Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The US State Department formally objects to new, discriminatory visas being issued by Israel, mainly to Palestinian Americans. The JTA reports that in the next few weeks the Obama administration will "finalize the steps" for new peace in the next few weeks, as the President discusses the issue with the Jordanian monarch and Israel and the Palestinians exchange blame for the deadlock. A new poll suggests that only 12 percent of Israelis believe Obama supports Israel. Leonard Fein in the Forward and Rami Khouri in the Daily Star both reassert the urgency of a two-state agreement. The National profiles Uri Davis, the Jewish Israeli elected to Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. Ma’an reports that Muhammad Dahlan will have no responsibilities related to Gaza in his new role in Fatah and that a woman, a Christian and a Gazan are to be appointed to the Central Committee.

US raps Israel over limit on Palestinian-Americans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Gavin Rabinowitz - August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The United States has complained to Israel over rules that keep Palestinian-Americans from entering Israel, officials said Thursday. A travel update posted by the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem says that for some time, Israel has not permitted Palestinians who also hold American passports to enter through Israel's Ben-Gurion international airport, requiring that they use the Allenby Bridge land crossing from Jordan directly into the West Bank.

U.S. finalizing groundwork for resuming talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration will "finalize the steps" for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks in the next few weeks, the White House spokesman said. "The president said that Special Envoy (George) Mitchell would follow up with the parties in the next few weeks to finalize the steps they would take and lay the groundwork for resumption of negotiations," Robert Gibbs said Thursday.

Netanyahu struggles to reach deal over settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV // As prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to reach a compromise with the US on settlement expansion: he is increasingly facing a challenge from key political allies at home who are pushing for continued Jewish construction on territory Palestinians want for a future state. The hurdles Mr Netanyahu may face should he agree to any building limits were highlighted on Wednesday, when a top government minister and member of the premier’s own party called a left-wing, anti-settler group a “virus” and suggested Israel defy a US call for a settlement freeze.

Settlers taped attacking Palestinians evade arrest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Despite the video footage and the international public outcry it generated, the Judea and Samaria police are closing the case of a severe beating of three Palestinians by masked settlers, without having managed to produce even a single suspect, according to the complete investigation file obtained by Haaretz.

Obama urges renewed Mideast peace talks as soon as possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama wants Israel and the Palestinians to restart stalled peace talks as soon as possible and urged both sides and the Arab states to take steps to advance the process, the White House said on Thursday. "Obama spoke by phone to Jordan's King Abdullah and agreed on the need to move forward on Middle East peace," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. The president has promised sustained engagement in the elusive quest for an Israeli-Palestian peace deal but has had trouble getting the sides to make conciliatory gestures.

Poll: Only 12 percent of Israelis believe Obama supports Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)
August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Only 12 percent of Israelis believe U.S. President Barack Obama's policies are supportive of Israel, according to a poll released on Thursday. The poll was conducted jointly by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Police and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It was conducted between August 9 and 15. The poll also found that 64 per cent of Palestinians still feel Obama's policy is more supportive of Israel, while 40 per cent of Israelis think it is more support of the Palestinians.

Israel, Palestinians trade blame for peace deadlock
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the Palestinians on Friday traded blame for failure to resume stalled peace talks after US President Barack Obama renewed his call on both sides to resume negotiations as soon as possible. A senior Israeli official said the Palestinians had rejected repeated calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume talks that have been frozen for eight months.

Report: Mubarak opposes US defense umbrella
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States has offered Israel, Egypt and Persian Gulf countries to be part of a nuclear umbrella against an Iranian attack, Egyptian newspaper al-Gumhoria reported Thursday. In its editorial, the newspaper slammed the idea of a "suspicion umbrella", defining it as "a bribe to Israel for indirect normalization purposes." According to the report, US President Barack Obama us under increasing pressure by Congress members, members of the Jewish lobby, Jewish organizations and the media, after his Cairo speech which was perceived as pro-Arab and anti-Israel.

Obama urges simultanous moves toward Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama, making a fresh bid to break the deadlock on Middle East peace, called on Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states on Thursday to act simultaneously to help kick-start negotiations. Obama's proposal seeks to overcome deep disagreement between Israelis and Arabs on which side should go first in conciliatory gestures to revive a peace process the president has promised to relaunch since taking office in January.

Gaza's radical Islamists: Hamas serves the Jewish usurpers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

A number of al-Qaida-affiliated groups on Thursday condemned Hamas as an apostate movement that serves the interests of Israel by cracking down on their supporters in the Gaza Strip. The groups appealed to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, to issue public condemnations of Hamas, whose security forces last weekend killed and wounded dozens of fundamentalists belonging to Jund Ansar Allah in Rafah.

Which War To Tackle? ’48 or ’67?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) August 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Does history matter? At first blush, the question is — well, to blush for. Obviously, history matters. July Fourth is history, and so is Pesach, and Simon Bolivar and the Great Depression and Galileo and on and endlessly on. Still, much depends on how we define words. I leave for another time discussion of what we mean by “history” and of the tension between history and memory. Here, my concern is with the word “matter.” And what calls this urgently to mind is an Op-Ed essay by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley in The New York Times of August 11.

The Jew on Fatah’s governing body
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM // If a single person deserves the title of serial thorn in the side of the Israeli state, Uri Davis, a professor of critical Israel studies at al Quds University on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, might be the one to claim it. The crowning moment for Prof Davis arrived last weekend when he became the first Israeli Jew to be elected to one of Fatah’s governing bodies, the Revolutionary Council.

Human Rights Watch gets it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

In the past week, the respected watchdog organisation Human Rights Watch issued two reports criticising Hamas and Israel for violating the rules of war. While such accusations are not new, they remind us of a critical missing element in the decades-old attempts to negotiate a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict: By what rules are both sides judged and held accountable?

Dahlan says not responsible for Gaza in new Fatah leadership role
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Ramallah – Ma’an – Fatah’s controversial former Gaza security chief, Muhammad Dahlan, will have no responsibilities related to Gaza in his new role in the party’s Central Committee, he told Ma’an in an exclusive interview. Dahlan is reviled by Hamas and other opponents of Fatah rule for what they considered an iron-fisted administration of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Gaza. Dahlan left Gaza days before Hamas forces shut down the Preventive Security and other Fatah-backed institutions in fighting that left hundreds dead in 2007.

Woman, Gazan, Christian to be appointed to Fatah's Central Committee
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The three appointed members of the Fatah Central Committee will be a woman, a Christian and a Gazan, a member of the party’s governing body, Muhammad Shtayeh, revealed Wednesday.

Work on the core issues in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

A flurry of activity this week surrounding Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trip to Washington suggests to many people that we can expect breakthroughs in Arab-Israeli peace-making. Mubarak and US President Barack Obama have both said that things are moving in the right direction. The Israeli government has instituted an unofficial and unannounced “freeze” on new settlements construction, as demanded by the United States.

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