Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel's handling of a Libyan aid ship implements lessons from the Gaza flotilla attack, and the committee investigating it demands documents. A crossing in southern Gaza is due to expand. PLO officials reiterate there will be no direct talks without further progress and call other suggestions “an insult.” Occupation forces demolish two Palestinian homes near Hebron. The Arab League chief is optimistic about negotiations. Future applicants for Israeli citizenship may have to swear allegiance to a “Jewish state.” West Bank economic growth is reflected in expanded car dealerships. Settlers are pushing for a one-state solution with the West Bank. FM Lieberman calls for complete Israeli disengagement with Gaza. Settlers in Jerusalem recruit Israeli children to fight police in the event of the enforcement of a long-delayed court-ordered eviction. 46% of Israelis think Pres. Obama is pro-Palestinian. Israel tells the UN the West Bank is outside its boundaries. Seth Friedman says Israel's hand must be forced on home demolitions. The Independent profiles a Gaza travel agent. Support for Israel among Americans remains very strong. George Hishmeh asks if US policy is stuck until the November elections.

In diverting Libya aid ship, Israel implements lessons from Gaza flotilla raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel ducked a sea clash with a Libyan-backed aid ship bound for Gaza with a combination of diplomacy and deterrence, applying some lessons from the fatal intercept of a Turkish ship that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and increased Israel's international isolation.

Southern Gaza crossing to expand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Among the goods brought into Gaza on Thursday, officials said, were pebble aggregates to be used for expanding the Kerem Shalom crossing facilities. The expansion comes in line with Israeli announcements that under the new terms of the siege on Gaza, crossings facilities would be upgraded.

Dahlan: No direct talks until issues addressed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians will not enter direct talks until Israel addresses issues raised in proximity talks, Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan said Thursday. Speaking to Ma’an Radio, Dahlan affirmed news reports that US President Barack Obama had agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pressure the Palestinian side into direct talks, but said a specific date or agenda had not been set.

Israeli forces demolish 2 homes near Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The owner of one of two homes demolished southwest of Hebron said he produced paperwork to prove his home was constructed with a permit, but that bulldozers razed his home anyway. Speaking on behalf of the home owner, head of the Abu Al A'rqan-village council Mohammad Ash-Shawamreh said Israeli troops entered the village with orders to demolish the homes of Fathi Mahmoud Ash-Shawamreh and Mustafa Ibrahim Ash-Shawamreh. Fathi is currently being held in an Israeli prison.

Arab League chief optimistic over peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said on Wednesday he is quite optimistic over the peace talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PA) and Israel. During his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem, Moussa confirmed that he would wait for the Arab Follow- up Committee meeting on July 29 which is going to discuss the results of the indirect talks between PNA and Israel. The Israeli siege imposed on Gaza Strip was also discussed as Moussa confirmed that it must be lifted rather than reduced or even frozen.

PNA rejects goodwill gestures as "insult"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Thursday rejected moving to direct talks with Israel in exchange for Israeli goodwill gestures as "insult." "Going to direct negotiations in exchange for motivation, including financial support, is insulting," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. Stopping settlement expansions, removing checkpoints and releasing prisoners "are Israeli obligations and can't be considered as motivation or goodwill gestures," Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio.

Palestinians may soon have to swear loyalty to 'Jewish' state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis, Dana Weiler-Polak - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The cabinet is expected to approve a series of measures on Sunday that would make it harder for Palestinians to acquire permanent residency or citizenship in Israel. The most notable would require Palestinians to declare their loyalty to "a Jewish and democratic state" before being granted Israeli citizenship. The measures will primarily affect Palestinian men and women who marry Israeli citizens and then seek citizenship on the basis of family reunification.

MESS Report / In the West Bank, new cars signal the good life
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

New car lots and showrooms, offering vehicles of every kind but mainly Korean, have sprung up at the entrances to Nablus, from the Hawara checkpoint in the south and from the west. Similar showrooms have appeared at Jenin's southern and northern entrances. The dealerships, showing brand-new cars, reflect the economic growth in the West Bank. While in the '90s, West Bank cities served as a hideout for cars stolen from Israel, today their streets are lined with just-bought models. A Palestinian journalist in Nablus calls it "the car intifada."

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Noam Sheizaf - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

"The prospects of the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas do not look promising. President Obama undoubtedly thinks otherwise, but if Abbas speaks for anyone, it's barely half the Palestinians. The chances of anything good coming of this are not great. Another possibility is Jordan. If Jordan were ready to absorb both more territories and more people, things would be much easier and more natural. But Jordan does not agree to this. Therefore, I say that we can look at another option: for Israel to apply its law to Judea and Samaria and grant citizenship to 1.5 million Palestinians."

FM presents: 2nd disengagement from Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shimon Shiffer - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Five years after Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has proposed a new plan aimed at ridding Israel of any responsibility for the coastal enclave, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Friday. Lieberman is troubled by the fact that despite the evacuation of all Israeli settlements in Gaza and a full IDF withdrawal, the disengagement was not acknowledged by the international community, which still demands that Israel provide the Strip's residents with their basic necessities.

Turkel committee demands documents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Retired Justice Jacob Turkel, head of the commission probing the events surrounding the Gaza-bound flotilla, has issued letters to military and government officials demanding they turn over to him all correspondence that led to the decision to besiege the Gaza Strip. Letters were issued to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Brigadier General (Res.) Giora Eiland. Turkel also asked for all the documentation pertaining to the takeover of the Turkish flotilla in the end of May.

Beit Yonatan council to fight expulsion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The council for Jewish residents in Silwan have secret plans to bring in about 2,500 youth to help prevent to their expulsion from Beit Yehonatan should police attempt to force them to leave the disputed building, Channel 10 reported on Thursday evening. According to the plans, the youth will be brought into the area two days before any planned expulsion from the building to assist in preparations for the day of expulsion.

46% say Obama is pro-Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to the people of Israel last week – when he hosted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a positive meeting at the White House and gave his first interview as president to an Israeli television station – were not very successful, according to a Smith Research poll for The Jerusalem Post. When asked whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro- Palestinian or neutral, just 10 percent of Israeli Jews said more pro-Israel, 46% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 10% did not express an opinion.

Israel to UN: West Bank ‘outside our boundaries’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel argued this week that a major human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, did not apply to its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, because those areas were outside the country’s national boundaries, even as it defended its record on that score before the covenant’s monitoring body in Geneva.

Force Israel's hand on Palestinian home demolitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Seth Freedman - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

In theory, a municipality demolishing illegal structures on its land should not raise any eyebrows. In practice, however, such a measure should be viewed in the context of the wider politics of the locality – and when it comes to the tinderbox of Israeli-Palestinian affairs, the Israeli authorities' actions should be seen for the provocative and spiteful behaviour that they are.

Who'd be a travel agent in Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Nabil Shurafa breaks off his explanation of the trials of being a travel agent in a territory where the large majority of citizens cannot travel, to take a call from one of his few lucky clients. It is a bank employee booked on a Cairo-Damascus Egyptair flight at 2.30am tomorrow. "You'll get the bus from Rafah at 11. Be sure to tell the [Egyptian] soldier that you have to be at the airport by 1am at the latest. The flight goes from terminal three."

Support for Israel near record high, Gallup Poll shows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Support for Israel among Americans is at a near record high, a new poll showed. According to the Gallup Poll, 63 percent of Americans say their sympathies in the Middle East conflict are with Israel, while 15 percent side with the Palestinians. The rest favor both sides, neither side or have no opinion. Support for Israel was higher only in 1991, shortly after Israel was hit with Scud missiles during the Gulf War, when it was at 64 percent.

Waiting for November
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) July 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The love fest held here for all to see, with Barack Obama escorting Benjamin Netanyahu on the front lawn of the White House and at a joint press conference, was a marked difference from the two leaders’ contentious, behind-closed-doors meeting here last April. But judging from the early assessments, it is not certain that their relationship will bear fruit in the near future.

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