Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Abbas reaches out directly to the Israeli public. Martin Indyk says Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu are developing better working relations. Rights groups critique Israel's Gaza policies. A report from The Lancet confirms long-term health costs from the Gaza blockade. Israel proposes releasing 1000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit. Abbas says direct talks depend on progress in indirect talks. Into the Gaza flotilla attack is likely to be more critical than expected. Obama is preparing to press Netanyahu on peace and settlements, and Israeli officials say the conversation will shape the future of the Middle East. PM Fayyad says direct negotiations are not imminent. Israel considers transferring authority over Gaza crossings to the PA. The Jerusalem Post says adroit Palestinian diplomacy has created a conundrum for Netanyahu. UK Methodists vote to boycott settlement products. Jeremy Ben-Ami and Debra DeLee say it's time for more honesty in pro-Israel advocacy. IPS profiles the new film “Budrus"about nonviolent Palestinian resistance.

Palestinian President Reaches Out to Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dina Kraft - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, made a rare effort to reach out directly to the Israeli public, calling on Israel’s leadership to step up peace efforts while suggesting that his people were growing weary waiting for a state. “We want to live in peace. Don’t kill the hope,” Mr. Abbas said in comments published Thursday after a group interview with six correspondents from Israel’s leading newspapers.

A quiet diplomacy on the Mideast peace path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Martin Indyk - (Opinion) July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The current sturm und drang in U.S.-Israel relations cloaks a surprising development: President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are beginning to develop a constructive working relationship sensitive to the legitimate concerns of the other.

Rights group says no change to Gaza siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Maintaining the schedule for Gaza's crossings, Israeli officials informed their Palestinian counterparts Friday that all terminals would be closed for 48 hours. Terminals will stay closed on Saturday, for the regularly scheduled Israeli weekend. Gaza crossings official Raed Fattouh said he expected terminals to reopen Sunday, and limited shipments of aid and supplies to enter, principally via the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip.

PA vows to increase public outreach in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas met six journalists from Israel's top news outlets in his Ramallah office Wednesday. Two of the reporter,s Aluf Benn and Akiva Eldar, billed the meeting as part of a campaign by Abbas to enlist Israeli public support for a peace settlement based on 1967 borders. The writers noted in the newspaper that the move came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington this week.

Gaza siege damages Palestinians' health - study
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Kate Kelland - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian health experts studying the impact of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip say it threatens to cause long-term damage to Palestinians' health, with many children at risk of stunted growth or malnutrition. In a series of studies published in the Lancet medical journal on Friday, researchers also said Israel's attack on the region in early 2009 had a devastating effect, causing injury, displacement and social suffering, particularly among children.

Israel willing to release 1,000 Palestinians in exchange for Shalit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli government agrees to free some 1,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons for the release of Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening. "That's the price I am willing to face to bring Shalit home," local news service Ynet quoted Netanyahu as saying in a speech, by which the premier presented domestic public the government's stance on the prisoners exchange negotiation with the Palestinian Hamas movement.

Abbas: direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations subject to indirect talks' progress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday told the U.S. mediator that the direct Palestinian- Israeli negotiation is subject to the progress that could be made by the ongoing indirect talks. "We hope that this position is clear to the international community and the U.S. administration" which sponsors the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, following a meeting here between Abbas and the U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

IDF probe into Gaza flotilla likely to be more critical than expected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The internal military probe into the Israel Defense Forces raid on the Turkish aid flotilla to Gaza headed by Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland is expected to request more time than it was originally allotted to reach its conclusions. It appears that members of Eiland's staff are of the belief that the scope of the army's mishaps is more extensive than originally thought. The committee's findings are certainly expected to be more critical than the statements made by senior IDF officers immediately after the May 31 incident on the Mavi Marmara.

Obama to press Netanyahu on peace process, settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will get a warm reception from U.S. President Barack Obama on his trip to Washington next week, official sources said. But Obama is expected to question Netanyahu closely on where the peace process is heading, around three months before the freeze on West Bank construction expires. The Americans are concerned about the implications that resuming the construction might have on the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the sources said.

Palestinian PM: Direct Mideast peace talks are a long way off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by RIZEK ABDEL JAWAD - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have not yet made enough progress to justify the start of face-to-face negotiations, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Thursday during a visit to France. The U.S.-mediated discussions kicked off in May and are due to last four months, with American diplomats seeking to find common ground to bring the two sides to the same table. "We have yet to see the kind of progress that would be able to justify the consideration of ... direct talks," Fayyad said following a meeting with senior European officials over aid.

Official: PM-Obama talks to determine region's future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's senior advisor's, Yitzhak Molcho and Uzi Arad, are expected to leave for Cairo on Sunday for meetings with senior Egyptian officials ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington next week. "This time, the talks with President Obama on the Palestinian issue are more important than ever," a senior state official in Jerusalem said Friday morning. "They will determine the future of the process in the region."

PM prepares for US visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

National Security Advisers Uzi Arad and Yitzhak Molko, will leave for Egypt on Sunday to meet with head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman, Israel Radio reported on Friday. The meeting is meant to help Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepare for his trip to Washington on Monday. Netanyahu plans to meet US President Barack Obama next week to discuss the peace process.

Gov't: PA may control Gaza crossings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Defense Ministry has begun preparing for the possible transfer to the PA of responsibility for the crossings into the Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post has learned. On Wednesday night, Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, met with Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for civilian affairs. The two men decided to establish a number of joint Israeli-PA teams to coordinate work on two issues – the renovation of the Kerem Shalom crossing and international construction projects in the Gaza Strip.

Decision time for the PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s three-hour-long meeting with reporters from the Hebrew press this week in Ramallah can be seen as an attempt – quite possibly with heavy US encouragement – to reach out to the Israeli public. There was nothing particularly new in what Abbas had to say.

Israeli PM Netanyahu renews Shalit prisoner swap offer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned he would not pay "any price" for the release of Sgt Shalit, seized by militants on the Gaza border in 2006. Talks to free Sgt Shalit broke down last year, after representatives of Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, failed to agree on a list of prisoners. Hamas wants militants freed who Israel says have "blood on their hands". On Sunday, Sgt Shalit's family began an 11-day cross-country march to the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, where they say they plan to camp until he comes home.

Methodists vote for settlements boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Karen Burke - July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Methodist Church voted on Wednesday to boycott products from Israeli settlements recognised as illegal under international law at its annual Conference in Portsmouth. It took the decision following a call from a group of Palestinian Christians, a number of Jewish organisations, both within Israel and worldwide, and the World Council of Churches.

Op-Ed: Overcome denial in Israel advocacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Jeremy Benami, Debra DeLee - (Opinion) July 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Some people see the world not as it is but as they would like it to be. Psychologists have a term for this: They call it living in denial. Sadly, denial colors the way too many leaders of established institutions in the American Jewish community look at Israel when it comes to matters of peace and security. Decades of telling and retelling a comfortable narrative in which Israel is always extending its hand in peace, only to have it rejected by the Palestinians, understandably makes it hard to accept when the facts show otherwise.

One West Bank Town's "Unarmed Courage"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Ellen Massey - July 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Morrar is the central figure in the recently released film "Budrus", about the people of the Palestinian village of Budrus in the West Bank who persistently, and peacefully, resisted the encroachment of Israel's "security" wall on their historical lands.

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