Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The American Jewish community and its leadership are at odds on Israel. The Washington Post warns against "blunt pressure" on Israel. Israeli authorities say a fire at a West Bank mosque was deliberately set, bolstering Palestinian claims of settler arson. Settlers plan to disrupt negotiations, set to begin in days. PLO officials accuse Israel sabotaging talks, and say US credibility is at stake. Ha'aretz says time is not on the side of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. President Abbas accuses Hamas of smuggling arms to the West Bank. Gideon Levy says with friends like Elie Wiesel, who only want to perpetuate the occupation, Israel does not need enemies. Settlers wish destruction on DM Barak's home. Judge Goldstone says his loyalty was to truth, justice, but Deputy FM Ayalon compares him to a Nazi. The National profiles the PA boycott of settlement products, which is also being taken up by Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Jordan Times praises the boycott and says Arab states should work to extend it to Europe.

On Israel, Jews and Leaders Often Disagree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Paul Vitello - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Criticizing Israel has long been the equivalent of touching a third rail in many Jewish families and friendships, relegating disagreements to a conversational demilitarized zone where only the innocent and foolhardy go. “You cannot really engage in that conversation,” said Phillip Moore, a teacher in this Detroit suburb who has embraced strong opinions on many topics in his life — on politics, education, even religion — but avoids the subject of Israel at gatherings of his Jewish relatives.

Israelis and Palestinians are ready to begin talking -- sort of
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

INDIRECT TALKS between Israelis and Palestinians appear finally set to begin, after a two-month delay that showed the Obama administration's diplomacy at its worst. The trouble started with an errant announcement by Israel of new housing construction in East Jerusalem; President Obama chose to escalate what could have been a blip into a public quarrel, in the apparent hope of extracting a series of concessions from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian president warns of Hamas arms smuggling in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president has accused Hamas militants of smuggling large amounts of weapons into the West Bank, just as peace talks with Israel are getting under way. President Mahmoud Abbas said in a newspaper interview published Thursday that his forces have largely thwarted the smuggling efforts. He says they confiscate weapons, explosives and other equipment from Hamas operatives every day. The comments, made to the London-based Arabic daily Sharq al-Awsat, appeared to be aimed at easing Israeli concerns as indirect U.S.-mediated peace talks begin this week.

Voice of Israel: Settlers plan action against talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Voice of Israel radio hosted a program Thursday morning about a settler plan to "distract" indirect Israeli-Palestinian negotiations "as soon as they start." The program's military guests and settler researchers said West Bank settler-leaders had formed a committee and distributed thousands of leaflets with details on planned protest action as meetings between officials continue.

US envoy sees indirect Mideast peace talks in days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States expects to reconvene Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in an indirect format in the coming days, a U.S. spokesman said on Wednesday after the U.S. envoy met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We hope and expect formally to move forward with proximity talks before Senator (George) Mitchell leaves the region on Sunday," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington after Mitchell's three hours of talks with Netanyahu.

PNA says Israel may thwart talks before starting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused on Thursday Israel of working to thwart the U.S.- sponsored proximity talks before they begin. "Nobody expects the failure of the negotiations before they begin except those who want it to fail," Erekat said, responding to Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor who on Wednesday said that the proximity talks "won't work" and "won't yield results."

PNA to test U.S. credibility in proximity talks among criticism from opposition groups
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Fares Akram - May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian National Authority (PNA) official said on Wednesday that the upcoming few weeks will show the U.S. administration's seriousness and credibility in pushing forward the four-month proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. "The coming weeks will be a test for the ability and credibility of the U.S. administration to push forward real and serious negotiations that lead to tangible results and not only negotiations without outcomes," Nabil Abu Rdineh, spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters.

Not taking listener requests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

After an exhausting odyssey, it seems that the Obama administration has finally managed to get the peace process going again. Although the dispute over the construction freeze in East Jerusalem has precluded direct bilateral talks, the proximity talks will break the ice that has been clogging up the Israeli-Palestinian track for over a year. Regrettably, the good news was received in Jerusalem with a demonstrative chill and a lowering of the already modest expectations that the talks will bring peace any closer.

Abbas: Hamas is smuggling weapons into the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday accused the rival Hamas movement of smuggling weapons into the West Bank territory under his control. "On the one hand, the organization is punishing those who launch rockets in Gaza, while at the same time it hoards weapons in the West Bank," the Palestinian leader said in an interview with the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat. Palestinian security forces routinely discover these caches, Abbas told the newspaper.

The friend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The settlers of Pisgat Ze'ev, the intruders of Sheikh Jarrah, the people who covet Silwan, the infiltrators into the Muslim Quarter and you, the mayor of the nationalist city, Nir Barkat, can stop worrying: (All of ) Jerusalem is yours, forever. Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel met at the White House with his friend, Barack Obama, on a mission from his other friend, Benjamin Netanyahu, and when he came out he said he had the impression that Obama respected his advice to postpone discussions on Jerusalem.

Settlers wish destruction on Barak's home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shmulik Grossman - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Settlers from Shavei Shomron scattered building bricks near the homes of the prime minister, defense minister, and Minister Moshe Ya'alon, a day after security forces demolished six structures in the Nablus-area settlement. The blocks were brought from the ruins of the illegal structures that the Civil Administration demolished in the settlement. Outside the defense minister's house in the Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv, a pile of stones was placed with a sign that read: "Barak, minister of destruction, may your home be destroyed soon as well."

Ayalon slams Goldstone on apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Reports that international jurist Richard Goldstone sent 28 black South Africans to death during the apartheid regime prove he wasn't impartial when compiling the UN report on Operation Cast Lead, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Thursday. Speaking to Israel Radio, Ayalon said that, "after [Goldstone's] dubious background was revealed, there is no reason not to think" that the judge had ulterior motives in composing the UN report accusing the IDF of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza.

Analysis: Boycott puts social cohesion at risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ron Friedman - (Opinion) May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

While it is too early to tell if Israel’s Arab population will answer the call to boycott goods made in the settlements, the mere suggestion is enough to anger large portions of Israeli society, which see the Arabs siding with the Palestinians as proof that they cannot be trusted. Arab-Israeli disapproval of the settlements is not new. Nor is Arab-Israeli identification with the Palestinian people. Many in the Arab population consider the Palestinians their brethren; and even if they don’t wish to join them, they do seek to support their quest for national sovereignty.

My mandate on Gaza was even-handed, my loyalty is to justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Richard Goldstone - May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

At the outset let me say that I have taken no pleasure in seeing people around the world criticise the South African Jewish community and I commend the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and all responsible for bringing an end to the unfortunate public issues that had arisen relating to my grandson's bar mitzvah. My family and I are delighted that I was able to attend the bar mitzvah on Saturday and that it was such a joyous and meaningful occasion. I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Suchard, the members of the committee and the congregation at Sandton Synagogue for having made this possible.

Boycott puts the squeeze on Jewish settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

The man selling watermelons on the main road from Ramallah to the Qalandiya military checkpoint had clearly worked on his sales pitch. “These are Arab watermelons,” he said with some feeling. He pointed to the sticker on the melons, which, although it boasted an Israeli mobile phone number, was written in Arabic. “These are not Jewish,” he said. “And they are sweet.”

Both hindrance and blight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
May 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods that originate in settlements is picking up speed. This is a very laudable initiative and a form of resistance that might, combined with other tactics, gain some result. For a start, it hits Israel where it hurts, namely in the pocket. While the exact market share of settlement goods in the Palestinian economy is not known, since Israel does not label goods properly, estimates suggest that it is as high as 15 per cent.

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