Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In an interview with the Middle East Bulletin, Palestinian journalist Taghreed El-Khoudary describes the current situation in the Gaza Strip as “very depressing.” The UN again calls for easing of Gaza blockade in order to help rebuild Palestinian schools. In the midst of ongoing settlement construction, frustration mounts over continued Israeli resistance to calls for a settlement freeze, including from Israeli commentators. The Israeli organization Peace Now launches an ad campaign saying that the occupation threatens the survival of Israel. The US requests greater cooperation from the Arab states on the peace process, particularly a willingness for diplomatic overtures towards Israel in response to a potential settlement freeze. Factional tensions rise between the Palestinians ahead of Fatah’s first party congress in two decades.

A View from the Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Progress
by Taghreed El-Khodary - (Interview) July 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Tell us what the situation on the ground is like.

In Israel, no settlement deal for US envoy – just more settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell wrapped up three days of talks here on Tuesday, heralding "good progress" in his meetings with Israeli officials. But he made no mention of a much anticipated agreement on the most visible point of contention in recent weeks and a key issue for Arabs: freezing settlement construction in the West Bank.

Telling Israel No: Obama's Bold Move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Celestine Bohlen - July 28, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama, who vowed to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process at the start of his term, has begun with a direct and public challenge to Israel’s latest plan to build new settlements in East Jerusalem. It’s a risky move that has already provoked a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But it is hard to see how the peace process could move forward if Washington had remained silent.

Worldview: Shoring up faith in peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Philadelphia Inquirer
by Trudy Rubin - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Any president who tries to foster peace between Israelis and Arabs must be part diplomat and part shrink. President Obama seems to understand this. He came to office determined to restore trust between America and the world's Muslims. In his famous Cairo speech, he called for both sides to make a "sustained effort to listen to each other." He also pledged to pursue peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority Approves West Bank's First Planned City: Is Palestine Inching Toward Statehood?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Catesby Holmes - July 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has officially approved the Master Plan for a large-scale mixed-used development on the West Bank, scheduled to break ground in September. Rawabi, which means "the hills" in Arabic, will be the first Palestinian city to be built in thousands of years and will provide affordable housing, office buildings, restaurants, retail shops, schools, banks, a movie theater, and more.

UN Calls on Israel to Allow Gaza Schools to rebuild
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

UN agencies called on Israel on Tuesday to allow construction materials into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip so that schools damaged in this year's war can be rebuilt in time for the new academic year. "We call on the government of Israel to urgently facilitate entry of construction materials and supplies for schools in the coming weeks, and to ensure that students, teachers and trainers can freely exit and enter Gaza to continue learning," they said in a statement.

Israel-Palestinian calm could ease talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Steven Gutkin - (Analysis) July 28, 2009 - 12:00am

In the four months since hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power, West Bank Palestinians have enjoyed an economic recovery and Israel has experienced a period of relative calm. That progress is the backdrop for a fresh round of U.S. diplomacy aimed at getting Palestinian-Israeli peace talks started again. But there is a major sticking point. Palestinians are refusing to resume negotiations unless Netanyahu heeds the U.S. demand to stop all construction in Israeli settlements on lands they claim for their future state.

Fatah-Hamas tensions rise over West Bank congress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group threatened on Wednesday to arrest Hamas members if the Islamist movement banned Gaza Fatah delegates from attending a congress in the West Bank. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has conditioned the departure of some 400 Fatah members for the long-delayed Fatah meeting in Bethlehem on Aug. 4 on the release of hundreds of Hamas activists detained by Palestinian forces in the West Bank. Hamas also wants more passports issued from the West Bank, where Abbas holds a sway, for its officials and supporters in the Gaza Strip.

US must put more pressure on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States is getting it wrong in its approach to the Middle East peace process. Asking the Arabs to make concessions while the Netanyahu government shuns all peace efforts is like putting the cart before the horse - it will never work. How can US President Barack Obama justify his pressure on Arab states to introduce 'confidence-building measures' when Israel is rejecting his calls to stop confiscating Palestinian land and building more colonies?

US steps up peace process efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration appeared to step up its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East this week, as a series of high-profile US officials descended on the region in what commentators described as a concerted bid by the US president to find a far-reaching solution for Arab-Israeli peace. “The new thing in the Obama approach is that it is comprehensive,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian cabinet minister who currently co-edits bitterlemons.org, an Israeli-Palestinian online opinion journal. He added: “Obama is trying to talk to everybody.

Washington reassures the Israeli bride
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

In traditional Arab culture, when a man wants to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, his family undertakes a jaha – a delegation of men who visit the family of the would-be bride to request her in marriage. The jaha often includes prominent men in society from outside the groom’s family, the aim being to impress the woman’s family that she is marrying into a family with social standing and clout.

Obama begins pressuring Arab leaders on deal with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nathan Guttman - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Freezing the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank was once seen as a unilateral Israeli obligation. But the Obama administration is now treating this as part of a package that will require concessions from Arab states as well. An intensified and more public focus on this idea appears to be one of the byproducts of U.S. President Barack Obama's July 13 pledge to American Jewish communal representatives to address perceptions that he is pressuring only Israel.

The world smiles on Obama, but not Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Raphael Ahren - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel alone in a poll of 25 nations has decreased its approval of the United States since President Barack Obama took office earlier this year, according to a recent survey.

Yes indeed, the settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Tzvia Greenfield - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Of all the strange things that have happened this peculiar summer, the strangest is the way that oddly assorted elements have lined up to explain to U.S. President Barack Obama why pressure regarding freezing the Jewish settlements in the territories is not the best way to deal with Israel's evasion of implementing the two-state solution.

'Occupation will destroy Third Temple'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

"The occupation will lead to the destruction of the Third Temple"– a Peace Now poster to be hung all over Jerusalem on Wednesday, the eve of Tisha B'Av, reads. "The goal is to stress that continued construction in settlements and the occupation of the (West Bank) will lead to the destruction of Zionism and, for us, the destruction of the Third Temple," said Peace Now Secretary General, Yariv Oppenheimer.

J'lem expects Arab gestures soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell left his Israeli interlocutors with the impression Tuesday that he would be able to extract some normalization gestures towards Israel from the Arab world within a month. Mitchell, currently on a regional tour that has so far taken him to the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, met one-on-one for two-and-a half hours Tuesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

'I believe in one law, the law of God'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Even before her new wooden house was built at a fledgling illegal outpost outside the Kiryat Arba settlement, Zavia Davis on Tuesday brought a small purple plastic bathtub to the site, called Mitzpe Avihai. As her daughter Nahala, three, sat in its shallow water, dressed in a white top and a bathing suit bottom, teens carried plywood slabs to a nearby area where a cement foundation for the home had been laid.

Right of Reply: Let's talk about Operation Cast Lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mikhael Manekin - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

When Breaking the Silence released a collection of soldiers' testimonies about their experiences in Gaza last week, we expected to receive criticism. Operation Cast Lead was considered a success by most Israelis, so there were some who probably found the testimonies distasteful.

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