Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A dispute erupts over who will pay the medical bills of an American student badly injured by Israeli forces at a West Bank protest. Commercial pilots complain about Israel's interception policies. Pressure mounts for direct talks. Israel destroys 45 homes in a Bedouin village. PM Netanyahu discusses peace with Jordan's King Abdallah. Fatah officials say the PA government will be reshuffled. Egypt seizes control of 10 Gaza smuggling tunnels. Six Palestinians are injured in clashes with settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. The PA warns it may face a financial crisis if pledged donations are withheld. Pres. Abbas is reportedly set to tell the Arab League that conditions are not sufficient for direct negotiations. Israel is planning to demolish the yeshiva of the settler rabbi recently arrested for incitement to kill non-Jews. Ha'aretz interviews former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. Hamas may impose military conscription in Gaza. Ehud Yaari says the Obama administration has decided to cooperate with Israel. PM Cameron says Gaza cannot remain a “prison camp.” Jonathan Freedland says “one-state” proposals from the Israeli right don't offer much to the Palestinians. Ghassan Khatib says all negotiations must be about substance and not form. Yossi Alpher says continued proximity talks may be preferable to direct negotiations.

Student Injury at Protest Leads to Battle in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

A macabre legal wrangle is under way over who should pay the hospital bill for an American art student who lost an eye after being struck by a tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli border police officer at a Palestinian-led protest in the West Bank. The student, Emily Henochowicz, 21, was injured on May 31 after she joined Palestinian and foreign activists protesting that morning’s deadly raid by Israeli naval commandos on a Turkish boat trying to breach the blockade of Gaza. Israeli security forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstration after a few Palestinian youths threw rocks.

Global Airline Pilots Not Happy About Israeli Security Program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Christine Negroni - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Pilots of commercial airlines that fly into Israel are expressing increased opposition to a security program imposed by the country’s Ministry of Transport that they say could subject inbound flights to possible attack by Israeli warplanes. Last week, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 flight to Tel Aviv was intercepted as it approached Israeli airspace when pilots failed to correctly submit a code confirming their identity as required under the security program. The plane was prohibited from landing until it was determined not to be a security threat.

Pressure mounts for Mideast talks as Israel's settlement freeze nears end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

While Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Washington this week to talk about peace gestures toward the Palestinians, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was planting a tree in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank -- an indication of permanence that few Palestinians would welcome. The contrast showed the confusion U.S. officials face in figuring out how willing Israel might be to cede territory as part of a two-state solution to the conflict.

Israel razes homes in Bedouin village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

For the sixth time in a decade, farmer Ismail Mohamed Salem watched Israeli bulldozers raze his home in this disputed Bedouin village. Hours later, he sat next to the rubble and vowed to rebuild — yet again. "This is my land," said Salem, 70, as his grandchildren lay sleeping on straw mats next to the demolished structure, now a 20-foot pile of twisted aluminum, broken concrete and splintered wood. "Why should I leave?" Salem's home was among 45 demolished early Tuesday as part of a long-running dispute between Arab tribes in the Negev desert and the Israeli government.

Israeli premier talks to Jordanian king about need for direct Mideast peace negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jamal Halaby - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

In a surprise visit to Amman on Tuesday, Israel's prime minister tried to mobilize Jordan's king in his effort to persuade the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks, though the chief Palestinian negotiator again rejected the idea. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's quick trip to neighboring Jordan came after a Palestinian document, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, noted that President Barack Obama's envoy is also pressing the Palestinians to restart direct peace negotiations with Israel.

Fatah official: PA to disband government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The Ramallah-based government led by premier Salam Fayyad will be disbanded and a new Palestinian Authority cabinet will be formed next week, a high-ranking Fatah official said Tuesday. Fatah's parliament speaker Azzam Al-Ahmad told Ma'an radio that President Abbas would consult with Palestinian factions over the new structure of the PA. Fayyad or another politician will be tasked with forming a government, he said.

Egypt seizes 10 Gaza tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Egyptian forces took control of 10 smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border area of Salah Ad-Din in Rafah on Wednesday and thwarted a cement-smuggling operation, a security source said. Forces seized a tunnel after receiving information on its location, the official told Ma'an. The tunnels were raided and 30 bags of cement were found inside. The smugglers fled the scene before security forces arrived. The cement, weighing approximately 1.5 tons, was confiscated. The tunnels will be demolished, the source said.

6 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli settlers over house demolitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Six Palestinians were injured and four others were arrested during clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, witnesses said. The witnesses said angry Palestinian young men threw stones at Israeli police and settlers who came to inspect a site where the municipality of Jerusalem is planning to build an entertainment place. The Israeli police used rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds, the witnesses added.

PNA to suffer financial crisis if donors continue not to pay, officials say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials said on Tuesday that the lack of Arab donations to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) this year might lead to a severe financial crisis in the upcoming months. Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani told Xinhua that Arab states have only paid 20 percent of what they have pledged to give in aid to the PNA. "Our Arab brothers are cutting off the financial supports when our European friends are honoring their pledges to financially boost the PNA," he said.

Israel: Palestinians have set 'impossible' conditions for direct peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has laid down "impossible" conditions for moving to direct peace talks, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on Wednesday, according to French news agency AFP. "The Palestinians have set three impossible conditions: that the negotiations start from the point they left off at the end of 2008 when Ehud Olmert was prime minister, that they be based on a total Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines and that the freeze of [settlement] construction continue," Shalom was quoted as saying.

Report: IDF prepares to demolish yeshiva at West Bank settlement Yitzhar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The military is preparing to demolish a Jewish seminary building at the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar after residents lost an appeal against its destruction, Army Radio reported Wednesday. Military sources said that army prosecutors had turned down an appeal against plans to raze the yeshiva, which the government has ruled illegal, in response to attacks by Yitzhar settlers on neighboring Palestinians and the extremist language used by the yeshiva's rabbi, Itzik Shapira.

Martin Indyk: I think the settlement issue will be resolved
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Interview) July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Martin Indyk served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2001. Today he is vice president for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. Assuming Benjamin Netanyahu's government has no intention of extending the freeze on construction in the settlements in September, what impact might that have on direct talks?

Hamas may employ Gaza army draft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The top security official in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Tuesday he is considering setting up a bigger military force, first with volunteers and eventually with conscripts as well. Such a step could further tighten Hamas' control of Gaza and deepen the rift with the group's Western-backed rivals in the West Bank. Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007, wresting control from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Currently, Hamas has a paid security force of about 18,000.

US revamps its ‘Muddle East’ policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ehud Yaari - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The foreign policy team of US President Barack Obama is undertaking a reassessment of its policy all over the Middle East, including Israel. No one has made or will make a public declaration about such a change, but a reassessment is nonetheless under way, and we can already detect the first products of this rethinking of policy.

David Cameron describes blockaded Gaza as a 'prison'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip, describing the territory as a "prison camp". He also criticised Israel for launching an attack on a convoy transporting Turkish activists and aid to Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens died in the raid. He was speaking to an audience of businessmen during a visit to Ankara. The Israeli embassy in London said Gazans were prisoners of Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas. Israel and Egypt enforce a blockade on Gaza which restricts goods and people from coming in or out freely.

The Israeli right has a new vision – Jews and Arabs sharing one country
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

If David Cameron is feeling a tad frustrated by the lack of progress in the Middle East – breaking with usual diplomatese during a visit to Turkey todayto brand Gaza a "prison camp" – then he is not the only one. "Everything is stuck," sighs Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament on a visit to London. The small Arab nationalist party he leads is formally committed to the two-state solution which would see a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but he sees no prospect of it. Those in charge are interested only in "conflict management, not resolution", he says.

Negotiations must be about substance not form
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Among Palestinians, the discussion that has been held in political and media circles in recent weeks about the need to move from indirect to direct talks is perceived as being about Israel trying to escape its responsibilities by trying to shift the focus from substance to form.

Proximity talks have their uses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) July 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Later this week, the Arab League will decide whether to recommend that the PLO move from proximity to direct talks in its negotiations with the Netanyahu government. The American-led Quartet and the moderate Arab states are reportedly pressuring President Mahmoud Abbas to request precisely such a recommendation. This, then, is a good opportunity to reflect on the advantages of US-brokered proximity talks as opposed to direct talks in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

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