Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Judge Goldstone presents his report into the Gaza war to the UN Human Rights Council. Two Palestinian smugglers are killed by Israeli attacks on tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, and Prime Minister Fayyad demands an end to Israeli military and settler attacks. Some Palestinians warn of a "third intifada," but Israeli military leaders dismiss the threat. Israel agrees to the rebuilding of a Gaza hospital sponsored by France and Qatar. Hamas agrees to Egyptian proposals for national reconciliation, but has issued undisclosed amendments, and Fatah leaders express skepticism. The Globe and Mail examines the rise of the religious ultra-right in Israel. Israeli and Arab commentators remain sharply divided on the fallout from last week's diplomatic activity in New York, and ATFP President Ziad Asali argues in The National that Palestinians should seize the opportunity presented by President Obama's determination to pursue a peace agreement.

U.N. Investigator Presents Report on Gaza War
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Nick Cumming-Bruce - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The lead investigator in a recent United Nations inquiry into the Gaza conflict warned on Tuesday that the lack of accountability for war crimes in he Middle East has “reached a crisis point” and is undermining any hope of peace. The investigator, Richard Goldstone, made his comments here as he presented the Human Rights Council with his final report on violations of human rights and international law in the three-week war in Gaza last winter, which accuses both Israel and Palestinian groups of committing atrocities.

Israel, Hamas in mutual gestures on prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel will free 20 Palestinian women from jail as early as Friday in exchange for a videotape from Hamas proving an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip since 2006 is alive, officials on both sides said on Wednesday. Egyptian and German mediators are continuing to work on a final deal to swap the soldier, Gilad Shalit, for hundreds of Hamas prisoners. The negotiations are part of international efforts to ease Israel's blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

US urges Israel to probe Gaza crimes to boost peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Stephanie Nebehay - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States called on its close ally Israel on Tuesday to conduct credible investigations into allegations of war crimes committed by its forces in Gaza, saying it would help the Middle East peace process. Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, said that Hamas leaders also had a responsibility to investigate crimes and to end what he called its targeting of civilians and use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in the strip.

Two die in smuggling tunnels after airstrike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Two Palestinians died as a result of a gas leak inside a smuggling tunnel along Gaza’s border with Egypt in the city of Rafah, medics said on Wednesday. Medicals at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah said Muhammad Jalal Abu Sef, 45, and Riziq Al-Masri, 28, were dead when they arrived. Thirteen others were injured as a result of the gas leak, which occurred after Israeli warplanes bombed the tunnels. It was not immediately clear if the gas leak was a direct result of the airstrikes.

Former Arafat aide: Third Intifada on its way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Bassam Abu Sharif, a former senior advisor to late President Yasser Arafat, added his voice to a chorus of those raising the possibility of a third Intifada, or uprising against Israel.

Fayyad demands end to Israeli attacks, settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

“What is going on in Jerusalem, the Israeli attacks, is against the International law,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah Tuesday. “Both Arab and foreign countries must take clear positions to compel Israel to stop its arbitrary practices" he said specifically referring to the clashes that broke out in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem when extremist Israelis entered the area with armed soldiers on Sunday.

How we didn't defeat Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yehuda Ben Meir - (Opinion) September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

There is great rejoicing in the settler camp and among its supporters on the right. As they see it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defeated U.S. President Barack Obama in an arm wrestling match when, at the tripartite summit, the latter had to retreat from his demand for a total settlement freeze. The settlement freeze, say the settlers, is off the agenda and the danger of American pressure from the school of Barack Hussein Obama has vanished from the earth.

Netanyahu finally agrees to Sarkozy request to rebuild Gaza hospital
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally agreed Tuesday to a request by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to rebuild a Gaza hospital damaged during Operation Cast Lead. Netanyahu told Sarkozy by phone Tuesday that he had decided to approve the project as a humanitarian gesture. The premier also said he wished to accommodate Paris due to the "strident stance that France has taken on Iran's nuclear program." Sarkozy made the request during Netanyahu's visit to Paris earlier this year. The hospital in question is Al-Quds Hospital, which is managed by the Red Crescent Society in Gaza.

Egypt plans Fatah-Hamas 'reconciliation' parley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt has decided to invite representatives of all Palestinian factions to a "national unity dialogue" conference that would take place in Cairo next month and would lead to the signing of a reconciliation accord between Hamas and Fatah, Palestinian officials in Ramallah said on Tuesday. They said the decision to convene the conference in Cairo follows the breakthrough achieved in the past few weeks in efforts to end the rift between Hamas and Fatah.

New brochure touts hot Jerusalem real estate - in the capital's Arab neighborhoods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Abe Selig - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

A brochure recently released by the Ateret Cohanim organization and obtained this week by The Jerusalem Post features a number of high-value properties the group has apparently put up for sale inside the Christian and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem's Old City, along with the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Ras el-Amud and Sheikh Jarrah. East Jerusalem properties are being marketed to Jews for upward of $1 million in an Ateret Cohanim brochure.

Do J'lem clashes, Gaza rockets portend worse violence?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Yaakov Katz, Abe Selig - September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The Muslim Quarter was quiet on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after clashes between Jerusalem Arabs and border policemen - which began on the Temple Mount Sunday and spread to the surrounding neighborhoods, continuing through Monday night. The recent renewed rocket fire from the Gaza Strip has been rattling nerves in the South as well. But defense officials said that they did not fear a new wave of Palestinian violence on the level of the second intifada. The clashes in Jerusalem and the rocket attacks from Gaza were not connected, they said.

Goldstone defends UN Gaza report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

As the UN human rights watchdog debated the report, which accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes, he rejected what he called a "barrage of criticism". A US official dubbed the report "deeply flawed". Israel dismissed it as biased. Separately, a UK court has rejected an attempt by a Palestinian group to have Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak arrested for alleged war crimes. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, war crimes suspects can be tried in British courts. But the British court ruled that Mr Barak had diplomatic immunity.

A hostile takeover of Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Globe and Mail
by Patrick Martin - (Analysis) September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has come a long way. No longer are they the inward-looking anti-Zionists who only cared that the government provide them with money for their separate schools, welfare and exemptions from military service. These days, many of the Haredim – the word means “those who tremble” in awe of God” – have joined with right-wing religious Zionists to become a powerful political force. They now are equipped to redefine the country's politics and to set a new agenda.

New negotiations will test Netanyahu’s commitment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Yasser Arafat was enticed to attend a meeting with Ehud Barak at Camp David during the summer of 2000 with the promise that he would not be blamed if it turned out to be a failure. It did, and he was. Last week the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, was invited to attend a meeting with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York without any such promise. He was not blamed and the meeting was not a failure.

Hamas agrees to reconcile with Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Nadia Abou el-Magd - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas has announced that it will accept an Egyptian proposal for ending its bitter power struggle with Fatah, renewing hopes for an end to political deadlock and intra-Palestinian violence and pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections next year. Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’s political leader, sounded optimistic as he announced that Hamas would sign the Egyptian reconciliation accord with Fatah and other Palestinian factions in October.

Has Obama Dashed Arab Hopes?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The question being asked today is; has Obama dashed the hopes of the Arabs regarding his seriousness towards seeking a solution to the Arab – Israeli conflict? The barometer [being used to answer this question] is the extent of the US President's ability to put a halt to the construction of Israeli settlements.

No radical change in American policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Sobhi Ghandour - (Opinion) September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama has been in office for eight months, but there have been no major changes in American foreign policy, apart from the decision to cancel the missile shield planned for Eastern Europe. The absence of any other significant changes in US policy has been a great disappointment, especially in this region, which was pinning much hope on the new administration with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Defying, again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

It is vexing to see Israel repeatedly refusing to understand that Al Aqsa Mosque, the entire Haram Al Sharif compound, is a red line that should not be crossed unless it seeks to trigger another militant Palestinian Intifada. And so it is that a few days ago, Jewish zealots and Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinian worshippers defending the sanctity of their holy sites from intruders in and around the area.

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