Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel's internal military investigation into the flotilla attack finds the killings justified, but That National says nobody is fooled. Israel considers restricting citizenship for certain converts. PLO officials reiterate their conditions for direct negotiations, but pledge no unilateral declaration of independence. Israel demolishes three Palestinian structures in Jerusalem, including an inhabited home. Palestinians emphasize national unity. A poll shows most Palestinians believe proximity talks will fail. US conservatives form a new pro-Israel, pro-occupation organization. Israel approves 32 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Israelis fear a “cultural intifada” as Western stars cancel visits. Israel is developing high-tech “remote killing” devices. Hussein Shobokshi says right-wing American groups are funding Jewish terrorism. Ghassan Khatib says that by emphasizing borders and security, only the Palestinians are being serious about peace. Alon Pinkas says Pres. Obama may have to adopt the Clinton parameters for peace.

Israeli Military Finds Flotilla Killings Justified
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli military investigation into its naval takeover of a Gaza-bound flotilla six weeks ago found that it was plagued by errors of planning, intelligence and coordination but that the killings of nine Turks on board were justified, according to an official summary of the findings released Monday.

Israel considers restricting citizenship for some who convert to Judaism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli parliamentary committee on Monday advanced a bill that could lead to lack of recognition for conversions to Judaism performed by rabbis from the Reform and Conservative movements. The bill could give the chief rabbinate, the religious authority in Israel run by ultra-Orthodox Jews, the power to decide which conversions are accepted, overturning an Israeli Supreme Court decision that ensures eligibility for Israeli citizenship for Jews converted by rabbis from all branches of Judaism.

Erekat: Conditions must be fulfilled before talks proceed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Reaffirming the PA stance on conditions ahead of direct talks, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that Israel must realize a halt to settlement construction. "Israel must fulfill the terms of the peace process," Erekat said, hours after media reports announced the construction of 32 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem.

Israel razes inhabited Palestinian home in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel razed an inhabited Palestinian home in East Jerusalem for the first time in eight months on Tuesday, effectively ending an unofficial freeze of such internationally-condemned demolitions. A Reuters photographer witnessed a Palestinian family removing its belongings from the house in East Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighbourhood before an Israeli excavator tore into the dwelling.

Israeli bulldozers raze 4 east Jerusalem buildings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli bulldozers destroyed six buildings, including at least three homes, in contested east Jerusalem on Tuesday, resuming the demolition of Palestinian property after a halt aimed at encouraging peace talks. Jerusalem house demolitions are a volatile issue because of conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city's eastern sector. Israel sees it as part of its capital city, while Palestinians want it for their own future capital.

Rival Palestinian factions give priority to reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Leaders of various Palestinian factions, including rival Fatah and Hamas movements, agreed on Monday that achieving the inter-Palestinian reconciliation and ending the rift between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is a national priority to confront the Israelis. The factions' leaders called for overcoming the internal feuds and rejecting any external intervention in the internal Palestinian affair "in order to succeed the efforts of achieving the reconciliation." The call was made during a rally organized by the Palestinian National Initiative movement.

Most Palestinians believe proximity talks to fail: poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Most Palestinians believe the U.S. -led indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) would fail, a poll showed on Monday. The survey, conducted by the West Bank-based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), said 53 percent of the surveyed expected the negotiations that started in May would fail, 37 percent said the proximity talks would be successful and 10 percent refused to answer the question.

Erekat: No unilateral declaration of Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

A unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is "not on the agenda," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Turkish state television channel TRT on Tuesday. "We declared our independence in 1988," Erekat said. "Now it's up to the international community to declare recognition of our independence." "Our option is a two-state solution. We have recognized the state of Israel and its right to exist on the 1967 borders. Now it's up to the international community to stand firm and recognize Palestine on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital."

U.S. conservatives form new pro-Israel lobby group
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Washington observers may feel there is no obvious shortage of pro-Israel lobbyists in the city – but a group of leading American conservatives thinks otherwise and has set up a new campaign group to attack President Obama over his "anti-Israel" stance, U.S. website Politico reports.

PA not ruling out direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah on Monday did not rule out the possibility that the PA would agree to begin direct negotiations with Israel, in what appears to be a departure from its previous position. According to the officials, the PA was now inclined to agree to hold direct negotiations, especially following assurances from US President Barack Obama to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “We don’t rule out direct talks,” said one official. “But before we move to these talks, we want to have a clear agenda and timetable.”

East J'lem building approved
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Benjamin L. Hartman - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The Jerusalem building and planning committee on Monday approved plans for 32 new housing units in the northeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. Kobi Kahalon, chairman of the building and planning committee, had postponed a hearing on the building plan set for last week, so that it would not coincide with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.

‘Cultural intifada’ as Costello, Meg Ryan and others cancel Israel plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Marcy Oster - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Actress Meg Ryan's decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello when he nixed his Israel concert this spring. Both, however, were a reminder to Israelis that in the eyes of much of the world, Israel’s politics and culture are inseparable.

Israel paves the way for killing by remote control
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

It is called Spot and Shoot. Operators sit in front of a TV monitor from which they can control the action with a PlayStation-style joystick. The aim: to kill. Played by: young women serving in the Israeli army. Spot and Shoot, as it is called by the Israeli military, may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people – Palestinians in Gaza – who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.

Israel not fooling anyone with report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

It took only a month or so for the Israeli military to conclude its investigation into the deadly raid on the Freedom Flotilla and in particular, the Mavi Marmara. Given that the assault so outraged the world, alienated Israel’s allies and killed nine people, we would have thought it would take more than a few weeks to answer all the tough questions Israel is facing. But that, of course, is the point: Israel has no intention of answering inconvenient questions over an attack it feels entirely justified in carrying out.

Funding Israeli Terrorism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Amidst the continuous talk about the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians on one hand, and the war on terrorism and the attempts to hunt down the major terrorist financiers on the other, an extremely important issue that is closely related to both of the above topics is being overlooked. I am talking about the financing of illegal Israeli settlements and the heavily armed militias that kill Palestinians in cold blood without any fear of punishment.

Only the Palestinians have been serious
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has just finished another trip to the US, this time including an important meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Living on borrowed time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Alon Pinkas - (Opinion) July 13, 2010 - 12:00am

In romantic terms, the July 6 meeting in the White House between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was a combination of "it's not you, it's me" and "let's hug it out." Both phrases are understated versions of the more lurid and moist descriptions of the encounter in the Israeli media.

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