Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Abbas arrives in Washington to meet with Pres. Obama, and says leadership and courage are now required. Daniel Williams profiles the PA settlement goods boycott. Flotilla activists continue to strongly contradict Israel's narrative. The CSM asks if Israel's blockade is legal. Ron Grossman says Israel finds itself in a similar position as Britain did in 1947. Pres. Obama may offer more Gaza aid. Many Gazans are leaving the territory through the reopened crossing with Egypt. Flotilla leaders say they will return with more ships. The Palestine Investment Conference garners $940 million in new projects. Britain denies a Daily Telegraph report that Israel has agreed to ease the siege of Gaza in exchange for a watered down investigation. Israeli police describe violent clashes with settlers. Elias Harfoush says the rise of Turkish PM Erdogan in the region is a symptom of Arab decline. Osama Al Sharif says Turkey is being bold while the Arabs are being “muted and shy.” Michael Weiss says the emergence of PM Fayyad is “the best thing to happen in the Middle East in ages.”

Pres. Abbas: Peacemaking takes courage, leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Hill
by Mahmoud Abbas - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis have resumed after a year and a half of a stalemate that began after Israel launched its devastating military assault against the Gaza Strip in December 2009. The resumption of negotiations came as a result of concerted and persistent efforts by the U.S. administration and by President Barack Obama in particular, together with extensive Palestinian, Arab and international support.

Abbas Arrives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his delegation have arrived in Washington, ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday. “The whole entourage is here,” the American Task Force for Palestine’s Hussein Ibish said. “The real ask they have is really for the U.S. to tell Israel to simply be more serious about peace negotiations, to talk about the substantive issues, in a more permanent, serious way, and not kind of dance around the problem – to focus on a well in Nablus or a procedural question.”

Palestinian Takes a Road Less Traveled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dan Williams - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian inspectors were on the hunt for goods in West Bank stores made in Israeli settlements, and metal scouring pads with no labeled place of origin caught their attention. “You better find out where these came from,” said one man, who slapped a “No settlement products” sticker on the door of the Riviera Palace Mall Grocery Store in Ramallah. “They might be from them.” The inspectors were conducting a campaign organized by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, known until a few months ago for trying to prepare Palestinians for statehood through gradual political and economic change.

Two Activists Describe Raid and Deny Israeli Claim They Are ‘Terrorist Operatives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Mackey - (Blog) June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Two pro-Palestinian activists who were raised in the United States, and who were on board the main ship in the flotilla challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza last week when it was raided by Israeli commandos, have denied a claim by Israel’s military that they are “involved in terrorist activity.”

Obama to meet with Palestinian Authority leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Scott Wilson - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in a White House session whose mission has changed in the past week. Once viewed primarily as a presidential push to turn indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks into direct peace negotiations, the meeting will now focus on how best to contain the fallout from Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last week.

Never mind the 'Freedom Flotilla.' Is Israel's Gaza blockade legal?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Robert Marquand - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel’s raid of a “Freedom Flotilla” of activists that ended with nine deaths brought a global firestorm of protest, dimmed the chances for a peace deal, and threatened Israel’s relations with Turkey, its closest ally in the region.

Israel faces a dilemma as the Brits once faced
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
by Ron Grossman - (Opinion) June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Last month's bloody encounter on a ship off Gaza offered deadly proof of the adage: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Israelis above all others should have recalled that aphorism, which was coined by the philosopher George Santayana. Six decades ago, Zionist freedom fighters attempted to run a blockade of the Holy Land's coast maintained by the British, setting off a lethal confrontation that turned world opinion in favor of the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

Gaza tops agenda as Abbas arrives in US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in the United States on Tuesday with two goals, ending the siege on Gaza and moving the peace process forward, PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said. Abed Rabbo told Palestine TV that the president and his delegation would meet Senator John Kerry and leaders of the American Jewish and pro-Israel lobby in the US in addition to the main meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Anxious Gazans trying to leave blockaded territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian who had to delay graduate school in Malaysia and an elderly man forced to put off eye surgery in Egypt are among thousands anxiously trying to get out of Gaza now that the blockaded territory's gateway to the world has opened just a little. A Hamas-run passenger terminal on the Gaza side of the border was packed on Tuesday with hundreds of Gazans trying to get clearance just to approach the crossing into Egypt. It was a chaotic scene, with stressed passengers arguing with overwhelmed Hamas border officials.

'We'll be Back - With Bigger Flotillas'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - (Interview) June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Controversy surrounds the events following the deadly commando raid with survivors from among the 700 activists on board the flotilla giving a very different version of events from that of the Israeli government. Q: Critics have accused FG of deliberately provoking a confrontation with the Israelis and argued that the attempt to break the siege was political and not just a humanitarian relief operation.

Palestine Investment Conference Promotes Private Entrepreneurialism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson, Arieh O'Sullivan - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

A conference of Arab investors, foreign officials and Palestinian businesspeople garnered nearly a billion dollars in pledges to the Palestinian economy, with special focus on boosting small and medium businesses. Meeting in Bethlehem, the second Palestine Investment Conference (PIC) focused on investment opportunities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip where small and medium operations account for some 90 percent of Palestinian businesses.

Obama to offer Abbas fresh aid for Gaza in flotilla aftermath
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama on Wednesday is expected to offer Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fresh U.S. aid for Gaza as Washington seeks to contain the fallout over Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. Hosting Abbas at the White House, Obama will also try to ensure that heightened Middle East tensions over last week's deadly Israeli commando operation do not derail sputtering U.S.-led peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.

Britain: No quid pro quo deal on Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Britain has denied a report in The Daily Telegraph of a British plan wherein Israel will ease the Gaza siege in exchange for decreased world pressure for an international probe into the events of the Gaza flotilla, the British Embassy in Tel Aviv said in a statement on Wednesday. "We don't know where the idea of a quid pro quo came from… the Foreign Secretary has made clear that the current restrictions on Gaza must be lifted in line with UNSCR 1860," the statement read.

8 cops, 38 settlers hurt in Beit El clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin, Tovah Lazaroff - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

In one of the most violent incidents since the start of the moratorium on new Jewish construction in the West Bank, eight police officers and 38 settlers were lightly hurt at the Beit El settlement Tuesday morning in clashes between the two groups. Settlers claimed that police had attacked them with pepper spray, while police contended that they had been stoned and called “Nazis.”

Israel 'to accept British plan to ease Gaza blockade'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Adrian Blomfield, Alex Spillius - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Britain is understood to have taken a leading role in the negotiations and last week circulated a confidential document proposing ways of easing the blockade, according to Western officials familiar with a draft version of the report. Facing growing international criticism over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Israeli officials said that would agree, in principle, to permit the passage of substantially more aid through Israel's land crossings with the Hamas-controlled territory.

The Rise of Erdogan and the Fall of the Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

On the flip side of the picture of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, boarding the Freedom Flotilla, we should observe the fall of the Arabs, in all of their variations. It is no small thing for Turkish flags to fill the space of the rally organized by Hizbullah, and for the party’s secretary general to compare what the “red flag” can do, along with the “yellow flag” of the resistance.

Beyond the Turkey-Israel rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Scores from different nationalities were also injured in the raid, some of them seriously. The angry reaction from Ankara to the notorious commando raid, in international waters, has not subsided. On the contrary, there is a calculated and consistent escalation by Turkey against Israel, which is slowly gathering regional and international momentum. The end game remains uncertain, but the repercussions of the Turkey-Israel crisis could prove costly - for both.

Palestine's Great Hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Slate
by Michael Weiss - June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Given the deadly confrontation off the coast of Gaza, the recent froideur in U.S.-Israeli relations, Iran's defiant pursuit of a nuclear weapon, not to mention two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader fight against al-Qaida, it's perhaps forgivable that the biggest news story to emerge from the Middle East in years has been eclipsed. But no one can accuse the Palestinian prime minister of neglecting to call attention to himself.

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