Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A rocket, probably aimed at Israel, lands in Jordan killing one man and injuring several. Efraim Karsh argues that Palestinians should forget about Arab support. Some analysts say recent rocket attacks are an effort by Hamas to derail peace talks, but others say it has an interest in keeping Gaza quiet. An Israeli airstrike in Gaza injures 42 Palestinians. PLO officials deny claiming the US threatened to cut ties. The World Bank appoints a new official to Palestine. Israel says officers will be assigned to protect civilians in future conflicts. Pres. Abbas meets US officials and proposes a trilateral meeting before direct talks. A building boom in Ramallah indicates economic growth in the West Bank. Israel agrees in principle to a UN investigation into the Gaza flotilla attack. Israelis and Palestinians use theater to promote peace. Robert Fisk says Israel has become a de facto member of the EU without anyone realizing it. US companies may have been involved in financing the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai. The Arab News questions Pres. Obama's policy of pressuring the PLO. PM Fayyad vows no unilateral declaration of statehood and rejects calls to abandon the fight for Palestinian independence.

Rocket, Probably Aimed at Israel, Hits Jordan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Stephen Farrell, Isabel Kershner - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

A rocket that was probably aimed at the southern Israeli resort of Eilat slammed into the neighboring Jordanian resort of Aqaba on Monday, Jordanian and Israeli officials said. Israeli police inspected the site where a rocket landed on the outskirts of the Red Sea resort Eilat. Jordan’s information minister, Ali Ayed, said one rocket struck a main street in Aqaba, killing one person and injuring four, all of whom were Jordanian.

The Palestinians, Alone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Efraim Karsh - (Opinion) August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

It has long been conventional wisdom that the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a prerequisite to peace and stability in the Middle East. Since Arabs and Muslims are so passionate about the Palestine problem, this argument runs, the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate feeds regional anger and despair, gives a larger rationale to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and to the insurgency in Iraq and obstructs the formation of a regional coalition that will help block Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

Hamas attacks: A bid to scuttle direct talks?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Liam Stack - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel and forces loyal to the militant Hamas government that controls Gaza exchanged fire this weekend, with Palestinian rockets hitting southern Israel and Israel responding with multiple airstrikes across the territory. On Friday, Palestinian rockets damaged a building in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Israel retaliated with airstrikes against densely populated areas of Gaza City and Rafah, injuring scores and killing Hamas military commander Eissa al Batran.

Rocket attacks on Israel: Why Hamas has an interest in keeping Gaza quiet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The most significant volley of Gaza attacks and Israeli reprisals since last year's Operation Cast Lead raised concern over the weekend that tensions could escalate between Israel and Hamas. Meanwhile, additional rocket attacks on Monday apparently aimed toward the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat raised speculation of Hamas involvement there as well.

Medics: Israeli airstrike injures 42 in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli warplanes targeted the home of a senior Hamas military leader in the central Gaza Strip early Monday leaving 42 civilians injured, medics said. Al-Qassam Brigades leader Alla Ad-Danaf's home in Deir Al-Balah was destroyed along with five others by a missile from an Israeli F16 fighter jet, military medical services coordinator Adham Abu Salmiyya told Ma'an. At least 42 civilians were injured as a result, he added, with wounds ranging from slight to moderate.

Ashrawi denies saying US threatened PA ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi on Sunday denied saying the US had threatened to sever ties with the Palestinian Authority unless it resumed talks with Israel. Ashrawi described a report by the Israeli daily Haaretz quoting an interview she gave an Arabic newspaper as "totally baseless" and said she never made the remark to the press. She called the Haaretz report a "malicious" fabrication.

World Bank group appoints new Palestine rep
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a member of the World Bank Group, announced the appointment a new local representative for the agency in the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday. Layali Abdeen will be the point of contact for MIGA’s West Bank Gaza Guarantee Trust Fund. She will also focus on business development and work with local and foreign investors to assist them in managing the political risks associated with their projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli army orders officers to protect civilians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli military says it will assign officers to protect civilians in combat zones during wartime. The move appears to be a response to international criticism of Israel for high civilian death tolls in recent wars in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The military says an officer in each battalion will be responsible for planning and marking evacuation corridors for civilians in combat areas. Lt. Col. Shuki Shine says the officer will specify where soldiers cannot shoot and will also ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Abbas, Mitchell's deputy discuss peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met on Monday with David Hale, deputy of U.S. special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, state-run Palestinian Wafa news agency reported. During the meeting, Abbas updated the U.S. official with the latest political developments in the region and efforts aiming to push the peace process forward, the report said.

What will Hamas do if direct Mideast peace talks take off?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The impression from the weekend's events was that neither Israel nor Hamas was interested in escalating the situation, and both are looking for ways to lower the flame and restore the unofficial cease-fire on the Gaza Strip border since the end of Operation Cast Lead about a year and a half ago. On Friday a Grad Katyusha rocket fired from Gaza landed in Ashkelon, causing no injuries. It is not clear who was behind the firing. It is reasonable to assume it was not Hamas but one of the rogue organizations in the Gaza Strip identified with World Jihad or Al-Qaida.

Abbas wants a trilateral meeting between aides before direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is attempting to win Israel's agreement to a Palestinian effort to hold a trilateral meeting next week to set the terms of reference, agenda and timetable for direct negotiations with the Palestinians. The Palestinians also want to discuss the future of Israel's freeze on settlement construction, which is scheduled to expire on September 26. If Israel agrees to the meeting, it will be the first significant direct talks with the Palestinian Authority since Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister last year.

Ramallah building boom symbolizes West Bank growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The din of earth-movers leveling the hilly terrain of Ramallah for construction is unremitting as modern buildings shoot up all over the West Bank city. Once a mere village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Ramallah has seen its population double in the last 10 years and land prices surge, in part due to the fact it falls within the 40 percent of the West Bank where Palestinians can build without Israeli permission.

Israel agrees in principle to UN inquiry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has agreed in principle to the establishment of a UN flotilla probe committee to investigate the incidents surrounding the IDF raid on a Turkish aid ship in May, Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Israel Radio reported Monday that Barak made the announcement during his recent trip to New York. Former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer was expected to head the committee along with representatives from the US, the UN, Israel and Turkey.

Israelis and Palestinians unite for peace - and theatre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sarfraz Manzoor - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Nour Shehadah and Chen Alon are both shaven-headed fathers in their forties. Shehadah is Palestinian and he spent five years in an Israeli prison for his activities as a leader of his local Fatah military. Alon is a former combat soldier and major in the Israeli army.

Robert Fisk: Israel has crept into the EU without anyone noticing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The death of five Israeli servicemen in a helicopter crash in Romania this week raised scarcely a headline.

U.S. companies helped finance Dubai slaying
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Money transfers made through U.S. companies may have used to help finance the January assassination of a senior Hamas leader, the Wall Street Journal reported. The transfers were discovered by American investigators cooperating with the probe into the Jan. 20 assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai.

Fruitless talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Suddenly the mood music for a resumption of direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis has changed key and grown louder. The Arab League Thursday endorsed such negotiations subject to Palestinian judgment on timing. It would seem Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s speculation that direct talks could be under way by the middle of this month, was not merely diplomatic window-dressing.

Palestinian Prime Minister: Unilateral Declaration of Statehood a Pipedream
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson, Benjamin Joffe-Walt - August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Faya’d has ruled out any unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. “There is not going to be a unilateral declaration of statehood,” Faya’d told The Media Line during a private meeting in his office. “What’s the point? We did that in 1988, and what did it get us?” The statement was a public rejection of increasing calls from minority Palestinian factions to recalibrate the Palestinian struggle away from a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and towards a shared, bi-national, secular and democratic state.

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