Middle East News: World Press Roundup

US Presbyterians call on US to suspend aid to Israel until all settlement activity ceases. Pressure builds for direct negotiations. Former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agree talks should not start from scratch. Libya is the latest country to organize an aid flotilla for Gaza. Israeli society faces increasing challenges from ultra-Orthodox. Philip Smucker points out that the issue of Palestine is a major selling point for terrorists. Pres. Abbas says there must be progress on borders and security before direct talks can begin. Israel's initial investigation into the Gaza flotilla attack cites poor planning. A senior PLO official calls Jerusalem “a time bomb” between the parties. A Palestinian village is to be entirely encircled by the next phase of the West Bank separation barrier. The US asks Syria not to hinder direct negotiations. Israel orders an investigation into the death of a nonviolent Palestinian protester. The head of Israel's internal security visits the West Bank for security coordination talks. Salman Masalha says Gilad Shalit's family should be allowed to visit him. Ahmad Tibi says the situation is worsening for Palestinian citizens of Israel. The BBC profiles a Gaza smuggling millionaire. Palestinian refugees in Syria are talked about their homeland. Raghida Dergham says Pres. Obama needs new strategies in dealing with Israel. ATFP President Ziad Asali warns that if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved in the foreseeable future, it could lead to a holy war.

Presbyterians Press U.S. on Aid to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Presbyterian leaders want the United States to end aid to Israel unless the country stops settlement expansions in disputed Palestinian territories. Delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted Friday to support the move during the church’s general assembly in Minneapolis. The measure passed with 82 percent of the vote. Jewish groups have long taken issue with various Presbyterian statements on the Middle East. But at least one group offered qualified praise on Friday.

Pressure for direct Israeli-Palestinian builds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Pressure intensified for a resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Sunday, but Palestinian leaders continued to insist that Israel first freeze settlement construction in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would travel to Cairo this week to solicit help from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in persuading the Palestinian Authority to resume direct talks. Get dispatches from Times correspondents around the globe delivered to your inbox with our daily World newsletter. Sign up »

ISRAEL: Don't restart negotiations from scratch, former peace-table adversaries agree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Two years ago Tzipi Livni and Ahmed Qurei had a standing rendezvous at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, at least twice a week, to hash over hotly disputed issues such as borders, refugees and the future of Jerusalem. Back then meetings between the then-Israeli foreign minister and the former Palestinian Authority prime minister hardly drew notice. No reporters, no cameras and no fanfare. But their return engagement on the same stage Sunday caused a mini stir since direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since 2008 and they hadn't seen each other since.

Libya's Qaddafi latest to challenge Israel's Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Six weeks after Israeli commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian activists to prevent a Turkish aid ship from reaching the Gaza Strip, tensions are on the rise as a Libyan-sponsored vessel sets out to challenge Israel's naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. Backed by a charity headed by the son of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi, the ship Amalthea is carrying a cargo of 2,000 tons of food. Organizers say the plan is to reach Gaza within the coming days.

The other Israeli conflict: with itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

With side curls tucked under wire-rimmed glasses, Mordechai Kry­bus has become an ultra-Orthodox celebrity virtually overnight. Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the Emmanuel elementary school, which his daughter attends, practices de facto ethnic segregation by separating students along religious lines. Mr. Kyrbus and 35 other parents went to jail rather than comply with what they considered religious coercion by the secular court.

A jihad’s inspiration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Philip Smucker - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

AMID THE frosty peaks of the Hindu Kush, I imagined the echo of George W. Bush’s words, “Justice will be done!’’ rebounding through the boulders like a snow leopard on the prowl. Nearly nine years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, it is worth remembering that killing or capturing Osama bin Laden was once front and center of the US government’s anti-terrorism policy.

Abbas: No direct talks until progress on borders, security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Direct talks will not be resumed with Israel until progress is made during US-brokered proximity talks on the issues of borders and security, President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday evening. “We hope to make progress that will enable us to launch serious negotiations leading to a two-state solution before it is too late,” Abbas said during a celebration at the the Cultural Palace in Ramallah, marking the Prophet Mohammad’s Night Journey.

Israel failed in ship interception planning-reports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's military failed to prepare adequately for what turned into a deadly raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, according to findings of a military inquiry quoted by the Israeli media on Monday. The official report into the May 31 incident, in which nine pro-Palestiniam Turkish activists were killed, was set to be released later in the day by a military commission led by Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli general.

Senior Palestinian calls Jerusalem a "time bomb"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian figure said on Sunday that rising tension with Israel over settlement building in the Jerusalem area was a "time bomb" that was eroding trust between the two sides. Ahmed Qurei, a former prime minister and negotiator, joined Tsipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister and now opposition leader in parliament, in calling on both sides to work harder to achieve a two-state solution.

Palestinian village to be encircled by barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - July 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has started construction on a new section of its West Bank separation barrier that Palestinian residents say could sound a death knell for their hamlet. The barrier, running much of the length of the West Bank, has already disrupted lives in many Palestinian towns and villages in its path. But it threatens to outright smother Walajeh: The community of about 2,000 on the southwest edge of Jerusalem is to be completely encircled by a fence cutting it off from most of its open land, according to an Israeli Defense Ministry map.

U.S. asks Syria to support Palestinian-Israeli direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The U.S. administration demanded Syria not to hinder the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) tendency towards direct negotiations with Israel, local news website Syria Now reported on Monday. A well-informed source confirmed that Washington asks Damascus, through U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, not to hinder the PNA tendency towards direct negotiation at a time when the Palestinian side showed hesitation over the results of the indirect talks and Arab League chief Amr Moussa declared that those talks have failed.

IDF to probe death of Palestinian protester at West Bank rally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Military Advocate General on Monday ordered the army's criminal investigations unit to investigate the death of a Palestinian protester who was killed by a tear gas canister at a demonstration in Bil'in in April 2009. The Military Advocate General had refused to open a criminal investigation into the death of Bassem Abu-Rahma, but on Monday changed its mind after expert testimony showed that the tear gas canister was aimed directly at Abu-Rahma and was fired in violation of military orders.

Shin Bet visits West Bank cities to boost security ties with PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin recently spent a day in the West Bank city of Jenin as a guest of the Palestinian Authority's security service. This is Diskin's second visit of this kind to Palestinian Authority territory in recent months, the aim of which is to coordinate security ties between Israel and the PA. The first visit was to Ramallah. The meetings have not been made public, in accordance with an agreement between the two sides.

The Palestinians' chance to win a moral victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Salman Masalha - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

In an era of political correctness, there are those who think it appropriate to adjust the message to the audience to which it is directed. I don't agree. In my view, political correctness is a defilement - sweet talk that obscures blatant racism. There is a universal morality that transcends religions, peoples and nations, and is binding on anyone who belongs to the community of humankind.

What about Palestinian residents of Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ahmad Tibi - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

In the 11 years that I have served in the Knesset, I have received numerous death threats. Pulsa Denura (the term for a rabbinical death curse) has evidently taken exception to my consistent call for equal rights for the country’s Palestinian minority. Recently I received a letter – the second in as many days – that warned: “You have 180 days to live. Your death will be sudden and cruel, accompanied by great pain...”

Gaza's smuggling-tunnel millionaire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Jon Donnison - July 10, 2010 - 12:00am

While many Gazans live in poverty, one Gazan refugee has used the illegal network of tunnels which enable goods to be smuggled into Gaza to build a millionaire's empire. Maybe, like most people in Gaza, I had been watching a little bit too much of the World Cup. But sitting on Abu Nafez's lush sprinkler-assisted lawn outside his palatial home in the southern Gaza Strip, I kept thinking it was a bit like meeting a Premiership footballer.

Palestinians in Syria have to be taught about 'home'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Phil Sands - July 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A year before Srur Ali’s father died, he gave his son a bundle of papers, wrapped in a pillowcase and a plastic bag, with instructions that they were a priceless inheritance and must never be lost. Aged 15 at the time, Srur, a Palestinian refugee living in Syria, gave little thought to the contents but promised to protect them. For the next half-century the documents were hidden away.

The US Shift in Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - July 9, 2010 - 12:00am

It would be appropriate to resume direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government within “a few weeks” as long as President Barack Obama has a clear vision of what the role of the US should be in the negotiations, from the strategic perspective as well as from the perspective of the structure of opinions and how to implement them.

'Palestinian-Israeli situation could lead to a holy war if not resolved soon'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson - July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama assured Mahmoud Abbas by telephone on Friday of his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The call followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's White House meeting with Obama on Tuesday, in which the two leaders discussed a number of issues including Israel's stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. Dr. Ziad Asali, the president and founder of the Washington-based American Task Force on Palestine, said it is important to keep focused on the efforts the president is making in outreach to both Palestinians and Israelis.

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