Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Direct negotiations may be announced imminently. Palestinians reiterate the demand for settlement freeze. Pres. Abbas says consultations are ongoing. Hamas and other extremist groups denounce negotiations. Norway's FM says the PA needs financial support. DM Barack approves the purchase of F-35 fighter jets. Five years after Israel's unilateral redeployment, Gaza's future remains uncertain. Amira Hass says Hamas relies on brute force to rule in Gaza. Akiva Eldar says the plight of Palestinian citizens of Israel shows what would be the ugly face of a binational state. Israeli occupation troops begin to experiment with politeness. The PA issues a one-year progress report on state and institution building. Sherwin Pomerantz says Israelis must support the new planned Palestinian city in the West Bank. The PA intends to stop referring patients to Israel. The BBC looks at the commando unit that stormed the Gaza flotilla, and Gwynne Dyer says both flotilla activists and Israel are lying about the incident. A bereaved Gaza doctor publishes a new book promoting peace. Tensions continue to fester between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hussein Ibish examines where the parties find themselves on the eve of direct negotiations. Ziad Asali says the PA is preparing to use its education system to combat extremism.

In Jerusalem, a Barrier Comes Down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli military on Sunday began dismantling a concrete barrier that protected residents of a once-troubled district on the edge of Jerusalem from Palestinian sniper fire. At the height of the second intifada, the violent Palestinian uprising that broke out in 2000, the barrier’s tall concrete blocks had shielded the residents of Gilo, most of whom are Jews, from gunmen who took over homes and rooftops in a West Bank village across a ravine.

Direct Mideast talks set to resume
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

After months of quiet U.S. diplomacy, Israeli and Palestinian leaders appear poised to announce a resumption of direct peace talks, perhaps as early as this week. Nearly two years after the last round of talks broke off, U.S. and allied officials in recent days cleared the final hurdle by persuading Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to take a seat at the negotiating table, officials say.

Abbas consults with US on resuming talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas will continue consulting with the US administration over resuming direct talks with Israel, a presidential spokesman said after the leader met with US official David Hale in Ramallah on Sunday. Nabil Abu Rudaineh said some progress has been made, but the Palestinian Authority would only announce its stance on direct talks when the Quartet releases its expected statement Monday.

INTERVIEW-Cash for Palestinians needed to support peace-Norway
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority's budget is in the red and donors should make good on pledges to fill the gap, said Norway's foreign minister, who chairs a donor group that backs the Palestinian government. Jonas Gahr Stoere also said he was optimistic face-to-face Palestinian-Israeli talks would resume soon, restarting the peace process his country helped to launch 17 years ago.

Israel's Barak approves U.S. F-35 fighters purchase
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak approved in principle on Sunday the purchase of 20 U.S.-built radar-evading stealth fighters in a deal worth $2.75 billion, defence ministry officials said. The F-35 warplanes are expected to be delivered between 2015 to 2017, an Israeli defence official said. Israeli leaders have spoken of arch-foe Iran potentially developing a nuclear weapon by mid-decade, suggesting that the F-35s would not be used for any preventive action, but rather to bolster the country's deterrence.

Palestinians reiterate demand for settlement freeze before direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership Sunday stressed anew that Israel must stop all forms of settlement activities before launching direct negotiations with the Palestinians. The demand, long held by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), was a focal point when President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad held separate meetings with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store in Ramallah late last night.

Gaza future vague five years after unilateral Israeli disengagement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Osama Radi - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Although five years have passed since the Israeli unilateral disengagement plan was implemented and Israel completely pulled out from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian analysts believe that Israel is still keeping its grip on the densely populated costal enclave. SITUATION IN GAZA DETERIORATED Palestinian observers said that the Gaza Strip has witnesses several eras of changes over the past five years following the Israeli withdrawal. These changes, mainly the Hamas movement's takeover of the enclave, have served Israel's interests in blocking the establishment of the independent state.

What Hamas is really afraid of
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

"I wish these pictures reached leftists abroad," my friend said to herself Tuesday as she watched Hamas police use rifle butts and clubs to beat her friends - activists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Although my friend has never been a fan of the Fatah government in the West Bank, she is outraged by the romanticization of Hamas rule by foreign activists.

Citizens, but not equal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

It sure was considerate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to wish a "Ramadan karim" to our Muslim brothers for their holy month. As they do every year, the radio broadcasts will include reports of how the president hosted "respected Arabs" for an iftar feast at the end of one of Ramadan's daily fasts. It's a lot easier to extend holiday greetings than it is to put a stop to the whims of a group of American Jews who decided to build a Museum of Tolerance on the site of what was once a Muslim cemetery in central Jerusalem.

IDF trying something new in West Bank: politeness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Generations of Israel Defense Forces soldiers have learned a limited lexicon of Arabic expressions while working West Bank checkpoints, patrols, arrests and searches of Palestinian homes. The expressions are designed to order civilians to stop, open the door, identify themselves and present identification papers. For most troops, these are the only words of spoken Arabic that they knew. For Palestinians, this was the soundtrack to the occupation.

Hamas, Palestinian groups say no to direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas and 10 Damascus-based Palestinian organizations declared they oppose the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Sunday. The Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front – General Command and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine were among the groups represented in the statement.

PA reports year's achievements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian government on Sunday published a report outlining its activity in the past year. According to the document, in the past 12 months the Palestinian Authority's government, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, marked significant achievements in the construction of government institutions and other infrastructure.

Building Rawabi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Sherwin Pomerantz - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

In mid-January, I was in Tel Aviv for a presentation by Bashar Masri, President of Massar, a Ramallah-based holding company with investment interests in a number of projects in what may one day become a Palestinian state. Masri, having lived in America most of his life, moved to Ramallah some years ago to share his business acumen, know-how, and connections with the locals in order to assist in building the economic trappings of a new Palestinian society.

Palestinian Health Ministry Moves to Self-Reliance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Transfer of Palestinian patients to Israel for medical treatment will soon come to an end in order to keep funding inside the Palestinian Authority, according to the Palestinian Minister of Health. Minister Fathi Abu-Moghli said that funds previously used to cover medical treatment for Palestinians abroad would now be channeled into developing the Palestinian health sector.

Inside Israel's commando unit which raided Gaza flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jane Corbin - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Some of the Israeli special forces took off their balaclavas to talk to me and show me the wounds they received the night nine people were killed and 50 were wounded on board the Turkish ship the MV Mavi Marmara. "I saw a knife in my abdomen and pulled it out," Captain R said. "The beating was continuous - and the cries of Allah Akbar." Israeli footage shows Captain R, a member of Naval Commando 13 being beaten with bars by activists, stabbed and then thrown to the deck below. Who started the violence that ended in death on the boat, has been fiercely contested.

Gaza doctor writes book of hope despite death of three daughters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

On a cool but sunny December day in Gaza, Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish took his eight children to the beach for the simple pleasures of paddling in the Mediterranean and playing in the sand. Two months earlier, the children's mother had died from acute leukaemia, and Abuelaish was comforted to see his older daughters laughing and chatting as they wrote their names in the damp grains close to the water's edge: Bessan, Maya, Aya. "It was as close to heaven and as far from hell as I could get that day," he later wrote.

Ceasefire turns up the heat on Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mitchell Prothero - August 14, 2010 - 12:00am

A campaign by Hamas security forces against violations of an unofficial but strictly enforced ceasefire with Israel has drawn the ire of their former allies in Islamic Jihad, who now accuse the Hamas leadership of pursuing peace with Israel rather than military operations. The issue came to a head on July 31 after two homemade rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip by disgruntled militants linked to Islamic Jihad’s Al Quds Brigade, who acted out of frustration and on their own accord, according to top officials in both groups.

Mavi Marmara inquiry: Denying the obvious
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Gwynne Dyer - August 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The pro-Palestinian activists who said that the flotilla of ships that tried to breach the Israeli blockade and bring aid to the Gaza Strip had purely humanitarian goals were lying, and so are the Israeli officials who blandly insist that the blockade is solely to stop offensive weapons from reaching the Hamas-ruled enclave. But only the Israeli commandos who seized the ships and killed nine people had guns.

Israel and Palestine: Between Alternatives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Political and Economic Institute
by Hussein Ibish - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Although, a very strong international consensus has emerged, over the past two decades, that the only practicable means of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a negotiated agreement allowing for two states to live side-by-side, in peace and security, little progress has been made towards that goal. Even the new designation by the United States of resolving the conflict as a national security priority and strategic imperative has yet to provide any grounds for greater optimism.

Fighting for a culture of enlightenment in Palestine and beyond
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ziad Asali - August 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Last week signaled the rolling launch of an effort to fundamentally reform the Palestinian education sector. This reform effort is taking place in the context of a wider effort initiated one year ago by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to build the institutions of future Palestinian statehood.

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