Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is indicted on three counts of corruption. The Israeli Air Forces launches an air strike on Gaza. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will not participate in any peace talks until Israel agrees to a full settlement freeze, while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says Israel and the US are working on the technical aspects of a deal and may agree by mid-September. Hamas has hinted that Fatah officials who were in the West Bank for the party congress might not be allowed reentry to Gaza. Israel opens all three border crossings with Gaza today for commercial shipments and humanitarian aid.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Is Indicted
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - August 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was formally indicted on three counts of corruption on Sunday, concluding a lengthy criminal investigation that had forced him to resign. According to the 61-page indictment, which the attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, and the state prosecution presented to the Jerusalem District Court, Mr. Olmert is accused of crimes including fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records and failing to report income. If convicted, he could face years in prison.

Israel Launches Air Strike in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Robert Berger - August 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel has launched an air strike in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. There was damage, but no reports of injuries. The Israeli air force bombed a tunnel the army said was meant to smuggle Palestinian terrorists from Gaza into Israel. A building over the entrance to the tunnel was destroyed about a kilometer and a-half from the Israeli border fence. The military said the air raid was in response to Palestinians firing a rocket into Israel on Saturday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has adopted a new policy of deterrence since he took office five months ago.

Abbas: No peace talks without full settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will reject any U.S. invitation to resume peace talks with Israel unless Washington persuades Israel to freeze settlement activity, an aide said on Monday.

Q+A--Is al Qaeda opening a Gaza front?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - August 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Explosions at two sensitive sites in the Gaza Strip [ID:nLU529969] have prompted speculation on Sunday that they were the work of al Qaeda-aligned radicals opposed to the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers Hamas. Here are comments on key questions about the incidents: WHO WAS BEHIND THE BOMBINGS? No credible claim of responsibility has been made.

Israel may soon agree on settlement freeze: Solana
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel may agree to a West Bank settlement freeze by mid-September and is discussing the technical aspects of a deal with the United States, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Monday. Solana also said after meeting the Israeli premier that a summit between the US, Israeli and Palestinian leaders to relaunch the dormant peace process could take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the end of September.

Hamas mulls denying Fatah leaders entry to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas hinted on Monday that Fatah officials who have been in the West Bank for their party’s recent convention might not be allowed to return to the Gaza Strip. “The Gaza Strip is accessible for all Palestinian people, but officially and in coordination with the government in Gaza. It is not accessible for those who violated the law and coordinated with occupation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma’an.

All three Gaza Strip border crossings open Monday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli authorities decided to open all three border terminals with the Gaza Strip on Monday for commercial shipments and humanitarian aid, according to Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh said 87 to 97 trucks of merchandise would be delivered to the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Meanwhile, the Nahal Oz crossing will be open for fuel and cooking gas deliveries, he said. The crossings official added that the Karni terminal, which is usually closed, would operate for trucks loaded with wheat and animal feed on Monday.

IDF soldier suspected of killing Palestinian still hasn't been charged
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

A Military Police investigation into a soldier's killing of a Palestinian near Hebron in January has been going on for seven and a half months, and there is still no end in sight. Yet the sector commander has been giving briefings for the past few months based on his own inquiry into the incident, which he describes as "a serious failure in moral and professional terms."

Report: Mashaal promised release of Jordanians in Shalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has promised to include the release of Jordanian prisoners held in Israeli prisons as part of a prisoner exchange deal meant to secure the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, Jordanian newspaper al-Arab al-Yawm quoted secretary of the National Committee for Jordanian Prisoners and Missing in Israeli Jails as saying. The matter of Jordanian prisoners has surfaced in the past in talks for a Shalit deal as part of Hamas' demands of prisoners to be released in the second phase of the agreement.

Hamas slams UN over 'Holocaust classes' in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas condemned the United Nations on Sunday, saying it planned to teach Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust – but the UN agency which runs schools in the enclave would not confirm any change. Branding the Nazi genocide of the Jews "a lie invented by the Zionists", the Islamist movement which runs the Gaza Strip wrote in an open letter to a senior UN official that he should withdraw plans for a new history book in UN schools.

Israeli-Arab indicted for Ashkenazi plot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Hizbullah recruited an Israeli-Arab and ordered him to collect intelligence on IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi ahead of plans to assassinate him to avenge the death of the guerrilla group's military leader Imad Mughniyeh. On Monday, an indictment was filed at the Petah Tikva District Court against Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old Israeli-Arab from the town of Tira, alleging that he was recruited by Hizbullah in the summer of 2008 when he traveled to Morocco to attend a Balad Party summer camp.

Hamas vows to continue struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Abdul Jalil Mustafa - August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

The head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, pledged on Sunday his movement would continue its struggle for “the liberation of Palestine.” Meshaal was addressing an audience at a tent set up in Sweileh, where he received condolences over the death of his father, Abdul Rahim Meshaal, who was buried on Saturday. “Hamas, which has a political vision, sticks to the land, Jerusalem, the right of return (for Palestinian refugees) and resistance as a way for the liberation of Palestine as well as to the political and diplomatic equations and other spheres of work,” Meshaal said.

Freeze in Jerusalem too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) August 30, 2009 - 12:00am

If there is any truth in the reports that came out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Europe - that the United States agreed Israel can go on building in East Jerusalem - the headlines should have read "Obama has pulled out of the Middle East peace process."

Peace will help keep Obama popular
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Steven W. Barnes, Nadia Bilbassy - August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Two international opinion polls released this summer indicate that global views toward the US are improving – in no small part due to the election of Barack Obama as president. The polls, by the Pew Global Attitudes Project and worldpublicopinion.org, both stress that Obama is viewed positively in most of the countries surveyed, but questions remain in the Middle East about the direction of US policies.

Editorial: Not the way to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

When Israeli officials this week meet US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, when President Barack Obama unveils his Middle East peace plan at the UN in New York next month, and when Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas hold a possible first encounter on the sidelines of the General Assembly, the common denominator issue will be Israeli settlement building. The Jewish outposts have for decades been one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a settlement but recently the issue has taken on a new dimension.

The case against boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

How much did the boycott of South Africa actually contribute to the fall of the racist regime? This week I talked with Desmond Tutu about this question, which has been on my mind for a long time.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017