Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Israeli Cabinet will consider an investigation into allegations in the Goldstone report. A Palestinian cooperative trades olive oil for foreign cash in an effort to sustain a wider Palestinian economy as violent attacks by extremist settlers increase. Al-Jazeera airs an offensive parody of the Palestinian national anthem, angering Palestinians. A Palestinian poll says President Abbas could regain lost support before scheduled elections in 2010. Commentaries in Gulf News, Arab News and Al Hayat evaluate Pres. Obama’s positions on peace and the Goldstone report. In the Nation, Adam Horowitz and Phillip Weiss evaluate shifting attitudes among Jewish Americans regarding Israel.

Painful Mideast Truth: Force Trumps Diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 18, 2009 - 11:00pm

As the Obama administration tries to broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a dark truth lurking: force has produced clearer results in this dispute than talk. The results of the violence may prove short-lived — and possibly counterproductive; condemnation of Israel and Hamas is likely to grow after the United Nations Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a report detailing evidence of war crimes in Gaza.

The West Bank's gold
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

For centuries, olive harvesting here has been a mostly local industry. Farmers, their relatives and neighbors beat the trees with sticks or strip the olives from branches by hand, then cart them to a local press and sell or trade the oil in nearby markets. Harvest workers keep a share of the crop for their labor, and olive press owners keep a share of the oil -- a testament to the small-scale, bartered nature of the undertaking.

Palestinians angered over Al-Jazeera broadcast of mock anthem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

Al-Jazeera Arabic played a mocking parody of the once Palestinian national anthem “My Homeland,” titled “It was my homeland” during an interview with Fatah and Hamas leaders from a Beirut studio Saturday, angering Palestinians. The lyrics of the song, originally a poem written by Palestinian poet Ibrahim Touqan put to music by Lebanese artist Mohammad Flaifel, served as the national anthem until the late 80s. The poem was an ode to the land, the people, the holy sites and the trees of Palestine. The opening lyrics of the song Al-Jazeera played were as follows: My homeland, My homeland

Top IDF officer warns: Settlers' radical fringe growing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

The extremist fringe of West Bank settlers is growing, a senior officer on the Israel Defense Forces General Staff warned this week. Though most West Bank settlers are law abiding, the officer said, recent years have seen an upswing in violent attacks by extremist settlers against both IDF troops and neighboring Palestinians.

Ministers set up task force to ease West Bank settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mazal Mualem - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

The defense and interior ministers agreed on Monday to appoint a task force to facilitate construction in the West Bank. A similar team, which was responsible for establishing the ownership of West Bank lands, operated until about three years ago under the auspices of the Israel Defense Forces' Civil Administration. Officials say the team's work is essential to issuing building permits in the West Bank.

PM to decide on inquiry committee on Goldstone claims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Cabinet is set to convene Tuesday morning in order to debate the international battle waged by Israel against the reverberations of the Goldstone Report, which claims Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet announced whether he will order the establishment of an inquiry committee on Operation Cast Lead. Meanwhile Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi have expressed their objection to such a move while the Justice Ministry said it may lend its support.

Barak refuses to discuss Gaza probe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

The security cabinet on Tuesday did not discuss the matter of establishing an independent inquiry into Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter, at the request of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Barak opposes an Israeli probe into the offensive as a response to the Goldstone Commission's report. Goldstone in Gaza. During the meeting, the security cabinet discussed different ways to deal with the report. Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz gave the cabinet a number of options, including putting together a commission of inquiry.

Don't count Abbas out, Palestinian pollster says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - October 18, 2009 - 11:00pm

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has suffered a serious blow to his standing versus Hamas in recent weeks, but he should be able to recover that ground, according to a top Palestinian pollster. Recently reported surveys show Abbas having lost support to Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, with them each now commanding about 16 percent of the Palestinian public as opposed to a month earlier when Abbas pulled twice that figure.

Israel spying devices found by UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
October 18, 2009 - 11:00pm

Israeli spying devices that were planted during the 2006 war with Hezbollah have been discovered in southern Lebanon, the UN has said. UN peacekeepers discovered the buried devices when they were blown up by remote control by Israel on Sunday. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Israel of blatantly violating the UN Security Council resolution that led to the end of fighting. Israel has declined to comment directly on the matter.

Goldstone Tests Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

It may be inferred from the statements given by the spokesman for the U.S State Department that Washington will not allow the Goldstone report to be presented before the UN Security Council, and that in case this report made its way there, the United States will use its veto power to nix any possible resolution endorsing the report’s recommendations.

Israel’s Fear of the Goldstone Report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Palestinian and Arab public campaign against the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) withdrawal of the request to discuss Judge Richard Goldstone’s report and to transfer it to the UN Security Council or the International Court of Justice in The Hague had a number of various outcomes. A negative outcome is that it weakened the PA’s reputation and status, and even destabilized its internal status, especially after it was heavily criticised by its own apparatuses and cadres.

Time and again, US backs Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda Heard - October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

Imagine that heavily-armed neighbourhood thieves break into your house, steal your property and shoot a family member. Naturally, you would call law enforcement. You know the names of the criminals and expect the police to arrest them. But what if the police hear the murderers' names, look embarrassed, shrug their shoulders, say ‘sorry, can't help you,' and simply walk away?

Tide is turning against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) October 19, 2009 - 11:00pm

Now even the United Nations Human Rights Council is “anti-Semitic.” Well, that’s the view of Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is outraged that the body rubber-stamped the Goldstone Report on war crimes committed in Gaza. Some years ago, that accusation would have had enormous shock-value, whereas, nowadays, the label has been so propagandized the only thing it elicits is a yawn.

American Jews Rethink Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Philip Weiss - October 13, 2009 - 11:00pm

This year has seen a dramatic shift in American Jews' attitudes toward Israel. In January many liberal Jews were shocked by the Gaza war, in which Israel used overwhelming force against a mostly defenseless civilian population unable to flee. Then came the rise to power of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose explicitly anti-Arab platform was at odds with an American Jewish electorate that had just voted 4 to 1 for a minority president.

Obama's Mistakes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) October 18, 2009 - 11:00pm

There are plenty of reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has not yet been restarted through American mediation. Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's manipulations and his coalition are one; the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and PLO under Mahmoud Abbas are another. The moderate Arab states have done precious little to help. But right now US President Barack Obama's mistakes are the most glaring.

The conventional route will not bring us peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 18, 2009 - 11:00pm

The most recent public opinion poll conducted in the Palestinian territories by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center has shown a dramatic decline in the Palestinian public's evaluation of the Obama administration's role in promoting peace in the Middle East.

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