Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The LA Times profiles Israeli television satire. Palestinian factions meet in Gaza. Pres. Abbas says he is determined to move forward with peace, and PM Netanyahu says talks may begin in weeks. Israel's mayor in Jerusalem says he will demolish a settler structure and 200 Palestinian homes. The US tells Israel that easing the siege of Gaza would help contain fallout from the Goldstone report. A Jerusalem Post commentary says Israeli war confessionals can only be done anonymously. Jewish groups face divisions over J Street's move onto campuses. Aluf Benn says Israelis do not understand their global image and Avi Shlaim complains about the performance of Quartet Envoy Blair. In the Forward, ATFP President Ziad Asali calls for an Arab and Jewish American led coalition for peace. Several Arab commentaries say Israel should face international justice. Joshua Muravchik rebutts a scurrilous attack on ATFP.

Israel satire show sees no end of material
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Interview) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The camera zooms in on the face of an actor portraying a captive Israeli soldier as he reads a prepared statement. "My captors are treating me well," says the anxious young man, who is meant to remind viewers of Gilad Shalit, a soldier held by Islamist militants for more than three years. "They are letting me drink and giving me food." A rifle barrel slowly peeks into the picture frame, and he quickly adds, "Kosher food."

All factions meet in Gaza for talks on unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Representatives of all Palestinian factions met in Gaza City late Wednesday at the headquarters of the independents, Yasser Al-Wadiyeh said Thursday morning. The announcement came hours after the arrival of Fatah leader Nabil Sha'ath to Gaza, where he was welcomed by several of the independent personalities. Al-Wadiyeh said political leaders sat and discussed recent developments in the Palestinian arena, mainly internal reconciliation and efforts around achieving unity. All partners agreed that the current status of talks must be overcome and unity achieved.

At Burlesconi meeting, Abbas says peace plans in works
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

While Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi displayed mixed political messages during his visit to Israel and the West Bank on Wednesday, host President Mahmoud Abbas announced his determination to move forward with peace talks. Palestinian leaders must move ahead with the peace process, Abbas told reporters at a news conference with Berlusconi, noting steps were being made with "Arab brothers and friends." He told the conference Palestinians should expect an official announcement in the coming weeks.

Netanyahu hopes for talks with Palestinians in weeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he had reason to hope stalled peace talks with the Palestinians could resume within weeks. "I have a basis to hope, in a realistic way, that in the coming weeks we will renew the peace process with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said at a keynote national security conference in Herzilya, near Tel Aviv. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asked in Washington about the prospect of talks, said the United States hoped to relaunch talks as soon as possible.

U.S.: Easing Gaza siege would help counter Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States has suggested to Israel that easing the Gaza blockade would help counter the fallout from the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead a year ago. Friday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to present a report to the General Assembly on the implementation of the report's recommendations by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Barkat says will seal Beit Yehonatan, 200 Arab homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has informed State Prosecutor Moshe Lador that he plans to implement the sealing order for Beit Yehonatan in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, which was built without a permit in 2004 and which houses Jewish residents. However, Barkat added that he would also implement orders against 200 illegal structures built by Arabs in the area, so as not to act in a discriminatory manner.

War stories our daughters won't tell us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Interview) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The most shocking testimony in the new Breaking the Silence report, I think, is number 95. A female Border Police sergeant describes how the guys would catch Palestinian kids trying to sneak into Israel to sell cheap little toys: It was simply routine – emptying the children’s plastic bags and playing with their toys. You know, grabbing the stuff and throwing the toys among us like balls. Q: The children cried? Constantly. They cried and were terrified. I mean, you couldn’t miss it. Q: Adults cried too?

Erekat calls for ‘alternative to two-state solution’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

A paper prepared by Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat on the status of the peace talks with Israel recommends that the Palestinians consider the possibility of abandoning the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution if the peace process does not move forward. Another option that the Palestinians should consider, according to Erekat, is the re-evaluation of the Oslo Accords and “declaring them null and void, partially or completely, or applying them selectively in a manner consistent with Palestinian interests.”

Hillel at odds over J Street’s ‘pro-Israel pro-peace' prog.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by E.B. Solomont - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

As J Street puts the finishing touches on plans to fan out into more than 20 communities with new local chapters, detractors in Philadelphia are crying foul over a kick-off event that the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” movement has planned for Thursday night.

Israel's dual reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel's image problem abroad is down to one issue: the stark and growing difference between how Israelis view their country, and how it is seen from outside. This explains the anger and insult that Israelis feel when they watch themselves on the BBC or CNN. It can't possibly be us, they protest, the networks must be biased and pro-Arab.

Blair: Gaza's great betrayer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Avi Shlaim - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The savage attack Israel ­unleashed against Gaza on 27 December 2008 was both immoral and unjustified. Immoral in the use of force against civilians for political purposes. Unjustified because Israel had a political alternative to the use of force. The home-made Qassam rockets fired by Hamas militants from Gaza on Israeli towns were only the ­excuse, not the reason for Operation Cast Lead. In June 2008, Egypt had ­brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement.

Build a Partnership for Peace, Right Here in America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

With the turbulence surrounding diplomacy and the Middle East peace process, it is more urgent than ever for civil society to unite around the obvious reality that a conflict-ending solution can only be attained through the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

Israel should face international justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Much as the world has responded generously to assist Haitians after their devastating earthquake last month, the opposite has been true about the impoverished Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who have been under an increasingly debilitating siege since the Israeli blitz a little over a year ago.

Time for accountability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

When a senior Hamas operative was assassinated in a Dubai hotel, a murder that the UAE authorities have now said bears all the hallmarks of a Mossad operation, it is to be expected that something will happen in return. Already, other Palestinian factions tried to smuggle a bomb into Israel by way of seeking vengeance. The attempt failed, but more will likely be made again. Hamas, meanwhile, announced an end to prisoner-swap negotiations, at least for the time being, citing not only negative interference from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, but also the murder in Dubai.

Gaza atrocities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Shells containing phosphorus, which when exposed to air burns through anything with which it comes into contact, are OK in international law provided that they are not fired at civilians. During its bombardment of the Gaza ghetto, Israel repeatedly denied that it had used shells containing this horrific chemical. In the wake of the incontrovertible UN findings that phosphorus shells were deployed against Gaza’s heavily built up areas, the Israelis changed their tune.

Raze Illegal Buildings - Unless They Are Jewish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jerrold Kessel, Pierre Klochendler - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Some of the homes are well-faced with stone; the naked concrete of others gives off something of a temporary air. One block of flats stands out for its unusual seven-storey height in an area of the city where two or three storied buildings are the norm. And then there is the giant, blue-and-white Israeli national flag draped demonstratively over the front of the building, from the roof down to the ground.

In Defense of the American Task Force on Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Front Page
by Joshua Muravchik - (Opinion) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

“The Terror and Crime of the American Task Force on Palestine” posted by Joe Kaufman on January 29 was very wide of the mark. Kaufman takes to task various government officials for participation in ATFP’s annual banquet. I regretted having to turn down an invitation to that self-same affair because I was out of town.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017