Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In the New York Times Judge Goldstone offers his own analysis of his commission's report into the war in Gaza. Israel rejects the report’s recommendation for an independent investigation. Articles in Haaretz criticize the denial of allegations and evaluate the potential advantages of an inquiry. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to return to the region Friday for talks. Actors from a popular Palestinian political satire show meet with Prime Minister Fayyad. NPR highlights the hardships created by the intra-Palestinian conflict for a young engaged couple. Removal of 100 West Bank roadblocks begins. IDF soldiers allegedly beat a Palestinian man. Debate over Israeli PR strategy is prompted by controversy at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Justice in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Richard Goldstone - (Opinion) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

I ACCEPTED with hesitation my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza last winter. The issue is deeply charged and politically loaded. I accepted because the mandate of the mission was to look at all parties: Israel; Hamas, which controls Gaza; and other armed Palestinian groups. I accepted because my fellow commissioners are professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation.

Israel Rejects Call for Gaza Inquiry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials on Wednesday bluntly dismissed one of the main recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission’s report on the three-week war in Gaza last winter: a call for the Israeli government to begin an independent investigation of “serious violations” of international humanitarian and human rights law, including evidence of war crimes, during the military campaign.

No Deal, but Middle East Envoy Sets Further Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Obama administration’s special representative to the Middle East, George J. Mitchell, was set to leave Israel on Wednesday without agreement on a settlement freeze. But he was expected to return Friday to press his efforts to pave the way for resumed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Over the past two days, Mr. Mitchell has held two private meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as talks with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. Officials here indicated that he had not persuaded the two sides to restart the stalled talks.

Fayyad praises local comedy-soap "Homeland on a Thread"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad received the actors of the comedy series Homeland on a Thread (Watan Ala Watar) in his office on Tuesday, and praised what he called a "meaningful television achievement." The Ramadan soap opera, played every night of the holy month of fasting, is broadcast on Palestine TV and has made a splash in the Palestinian and international arenas. The satirical comedy pokes fun at all levels of government, and holds no punches when it comes to the Israeli occupation or Palestinian customs.

Mideast Discord Thwarts A Palestinian Love Story
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

They are engaged — Amani, a Palestinian woman from the Gaza Strip, and Basheer, her fiance who lives in the West Bank. But even though they are both of the same religion and the same nationality, they cannot get married. The house he has built for her sits in an orchard filled with ripe pomegranates, figs and lemons. It's fully furnished, but everything is too neatly in its place. It's lifeless, a home waiting to be lived in. Basheer

Amira Hass / The one thing worse than denying the Gaza report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

On Friday an Israel Defense Forces soldier called to protest the publication of another story in Haaretz which in his words, tainted not only the troops' image but also his Sabbath day. The soldier was referring to Gaza resident Zinat Samouni's account of how soldiers killed her 46-year-old husband and their 4-year-old son Ahmed - just two of the 29 people of the same family the army killed between January 4 and 5.

IDF to raze 100 roadblocks across West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces began razing about 100 "dirt mound" roadblocks from the entrances to Palestinian villages across the West Bank on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing effort to improve life for Palestinians. The roadblocks had been erected at the start of the second intifada, as Israel was struggling to defend itself against a wave of Palestinian suicide terror attacks.

A committee of inquiry is needed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The report by the commission headed by Judge Richard Goldstone on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza is one of the most serious indictments ever made against the government and the military in Israel. The report states that during the operation Israel committed war crimes and significant violations of international law.

Lieberman: Goldstone report meant to destroy Israel's image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Israel News
by Roni Sofer - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

"The Goldstone committee is a committee that was set up to find Israel guilty of crimes that were determined in advanced, and the committee's members did not let the facts confuse them," said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday, in his first comments in response to the harsh UN report investigation the events of Operation Cast Lead. Lieberman, who is currently on a tour of a number of Balkan states, said the committee's conclusions were predetermined, and he accused its members of serving the purposes of utilitarian countries.

Palestinian from Bilin claims beaten by soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

A Palestinian from the West Bank village of Bilin claimed Wednesday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers beat him and threatened to treat him like another activist who was shot during an anti-fence rally. Soldiers attending to the incident were confronted by foreign left-wing activists who documented the occurrence.

Rattling the Cage: A wake-up call from Judge Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) September 16, 2009 - 12:00am

Maybe this will do it. Maybe the Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead will be the thing that finally puts the fear of God into Israeli society, that shocks this country into deciding once and for all that the occupation must come to an end - for our sake if no one else's.

Op-Ed: U.S. Jews, Muslims must look forward, not back
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Salam Al-Marayati - (Opinion) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

In the 25 years I have served as a leader in the Muslim American community, I have watched and sometimes participated as the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian camps have put all their energy into trying to convert each other to their own ways of thinking -- ideologically, not theologically. The conclusion I have reached is that agreement cannot and should not be a pre-condition for engagement. As Muslims, Jews and Christians who believe in peacemaking as a social and religious responsibility, we must be the drivers of change at the grass-roots level.

Toronto film fest calls Israeli PR strategy into question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ben Harris - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

When Amir Gissin helped come up with an idea to remake Israel's international image several years ago, it's unlikely he imagined that the showcasing of Israeli films in Toronto would spark a star-studded Hollywood brouhaha over artistic expression and cultural boycotts. But that’s what happened as Israel became the major flashpoint at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Palestinian-Led Movement To Boycott Israel Is Gaining Support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Gal Beckerman - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Uzbekistan-born diamond mogul Lev Leviev announced late in August that his company, Africa-Israel, was drowning in debt of more than $5.5 billion that it could not repay. Over the next two days, shares in the company’s stock plummeted by more than one-third. It was relentless bad news for one of the world’s richest men. His holding and investment company had lost $1.4 billion since 2008, mostly due to failed real estate investments in the United States. Watching Leviev’s precipitous downfall from the sidelines were pro-Palestinian activists. And they were cheering.

Time running out on US deal to suspend Jewish settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The clock is ticking for George Mitchell. The top US envoy to the Middle East yesterday again failed to reach agreement with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on a suspension of Jewish settlement construction in occupied territory that Palestinians want for their future state.

Time ripe to take on the lobby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel’s halcyon days of impunity are coming to a close. At long last the world’s movers and shakers have come to realise that Israel is an instigator of violence and an obstacle to peace in this region.

Goldstone report should be respected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Antony Lerman - (Opinion) September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

The despicable attacks on human-rights organisations investigating Israel's Gaza offensive in January confirm Churchill's observation: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on". The mission led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone to investigate international human rights and international humanitarian law violations during Israel's offensive, established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), is the latest victim. The knives have been out for the mission for months. Now they are being plunged into him and his colleagues.

At Gaza's only spa, the well-heeled find relief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Joseph Krauss, Mai Yaghi - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

High above the pot-holed streets, donkey carts and militant graffiti that have come to define the besieged Gaza Strip sits Rosy, the territory's only spa and a refuge for its unlikely upper crust. The spa's luxurious setting and its upscale clientele stand in stark contrast to the poverty gripping the war-battered Palestinian territory of 1.5 million people, the vast majority of whom rely on foreign aid. "We have the highest quality services in the region," says Mohammed Faris, who launched the spa with his British wife in 1999.

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