Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Coverage continues of emerging economic growth in parts of the West Bank (1, 12, 17). The Washington Post features an op-ed by former Israeli PM Olmert arguing against a focus on the question of Israeli settlements, and another by crown prince of Bahrain Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa urging Arab states to communicate their desire for peace directly to the Israeli public (2, 3). In the Guardian, an anonymous Israeli writer questions Israel’s housing minister’s stance on keeping Arabs and Jews in separate towns, while Jerusalem's legal adviser has ordered the demolition of settler structures adjacent to the old city (5, 7). In Ha’aretz, Ari Shavit argues that Israel must make progress with the Palestinians before it can push the international community for a harder line on Iran, but Aluf Benn suggests that the Obama administration is still far from presenting a detailed peace plan of its own (8, 6). Two articles consider the state of both the traditional and the more peace-oriented pro-Israel groups in Washington (13, 15).

Signs of Hope Emerge in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The first movie theater to operate in this Palestinian city in two decades opened its doors in late June. Palestinian policemen standing beneath new traffic lights are checking cars for seat belt violations. One-month-old parking meters are filling with the coins of shoppers. Music stores are blasting love songs into the street, and no nationalist or Islamist scold is forcing them to stop.

How to Achieve a Lasting Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Ehud Olmert - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's partnership with the United States is one of its greatest strategic assets. The United States provides Israel with crucial security and economic aid and invaluable political backing in the international arena. Amid the legitimate rapprochement President Obama has initiated with the Arab and Muslim world, it is important not to underestimate the multifaceted nature of U.S. relations with Israel, the only real Middle Eastern democracy whose founding principles are based on the Western values of liberty and freedom for all.

Arabs Need to Talk to the Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

We need fresh thinking if the Arab Peace Initiative is to have the impact it deserves on the crisis that needlessly impoverishes Palestinians and endangers Israel's security. This crisis is not a zero-sum game. For one side to win, the other does not have to lose. The peace dividend for the entire Middle East is potentially immense. So why have we not gotten anywhere?

In Jerusalem, battle of Palestinian day camps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

As she hands out paper and magic markers, Basima Alian quizzes her young campers in a sing-songy voice. "How many times a day do we pray?" asks Ms. Alian, the head counselor. "Five!" They respond in unison. "Can a woman be muezzin?" she asks, referring to the individual who calls a Muslim community to prayer. "No, only a man," one boy answers. "How do we pray together in the mosque?" "Men in the front, women behind them," a girl says.

Living apart together
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jerry Kindred - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Ariel Atias is Israel's minister of construction and housing. Speaking at the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv recently, he said that Jews and Arabs shouldn't live in the same towns. He pointed to last year's Jewish-Arab riots in Akko as proof that we just don't get along. Atias said he intends to formulate and implement housing policies that create and perpetuate separate townships for Jews and Arabs.

Don't worry Netanyahu, Obama peace plan is still far off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The following joke is making the rounds in the Prime Minister's Bureau these days: What do Americans do when something breaks down in their home - when the sink is blocked up, the toilet overflows, a fuse burns out? Simple: They ask Barack Obama to give a speech and the problem is solved.

Jerusalem adviser: Demolish illegal buildings near Old City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Jerusalem's legal adviser has ordered city prosecutors to take legal action to remove new structures built illegally in the City of David by Elad, the nonprofit organization that operates the site, Haaretz has learned. The order was issued after Elad put up several structures in the Peace Forest, just south of the Old City.

Arad's summer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Summer. It's hot and humid and full of irritants. It's hard to concentrate. And the current scandals are the scandals of summer, too. Intense, juicy and insignificant. Between Dudu Topaz's letter and mourning over the death of Michael Jackson, there's no chance to really think. There's no way to distinguish between policy and gossip, between what's central and what's marginal, between what is of primary and secondary importance. It's time for the petty and the low.

U.S. Agrees to Resettle Palestinians Displaced by Iraq War
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Miriam Jordan - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. agreed to resettle 1,350 Palestinians displaced by fighting in Iraq, marking the largest resettlement ever of Palestinian refugees in the nation. The decision appears to signal a shift in Washington's previous position against resettling Palestinians out of concern about the potential impact on U.S. relations with Israel and the Arab world. The resettlement, which is slated to begin this fall, is likely to illicit strong reactions from people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas rejects accusations over his role in Arafat's death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected on Thursday accusations that he was involved in an alleged Israeli plot to poison deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The accusations were made by Farouk Kaddoumi, a senior leader both in Abbas and Arafat's Fatah faction and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Speaking to the Al Jazeera television network from Jordan, Kaddoumi also said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian security chief in Gaza, were also involved in the plot.

Arab camp kids humiliated in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tal Rabinovsky - July 16, 2009 - 12:00am

A group of Arab summer camp children were banned from entering Temple Mount in Jerusalem while wearing their camp t-shirts. When the children arrived at Temple Mount wearing their orange summer camp shirt, which read ''Al-Quds – Arab Culture Capital,' police officers told them that if they wish to enter, the shirts must come off. The incident took place Tuesday when children from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Tzur Baher toured Jerusalem's Old City as part of their summer camp activities. However, what should have been an enjoyable day out quickly became a humiliating experience.

West Bank boom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Many of those who have visited this city in the past decade were journalists searching for interviews with gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, or stories related to violence and bloodshed. In recent months, however, most of those who come to Nablus, once known as the Palestinian's economic capital, are shoppers searching for cheap clothes and fine sweets or a massage at one of the newly renovated 200-year-old Turkish baths.

J Street conference demonstrates increased coordination on left
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Eric Fingerhut - July 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Left-wing advocates of a two-state solution and a greater U.S. role in the peace process are joining forces in support of what they hope will be a groundbreaking conference this October in Washington. The conference, set for Oct. 25-28, is being dubbed as J Street's first national convention, but 11 other groups have signed on as “participating organizations,” including Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, the Israel Policy Forum, the New Israel Fund and Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

Israel should answer for Gaza war crimes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) July 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israeli assault on Gaza in January was an outrage against humanity. Israeli frustration and fury with Hamas led to the government allowing the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to break its own rules and commit a wide variety of war crimes in an effort to punish the entire population and reduce Gaza to rubble.

Pro-Israel lobby still influential in America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Marwan Al Kabalan - (Opinion) July 16, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama's recent meeting with the leaders of the pro-Israel lobbies in the US did nothing but feed speculation about how much power and influence these groups wield on US Middle East policy. The purpose of the meeting was to ask these groups to help convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze colony activity in the occupied Palestinian territories and facilitate the resumption of Middle East peace talks.

European hardball
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The call by the European Union’s foreign policy chief for the UN Security Council to recognise a Palestinian state by a certain deadline, even without any Israeli-Palestinian agreement, is intriguing and unimpressive. Javier Solana said on July 11, at a lecture in London, that “after a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-state solution.” This, he said, should address border parameters, refugees, control over the city of Jerusalem, and security arrangements.

Breathing life back into Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Business has more than doubled in recent months, said sweet shop owner Magdi Abu Salha, taking a break from slicing up knefi, the sticky cheese-based dessert for which his home town of Nablus is famed. Two years ago the northern West Bank town was a stronghold of armed Palestinian militant groups. And just three months ago, the six Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints that had ringed it for nine years had all but killed its economic life. Magdi Abu Salha, Nablus sweet shop owner Magdi Abu Salha says the Israeli-Arab visitors have boosted business

My Word: Obama team should pressure Israel on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Oakland Tribune
by Cecilie Surasky - (Opinion) July 17, 2009 - 12:00am

FEW AMERICANS HAVE had the opportunity to see firsthand, as I did in early July, the devastating impact of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and why it's critical that we support President Barack Obama's call for a settlement freeze.

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