Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times reports that Israeli settlers disparage President Obama using “an insulting Hebrew slang for a black man and the phrase ‘that Arab they call a president.’” Another Israeli settler complains in the LA Times that the State Department still uses the term “West Bank” to describe the West Bank. Several commentaries touch on growing skepticism, especially among Arabs, that President Obama can broker progress on peace. The Washington Post continues its campaign of criticism against President Obama’s efforts to secure an Israeli settlement freeze. Senior Fatah official Abu Maher Ghneim to the West Bank after 40 years in exile in Tunisia. Saudi Arabia says Israel is “not serious about peace,” but the National argues that Arabs should take steps to support President Obama’s peace initiative.





West Bank Settlers Send Obama Defiant Message
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


In this land of endless history and ethereal beauty, several thousand Jewish settlers gathered on a dozen West Bank hills with makeshift huts and Israeli flags over several days this week to mark an invented anniversary and defy the American president, conveying to his aides visiting Jerusalem what they thought of his demand for a settlement freeze.


The 9th of Av's new tears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Yisrael Medad - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


An apocryphal story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte entering a darkened synagogue and observing weeping Jews, sitting on low stools. Asking what misfortune had occurred to cause such behavior, he was informed that it was the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.


Arabs losing hope in Obama's ability to broker Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Nearly two months after President Obama's historic address to the Muslim world from Cairo, his administration made a high-profile drive this week to shore up Arab and Israeli support for a comprehensive peace deal. A trio of senior officials – US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and US National Security Advisor James Jones – have visited officials throughout the region, with particular emphasis on Israel.


Tough on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


ONE OF THE MORE striking results of the Obama administration's first six months is that only one country has worse relations with the United States than it did in January: Israel. The new administration has pushed a reset button with Russia and sent new ambassadors to Syria and Venezuela; it has offered olive branches to Cuba and Burma. But for nearly three months it has been locked in a public confrontation with Israel over Jewish housing construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank. To a less visible extent, the two governments also have differed over policy toward Iran.


'Netanyahu freezes East Jerusalem construction'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen a project for the construction of some 900 apartments in East Jerusalem, Channel 10 television reported late Wednesday. The report of Netanyahu's order to freeze the project came a day after he held talks in Jerusalem with U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Netanyahu has been under tremendous pressure from the United States to freeze all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Settlers undermining legitimacy of Israel's existence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Asher Susser - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


The representatives of the settler organizations have recently declared their intention to establish 11 new settlements in the territories, including some, according to media reports, on privately-owned Palestinian land. The operation is being depicted as having been inspired by the 11 tower and stockade communities in the northern Negev that were established just before Yom Kippur in 1946. This is not the first time the settlers have compared their efforts to the settlement activities that provided the foundation for the establishment of the state.


Gaza's smuggling tunnels feel impact of Israel-Egypt crackdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


The smuggling industry into the Gaza Strip is like a long funnel, at one end of which are the tunnels in the Strip and the other is the Sinai Peninsula as far as the Red Sea coast, Israeli intelligence officials say. In recent months Israeli actions against smugglers - according to foreign sources - combined with Egypt's increased willingness to deal with the problem, have begun to produce results. While weapons smuggling has declined, however, the flow of goods in general has turned the tunnels into Gaza's growth industry.


Ramallah: Warm welcome for 'Abbas' heir'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Dozens of senior Palestinian Authority officials, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed senior Fatah official Abu Maher Ghneim to the West Bank city of Ramallah Wednesday, after 40 years in exile in Tunisia. Other senior movement officials, as well as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, attended the event. Ghneim retuned to Ramallah ahead of the Fatah convention scheduled to take place in Bethlehem on August 4. Abbas called Ghneim's return "another landmark in the Palestinians' fight for liberation and the modernization of the Fatah movement."


Palestinian finance minister: Economic peace failed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tani Goldstein - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Palestinian Minister for National Economy Bassem Khoury, speaking Wednesday at a conference at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv on economic peace, a concept being promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explained why the Palestinians are not jumping at the opportunity of economic peace.


Survey: 64% want Temple rebuilt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


About two thirds of the public want the Temple rebuilt, including about half of secular Israelis, a new survey conducted for Ynet and the Gesher organization revealed. The survey was held by the Panels Institute among 516 respondents that are a representative sample of the adult Jewish population. The margin of error was 4.3%. Initially, the respondents were asked what happened on Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av), and showed impressive knowledge. Ninety-seven percent responded that the Temple was destroyed, while only 2% said they did not know.


UK funding political activity in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel is up in arms over a declaration by a British government spokesman that the UK is funding political activity in Israel. British spokesman Martin Day said in an interview in Dubai with Al-Arabiya television last week that the British government was "taking practical steps towards freezing settlement activities." "For instance," Day said, "we finance projects aimed at halting settlement activities. One of these projects seeks to build new Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and save Palestinian houses from demolition."


Israel to transfer cement to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
July 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel will transfer cement and other construction materials to Gaza for its reconstruction effort. The decision announced Wednesday was made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The hundreds of tons of cement will reportedly be transferred directly to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, bypassing the terrorist Hamas leaders of the coastal strip. It is the first time that Israel has allowed cement, metal pipes and other building material into Gaza since last winter's Operation Cast Lead, Israel had feared that Hamas would use the material for terrorist purposes.


Saudi Rejects Israel Recognition without Withdrawal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia on Wednesday rebuffed US calls for diplomatic overtures toward Israel and said the Jewish state's settlement expansion is jeopardizing efforts to revive peace talks. "It is Israel that has to move seriously towards the peace process," Saudi foreign ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said. "As we all know, Israel is continuing to take unilateral measures by changing the geographic and demographic facts on the ground, by building settlements and expanding the existing ones," he told AFP.


Isolation and division take their toll in Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Just across the street from the rubble of the Palestinian parliament building, which was bombed on the first day of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in late Dec ember 2008, and a few houses down from the crater that marks the site where a Palestinian police station was destroyed on the same day, a cheery little shop nestles among the grey concrete.


No peace without support from all parties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) July 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


It has emerged that the US president Barack Obama delivered letters to the leaders of several Arab nations in June, including the UAE, requesting their support in a renewed peace process. While some have responded positively to the request, and some tentatively, others have criticised the effort so long as Israel refuses to budge on the settlements, Gaza remains under crippling blockade, and Israel continues to promote policies aimed at making the country exclusively Jewish in nature.


Contradictory Messages
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


The array of envoys dispatched by the US this week to launch a regional peace process reveals that the Obama administration has not learnt the lesson of past failures. The envoys’ personalities and public stands sent contradictory messages to both Arabs and Israelis. From the Arab point of view three of the envoys projected a positive image of the administration and its plans while the Arabs were discouraged and Israel was heartened by the presence of two particular envoys.


Hamas arrests 45 Fatah men in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Fatah said that its rival Hamas movement arrested 45 of its movement in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The movement said in a press statement that Abdulrahman Hamad, a former minister and a member of Fatah Revolutionary Council, was one of the 45 detainees who were summoned to a Hamas police post. According to Fatah, most of the arrests took place in southern Gaza Strip towns of Rafah and Khan Younis.


‘Israel should be serious about peace’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Paul Handley - July 29, 2009 - 11:00pm


Saudi Arabia on Wednesday rebuffed US calls for diplomatic overtures toward Israel and said the Jewish state’s settlement expansion is jeopardizing efforts to revive peace talks. “It is Israel that has to move seriously toward the peace process,” Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said. “As we all know, Israel is continuing to take unilateral measures by changing the geographic and demographic facts on the ground, by building settlements and expanding the existing ones,” he told AFP.





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