Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The US-Israel dispute over settlements generally and construction in East Jerusalem in particular continues to develop (2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 16, 17). Several reports highlight divisions within Israel on the issue (1, 9), while Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called on American Jews to insist that settlements were a religious requirement. Ha’aretz reports that Israel is considering dismantling more outposts (6) but also confiscating more Palestinian land (7), and confirms that in spite of claims by PM Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, very few Palestinians are eligible to buy property in West Jerusalem (8).

Israel's war with itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Afew years ago, while walking through Mea Shearim, the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, I came across a strange poster. It pictured the Second Temple, the center of the world before the world was smashed in AD 70 by Rome, over a Hebrew phrase that means something like, "Jews! Watch what you say! For The Holy of Holies was destroyed not by Roman soldiers, nor by the Divine will, but by the gossip of the people."

Netanyahu draws red line on settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Tensions between the United States and Israel over settlement expansion in the West Bank escalated this weekend over a tinderbox issue: Israeli building in East Jerusalem, a predominantly Arab area that Israel claims as part of its "undivided and eternal capital."

Encountering Peace: Oh no, Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel Radio reported that the Obama administration has demanded an immediate halt to the construction of a Jewish housing project in an east Jerusalem neighborhood. The report said that Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was summoned to the State Department and told that the project, which is being developed by an American citizen, must stop.

Amar: US settlement policy contravenes Torah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Matthew Wagner - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

In his first public declaration on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called this week on American Jews to explain to the Obama administration the religious obligation of every Jew to live in every part of the Land of Israel.

US repeats opposition to J'lem project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed Monday that a new housing development in east Jerusalem had been a topic of conversation last week during a meeting between senior US diplomats and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. Crowley said US opposition to construction in east Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank had not changed. "We have made our views known to Israel," he told reporters. "Our views are not new either: that this kind of construction is the type ... of issue that should be subject to permanent-status negotiations."

IDF: No plans for lightning evacuation of outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Hilla Medalia - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday that it had received no orders from the political echelons for a lightning evacuation of West Bank outposts, and denied having begun preparatory operations for such a move. Amid the increased tension between the United States and Israel surrounding construction in the settlements, Haaretz learned that the Israel Defense Forces was drafting a plan to evacuate 23 illegal outposts in one day.

Israel weighs confiscation of more Palestinian land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The government is considering confiscating privately-owned Palestinian land near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, contrary to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge during his Bar-Ilan speech not to take such actions. This announcement was made by the state prosecutor, in response to a High Court petition filed by a resident of the West Bank town Ein Yabrud and the human rights association Yesh Din. The parties were seeking the demolition of a sewage treatment plant built illegally on the town's land by the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council.

Most Arabs can't buy most homes in West Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed this week that Jerusalem is an "open city" that permits all its inhabitants, Jewish and Palestinian, to purchase homes in both its eastern and western parts. "Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city. There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city's east," Netanyahu said in response to the U.S. request to halt a Jewish construction project in East Jerusalem.

Outgoing envoy: Conflict with US could hurt peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yael Levy - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Outgoing Israeli ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor warned this week that direct confrontation with the United States over Israeli construction in the West Bank could prove detrimental to Israel's interests. In a conversation with Ynet, the man, who until Monday was in charge of Israel's ties with its closest ally, also criticizes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy on the matter.

Palestinian killed on Gaza border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

One Palestinian was killed and two were injured in incidents on the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday, Israeli officials and Palestinian medics have said. The man died in hospital in Israel after he was shot while approaching the border fence. The Israeli military said he did not heed warning shots. Separately, two Palestinians were hurt by Israeli tank fire, Gaza medics said. Israel's military said troops returned fire after a border patrol was targeted with a rocket-propelled grenade. But a pro-Hamas website said militants had been retaliating against Israeli fire.

U.S. eyes Syrian, Palestinian tracks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Despite the latest clash between Israel and the Obama administration over building -- this time in eastern Jerusalem -- the United States is pressing ahead with plans to reopen negotiations on both the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Syrian tracks.

A desperate move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

It’s hard to avoid an impression that Palestinian politics is possibly beyond repair. The latest aspect of Palestinian political fragmentation and lack of strategic vision transpired when Farouk Kaddoumi, a senior PLO leader, accused President Mahmoud Abbas of playing a role in Yasser Arafat’s death. Kaddoumi has yet to substantiate his claim with hard evidence.

Settlements, and the California connection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

‘I will not cave in” announced the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “since this is a matter of 20 units only.” Mr Netanyahu’s curt response to the US government’s demand that Israel discontinue plans to build 20 apartments for Jewish settlers in Palestinian East Jerusalem underscores how this dispute has touched a nerve, and is of far greater significance than “20 units only”.

Israel deploys cyber team to spread positive spin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

A temporary Mideast deal could break the stalemate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Globe and Mail
by Shira Herzog - (Opinion) July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The latest Israeli-U.S. clash over construction in east Jerusalem indicates again how difficult it's going to be to shape the regional reality Barack Obama desperately wants. That's why there's a new deluge of policy proposals - not least of which is Israeli President Shimon Peres's trial balloon: a Palestinian state with provisional borders, leading to a permanent Israeli-Palestinian deal. Both parties officially reject the idea. But if properly formulated, it just might be a way of satisfying key Israeli and Palestinian needs.

An unholy row
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration has made clear its demand for a freeze on illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has declined to demonstrate any willingness to accede. The US cannot afford to ignore this new round of colonisation in occupied East Jerusalem.

Mitchell heads to Mideast after new spat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Matthew Lee - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The special U.S. envoy for Middle East peace departs for the region this week amid new signs of tension between the Obama administration and the Israeli government over settlement construction. Former Sen. George Mitchell plans to visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and several neighboring countries, including Bahrain, an itinerary still being worked out Monday.

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