Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Tom Friedman says Palestinian economic growth in the West Bank is changing everything. Pres. Obama and the Saudi King discuss the peace process. A Hamas member who spied for Israel begs not to be deported from the United States. Under much criticism, Israel may extend the remit of the Gaza flotilla investigation. Pres. Abbas urges stronger efforts on peace. Disabled activists fight for rights in Gaza. A new poll shows Palestinians and Israelis are hopeful but cautious about peace. Projectiles fired from Gaza strike southern Israel. Bradley Burston says Israel has been taken over by tea party-like fanatics. Settlers announce an “aggressive campaign” against PM Netanyahu. The Hamas-Fatah divide is proving unbridgeable. A proposed Israeli law would outlaw all forms of boycott, including against settlement goods. DM Barak is acting more as Israel's Foreign Minister than FM Lieberman. PM Hariri calls for more rights for Palestinians in Lebanon, and Rami Khouri says the situation is shameful. Yossi Alpher says the Gaza blockade has been counterproductive.

The Real Palestinian Revolution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Pssssst. I’ve got a stock tip. Ready? The Al-Quds Index. What’s that? It’s the P.S.E., or Palestine Securities Exchange. Based in Nablus, in the West Bank, the Al-Quds Index has actually been having a solid year — and therein lies a tale.

At White House, Obama and Saudi king discuss Guantanamo, Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Anne E. Kornblut - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Broaching a sensitive subject, President Obama assured the visiting king of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday that he remains committed to closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a continuing source of friction between their governments. A year after a reportedly rocky first meeting in Riyadh, Obama and King Abdullah held a brief, joint appearance before reporters in the Oval Office following lunch. Making ritual affirmations about the close ties between their two countries, the leaders said they discussed recently approved sanctions against Iran as well as the war in Afghanistan.

Why deport a friend to Middle East peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Gonen ben Itzhak, Mosab Hassan Yousef - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Ours is an unlikely friendship. One of us (Gonen ben Itzhak) is an Israeli, the son of a retired Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general who was in charge of defeating the first intifada some 20 years ago. One of us (Mosab Hassan Yousef) is a Palestinian, the son of a founder of Hamas whose father was one of the leaders of that intifada. The Palestinians' goal for the intifada was to elevate their cause. Israel sought to keep violence down and protect its citizens. Today we are sacrificing everything -- possibly even our lives -- to build a bridge of peace between our peoples.

Israel weighs wider mandate for Gaza flotilla panel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, June 30 (Reuters) - Israel may upgrade the mandate of its investigation of a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, by allowing it to subpoena witnesses, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said. The panel headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel launched its probe on Monday and served notice that Netanyahu and his defence chief may be called to testify about the May 31 incident in which nine Turkish citizens were killed.

Abbas urges further efforts for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Tuesday for intensifying efforts to make peace in the Middle East. "The pace of peacemaking in the region must be accelerated," Abbas told a press conference in Ramallah following a meeting with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Abbas said the Palestinians would spare no efforts to achieve peace. "We believe in peace and believe that peace should be made as soon as possible," he said.

Gaza young man uses his voice to defy physical disabilities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Ahmed Daloul - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Leaning on crutches, the physically disabled Osama Abu Safar, resident of Gaza City, went everyday to work at Fursan al-Iradah (Knights of Will) radio station. He defied the life's intricacies, mainly the lack of living means, care and accommodate for Gaza disabled people. Abu Safar, 27, born in Libya with disability in both legs, never thought about surrendering to the reality of his physical disability. He insisted with determination and challenged to achieve a proper position for himself in the society of the Gaza Strip.

Israelis, Palestinians hopeful, cautious about peace prospects: poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, June 29 (Xinhua) -- A just-released local poll showed that Israelis and Palestinians appear ready and increasingly willing to compromise for a peaceful resolution of their conflict. Both sides, however, remain pessimistic about prospects for peace, according to the results of the joint survey, a statement sent to Xinhua said. The research was carried out by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.

Qassam rocket fired from Gaza destroys Negev packing plant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yanir Yagna - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A Qassam rocked fired from the Gaza Strip hit the western Negev before dawn Wednesday, seriously damaging a packing plant and other structures in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, but causing no casualties. "Tonight we took the hit, but the [rocket] fire is constant," the plant's manager said. "On the whole, we are a peaceful and quiet community," he continued. "People got up and went to work and are trying to continue the day's routines."

A Special Place in Hell / Tea Party Jews: Betraying U.S. and Israel at the same time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Ever wonder what a future America might look like if the Tea Party took over? Try today's Israel. That distinctive brew of left-baiting, Obama-hating, poorly veiled racism, clergy-driven jingoism, clergy-fanned derision of the Supreme Court, the Luddite insertion of anti-government bile where an ideology should go, a majority which feels victimized and discriminated against and threatened by minorities of indeterminate legal status – it's all here. It just speaks Hebrew.

Israel doesn't seem to want to really probe Gaza flotilla raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ze'ev Segal - (Analysis) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

If former Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel indeed resigns from the panel he heads, which is investigating the raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, he will be taking a step necessitated by both the committee's lack of investigatory powers to conduct a serious probe and its limited mandate. As things stand now, the committee is barred from examining the government's preparations for the flotilla's arrival.

Settlers launch 'aggressive' campaign against Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shmulik Grossman - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Settlement leaders on Tuesday launched an "aggressive and direct" campaign on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, lest he "again betrays his voters," they said. They noted that the struggle till now has been directed at Defense Minister Ehud Barak and they have avoided attacking Netanyahu directly. "If Netanyahu returns from the US with another commitment to a (construction) freeze, he will encounter an unprecedented response of settlers who will hound him no matter where he goes," the campaign organizers promised.

Hamas-Fatah gap unbridgeable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian committee that was recently formed to find ways to end the crisis between Hamas and Fatah has disbanded after concluding that the gap between the rival parties is unbridgeable. The panel, which was headed by independent businessman Munib al-Masri, was formed immediately after the flotilla aid ship incident in late May. Members of the committee were scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders about the crisis. However, the visit was canceled after Hamas announced that it would not receive the delegation.

Israel's anti-boycott belligerence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Miri Weingarten - (Opinion) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A new "anti-boycott bill", the third in a series of proposed laws that aim to curtail the ability of civil society to criticise Israeli government policy, will punish Israelis or foreign nationals who initiate or promote a boycott of Israel. The bill not only prohibits boycotts of legal Israeli institutions, but also of settlement activities and products. It seeks to impose fines on Israelis who "promote boycotts" and transfer the fines to boycotted organisations.

Israel’s Stealth F.M.: Barak, Not Lieberman, Tasked With Weighty Issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

On June 8, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made a trip to the United States. He met leaders of the Jewish community, attended the opening ceremony of a community center in New York, briefed Israeli diplomats and returned to Jerusalem without making a stop in Washington. During his two-day trip, Lieberman did not meet any American administration officials.

Hariri calls for national unity on granting rights to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Simona Sikimic - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

“There are humanitarian, social and ethical duties, and the Lebanese state should assume the responsibility of providing them to the Palestinian brothers,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday. “Lebanon will not dodge these duties, which must be crystal-clear, and not be subject to any misinterpretation.” Calling for national unity on the issue, the Prime Minister went on to express his commitment to obtaining a cross-party agreement in exchange for security cooperation from various Palestinian factions, responsible for upholding law and order in the country’s 12 refugee camps.

Lebanon's Palestinians, the shame rises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The current debate in Lebanon about the legal status of several hundred thousand resident Palestinian refugees reflects the best and worst of the Arab world. The mistreatment, abysmal living conditions and limited work, social security and property rights of these Palestinians are a lingering moral black mark – but change is in the air, initiated largely by Lebanese.

Better late than never
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli government decision to end its three-year blockade of civilian goods entering the Gaza Strip is a welcome move. Sadly, it came about a year too late, and its timing and circumstances benefited the wrong parties. That's because the Netanyahu government (in all fairness, like many of its predecessors) seems to do the right thing only under heavy pressure.

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