Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israelis debate, PM Fayyad condemns, Israel's barring of Noam Chomsky and other Jewish critics from the occupied territories. Roger Cohen says the rising fortunes of a West Bank brewery are a barometer of the success of the PA's policies. The PA launches a door-to-door settlement goods boycott effort, introduces penalties for merchants. Settlers call the policy "economic terror." Palestinian girls win an award at the Intel Fair. Hamas executes three men. Xinhua asks how to tell if there is progress in talks. Israel rejects Qatari diplomatic offers. The Israeli military is concerned settler violence could spark another Palestinian uprising. Haaretz begins a series on the controversial new "Museum of Tolerance" in Jerusalem. Israel agrees to a French request to allow building materials into Gaza to rebuild a hospital. The JTA asks if PM Netanyahu's policies are alienating Israel's European allies, and interviews Aaron David Miller. Ali Sawafta and Tom Perry analyze PM Fayyad's popularity.

Israel Roiled After Chomsky Barred From West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

A fierce debate broke out in Israel on Monday amid finger pointing and hand wringing over the country’s refusal to permit the linguist Noam Chomsky, an icon of the American left, to enter the occupied West Bank from Jordan. Majed Jaber/Reuters Front-page coverage and heated morning radio discussions asked how Professor Chomsky, an 81-year-old professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, could pose a risk to Israel and how a country that frequently asserts its status as a robust democracy could keep out people whose views it found offensive.

A Beer for Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Few people vacation on the West Bank, but if they did they might head for Taybeh, a hilltop village clustered around a church whose charm trumps the Israeli checkpoints that have to be negotiated to get there. The air is good, the stones smooth, the light brilliant — and the beer excellent.

PA launches door-to-door settlement good boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Ramallah – Ma'an – The Palestinian Authority will officially launch its settlement goods boycott campaign, entitled House to House, on Tuesday at 10am across the West Bank, aimed at encouraging residents to opt for Palestinian produce instead. The campaign, which will see over 3,000 volunteers go door-to-door to distribute the first part of a settlement produce guide, is the first leg of the PA's attempts to encourage West Bank residents to implement a wide-ranging boycott of goods made on illegal settlements.

Palestinian girls win award for sensor cane at Intel fair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Three Palestinian teenagers from the UNWRA school in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus were the first Palestinians to win an award on Monday at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose in California. Aseel Abu Aleil, Noor Alarada and Aseel Alshaar picked up a special award in applied electronics, having competed against 15,000 finalists from around the world, a statement read.

Gaza's Hamas rulers execute 3 convicted killers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Rizek Abdel Jawad - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Gaza's Hamas rulers executed three convicted killers and dropped off their bullet-riddled bodies at a hospital Tuesday, despite appeals by human rights activists to halt the practice. The U.N.'s top human rights official has said fair trials demanded under international law before the death penalty can be imposed are virtually impossible in Gaza. The Islamic militant group seized the Palestinian territory by force in 2007 and has established a regime that allows little dissent.

PNA to start boycotting campaign on settlement products
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian National Authority (PNA) official on Monday announced that the PNA would start soon a new activity of boycotting products made at Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Hassan Abu Lebda, the PNA minister of economy, told the weekly media program "Face the Press" organized by the Information Ministry, that the new activity of boycotting the products is called "from home to home." "The campaign will be launched on Tuesday, The campaign's representatives will move from one house to another to explain how important the boycott of settlements products is," said Abu Lebda.

How to tell if there's progress in Israeli- Palestinian talks?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Indirect talks between Palestinians and Israelis are to kick off on Tuesday with the visit to Ramallah of United States special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Later in the week he is slated to hold talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem. These initial indirect or proximity talks will first tackle border issues and security. For some regional analysts, this is the best way to begin the process, while others see this approach as doomed to fail.

Palestinian PM slams Israel for denying entry of U.S. professor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad lashed out at Israel on Monday for denying entry of Jewish American professor Noam Chomsky into the Palestinian territories. According to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, Fayyad phoned Chomsky after he was barred from entering the West Bank and updated him on the latest developments in the Palestinian territory. The academic was invited by Birzeit University, near Ramallah, to lecture at a number of its faculties. He was also supposed to meet with Fayyad and other Palestinian officials.

Palestinians, Israelis remain skeptical as peace talks begin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

It is now one year four months and 21 days since the last official talks between Israelis and Palestinians. During those 506 days the parties have repeatedly blamed one another for that breakdown and the failure to reboot negotiations. Indirect peace talks are expected to resume on Wednesday but Israelis and Palestinians alike are still expressing serious reservations about the chances of their success.

Israel rejects Qatar bid to restore diplomatic ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has rejected two proposals from Qatar to restore diplomatic relations and let Israel reopen its office in the capital of Doha. A senior source in Jerusalem said that in return for renewed diplomatic relations, the Qataris demanded that they be allowed to carry out a series of reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip and to import the necessary construction materials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were unwilling to agree to this, he said.

IDF concerned settler violence could spark Palestinian uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Extremist settler activity could set the West Bank ablaze, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi warned on Monday at a brigade-wide training exercise at the Tze'elim military base in the Negev. The Kfir Brigade exercise focused on urban warfare - including the capture of a simulated Arab city - and pitted Israeli troops against Palestinian security forces.

Museum of Tolerance Special Report / Part I: Holes, Holiness and Hollywood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Sometimes a lack of sensitivity or even an innocent mistake exposes a major truth. On the Web site of Moriah, a public company for infrastructure work that belongs to the Jerusalem municipality, one can find descriptions of various projects in which the company is involved. Among them is the Museum of Tolerance: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the entrepreneur for the construction of the Museum of Tolerance in central Jerusalem, asked Moriah to carry out preparatory and infrastructure work for the project,” says the site.

Museum of Tolerance Special Report / Part II: Secrets from the grave
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The first one to excavate the site and come upon human remains was archaeologist Gideon Sulimani. Sulimani, a senior archaeologist with the Antiquities Authority, would come to play a key role in the affair. In December 2005 he began a “rescue excavation” financed, as mandated by Israeli law, by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, intended to remove antiquities, or in this case, human bones, before the area was cleared for construction.

Settlers: PA boycott – economic terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shmulik Grossman - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The Yesha Council on Tuesday morning responded harshly to a new Palestinian Authority campaign distributing a list of banned Israeli companies. "This is an act of hostility with all intents and purposes on the part of the Palestinian Authority and its leaders, and it must be answered immediately and decisively just like any other act of hospitality," the settlers' body said in a statement.

PA boycott threatens tradesmen with jail time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

In the coming days every Palestinian home in the West Bank will receive a detailed list of 500 products the Palestinian Authority has decided to boycott. The campaign against Israeli products, set to be launched Tuesday, is backed by a recently passed law entailing prison sentences and fines.

30 tons of building material to enter Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

In response to a special request by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Israel allowed some 30 tons of building material into the Gaza Strip last Thursday to help rebuild a hospital damaged in the fighting there in 2009. Israel has been extremely reluctant to let concrete and building materials into the region since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009 because of the concern it would be diverted by Hamas to rebuild factories manufacturing Kassam rockets.

Is Netanyahu alienating Israel’s friends in Europe?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

On the day last week that Israel gained admission to the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel's continued control over the Palestinians was eroding its global standing. Whereas Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Israel’s joining of the OECD as an economic and diplomatic coup, Barak warned of a growing tide of international isolation unless Israel comes out with a major peace initiative of its own, irrespective of the OECD membership.

Perfidious son: Aaron David Miller rejects the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Depending on your view of the Middle East and the Obama administration, Aaron David Miller is either a hero or a turncoat. Miller, a peace process functionary under both Bush administrations and the Clinton administration, published a declaration of independence last month from what he called the "religion" of the peace process. Critics of the Obama administration's emphasis on peacemaking -- among them neoconservatives who once reviled Miller as an apostle of the process -- embraced his article, published in Foreign Policy, as the repudiation of the process.

Fayyad’s popularity on rise in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Ali Sawafta - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

His efforts are bearing fruit. Even some of Fayyad’s rivals admit that his stock is on the rise among Palestinians tired of leaders who have failed to deliver them statehood or prosperity. Fayyad could even be in line for higher office, they say, although the premier routinely denies such personal ambition. They acknowledge that the former World Bank economist, a political independent who is not a member of the long dominant Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), is making an impact.

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