Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The CSM describes Peace Now's monitoring of Israeli settlement activity. Aaron David Miller says direct talks may be a political trap for the Obama administration. Israel seizes a Palestinian building in occupied East Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas says he needs written assurances, but Egyptian officials say he has. Roadblocks continue to complicate life in the West Bank. Abbas says reunification must precede peace. The Arab League is set to reject direct negotiations, but PLO officials insist this is a purely Palestinian decision. PM Netanyahu says his government will fall if the moratorium is extended. Palestinian citizens of Israel say they have no choice but to build without permission. Israel speeds up construction of a barrier that will cut off a Palestinian village from its land. Larry Derfner says many Israelis who denounce Palestinian violence defend pre-state Jewish violence. D. Bloomfield worries about the prospect of Rep. Ros-Lehtinen becoming Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Hamas bans lingerie displays in Gaza shops. Mahmoud Habboush says in spite of everything, Gaza is still his home. Daoud Kuttab describes the suffering of Palestinians trying to cross the Allenby Bridge in the summer heat. Michael Jansen says the easing of the Gaza blockade is largely cosmetic. The Arab News says PM Cameron was right to describe Gaza as a “prison camp.” Hussein Ibish describes the Catch-22 facing the Palestinian leadership on direct negotiations.

Why a young Israeli woman spies on Israeli settlements in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

If Palestinians ever achieve the viable state to which they aspire, they will have a determined young Israeli activist to thank for its territory not being entirely swallowed by Israeli settlements.

Mr. President, Don’t Pray for Anything You Really Don’t Want
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Barack Obama's administration has been lobbying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab governments hard to return to direct talks with Israel for the first time in several years. That decision could be made as early as Thursday, when the Arab League meets to discuss the matter. But Obama should very careful what he wishes for. One of the most enduring myths in the lore surrounding Arab-Israeli diplomacy is that direct negotiations provide the key to successful peacemaking. They don't.

Police, settlers take over Jerusalem home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli settlers accompanied by police took over a building in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem early Thursday morning, evicting families from three of the building's apartments. Israeli National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said two Jewish families entered the Old City home "based on documents claiming that they owned the property." He described the eviction as proceeding without incident.

Egypt: Abbas received American assurances
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas has received American assurances over the future of the peace process with Israel, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Thursday. Speaking to Egyptian TV Thursday morning, Abul Gheit said a series of letters from the American administration were "conveyed to the Palestinian side within the past few days." He said Arab officials were waiting for a Thursday afternoon meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas "to see what Abu Mazen [Abbas] will present."

Roadblocks continue to halt life in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The road to the Al-Hadidiya village in the northeastern West Bank district of Tubas is dotted with boulders etched with a warning in Hebrew, Arabic, and English: “Danger - Open Fire Area.” The boulders arrived in February, positioned at the entrance to Palestinian villages, indicating that chunks of the Jordan Valley have become a closed military zone claimed by the Israeli army. They signal a further squeeze on the Bedouin communities in the area.

Arab League backs Palestinians on restarting talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by SALAH NASRAWI - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president is refusing to move to direct peace negotiations with Israel, as the Arab League meets Thursday to decide whether to add its weight to U.S. and Israeli pressure for face-to-face talks. Mahmoud Abbas is under strong U.S. and European pressure to restart direct talks that were frozen in 2008. But the Palestinian leader said he would only do so if Israel agrees to a complete halt in settlement construction and accepts a Palestinian state in territories seized in the 1967 Middle East war — the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Gaza, W. Bank must be reunified before any deal with Israel: Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said here on Wednesday that reunification of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip must be carried on simultaneously with the Palestinian- Israeli peace process, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported. In a meeting with editors-in-chief of Egyptian newspapers in Cairo, Abbas reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian arena, especially those concerning the peace process and efforts aiming to resume direct negotiations and achieve Palestinian reconciliation.

Arab League to reject direct Palestinian-Israeli talks: analyst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

When foreign ministers of Arab League (AL) member states meet on Thursday, they will consider whether to approve a Palestinian move towards direct talks with Israel. Ahead of that session, Israel, the United States and France have been trying to persuade regional players that face-to-face negotiations are the only sensible way to make progress. However, regional experts told Xinhua on Wednesday they think the representative body of the Arab world will reject direct negotiations at this stage.

Going to direct talks with Israel is Palestinian decision: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official said on Wednesday it is the Palestinians who decide to go to direct talks with Israel or not. "This is a sheer Palestinian decision," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio. "It's the Palestinian leadership who decides on peace-related issues." Erekat's comments came a day before the 13-member Arab Peace Initiative follow-up committee meets in Cairo to discuss the United States' calls to start direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Netanyahu: Israel's government will fall if settlement freeze continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Barak Ravid - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Continuing the construction freeze in West Bank settlements after it expires on September 26 would be impossible politically and would bring down the coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Moratinos told Netanyahu that the European Union's position was that Israel should continue the freeze. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has conditioned direct talks with Israel on a continued construction freeze.

'Israeli Arabs have no choice but to build illegally'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Fadi Eyadat - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's Arabs are forced to build illegal housing due to the government's refusal to recognize many of their communities as official towns or to grant them permits for legal construction, according to a study released by the Dirasat - Arab Center for Law and Policy. The dozens of structures Israel razed earlier this week in the Bedouin town of Arkaib are among the 45,000 illegal constructions in unrecognized villages in the Negev. According to Knesset figures, some 1,500 structures like these are built annually in unrecognized villages.

Israel speeds up West Bank barrier construction following court injunction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Defense Ministry picked up the pace of work on the separation fence near the Palestinian village of Walajeh, south of Jerusalem this week, village residents and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel say. The residents had petitioned the High Court of Justice, asking it to order the state to find an alternative route for the fence. The current route would surround the village on three sides and separate it from large tracts of its land.

Rattling the Cage: One man’s terrorist ...
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

One evening about 20 years ago, someone with a “Middle Eastern accent” called the Knesset and said a bomb was set to go off. I was working at The Jerusalem Post that night, and I can’t remember how much advance time the caller gave, but security guards went all around the Knesset and informed everyone, and some people left, but many stayed. It turned out there was no bomb.

Pandering is no substitute for leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

With less than 100 days until the congressional elections, Republican dreams of taking control of both the House and Senate are giving nightmares not only to Democrats but also to those who want to see the Israelis and Palestinians make peace. As the GOP tries to out-Israel the Democrats by taking an increasingly hard line, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Florida lawmaker who could become the next chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) if Republicans win in November, is leading the charge by essentially proposing shutting down the peace process.

Hamas bans lingerie displays in Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Scantily-clad mannequins and pictures of underwear models are to disappear from clothes shops in the Gaza Strip after officials announced new rules. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said that the new rules were to protect "public morality". The ruling comes two weeks after the organisation banned women from smoking water pipes. Hamas has repeatedly denied it intends to impose Islamic Sharia law in Gaza. It has so far taken only limited steps to enforce modesty and prevent the sexes from mixing in public.

After four years, Gaza remains home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mahmoud Habboush - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

f my first visit home to Gaza after more than four years was a drama, seeing my mother would have been its climax. It would have been the inevitable conclusion that every thread in the story leads to. And it was. For days I had been thinking about when I would see her. There is something about mothers, something heavenly that makes them the centre of the universe. There is something about home that makes me feel the same way.

Will someone please pay attention to the suffering?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Once again the summer heat is upon us. And once again, people's anguish, and appeals at the overcrowded King Hussein Bridge are melting as quickly as an ice cream cone in the Jordan Valley's high temperatures.

Easing of siege - 'largely cosmetic and self-serving'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's easing of the siege and blockade of Gaza is largely cosmetic and self-serving. Israel has opened the gates to all food and clothing items but only 150 lorry loads enter Gaza when the crossings are open. Consequently, the volume of goods entering Gaza has only increased from 17 per cent of the amount before Israel began to impose its blockade in 2006 to 25 per cent at the present.

Editorial: ‘A prison camp’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The new British Premier David Cameron appears unafraid to speak his mind. Visiting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, he described Gaza as “a prison camp” and urged the illegal Israeli blockade be lifted.

The Palestinian conundrum on direct negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) July 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The PLO is now facing one of the most difficult problems it's had to deal with in quite a while, as it comes under very heavy pressure from the Obama administration and, as Pres. Abbas said at the African Union summit in Kampala two days ago, the “entire world” as well, to return to direct negotiations with Israel. For most people, although on two different sides of the equation, this is a no-brainer.

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