Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Clashes occur in occupied East Jerusalem as Jewish settlers continue to evict Palestinian families, and a new report finds that Israel canceled Jerusalem residency for thousands of Palestinians in 2008. The EU has proposed recognizing East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and strengthening Palestinian institutions in the occupied city. Bethlehem shopkeepers are hoping for a more prosperous Christmas. Israel's consul general to the Pacific Northwest says his country wants peace. Israeli settlers continue to vow to defy the building moratorium and scuffle with building inspectors and Palestinians. Public building in the West Bank has dropped 60% since Netanyahu took office. Speculation continues about the potential inclusion of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in a possible Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange, with the possibility that he also may be exiled. Hamas says one of its fighters has been killed. Foreign Policy magazine has included PM Salam Fayyad in its list of 100 leading global thinkers. David Makovsky argues that both Netanyahu and Abbas need to be strengthened in order for peace to proceed. The JTA profiles the "Islamic Movement" organization among Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Jewish Nationalists Clash With Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Jewish nationalists and Palestinians clashed in an East Jerusalem neighborhood on Tuesday after the Israelis took over a house by court order in a predominantly Arab area. The confrontation further strained tensions in this contested city, where competing Israeli and Palestinian claims have become a sticking point in the Obama administration’s efforts to restart peace talks.

Israel decries proposed E.U. stance on East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel on Tuesday criticized a proposed statement by the European Union recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state -- part of the country's growing resistance to efforts to pressure it into reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians in the absence of direct, U.S.-sponsored talks. The draft statement, which the Israeli daily Haaretz published Tuesday, is to be considered by E.U. foreign ministers next week. Its first point calls for establishment of a Palestinian state "with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Bethlehem traders still waiting for Christmas cheer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Erika Soloman - December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

The lights are going up and carols are ringing from Manger Square, but Christmas cheer hasn't spread to all of Bethlehem's residents. While calm has returned to the Biblical birthplace of Jesus, scene of heavy fighting during the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, in the early years of this decade, big-spending foreign tourists have mostly not, say the shopkeepers and restaurant owners who depend on them for their livelihood.

Israel rejects European Union plan to divide Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel's foreign ministry said Tuesday that a Swedish-led push for the European Union to call for the division of Jerusalem and the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state would trip up Europe's own efforts to play a role in Middle East peacemaking.

We have the building blocks for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
by Akiva Tor - (Opinion) December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel and the Palestinian Authority need to renew negotiations immediately to achieve permanent peace between our peoples. Considering the fundamental points of agreement between us, it is frustrating that for the better part of a year we have not managed to sit down and move forward toward peace: -- We both believe that Israel and a Palestinian state should live alongside each other in peace, security and economic well-being. -- We both understand that the best future for our children requires that we make painful concessions to accommodate each other's essential national aims.

Israeli settlers scuffle with govt inspectors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Residents of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday scuffled with government inspectors who had come to enforce a moratorium on construction, a military official said. "There were several scuffles between residents of various Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and site inspectors," a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "But the authorities will continue to work to apply the decision."

One Palestinian Prisoner Could Change the Balance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jerrold Kessel, Pierre Klochendler - (Analysis) November 30, 2009 - 1:00am

The political timing is definitely ripe. This week a major residual source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians may just be about to be resolved - if German mediation finally overcomes last-minute hitches to the long-awaited exchange - a thousand Palestinian prisoners for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It's not yet certain that the prisoner exchange will go through. Nor is it clear who among the 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails will be part of the deal.

Hamas fighter dies in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas’ armed wing said one of its members died early Wednesday during what it described as a “Jihad mission” in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. In a statement, the Al-Qassam Brigades said 37-year-old Yasser Sabri Radi, a resident of the An-Nuseirat Refugee Camp, died during the mission. The statement did not disclose further details. On Monday night a member of Fatah’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, was killed when a car exploded in the Ash-Shati Refugee Camp near Gaza City. The Israeli military said it had no connection to the blast.

UN expresses solidarity with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Members of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People discussed the status of Palestinians and the ongoing Israeli occupation on Monday as the UN observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concerns over the failure to resume peace talks based on a two state solution for over a year and further called on Israel and Palestinian authorities to conduct immediate investigations into allegations of grave human rights violations committed in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Cast Led last year.

Magazine names Fayyad one of 100 top global thinkers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was ranked 61 on the American magazine Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers list published this week. Fayyad earned his spot, the report said, "for showing how to govern effectively in the middle of a conflict." Summing up his contribution to global leadership, the magazine wrote:

Israel stripped thousands of Jerusalem Arabs of residency in 2008
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Last year set an all-time record for the number of Arab residents of East Jerusalem who were stripped of residency rights by the Interior Ministry. Altogether, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 East Jerusalemites in 2008 - 21 times the average of the previous 40 years.

Peres accuses Hamas of holding up Shalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

President Shimon Peres accused Hamas on Wednesday of holding up a deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, amid reports that talks have hit a snag over 50 prisoners whom Israel refuses to free in return for the abducted Israeli soldier. "The delay is not caused by the Israeli government but rather by the other side - there are internal disagreements within Hamas," Army Radio quoted Peres as saying in speech to students at Kibbutz Yotveta.

David Makovsky / Obama and Netanyahu: Lessons of 2009
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON - The announcement of a moratorium on building in the settlements ends the first chapter of U.S.-Israel relations during the Obama era. There are lessons for all. The move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clearly a bid to improve U.S.-Israel relations as much as it is an effort to restart negotiations with the Palestinians. It may also be a counterbalance toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, against a potential prisoner swap with Hamas for Gilad Shalit.

Israel settlers obstruct building curbs inspectors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
December 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Groups of settlers, who have vowed to ignore the curbs, gathered at the entrance to one settlement and said they had forced inspectors to leave. A government official said there had been some "low level friction". The Palestinians say Israel's 10-month building pause is not enough and are refusing to restart peace talks. The building restrictions do not apply to East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians want to locate the capital of their future state. 'Without violence'

Islamic Movement gathers steam in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dina Kraft - November 30, 2009 - 1:00am

It's time for noon prayers in this Israeli Arab city, and a jumble of sneakers piles up outside the doors of a mosque on the top floor of a private high school for the sciences. Inside, the boys, led in prayer by a math teacher, stand in two rows on a soft green-and-beige carpet and then kneel in unison. The $5.8 million tab to construct the high school, considered one of the top Arab schools in Israel with its state-of-the art physics and chemistry labs, was picked up by the Islamic Movement.

Spoilers: The End of the Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Affairs Journal
by Elliott Abrams, Michael Singh - December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Typically, explanations for the lack of progress in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians revolve around disagreements over the “core issues,” insufficient diplomatic activism and pressure on Israel from the United States, and Israeli intransigence. Such views share one premise: that Israeli bargaining power overwhelms that of the Palestinians and must be compensated for by action on the part of the international community.

Public building in W. Bank down 60%
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CBS News
December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Public building starts in the West Bank have dropped some 60 percent since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures quoted in an Israel Radio report Wednesday. The data showed that between the months of April and September 2009, only 132 housing units were approved, compared to 330 in the same period last year, during former prime minister Ehud Olmert's term in office. Between April and September 2007, the figure was 370.

Report: Barghouti to be freed only if deported
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - December 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Will Israel free Marwan Barghouti but keep him away from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ? London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper on Wednesday quoted sources involved in the negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal as saying that Israel was willing to discuss the release – and deportation – of the former Tanzim secretary-general in the West Bank. According to the sources, the talks on Barghouti are still going on, but if Israel insists on deporting him from the West Bank, it will be entirely up to him.

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