Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A new poll of Palestinian public opinion finds strong support for Fatah, Pres. Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, new elections and the West Bank police. Israel launches another attack on Gaza smuggling tunnels, but the border area has become a shopping hub. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice says that Israel must do more than pay "lip service" to the peace process. Egypt continues to press Hamas to sign a national reconciliation agreement, with the PA vowing to call new elections. The Independent profiles the plight of Palestinian refugees in Arab states. The Forward examines Robert Wexler's surprise move from Congress to the think-tank world. In the Daily Star, Ghassan Rubeiz highlights innovations in Arab and Jewish American activism being pioneered by J Street and ATFP.

Press Release: The PLO, the Hijab, the Government, Security and Elections.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from AWRAD
by Nader Said - (Analysis) October 16, 2009 - 11:00pm

Margin of error: +3 % Field work dates: September 31 – October 3, 2009 Publication Date: Saturday - October 17, 2009 (1200 questionnaire in the West Bank and Gaza)

Goods Flood Gaza’s Tunnels, Turning Border Area Into a Shopping Mecca
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Rafah Journal
by Taghreed El-Khodary - October 20, 2009 - 11:00pm

RAFAH, Gaza — Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca-Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging in price from $2,000 to $10,000.

US envoy: Lip service for Mideast peace not enough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

JERUSALEM — The Obama administration's ambassador to the United Nations told Israelis on Wednesday that it is not enough just to pay "lip service" to peace and urged the government to immediately relaunch negotiations, without preconditions, aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state. Ambassador Susan Rice, in an address at a high-powered conference hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, assured Israelis — many of whom are wary of Obama's Mideast agenda — that her government is committed to their security.

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said its warplanes bombed two smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip and a building that it alleged was used to produce weapons near Gaza City early on Thursday morning. No injuries were reported in the strikes. The Israeli military spokesperson also said that it verified that the targets were accurately hit.

Ex-U.S. envoy: Livni told Palestinians to reject Olmert peace offer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

uring her tenure as foreign minister, Tzipi Livni advised the Palestinian Authority to reject then-prime minister Ehud Olmert's proposals for a peace agreement, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Thursday. "The prime minister was about to have an indictment filed against him and the foreign minister herself specifically told both the Americans and the Palestinians: Don't you dare sign the agreement," Indyk said, during a panel discussion at President Shimon Peres' Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.

The fifth and last decade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The chronicles of stupidity are as follows: In the first decade after the Six-Day War, Israel decided not to decide. It did not heed the warnings of the likes of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Amos Oz, Uri Avnery and former Labor Party leaders Aryeh Eliav and Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, all of whom immediately understood that the occupation was a trap. Israel believed that the territories were bargaining chips, and that it would be best to hold on to those chips so they could be exchanged for peace.

Egypt pushing Hamas to sign truce deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Israel News
by Ali Waked - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Egypt continues to push forward with last ditch efforts to convince Hamas to sign the reconciliation agreement with rival Palestinian faction Fatah. Hamas Deputy Politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said Wednesday that the Egyptians stressed to Hamas that the document that has been presented and signed by Fatah is not negotiable and all that is left is for Hamas to sign. Nonetheless, Abu Marzouk said that no date has been set for a Hamas delegation to travel to Cairo to discuss or sign the agreement.

Goldstone doubts Security Council to debate war report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Israel News
by Ali Waked - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Richard Goldstone said he believes Russia, France and China will oppose having the report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza debated in the UN Security Council. In an interview to Aljazeera television, he said that while he is not an expert on the political power ties in the UN, he believes these three nations will refuse to move forward with the report. He said the report could still be brought before the UN General Assembly, and added that if the UN refuses to discuss this report, it would be the end of UN involvement in international crises.

Gaza students stuck in Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Israel News
by Yaheli Moran Zelikovich - October 20, 2009 - 11:00pm

With the 2009-2010 academic year under way, 838 Palestinian university students are still waiting for the authorization that will enable them to leave the Gaza Strip in favor of overseas universities. According to Gisha the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, the students cannot leave the Strip due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

No way home: The tragedy of the Palestinian diaspora
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Judith Miller, David Samuels - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

It is a cynical but time-honoured practice in Middle Eastern politics: the statesmen who decry the political and humanitarian crisis of the approximately 3.9 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza ignore the plight of an estimated 4.6 million Palestinians who live in Arab countries. For decades, Arab governments have justified their decision to maintain millions of stateless Palestinians as refugees in squalid camps as a means of applying pressure to Israel.

Israel joins US for defence drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The exercise will focus on providing a joint defence against a simulated co-ordinated missile attack on Israel. Up to 2,000 joint military personnel are believed to be taking part, along with at least 15 American ships. The Israeli army said the exercise was not a "response to any world events" but had been planned for a while. It is thought that a highly sophisticated new American radar, based in the Israeli desert, will be central to the exercise. Two-fold significance

Wexler’s Move May Lead to More Active Role for Think Tanks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 20, 2009 - 11:00pm

Florida Democrat Robert Wexler’s recent decision to leave Congress and join a Washington policy center dealing with Middle East peace left many in this status-crazed city baffled. It is not every day that a successful politician chooses to resign midterm. An aftershock was also felt in the smaller think-tank community, where the entry of a new player could scramble the hierarchy of those struggling to shape American policy toward the region.

US in fresh bid on Palestine stalemate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Susan Rice, Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, held talks yesterday with senior Israeli officials in what appeared to be the latest bid by the Obama administration to end a months-long deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Ms Rice is also likely to have reiterated the US’s call for Israel to adopt a key recommendation of the UN-mandated Goldstone report to carry out a credible probe into possible war crimes committed by its troops in the attack in the Gaza Strip in December and January.

Israel’s failure to investigate war only hurts itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The first Israeli inquiry into Gaza war crimes was concluded after just a few days and completely exonerated the military of wrongdoing. It was a whitewash so glaring, conducted so quickly and with such an obvious and predetermined agenda, that it cast an even more negative light on the country. It also squandered an opportunity to deal with these serious allegations before they got out of control.

Hamas and Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Egyptian efforts to achieve reconciliation between the Palestinian National Authority (along with the Fatah movement) and Hamas have reached their natural conclusion. This is because the reconciliation [efforts] had assumed that there are disagreements related to the sharing of political representation in the Palestinian institutions, and that coexistence can be indeed achieved within an environment of balance between two main forces that are active today on the Palestinian scene.

Kouchner and his Postponed Visit to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Randa Takieddine - (Opinion) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, deserves to be congratulated, because he canceled his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He did not submit to the will of Israel, which wants to prevent him from heading to Gaza. This minister, who enjoys great popularity in France and the world for his humanity and sympathy for tragedies, was in fact late in visiting Gaza, which witnessed a humanitarian catastrophe and Israeli war that were unprecedented in their destructiveness.

Netanyahu needs to explain his intentions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Slowly but surely, Israel, especially under its extremist leaders, as is the case nowadays, is driving itself into a defenceless corner even if it still hopes its sometimes fickle allies in the West may come to its defence.

J Street and the ATFP are norm breakers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ghassan Rubeiz - (Opinion) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

In “Transforming America’s Israeli Lobby,” Dan Fleshler argues that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is not helping Israel’s long-term interests and it is not properly reflecting the progressive sentiments of the American Jewish community. Fleshler explains the complexity of the Jewish lobby in America and urges congress to listen to all shades of Jewish opinion, not only to AIPAC.

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