Middle East News: World Press Roundup

ATFP Advocacy Director Ghaith Al-Omari discusses direct negotiations on the PBS Newshour. A new mall opens in Gaza. Charles Glass says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about politics, not religion. Palestinians express concern about negotiations, but PM Netanyahu expresses optimism. Activists say support is growing for boycotts against Israel. PLO officials say renewed settlement activity could threaten negotiations. Amira Hass looks at the politics of road paving in the occupied territories. Ha'aretz interviews a leading settler rabbi who wants all non-Jews in Israel and the occupied territories expelled to Saudi Arabia. The Jerusalem Post finds some reason for optimism about the negotiations. A group of women Israeli soldiers denounce the treatment of Palestinians. Lara Friedman says two states are the only solution. Israeli authorities question the authenticity of Muslim gravestones in a cemetery at the heart of a major controversy in occupied East Jerusalem. The Gulf News says the deck is stacked against Palestinians in the negotiations, and the Arab News says the one-year time frame is too ambitious. Hussein Ibish looks at the new PA education initiative.

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks: What Will Help, Hinder?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from PBS
August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Transcript JEFFREY BROWN: And to talk about the talks, we go to David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute and co-author of the book "Myths, Illusions and Peace," and Ghaith Al-Omari, advocacy director at the American Task Force on Palestine and a fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is a former aide to President Abbas. Ghaith al Omari, what is your answer to the question posed at the announcement today, why now?

Mideast talks offer promise, peril for Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Carol E. Lee, Laura Rozen, Ben Smith - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement Friday of new direct Middle East peace talks will renew the sense of opportunity that had faded as the regional stalemate hardened. But the talks also renew the political peril for President Barack Obama, who once again is in the position of pledging progress that's easier to promise than to deliver.

In New Mideast Talks, A Small Victory For U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Michele Kelemen - August 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration has set the date for the first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in two years, a small diplomatic victory for an administration that made Arab-Israeli peace an early priority. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to the White House on Sept.1. They will be joined by Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Stakes are high in Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Farah Stockman - August 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States will host the launch of direct peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington early next month, a diplomatic breakthrough for the Obama administration, which has invested much of the president’s global political capital in an attempt to broker peace in the Middle East.

Gaza Mall Seeks to Make Statement of Resolve
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Colognes by Hugo Boss, Dunhill and Givenchy line the shelves of the cosmetics shop. One of the two women’s clothing stores features a window mannequin in a hot pink T-shirt and low-slung jeans. In the supermarket freezer is Nestlé ice cream and on its shelves are salty and cheesy chips and doodles that well-off societies consume by the bagful. Gaza, famous for its misery, has a shopping mall. It opened a month ago to considerable fanfare, with Palestinian television cameras trailing Hamas government officials meandering proudly around the bright new stores filled with imported goods.

Counterpoint: Land and Sovereignty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Charles Glass - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

In the elegant and incisive style that characterizes all of his writing, James Carroll set out in these pages (“The wandering Jew and the mad Saracen,” Views, Aug. 12) the theological genesis of the dispute in Israel-Palestine. Mr. Carroll presented a compelling vision of Christian religious prejudice against both Jews and Muslims that he believes informs this seemingly intractable conflict. Christian insistence from St. Augustine onward that “Jewish exile was a matter of theological proof,” he wrote, animates Christian hostility to Zionism.

Palestinians see danger for Abbas in resumed Israel peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

There was little for Palestinians to be upbeat about Friday as they waited for an official invitation to join Israel at resumed direct peace talks to be hosted by President Obama on Sept. 2.

Israel's Netanyahu scores big victory with direct peace talks – for now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Savoring the diplomatic victory of renewed direct peace talks announced last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet today that a peace treaty with the Palestinians would be "a difficult thing, but it is possible."

Support builds for boycotts against Israel, activists say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Farah Stockman - August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

In May, rock legend Elvis Costello canceled his gig in Israel. Then, in June, a group of unionized dock workers in San Francisco refused to unload an Israeli ship. In August, a food co-op in Washington state removed Israeli products from its shelves. The so-called “boycott, divestment, and sanctions’’ movement aimed at pressuring Israel to withdraw from land claimed by Palestinians has long been considered a fringe effort inside the United States, with no hope of garnering mainstream support enjoyed by the anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa of the 1980s.

Palestinians: No talks if settlement freeze ends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leader has warned President Barack Obama that he will pull out of upcoming peace talks if Israel ends a slowdown of West Bank settlement construction, a Palestinian negotiator said Monday. Direct negotiations aimed at ending the decades-old Mideast conflict are to resume in Washington next week after months of U.S. diplomatic efforts. Both sides seem pessimistic about the talks, their first in 20 months.

What West Bank road renovations say about the occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Whenever I am driving uphill, I nearly always think of Abu Mazen, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. To be more precise, of two sentences he uttered during the sixth Fatah conference a year ago.

Those noisy barbarians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Noam Ben Ze'ev - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, head of the rabbinical committee in the territories and a power broker in the halls of government, is this country's real prime minister, writer Sefi Rachlevsky said in an op-ed in Haaretz's Hebrew edition last week.

Editorial: Trying again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

It has taken Herculean efforts by the Obama administration to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority together for direct talks, including a diplomatic sleight of hand. Indeed, Israelis and Palestinians are entering the talks next month based on different working assumptions.

US gambles on new Middle East talks with no clear plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Kim Ghattas - August 20, 2010 - 12:00am

This time, scepticism is at an all-time high and expectations are low, including for the near term, let alone the ambitious goal set out by Hillary Clinton of resolving all key issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within a year. The statement by the secretary of state and her special envoy, George Mitchell, was high in aspirations, low on details.

One Solution: Two States
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Lara Friedman - August 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The steady march of settlements, the rightward shift in Israeli politics, the growing sense that a conflict-ending peace agreement is impossible — all these things are feeding some pundits’ impulse to declare the death of the two-state solution as a means of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But what are the alternatives?

Israeli army's female recruits denounce treatment of Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

It was a single word scrawled on a wall at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that unlocked something deep inside Inbar Michelzon, two years after she had completed compulsory military service in the Israeli Defence Force. The word was "occupation". "I really felt like someone was speaking the unspoken," she recalled last week in a Tel Aviv cafe. "It was really shocking to me. There was graffiti saying, 'end the occupation'. And I felt like, OK, now I can talk about what I saw."

Activists created 'fictitious' graves in Mamilla cemetery, say Israeli authorities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

A political battle over a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem that began with charges of insensitivity levelled at plans for building on the site has spread into a more curious fight about whether hundreds of nearby tombstones are even real. The Mamilla cemetery had its peace disturbed this month by Israeli bulldozers demolishing gravestones in the middle of the night and by Muslim protests. The once sleepy plot of Muslim gravestones in Jewish west Jerusalem has become a flash point for rival claims to the holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Peace talks are doomed before they even begin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

In theory, the premise of the direct talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis is almost utopian. According to the brief, released by the Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations — the negotiations would last for one year and are supposed to "resolve all final status issues".

Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

When Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu come face to face for dinner and talks in Washington, we know where they’re coming from. They will meet a decade after the last real final-status talks, 20 months after the last direct talks and after around three months of largely futile indirect negotiations.

Palestinians set their crosshairs on educational reform
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Hussein Ibish - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

In an important new move, the Palestinian Authority has recently begun highlighting education as one of the main centerpieces in the next phase of the state and institution building program. Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, the PA understands that an effective and progressive educational system is essential for economic and social development, building a functional state, and laying the groundwork for peace with Israel.

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