Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Abbas continues his Washington trip with a speech at Brookings. Under international pressure, Israel is looking for new Gaza policy. Roger Cohen says Israel is retreating into an uncompromising “rump Zionism.” Controversy continues over the PA decision to postpone municipal elections, but Hamas welcomes the move. PM Fayyad says the Gaza crossings should be opened according to the 2005 agreement. Special Envoy Mitchell is set to lead another round of proximity talks. New footage of the flotilla attack bolsters aspects of both narratives. Israel says the captain of the ship tried to prevent violence. Ephraim Sneh says the solution is an end to Hamas rule in Gaza. BBC reporter Tim Franks talks about his experiences. Chris Patten says the EU must be more assertive. Israelis push back against the PA settlement goods boycott. At a meeting with US Jewish leaders, Abbas recognizes Jewish ties to the land of Israel. Osman Mirghani says Pres. Obama's Cairo speech was another victim of the flotilla attack. Patrick Seale says Israel is facing a formidable coalition of Iran, Turkey and Syria. Hussein Ibish asks where Israel is taking the occupation.

Abbas’ D.C. Charm Offensive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - (Blog) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas waged an unusual charm offensive in Washington this week after his White House meeting, attending a dinner with Jewish leaders Wednesday night, appearing on Charlie Rose, and addressing the Brookings Institution Thursday. It was his first such public forum speaking event in Washington ever, Brookings' Vice President and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk noted when he introduced the Palestinian leader, who he said he had known since 1993.

A Rising Urgency in Israel for a Gaza Shift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Three years after Israel and Egypt imposed an embargo on this tormented Palestinian strip, shutting down its economy, a consensus has emerged that the attempt to weaken the governing party, Hamas, and drive it from power has failed. In the days since an Israeli naval takeover of a flotilla trying to break the siege turned deadly, that consensus has taken on added urgency, with world powers, anti-Hamas Palestinians in Gaza and some senior Israeli officials advocating a shift.

Modern Folly, Ancient Wisdom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

I took a short break for my daughter’s bat mitzvah, Israel killed nine activists on a Gaza-bound ship in international waters, and its bungled raid prompted international uproar and Jewish soul-searching. And so the last 10 days of my life were shaped by Middle Eastern rage, churning through 24-hour news cycles, and private joy framed in millennial Jewish tradition. I’ll try to sift through them here.

Controversy over elections decision continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Justifications and condemnations continue to pour in following the surprise announcement Thursday afternoon that municipal elections set for July would be canceled in the interest of Palestinian unity and an end to the Gaza blockade. Minister of Local Governance Kahled Al-Qauasmy weighed in late in the day, telling Ma’an Radio that the PA cabinet took the decision to delay the elections in light of the "updates on the international arena," and following requests from Arab states.

Fayyad wants Gaza opened in line with 2005 deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called on Thursday for Gaza's borders to be opened in line with an agreement that would restore a role for his West Bank-based government in managing the crossings. Fayyad told Reuters in an interview that opening the crossings in accordance with the 2005 agreement would help reunify the West Bank and Gaza -- which have been ruled by separate governments since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas welcomes PNA's decision to postpone municipal elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Islamic Hamas movement hailed on Thursday the decision of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to put off the municipal elections scheduled for next month. "It's a positive step to delay the elections," Gaza-based Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Xinhua. Radwan added that "any elections should be held under national consensus" mainly after achieving national unity between the Palestinian factions. Earlier on Thursday, the PNA decided to postpone the municipal elections that were scheduled to take place in July, but no new date for the polls has been set yet.

U.S. envoy to lead fourth round of Israeli-Palestinian talks soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell will visit the region soon to lead a new round of indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a Palestinian newspaper reported Thursday. The Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily quoted Ma'an Erekat, the Palestinian ambassador to Washington, as saying that Mitchell is visiting the region "within days." Erekat said Mitchell informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about his decision following a meeting between the pair in Washington.

New Footage Depicts Attack on Mavi Marmara
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Beatrice Paez - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Blasts from a megaphone accompany the sounding of alarms, a woman's voice repeatedly pleading, "We are civilians, we have no guns...we need help for people...please don't attack."

Gaza flotilla captain: Activists prepared attack against IDF raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The captain and first mate of the Mavi Marmara, the ship which led the Gaza flotilla raided by Israel Defense Forces special forces last week, had attempted to prevent premeditated violent clashes between activists and the Israeli military, evidence released Friday showed. Late last month, Israeli commandos rappelled onto the deck of one of the ships trying to break Israel's three-year-old blockade of Gaza. The soldiers were intercepted by a crowd of activists, setting off a clash that killed nine men - eight Turks and a Turkish American.

Israel, Egypt, PA and Quartet discuss alternatives to Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel, Egypt, the international Quartet of Mideast mediators and the Palestinian Authority have held talks in recent days to try to open further crossings into the Gaza Strip. This regime would supplant the current blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt. Israeli security forces say that the new agreement would have to include the partial opening of at least one more cargo crossing. For the first time in two years, stationing PA policemen at the crossing is being seriously considered.

'Nobody denies Jewish history here'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas laid out new requirements for moving to direct talks with Israel Thursday, dropping earlier calls for a settlement freeze in favor of progress on borders and security. Specifically, he said he was looking for agreement from the Netanyahu government that the basis for borders would be the 1967 lines with agreed land swaps, an arrangement he said was in place during his direct talks with the previous prime minister, Ehud Olmert.

A shared strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The cumulative evidence – the Mavi Marmara’s own closed circuit TV coverage and video photos from the actual naval operation – all strengthen the conclusion that the Gaza flotilla was a well-planned provocation. What angers me as an Israeli is that the government walked right into this trap.

Remaining impartial in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

First an admission: I am a Jew, and a journalist. And now an apology: I hate the solipsistic writing I am about to be guilty of, where the journalist puts himself at the centre of the story. But let me try to explain. The reason for the admission is that my dual identity - Jew and journalist - has not just been a matter for me these past three-and-a- half years. From the start, it was of apparently burning import for a good number of friends, acquaintances and people whom I had never met.

The EU must show real courage on the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris Patten - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Today's miserable standoff in the Middle East requires new initiatives. The short-term failure of Israeli policies has concentrated global attention on their blockade of Gaza rather than on Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The long-term failure has rendered increasingly difficult a two-state solution as Palestine is broken up into barriered Bantustans.

Israel plans to send bill to Palestinians over boycotts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

What do The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, have in common? A cursory glance might suggest not much yet all have deeply irked Israel. When Mr Fayyad first embarked on a door-to-door campaign to persuade Palestinians to shun all products made by Jewish settlers, the Israeli public simply shrugged. But when veteran crooner Costello peered into his conscience and pulled a scheduled appearance in Tel Aviv, Israelis sat up and took notice.

Abbas: Quran Recognizes Jewish Ties to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The Quran itself, Islam’s holy book, recognizes the Jews’ historic ties to the land of Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of American Jewish leaders at a June 10 meeting in Washington. “He made clear that the Jews have a historic connection to the land and said the Quran is full of references to that,” said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who attended the event. “I think it was important because people don’t hear these kinds of statements from an Arab leader every day.”

The Hidden Victim of Israeli Piracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Osman Mirghani - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

In addition to the nine victims who were killed by Israeli bullets in the attack on the Freedom Flotilla there was also a tenth victim who was buried in silence. The attack on the Turkish ship took place four days before the first anniversary of President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo in which he defined the necessary fundamentals for a new beginning between the US and Muslims around the world.

Tel Aviv faces a formidable Middle East coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A formidable coalition against Israel is taking shape in the Greater Middle East. At its core are Turkey, Iran and Syria, three countries harbouring bitter grievances against the Jewish state. They are determined to hold in check Israel's military power and force it to change course.

Where is Israel taking its occupation?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Hussein Ibish - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

While world attention has been heavily focused on efforts to break the siege of Gaza, Palestinians in the West Bank are pursuing a series of new, nonviolent, strategies challenging the Israeli occupation. What they are primarily seeking, and what the Israeli government is desperately trying to avoid, is clarity about the status of the Occupied Territories.

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