Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians complain Israel is diverting water to settlers in the occupied territories. Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti calls for popular and diplomatic action to combat the occupation, and some others are speaking openly about the prospect of a third intifada. Reuters examines the state of the peace process. The Sydney Morning Herald says Jerusalem is the key to peace, and a Palestinian MK warns that Israel is planning 15,000 new settlement units in the occupied city. The US expresses concern over Israel's arrest of five Palestinian intelligence officers. Palestine is allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union. Pres. Abbas says Israel is conducting secret talks with Hamas about a possible temporary Palestinian state. Ynet argues that Israel does not face a demographic "threat" from Palestinians. PM Netanyahu says that despite growing doubts about his intentions, he wants a final status agreement. Pro-settler soldiers in the Israeli military threaten mutiny.

Palestinians accuse Israel settlements of diverting water
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - (Analysis) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The Hmoud family once prospered in this arid Palestinian farm village by cultivating banana and eggplant crops, earning enough to send a son abroad for medical school and to build a house with a showy staircase and a two-story window. But drought has decimated the spring that is Auja's only agricultural water source, and fields once filled with palm trees are now empty. Village residents have been forced to find work in the greenhouses near Jewish settlements that are hooked up to Israeli water mains.

Palestinian leader wants popular, diplomatic action
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Interview) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Peace talks with Israel have failed and the Palestinians must launch popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood, Marwan Barghouti said in an interview from his prison cell. Still popular and articulate despite five years behind bars, the 50-year-old activist is seen by some as a Palestinian Nelson Mandela, the man who could galvanise a drifting and divided national movement if only he were set free by Israel.

Does sinking Mideast peace process hold any hope?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - (Analysis) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Efforts to rescue the sinking Middle East peace process are losing support. Influential U.S. pundits have lost faith. Those Israelis who never did believe in it are saying: we told you so. Some Palestinians believe it is as good as dead, strangled by Israel. They talk gloomily of a moment of truth. Middle East veterans say they have seen such hopeless spells before, and seen them lead to outbreaks of violence.

Why Jerusalem matters on the road to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Sydney Morning Herald
by Jason Koutsoukis - November 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian aspirations to establish a capital in East Jerusalem are unwavering, despite this week's announcement by Israel that it is expanding Jewish neighbourhoods in the eastern half of the city. The former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia, now the Palestinian Authority's Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, has told the Herald that Jerusalem is integral to Palestinian sovereignty. ''This is non-negotiable; we will not accept anything less than Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,'' Mr Qureia said.

USA steps in, expresses concern over Israeli arrest of PA officers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from Nablus and Salfit overnight including the commander and four officers of the Palestinian Authority Intelligence Services. High-level negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli officials have been ongoing since dawn in an effort to have the men released, with American officials entering the debate shortly after 11am local time, expressing "concern" over the Israeli actions, reportedly approved by Israeli government officials before the raids took place, Palestinian security sources said.

Palestine set to take control of own postal system
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestine was allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) following successful talks with the International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced Wednesday.

Palestinian MK: 15,000 settlement homes awaiting approval in Jlem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Member of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi said Israel's Jerusalem municipality is preparing to build 15,000 new housing units around the city, mainly in areas beyond the Green Line in occupied Palestine. “These plans are larger and more dangerous than the recent plans to build 900 housing units in Gilo,” Tibi said during a phone interview on Friday. The MK called the plans common knowledge, saying “Everyone who follows up these issues knows that these plans exist," and explained they were just waiting for approval from the government, just like "what happened in Gilo," Tibi said.

'Fatah officials warn of third Palestinian intifada'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Fatah had made a strategic decision to declare a third intifada against Israel, movement officials told Nazereth-based newspaper Hadith Anas, citing the failed peace talks as the reason for their resolution. The newspaper report quoted Fatah Central Committee members as saying that the movement wished to implement a decision made during its sixth convention, which assembled last August in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Israel conducting secret talks with Hamas, Abbas says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that Israel is currently conducting secret negotiations with Hamas. In an interview with the BBC in Arabic, Abbas said that the talks between Israel and Hamas revolved around a Palestinian state with temporary borders. The Palestinian president reiterated his criticism against Israel, saying that Jerusalem wasn't truly interested in peace, adding that "Washington isn't pushing Israel enough to advance the peace process."

What does Israel have against a Palestinian stadium?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

A friendly game between an Arab soccer team and a Palestinian team was supposed to inaugurate the new stadium being built in the eastern part of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, at the end of the year. "Supposed to" because the Civil Administration, an arm of the Defense Ministry, has ordered that the work be halted and is threatening demolition.

Israel, Egypt squeeze Gaza tunnel business
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Fearing loss of life and money, Palestinians are abandoning tunnels that supply the blockaded Gaza Strip with everything from food to fridges to weapons. On the Gaza side of the border with Egypt, there is little activity in an area that was once as busy as an industrial zone. Many tunnel workers have concluded that the risk of being buried alive by Israeli bombardment and accidental ground collapses or poisoned by gas pumped underground by Egyptian security forces is just not worth it. Around 100 people have been killed in the past year.

President Clinton, you're wrong!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoram Ettinger - (Opinion) November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

On November 15, 2009, former President Clinton stated in Jerusalem: "Two things remain unchanged since 1993 – geography and demographics. Palestinians have more children than Israelis can have or import." Clinton's intentions are positive. However, he is mistaken and misleading, while trying to convince Israelis to support a policy (withdrawal to the 1967 lines), which could determine the fate of the Jewish State: Oblivion or survival.

Netanyahu: I want final accord with PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is interested in aiming for a final-status agreement, and not an interim one as some of his ministers are proposing, if and when negotiations with the Palestinian Authority resume, The Jerusalem Post has learned. In various internal discussions this week, Netanyahu said that were there "courageous leadership" on the Palestinian side, a resumption of negotiations could lead to a final peace agreement, and that this was preferable in his mind to an interim agreement based on a Palestinian state within temporary borders.

Mahmoud Darwish: If He Were Another
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Jo-Ann Mort - November 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Two summers ago, I dined at a Ramallah restaurant with a Fatah leader. I ordered Taibeh, the local beer, but my host chose Heineken, remarking: “I just dined with Mahmoud Darwish, and he told me, ‘My stomach knows no nationality.’”

Army faces friction over evacuations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

A growing threat of mutiny by pro-settler soldiers has alarmed Israel’s senior political and military leaders and spurred fears that a rightwards shift in the country’s army may hinder any future land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians. On Monday, six soldiers hung a banner on a rooftop inside their military base proclaiming their refusal to dismantle Jewish outposts in the occupied West Bank. That rebellion followed a demonstration last month by conscripts, who waved banners calling for continued Jewish settlement in the West Bank, during their swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem.

A state for all its citizens, not a state of all the Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Alan Philps - (Opinion) November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

It is not often that an Israeli history book is translated into Arabic with a view to finding a mass readership. And it is even rarer when that book is to be translated into two other major languages of the Islamic world, Turkish and Indonesian, not to mention Japanese, Russian, German, Italian and Portuguese.

Obama and “Israel’s Security”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) November 19, 2009 - 1:00am

The public statement concerning the results of talks that took place during the meeting at the White House last Monday, described as “secret,” between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, came in the form of an Israeli announcement of the building of 900 new housing units for Jewish settlers in Gilo, a suburb of Jerusalem. This stance represents the biggest challenge for the Obama administration up to this point.

Arabs may have to look beyond Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) November 20, 2009 - 1:00am

There is growing frustration, inside and outside the United States, with the Obama administration primarily because of its failure to bring about any measurable change in US policy, especially in the Middle East. Hopes are continuously raised, but have yet to be fulfilled. The spirited American leader has moved crowds with his ideas, both at home and abroad, most recently during his current East Asia tour, but none of his ideas have materialised. This has led some to look for alternative courses, skirting American involvement, as hard as this may seem to be.

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