Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Both PM Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas will visit the White House in coming weeks. A new movie follows the fortunes of a Palestinian soccer team in Israel. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is denounced as an "anti-Semite" by Israeli extremists. Daoud Kuttab says upcoming municipal elections should strengthen the hand of the PA. A Fatah leader says Pres. Obama is preparing to put pressure on Israel. Construction materials continue to enter Gaza. Hamas faces challenges from more extreme groups. Gaza flotilla activists say they are determined. Two Palestinian citizens of Israel are indicted on charges of spying for Hezbollah, and at least one claims to have been tortured. Amnesty International says the US and Europe are shielding Israel for Gaza war crimes. An Israeli judge demands an explanation for why authorities are continuing to build a road in the occupied West Bank in defiance of a court order. Occupation authorities uproot 500 trees. The Knesset Speaker describes the PA settlement goods boycott as "an act of war." Larry Derfner mocks Israeli government claims about living conditions in Gaza. Ahdaf Soueif profiles provocative archaeology in occupied East Jerusalem. Nathan Guttman looks at White House outreach to Jewish Americans.

White House to Host Mideast Leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to the White House for separate meetings, White House officials said Wednesday. The meetings with Mr. Obama will be the first for the Middle Eastern leaders since the start of the indirect peace talks that began last month, with the president’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, mediating between the parties.

Israel's Arab-Jewish conflict played out on a soccer field
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Lisa Rosen - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Any soccer fanatic gearing up for the World Cup will tell you that national pride is on the line with every game. When that pride is caught up in geopolitics, keeping score can get even more complicated. The documentary "After the Cup: Sons of Sakhnin United" looks at Bnei Sakhnin, a soccer team from an Arab city in Israel that won that country's national cup in 2004.

Why Rahm Emanuel is a lightning rod in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - May 26, 2010 - 12:00am

In a move seen in Israel as a bid to smooth ties after recent sharp differences over Israeli building in East Jerusalem, Rahm Emanuel paid a rare visit as White House chief of staff to Israel, delivering in person an invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with President Barack Obama next week.

Elections in Palestine, again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Daoud Kuttab - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is going ahead with plans to hold municipal elections on July 17. The elections are taking place despite the fact that the de facto government in Gaza has refused to accommodate them in areas under its control. Hamas has also said that it is calling on its supporters in the West Bank not to participate in the coming elections. The movement, which has yet to agree to the Egypt-sponsored reconciliation plan, says that elections of any kind (municipal, parliamentary or presidential) should only take place after Palestinians are unified.

Sha'ath: Obama preparing to put real pressure on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha'ath called US President Barack Obama's sudden invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu part of the American framework to put pressure on Israel. Netanyahu will be "satisfied with gifts" from the American administration, Sha'ath told Ma'an radio on Wednesday, referring to a recent promise to fund an anti-missile defense system in Israel for some 250 million dollars.

Construction materials continue to enter Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli crossings officials allowed the entry of limited construction materials into Gaza for the fourth day on Thursday, a Palestinian liaison officer said, noting the goods were for UNRWA re-building projects. The official, Raed Fattouh, said between 100 to 110 truckloads of aid would enter Gaza through the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing, noting three of the trucks were loaded with 120 tons of cement, and one truck with iron rebar.

Jihadists challenge Hamas western approach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Bandleader Jamal Al-Bayouk said he and his musicians would not risk performing in the southern Gaza Strip any more after militant Islamists threatened to kill them at a wedding party. They had just finished performing east of Khan Younis when armed militants burst in, set fire to $40,000 worth of instruments and fired shots between the legs of band members. "One gunman told another: Don't shoot between the legs. Shoot at the legs!" Bayouk told Reuters.

Activists say bound for Gaza despite Israel warning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Michele Kambas - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Pro-Palestinian activists vowed to press ahead and break an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday by sending in a convoy of relief aid ships despite Israeli warnings it will be stopped. Eight ships, including four cargo vessels, were heading towards Gaza in defiance of a three-year Israeli closure on the sliver of desert territory, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. "We are planning on going. This is not going to stop us. The boats are already on their way," said Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement.

Israel indicts 2 Arab citizens in aiding Hezbollah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel indicted two prominent activists from its Arab minority on Thursday for allegedly spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, deepening a case that has raised tensions with the country's Arab minority. Both men denied the charges, the latest in a series of cases in which the government has accused Arab citizens of aiding Israel's staunchest enemies. Israel's Shin Bet security service said Arab activist Amir Makhoul confessed to meeting with a Hezbollah agent in Denmark in 2008 and agreed to collect information for the Lebanese militia.

Amnesty: U.S., Europe shielding Israel over Gaza war crimes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Amnesty International complained in its annual report released Thursday that the U.S. and members of the European Union had obstructed international justice by using their positions on the UN Security Council to shield Israel from accountability for war crimes allegedly committed during last year's Gaza war. The rights group also accused Israel of continually violating human rights in the Gaza Strip. It cited Israel's ongoing economic blockade as violating international law, leaving Gaza residents without adequate food or water supplies

Far-rightists greet Rahm Emanuel in Jerusalem with cries of 'anti-Semite'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yair Ettinger - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his family toured the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday for a celebratory tour to mark his son's bar mitzvah. The family, surrounded by heavy security, was met during the visit by a crowd of angry far-rightists who accused him of being an "anti-Semite" and "hating Israel". Police forces were on hand to dispel the demonstrators and to arrest their leaders, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Maezel.

Top Israeli judge slams state for building West Bank road against court order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's Supreme Court president on Wednesday condemned the government's failure to enforce an order to stop building a West Bank road on private Palestinian land. In talks with state lawyers, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch gave the government 45 days to explain why illegal construction was continuing and justify damage to private property. Beinisch, who ordered the state to back up its explanation with aerial photographs, spoke out in response to a petition by the human rights organization Yesh Din.

Makhoul's defense: Harsh interrogation methods used
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sharon Roffe-ofir - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Following the indictment against Arab-Israeli author Ameer Makhoul, chairman of Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations), his defense counsel claimed he is innocent and accused the Shin Bet of using particularly violent methods against his client. According to the lawyer, the violence led Makhoul to 'admit' to acts he did not in fact commit. A senior Shin Bet source said the accusations are groundless. Makhoul is accused of espionage, assisting an enemy at a time of war and maintaining contact with an enemy agent.

Palestinians complain of 'tree massacre'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces and Civil Administration uprooted 500 Palestinian trees in the village of Nahlin in the Gush Etzion region. The Palestinians sarcastically said this must be part of the easements the IDF announced hours earlier, but the Civil Administration said an evacuation order was issued to the Palestinians over two months ago for illegally trespassing on the land.

'PA boycott is a declaration of war'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority has "declared war" on the Israeli economy by boycotting settlement goods, charged Knesset speaker Ruby Rivlin (Likud) during a solidarity visit he made Thursday morning to the Barkan Industrial Park in Samaria. The West Bank park, located right off Route 5, is home to 143 factories. Half of its 5,000 workers are Palestinian. Rivlin spoke on the same day that the PA inaugurated its house-to-house campaign, in which 3,000 volunteers are knocking on doors and explaining the significance of the boycott.

Rattling the Cage: Living it up in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Don’t you just wish you lived in Gaza? Don’t you just envy those people who get to raise their kids amid such abundance? Look at all the stuff they’ve got: “Truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples arrive in Gaza on a daily basis,” said the Foreign Ministry in advance of the “Freedom Flotilla,” due to either reach Gaza or get intercepted by the navy today.

The dig dividing Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ahdaf Soueif - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

If you walk out of Jerusalem Old City through its south-eastern gate and on to the perimeter road encircling it, you will most likely see several large coaches with elderly western tourists climbing out of them. You will see them stand at the low wall at the edge of the road and peer down into the lush valley with its pretty houses that nudge and lean against each other. The tourists may notice the woman marking exercise books on her sunny terrace, they may smile to see the bright-haired four-year-old riding her tricycle round the yard.

What’s Behind White House Strategy To Woo U.S. Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - May 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Washington — As the Obama administration’s charm offensive toward the Jewish community enters its second month, a clearer picture is emerging of the White House’s strategy for recouping lost ground with American Jews on Israel. First and foremost, the administration is touting its strengthening of military cooperation and security ties with Israel, even as public clashes recede, for now, over expanding Israeli-Jewish settlements in predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

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