Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The NYT says Pres. Abbas should return to direct talks. The reopening of the Jenin Cinema is part of the revival of the city. Israel's Gaza flotilla inquiry doesn't appear to be assigning responsibility. Israel's military chief of staff says his troops weren't ready for resistance during the raid. Nahum Barnea calls PM Netanyahu's testimony “catastrophic.” The UN launches its own inquiry, which may help restore Israel's ties with Turkey. Millions of dollars worth of aid to Gaza is piling up in warehouses. The CSM examines Hezbollah's “evidence” that Israel assassinated former Lebanese PM Hariri. The PA Justice Ministry asks for a clearer separation of powers. A Palestinian cleric is injured trying to block the demolition of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. US officials say they are optimistic about the resumption of direct negotiations. UNRWA denounces an Israeli TV broadcast. Amira Hass says Israeli occupation forces often behave like bullying children with guns. Reports claim DM Barak wanted to launch a major attack on Lebanon following the recent border incident. Right-wing settlers clash with Israeli occupation troops in Jericho. Ali Ibrahim says Arabs should reach out to Israeli public opinion.

President Abbas and Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Making peace between Israelis and Palestinians is somewhat like solving a Rubik’s Cube. You get one colored square lined up but the next one just won’t fall into place. So it is now. After three months of American-mediated proximity talks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to direct negotiations on a two-state solution; the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is stubbornly resisting. It is time for him to talk.

Cinema Jenin brings movies and revival to a scarred West Bank city
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

For years this dusty city in the northern West Bank was a hotbed of Palestinian militancy, with gunmen roaming the streets, suicide bombers dispatched to Israel and lethal Israeli army raids leaving swaths of destruction. Now, the renovation and reopening of a movie theater closed for 23 years is being celebrated as a harbinger of change and cultural revival. It is the latest symbol of the transformation of this city, where Palestinian security forces are firmly in control and the local economy is improving after the easing of Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

Accountability unclear in Israeli probe of deadly Gaza flotilla raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's inquiry into a naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May has raised the question of who bears responsibility for the deadly outcome, which drew international condemnation and compelled Israel to ease its embargo of the Palestinian enclave. In the first two days of testimony before a government-appointed commission, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made statements that appeared to shift a good part of the burden off their shoulders.

Israel's Gaza blockade: Millions of dollars worth of aid piles up in warehouses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Anne Usher - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

In a half-dozen warehouses in this southern Israeli port, refrigerators and roofing materials for Israeli homes share space with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of PVC pipes, generators, and other equipment intended for 37 wells and water treatment facilities in the Gaza Strip. Stacked in other warehouses close to the Gaza border are steel pipes and cement for building the facilities’ foundations – part of $85 million set aside for water projects by UNICEF and other international donors.

Is Hezbollah right that Israel assassinated Lebanon's Rafik Hariri?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Nicholas Blanford - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

On Monday night, the leader of Hezbollah showed intercepted Israeli reconnaissance footage and confessions of Israeli spies to back his accusation that Israel was responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri – an explosive murder under investigation by an international tribunal.

As UN Gaza flotilla inquiry opens, a chance for improved Turkey-Israel relations?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The UN investigation into Israel's Gaza flotilla raid that left 8 Turks and one Turkish-American dead opens today with Turkey insisting that Israel bears full responsibility for the deaths and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying a Turkish aid group's attempt to breach the economic blockade of Gaza was a "deliberate provocation." The UN investigation will start with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meeting with the four-member panel, which includes both an Israeli and a Turkish representative. The panel will investigate the fatal Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid boat.

Justice Ministry wants clearer separation of powers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The justice sector under the Palestinian Authority needs a clear separation of powers and a clarified jurisdictional scheme to make it more effective, officials from the Ministry of Justice say. The minister and several key portfolio holders from the ministry gathered in Bethlehem on Saturday to conduct a three-day self-evaluation on the performance of the ministry and its branches. Following the close of meetings Monday, ministerial undersecretary Khalil Karaja spoke with Ma'an.

Bulldozer injures sheikh at Jerusalem cemetery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Sheikh Ali Abu Sheikha was injured Tuesday when an Israeli bulldozer struck him while when he attempted to block a construction crew from bulldozing a section of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Abu Sheikha suffered moderate injuries but refused to leave the Mamilla (Ma'man Allah) cemetery, Ma'an's correspondent said. An Israeli police spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Israeli bulldozers entered the cemetery Monday night and began taking down headstones from Muslim graves, the Jerusalem-based Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said.

Israel wasn't ready for flotilla resistance -general
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Israeli troops were not ready for the violent resistance they met when they boarded a Gaza-bound aid ship and ended up killing nine pro-Palestinian activists, the country's top military officer said on Wednesday. Speaking to an inquiry, Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi gave the most detailed explanation so far of what went wrong with the military plan in the May 31 raid, which sparked a world outcry.

UN panel on Gaza flotilla incident begins work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Patrick Worsnip - August 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The United Nations sought to head off any potential clash with Israel over a U.N. inquiry into a deadly Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, as a panel began work on the task on Tuesday. A U.N. statement on an inaugural meeting between the four-man team and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the inquiry was "not designed to determine individual criminal responsibility." Instead it would "examine and identify the facts, circumstances and the context of the incident."

US officials optimistic about direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - August 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The White House's Mideast envoy failed Tuesday to secure Palestinian agreement to go to direct talks with Israel, but U.S. and Palestinian officials said a possible solution to the standoff is emerging. The U.S. has been calling for a speedy resumption of face-to-face negotiations, with officials citing Sept. 1 as a target date.

UNRWA calls Israeli TV portrayal of Palestinian refugees a 'stack of lies'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gili Izikovich - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The United Nations' relief agency for Palestinian refugees, lashed out Tuesday at the Israel Broadcasting Authority for airing what it called a a dishonest portrayal of the organization on Saturday in "Ro'im Olam" on Channel 1 television. The news magazine's anchor and the journalist behind the segment have fired back.

A soldier's word
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Children in the West Bank throw stones at army vehicles and Israeli cars, mainly those belonging to settlers. That is the undeniable truth. Throwing stones is the classic way of telling the occupier, who is armed from head to toe, that he has forced himself on the occupied. Sometimes it's part of a sweeping resistance movement, sometimes it's a ceremonial remnant of such a movement, not devoid of braggadocio and adolescent boredom, while also a reminder to adults not to adapt.

'Barak wanted to avenge border incident, attack Lebanon'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

France dissuaded Israel from opening a large-scale military operation against Lebanon in response to the border incident which killed Ltc. Dov Harari, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Wednesday. French sources told the paper that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had informed French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that "Israel intends on opening a large-scale military operation to educate the Lebanese Army and avenge the death of the senior Israeli officer."

Bibi’s catastrophic testimony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - August 10, 2010 - 12:00am

For weeks, Benjamin Netanyahu prepared for his appearance before the Turkel Committee. First, he hired the services of Dori Klagsblad, a top-notch lawyer considered the greatest expert on overcoming commissions of inquiry. The attorney briefed the prime minister, prepared a list of possible questions, and drafted answered memorized by the PM.

US: Direct talks ‘getting closer’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday failed to reach agreement on the issue of direct talks between the PA and Israel. The two men met in Ramallah to discuss the latest developments surrounding the peace process and US efforts to launch direct talks between the two parties.

23 settlement activists arrested after march into Jericho
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - August 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Judea and Samaria police detained 23 right-wing activists on Tuesday who clashed with security personnel after the activists illegally entered the Jericho to pray at the Na’aran synagogue. Far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir said that as of press time, a number of activists were still in the synagogue. He said that the police used excessive force against the marchers and that six of them had been injured. Once they were in custody, he said, a driver threw stones at the protesters before they were forced to board his security vehicle so that they could be taken out of the city.

The Negotiations…And Thinking Outside The Box
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali Ibrahim - August 10, 2010 - 12:00am

I was struck by what the great writer Anis Mansour said in an interview with Egyptian television. The important thing to draw from the interview was when [Anis Mansour] narrated his experience with the late President Anwar Sadat in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, during Sadat's first visit [to Israel], which shocked both the region and the world.

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