Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The UN investigation of the war in Gaza finds that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups committed war crimes, Israeli witnesses defend the report, and Haaretz examines the repercussions for Israeli policy. Bargaining continues with the hope that a tripartite meeting will be held at the UN next week as expected. Women remain excluded from peace negotiations while they bear the brunt of the conflict. A group of prominent Israelis and Palestinians present a blueprint for comprehensive peace. Hamas leader Naser Ash-Sha’er expected to be released by Israeli army.

Inquiry Finds Gaza War Crimes From Both Sides
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Neil MacFarquhar - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

A United Nations fact-finding mission investigating the three-week war in Gaza last winter issued a highly critical report on Tuesday detailing what it called extensive evidence that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups took actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

Parties bargain ahead of peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Like its predecessors in trying to solve the vexing riddle of Middle East peace, the Obama administration has sought to manage expectations for progress. But despite the best efforts of Washington, parties on all sides of the conflict now anticipate an early moment of truth for the young administration: the possibility that President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will announce an agreement next week, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Middle East peace effort's missing key: female negotiators.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Rachel Brown - (Opinion) September 15, 2009 - 12:00am

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives of the MiddleEast Quartet debate whether evictions of Palestinian families are a barrier or catalyst to a two-state solution, Israeli and Palestinian women alike confront the realities of the conflict on the ground. These women work toward a sustainable peace as committee members, as demonstrators, and as mothers raising and educating their children despite occupation. But their representation in formal negotiations is inadequate.

How to get Mideast peace talks out of 'dark corner' of Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - September 15, 2009 - 12:00am

A group representing prominent Israelis and Palestinians, including former negotiators, released a "cookbook" for peace on Tuesday designed to help decisionmakers reach a two-state solution to the conflict. The release of the Geneva Accord and Annexes coincided with the visit of US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who met Tuesday with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He is just the kind of diplomatic "chef" that the group, known as the Geneva Initiative, is targeting.

Israeli settlements: Where, when, and why they're built
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - September 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Amid rising anticipation of a US-Israeli agreement on a settlement freeze, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell said they would meet again Wednesday after an inconclusive visit Tuesday in Jerusalem.

Former Deputy PM Ash-Sha'er to be released from Israeli prison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israeli army is expected to release Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Naser Ash-Sha’er, an Israeli High Court decided Wednesday. Ash-Sha’er has been in administrative detention for two consecutive three month periods and was held without charge in the Magido and Negev prison facilities. A court decision said the period of detention would not be renewed, and the lawmaker, popular with both Fatah and Hamas, is expected to be released in the coming days.

Israeli forces target family of anti-wall protest organizer in Bil'in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli soldiers backed by six armored vehicles broke into the home of Abdallh Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee's Anti Wall protests staged each Friday. The troops ransacked the home, questioned the family and delivered an arrest warrant.

Goldstone's daughter: My father's participation softened UN Gaza report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Had Richard Goldstone not served as the head of the UN inquiry into the Gaza war, the accusations against Israel would have been harsher, Goldstone's daughter, Nicole, said in an interview conducted in Hebrew with Army Radio on Wednesday. "My father took on this job because he thought he is doing the best thing for peace, for everyone, and also for Israel," Nicole Goldstone told Army Radio. She added that her father wrestled with the decision to take on the task. "It wasn't easy [for him]," Nicole Goldstone said. "My father did not expect to see and hear what he saw and heard."

Aluf Benn / In wake of UN Gaza probe, how can Israel go to war again?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The United Nations' fact-finding mission into the Gaza offensive describes Israel as perpetrating war crimes - a police state which persecutes minorities - and tars the Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip and West Bank with similar accusations. If its findings and recommendations are accepted, the International Criminal Court in The Hague could call a summit meeting between the leaders of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority on the defendants' stand.

Palestinians: State within 2 years with Obama's support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu twice on Wednesday. Senior Palestinian officials who met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after his meeting with the American statesman Tuesday told Ynet that the US commitment to reach a peace deal within two years was clarified during the meeting. The Palestinians estimate the Americans are adopting de facto the plan presented by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Geneva Initiative relaunches its grassroots peace recipe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Talk about a settlement freeze distracts negotiators from the real issues - such as Jerusalem and refugees - that truly block the path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, former Meretz Party leader Yossi Beilin told reporters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. He spoke on the same day that US special envoy George Mitchell met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss halting construction in West Bank settlements.

US to extend settlement talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

He has held an extra unscheduled meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, with another due on Friday. The US is seeking a moratorium on settlement building that would be acceptable to the Palestinian side. It hopes to re-launch peace talks with a Israeli-Palestinian-US summit at the UN General Assembly later this month. Bilateral talks have been suspended since December and Mr Mitchell has spoken of his "sense of urgency" to get them resume them. 'Positive conclusion'

UN seeks close Gaza scrutiny
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Barbara Plett - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The probe, headed by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, concludes that Israel "committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity" during its Gaza offensive in December last year. It asks the UN Security Council to call on Israel to conduct "appropriate investigations," to monitor them, and to refer the matter to the ICC if they're deemed not to meet international standards. The report found that the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups also amounted to war crimes, and called for a similar process of accountability for the Gaza authorities.

Israel threatened with international law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - September 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Controversy surrounded Richard Goldstone's investigation for the UN Human Rights Council into the Gaza war from the very start, with Israel flatly refusing to co-operate because it regarded it as irredeemably biased. But Palestinians and their supporters will see it as an authoritative if long overdue indictment.

A captive Palestinian market
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rachel Shabi - (Opinion) September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

It's boom time in the West Bank – the right kind of boom this time. Weeks ago, you couldn't flick on an Israeli TV or radio channel without hearing the good news. Parts of the international press did the same, with a flurry of articles pronouncing the West Bank open for business. The boost in financial fortunes is attributed to Israel easing up on some checkpoints, the Palestinian Authority (PA) police tackling city street crime and the Israeli government's promotion of something called economic peace.

Israel, Jewish groups seek to discredit new U.N. report on Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's government and its supporters are promoting a one-sentence strategy to counter a 574-page U.N. report on last winter's Israel-Hamas war in Gaza: Consider the source. "The same U.N. that allows the president of a country to announce on a podium its aspiration to destroy the State of Israel has no right to teach us about morality," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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