Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Expectations are generally low in the run-up to today's UN meeting between presidents Obama and Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, although Ha'aretz reports that the United States is pushing for substantive achievement of some kind. Prime Minister Fayed attends Eid prayers in the West Bank village of Bil’in, and The Nation profiles its nonviolent protests against Israel's separation barrier. A Palestinian man is shot by Israeli troops near Bethlehem. Fallout continues from the UN commission of inquiry into the Gaza war, as Judge Goldstone defends his findings in the Jerusalem Post. Hussein Ibish considers objections from both Arabs and Jews to his observation that Israel and Hamas reacted to the Goldstone report with strikingly similar logic and language.

A false equivalency of false equivalencies?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

I get a lot of interesting responses to the postings on the Ibishblog, but those regarding my last posting on the UN Goldstone commission of inquiry into the Gaza war were particularly revealing. Both Arab and Jewish partisans tend to become enraged by any suggestion of equivalency between Israel and any group of Palestinians, particularly when it comes to conflict, warfare and armed struggle. Indeed, both the Israeli government and Hamas condemned the Goldstone report for the sin of "false equivalency," among other things.

Israel makes secret offer on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Eli Lake - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Ahead of the Obama administration's first U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli summit, Israel has agreed to a partial freeze of settlement construction for six to nine months but still wants to build more than 2,500 new housing units, said Israeli officials and an Israeli specialist familiar with the country's evolving policy.

Israeli, Palestinian leaders anxious
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

A private session with President Barack Obama is a big diplomatic get — all the more so when it comes as world leaders are descending en masse on New York for the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly. But two foreign leaders seem apprehensive, to say the least, about their meeting with Obama on Tuesday: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trilateral talks head on path to nowhere
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

In fall 2001, assigned as a State Department adviser to Middle East envoy Tony Zinni, I asked the general why he wanted to ruin a brilliant career by taking on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Smiling, he replied that he liked hopeless causes. In that case, I said, he’d come to the right place. Tuesday’s three-way meeting in New York among President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas strongly suggests that after six months of hard labor, another great American — George Mitchell — is being ground up in the maw of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestine's Peaceful Struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Mohammed Khatib - (Opinion) September 11, 2009 - 12:00am

A few weeks ago, in the dead of night, dozens of Israeli soldiers with painted faces burst violently into my home. If only they had knocked, I would have opened the door. They arrested me. My wife, Lamia, was left alone with our four children. My youngest, 3-year-old Khaled, woke up to the image of Israeli soldiers with painted faces who were taking his father away. He has not stopped crying since. A few nights ago he woke up in terror, sobbing: "Daddy, why did you let the soldiers take me?" That's the way our children sleep--in a constant state of fear.

The Israelis of Bil’in: Joining Palestinians against the wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 18, 2009 - 12:00am

For over four years the international media has reported on the weekly protests in the small West Bank village of Bil’in. They report that Israel has moved the separation wall so it annexes over 60% of the village, that the residents of Bil’in once worked the confiscated land as a source of livelihood and that after every Friday prayer there is a non-violent protest that gets dispersed by tear gas. What is left out from such accounts is that many who attend these West Bank protests are Israelis Jews.

Fayyad holds Eid prayer at site of nonviolent protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad attended the Eid prayer on Sunday in a mosque in the West Bank village of Bil’in, which is known for its lively nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall. Khaled Al-Qawasmi, the minister of Local Government, and Jamal Zakout, the Prime Minister’s media advisor, also attended the prayer session. The three also laid a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat at the presidential compound in Ramallah.

Israeli troops kill Jerusalem man near settlement checkpoint
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli troops shot and killed a Jerusalem resident at the Betar Illit-area military checkpoint west of Bethlehem on Tuesday morning. The Palestinian, identified as 27-year-old Walid Rabi At-Tawil, allegedly refused to stop his car after being ordered to do so by Israeli forces manning the post. In a statement, the Israeli military said At-Tawil "ignored calls to undergo the required security checks, accelerated towards the soldiers and drove through the crossing." It said soldiers chased after the vehicle, which they said they found it at a nearby gas station.

Obama seeking 'upgrade' for Netanyahu-Abbas summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The White House is making a last-minute diplomatic effort to come up with some significant statement signaling the revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to conclude the tripartite summit in New York Tuesday. However, the White House Monday said the administration has no "grand expectations" for President Barack Obama's meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday that Obama was looking to "continue to build on progress" in regional talks. "We have no grand expectations out of one meeting," said Gibbs.

Israel should learn from U.S. how to pace diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Most Israelis like the United States, but cannot connect to the American character. Here we improvise and don't wait in line - there friends arrange to meet far in advance and read the instruction manual before operating electrical appliances. So too in diplomacy. In Israel war is declared after a two-hour debate, and daring peace plans are concocted without deliberations or consultations. In America months are devoted to preparing every diplomatic or military move.

How Israel silenced its Gaza war protesters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

A new report from Adalah shows how the courts and police attempted to stamp out opposition to Operation Cast Lead. "This is a time of war, and every incident harms the people's morale." This was not a sentence in a right-wing journal, but rather a statement by an Israel Police representative during Operation Cast Lead seeking to persuade the Tel Aviv District Court to block anti-war protesters from the city.

PA: Gaza no excuse for stalling peace negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

"We expect (US President Barack) Obama to take advantage of the meeting with (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas to press Israel on the settlement issue," a senior Palestinian official told Ynet Tuesday, just hours before the Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders were scheduled to convene in New York. The official called on Obama to try and convince Israel to halt all settlement activity in the West Bank "so that his plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years will not remain on paper alone."

Low expectations for 'symbolic' trilateral summit in NY
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the US overnight Tuesday ahead of his scheduled meeting with US President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. White House officials said their expectations from the trilateral talks, which are set to begin at 6 pm (Israel time), were low. Sources in the PM's entourage said the meeting between Netanyahu, Abbas and Obama would likely be symbolic in nature, adding that they do not foresee any diplomatic achievements during the General Assembly's session.

West Bank settlements become havens of Israeli surburbanites
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - September 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Meet the Ovadiahs, the Allons, and the Cohens. They're new arrivals in Israeli neighborhoods where freshly laid red-tile roofs and toddler toys dotting green lawns are a picture of the Israeli equivalent of the American dream, minus the white picket fence.

Who's being unfair?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Richard Goldstone - (Opinion) September 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The responses from the government of Israel to the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza have been deeply disappointing. The mission's mandate enabled Israel to bring its concerns and facts relating to Operation Cast Lead publicly before a UN inquiry. It could have been used by Israel to encourage the UN and especially the Human Rights Council to move in a new direction beneficial to the interests of Israel. I repeatedly requested the government of Israel to do that, and to meet with me in Jerusalem to discuss how the Fact-Finding Mission should approach its mandate.

Obama to host Middle East summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

In New York, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be discussing the possibility of re-starting peace talks. But they have been blaming each other for blocking a US initiative. Israel has rejected US and Palestinian demands for a total freeze before a new round of talks can take place. 'Photo opportunity' President Obama is bringing Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas together for the first time since Mr Netanyahu came to office in March.

This judge may have little sway over Israel’s sentence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by James Reinl - (Opinion) September 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Last week’s UN report on war crimes committed during the Israeli invasion of Gaza leads to an inescapable conclusion: those behind the atrocities must be brought to justice. Yet despite lofty talk of global legal frameworks, the world is still a long way from realising the dream of an impartial legal system that can spring into action when evidence is presented that atrocities have been committed.

UN must act on Goldstone's report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) September 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The recently released Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict is unequivocal in its condemnation of Israel. Led by Justice Richard J. Goldstone - a South African judge who served as Chief Prosecutor for the UN's Rwanda and former Yugoslavia international criminal tribunals - the report pulls no punches.

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