Middle East News: World Press Roundup

As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, working with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, begin to outline the parameters for permanent status negotiations, reports suggest that the PLO may have dropped its insistence on a complete Israeli settlement freeze as a precondition. Fallout from the Goldstone Report into the Gaza war continues, with Israel reportedly threatening to block Palestinian cell phone development over calls for an IIC investigation. The Christian Science Monitor examines the role of the Golan Heights in Israel-Syria negotiations. Hamas leaders say Palestinian factions are close to agreeing to Egyptian proposals for reconciliation. Palestinian families in Britain seek the arrest of Israeli Defense Minister Barak on war crimes charges.





Yearning for the Golan Heights: why Syria wants it back
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Julien Barnes-Dacey - September 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


The US demonstrated its commitment to reengage Syria as a partner for Middle East peace Monday, advancing a process that some Arab countries had declared dead in recent weeks. At Washington's invitation – the first one extended to a high-ranking Syrian official in five years – Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad came to town to meet US officials.


Report: Israel threatening to block cell provider over war crimes case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel is threatening to withhold permission for a second Palestinian cellular phone network if the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not withdraw its call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into allegations of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, a leading Israeli newspaper said on Sunday. Tel Aviv-based Haaretz quoted Israeli security sources saying that the PA’s appeal to the ICC in The Hague has incensed military leaders. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is reportedly withholding his approval for mobile provider Wataniya because of the legal petition.


Report: Abbas drops demand for settlement freeze under US pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Two key Israeli officials are headed to Washington on Wednesday for continued talks leading up to renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attorney Yitzhak Molcho, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's chief of staff, Michael Herzog will attend the talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and senior White House officials, according to the newspaper Haaretz.


Israel, U.S. working on bridging issues to restart PA talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel and the U.S. will continue their talks in Washington tomorrow on bridging the open issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that are delaying the reopening of peace negotiations. Formulating the framework for the negotiations and the "terms of reference" are the focus of the talks in Washington. At the same time the sides will continuing negotiating over the length of the settlement construction freeze.


Israel ramps up efforts to block Hamas fund-raising network
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


The defense establishment recently relaunched its campaign with its Western partners to block Hamas' fund-raising network, Haaretz has learned. The government, meanwhile, is considering launching an awareness campaign to highlight the link between fund-raising for Palestinian causes and terror funding. Israeli efforts have had some success in recent years, when Western governments forced certain charity organizations to reveal their records and sever ties with the Charity Coalition, the umbrella organization for groups that raise funds for Hamas abroad.


Israel envoys head to U.S. for talks on relaunching peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel and the U.S. will continue their talks in Washington on Wednesday on bridging the open issues between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that are delaying the relaunching of peace negotiations. Formulating the framework for the negotiations and the "terms of reference," or the opening conditions, are the focus of the talks in Washington. At the same time the sides will continue negotiating the terms of the settlement construction freeze.


PM's emissaries to meet Mitchell in DC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


Mike Herzog and Attorney Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emissaries on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, will leave for Washington Tuesday, to meet with the US' special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. The three are expected to discuss ways to reignite the stalled peace process . The meeting follows Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the UN General Assembly in New York last week. Obama demanded Israel and the Palestinian Authority make some serious headway by mid October.


UN scrutinises Gaza 'war crimes'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


The UN's main human rights watchdog has begun a debate on a damning report into Israel's military operation against Gaza eight months ago. It is seen as a test of US engagement with the Human Rights Council, which was shunned by President George W Bush. The US, which is Israel's main ally, has criticised elements of the report. The report, widely lauded by human rights groups, accuses both Israel and its militant Palestinian adversary Hamas of war crimes in the campaign.


Palestinians 'close to agreement'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Christian Fraser - September 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says all Palestinian factions are drawing close to agreement on Egypt's proposals for Palestinian reconciliation. Mr Meshaal has met the head of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Suleiman, to give his answer to the proposals. He said Hamas have given some thoughts on how the draft might be adjusted - but in principle will return by the end of October to sign a final draft. Fatah and Hamas have been divided since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.


Real reform in Israel is a distant prospect
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ben White - September 26, 2009 - 11:00pm


Once again, issues like the settlement "freeze" are dominating the official peace process, ignoring not only core questions like Israel's "matrix of control", but also the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel. While the increasingly overt racism of Knesset members has got its fair share of headlines, other important developments have escaped scrutiny outside the region.


Palestinians seek Barak's arrest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


A group of Palestinian families is attempting to have Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, prosecuted in Britain for alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip, lawyers have told Al Jazeera. A lawyer working for the families will present their case at a magistrates court in London on Tuesday before British officials decide if it has the jurisdiction to decide the case. The families are accusing Barak of committing war crimes including the assassination of a senior Palestinian minister and unlawful killing of civilians during the Gaza war at the beginning of this year.


Absurd Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - (Opinion) September 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


US President Barak Obama has himself declared that the attempt he made for launching Palestinian-Israeli negotiations based on halting settlement construction has ended. Netanyahu challenged him, declaring that he will not freeze settlement construction. Afterward, the US president invited Netanyahu for a meeting at the White House. He even announced on behalf of the superpower that success had been made on which we can build.


Israeli drive to prevent Jewish girls dating Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - September 24, 2009 - 11:00pm


A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue” them. The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is the latest in a series of separate – and little discussed – initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and marriage.


A significant month for Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Sami Moubayed - September 27, 2009 - 11:00pm


The month of September is indeed a rich one for Arab historians wanting to write up a 'Today in History'. September 28 alone has recorded several monumental events that have shaped modern Arab history: the break-up of the Syrian-Egyptian Union in 1961, the death of Jamal Abdul Nasser in 1970, the signing of Oslo II in 1995, and the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000. September of course, is when the horrific 9-11 terrorist attacks took place in 2001, when the Sabra and Shatila massacres occurred in 1982 and when the original Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn in 1993.


Good news
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


News coming out of Cairo recently suggests that the Egyptian mediation efforts may have reached a breakthrough in reconciling the differences between Fateh and Hamas. It appears that the two Palestinian factions are now ready to settle their differences and reach a viable compromise. The attempts to bring the two Palestinian movements closer seem to have succeeded in convincing Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal, who recently visited Cairo, of the wisdom of such move; now he is expected to give his approval to the Egyptian ideas, at least in principle.


Settlers: a Jewish minority in Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Common Ground News Service
by Bill Glucroft - September 28, 2009 - 11:00pm


If we are to believe the pundits and partisans, relations between Israel and the United States have never been worse. US President Barack Obama’s administration appears to be taking the toughest tone of any in recent memory. Obama’s Cairo speech didn’t help, leaving an already vulnerable-feeling Israel with the sense that it was getting thrown under the bus.





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