Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Obama meets with Pres. Abbas at the White House, presses for direct negotiations, pledges $400 million in new aid and says there must be a new formula for handling Gaza. Abbas is interviewed by Charlie Rose. Tony Judt interrogates clichés about Israel. Israel eases some aspects of the blockade, but ignores global criticism of the flotilla attack, which Walter Rodgers says has deepened the rift with the United States. Bret Stephens asks if liberals have their own double standard. Turkey is attempting to broker Palestinian reconciliation. A new report outlines how the conflict is damaging Israel's economy. An Israeli government document says the blockade is not about security, but is “economic warfare” against Hamas. The Israeli Foreign Ministry warned the Navy not to raid the flotilla in international waters. Abbas reportedly acknowledges Jewish rights in Israel. Israel is considering expanding PA security control in the occupied territories. A UN Summer school in Gaza opens in spite of threats from Palestinian extremists. Michael Young and Joseph Kechichian worry that core Arab issues are being dominated by Iran and Turkey. The National says Israel's current vulnerability presents opportunities to advance peace.

Remarks by President Obama and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority after Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from White House Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2010 - 12:00am

The White House

Charlie Rose Interview With President Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from PBS - Charlie Rose
(Interview) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Transcript of June 9, 2010 Abbas Interview with Charlie Rose on PBS below: Charlie Rose: You met with the president. What came out of that meet something did you get what you wanted? And what did he want from you?

President Obama to Mahmoud Abbas: Engage in talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Kendra Marr, Laura Rozen - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Ten days after an Israeli operation to intercept a Gaza aid flotilla left nine dead and sparked international outrage, President Barack Obama met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House Wednesday and encouraged him to engage in direct talks with Israel.

Obama Pledges New Aid to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper, Isabel Kershner - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama urged the Israeli government to loosen its blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, as the United States continued to scramble to find a way out of the stalemate in the Middle East and address the outcry over Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last week.

Israel Without Clichés
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Tony Judt - (Opinion) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli raid on the Free Gaza flotilla has generated an outpouring of clichés from the usual suspects. It is almost impossible to discuss the Middle East without resorting to tired accusations and ritual defenses: perhaps a little house cleaning is in order. No. 1: Israel is being/should be delegitimized

Obama calls for new approach on Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael D. Shear - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama called Wednesday for a "new conceptual framework" to replace Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying he thinks the effort should be narrowed to focus only on arms shipments. Obama said a new blockade could target the weapons that Israel says are being used against its citizens, "rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything and then, in a piecemeal way, allowing things into Gaza."

Israel eases Gaza embargo on food, other goods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Let them eat cake — well, at least cookies, potato chips and jam. That's how many here viewed Israel's relaxation of border restrictions to permit a variety of new items into Gaza Strip. The list, announced Wednesday, includes soda, juice, jam, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies, candy and a variety of herbs, including coriander. Israel's move impressed almost no one in this impoverished seaside territory. Some accused Israel of tossing them a few scraps to score points with the outside world.

Why Israel ignores global criticism of Gaza flotilla raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Five decades ago, while debating an offensive against Gaza militants, Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion, is said to have discounted United Nations intervention with a now famous Hebrew quip: "oom shmoom." Rough translation: "UN is nothing." In the face of an international uproar over the May 31 Israeli commando raid of a Gaza aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead, a similar disdain for the global community has resurfaced here.

Rift between Israel and the United States: Flotilla incident didn't help
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Walter Rodgers - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

It is difficult to recall a time when relations between a sitting US president and the Jewish state of Israel have been uglier. The embarrassing and deadly raid by not-so-crack Israeli commandos on Gaza-bound relief ships May 31 only further demonstrates how badly the American president is constrained because of his earlier jagged ties with the government of Israel and with angry, right-wing American Jews. The Obama administration was painfully aware of just how abysmal relations with Israel had become even before the confrontation at sea.

Israel and Its Liberal 'Friends'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Bret Stephens - (Opinion) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Questions for liberals: What does it mean to be a friend of Israel? What does it mean to be a friend of the Palestinians? And should the same standards of friendship apply to Israelis and Palestinians alike, or is there a double standard here as well?

Forging Palestinian unity tough task, even for Turkey
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The prospect of Israel easing its blockade of Gaza has generated new pressure on Fatah and Hamas to end their feud, but the chances of the rival factions restoring Palestinian unity soon appear faint. Turkey, seeking to build on the kudos it has won among Arabs for challenging the blockade, has offered to mediate between the rivals and its prime minister has said the division must end. "For the peace in Palestine, it is necessary to overcome the problems between Fatah and Hamas," Tayyip Erdogan said this week. "There shouldn't be divisions anymore, there can't be."

Conflict with Palestinians damages Israeli economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories is damaging the economy of the Jewish state, said a report published on Tuesday by the Adva Center for Information on Equality and Social Justice in Israel. The document, entitled the Cost of the Conflict, is the latest in a series of reports, which is published once every two years. Perhaps the main conclusion of its author, Adva's academic manager Shlomo Swirski, is that Israel's three-week military operation in and around the Gaza Strip 18 months ago cost the country dear.

Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Sheera Frenkel - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as "economic warfare" against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory. Israel imposed severe restrictions on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas won elections and took control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the previous year, and the government has long said that the aim of the blockade is to stem the flow of weapons to militants in Gaza.

Foreign Ministry warned Israel Navy not to raid Gaza flotilla in international waters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

During the government's preparatory discussions over how to handle the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Foreign Ministry advised that Israel's security forces wait for the ships to reach the country's territorial waters - which lie within 20 miles from the coast - before launching a takeover operation. According to a senior official in Jerusalem, Foreign Ministry diplomats said that despite the legality of overtaking the ships in international waters, such an action would hamper Israel on the diplomatic and public relations front worldwide.

Abbas tells U.S. Jews: I would never deny Jewish right to the land of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. Jewish leaders on Wednesday that he would never deny Jews their right to the land of Israel, according to participants of the two-hour roundtable discussion. Some 30 Jewish leaders from organizations such as AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations took part in the Washington meeting, which focused mainly on the indirect peace talks and violent incitements.

IDF may give PA forces more control
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The IDF has drawn up a list of potential confidence-building measures that Israel could make to the Palestinian Authority amid growing expectations in Jerusalem that Israel will face increasing pressure to make concessions, following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Wednesday meeting with US President Barack Obama. Abbas and Obama met at the White House for talks that Israeli defense officials said would likely end with the president issuing a number of guarantees to the PA that would include future Israeli concessions.

Gaza's boys and girls come out to play
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

London 2012 it isn't. But on Sunday a relay of 50 schoolchildren bearing an Olympic-style torch will start from Deir el Balah Elementary Boy's School in central Gaza on the 17km road journey along the Mediterranean coast to the UN compound in Gaza City. There, they will light a flame, less to commemorate the notorious white phosphorus bombardment which razed the main warehouse here during Israel's military offensive in January 2009, than to herald the start of something altogether more cheerful: the fourth annual summer games.

Non-Arab states dictating the Arab political agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

All politics is local, the saying goes. But quite often the instruments are found abroad. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has shown how well he understands this. Last week he used Israel’s cretinous overreaction to the humanitarian flotilla to Gaza to curry favour in the Arab world and burnish his bona fides at home. However, Mr Erdogan’s ability to play on Arab outrage represents a larger phenomenon, what we might call the “peripheralisation” of the Middle East.

Israel’s weakness is an opportunity for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Opinion) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

With all the intense scrutiny of Israel’s assault on the Freedom flotilla, yesterday’s meeting between the US president, Barack Obama, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will appear to many as an irrelevant sideshow.

Arabs need to take responsibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Joseph A. Kechichian - (Opinion) June 10, 2010 - 12:00am

It was easy to dominate the Arab World during the Cold War. So-called Eastern powers pretended to share revolutionary zeal that was alien, coupled with massive sales of mediocre weapons. Western countries fared no better. They relied on three non-Arab surrogates — Iran, Turkey and Israel (who were allies and maintain close relations despite everything that one hears) — to sustain a privileged hegemony over the one thing that really mattered then as now: oil. East and West alike benefited from Arab complacency.

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