Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times looks at how Hamas is attempting to gain support through a new public relations push (1). The U.S. warns Israel against building in the controversial E-1 area of East Jerusalem (3). The President of the Union of Reform Judaism says that most U.S. Jews support President Obama’s demand for a full Israeli settlement freeze (4). A pair of articles assess difficulties faced by Arabs living in Israel (5) (10). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says he is ready to resume peace talks with the Palestinians immediately (6). A recently released poll finds a majority of Israelis wary of Palestinian leadership, and of a U.S. backed peace process (9) (13).

Hamas Shifts From Rockets to Public Relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Seven months after Israel started a fierce three-week military campaign here to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through cultural initiatives and public relations.

Catastrophe? Israel bans 'nakba' from Arab textbook.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

In the lexicon of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, few terms elicit as much energy as the word nakba – Arabic for "the catastrophe," the term Palestinians use to describe the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. This week, the term became even more of a lightning rod. Amid a rising nationalistic tide in Israel's government, Education Minister Gideon Saar moved to expunge the word from school textbooks, reversing a 2007 decision.

U.S. warns Israel: Don't build up West Bank corridor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. administration has issued a stiff warning to Israel not to build in the area known as E-1, which lies between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Any change in the status quo in E-1 would be "extremely damaging," even "corrosive," the message said.

Reform leader: Most U.S. Jews back settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The vast majority of American Jews back a settlement freeze, according to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of Reform Judaism. "American Jews don't like when their government is at odds with the government of Israel," said Yoffie, whose organization's 1.5 million members make it the largest Jewish denomination in the U.S.

Arab Jerusalemite's plight is proof of two-faced policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Thirty-one years ago, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition by Mohammed Said Burkan to lease an apartment in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter on the ruins of his family's home which, he asserted, had been bought under Ottoman rule. The ruling put a legal gloss on the practice of blocking access by non-Jews to state land. After years of steady encroachment, Burkan now lives in the heart of a Jewish neighborhood. The court not only rejected his petition but ordered him to pay court expenses to the state.

Netanyahu says seeks peace with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

"We hope in the months and years ahead to forge peace with the Palestinians and to expand that into a vision of a broader regional peace," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday. Speaking during a reception at the residence of Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda in Herzliya, days before US President Barack Obama's peace envoy, George Mitchell, is expected in the region for new talks about how to renew peace efforts, Netanyahu praised the 2002 Arab Initiative for regional peace.

I remember the Nakba
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoram Kaniuk - (Opinion) July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

This week I visited the Knesset for the third time in my life. The first time was during the War of Independence, when the site was not yet under Israel’s control. Today, it’s an immense building. If Netanyahu’s policy of going to war against the Americans will be implemented, even the US Army won’t be able to take over the Knesset building. Israel’s parliament looks like the formidable fortress of a strong nation. Barbed wire, thick walls, police officers, and checkpoints. An ugly citadel surrounded by even uglier buildings.

'Hamas may get claws into Gaza aid'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz, Herb Keinon - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Increasingly concerned that Hamas will steal money donated for Gaza's rehabilitation, the Defense Ministry distributed a document this week revealing that unions affiliated with the terrorist group have set up joint committees with UN agencies that dispense humanitarian aid. The document was distributed to the Foreign Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Israeli intelligence community, and was also sent to the United States to warn it that the $900 million it has pledged to help rebuild the Gaza Strip could fall into Hamas hands.

Poll: Israelis wary of PA leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Zack Colman - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

A new poll, conducted during a week of heightened tensions between Israel and the US over settlement construction and stymied diplomatic negotiations, reveals in stark terms just how wary Israeli Jews are regarding the Palestinian leadership, and how distrustful they are about international assurances for the country's long-term security.

Israeli Arabs struggle for land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Sami Salameh has taken me to what used to be his home before the Israeli authorities flattened it. Metal rods and slices of skirting board are all that's left, among an expanse of sun-scorched wild grass. He has brought along some photographs and kicks the earth as he shows them to me. The wiry 65-year-old man is angry and emotional. "When the house collapsed so did my dreams," he says. He insists this plot of earth belonged to his family dating back to Ottoman times. But Israel has claimed it as state land. He is not allowed to build here now.

At Conference, Evangelicals Take On Netanyahu's Fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - July 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel are taking on the Netanyahu government’s fight to ease mounting pressure from the Obama administration on the settlement issue. A three-day conference of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) held in Washington this week mobilized supporters, who according to organizers represent millions of followers throughout the country, to push back against what they see as unfair and uneven demands being imposed on Israel.

Israeli occupation is a hurdle to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Marwan Kabalan - (Opinion) July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The 1967 Arab-Israeli war was a watershed event in the Middle East. Its repercussions have shaped the history and politics of the region ever since. The war has also transformed the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, rendering it from an existential question into mere dispute over territories. During six days of almost one-sided hostilities, Israel captured a huge portion of Arab territories, including the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank of the River Jordan, and the Syrian Golan Heights. The status of these occupied territories has subsequently become the title of the conflict.

Israelis Wary of U.S.-Backed Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CBS News
by Robert Berger - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Amid strong U.S. pressure for a settlement freeze, there is growing skepticism among Israelis about America's stance in the Middle East peace process. A poll published Friday in The Jerusalem Post shows that 64 percent of Israeli Jews believe Israel cannot trust international pledges for its security in return for dismantling settlements and withdrawing from the West Bank. Furthermore, Israelis want a quid pro quo: 71 percent believe that Palestinians must freeze West Bank construction if Israel is forced to do the same.

Israeli Report Stirs Settlement Worries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Joshua Mitnick - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

An Israeli nonprofit said the city of Jerusalem and Israel's government are helping Jewish settler groups convert parts of an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem into a tourist park, fanning international concern over Israeli expansion into areas claimed by Palestinians as their future state.

Israeli derision at mufti-Hitler link
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Australian
by John Lyons - July 24, 2009 - 12:00am

ISRAEL'S colourful Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has sparked another controversy with an order to all Israel's overseas missions that they draw attention to a picture taken in Nazi Germany in 1941 showing Adolf Hitler with a Palestinian religious leader of the time. The order has been greeted inside the Israeli Foreign Ministry with derision, with one source telling The Australian it was met with "laughter, scepticism and a sense of misplaced communication that this doesn't help one bit the real argument".

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