Middle East News: World Press Roundup

More details emerge about Hamas' destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza. Palestinian students support the PA settlement goods ban. Health and economy indicators are down in Gaza but slightly up in the West Bank. Hamas dismisses the idea that Israel would reoccupy Gaza. The PA, human rights groups condemn Hamas executions. Ha'aretz says Israel should apologize for banning Noam Chomsky, and Carlo Strenger says is encourages an academic boycott and flirts with totalitarianism. Yoel Marcus says if Israel does not act, the world will force it to. Pres. Abbas reportedly says Palestine would accept NATO forces on its borders. Settlers say the PA boycott will backfire. Special Envoy Mitchell will formally launch proximity talks next week. Palestinians commemorate the Nakba. Elvis Costello cancels a concert in Israel in protest at the treatment of Palestinians. Hussain Abdul Hussain says Palestinian nonviolence may be the path to statehood. Sami Moubayed says PM Fayyad is following in a tradition of populist Arab politicians. A.B. Yehoshua says Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on peace is the best answer to Iranian meddling.

Homes Built as Statement Razed to Make Another
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Nidal Eid was praised by Hamas officials as an example of anti-Zionist resistance when he managed to build a house here last year despite an Israeli blockade that barred the import of any building materials. But earlier this week, his house was the first to be demolished by the Hamas government, which said it had been illegally built on public land. Bulldozers, accompanied by Hamas forces and police officers who beat residents with sticks, razed at least 25 houses, including some concrete structures here in Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza.

Student council calls on peers to support goods boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

University student councils offered their full support for the Palestinian Authority boycott of settlement goods on Wednesday, vowing to ensure students implement the embargo. Head of the An-Najah University student senate Makram Daraghmeh said all Palestinian universities would organize events and activties in the coming days, aimed at encouraging students to participate in the boycott. "The decision will build and pave the way for the boycott of all Israeli products in the future. It is a decision in favor of popular resistance against the occupation," Daraghmeh said.

West Bank health and economy up a bit, Gaza down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

With a failing economy, rising unemployment and deteriorating power, sanitation and health facilities, the health of Gaza's population continues to worsen, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report. In contrast, modest improvements have been made in the West Bank. As a consequence of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, 98 percent of industrial operations have been shut down since 2007 and there are acute shortages of fuel, cash, cooking gas and other basic supplies.

Palestinians intensify settlement products boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinians stepped up a campaign against Israeli settlement products Tuesday, with hundreds of volunteers in white T-shirts distributing a brochure with brand names and photos of 500 goods they want West Bank consumers to shun. The campaign drew an angry response from the settlement movement which demanded that Israel close its ports to Palestinian goods. Government officials have said the boycott is counterproductive at a time of renewed peace efforts, but have not threatened retaliation.

Hamas downplays Israel's threats to re-occupy Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Islamic Hamas movement downplayed on Tuesday reports of Israeli plans to re-occupy the Gaza Strip and appoint an Israeli military governor to run the coastal enclave that is now controlled by Hamas. "It's a meaningless psychological war that aims at reducing the morale of the Palestinian people and their resistance," Hamas spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, told Xinhua.

Hamas executions outrage PNA, rights groups
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and the human rights groups on Tuesday condemned the earlier execution of three Gaza residents who were convicted of committing homicide crimes by the deposed Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Ghassan al-Khatib, spokesman of the PNA in the West Bank, told Xinhua that the PNA condemns the execution of the three Palestinians, "these executions are illegal. The legal system in Gaza is messy."

Declaring war on the intellect - Israel and Noam Chomsky
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

By stopping the illustrious American scholar Prof. Noam Chomsky at the Allenby Bridge and barring his entry into Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the government's outrageous treatment of those with the audacity to criticize its policies has reached new heights. Israel looks like a bully who has been insulted by a superior intellect and is now trying to fight it, arrest it and expel it.

Strenger than Fiction / Israel is encouraging academic boycott by denying entry to Chomsky
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - May 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Professor Noam Chomsky, the left-wing radical thinker and activist, is regularly voted the most influential public intellectual in the world. He has been highly critical of Israel’s policies for many years, particularly since the time of the first Lebanon war in 1982. On Sunday, Chomsky was denied entry at the Allenby Bridge on his way from Amman to Ramallah, where he was scheduled to lecture about American foreign policy at Bir Zeit University.

A country with no bosses: What we don't do ourselves, our foes will force from us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who has never lost his sense of humor or his optimism, returned last week from a short visit to Europe. And what do you think he discovered there? That Israel is in the worst situation it has ever been in. They despise Israel in Europe, and for the first time are questioning its very right to exist. Europe hates us, Ben-Eliezer found.

Report: PA willing to have NATO forces in future state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends on informing Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell that the Palestinian Authority would agree to have NATO forces stationed in future Palestine, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday. Abbas and Mitchell are scheduled to meet in Ramallah on Wednesday afternoon.

Industrialists: Palestinians only hurting themselves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shmulik Grossman - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Major factory owners in Israel began to gird for battle against a Palestinian boycott of their products Tuesday, following the distribution of thousands of pamphlets to homes in the West Bank explaining which products were now off-limits. In a conversation with Ynet the factory owners called the boycott a "hate campaign" and said it was a political move that would "blow up in Salam Fayyad's face". Avi Elkayam, who represents 300 factory owners in the area of Mishor Adumim, the largest Israeli industrial zone in the West Bank, said the Palestinians were only hurting themselves.

Mitchell to launch proximity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to hold talks in Ramallah on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, marking the launch of the “proximity talks” with Israel, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday. Mitchell is to arrive in Israel on Tuesday afternoon, and meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday. He is set to leave the region later that day.

Palestinians mark 'Nakba' with tears and questions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Paul Wood - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Claudette Habesch stood at the gate of what had once been her family house, tears in her eyes as she pointed to the garden shaded by a large date palm. "It was beautiful, a lot of fun, a lot of happiness," she said, recalling an Arab childhood spent in Jerusalem before her family fled in 1948. "(Then) there was the foundation of the state of Israel - on my own homeland, on my own home." As a little girl, she often used to wonder "who is sleeping in my bed, who is playing with my dog?"

Elvis Costello cancels concerts in Israel in protest at treatment of Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Elvis Costello has cancelled two concerts he was scheduled to play in Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians. Costello, one of the most gifted British songwriters of his generation, was due to play on 30 June and 1 July but says his "conscience" dictated that he pull out of the performances. He joins a list of performers who have decided not to play in Israel, including Gil Scott-Heron and Santana.

As non-violence takes root, so may a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hussein Abdul Hussein - May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians, hard-headed realists that they are, have never much bought the idea of non-violence. The state of Israel was partly born out of violence and has been sustained mainly through violence. Turning the other cheek to people whose anatomical focus was your knees – and keeping you on them – never seemed especially wise, let alone effective.

Fayyad's peace plan has merit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Sami Moubayed - May 18, 2010 - 12:00am

What is new is that Fayyad pledged himself to non-violence, "an ironclad commitment, not a seasonal thing" he noted, based on the experience of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. A few days ago, a photo of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad feeding a wrinkled Palestinian farmer out of his hand appeared in the Palestinian press — behaviour common for the late Yasser Arafat, but certainly unexpected from a rigid economist like Fayyad.

Peace or poison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by A.B. Yehoshua - May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Contrary to the hopes of many, the end of World War II and the shock of the Nazi atrocities did not mean the end of war and genocide. Indeed, the decades following it have been rife with bloody conflicts in which entire population groups have been murdered. Remember Angola’s civil war, the Khmer Rouge’s massacre of millions of Cambodians, Rwanda’s tribal wars, the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the extermination of Christians in Southern Sudan.

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