of "ethnic cleansing."

Gaza's children struggle with memories of war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Patrick Moser - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Fourteen-year-old Ghasan Matar won't talk about the explosion that cost him his legs and killed his brother. In fact, six months after the end of the Israeli war on Gaza, he still barely talks at all. He spends most of his time staring at the walls and a huge poster depicting his older brother against a bloody background of war featuring a Kalashnikov assault rifle and dead Israeli soldiers.

Mubarak:Gilad Shalit to be set free soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is in good condition and will be set free soon, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said. In an exclusive interview with Yedioth Aharonoth published Friday, Mubarak also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A deal for Shalit's return was on the brink four or five months ago but Israel changed its position and the deal collapsed, Mubarak told the Tel Aviv, Israel, newspaper. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mubarak said meetings are under way between Israeli and Egyptian officials.

Israel Removes West Bank Checkpoints
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Matthew Kalman - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli officials say they have removed more than 140 security obstacles in the West Bank over the past year, enabling Palestinians to move more freely between towns and helping to boost the local economy. But the United Nations says that more than 600 checkpoints, roadblocks, gates and earth mounds still remain, blocking off short-cuts and causing long delays. Permanent checkpoints have been removed from Qalqilyah, Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah, reducing travel times throughout the northern West Bank and speeding up the movement of food and other goods.

Report: Gilad Shalit talks to resume soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Talks between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner swap involving captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit will resume soon, Egyptian sources told the pan-Arab daily Al Hayyat. Shalit was captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006, and has not been heard from since. Hamas have demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit's freedom.

Settlers are encountering their first real opponent - Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The mood in Jerusalem this week was one of shock. As if it weren't enough that the Obama administration is ignoring previous understandings between Israel and the Bush administration regarding natural growth in the settlements, now it seems there isn't agreement even on the outposts.

Israel may allow PA counter-terror force
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The IDF is considering allowing the Palestinians to establish a specially trained counterterror squad qualified to carry out pinpoint operations against Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Such a force would be able to carry out special operations against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank more effectively than could existing Palestinian security forces. The French have already offered to train such a team.

Officer: Removing roadblocks spares moral problems
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The ease of restrictions on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the cooperation with the Palestinian security organizations have led to a cautious satisfaction in the Israel Defense Forces. "Where roadblocks are not needed – they will be removed," a senior officer told Ynet on Thursday night. "This spares conflicts and moral problems for us too, and the risk we are taking is very calculated."

Peace Now: Probe settler youth movements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - July 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Peace Now has declared war on Hilltop Youth – will the State join in? In an appeal to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Peace Now demanded Friday that an investigation be opened against two prominent right-wing youth organizations that focus their energies on establishing illegal outposts in the West Bank and on fighting authorities seeking to evacuate them.

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