Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The new Israeli anti-rocket system is not considered foolproof. The PA urges Israel to release seized oxygen machines. Israel will seek to limit civilian deaths in future wars. Pres. Abbas says he needs more assurances from the US on borders, but PLO officials deny he sent a secret letter to Pres. Obama. Some Gaza factories are reviving due to the easing of the blockade. Palestinian warn against Israel seizing more property in Jerusalem. Israel declares a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley a “military zone” and destroys it. PM Netanyahu says he is willing to take risks for peace, and Ha'aretz looks at what kind of agreement he may have reached with Obama. More than 70% of Israelis favor peace talks. Israel's outgoing ambassador to the UN fears delegitimization. Israel allows a major inflow of cash to Gaza banks. A Palestinian man is convicted in an Israeli court of “rape by deception” for telling a woman he is Jewish. The Jordan Times says Obama has nothing to show for his peace efforts. Lebanese officials say Palestinians may be allowed work permits while retaining their refugee status. Ori Nir describes an event featuring young Israeli and Palestinian peace activists including the joint APN/ATFP summer interns.

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system not a silver bullet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - July 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Four years after Hezbollah exposed Israel's vulnerability to short- and medium-range rockets, Israeli defense officials finished testing on Monday what is supposed to be the answer. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system is designed to intercept salvos of primitive rockets from Gaza and Lebanon, drastically reducing the ability of Hamas and Hezbollah to hit Israeli population centers. It's also a blow to Iran, which supports both militant groups, and could use them as proxies in a broader conflict against Israel.

PA urges Israel to hand over oxygen machines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health appealed Wednesday to Israel to deliver seven oxygen machines donated by a Norwegian development agency that were seized by Israeli officials en route to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza. Heath Minister Fathi Abu Moghli delivered a second letter of appeal to donor countries and organizations, calling for "urgent intervention" for the medical supplies to be delivered to hospitals in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel wants fewer civilian deaths in future wars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Louis Charbonneau - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

A new Israeli report on the 2008-2009 war in the Gaza Strip says that Israel's army is taking steps to reduce the number of civilian casualties in future wars and will restrict the use of white phosphorous. The 37-page report, which was posted on the Israeli Foreign Ministry's website, was delivered to the office of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday in compliance with a General Assembly resolution, U.N. officials said.

Abbas: Specific US assurances on borders needed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told his Fatah movement he wants a more specific U.S. commitment on the borders of a future Palestinian state before agreeing to direct talks with Israel, an adviser said Wednesday. Abbas told Fatah leaders in a closed-door meeting late Tuesday that President Barack Obama's assurances so far aren't clear enough. Obama has urged Abbas to resume direct talks that broke off in December 2008.

With blockade's easing, some Gaza factories revive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Some of the hundreds of Gaza factories idled by Israel's blockade are cranking up rusty machines to can tomatoes, mix concrete and press pills again now that Israel is allowing in raw materials for the first time in three years. But Israel's recent easing of the closure appears unlikely to get Gaza's battered economy back on its feet.

Palestinians warn of executing Israeli "absentee property" law in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly - July 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials on Tuesday warned of the Israeli government's decision to expand the implementation of the Israeli law of seizing the "absentee property" in Jerusalem. They told Xinhua in separate interviews that the Israeli law aims at escalating the Israeli measures against the Palestinians in the holy city "in order to seize their properties and push them towards the permanent emigration from the city."

Palestinian official denies Abbas' secret letter to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 20, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official on Tuesday denied reports that President Mahmoud Abbas had sent a secret document to the U.S. administration stating the Palestinian view of a final solution with Israel. "The Palestinian side did not offer any secret papers different than our known and declared position," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

IDF destroys West Bank village after declaring it military zone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The IDF's Civil Administration destroyed a Palestinian village Monday morning that had earlier been cleared out when its water supply was cut off. The IDF demolished about 55 structures in the West Bank village of Farasiya, including tents, tin shacks, plastic and straw huts, clay ovens, sheep pens and bathrooms. These structures served the 120 farmers, hired workers and their families who lived in the Jordan Valley village. The Civil Administration said they had declared the area a live fire zone and posted eviction orders for 10 families in tents on June 27.

Netanyahu: I'm willing to take political risks for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the European Union's foreign policy chief that he is ready to take a political risk to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, but only if he does not have to take a security risk, sources say. During talks with Catherine Ashton, Netanyahu reiterated that he seeks to move forward quickly if direct negotiations with the Palestinians begin. He believes it would be possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians within a year. A deal would then be implemented gradually over a number of years.

What exactly did Netanyahu promise Obama?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

A talk given by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew J. Shapiro at the Brookings Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington D.C. last weekend did not gain sufficient attention in Israel. Most of the Israeli newspapers focused on his argument that more American aid, which would fund the manufacture of missile defense systems, would help Israel make "tough" decisions in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. (In other words – the financial assistance and defense systems would minimize the risk posed by rocket attacks thus facilitating future Israeli territorial withdrawals.)

Poll: 71.5% Israelis favor peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University released the 2010 Peace Index on Wednesday, revealing Israelis' positions on peace talks, captive soldier Gilad Schalit, US President Barack Obama and other current events and issues.

Envoy: Israel threatened by efforts to delegitimize it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Eli Lake - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's outgoing ambassador to the United Nations said Monday that the most significant threat to the Jewish state is not Iran, but efforts to delegitimize Israel and its leaders. "Israel is the most isolated, lonely country in the world," Gabriela Shalev told reporters in Washington at a luncheon sponsored by the Israel project.

Israel gives Gaza banks NIS 100M
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Political-Security Cabinet convened Wednesday to discuss Israel's blockade policy in the Gaza Strip. It was stated during the meeting that Israel had transferred NIS 50 million ($12.96 million) to Gaza banks for the payment of salaries on Monday and that an additional NIS 50 million will be transferred in the coming days. Banks in the Gaza Strip have suffered a cash shortage following an increase in trade stemming from blockade easements.

Arab who posed as a Jew jailed for rape 'by deception'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian man who masqueraded as a Jew to have sex with a Jewish woman has been convicted of rape "by deception" and sentenced to 18 months in prison. The unusual case underscores the racial tensions between Israel's Jewish and Arab communities, where intimate relations between the two are often regarded as taboo.

On and off, with nothing to show for
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama has been issuing contradictory statements about the prospect for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Once the US president assures Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he is committed to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, then, after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he says the prospects for peace in the region appear slim. Some time before that, Obama had acknowledged that the search for peace in the Middle East is tantamount to walking among land-mines.

Ghanem: Work permits retain refugee status for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

ead of the Administration and Justice parliamentary committee, MP Robert Ghanem, said work permits will preserve the refugee status of Palestinians in Lebanon. The West Bekaa MP spoke to reporters on Monday after chairing a meeting for the committee at the Parliament. Ghanem said the committee amended article 59 of the Labor Law by which Palestinians registered in the Interior Ministry and the Political Affairs and Refugees Directory would have to file for a work permit in order to gain access to various professions.

Young Israelis and Palestinians Commit to Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Ori Nir - (Opinion) July 21, 2010 - 12:00am

I just came back from an inspiring event on Capitol Hill, in which young Israeli and Palestinian peace activists told their stories and urged Americans to get involved to make Middle East peace a reality. It was the first annual congressional forum of the Middle East program of New Story Leadership, a Washington-based organization that brings young adults to Washington for internships and leadership training. Participants eventually return to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, and, hopefully, continue taking action toward peace and reconciliation.

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