Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel names a commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla attack including international observers, but Turkey says it has no confidence in it. Uri Avnery lists the questions a real investigation would ask. Ethan Bronner looks at everyday life In Gaza and the LA Times examines the humanitarian crisis. The PA denies Pres. Abbas supports maintaining the blockade. The Red Cross says the blockade is illegal, and the EU is expecting Israel to soften it. An Israeli policeman is killed in the West Bank. Palestinians continued to be denied access to West Bank highways. A Gaza visit by the Arab League head bolsters Hamas. DM Barak called off a trip to Paris over arrest fears. Amira Hass looks at Israel's abuse of Palestinian prisoners. B'Tselem says 83 Palestinians have been killed since the Gaza war. Ha'aretz interviews Robert Wexler. The Jerusalem Post profiles Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation. An alleged Mossad agent is arrested in Poland in connection with the Dubai assassination.

Israel Backs Panel to Examine Raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 13, 2010 - 12:00am

In an effort to dampen international criticism and stave off calls for an international inquiry, Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved a government-appointed commission with foreign participation to investigate the circumstances surrounding its deadly commando raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza in late May. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move to set up an inquiry would demonstrate clearly “to the entire world that the state of Israel acts according to law, transparently and with full responsibility.”

Gaza, Through Fresh Eyes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 11, 2010 - 12:00am

For some, it’s the relative modernity — the jazzy cellphone stores and pricey restaurants. For others, it’s the endless beaches with children whooping it up. But for nearly everyone who visits Gaza, often with worry of danger and hostility, what’s surprising is the fact that daily life, while troubled, often has the staggering quality of the very ordinary.

Gaza plight a crisis with a difference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - June 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Don't ask Hatem Hajaj whether there's a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Four months ago, the unemployed salesclerk's son was born with a heart blockage. Doctors told Hajaj that the baby's only hope was transfer to a Jerusalem hospital because Gaza lacked a pediatric surgery unit. While his son, Mohamed, fought to breathe on a ventilator, Hajaj spent a week gathering the transfer documents needed under Israel's strict border rules. Then there was another agonizing week, watching as his son's tiny body began to bloat as he waited for an answer.

PA denies report Abbas maintaining Gaza siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority denied Israeli media reports on Sunday that President Mahmoud Abbas asked his US counterpart for a continuation of Gaza's blockade, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh told reporters on Sunday. "President Abbas had raised the issue of the necessity of lifting the blockade as a matter on a par with the fate of the peace process," Abu Rudaineh told the Palestinian Authority-run WAFA news agency about a Wednesday meeting between the two heads of state, where the request was allegedly made.

Penpix of Israel's flotilla affair inquiry panel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel on Monday announced the establishment of an independent public commission of inquiry into its actions when intercepting a Gaza-bound flotilla of ships last month. These are brief profiles of the members of the three-man commission and its two international observers: * - Chairman, Jacob Turkel, 75 - Former Israeli supreme court justice, born in Tel Aviv in 1935, an expert in civil law retired from the bench in 2005. Described by Israeli pundits as a conservative jurist, who also say he has little experience in inquiry commissions. He still sits on a military court appeals panel.

Israeli policeman killed in W.Bank attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Suspected Palestinian gunmen shot dead an Israeli policeman and wounded two others in an attack on their vehicle in the occupied West Bank on Monday, police and an emergency service said. "This was definitely a terrorist attack. It was carried out on an ordinary police vehicle and forces are now combing the scene," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. There was no claim of responsibility from any Palestinian group for the attack near the town of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

EU, Blair expect Israel to soften Gaza blockade soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Luke Baker - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has agreed in principle to begin easing its three-year-old blockade on Gaza "in days", Middle East envoy Tony Blair said on Monday. Blair said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent days he believed there was now a willingness to allow the entry of more goods into the territory. "In respect of the closure policy, I hope very much in the next days we will get the in-principle commitment that we require, but then also steps beginning to be taken," he told reporters, referring to Israeli commitments.

Separate roads push West Bank Arabs to the byways
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ben Hubbard - June 13, 2010 - 12:00am

For the thousands of Palestinians who travel daily between the north and south West Bank, there is only one route: a steep and narrow track up and down a canyon with 15 hairpin turns and the scars of frequent accidents. Wadi Nar means "the Valley of Fire," a place where brakes fail, clutches burn up, engines stall and people die. The ride up and down the canyon walls is among the worst routes Palestinian motorists must use to circumnavigate the towns, army posts and well-maintained highways built for Israelis on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

In boost for Hamas, top Arab diplomat visits Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ibrahim Barzak - June 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The Arab world's top diplomat declared support Sunday for the people of blockaded Gaza in his first visit to the Palestinian territory since Hamas violently seized control of it three years ago. The visit was latest sign that Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza has eased the diplomatic isolation of the Islamic militant group. Israel, meanwhile, appeared to grow more isolated in the fallout over the May 31 raid as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak abruptly canceled plans Sunday to visit Paris.

Israel's Barak calls off Paris visit amid threats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's defense minister is canceling a planned visit to Paris amid threats by pro-Palestinian groups to have him arrested there. Ehud Barak was to dedicate a new Israeli booth at the Eurosatory arms fair in Paris, which opens this week. But his office announced Sunday that he would stay home while Israel forms a committee to investigate its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. Pro-Palestinian activists had threatened to try to have charges brought against him for his role in the raid, which killed nine Turkish activists at sea.

Beatings, arrests, nighttime raids and dubious indictments
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

M., a Haaretz reader from Zichron Yaakov, was disturbed by reports about the manner in which Palestinian children are arrested in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are being detained held in the middle of the night, held in conditions of fear and pain before their interrogations, and then finally interrogated without the presence of their parents or a lawyer.

B'Tselem: 83 Palestinians, Israeli Arabs killed in Gaza, West Bank since Cast Lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Eighty-three Palestinians and seven Israeli Arabs have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead in the winter of 2008-2009, according to the annual report of the B'Tselem human rights group, which was released Sunday. Of the dead, 31 did not participate in hostilities, nine were killed by Palestinian security forces and two were executed for allegedly collaborating with Israel, the report said. Two-thirds of those killed lived in the Gaza Strip.

Robert Wexler, has Abbas given you any hope for the peace process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Interview) June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

During his visit to Washington last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with some 30 Jewish-American community leaders and former senior government officials at the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace for a serious discussion on the peace process. Former U.S. congressman and Abraham Center president Robert Wexler, you hosted the encounter between the PA president and Jewish-American leaders. Do you see any hope as a result of the meeting?

Turkey: No confidence in Turkel committee
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Turkey has "no confidence" that a commission of inquiry set up by Israel to probe the Israel Defense Forces raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla will conduct an impartial investigation, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday. The government plans to approve the members elected to the Turkel committee Monday morning.

Learning to live like neighbors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

On Tuesday, just after midnight, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai’s cellphone rang. On the line was Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, who was calling to inform Mordechai , head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, about intelligence that had just been received according to which an Israeli had been kidnapped in the Kalandiya refugee camp near Jerusalem. Mordechai immediately made a few phone calls to a number of top officials in the Palestinian Authority.

ICRC says Israel's Gaza blockade breaks law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Imogen Foulkes - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

In a statement, the ICRC describes the situation in Gaza as dire, saying the only sustainable solution is a lifting of the blockade. It says Israel is punishing the whole civilian population of Gaza. It also urges Hamas movement to allow ICRC delegates to visit a detained Israel soldier Gilad Shalit. The ICRC, a traditionally neutral organisation, paints a bleak picture of conditions in Gaza: hospitals short of equipment, power cuts lasting hours each day, drinking water unfit for consumption.

Israeli arrested over Hamas assassination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli alleged to be a Mossad agent involved in the assassination of a Hamas militant in Dubai and obtaining a German passport under a false name has been arrested in Poland. Germany is seeking the extradition of the man, said to be using the name Uri Brodsky, and believed to be the first Israeli arrested in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January.

Who is afraid of a real inquiry?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) June 14, 2010 - 12:00am

If a real commission of inquiry into the Israeli attack on the flotilla had been set, here are some of the questions it should have addressed: 1. What is the real aim of the Gaza Strip blockade? 2. If the aim is to prevent the flow of arms into the Strip, why are only 100 products allowed in (as compared to the more than 12,000 products in an average Israeli supermarket)? 3. Why is it forbidden to bring in chocolate, toys, writing material, many kinds of fruits and vegetables (and why cinnamon but not coriander)?

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