Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli decision to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem draws criticism internationally and from Israeli Defense Minister Barak. Israeli settlers threaten to forcibly evict Palestinians in Jerusalem and attack Palestinians near Bethlehem. Ahead of his upcoming Washington visit, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu blames Palestinians for lack of progress in negotiations while his National Security Advisor questions the United States Middle East and Iran policies. Israel asks UN to shelve aid ship raid inquiry, as Balkan summit condemns raid and a Lebanese ship prepares to leave Gaza. Two articles in Bitter Lemons discuss the merits and risks of Israeli settlers remaining in a future Palestinian state.

Israeli Official Assails Plans for Demolition of Arab Homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dina Kraft - June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — A top Israeli official scolded local officials on Tuesday for giving preliminary approval to a plan calling for the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes, in an echo of past stumbles over Jewish development in East Jerusalem.

Adviser to Israel's Netanyahu questions Mideast peace effort, new Iran sanctions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's national security adviser said Tuesday that the push for Palestinian statehood has weakened Israel's standing in the world, and he suggested that the outlook is bleak for U.S.-mediated negotiations in the region. Uzi Arad, central in the crafting of Israel's stance on the Palestinians and on Iran's nuclear program, also argued that new U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran are inadequate to thwart its nuclear progress. A preemptive military strike might eventually be necessary, he said.

Palestinians fear Israeli court ruling may set new grounds for banishment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

There’s a growing worry among Palestinians that an Israeli Supreme Court decision Sunday will make it easier for Israel to deport Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem because of their participation in the Palestinian Authority. The court upheld a move by Israeli police ordering three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, which functions as the Palestinian Authority’s parliament, and a former member of the Palestinian Cabinet to leave the city within a month of the order.

Shimon Peres defends Israel's policies as vital to security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Interview) June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that his nation's policy on the Gaza Strip has not yielded the results the government expected, and he criticized municipal plans to tear down 22 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to make way for redevelopment. But the 86-year-old former prime minister vigorously defended Israel's overall policies as vital to its security, saying international critics don't face the daily threat of terrorism. He spoke with the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday in his Jerusalem office.

After escaping flotilla uproar, Israel faces new flap over Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv, Israel Diplomatic tensions have flared over Jerusalem for the first time in weeks following the preliminary approval for a controversial plan for a tourist park in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The plan calls for 22 Palestinian houses to be demolished. The decision Monday by a Jerusalem municipal planning committee immediately drew condemnation by the Palestinian Authority and a warning from the United States.

Settlers attack Palestinians near Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Hebron – Ma’an – Furious after their own government demolished two houses in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian property in the latest incident of the "price tag" phenomenon. Dozens of residents of the illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin, in the Bethlehem Governorate, were seen throwing stones and empty bottles at Palestinian homes in Safa, an adjacent village next to the Beit Ummar town north of Hebron.

Israel slams Palestinians for lack of direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, June 22 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians on Tuesday for the absence of direct peace talks and insisted negotiations should resume right away "without delay and without preconditions". Israeli-Palestinian talks were renewed on an indirect basis last month under U.S. sponsorship, after an 18-month hiatus since a war in Gaza and disputes over Jewish settlement building in occupied land.

Lebanon warns Israel against attacking ships
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Lebanon says it will hold Israel responsible for any attack against blockade-busting aid ships planning to sail to Gaza in coming days. Two ships carrying aid are planning to make the trip to Gaza. Lebanese authorities have so far granted one of them permission to sail first to Cyprus and not directly to Gaza because Lebanon and Israel are technically at war. A Lebanese official says Lebanon has sent a letter to the U.N. holding Israel responsible for any attack on the ships and that it cannot stop ships from leaving its ports if they comply with its law.

Blackout crisis in Gaza intensifies due to fuel shortage: officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The crisis of electricity cutoff in the blockaded Gaza Strip, ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, has recently mounted, where hours of blackout increased due to a severe shortage of industrial fuels used to operate the sole power plant in the salient, Gaza officials said on Tuesday. The mounting crisis would endanger the daily life of the 1.7 million people living in the impoverished territory that has been under a tight Israeli blockade since Hamas seized control of the enclave by force in June 2007, said Suhail Skaik, director of Gaza Electricity Company.

Balkan summit condemns Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Turkey and 12 other southeastern European countries on Wednesday denounced the recent Israeli raid on an aid flotilla headed to Gaza, which left eight Turks and one Turkish American dead. The countries said in a joint declaration at the end of a Balkan summit that they want an impartial, independent and internationally credible investigation on this matter. They also stressed the urgent need to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Beit Yehonatan residents: We will evict Arabs ourselves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

"If police do not evacuate the Heichal Shlomo Synagogue of its squatters, we will do it ourselves on July 4," the residents of Beit Yehonatan in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem threatened on Wednesday. According to them, the State is exercising "discrimination and political persecution" against them by placing Beit Yehonatan on the list of properties destined for evacuation, while Arab houses they claim were built illegally are not included on the list.

Israel asks UN to shelve aid ship raid inquiry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said any inquiry should be shelved because new attempts to breach the blockade were still being organised. Nine pro-Palestinian activists died when Israeli soldiers stormed a Turkish aid ship in May. The UN has called for an impartial and credible inquiry into the raid. Israel has announced its own inquiry but some governments have expressed scepticism about its credibility. Mr Barak spoke after talks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has been trying to organise the international inquiry called for by the Security Council.

Few legitimate candidates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The question of settlers remaining in a Palestinian state is becoming increasingly central to the issue of a successful two-state solution. One reason is quite simply the growing number of settlers who live beyond the settlement blocs and who are not likely to accept financial compensation and leave their homes in order to facilitate an agreement.

Palestinian settlers?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Akram Baker - (Opinion) June 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The question of Israel's illegal settlements in occupied Palestine is one of the core issues of the conflict. In blatant violation of international law, the continuing expansion of new and existing settlements by consecutive Israeli governments has caused a major rift between Israel and the Obama administration. And while the entire world (with the notable exception of Israel) is in agreement that the settlements must to a large extent be dismantled in any peace agreement, the question of what to do with the settlers themselves is even thornier.

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