Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Judge Goldstone asks the United States to clarify its concerns about his report into the Gaza war. Secretary of State Clinton reports modest progress on Middle East peace to President Obama, but Special Envoy Mitchell says he is "not in the slightest discouraged." The LA Times profiles a new Palestinian version of Sesame Street. Israel confirms increased settlement activity including in outposts. Protesters assail former Prime Minister Olmert in San Francisco after a similar incident in Chicago. Foreign Minister Lieberman complains that the PA cannot negotiate with Israel locally and combat it on the international stage simultaneously. The Israeli High Court of Justice orders the IDF to allow Palestinians to drive on some "Jewish-only" roads in the West Bank. The BBC profiles costs to the people of Gaza from Hamas rule. In Foreign Policy, Rebecca Abou-Chedid says Arab and Jewish Americans can and should work together to promote Middle East peace.

Gaza Report Author Asks U.S. to Clarify Concerns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Sharon Otterman - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Richard Goldstone, the lead author of a United Nations report that found evidence of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas during last winter’s Gaza war, challenged the Obama administration in an interview broadcast Thursday to explain what it has called serious concerns about his report.

Mideast Gain Is Modest, Clinton Tells President
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

On Sept. 22, President Obama summoned the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to an urgent three-way meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York and declared, “It is past time to talk about starting negotiations; it is time to move forward.” To that end, he asked both sides to send diplomats to Washington for intensive talks and directed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to report back to him in a month about where things stood.

Clinton gives Obama Mideast progress report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was at the White House giving President Barack Obama a report on efforts to relaunch Middle East peace talks this afternoon. But despite near constant diplomatic effort underway in recent months, and some progress achieved, success in getting peace talks even relaunche still eludes the Obama administration, a White House readout of Clinton's oral briefing suggests.

Mitchell: Mideast talks effort isn't a failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Glenn Adams - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

President Obama's Mideast envoy George Mitchell said Thursday it's too soon to brand his efforts to resume peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders a failure. The former Senate leader recalled being asked "hundreds of times" while negotiating for years in Northern Ireland when he was going home because the talks there were considered a failure. He finally brokered the Good Friday peace accords in 1999.

Obama peace quest flounders in Mideast quicksand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alistair Lyon - (Analysis) October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

U.S. President Barack Obama's high-priority Middle East peace drive has run into predictable quicksands, even as other foreign policy challenges in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond clamour for his attention. Israel has rebuffed Obama's request for a complete freeze on settlement construction, while Arab states, whose own peace offer has gathered dust since 2002, have brushed off his calls for goodwill gestures toward the Jewish state.

Sunny day on 'Shara'a Simsim'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Ramallah, West Bank - It's always a sunny day on Sesame Street in the West Bank, where the neighbors are friendly and the muppets never see an Israeli army checkpoint. "Shara'a Simsim" teaches Palestinian children they can achieve an independent state through tolerance, education and national pride -- and not anti-Israeli violence.

Nightmare on J Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Rebecca Abou-Chedid - (Opinion) October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

At last, somebody found me out. This week, former AIPAC and Israeli embassy official Lenny Ben-David published an article revealing that I had given a donation to the "pro-Israel and pro-peace" organization J Street. Because I am of Lebanese descent, this clearly indicates that my dollars must be intended to advance some pernicious anti-Israel agenda -- and that J Street must be the vehicle for those aims.

Israel confirms settlers ramping up West Bank construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

The defense establishment confirmed that in recent weeks West Bank settlers have been making a noticeable effort to expedite construction, in an attempt to maximize the "facts on the ground" before the United States and Israel reach an agreement on a settlement freeze. A senior security source said this week that the defense establishment's view on the situation was reflected in reports published in Haaretz last Friday, which stated that extensive construction is currently being carried out in at least 11 settlements.

The Palestinians' spoiler
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Advocates for engaging Hamas often argue that if the group is given a stake in the creation of an independent Palestine by being included in peace negotiations, it will moderate its positions. This co-optation argument is based on the misguided assumption that Hamas is a pragmatic nationalistic movement, motivated primarily by calculations of how to gain power.

San Francisco protestors call Olmert 'war criminal'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Pro-Palestinian protestors disrupted Ehud Olmert's speech in a San Francisco hotel on Thursday night, exactly one week after the former Israeli premier was verbally attacked at the University of Chicago over alleged war crimes committed by the Jewish state during the Gaza war. "You are a war criminal and a murderer," one of the protestors shouted at Olmert during the speech before being removed from the auditorium by security officers. Another protestor shouted, "You are a war criminal. San Francisco should be ashamed to have a war criminal here."

White House urges Israel, Palestinians to resume negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

The White House urged Israel and the Palestinians on Thursday to do more to open the way to renewed peace negotiations as President Barack Obama received a report on the status of US peacemaking efforts. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with President Obama earlier in the day and presented him with her report on the progress in the efforts to resume negotiations in the Middle East, which according to her was scant.

Lieberman discusses Goldstone with Ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke on the telephone with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon late Thursday on several Middle East issues, among them the Goldstone report which alleges that Israel may have committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter.

IDF must allow Palestinians to use 'Israelis only' road
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

The High Court of Justice on Thursday accepted a petition filed by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel and ordered the state to cancel an order prohibiting Palestinians from driving on a road linking small villages near Hebron to the larger towns that provide them with vital services. It gave the state three months to make the necessary preparations before the ban was lifted.

Price of Hamas principles in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - October 21, 2009 - 11:00pm

Eight bearded policemen, in black fatigues and carrying AK-47s, leap on to an open-backed truck, which then hares off with much squealing of tyres. The policemen have gone to set up a road block in Gaza City, walkie-talkies spluttering with messages about suspicious vehicles. The message is clear: these are not militants firing rockets, or Islamists ordering women off motorbikes. Rather, on display are normal policemen on a normal beat, bringing order to the roads. Crime has indeed fallen in Gaza. But life is still hard. War and Israeli-imposed shortages have seen to that.

Rabbis Take on Settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - October 20, 2009 - 11:00pm

Away from the media spotlight that focuses on the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli humanists is quietly working to break down barriers with their Palestinian neighbours. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Israel's Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), has been used as a human shield, arrested, and beaten up several times by Israeli security forces while defending Palestinians. He has also been stoned by Palestinians who mistook him for a settler.

A place to live
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Karen Janjua - (Opinion) October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Dante’s conception of a tortuous place invoking hopelessness cannot hold a candle to a place that I visited recently. The Gaza refugee camp near Jerash is a ramshackle, over 40-year-old “temporary settlement” where 96 per cent of the inhabitants live without the optimism which comes “bundled” with a passport having a national number. Citizenship is granted to most residents of UNWRA’s nine other official camps in Jordan, but the residents of Gaza camp constitute “a special case”.

More concrete steps for rescuing Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ahmad Majdoubeh - (Opinion) October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

Whenever we Arabs talk about rescuing Palestinians and Palestine, we always think of it in terms of settling the Arab-Israeli conflict. And this is correct, for peace is the utlimate guarantee for the safety and security of people (both Arab and Israeli) and for territorial integrity. But what happens when peace does not materialise, as the case is now? What should be done?

Judge Goldstone’s wisdom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) October 22, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Goldstone report on the Israel war in Gaza that was released by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) late last month generated a brief flash of publicity because it criticised Israel and Hamas for conduct in the war that could be classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity. The deeper and wider implications of the report, however, have not been sufficiently discussed or acted upon, which is a shame.

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