Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli plans to construct 104 new housing units in the Palestinian East Jerusalem area Ras al-Amud draw swift reactions. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu heads to London for talks with U.S. Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and European heads of government. Reports from Gaza say that Hamas is enforcing a conservative religious dress code on all school girls. Controversy continues over the publication of an article in Swedish paper Aftonbladet accusing the Israeli army of "harvesting" organs from Palestinians during the Gaza war. An op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Sam Bahour urges Israel to allow more Palestinian economic development in the West Bank.

Dr Erakat on plans to construct a new Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine Liberation Organization
by Negotiations Affairs Department - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr Saeb Erakat, today said that plans to construct a new Israeli settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in occupied East Jerusalem provided yet another example of the obstacles Israel continues to place in the way of international efforts to restart negotiations. Submitted for approval to Israeli authorities, and reportedly to be called ‘Ma’aleh David’, plans for the new settlement include the construction of 104 new settlement units.

Israel PM expects no breakthroughs in London talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects no breakthroughs at a meeting this week with a U.S. peace envoy, but hopes talks with the Palestinians can resume within two months, a spokesman said on Monday. A right-winger in power since March, Netanyahu has resisted Western pressure to freeze Jewish settlements on occupied land where Palestinians seek statehood. The dispute has opened a rare rift between Israel and its top ally, the United States.

West Bank: slowly, determinedly, settlers bid to build new town
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - August 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Early in the morning, Nadia Matar drove to the hills south of Jerusalem, near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, and turned into a dusty, unmarked road. There she planted a sign which read "Welcome to Shdema". She drove on, stopping every few metres along the route to jam into the rocky ground a series of fluttering blue and white Israeli flags. Israeli soldiers let her pass unhindered as she drove up to the concrete ruins of what was until a few years ago the Israeli military base of Shdema.

Accusation of Organ Theft Stokes Ire in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - August 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel urged the Swedish government on Sunday to condemn an article in a Swedish newspaper last week accusing the Israeli Army of harvesting organs from Palestinians wounded or killed by soldiers.

Gaza schoolgirls say Hamas cracking down on dress code
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Responding to multiple reports on Sunday that the de facto government was cracking down on dress in Gaza's schools, Hamas on Monday denied making any recent policy changes on uniforms or expulsions. A spokesman for the Hamas-run Education Ministry in Gaza, Khaled Radi, reiterated that his office had not received instructions from the de facto government imposing conservative dress codes on schoolgirls.

Netanyahu to tell Mitchell: Israel won't accept limits on Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson, Barak Ravid - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the special U.S. Mideast envoy on Monday that Israel will not accept any limitations on its sovereignty over Jerusalem, and will allow settlers to continue to live in the West Bank. Netanyahu traveled to London on Monday, where he will meet with the U.S. envoy, George Mitchell, in order to continue the discussion on the Obama administration's demands for confidence-building measures between Israel and the Arab world.

Hamas to expel Gaza schoolgirls not wearing Muslim dress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Female students in the Gaza Strip will be required to wear head coverings and full-length robes beginning this school year, the Hamas rules of the Gaza Strip announced on Monday. According to the new regulations, any female student that does not attend class in the proper attire will be sent home. The ministry also has ruled that male teachers cannot teach in girls' schools and women are not allowed to teach at boys' schools.

PM heads to Europe with backing for settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's optimistic statement suggesting peace talks with the Palestinians may reignite by the end of September, is the apparent silent assurance that Yisrael Beiteinu chair and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will not extract his party from the coalition in the event Israel will comply with the US demand to halt all settlement expansion. Should Netanyahu have to force the narrow cabinet forum to make a decision on the matter, and with Lieberman abstained on the vote, he would have a majority of four.

Group says Left 'distorting' east Jerusalem construction plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - August 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Claims that the Jerusalem Municipality has approved the construction of 104 housing units for Jews in the eastern neighborhood of Ras al-Amud continue to make waves. The Jerusalem Municipality has denied the claims made by the Ir Amim association, which says that the new project will be connected by a bridge to the Jewish neighborhood of Ma'aleh Hazeitim.

Mixed reactions to plan for new e. J'lem homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Abe Selig - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

News that the Jerusalem Municipality was reviewing plans for the construction of 104 housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud was met with mixed reaction by residents there on Sunday, as the streets of the predominately Palestinian neighborhood were quiet due to the onset of Ramadan.

Pro-Israel group: Obama settlements policy backs 'ethnic cleansing' of Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gilad Halpern - August 23, 2009 - 12:00am

A pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S. has launched a project intent on shifting the focus of the Obama administration away from West Bank settlements, claiming they are not an obstacle to peace and that their evacuation would amount to "ethnic cleansing." A manual called Global Language Dictionary, circulated among supporters of the right-wing Israel Project group, seeks to develop a strategy to downplay the centrality of settlement freeze in the American efforts to press on with the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Religious fundamentalism in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Stephen Lendman - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

In the book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, by Israel Shahak (1933-2001), it is argued that while Islamic fundamentalism is vilified in the West, comparable Jewish extremism is largely ignored. In the book's foreword, Edward Said wrote: "... Shahak's mode of telling the truth has always been rigorous and uncompromising. There is nothing seductive about it, no attempt made to put it 'nicely,' no effort expended on making the truth palatable... For Shahak killing is murder is killing is murder: his manner is to repeat.

Israel Still Strangles the Palestinian Economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Sam Bahour - (Opinion) August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinians are as eager as anyone to see positive economic development for their tormented country. But they know full well that real economic progress awaits their release from Israeli military occupation (West Bank, East Jerusalem) and siege (Gaza Strip).

Boycotts only harden Israeli opinion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Benjamin Pogrund - (Opinion) August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The most inaccurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. That's the exact opposite of what Neve Gordon said on Cif last week. Level whatever criticisms you want against Israel – start with West Bank occupation and oppression of Palestinians, and go on to the domestic discrimination suffered by the Arab minority – but the simple fact is that none of it is the apartheid of the old South Africa. Abundant evidence of this is readily available, in the Guardian and elsewhere.

West Bank settlements: an impassable obstacle on the road to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - (Opinion) August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

On a ridge high above the West Bank town of Nablus, a cluster of red roofs and neat white concrete homes mark the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh, its security patrols on alert for attackers like the lone Palestinian gunman who mowed down four residents during the second intifada.

US must choose between the two voices of Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Amr Hamzawy - (Opinion) August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

When will President Obama abandon the Bush doctrine of isolating Hamas? During a press conference in Gaza City a few weeks ago, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, declared: “If there is a real project that aims at resolving the Palestinian cause on establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, under full Palestinian sovereignty, we will support it.” And in an interview shortly after, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas’s political bureau, welcomed the “new language towards the region” from President Obama.

What is Required of Europe and Russia in Support of Justice?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) August 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Russia, France, Britain and the remaining European countries can do much more than they are doing now to compel the Palestinians and Israelis to implement their commitments according to the Road Map to the two-state solution, which these countries supported in Security Council resolutions and within the framework of the Quartet for peace in the Middle East. Indeed, it is not enough to express support for the efforts of US President Barack Obama and to wait for an initiative from him when he addresses the UN General Assembly next month.

Hamas branded 'too secular'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Saleh Al-Naami - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

In the biggest confrontation yet between the dismissed government of Ismail Haniyeh and an Islamic group, more than 30 people were killed last week, including 12 civilians and several policemen. The bloody confrontation came after Abdel-Latif Moussa -- also known as Abul-Nur Al-Maqdisi, leader of Jund Ansar Allah, or Soldiers of the Followers of God, and among the killed -- declared an Islamic emirate, or mini-state, in Rafah. Moussa, who promised to implement Islamic law, accused Hamas of being too "secular".

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