Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The family of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit campaigns for his release. The New York Times interviews Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Israeli Amb. Oren says that he did speak of a tectonic shift in US Israel relations, but not a “rift.” Palestinian feminists say women's rights are being eroded by Hamas rule in Gaza, and human rights agencies warn of a generalized assault on civil liberties. Pres. Abbas says Palestinians are waiting for diplomatic answers. Gaza banks are closing following another daylight raid by Hamas gunmen. Palestinian extremists again attack a UN summer camp in Gaza. Israel's official inquiry into the flotilla attack begins, but The Arab News says it has something to hide. Palestinian women in the West Bank take up motor racing. Turkey closes its airspace to Israel. An Israeli committee is considering major settlement expansion in Arab areas of occupied East Jerusalem, and construction has reportedly begun in Sheikh Jarrah. Akiva Eldar says Israel refuses to recognize the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative. The UN says squabbling between Hamas and the PA led to the shutdown of Gaza's only power plant. Seth Freeman looks at the difficulties of Palestinians traveling in Israel. Palestinian refugees rally for their rights in Lebanon. The National says Israel must recognize peace requires actual compromises. Diana Mukkaled says the politics of the flotillas are often not what they appear.

Family of Captured Israeli Soldier Press for Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dina Kraft - June 27, 2010 - 12:00am

The family of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for four years, began a march to Jerusalem on Sunday aimed at pressing the government to make a deal for the soldier’s release. “We won’t wait any longer in our home,” said Noam Shalit, the soldier’s father, as the march began. He said Israel’s leaders “have to put an end to this sad saga.” The march began two days after the fourth anniversary of Sergeant Shalit’s capture and a week after Israel relaxed a blockade against Gaza that had been imposed in part to press for his release.

Leader of the Opposition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Deborah Solomon - June 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli security cabinet just voted to ease the three-year blockade on Gaza, in the wake of the tragic naval attack on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos. What does that mean in practical terms?

Israeli Ambassador Oren denies statement of 'rift' with U.S., despite reports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren denied Sunday that he had told Israeli diplomats a "tectonic rift" was emerging between the United States and Israel -- incendiary words first reported in the Israeli press and then repeated in media outlets around the globe.

Palestinian says women's rights forgotten in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Interview) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Naila Ayesh's path to becoming a Muslim activist for women's rights began when she miscarried in an Israeli detention center in 1987 after being arrested for belonging to a Palestinian student union. Today Ayesh, 49, founder of the Gaza Strip-based Women's Affairs Center, has become one of the only feminist voices in the seaside territory that was seized three years ago by Hamas, an armed Palestinian group that aspires to impose Islamic law.

The danger of an Islamized Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The slim owner of Gaza City's Gallery cafe has sharp eyes and a sharp tongue. It's easy to imagine him conversing with artists and actors — he is also a theater director — far into the night. But he crossed a line. He allowed female patrons at his cafe to smoke hookah pipes and to talk with men. He ignored demands by plainclothes police to rein in "immoral" behavior. In early May, police interrogated and accused him of having extramarital affairs.

Abbas 'waiting for answers' on Israel talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Positive answers from Israel "will encourage us to go into direct talks," President Mahmud Abbas said Monday, describing the status of proximity discussions with Israel under US mediation. Government-run news service WAFA said Abbas made the comment during ceremony opening a PA construction project in Ramallah. He said PLO officials had made their demands clear over borders and responded to Israeli concerns over security, and await the Israeli response from Middle East Peace envoy for the United States George Mitchell.

Gaza banks to close following forced cash withdrawal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Monetary Authority and the Banking Association in Gaza made a joint call to close all financial institutions at 11am on Monday, in anger over a forced withdrawal by Hamas police the day before. The statement said Gaza government police had stolen cash from the Bank of Palestine, though Gaza leaders said the withdrawal was based on a local court ruling, overturning the PMA decision to freeze the accounts of a local charity.

Militants set fire to U.N. summer camp in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Masked Palestinian gunmen set fire to a U.N.-run summer camp in Gaza on Monday, officials and witnesses said, the second time in recent weeks that militants have attacked a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) children's camp in the Hamas-controlled territory. About 25 militants stormed the recreation facility and assaulted security guards before setting the building on fire, U.N. spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said. In May, gunmen set a building on fire after accusing the United Nations of promoting immorality in the Islamist-ruled enclave.

Israeli inquiry into Gaza flotilla raid opens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Joseph Nasr - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's prime minister and defence chief will be called to testify in an investigation into a deadly raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, the leader of an Israeli commission of inquiry said in an opening statement on Monday. An international observer on the commission said everyone involved was determined it would be rigorous. Turkey, angered by the killing by Israeli commandos of nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists in a melee on a Gaza blockade-running vessel intercepted on May 31, has said the Israeli probe would be biased.

Racing Palestinian girls speed into record books
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian women are speeding into the record books by competing on an all-female car racing team — the Speed Sisters. Along the way, they're crashing through another gender barrier in this conservative Muslim society. The eight women have entered a popular race called "Speed Test." Souped-up cars race around a track, weaving their way around obstacles and spinning circles around others. The all-female team is a first for the event.

Report: Turkey closes airspace to Israel military following Gaza flotilla raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Turkey has closed its airspace to Israeli military flights following a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, the Turkish prime minister and officials said Monday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Toronto that Turkey imposed the ban after the May 31 raid on a Turkish ship that was part of a six-vessel international aid flotilla, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency. The prime minister, who is in Canada to attend a summit of the Group of 20 major industrial and developing nations, did not elaborate.

Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar, Nir Hasson - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property. The committee's proposal would codify the municipality's planning policy for the entire city. In essence, Jerusalem would uniformly apply its zoning and construction procedures to both halves of the city.

We won't relinquish the enemy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The Americans are once again disturbing our peace with their "peace process," and are already talking about continuing the settlement construction freeze. Everything was so simple with the three "no"s of Khartoum from September 1967: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization's armed conflict did cost us lives, but there's need to talk peace with terrorists. When the Arabs refused to recognize us it was 10 times more convenient to settle, to annex and to assassinate.

Construction at Sheikh Jarrah begins
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Construction in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah began Sunday, just a few days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with the US president. The controversial construction plans, set at the site of the Shepherd Hotel, surfaced on the eve of Netanyahu's previous meeting with Barack Obama three months ago, embarrassing the Israeli government. Channel 10 reported Sunday that bulldozers had already arrived at the site, intended for 20 new Jewish homes.

UNRWA criticizes Palestinian infighting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) called on the different Palestinian factions Sunday to stop the infighting in order to solve a developing electricity crisis in Hamas-run Gaza. "It is such a tragedy that, on top of all the other crises that we have in the Gaza Strip, we now have a crisis of electricity," John Ging, director of UNRWA in Gaza, was quoted by AFP as saying.

A Tel Aviv day-trip shouldn't be a crime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Seth Freedman - (Opinion) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Despite government claims to the contrary, Israel's borders are far from impenetrable to residents of the occupied Palestinian territories. The separation wall is only 60% complete, numerous ways to circumnavigate checkpoints exist throughout the West Bank, and poorly patrolled perimeters provide any would-be terrorist with ample opportunity for security breaches.

Palestinian refugees demand dignity in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Abigail Fielding-Smith - June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Kamal Suleiman, an electrician from one of Lebanon’s poorest and most violent refugee camps, gestured towards the 5-year-old boy by his side. “I am here for him,” said. “Because of my son.” Mr Suleiman and his little boy were among the thousands who gathered across Lebanon yesterday to demand greater social and economic rights for Palestinians in the country. Organisers estimated that 6,000 attended yesterday’s demonstration in Beirut, and thousands more protested in Tripoli, Tyre and the Chouf mountain region.

Narrow Israeli agendas trump peace prospects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Opinion) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Likud wants its West Bank settlements: that was the message that Israel’s ruling party sent to their leader Benjamin Netanyahu when its central committee voted last week to resume settlement construction in September. Now, only the most wild-eyed optimist can hope for a breakthrough in the peace process.

The Freedom Flotilla or Other Something Else?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Diana Mukkaled - (Opinion) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Initially I believed that the mechanisms used to publicize the Freedom Flotilla in support of the Palestinians in Gaza were justified because of the nobility of the cause of breaking the blockade. The cause deserves our efforts to be creative in mobilizing public opinion. However, I could not help but fall into the trap of comparing between the eye-catching advertisements run by travel agencies at the beginning of every summer and the propaganda campaigns launched by the sponsors of new voyages.

Something to hide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Why else is it asking the UN to suspend attempts to organize an international inquiry into the deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara that sought to break the blockade of Gaza? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been trying to organize an international inquiry as called for by the Security Council. Israel won’t let him.

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