Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sec. Clinton is expected today to announce direct negotiations to begin in Washington on Sept. 2, and the Quartet to issue a statement saying they can be completed within one year. The UN criticizes Israeli restrictions on Gaza. Israel restricts Palestinian access to Jerusalem during Ramadan. The PLO defends Pres. Abbas' statements recognizing Jewish rights in Israel. The ex-Israeli soldier who posed with Palestinian prisoners says she would gladly kill and slaughter Arabs. Homeless Gazans seize a Hamas building. Anshel Pfeffer says a whole generation of Israelis have grown up seeing the Palestinians as nonhuman. Arab states are not to meeting their pledges to the PA. Mohamad Alasmar says "price tag" settler violence is tolerated by the Israeli authorities. A survey suggests 56% of Jewish Israelis believe "the world is against us." Ron Prosser says Israel will deal with Hamas only when it is not violent. Jesse Rosenfeld says different groups of Palestinians should show more solidarity with each other. Ben White looks at Israel's demand Palestinians recognize it as a "Jewish state." Time looks at the easing of restrictions on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Israelis and Palestinians to Resume Talks, Officials Say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce Friday that Israel and the Palestinians will return to direct negotiations for the first time in 20 months, delivering the Obama administration a small victory in its protracted effort to revive the Middle East peace process, two officials briefed on the situation said Thursday evening. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, have agreed to place a one-year time limit on the talks, these officials said.

Report Criticizes Gaza Restrictions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - August 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Kamal Sweleim’s family has owned a farm in this northern part of Gaza for six decades. For most of that time, it was a mix of citrus orchards and plump cows, and the family made a handsome living selling its products to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. But 10 years ago, when the second Palestinian uprising broke out, spreading violence in Israeli streets, Israeli tanks started repeatedly tearing through the family’s fields, chasing militants. Last year, during the Israeli war in Gaza, the Sweleims were ordered to move out, and their trees and wells were bulldozed.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks expected to resume in September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Douglas Hamilton - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Israelis and Palestinians will be invited Friday to begin direct peace talks in two weeks in Washington, a diplomatic source said Thursday night. Both sides were expected to attend the talks, which would begin Sept. 2, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Envoys from the so-called Quartet of powers -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- agreed to the details Thursday, the source said, adding that President Obama would be present at the talks. The White House declined to comment Thursday.

Dozens faint during prayers under Ramadan sun
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Tens of thousands of Palestinians lined up at West Bank checkpoints early on Friday morning, waiting to be granted access to the holy city of Jerusalem for prayer on the second Friday of Ramadan. Officials at the Islamic Waqf office estimated 150,000 worshipers gathered in the Old City mosque for prayer, while Israeli estimates put the number at 95,000.

PLO defends Abbas statements on Jewish rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The PLO responded Wednesday to a letter to Mahmoud Abbas authored and endorsed by Palestinian academics and intellectuals questioning the Ramallah-based government's ability to lead. The 22 July letter, signed by dozens of scholars, activists, and civil society leaders, specifically expressed concerns that Abbas had denied Palestinians their basic rights and accepted an "exclusive Jewish claim to Palestine" in remarks during a conversation with American Jews in the US capital.

Ex-soldier in Facebook scandal would 'gladly kill Arabs'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The ex-soldier criticized for uploading photos of herself on Facebook posing with Palestinian detainees wrote that she would "gladly kill Arabs – even butcher them" the Israeli press said Thursday. Eden Abergil attracted attention when photographs depicting her smiling in front of blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinians, in an album titled "IDF - Best years of my life" were publicized on a blog, and later in international media.

Mideast Quartet sees treaty deal within a year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

A Middle East treaty creating a Palestinian state at peace with Israel can be completed in one year of negotiations, say major powers who were due on Friday to invite both parties to start talks in two weeks. The Quartet -- the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations -- were due to issue a statement later on Friday confirming that President Barack Obama would invite the Palestinian and Israel leaders to Washington on Sept 2.

Homeless Gazans seize Hamas government building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Forty families whose houses were destroyed in conflict with Israel took over a building belonging to Gaza's Hamas rulers this week in a sign of dissatisfaction with the Islamist movement's failure to provide shelter. Angered by living in tents for two winters and now baking in the midst of an intense heat wave, the squatters took over the unfinished apartment house and have already resisted one police effort to evict them.

Anshel Pfeffer / It's all too easy for Israeli rights groups to call the IDF's bluff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

This week I published in Haaretz the story of a small group of reserve soldiers who last month, while on active duty in the Jordan Valley, decided to make a small modification to their routine: They replaced the standard collection of curt phrases in basic Arabic - used by generations of IDF soldiers to order Palestinian civilians to stop, open their car door, present documents and identify themselves - with the more pleasant greetings and respectful, traditional blessings of which Arabic is so full.

Arab states cut aid to PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab states have cut financial aid to the Palestinian Authority so far this year and the United Nations has warned of a looming Palestinian cash crisis. "The Arabs are not paying. We urge them to meet their financial pledges," said Saleh Rafat, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee and one of the few Palestinian officials willing to speak out on the matter. Arab government officials declined to comment on the issue.

Paying for the ‘price-tag’ policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mohamed Alasmar - August 18, 2010 - 12:00am

It is no secret that over the course of the past several months, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have randomly attacked Palestinian villagers and their property after their government makes decisions they oppose. Settlers who resist the government’s limited attempts to implement the partial freeze of settlement expansion have adopted what they call the “price tag” policy, an irrational and indiscriminate policy applied against Palestinians who have no role in Israeli decision-making processes.

Survey: 'The whole world is against us'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yoni Cohen - August 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Fifty-six percent of Jewish Israelis believe that "the whole world is against us," according to a recent Peace Index survey published on Thursday. The Peace Index project is conducted under the auspices of the Evens Program for Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute. Many Israeli Jews believe that the world will continue to be critical of Israel with 77% saying that it does not make difference what Israel does and how far it will go on the Palestinian issue.

Before we talk to Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ron Prosor - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Groucho Marx famously quipped: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them … well, I have others." The International Quartet (the US, the UN, Russia and the EU) has long applied three principles Hamas must adopt to take part in negotiations. It must renounce violence, recognise Israel and abide by previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. At no point has Hamas satisfied these conditions – or indicated any intention to do so.

Those forced from their land need a common voice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jesse Rosenfeld - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

It has been just over a year since Israeli settlers backed by the courts began evicting and taking over the homes of Palestinian families in the Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. In response, neighbourhood residents have been joined by Israeli and international activists in weekly demonstrations, inspired by the protests against Israel’s Wall in the West Bank towns of Bi’lin and Ni’lin.

1948 and Israel's deceptive bargaining position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Salon.com
by Ben White - August 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The refrain from Israeli politicians and the country’s allies and apologists is familiar: There can be no peace deal until the Palestinians "recognize" Israel as "a Jewish state." While this can sound reasonable to the casual listener in the West, this demand actually points to critical flaws in the "peace process" and the way in which the international community approaches the Palestine/Israel question.

Is Lebanon Finally Integrating Palestinians?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Andrew Lee Butters - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The profound significance of this week's decision by the Lebanese government to allow Palestinian refugees to work legally in a number of previously off-limits professions lies in their fate until now. Of all the Palestinians who fled or were chased from their homes in what is now Israel upon the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, those who ended up in Lebanon had more reason than most to rue their fate.

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