Middle East News: World Press Roundup

ATFP President Dr. Ziad Asali calls for a broad national alliance in support of a two-state solution. Israeli plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem is criticized by the US, defended by Jerusalem Mayor. Ghassan Khatib argues that continued settlement activity will only make it difficult find creative solutions. Editorial in The New York Times contends that Netanyahu was right in his decision to ease the Gaza blockade. Quartet maintains that the situation in Gaza is ‘unsustainable’ and ‘unacceptable’ as the international community waits to see the extent of change on the ground. PA security forces detain two top Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Monday night. Israeli military appeals court orders the evacuation of settlers from Palestinian-own land. A Haaretz editorial outlines disparity of rights of Arab citizens of Jerusalem versus Israeli citizens. Gershon Baskin: The proximity talks must include serious discussions on the core issues – borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.

Asali addresses The Israel Project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Jihan Abdalla - June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

On June 22, 2010, Asali addressed The Israel Project and called for a broad national alliance in support of a two-state solution. Full transcript of his speech follows. Dear Jennifer, Thank you and the board and staff of The Israel Project for inviting me to address this distinguished audience.

East Jerusalem Building Plan Advances
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Jerusalem’s city hall advanced rezoning and development plans on Monday for a hotly contested area of East Jerusalem, another example of an awkwardly timed, seemingly bureaucratic Israeli maneuver that could upset fragile peace efforts.

Easing the Gaza Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
June 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has made the right decision to significantly ease Israel’s punishing and counterproductive blockade of Gaza. The move was clearly intended to mollify Washington and Europe in the wake of Israel’s deadly raid this month on an aid flotilla trying to run the blockade.

Israel's feeling of isolation is becoming more pronounced
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

An Elton John concert ordinarily isn't front-page news. But in Israel, where many feel more shunned than they have in decades, the legendary pop icon's decision to perform in Tel Aviv last Thursday was cause for celebration. After weeks of dreary reports about artists caving to calls to boycott Israel, Israeli diplomats being expelled by friendly allies, and even pressure from the United States to change course in Gaza, John allowed Israel an opportunity "for three hours," as one music reviewer put it, "to be a normal country."

Palestinian politicians reject Israeli deportation order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Samuel Sockol - June 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Four Palestinian politicians affiliated with the Islamist Hamas party on Monday rejected an Israeli order that they relocate to the West Bank. Israel revoked the Jerusalem residency status of the three members of the defunct Palestinian parliament and a former cabinet minister after they refused to resign from their positions and were deemed "disloyal" to the state. The move stripped them of their ability to live in the city legally.

Israel's easing of Gaza blockade doesn't address banking, travel rules
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's decision to ease the impact of a three-year blockade on Gaza appears to have relieved diplomatic pressure on the Jewish state following the fatal intercept of a protest flotilla. But critics warn that the partial measure, which does not include lifting the naval blockade, may not be enough to revive Gaza's economy and relieve the distress of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.

Hamas: PA continues to detain top members
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority security forces detained two top Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Monday night, the Islamist movement said The two detained were identified as chief of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV Nawaf Al-Amar and Deputy Nablus Mayor Mahdi Al-Hanbali. A Hamas statement said the two were among 14 Hamas supporters detained by PA forces overnight. In 2007, during the peak of Palestinian political infighting, Al-Hanbali was abducted by Fatah gunmen and held hostage for three days before his release.

Quartet: Situation in Gaza "unsustainable, unacceptable"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The human rights situation of the civilian population of Gaza is "unsustainable, unacceptable, and not in the interests of any of those concerned," the Quartet said Tuesday. The Quartet, made up of the US, EU, Russia, and the UN, emphasized the need for "a fundamental change in policy in Gaza," demanding the "unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza." The statement came despite a decision from the Israeli security cabinet to change the conditions of the siege on Sunday, a move that was welcomed by Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Israel orders settlers off Palestinian land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli military appeals court on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of settlers from Palestinian-owned land near the southern West bank city of Hebron. Yatta landowner Khalil Al-Jbour said the 100-dunum plot was taken over by residents of the illegal Susiya settlement southeast of the village. The rest of the land, he added, belonged to the Hamad Awwad family. Al-Jbour said the owners filed a suit in an Israeli military court in 2004, when the lands were seized, and after years of filing paperwork, they finally succeeded in winning rights to their own land.

U.S.: East Jerusalem demolitions undermine trust vital for Israel-PA talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Nir Hasson - June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Israel's decision on Monday to raze 22 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is the kind of step that undermines trust fundamental to progress in the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Senior U.S. officials have asked Netanyahu's office to explain why the plan was authorized, saying that Washington will issue an official condemnation of the demolitions.

The silent expulsion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Dr. Immad Hammada and Dr. Murad Abu-Khalaf are both lecturers in electrical engineering born in East Jerusalem. Their families have lived in the city for generations. They both left years ago, each one separately, to study in the United States, and after graduating and consolidating their careers they want to return to live in their home town.

Mayor defends plan to raze Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Tuesday defended plans to demolish Palestinian houses in the city's eastern sector to make way for a tourist center, after Defense Minister Ehud Barak lashed out at authorities over the project. Barak, who is in the United States for a series of meetings with top officials, faced criticism and demands for explanations after the Jerusalem municipal planning committee decided to destroy 22 houses in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, which it says were built illegally.

Abbas appeals to US over Silwan construction plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

While Washington has already stated that the construction plan that entails the demolition of 22 Arab homes in Silwan damages trust between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not making do with statements, and is looking for action. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP on Tuesday that Abbas asked the United States to take action to cancel the King's Garden project in east Jerusalem, part of which includes the demolition of Arab homes.

The way forward
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Under the public radar and due to extreme amounts of skepticism, George Mitchell’s mediation efforts continue without public debate or concern. The silence is because almost no one believes they will be constructive, and the media blackout imposed by Mitchell. Four rounds of talks have taken place. The parameters have been set, the process has begun, and now it is time to get serious. The proximity talks can produce agreements; this is how I think they should proceed:

Creative ideas threatened by continued settlement building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli settlement project in occupied Palestinian territory, which started from the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, has always been one of the most contentious aspects of the conflict. From the beginning, these illegal settlements, including in East Jerusalem, were responsible for provoking fierce confrontations. And when the peace process started, this same Israeli policy proved the major obstacle to reaching a solution.

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