Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times hosts a debate on the effect of tax exempt US donations on Israeli settlement activity. Nick Kristof expresses admiration for Israeli human rights activists. Several commentaries praise warmer relations between Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu. The PA Economy Minister wants better consumer standards. Israel releases a list of goods still banned in Gaza. Reuters thinks Hamas may have weathered the storm of the blockade. Hamas asks Egypt to host a meeting with Fatah leaders. Obama tells Israeli TV that peace is possible but skepticism is justified. Ari Shavit says Netanyahu must take advantage of his present situation or face further difficulties. Netanyahu hints at flexibility on Jerusalem, says he's ready to discuss settlements and believes direct talks are imminent. Jeremy Bowen says behind the theater of goodwill, US-Israel tensions remain. The National and The Arab News do not approve of Obama's handling of Netanyahu, but the Jordan Times says Israel is beginning to bend to international pressure. Meretz USA releases more of its interview with Hussein Ibish.

Do U.S. Donors Drive Israeli Politics?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Naomi Chazan, Daniel Gordis, Ori Nir, Benjamin N. Schiff, Yossi Shain, Stephen Spector - (Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The Diaspora’s Influence Yossi Shain is a professor of political science and the director of the Aba Eben Program of Diplomacy at Tel Aviv University and a professor of comparative government at Georgetown University. He is the author of “Kinship and Diasporas in International Affairs.”

In Israel, the Noble vs. The Ugly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Nicholas D. Kristof - (Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel goes out of its way to display its ugliest side to the world by tearing down Palestinian homes or allowing rapacious settlers to steal Palestinian land. Yet there’s also another Israel as well, one that I mightily admire. This is the democracy that tolerates a far greater range of opinions than America. It’s a citadel of civil society. And, crazily, it’s the place where some of the most courageous and effective voices on behalf of oppressed Palestinians belong to Israeli rabbis — like Arik Ascherman, the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights.

President Obama's new Middle East course has promise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

FOR MUCH of the past 15 months, President Obama sought to advance his goal of a Middle East peace settlement through public pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The results were mixed. Mr. Netanyahu made significant concessions to the White House, including announcing for the first time his acceptance of Palestinian statehood and imposing a 10-month freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements. But Mr.

Economy minister wants standards for local products
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh asked the government to work harder on Tuesday, in developing national consumer standards, to protect Palestinians and improve the marketability of products globally. Speaking in Nablus at the first conference for Palestinian consumer protection, Abu Libdeh accused the interior ministry and his own ministry of impeding a new project aimed at improving the labeling on Palestinian produce.

Israel's list of banned goods into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Below is the official statement issued by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories on 6 July 2010 and a list of goods barred from entry into Gaza. Israel and the PA established joint-teams, as a part of the expansion of the land crossings' operation, and immediate steps were carried out in order to improve the efficiency of their operation. These include modifications of the infrastructure on both sides of the crossing, extending the operating hours of the crossings and augmenting the manpower.

ANALYSIS-In Gaza, Hamas may have weathered worst of storm
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The worst could be over for Hamas whose rule in Gaza has survived three years of economic blockade and a full-scale Israeli military onslaught. The Islamist group is starting to see cracks in Israeli and Western policies that have made governing Gaza no easy task. Hamas still faces Israeli hostility and international sanctions, and is hated by its Palestinian opponents, foremost among them the Fatah movement which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. For Hamas, the feeling is mutual.

Hamas chief wants Egypt to host meeting with Fatah leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal wrote a letter to Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, telling him he is ready to meet leaders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party in Cairo, a Hamas official said Thursday. Mashaal sent his letter with an Egyptian lawmaker Mustafa Bakri when he met him in Damascus Tuesday, Yousef Rizka, an adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya, told Xinhua.

Obama: Mideast peace possible, but Israel is right to be skeptical
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama has said there is hope for peace in the Middle East, but told Israeli media that is not "blindly optimistic". Israel is right to be skeptical about the peace process, he told Israeli television in a yet-to-be-aired interview that was taped on Wednesday. He noted during the interview that many people thought the founding of Israel was impossible, so its very existence should be a "a great source of hope." Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama The interview with the U.S. president took place a day after he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

King for a day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

A week ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's condition was nearly desperate. The Turkel committee became a committee with teeth liable to bite the prime minister, while State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' scrutiny of the flotilla affair threatened to wound the prime minister. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman started making threats again and Defense Minister Ehud Barak continued to make trouble. Many observers are predicting that the government will start to disintegrate by September.

Focus U.S.A. / Netanyahu-Obama meeting continues the Israel-U.S. soap opera
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Professional cynics should have no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama had an “excellent” meeting at the White House on Tuesday. After all, Obama used the adjective three times, seemingly compensating for the previous episode of the unfolding Israel-U.S. soap opera, in which Obama snubbed the prime minister. Other superlatives describing the two countries’ relationship were “extraordinary," “unbreakable," “strategic," “closer and closer," as well as the declaration that “our relationship is continuing to improve."

Netanyahu to CNN: I'm prepared to discuss future of settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he was prepared to discuss "right away" the future of Jewish settlements if Palestinians entered direct peace talks with Israel. Asked on CNN's "Larry King Live" if he would extend beyond September a 10-month moratorium on housing starts in settlements in the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu said it was time for the "Let's just get into the talks and one of the things we'll discuss right away is this issue of settlements and that's what I propose doing," he said.

Netanyahu to US Jews: Direct talks with PA soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he thinks direct talks with the Palestinians will begin very soon and he predicted they will be "very, very tough." Before flying to Washington for a meeting with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday that the "time has come" for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to get ready to meet directly with the Israelis "because there is no other way to advance peace."

Political theatre masks US-Israel tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jeremy Bowen - July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

After their meeting at the White House, President Barack Obama walked his guest, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to his limousine. The solicitous host waited, slightly awkwardly, as Mr Netanyahu settled himself into the back seat. Immaculately uniformed servicemen stood rigidly to attention on either side of the vehicle. And then the video ended, before you could see whether Mr Obama waved until his new pal was out of sight. Actually he was only staying a few minutes walk away, at the official guest quarters, Blair House.

Netanyahu hints at flexibility on Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Uriel Heilman - July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

It was an otherwise wholly unremarkable stump speech before a friendly audience in New York. On Wednesday evening at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, the Israeli prime minister addressed a roomful of about 200 Jews on the subjects of Iran, his government’s eagerness for direct peace talks with the Palestinians and the swell meeting he had just had with President Obama at the White House.

The Israeli-Palestinian Confluence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Bernard Avishai - (Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Is the two-state solution passé? Serious people, with democratic instincts, are asking this now, but it is hard to think of a more frivolous question.

Obama ignores the obvious by backing Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

In observing Israeli leaders and their much-touted peace overtures over the years, it has always been wise to hew to the maxim: “Watch what they do, not what they say.” The reason, of course, is that Israeli officials are marvellously adept at telling outsiders keen on a just and fair settlement with the Palestinians exactly what they want to hear – even as they condone and carry out measures that undermine such a settlement.

For peace to succeed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is in the US doing his best impression of a statesman. All it would take for peace to happen, he keeps on saying, is for the Palestinians to sit down across the table from him and talk directly.

Editorial: Fading hopes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The mood music was noticeably different after President Barack Obama's latest meeting with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and it is worth wondering why. The Tuesday encounter was widely expected to be as rancorous as its predecessor. Not only had the two leaders not previously hit it off but the Israelis had done little if anything to ease Obama’s frustration at their obdurate policies.

More on conversation with Ibish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Meretz USA Blog
by Ralph Seliger - (Blog) July 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The Web editor of In These Times required a 2,500 word limitation for the online article. The ISRAEL HORIZONS version, pending for the fall, will include almost all of my discussion with Hussein Ibish. What I particularly regret having had to exclude from the ITT piece is the following further response from Hussein Ibish to my question on how he felt about the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state:

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